brain“Your brain does not process information, retrieve knowledge or store memories.” So says Robert Epstein, a senior research psychologist at the American Institute for Behavioral Research and Technology in California, author of 15 books, and former editor-in-chief of Psychology Today.

In his great Aeon essay, The Empty Brain, he hammers the point home: “...we are not born with: information, data, rules, software, knowledge, lexicons, representations, algorithms, programs, models, memories, images, processors, subroutines, encoders, decoders, symbols, or buffers – design elements that allow digital computers to behave somewhat intelligently. Not only are we not born with such things, we also don’t develop them – ever.”

“…the IP [information processing] metaphor is, after all, just another metaphor – a story we tell to make sense of something we don’t actually understand. And like all the metaphors that preceded it, it will certainly be cast aside at some point – either replaced by another metaphor or, in the end, replaced by actual knowledge.”

The above is not an executive summary – there is a good deal in this piece that is worth reading to learn more. The point I am making in today’s Monday Morning Mojo is that we project our most sophisticated models on that which we do not understand, in this case the workings of the brain.

Some of us do it with the Dreamtime. Others did it with Mount Olympus or Venus of Willendorf. And then came a parade led by Yahweh.

What are consciousness, life and our ultimate nature? Nobody really knows. It’s bigger than anything we can come up with… and it’s right here all along, as close as the experience of being alive.

May you walk in reverence with life’s great mysteries in the week ahead.

…so often, before words can rise to the mind to imply the ineffable, the ineffable has effed off.

 – Gregory Maguire