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Friday, September 23, 2011

The Human Mind

I am continually astounded by the human mind!
A friend at works daughter has intermittently been getting an irregular rash over parts of her body.  Everybody, doctors included, have been stumped at the cause.
This friend had also related they had found a caterpillar and he had picked it up and put it in a tree, trying to help the caterpillar.
While doing research for my next Alexander Hawk Novel, I came across something called urticating hairs.  They are found on some plants, some tarantula spiders, and some caterpillars.  Urticating hairs are generally hollow and connected to some sort of venom or acrid glands.  The effects of these range from mild irritation to dermatitis.  The most potent chemicals in any animals is produced by the South American silk moth, genus Lonomia.  It is an anticoagulant powerful enough to cause a human to hemorrhage to death.
It dawned on me the next day to mention this to my friend and ask if his daughter touched the caterpillar.  She had not only touched it but played with the stick the caterpillar had been moved from the ground to the tree with.  It is possible that this genus of caterpillar has some of these hairs as a defense mechanism and if it is an oil based acrid or venom, washing will not get off, it will just spread it the way it does with the oils produced by poison ivy.
How in the world my brain remembered his two separate events over days apart in different conversations and recalled it while doing research about cocoons and reading about caterpillars, I will never know.  How does the brain just make stuff up out of thin blue air?
My wife used to work at a facility in the area that was a school for children with special needs.  Many of the children that she watched are autistic.  When I looked up autism years ago it was defined as a sensory input malfunction with the brain.  I also found out everybody was some form or similar tendencies associated with autism.  It is my belief everybody, most Normal people (whatever in the world qualifies as Normal), are probably all just highly functioning autistics!
In the movie "Rain Man", with Dustin Hoffman and Tom Cruise, Mr. Hoffman's character displays a wide range of special gifts associated with people who are considered gifted.  I don't believe there has ever actually been a single case that manifested every gift in the way that was portrayed in the movie.  But that's Hollywood's take on it.  Generally, and very rarely a person with autism may exhibit one of the gifts.  Generally very few that do are what would be termed as highly functional or would have the ability to function in public without supervision.
The reason I mention this is because I realize autism is a malfunction, but if a person's brain, correctly or incorrectly could exhibit any of these gifts, which some of these children do, that means the human brain has the ability to do that!
Let me explain.
In the movie one of the gifts is looking at a spilled box of toothpicks and being able to count how many had fallen out at a glance!  For a person with this ability, it proves the brain is capable of doing this!  Do we dummy down our children by teaching them to count?  Should we start off teaching number theory to little children and let them figure out how to count on their own.  Maybe we would get a whole class of kids who could glance and know the number because the brain counted automatically, not one by one.
In the movie the character had a photo graphic memory.  I have known for years that I can't remember people's names for anything.  But I am very good at and never forget a face.  Can't put a name to a face to save my life, but for some reason with faces and pictures, particularly art work, if I see it, it's there, but only in color.
In college one time I was outlining some boring stuff and had a bunch of colored ball point pens, so I did all the Main headings in one color, and switched color with each sub point underneath that, and just kept the same pattern up as I went through the outline.  Days later when it was time for the test I was amazed that I could picture and read my notes in my head as if I was seeing them in front of me.  I figured out it was the color.  I have tested it repeatedly after that time and it isn't permanent, I never forget, but for a while after I outline something in color, or change the print of something to a colored font and then I read it, it is there with almost perfect recall up to two to three weeks later.  I truly believe it all is still in my head somewhere I just have a problem recalling it.
They say we only use about 5% of our brain.  If that's a fact, I know a few people who are hovering around 1 to 2 percent!  I often think of the possibilities of what we (mankind as a whole) would be capable of if we used 20 to 30 percent, 50%, 75% of our brain.  Would what we call gifted be common place and abilities everybody would routinely have.  It is a very good possibility!  I honestly think if an intensive study on the education of humans was done and then teaching principles were changed accordingly we would see a sharp rise in human potential.
Before any real change could take place, teaching would have to be a priority, at all stages of peoples development.  Teachers should be the highest paid profession in our society.  If they were, the competition for teaching jobs would be fierce, and better, smarter, more talented teachers would emerge.  If you look at where teachers are compared to all other professions in our society according to compensation, it becomes extremely obvious that our elected government or those in real power don't want a smart independent thinking society.  God Forbid, because we would reform the Government if we had half a brain!
Like I mentioned in an earlier post we need to do like the Ancient Chinese and test everybody!  Morality would be the highest and strictest graded part of the tests!  The top two percent of the smartest people in our entire country are the only ones eligible for government service!  Then reform education to make our children the most intelligent, knowledgeable, and moral people we can make them.  Maybe through a couple of generations we could push ourselves into the six to ten percentile of our brains potential.
As a parent I want my children to be smarter than I was and go farther in life.  I have to believe any parent who truly cares about their children would want nothing less.  So on the assumption that all people with children believe in the same fashion concerning education . . .
Why isn't Education Reform one of the top political concerns?
Why are we not pushing for education reform just as hard as certain groups are pushing for abortion/anti-abortion or gay rights?
At least Education Reform isn't as controversial and something everybody could agree on!  Everybody would agree, except of course, those individuals that want a stupid, illiterate society of sheep which are much more easily governed and controlled.

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