Around and beyond, i.e. strengthening and supporting, every brain event which produces a corresponding and concomitant happening or actual experience, there is, taking place, possibly millions of discreet but connected events, over a time span of mere seconds. As we shall now witness, the human brain, with its one hundred thousand million cells, is our bastion of hope, ever ensuring that we are by no means helpless and defenceless in the face of life’s crises, whatever form they may take. Without a brain, we could not so much as be, for it is the ‘hub’ and command/control centre of everything we do and indeed are. Conscious awareness in the form of thinking about for example, breathing or walking or about the basic senses that interpret the world around us, is unnecessary and for much of the time in that sense, irrelevant. There is a wide range of not only day-to-day, but moment-by-moment events about which we are blissfully ignorant and therefore take for granted. Yet in truth they represent phenomenal events of coping.
Why, for example, do we not simply fall down all the time because of the pull of gravity? The answer is found in a primitive but crucial brain structure known as the cerebellum·,(see footnote) which monitors our every movement. The cerebellum ceaselessly adjusts posture by sending messages down the spinal cord to control muscles, which militate against gravity’s downward pull, by straightening and extending the torso and limbs. In the ordinary way, we do not so much as for a moment reflect upon our unceasing contact with potential ‘killers’, in the form of germs and viruses, because the brain is programmed to handle everything of the kind superbly and with breath-taking efficiency. Thus, when, irrespective of our state of mind at the time, (as we saw when, in my last series of blogs on “Coping with serious and life-threatening illnesses” and more especially in my reference to and discussion about “learned helplessness”) every time we take the step of seeking out professional and specialist advice as a coping response, or in some way refuse to be paralyses and immobilized by fear, we strike a crucial (if in each single act minute) ‘blow’ for health and freedom. How can we ever fully come to know of the road ahead leading to the truth about management, control or cure, unless we are first motivated to set foot upon it?
May I just finally add that this has not been the kind of blog, the substance of which you are required for the most – or even some – part required to recall in some or even, any detail. If on the other hand you have taken from it a sense of wonder (and also hopefully encouragement) together with the perception that you are by no means a “pawn in the game” and have on-board much more than perhaps even you thought before reading it, then my purpose in writing it will have been well served. It never ceases to amaze me as to how we can discuss, ponder over and at times even agonise about coping and working our passage through life – all hopefully with a goodly measure of success and achievement and above all, sense of fulfilment – without often ever making so much as passing reference to the organ which introduces, interprets, controls and quite simply, renders everything possible. We will not make that mistake here: although, as I have already indicated, you may, of course, feel entirely free to select and read from the entire series of blogs posted on this website, in any order, depending on need or interest.
- (Latin for “little brain”. So named because in primitive organisms, e.g. certain fish, it amounts to nine tenths of brain mass. The cerebellum in man is the largest part of the hindbrain and is essential for balance, muscle tone and the synchronization and coordination of activity in muscle groups under voluntary control. (c)SB.