How does the brain work?

Professor Jean Bernard is probably the most brilliant medical intelligence I have ever met. Faced with the mysteries of the brain, after 70 years spent in research, he gave three hypotheses.


The first, most materialistic is to say that the knowledge of the hormones secreted by our body becoming more and more precise, it is likely that we will be able in the next 30 years to answer most of our interrogations. By bringing biological evidence to the existence of mechanisms and circuits that today escape us. It is true that serious leads already exist with even success in the treatment of nervous breakdown. Everything would be under the control of these substances, the neuromediators, who remotely control most of our inner life. Reassuring but can be a bit optimistic.

It lacks a concept to understand

The second hypothesis is that it lacks a concept to understand. And that in the absence of this concept all our efforts are a bit derisory. What I like to translate by the following image. We are in the situation of a chimpanzee, happy to realize that by turning a bolt in one direction, it is removed and in the other direction it is fixed. An interesting discovery, overwhelming even for a chimpanzee. Yes but now, what the primate did not understand is that this bolt is an integral part of the most successful engines, that of a Ferrari, for example. And, by simply understanding the usefulness of the bolt, our chimpanzee is still far from the concept of electronic injection even more of the purpose of the car. Well face the understanding of our brain, we are not far from this chimpanzee in front of his engine. Take the memory, for example, we are in fact only bits of the simple understanding of storage ...


The third hypothesis is that of the philosophers. There are two streams of thought. The easiest of all, believers, is to say that the day that God has decided, we will understand the mystery. A little easy. I prefer the brilliant analysis of Jacques Monod, who won the Nobel Prize in Medicine. In summary, he says, "the object can not be the subject". Clearly, because he is the brain, the brain can never understand or explain the brain ...

Video: How the Brain Works Part 1 UCLA (April 2020).