Human Brain

Debate and discussion of any biological questions not pertaining to a particular topic.

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Human Brain

Post by Dex » Sat Apr 07, 2007 11:04 am

Hi all,

I'm doing a project on a discussion of the following quote:
"If the brain were so simple we could understand it, we would be so simple we couldn't"

It was said by Lyall Watson, but I can't seem to find a source for it. If anyone knows where he said it, please tell me.

My basic interpretation of it is that a large number of the processes and functions which our brains perform and are essential to our lives, we are unable to understand. The quote implies that there will always be a direct correlation between the complexity of tasks that we can perform and our ability to understand the underlying brain funtions behind those tasks.

If anyone has any thoughts on this, pleast post as I need to hear what people think.


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Post by Darby » Sat Apr 07, 2007 6:18 pm

It's very popular online, but seems to usually have no source listed. This is all I've found:

- Quoted in Marilyn Ferguson, The Aquarian Conspiracy, Personal and Social Transformation in the 1980s (Los Angeles: J.P. Tarcher, 1980), 156. Who knows if this is where it originated, though-?

- One source listing Lyall as "South African Biologist and Writer, 1939-"

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Post by Doubled » Sun Apr 08, 2007 12:04 am

"If the brain were so simple we could understand it, we would be so simple we couldn't" has been attributed to Emerson M. Pugh (G.E. Pugh, The Biological Origin of Human Values, 1977, p. 154). G.E. was Emerson's son.

At other times I have seen references to this quote as a Chinese Proverb.

I'm not sure if the actual source was indeed Lyall Watson. Sorry, this has probably done little to help you.

I've also heard something similar - but I, too, cannot find the source - "Studying the brain, is the brain studying itself".

[Edit: I have no trouble at all wif me speling]

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