In this internet age of YouTube videos reclassifying common sense as wonderful hacks, I was amazed to find an entire branch of scientific research devoted to ‘hacking your brain.’ The premise is simple; find out how to make yourself sit still and master a new skill, and relabel it as a revolutionary breakthrough.
Now don’t get me wrong, I’m all for unlocking hidden potential within our brains, but I’d be damned if we should spend British tax payers’ money to fund studies into improving the attention span of teenagers. I would have thought that particular conundrum obvious.
The truth is, over 90% of our brain function is channelled into subconscious thinking and control, much of which is impossible to analyse or quantify. Only 10% is allocated to decision making, problem solving, determination, critical thinking, judgement and analysis, short term memories and planning. Why would evolution favour such a 90:10 split, if our subconscious efforts were not critical to our survival?
Okay, so a part of that 90% is taken up with autonomous bodily functions, such as heart beats and sensory feedback. Another fraction of usage is for long term memory embedding, mostly during sleep, but that does not amount to our full brain capacity. Studies into this field, tend to categorise our other subconscious necessities to include; habits and pattern identification, creativity, emotions beliefs and values, cognitive biases, and the big one… our personalities.
I understand that pinning down these aspects of ourselves is a slippery challenge. Psychologists have been trying to achieve this for decades, but when I read an article on this very topic, I admit to feeling excited. I scanned through the subheadings of this four page spread, looking for hints as to the immense possibilities, hoping that finally, someone had categorical proof that we can communicate telepathically, or have some innate connection to the psyches of everyone on the planet. Had they discovered the key to unlimited mental powers?
No. Suffice to say, it was little more than a collection of theories about how to make yourself feel better or concentrate more, including their cure for loneliness; a hot bath. Warmth, apparently, is comforting. Is it really? Well, I never, says absolutely no one. Ever.
There was one marginally interesting study that used anecdotal evidence to support a theory that physical contact with an empathetic partner can help to alleviate the perception of pain. The only inference I draw from this, is that scientists are happy to use anecdotal evidence when it suits their current paradigm of thinking. Heaven forbid should it be used to research tangible things, such as knowing when you are being stared at while facing another direction, or pets showing up instinctively to greet you, despite forgoing a routine.
I suppose I shall have to wait alongside everyone else for traditional scientific methodologies to catch up with what most of us already suspect. Our evolution is not complete. We will, at some point in the near future, develop mental abilities that we can now only dream about. When that time comes, it could literally ‘blow our minds.’
Sam Nash is the author of the sci-fi thriller series, The Aurora Conspiracies. Book 1 & 2 NOW AVAILABLE. Kindle: mybook.to/AuroraMandate . You can find her at https://www.samnash.org or on Twitter @samnashauthor or Facebook.com/samnash.author. Alternatively, you can download her free prequel novella series. Kindle: mybook.to/T-A-J-P01 ePub: books2read.com/u/4jwjJo