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The Amazing Capabilities Of The Human Brain

Updated on June 11, 2014

The Amazing Brain!

Works much better than it looks.
Works much better than it looks.

What Should Be Common Knowledge

There are some things that everyone should know, and this is one of them. The potential of the human brain is widely misunderstood, strike, grossly underestimated, by most people.

The brain has plasticity. No, it's not made of plastic. Each one has the capacity for continuous alteration of neural pathways, synapses and the nervous system in response to experience or injury.

What this means is, a healthy human being is not stuck in a situation where he "naturally" cannot do something. Anyone can (and unknowingly we all do) alter his own brain in order to accomplish something that he thought he could never in his wildest dreams have achieved.

Whilst this discovery is epic and really empowers the phrase 'you can achieve anything if you put your mind to it' the downside is that knowing everyone can do almost anything that anyone else can do (of course, through painstaking repetition) really diminishes those 'unique feats' and 'superhumans' that exist today.

The Proof - Brainlessness

For all of you out there who believe that the brain is made with all of the different parts relating to different skills already designated, you're in for a shock.

A quick internet search with the words "woman with half a brain" or "man with half a brain" could perhaps enlighten you to the many cases of people being born with only half a brain. Either due to infantile strokes or genetic default, only one side of the brain is formed. What happens next is an incredible example of the human brain's ability to adapt. The brain re-wires itself so that the part of the brain that isn't present is compensated for by the part that is.

The result? A fully functional brain. No, really. These people go through schools, universities and get professional jobs. Perhaps unknown to their colleagues, they have only half the brains and still do the same job!

The Proof - Super Pensioners

In the book, "The Brain That Heals Itself" we are told of a man who became a doctor at age 82 and then worked as one for a remarkable eight years! This man had been doing brain exercises (in the form of computer games) designed to preserve his brain's capabilities and re-adapt to similar situations to the point that he had lost no skill (except for, bizarrely, his handwriting - though this is likely due to muscular degeneration) by the time he was 80 from when he was 20 years old! Although you might not want a 90 year old doctor who started his training at 82, it is certainly inspiring that an otherwise ordinary man is able to maintain his abilities through repetitive and cognitively demanding computer games!

A quick search of "Super Pensioners" will also enlighten you to the numerous other cases of old age super heroism.

An example of a super-pensioner

The Proof - Suggestions?

I am aware that there are thousands of incredible stories to do with the plasticity of the mind, but if you know of any that stand out, please do comment below so that I may add it in. I will be searching for other great examples and adding in regularly. Thanks

Although there are savants, I would like to leave them to another hub and focus mainly on normal people who achieved great things via putting in effort, rather than people with particular disorders that lead them to 'super human' (used very loosely) abilities.

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    • Sky9106 profile image

      Sky9106 6 years ago from A beautiful place on earth.

      Bless.

      But what do you mean by androids?

      Lol ..I laugh because , it's all in a correct scope- People for purpose rather than purpose for people , and a very enlightening one at that, because this reasoning covers androids and what their purpose usually is , that is preform specific functions , like one unified and harmonious collective, Like those cyborgs in the star trek fiction.

      Well we are not far off from them the mechanical/computerized functioning human clones.

      Thah's why is said lol on hearing people for purpose. Why not manufacture those who don't answer back?

      Stay deep , for you have already trained the brain to do so.

      Yes I know the brain redirects itself when piece or a side is missing . Life is truly amazing , but even more so for you when you find your calling and I trust that you have ,judging from your clearly visible abilities.

      Bless.

      Till we write again , I will be reading.

    • Philanthropy2012 profile image
      Author

      DK 6 years ago from London

      Thank you very much Sky and I agree with what you say. But what do you mean by androids? People for a purpose rather than purpose for a people? And It only seems necessary that people speak when they feel they can contribute, or speak when they feel they can benefit from the reply.

      Indeed your human side is present from the start, I try to defer away from showing this at times, when dealing with knowledge I don't fear my subconscious can bias my thoughts and decisions.

    • Sky9106 profile image

      Sky9106 6 years ago from A beautiful place on earth.

      Blessings and Thank you very much Plilanthropy.

      This is truly what I expected, simply because I know that you know there are simple everyday words that can create such a ruckus , but only if we allow them to, when we are the ones in charge. Finding the perfect context for each word is almost impossible, no need for lawyers.

      You did answer with great poise and professionalism.

      That what creates the ruckus most times to begin with. I am grateful to the array of knowledge that's freely in abundance out here . But one is only as knowledgeable as the profound proof he has available.

      It's a beautiful thing to answer when you can. knowledgeably! This you did.

      when you are taking someone, someplace , you must at least have an idea of where you yourself is going.

      I am a big fan of "Stephen Hawkins" but only his genius in his field of work.

      Presently the direction that I see human kind is visibly heading , is without a doubt in the direction of where people will be used as androids until the actual android is formulated.

      This to me will be the way people will be used, it's already being done in many areas. They are actually being used, the same way that a Savant function.

      In specified fields, where everything else to be done computers. They are savants to the computers.

      I love the field of all knowledge and science , but I don't like it.

      Your answer have given me a treasure trove of truth as to your human side , I do hope mine have done similar.

      You are a wise man, or you seek wisdom I am sure.

      Give Thanks and praises. I shall read more.

    • Philanthropy2012 profile image
      Author

      DK 6 years ago from London

      Thank you Sky,

      Thank you for your kind comments and for pointing out that "savants" is used ambiguously. What I meant by that term is people who have "savant syndrome" or "savantism". People who are born or acquire this 'condition' are said to exhibit exceptional skills in some areas at the expense of seeing limitations in others (usually social). Saying this however, there have been people who have showed no limitations who have also been branded 'savant' status (I don't get it either).

      In this hub, I wanted to stress the fact that normal people who do not show exceptional skills (due to genetics, unexplained reasons etc) can also acquire what is deemed to be exceptional just through applying the brain to the task. By normal of course, I mean no higher in ability than the average human being at doing a task, and exceptional being much higher (I don't know how much higher you need to be to reach 'exceptional") performance at doing a task than the average.

      As for savants being freaks of nature, I think Freak is a very harsh word to use, but they are not in the sense "normal" as everyone else because of their abilities to excel at some things past the average of our populace, and the reverse is true of course as well.

      So in short, I believe that savants are not normal people because they are not average people. Though I do not like the connotations of "not normal" because it sounds pejorative, they are nevertheless differing from the normal, otherwise they would not have a name separate from just "people".

      Though I say this carefully, much like in a way a person with glasses is not a normal person (he is a person with glasses) now, maybe in the future (as trends suggest), it will be normal for a human being to have glasses if the balance will so tilt so that there are more people with glasses than without.

      Sorry for babbling on, have a good evening!

      Philanthropy,

    • Sky9106 profile image

      Sky9106 6 years ago from A beautiful place on earth.

      Blessings brethren.

      I would like to leave them to another hub and focus mainly on normal people who achieved great things via putting in effort, rather than people with particular disorders that lead them to 'super human' (used very loosely) abilities.

      "Great article"

      Because I believe all of it, as I know it exists.

      My only question and it is just that.

      As per your final paragraph stated at the beginning of this comment, you referred to "Savants" as not being normal people.

      Was that for the rest of us who's reading, to easily understand , or you actually believe them to be abnormal, some freak of nature?

      I will appreciate some form of clarity on this, sure it will benefit others like myself also, as I have read many of your views, comments on many other topics.

      Bless.

      Give Thanks..

    • Philanthropy2012 profile image
      Author

      DK 6 years ago from London

      I agree! And unfortunately it is not true that we only use 10% of the brain, although that would have been a very nice thought. It turns out that most of the parts of our brains are always active. However, this doesn't go to show that we are using the full potential of our brain, in the sense that we can actually improve (or rather add) more brain power. So we could possibly be only using a tiny fraction (perhaps 10%) of the potential that our brain could reach.

      Have a nice day ! :)

      Philanthropy,

    • profile image

      jenubouka 6 years ago

      So very true, in fact I believe it is mind over matter or power of the mind when it come to additions, suffering, and any twisted wiring of the brain. Is it true we only use 10%?

    • Philanthropy2012 profile image
      Author

      DK 6 years ago from London

      Ahh I guess there are lot's of complicated things you can knit too, that was silly of me to assume it's all the same pattern over and over!

      And Ahhh I see, well If the brain healing teaches anything, it's that you can heal yourself of even ADD! Step by step of course. People have been said to be cured of dyslexia!

    • profile image

      jenubouka 6 years ago

      Not per say if you are working a pattern there is math. That's why I just do scarves if that.

      It is not recommended for people with add, like me I have various unfinished knittings that might as well be pot holders.

    • Sneha Sunny profile image

      Sneha Sunny 6 years ago from India

      I would never go to a doctor who is 80 years old!! But awesome! I knew about the half brain people and how the brain adapts. Isn't it incredible! wow! I'll let you know if I struck with some cases..

    • Philanthropy2012 profile image
      Author

      DK 6 years ago from London

      ahahaha, ran over by a reindeer? That's novel! I'm not sure how good knitting is for your brain anyway, it is a lot of repetition isn't it!

    • profile image

      jenubouka 6 years ago

      Just no more knitting, it made me homicidal. Relaxing my ass. And if someone breaks out this holiday with jenny got ran over by a tractor, rather than grandma got ran over by a reindeer, it is on.

    • Philanthropy2012 profile image
      Author

      DK 6 years ago from London

      ahah by the way you type you seem to have turned out better than well!

      Thank goodness you're okay :) !

      As for the exercises, picking up a new language, instrument or chess are great ways, or anything that involves a lot of thinking obviously, dancing (much harder than it looks!) writing hubs or whatever!

    • profile image

      jenubouka 6 years ago

      So there is hope for the humans that have not used their brains at all...I would like to try some of the brain exercises see if I can reverse any damage.

      Though on a serious note, it is true how your brain mends damage. When I was four I was ran over by a tractor, large farm tractor the front wheel ran over the nape of my neck and dislocated my brain from the stem, I am full functional....well that depends who you talk too.

    • Philanthropy2012 profile image
      Author

      DK 6 years ago from London

      Ah yes, the psychological effects of the placebo and the opposite effect of nocebo (can be very dangerous) is another very interesting subject! People have driven themselves to some very serious illnesses out of negative thinking, it causes a physical change to our hormone levels. You are very lucky to be able to know and use this phenomenon to your own advantage!

      It would seem that we have a lot more control over our emotions and our bodies than we previously thought.

      There is a Japanese tribe of fishermen who have adapted their eyes to be able to counteract the refraction of light in water so that they can see 20 times further than a normal person underwater! This is a result of changes to the brain as it is not usually natural for a person to do this, such amazing control of a physical part of our bodies is also great news for us humans! It's much like learning to wiggle your ears, it's not obvious that you can, but after a while it does happen through active thinking. Effort is key in this world, nothing can be clearer!

      Have a great evening,

      Philanthropy,

    • rasta1 profile image

      Marvin Parke 6 years ago from Jamaica

      Yes, the brain is very versatile, anyone can use their brain to accomplish functions that would be otherwise accomplished by drugs. For example, whenever I have an headache(rarely), i just command it to go away and it does.