Our Brains as Alien Technology By Daniel Lende

read the whole article @ http://blogs.plos.org/neuroanthropology/2014/07/19/brains-alien-technology/
“Our brains are alien technology. We don’t understand how they work, and the glimpses we have gotten so far indicate that our brains work quite differently than our own smart technology.
After a century of research, we are just beginning to understand the brain. Unlike the heart, or even our DNA, we do not have an in-depth sense of how the brain accomplishes its basic functions. How does it generate emotions? Make decisions? Learn? Become encultured?
Two issues come up as we try to grasp how the brain works. First, we think we know how we think. Our visceral sense of feeling and thought, as well as cultural traditions of how to understand ourselves, combine to provide some shallow illumination on how our brains work. But since Freud, it is apparent that our subjective experience and linguistically-mediated thought only scratch the surface of what our brain do. Even today, we still use inadequate metaphors to understand the brain – brains are like computers, except they really are not.
Second, unlike other organ systems, the brain does many things at once. The richness of our lives, from the four f’s to learning and language, runs through our brains. These multiple functions developed over evolutionary time, meaning that our evolutionary history has gifted us with an organ of cobbled contingency. The upshot is that even if we figure out something about the brain (per #1), it’s not immediately generalizable. While one can expect evolutionary tinkering – modifications on existing functions – there is also the potential for engineering different solutions to the many problems we need to solve every day.”

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