Thursday, February 02, 2006


Singing in the brain

Does the name Gerald Edelman ring a bell? Probably not, unless you are a student of the brain. Or, that is, the workings of the brain. Or, that is, if you are not a numbskull.

The topic of our Feb 2 program is not the groundhog but the noggin' meat, that is, the brain. Something you and I have not learned to use more, else we may all look like Jeff Morrow's character in This Island Earth. But I stray ...

Which is part of what this is all about.

Edelman, 76, is a New Yorker who has studied the brain (using his own, one can only imagine) and he has come up with a theory about how consciousness develops. He says, "The brain confabulates." That's easy for him to say, but how does this fit in the digital community, where now we live? From where, then, comes the soundtrack of our minds? And, why do we always have to work hard to hear the other two Supremes on their records?

Even though we are not students of the brain, the Feb. 2 program employs everything Edelman theorizes. Like how does consciousness emerge from the physical processes of the brain? It turns out to be a variant of William James' stream of consciousness. And, as Freud said, "It is easy to say what you think but it is hard to know what you think."

This will be the topic and a million sidebars are apt to develop as the consciousness confabulates. So be with me at 9 p.m. EST and let's talk brain stuff. Let's see where it takes us. Can the topic hold water (water on the brain?) for two hours? As usual, the stream of consciousness is chronicled at its own pace with Turkishly strong coffee and a shot or two of Yukon Jack.

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