A Brief Tour of Human Consciousness by Dr. Vilayanur S. Ramachandran

Topics: Brain, Human brain, Vilayanur S. Ramachandran Pages: 5 (1632 words) Published: September 14, 2010
Abby Cole
Biology Summer Essay
The human brain is extremely hard to understand; however, there are people in the world dedicated to understanding it. A Brief Tour of Human Consciousness, written by Dr. Vilayanur S. Ramachandran covers many topics regarding the brain, one of the more thoroughly covered topics is how the human brain works. This leads to the question, are humans set apart from other life on earth because of their brains? Although there is not as much knowledge of animals brains, there are still many things that make humans different from other life on earth, among these are their language and the complexity of their brain and how it works.

The languages of human beings are very complex in many different ways. Throughout the world there are hundreds of different languages, English, German, French, Spanish, etc. There are even dead languages that people no longer speak in but records are still found in, such as Latin. Each language has it's own grammatical construction and it's own words. As one grows up he or she is usually taught their native language, if he or she lives in America it's English, Mexico it's Spanish, etc. Then after he or she has mastered her native language, he or she can go off and learn other languages. However, learning a foreign language is not just an activity someone does one day because he or she is bored, learning a foreign language takes time, effort, and a certain amount of skill. However, there are people who are gifted with this skill and can (and do) learn many different languages The person who is learning the language is so used to speaking and thinking in their native language that it can be hard to learn how to speak and think in the foreign language. For example, Latin has declensions (to form nouns), conjugations (to form verbs), three different genders, five different cases of nouns, six different tenses of verbs, and of course all nouns or verbs must be either singular or plural, all of these are factors that can change the meaning of a word if they are translated incorrectly. For example one could have a sentence that he or she thinks is translated as: the girl is walking down the road and sees boys, where in reality the sentence is: the girl walked down the road and saw a boy. It is not just Latin that has all of this, in every language there are certain things one has to know in order to translate a simple sentence; this is what makes the languages of human beings so complex.

Although humans cannot learn the languages of animals there is reason to believe that each species of animal has a language or other form of communication. However, this form of communication is not as complex, in any way, as the human languages. Not only is their communication not as complex, but animals brains are not complex enough to be able to learn the language of a different species other than themselves; for example a dog cannot learn the language or learn how to communicate with a dolphin.

It has been proven that the human brain is much more complex than any other animals brain. There are the basics that all have, such as the brains sending signals when it wants the body to do something such as move the arm, or communicate; the brain controls everything for humans and animals. Then there are the complexities such as phantom limbs, cross-wiring and Capgras syndrome. Do animals experience these phenomenons? Since there is the language barrier between humans and animals, scientists will probably never know. Although scientists know exactly what causes it and maybe even how to fix it, there is no way to get past that language barrier between humans and animals. If animals brains were more complex, and they were able to understand and tell humans what they are experiencing there would not be this debate; scientists would know for a fact if human brains are actually more complex than animal brains or if what scientists think is all just theory because humans can not communicate with...
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