Metaphors for the Brain
|The is a . . . ?
"Metaphor" = "a figure of speech in which
one object is likened to another by speaking of it as if it were that
--- Definition of "metaphor" from Funk & Wagnalls Standard Desk Dictionary.
Patrick Gunkel, a neuroscientist formerly at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, was asked by a student to be interviewed for a classroom project. In preparation for the interview, Patrick came up with a list of metaphors for the brain.
|The following table lists some of the things that the brain has been compared to and describes why they are similar the brain. Not all of the items include the explanation of "why." That is your job. Try to fill in the "Because it..." box for each of these things? In other words, why do you think a camera is similar to a brain? Why is a telephone switchboard similar to a brain? Read "The Brain vs. The Computer" and "A Computer in Your Head?" to get some ideas.
|The Brain is a:
|is delicate, minimal, hypersensitive, and connects many things. It responds instantly and simultaneously to outside events.
|breaks white light (seemingly ONE thing) into many colors
|is similar to a vat of yeast which allows things to grow and change
|magnifies and concentrates energy to an intense point (focus)
|allows you to see things better
|can orbit whole world and travel to other worlds
|has different geographical features each with unique characteristics
|is a collection of maps (of all scales and types)
|can see things as others see it and see other things and oneself from ALL angles
|has branches that diverge and converge
|has many tributaries that branch
|Bunch of toys
|must be played with to learn all sorts of things
|does things together, shares and compares knowledge
|can be used in all sorts of ways to make all sorts of things
|accumulates and then suddenly and briefly releases great energy
|grows symmetrically from center point to 'huge' size
|contains recipes for making all sorts of things
|orchestrates movement of things, ideas, or emotions
|Plane flying around
|Exploring the Nervous System
|Table of Contents