It’s crazy what my brain decides to hold onto. For example, when I play the *NSync Pandora station, I can sing every word along with every song, including being on time for random bridges, refrains, and key changes. As another example, at one cleaning checkup YEARS ago, my dental hygienist told me that I needed to focus on brushing the teeth on the top right of my mouth because since I’m right-handed I didn’t have as good an angle on them. And without fail, EVERY night when I’m brushing my teeth, that admonishment runs through my mind.
While it’s a myth that we only use 10% of our brains, it still sometimes amazes me to think about what my brain could do if I could somehow re-appropriate those sections that are tied up with song lyrics and tooth-brushing instructions. I wish I knew what it was about those particular things that made them “stick,” especially as I’m trying to make learning for fun more a part of my lifestyle.
Walt Whitman wrote, “(I am large, I contain multitudes.),” and I think of that often when I ponder what all my brain holds. Since I keep being able to memorize trivia, remember book titles and my bank account number, and learn Spanish vocabulary, it feels like perhaps it has infinite capacity. Or are things being constantly replaced: when I add something new, is something older and less useful bumped out? If so, why are the Brittney Spears lyrics still there?
I read an article in The Economist about some scientists who are trying to get funding to embark on a project to map the human brain, similar to the human genome project. I wonder what they will find in the rabbit hole that is the vast mystery of the human brain…