“A Pale Green Mermaid Blog”
Spirit in my spine,
a spirit in my spine,
woven with love,
woven in light,
flush my bones,
flush my mind,
open my heart,
spirit in my spine.
Images from Google
NOTE: (from www.mindconnection.com)
Review of The Body Has a Mind of Its Own, by Sandra Blakeslee and Matthew Blakeslee (Hardcover, 2007)
(You can print this review in landscape mode, if you want a hardcopy)
Reviewer: Mark Lamendola, author of over 6,000 articles.
This is an excellent book. The authors have a gift for making a complex subject understandable. Another plus is that, like the best of nonfiction authors, they stick to the subject and rely on facts rather than opinion. This book provides a wonderful introduction into an area of science formerly limited to neurologists and other highly-trained specialists.
The central theme of this book is that the brain maps the body. In fact, different areas of the brain contain different kinds of body maps with different functions. These body maps in the brain determine such things as how you perceive reality and how you respond to that perception. One of the most fascinating aspects is the plasticity of these maps.
For example, have you ever noticed that you can “feel” with the end of a tool? You put a wrench on a nut, and you suddenly have several important bits of information about that nut. This is because your body map extends to include the tool. And it’s why mechanics can accurately work without actually seeing what their hands or tools are touching. Body maps extend from the rider to include the horse and from the horse to include the rider. Lovers share body maps, and the book explores what goes on there also.
This book explores the effects of dysfunctional body maps, too, shedding light on such things as eating disorders and out of body experiences. And it looks at the interplay between body maps and culture, language, music, emotions, pain, and even parenting.
The brain and the body are not separate entities, but are intertwined, interdependent, and interfunctional. Understanding this fact is essential to understanding how and why body maps work. This book explains that lucidly.
You may have heard of the “little man” theory, or the homunculus theory. If not, perhaps you recall the drawing of the skull being opened to reveal a little man operating control levers. That drawing represents the theory. We all know there’s not an actual physical person of tiny stature pulling levers in our heads. But it’s commonly thought that the “me” of us is a central entity that works like that little man. Another common analogy for this theory is the symphony conductor.
Because of this theory, many early researchers of body maps looked for the master map. As it turns out, there isn’t one. There is not “little man,” no master homunculus, no conductor, no central authority. The brain is a collection of homunculi or body maps working together. If this doesn’t sound possible, think of an ant colony. There is no master ant giving out directions. Each ant does its part in a concert of ants with no conductor. The many body maps of the brain are similarly independent yet cooperative. The brain also contains body maps that facilitate the communication between these disparate parts and the various body maps those parts use.