A Word from the Editors

by Siddiq Islam

The brain is a mysterious thing. Its complexities are so far beyond our understanding.

We cannot say much about why we think the way we do, why we construct certain schemas, why Beary McBearface can have such wild dreams as the one he relates in his answer to ‘Dear Beary’ question 2. Neurology is still in the primitive stages in terms of explaining thoughts and mental faculties, and the theories of psychology struggle much the same. It’s odd to question whether everything we perceive can be explained merely through MRI scans and those neuronic pistols firing in our heads. Is that really all there is to? Surely there is something more … (Reference to ‘Dear Beary’ question 3 – two down, one to go.)

Where are you? I think most people will accredit the brain with all sense of identity and being. But when asking ‘Me?’ we might point inwards at our chests, at our hearts. I am fond of the idea that intentions, emotions, desires can all come from the heart. Perhaps this belief stems from my Muslim upbringing, or perhaps there is something in the physicality of humans that allows us to ‘feel’ things deep inside – abstract things like love and loss.

Interestingly, I remember one of my teachers coming back from Japan and telling me that when asking ‘Me?’ in Japan, people tend to point at their faces, at their noses, as though that is more a vessel of identity than the chest and heart is. Even though they are parts of our bodies in exactly the same way, I haven’t yet heard of someone pointing to their elbow or their pinky toe.

Perhaps there is, then, a strict hierarchy of body parts. Should brains go above everything else? They use 20 per cent of all our energy, and make all those tough decisions – like which dinner to attend when you are invited to two on the same night (there’s that ‘Dear Beary’ question 1!). As it turns out, hearts use even more energy, so whilst brains have all the fancy schmancy mechanical ongoings, I encourage you to think more with your hearts. Never forget the fragile bike pump setup in your ribcage that keeps you alive – nor, for that matter, your elbow or your pinky toe.

Brain diss over. I finish with a meme.

The Poor Print

Established in 2013, The Poor Print is the student-run newspaper of Oriel College, Oxford. Written by members of the JCR, MCR, SCR and staff, new issues are published fortnightly during term. Our current Executive Editors are Siddiq Islam and Jerric Chong.

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