One simple step toward happiness every day for a year. Doesn't everyone want to be happy?
Join us on Facebook (more about these "Secrets")

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Make Your Brain Happy

Joseph Campbell said that the brain is a "secondary organ." It doesn't get us nutrition, or circulate blood, or allow us to reproduce. Its job is largely to support those other, vital, functions.

Nevertheless, I couldn't help but identify with a quote I read recently. When Thomas Edison was encouraged to exercise more, he said, "The chief function of the body is to carry the brain around."

I live for my brain. I love my brain. Some lifters, they say, can become "muscle-bound." I may be brain-bound (a concept many religions would recognize, where the brain trumps the "soul" or "spirit").

Secondary organ though it may be, spiritual danger though it may be, when my brain is happy, I'm happy.

I love brain candy. A good puzzle, a whodunit, a trivia game, a complexly-plotted film. Studying Sanskrit for fun, or doing a geometry problem. One of the reasons I live abroad is that it challenges my brain every day just to take care of the basics of life. When you can't even read the characters of a language, let alone understand it when spoken...

The idle mind may indeed be the devil's playground. We are homo ludens, the hominid who plays. Culture itself may be a manifestation of that impulse to play.

So feed your brain. Challenge it. Mess with it. And make it happy.

You are not your brain. But you'll be happier.

No comments:

Post a Comment