The brain is an organ that serves as the center of the nervous system in all vertebrate and most invertebrate animals—only a few invertebrates such as sponges, jellyfish, adult sea squirts and starfish do not have a brain, even if diffuse neural tissue is present. It is located in the head, usually close to the primary sensory organs for such senses as vision, hearing, balance, taste, and smell.
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- Aristotle taught that the brain exists merely to cool the blood and is not involved in the process of thinking. This is true only of certain persons.
- Will Cuppy, The Decline and Fall of Practically Everybody, 1950.
- BRAIN, n. An apparatus with which we think what we think. That which distinguishes the man who is content to be something from the man who wishes to do something. A man of great wealth, or one who has been pitchforked into high station, has commonly such a headful of brain that his neighbors cannot keep their hats on. In our civilization, and under our republican form of government, brain is so highly honored that it is rewarded by exemption from the cares of office.
- Ambrose Bierce, The Cynic's Dictionary (1906); republished as The Devil's Dictionary (1911).
- Do we trivialize a sublime feeling if we appreciate its dependence on the brain? Not in the least. Its significance does not depend on its being a soul state or a brain state...Humility bids us to take ourselves as we are; we do not have to be cosmically significant to be genuinely significant.
- Patricia Churchland, in Brain-Wise.
- We do have an organ for understanding and recognizing moral facts. It is called the brain.
- Paul Churchland, in A Neurocomputational Perspective (1989).
- It is an article of passionate faith among 'politically correct' biologists and anthropologists that brain size has no connection with intelligence; that intelligence has nothing to do with genes; and that genes are probably nasty fascist things anyway.
- Richard Dawkins, in The Economist, Vol. 328 (1993).
- My brain is open!
- Paul Erdős, in a standard greeting he would make when he was not contemplating some mathematical problem, as quoted in My Brain Is Open : The Mathematical Journeys of Paul Erdos (1998) by Bruce Schechter, p. 10.
- If the human brain were so simple that we could understand it, we would be so simple that we couldn't.
- Emerson W. Pugh, as quoted in The Biological Origin of Human Values.
- The brain is a mystery; it has been and still will be. How does the brain produce thoughts? That is the central question and we have still no answer to it.
- Anyone who claims that the brain is a total mystery should be slapped upside the head with the MIT Encyclopedia of the Cognitive Sciences. All one thousand ninety-six pages of it.
- My brain? It's my second favorite organ!
- A hidden spark of the dream sleeps in the forest and waits in the celestial spheres of the brain.
- Dejan Stojanovic, in Circling, ”In Search of Spark,” Sequence: “A Warden with No Keys” (1993)
- I was taught that the human brain was the crowning glory of evolution so far, but I think it’s a very poor scheme for survival.
- Kurt Vonnegut, As quoted in The Observer [London] (27 December 1987).
- The brain, is the most complex thing we have yet discovered in our universe.
- People who had damage to the right cerebral hemisphere were unable to recognise simple patterns, or enjoy music, but they could still speak normally. People with left-brain damage were able to recognise patterns, but their speech was impaired. Obviously, then, the left deals with language, and you would expect a split-brain patient to be unable to read with his right eye (connected, remeber, to the opposite side of the brain). Sperry's patient was also unable to write anything meaningful (i.e., complicated) with his left hand. They noticed another oddity. if the patient bumped into something with his left side, he did not notice. And the implications were very odd indeed. Not only did the split-brain operation give the patient two separate minds; it also seemed to restrict his identity, or ego, to the left side. When they placed an object in his left hand, and asked him what he was holding, he had no idea. Further experiments underlined the point. If a split-brain patient is shown two different symbols -- say a circle and a square -- with each eye, and is asked to say what he has just seen, he replies, 'A square'. Asked to draw with his left hand what he has seen, and he draws a circle. Asked what he has just drawn, he replies: 'A square'. And when one split-brain patient was shown a picture of a nude male with the right-brain, she blushed; asked why she was blushing, she replied truthfully: 'I don't know'. The implications are clearly staggering. The person you call 'you' lives in the left side of your brain. And a few centimeters away there is another person, a completely independent identity. Where language is concerned, this other person is almost an imbecile. In other respects, he is more competent than the inhabitant of the left-brain; for example, he can make a far more accurate perspective drawing of a house. In effect. the left-brain person is a scientist, the right-brain an artist.
- Colin Wilson in Frankenstein's Castle, p. 20-21 (1980).