We are ultimately in control of our brains and the people we are as a result. The brain itself is so inherently open to change and adaptability, so too should the mind be open to new experiences, new ideas, and new perspectives as it was in childhood. If the brain is a plastic, mutable organ, then so too is identity. The brain criterion of personal identity states that having the same brain constitutes the same person (Pojman 340). If the research of neuroplasticity suggests that human brains are not stagnant, that they rewire and expand themselves, then perhaps personhood and identity are more fleeting than one tends to believe. Identity has more to do with the outward appearance and its continuity than with a continuity of thought and personality traits.
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I do not really think that it is rare to feel this way. If our brains are constantly changing, so too does the way we think. The Brain and the mind, it is clear, from circumstantial and scientific evidence the childhood experience helps to mold our brains. However, evidence also suggests that the human brain does not simply stop changing and growing when we get older. The adage you cant teach an old dog new tricks is inherently false. Psychologists used to believe that the essential structure of the brain stopped changing after childhood. Researchers are beginning to note that although psychologists have assumed that the nervous system is especially sensitive to experience during development, it is only recently that they have begun to appreciate the potential for plastic changes in the adult brain (Kolb). The brain is constantly changing, learning from its mistakes and changing the brains capacity for new abilities and inclinations. The traits that are admired in childhood curiosity, exploration, open-mindedness autobiography may not be farm lost to time. The ignorance and single-mindedness that also characterize the experience of childhood are, in my opinion, best left in the past, but perhaps, it may be best to return to some of the carefree mindset of youth. The brain, too, can learn new abilities and structure itself in a way that it has never before.
Gage, but they are common. Self-centered or unkind people become good decent people later in paper life, or at least in the plotlines of many sitcoms. Sometimes, it is like turning a switch. I want to be a nice person now. I want to be more responsible. I want to change. Sometimes it is an assertion, an active rebellion against the people we used. Sometimes it just strikes us without warning, like a long metal rod through the skull, and one day, we just arent the people we used. Sometimes, when I think back to the younger version of myself, i dont recognize this person.
I didnt care; I had finally done what I wanted. Why am I so afraid now of being wrong when before it did not matter to me? The mind, phineas. Gage was struck through the skull with an iron rod in 1848 at the age of 25 when working on database construction of the rutland and Burlington railroad (Pojman 309). Gage and his fellow workers were in the process of using explosives to destroy a large rock that was blocking their progress, but the iron rod that would later found its way through his head sparked against another piece of metal and caused the explosion. Doctors were able to save his brain, but his mind was transformed; he turned from a friendly leader into an intemperate, unreliable, childish ox with the evil temper to match it (Pojman 309). The idea of the physical brain interacting with the abstract mind is an old one. Sometimes it is difficult to imagine that the central person that i am today could change without warning with the fickle alterations that the brain makes for itself as the result of experience. Not all personality changes are as drastic as that of Phineas.
I went head first over the handle bars, but my leg caught most of the force as it tore through the rough gravel and rock. My bike tumbled over. After a minute of exhilarating shock, i got up to dust myself off and examine the damage. My bike was fine; my leg was not. I started to pull some of the tiny stones out of the red, bleeding mess where my skin had been moments before. The red blood mixed with the brown and grey dust and stone, and the pain came quickly. I hobbled the half mile back to my house with my bike. When I got back to wash out the wound of all the dirt and gravel and stones, my mom said I told you.
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Youthful curiosity and experimentation seem risky now. When I got older, i no longer wanted to take risks. Our brains betray us as we get older. They change into people we do not recognize. Our brains can be fundamentally changing throughout the entirety of life.
I was half way down movie the hill, unable to break when I hit it, a large rock in the middle of the road, one of the ones that made me bounce out of the seat when we would go down the road in the car. It was rough and uneven like most the stones, but several times larger. Solid and tough, it stuck up out the earth like it had always been there waiting. I felt the impact before i saw. Up analyze to this point I had been accelerating at breakneck speed. My front wheel stopped, reducing speed from an uncontrollable sprint to a full stop immediately.
In this way, i believe that my way of thinking, the way my brain processes new information, has changed. I believe that as we get older we lose some of the fascination, the childlike wonder that we used to have before becoming jaded, before the fear of being judged, before becoming stuck in old ideas and old routines. Experiences that seemed fun and exciting as a child could seem tiring and undesirable as an adult. Through experience we become jaded to all the fascinating everyday wonders that surround. I am inclined to think that as we age, we become more stuck in our ways.
Preconceived notions seem too deeply ingrained to get rid of and we are too jaded to try. I find myself lees curious as I get older. Of course, it is a generalization to believe that this process happens to everyone. To those whom this loss does not apply, to those who never lost, or never had, a propensity toward exploration, then some of these points do not apply. However, the human brain changes nonetheless. Our brains change as we get older, and although these changes are often for the better, sometimes we long to be different. What happens though when this change is to become more timid, more frightened, less curious? Looking back on childhood experiences now I have a different perspective.
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One of the examples that comes to mind is schooling. Here, we are taught how to think, what to think. In school, i was taught in black and white, right and wrong. I believe that this experience was a cause for change. The production line of public education, plan one that tends to treat each student similarly and discourage independent thought (at least when it came to standardized testing in which there was always a right and wrong answer and no gray areas). Our schooling is not all bad. Obviously it is a net good to be able to get an education, but it does fundamentally change the way we think, not always for the better. The same goes for any other number of experiences.
Research on neuroplasticity, the ability for the brain to change itself through practice or experience, implies that if you can think yourself into being more compassionate, or more positive and more resourceful, or calmer and more content, it seems a little too good. The brain, and the body for that matter, changes from childhood to adulthood and even after love that. It is hard for me to imagine the person i am today and reconcile her with the past versions of myself, with such a different brain and body. Every cell in the human body is replaced every seven years (Pojman 333). The physical aspects of personhood, at least in some cases, are highly mutable. Clearly, people are born with certain traits. I will never be able to become taller or change the color of my eyes, but I can change my brain, its wiring, its memories, its inclinations. Certain experiences have profound effects on the way people think and how their brains develop.
at the edge of the yard and woke. My driveway, by the way, is steep. There are ridges and valleys formed by rain water flowing down between the pebbles, rocks, and dirt that make up the path. I was a little out of breath as I hiked up the stony road with my small grey mountain bike that I had used only sporadically when we went to the park. I had only learned to ride a bike a little while again, far past when the rest of my peers were already proficient. When I walk down the small rocks give way under my feet, and my feet slide under the rocks into the dirt or give way completely from under me as I fall backward and the pebbles spray out in front. I dont know why i thought this would be a good idea. The Brain, studies performed on mice showed that different experiences changed the brain fundamentally in the organization of their neural circuitry; mice who were comforted after traumatic instances were proven to heal faster (Kolb). Different sections of the brain can grow to accommodate new abilities or emotions.
Similar to the author, i attempted to infuse what I have seen with some substantial research on my topic in order to make a persuasive appeal to logos. Upon researching publications that seek creative nonfiction, The citron review stood out. It is a literary magazine that seeks out poetry, creative nonfiction, and artwork from both established and emerging writers. It offers word an opportunity to discover new voices in the field and is open to a piece such as mine that blends nonfiction and personal reflection. Overall, this essay attempts to perform this task, taking a small experience in my own life and seeking to infuse it with meaning for both myself and the reader. Downhill, the beginning, one day when I was a kid, i decided to take my bike up to the top of the steepest part of my driveway and ride down. I dont quite remember how old I was at the time, maybe ten, maybe eleven, maybe ten years, five months, and two days. I dont know, but I had wanted to do this for a while.
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Self-Reflection, in this essay i attempted to explore the philosophy and psychology behind changes to the brain and its ties to changes in the ways people think. I attempt to blend three main sections a story of a time when I believe my way of thinking was different, a discussion of neuroplasticity, and an exploration of philosophical ideas regarding personal identity. I hope to explore the topic of how the brain influences the minds way of thinking and how one can change its wiring in order to regain or develop traits later in life with the purpose of making the reader more aware of their own. I believe that this essay reflects the principle we have been working with in class of creating the personal (but not private) essay. I blend my real-life experience with reflection and research. In terms of the reading and writing aspect of creative nonfiction, i used Annie dillards writing as a reference for this project by mirroring her use of juxtaposition of different sections and her scientific specificity. I modeled my essay after An Expedition to the pole in which Dillard drew parallels between artic expedition and religious exploration through contrasting sections and extensive research. I researched the philosophy of personal identity and mind body problems and the psychology of neuroplasticity in order to reflect on the ways in which i, and other people, change their thinking over time. In terms of research, i believe that Eric Schlosser was a good model for this essay.