The Brain at work has an impressive and complex resume of skills and responsibilities. It is likely the biggest job in the world!
Big shoes to fill!
While the job is not on offer, I hope thinking about it in this way will help understanding The Brain at work.
As you read about the role and tasks required – picture what might happen if you – as The Brain – slipped up in of these tasks!
The Biggest Job in the World! The Brain At Work:
Here is a quick summary of what you would need to do if you were The Brain:
- Play a vital role in the life and organisation of every human.
- Be responsible for EVERY single thing a human does.
- Responsibility for the things that the body knows about and decides to do such as cooking dinner.
- And the things that are not obvious but need to happen anyway – such as breathing.
- Take in, sort out, and act on, every bit of information coming your way – mosquito bite, beautiful sunset, boyfriend / girlfriend bust up – all at one and coming in at speeds of up to 240 kms per hour.
- Process the stuff coming in (every last bit of it) super, super quickly.– thinking and doing at speeds of up to 430 kilometres per hour.
- Oh and while we are talking about fast – The Brain at works needs to manage about 20 million billion calculations per second!
What are you thinking so far – is this the biggest job in the world? Well wait. There’s more:
Responsibilities The Brain At Work Takes On:
As The Brain you sign up to be responsible for four main tasks (actually signing up is not quite right – no choice really The Brain is it):
Receive – receiving all information coming in – and yes at speeds you would have trouble driving a car at!
Attend – Take notice and pay proper attention to the information you receive – whatever the hour of day or night. Yup even when the human is sleeping.
Process – Process everything you receive in the right order, in the right way. No medals for getting it right but disaster can strike if The Brain gets it wrong.
Act -Direct the action on the information. Do the right thing – every time – all the time.
Brain At Work Image by Pixabay
How The Brain At Work Does The Job:
The first task is to be able to take in and make sense of the zillions of messages coming from heaps of different places. Messages will come in from every part of the body:
- the senses – sight, touch, smell, hearing, taste
- the body – all the muscles, joints, tendons, organs – even yourself – The Brain at work.
The body does not stick to any order it just sends off the messages in any order whenever it feels like it – every bit of the body thinks its important. You have to decide!
The brain needs to keep open, detailed and constant communication with the spinal cord where most messages travel through.
Messages must then be immediately delivered to the right parts of the brain.
Sort all the messages received, very, very, very, quickly and decide what action to take
Pay the right amount of attention to, and make decisions on every message that comes to you. And we are talking about Xxx messages
Skills A Brain Needs for Attending:
Arousal – the right level of being awake (or asleep) to deal with messages
Selection – the ability to decide which parts of the information coming in need
- Do – immediate attention. Act upon it.
- Defer – to be stored away for later use. File it.
- Ditch – to be ignored. Delete it.
Speed – the right speed, at the right time. Being able to adjust the speed so that you process all the information coming in appropriately.
In your role as The Brain at work you need a very efficient way of making sense of the zillion, squillion messages and pieces of information you receive.
You need a process to process!
What links to useful bits that have been stored earlier?
What troubles might occur with each piece of information?
Sort out a good plan – step by step and in the order the steps, responses and action is needed.
Skills A Brain Would Need for Processing:
Association – being able to link new messages with information stored from the past, to remind you how to respond. Think about an association you might have. Whenever I smell chlorine I have a strong memory of early morning swimming lessons at primary school. Useless but strong memory.
Memory – storing, remembering, and bringing stuff (simple and complex) back from brain storage. I forget phone numbers the minute I hear them but I remember the emergency bushfire number.
Problem solving – working out what to do if difficulties arise. If I hear a bush fire warning my brain works out whether any action is needed, how soon and what to look out for.
Organisation and Planning – being able to keep everything going smoothly. During summer months my brain keeps information on weather conditions, Fire apps, reminds me to turn the radio on etc. It orders how this needs to happen.
Finally as The Brain you need to work out the response for every action.
Give fast, full, and clear instructions on what to do, for each part that needs to respond. If my Fire App beeps with notice of a fire somewhere – my brain tells all necessary parts of my body what to do: pick up phone, activate app, make decision about the information the eyes are seeing.
Skills Needed As The Brain To Be Able To Act:
The brain needs to be an expert in communication, and understanding behaviour and feelings.
Being able to make decisions about what action (or not) was needed.
Organise how to carry out every responses you planned and instruct the necessary parts of the body:
Communication: – the thinking and decisions needed to communicate such as social rules, how to carry on a conversation, who to communicate with and how.
– organising the physical actions needed to speak such as controlling vocal chords. Using the bushfire example – if a fire was close I might call neighbours and speak to them.
Feelings: the feelings and emotions you need to respond appropriately to the situation. A bushfire close – feel anxious, fear and concern. Bushfire warning ends safely – relief, relax.
Behaviour: the actions and responses to a situation. Bushfire close – activate the previously worked out bushfire plan. Fight /flight response. Physically move around and prepare. Bushfire warning ends safely – sit down, breathe deeply.
The brain at work will do all of this over and over and over again.
Oh and if at any time you (The brain at work) get injured, or ill, at all the whole thing must continue but becomes Soooooooooo much harder. You will get much more exhausted, some tasks will not go right and there might be more slip ups which your human will not be happy about.
While the job offer is not be serious I hope it helps to think about the complexity of the job the brain does.
Finally think about the consequences if any one of the processes above was interrupted (e.g. through brain injury)?
Imagine just one task got missed – say Attention – imagine the chaos and difficulty trying to do all the other tasks when you can no longer sort out what to focus on and what to ignore.
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