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Who are you? Who are they?

    How did you get to be that way? How did they?

        What can you and they do about it?

Lots of people wonder about these questions (whether they talk about it or not). And, over the centuries, people have thought of lots of different ways to try and answer them ... without, somehow, ever quite getting to the heart of the matter. Drawing by Rachel Grobstein
The Brain - is wider than the Sky -
For - put them side by side -
The one the other will contain
With ease - and You - beside-

The Brain is deeper than the sea -
For - hold them - Blue to Bue -
The one the other will absorb -
As sponges - Buckets - do

The Brain is just the weight of God -
For - Heft them - Pound for Pound -
And they will differ - if they do -
As syllable from Sound -

Emily Dickinson (1830-1886)

Over the past century, it has begun increasingly to look as if the heart of the matter might be ... the brain, as Emily Dickinson suggested nearly one hundred and fifty years ago. Or, more properly, that the heart of the matter might be the nervous system, of which the brain is a part.

Is it possible that everything that one is, does, and experiences is a function of the brain? that one is who one is because of what one's brain is? that becoming something different means changing the brain? And, if so, what are the implications of this? Do we lose something, or is the brain actually big enough, as Dickinson suggested, to contain everything? If so, what might we be able to do that has never before been possible? What are the risks, the gains, the new landscapes which would be opened to explore?

The interactive exhibits and other materials collected here are intended to make it possible for you to share some of the kinds of experiences which suggest that indeed the nervous system may be the heart of the matter. And to think with us about their implications, and the new questions they raise. Have some experiences, think about them, let us and others know what new thoughts and questions occur in your mind (brain?) in our Forum area, so we can all think together about these issues.

Interactive Exhibits


Notes for Talks

Germinal Zones (places to look in search of new insights into brain and behavior)

Additional Resources Elsewhere

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