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Jackie Marano's picture

Thanks to All!

       Wow...what a class this was for me this semester! I don't think words could quite describe how much our class and forum discussions have changed the way I think about the brain, behavior, my own actions/thoughts/perceptions of reality, but also about human and animal behaviors and other assorted phenomena. It is amazing to me how even in this day and age with our ever-expanding summaries of observations, we as humans are still quite perplexed about the 'hows' and the 'whys' of the brain and behavior. I have even begun to think about some of the topics that we have discussed in relation to other areas of study. For example, in today's world, we can more readily discuss the more technical aspects of the brain (chemicals, channels, neurons, etc) in attempt to make more precise summaries of observations, or to explain some what we observe. BUT in the past, such complexities were less known, and perhaps this is why religion was so important and so central to many societies. And as we continue to make summaries of observations, what could this mean for the future of religion? Will science trump religion eventually? Or maybe not completely, since we will never really know everything?

       Also I think that the topics of our class and forum discussions were even more fascinating because pretty much everything that we contemplated or considered is in some way something we encounter (consciously or not) every day of our life. For example, we can now think more scientifically and philosophically about what we 'see,' 'hear,' 'smell,' 'feel,' and 'taste.' Who is to be held accountable for the good and the bad that note in our everyday world? Even something as simple as walking is really quite complex and mapped out at some level in the nervous system. And if we are paralyzed and cannot walk, what are the implications of this? The nervous system isn't necessarily dead in this case...it is more likely partitioned in a severe way. And if we are not awake and taking note of the world around us, what are we doing in our sleep? What keeps us from acting out our dreams? What happens when the I-function and the rest of the body don't sleep at the same time (as in sleep paralysis, for example)? Are there evolutionary underpinnings or advantages to all of these phenomena?

      There have been so many mind-opening discussions and experiences in this class this semester, and I really don't believe I will ever perceive the world around me in the same less-sophisticated sort of way. I think that our careful consideration of what is around us and what accounts for who we are was a really enriching experience, and our collaborative thinking about all of this was the foundation for all of my new perceptions and thoughts. I think that this course has brought to my attention that I am MOST GRATEFUL for being able to think. I think there is that saying, "I think, therefore I am." That could not be closer to the truth. No matter what is 'real' and what is 'not real,' the fact that we can all think and share our ideas...and this is something that we must not take for granted!

 

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