The Origin of Brain-Power

21 March 2007 at 10:00 pm Leave a comment

While browsing through the Brian Swimme book The Universe is a Green Dragon, I came across a passage that reminds me of something I often think about–how the flow of energy from the sun is channeled into our brains (3% of our body which consumes 20% of the body’s energy).  I also like to think about what happens next:  how is this energy converted (because there is no energy loss according to physics)?  Where does brain-energy go? 

Swimme starts by talking about how our thoughts result from electricity flowing through our nervous system and how thoughts result from ion flows in the brain:

Ions don’t move by their own power: they have to be pushed and tugged about. A close examination shows that an energy-soaked molecule in the brain is responsible for the ion movement. Closer examination shows that this molecule is able to push ions around because of energy it got, ultimately, from the food that you eat. The food got the energy from the Sun; food traps a photon in the net of its molecular webbing, and this photonic energy pushes  and pulls the ions in your brain, making possible your present moment of amazing human subjectivity. Right now, this moment, ions are flowing this way and that because of the manner in which you have organized energy from the Sun. (168)

Swimme continues to trace this energy back to the ultimate source of all:

But we’re not done yet. Where did the photon come from? We know that in the core of the Sun, atomic fusion creates helium atoms out of hydrogen atoms, in the process releasing photons of sunlight. So, if photons come from hydrogen atoms, where did the hydrogen get the photons? This leads us to the edge of the primeval fireball, to the moment of creation itself. (168)

Part of energonomics is tracing the trajectories of energy flow, knowing its source and purpose.  If economics is the study of “who gets what, and why,” then energonomics is the study of “who gets what energy, and why.”


Entry filed under: books, energonomics, science.

Energenesis Cosmocentrism

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