We are products of war
rising up from ashes –
rebirthing of a phoenix.
“Today, my words seemed to have dried up. My imagination still hooked up on a passing thought from the other day, and so I share something old. Something old and something new. Recurring.”
Sometimes words get lost among other words,
letters, phrases, caps lock, dopamine, glitter.
They live in the synaptic cleft, axon
terminal, dendritic receptor.
Or perhaps within the ever flexible spines
that morph and reshape and morph and reshape and morph
like the people that you meet daily.
Those who are welcoming one day
and withdrawn the next.
She smiled and talked, continuously, about herself.
Selfish, self-centred, self-oriented, shallow self.
She gave me a head-to-head, serious face, look-over.
Selfish, self-centred, self-oriented, materialistic self.
She seemed abrupt, cold, aloof.
Selfish, self-centred, self-oriented, sanctimonious self.
She didn’t say hello; looked the other way; had a no-smile, maybe-mad face.
Who needs her? Her glitter, Her alphabets.
Selfish, self-centred, self-oriented self.
© Fiza Arshad, 2016 All rights reserved
Sometimes in her sleep, the cold seeps
into the periosteum and osteon of
my circadian rhythms, altering
threads of consciousness –
the opposite of knitting where
yarn is un-stitched instead, and interlocked
with the axons of my peripheral nervous system,
connecting our bodies so that we are
one. And I move when she dreams,
inhale after her exhale
fills the galaxy within my eyes.
© Fiza Arshad, 2016 All rights reserved.
Think we can have our own 3D artificial intelligence? While we may not be on our way to making a real-life Jarvis, we are still a step up into a fictitious reality. The age of brain-to-brain communication is upon us. Yes, you read it right. This is exactly what I said. Well aside from the whole slightly cliched, dooming tone that could have had jumped out of an ecotopian movie. The communication between two human brains is an impending possibility. Imagine if you and your friend are able to talk to each other with the use of your brain over the internet. Phenomenal, right?
It is not a far-fetched idea. Scientists have been able to make the brains of two rats, a rat and a human, as well as, two humans, communicate. Literally, neurons in a region of the brain have been able to send signals to a specific region in another individual’s brain. So far it has been a one-way track road with a sender and a receiver. The sender is able to influence the brain of the receiver by issuing simple commands, such as a finger twitch, and even intercepting rockets in a video game. But, it isn’t as simple it seems. The sender wears cap studded with electrodes to decode the electrical signal (the way neurons communicate with each other). A metal coil, placed next to the receiver, receives the signal and induces neurons in his brain to fire. This is a simple task and still a long way away from the era of the brainiacs. But, the scientists are still optimistic that once these simple blocks are conquered, they will be able to move to more complex tasks, such as a two tier communication.
What does this mean for us, and our future? It is likely that by the time the technology improves super-neural communication will be a reality. Unfortunately, much like the internet, there will be privacy and security risks involved. Naturally security barriers will be set-up to protect against hackers and viruses. And like any other anti-virus and firewall, there will be a way to circumvent this protection. For the brain, unlike our computers, the result may be fatal. It could have a debilitating effect on our health, and security. The consequences of this privacy breach are just too risky. Imagine having a shut down if a “firewall” fails. What then?
Some may say let’s cross the bridge when we get there, or, if we do. These are still important things to consider in this upcoming age of humanoid ultron. I would not want to be on the down side of a communication gone wrong or misused.
Featured Image Source: https://illumine.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2008/05/
© Copyright 2015
Recently, I read an article on metacognition in the Scientific American Mind magazine. I have always been fascinated by this concept, so much that it has been an avid source of creative inspiration. What does metacognition mean? It is our ability to reflect on our thoughts. There are different kinds of them, for example, memory and perception. Our brains are just as complicated as our lives. Seriously! And it is absolutely fascinating. Who wants a simple life? Or even a brain? That would not have been entertaining or convenient at all. With the help of our brains, we have progressed a lot in comparison to others mammals. Our closest relative the chimpanzee have not progressed to tool-making, which is something our ancestral species accomplished centuries ago. The brains of human beings are complex with approximately a million connections that facilitate a variety of functions. In fact, our consciousness is able access only some percent of it. Brilliant, right?
Thoughts about our own thoughts, in other words metacognition, is a hallmark of human kind. Am I sure that I locked the door? Did I really feed the cat? Am I doing this right? Thoughts such as these revolve in our brains every day. This is the highest cognitive function human brain is capable of. The functions it regulates is what makes us human. What are we without it?
We still over-work our brains on a routine basis. Yet, it never has let us down. It would never shut off, even for a while, when heated up, unlike computers. It would never postpone promises or duties, unlike us. A complicated brain complements a complicated us. This is a perfect match. Are we really? After a day of work, we rest ourselves by watching TV or playing video games. Most of us engage in some leisure activity, or the other. What does that do to our brains? Does it give it a chance to relax itself? We are constantly overworking it 24/7. And then it is expected for our brains to not give up on us.
According to research, we use a very less portion of our consciousness. This could then mean two things. First, it could be that when unconscious our brain works more. Therefore, we should sleep or meditate often so our brains can get all the strength they need to get us through another day. Second, it could also translate into a tired, un-exercised brain being unable to access its full potential.
The bottom-line is that sleep, meditation and exercise are important for the brain. In our busy lives, it is equally important for the mind to relax and replenish, just as it is for the body.
© Copyright 2015
The last time that I blogged was two months ago (Yes, it has been that long). I talked about going lollipop shopping and the importance of making decisions. I also hinted at my own personal tribulations faced in choosing a program after high school. Well, it is hard when sleepless nights are involved (and they were). On one hand there was passion cultivated through most part of my high school years. On the other other hand, there was passion fruit, which I happened to stumble upon during a science fair project. Wait, hold on, back up! What has passion and passion fruit got to do with anything? Well, folks, you are about to find out.
Journalism had been a passion. I loved (and still do) the idea of travelling, socializing with people of diverse backgrounds and getting their stories out there in the public eye. Stories on the good, the bad and the ugly from war zones and developing countries for the most part. Clichéd, I know, but someone’s got to do it. Not that there isn’t the ugly in developed countries, it took me a while to realize that. And thanks to Bikram Vohra, I finally saw that there was more to journalism than just tragedy. Shakespeare does tragedy well enough! Any piece of writing that leads to a substantial or even minuscule amount of change (for good, I hope) is worth being read and written. Aha, that was the bright light-bulb moment.
“Worry not,” Destiny says. “There are more to come.” And passion fruit took u-turn in memory’s lane and came back to haunt me. I won’t prolong this life-turning, momentous event. Let’s get this over and done with. I did a project in high school that could be classified as a part of Neuroscience. I researched whether age affected learning abilities. Unfortunately, I wasn’t the mini-Einstein I was hoping to be. The experiment part went horribly wrong but my teacher was impressed I took the initiative. I loved the whole idea of the brain and the neuronal connections it contains affecting our behaviour, emotions and everything us.
A year gone by and in my pursuit of passion, I forgot Destiny’s warning. As luck would have it, things never work out just perfectly fine. There is not a word like it in the encyclopedia of life. The essence of passion fruit had caught up to me. Did I grab it? Yes, I did. In the battle of the head and the heart, there is never an “or” but always an “and”. I yearned for passion, ended up reminiscing passion fruit and in hopes of tasting it again, left the passion behind. Am I satisfied? Have I ever wished for more? Well, I will leave you to ponder over it on the note that there is a passion right before fruit.
Never fear looking above and beyond, there are always surprises lurking about in corners you least expected.
© Copyright 2013