BBC – Future – Why we should stop worrying about our wandering minds

“Default mode network– the areas of the brain which remain active while we are apparently idle.”

via BBC – Future – Why we should stop worrying about our wandering minds.

“An idle mind is the Devil’s workshop” is a familiar phrase to some folks. I used to take that to mean that if I was just sitting around not doing anything to occupy my time/mind, I’d end up doing something wrong, you know, sinning! Growing up in a Pentecostal church and listening to the Sunday sermons given by a fire and brimstone preacher often led me to believe that if I wasn’t thinking about God all the time, I’d be condemned to Hades!

Hades (Hell)
Hades (Hell)

But that’s not really the point I’m going after here. After reading the article about our “wandering minds” I began to wonder about mine. In the article you’ll read about how our brains are always “on.” In various studies and brain scans neuroscientists have discovered that our brains are always active. Always. Even when we think we’re not thinking about something, our brains continue to think about stuff. Claudia Hammond says in her article that “Perhaps the brain is staying active like an idling car, just in case it needs to act suddenly.” That makes sense I guess.

Another interesting tidbit in Hammond’s article states that “when the mind is left to wander, it often focuses on the future.” Hmmm, that means that when I’m not thinking about anything, I’m actually thinking about what I’m going to do next. I wonder why the brain doesn’t wonder about what it just had us do instead of what we will do?

And then there’s that famous commercial back in the day that showed us our brains on drugs: an egg frying in a skillet. I never have figured out just what drug that was referring to. My brain never felt like a fried egg when I used to get fried. But things were different back then I suppose. Or at least I remember them being different. Which leads me to the next interesting piece in that article.

According to research, our brains may have a unique capability to create memories of future happenings while we’re daydreaming. Neuroscientists refer to it as the brain being proactive and claim that “it continuously generates predictions that anticipate the relevant future.” So, the next time you’re caught daydreaming you can calmly claim that you’re predicting the future.

I’d like to believe that something as complex as the human brain continues to exist after we’re gone. I think that after I’m dead, my brain (Spirit? Soul?) continues on in another life/existence somewhere (Heaven? Hades?) But there’s really no way of knowing for sure until I’m gone. Perhaps a good long daydream would reveal something of relevance to my brain. If so, I wonder if I would think to tell myself what happens before it happens?

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