Some believe one day a computer will surpass the capacity of the human brain, yet the mind is greater than any super computer or big data analytics processor could hope to be. David Eagleman, neuroscientist and author of The Brain notes:
In a cubic centimeter of brain tissue there are as many connections as stars in the Milky Way Galaxy. Our thoughts, our hopes, and our dreams are contained in these three pounds of wet biological material.
This three-pound organ in our skull… is an an alien kind of computational material. It is composed of miniaturized, self-configuring parts, and it vastly outstrips anything we’ve dreamt of building. So if you ever feel lazy or dull, take heart: you’re the busiest, brightest thing on the planet.
With infinite amounts of information that streams into our minds every moment of the day, our inner cosmos—our silent brain—fashions the rich narrative to our reality and identity.
Emily Dickinson says here what neurosciences on its own cannot:
The brain is wider than the sky,
For, put them side by side,
The one the other will include
With ease, and you beside.
The brain is deeper than the sea,
For, hold them, blue to blue,
The one the other will absorb,
As sponges, buckets do.
The brain is just the weight of God,
For, lift them, pound for pound,
And they will differ, if they do,
As syllable from sound.
Write a poem about your mind as a computer. The way you think, react, behave. Include your emotions and choices you’ve made over time or the course of a day. Can you envision your mind like a computer or not at all? If you resist the technological comparison, write how you feel about that.
Thanks to everyone who participated in last week’s poetry prompt. Here’s a poem from Andrew we enjoyed:
A ray splits twice, then twice again
Divergent paths striking on the glass.
So too with you. So too with you,
Who I once thought to share in life,
Divergent ran, along the border of a knife.
Molecules dance in space, the void becomes
Their stately, mystic tango of the soul –
And so, with the light of ten thousand suns
I’d like to dance with you. I would be whole
If I could wake, content, from such an atom dream.
Please. Numbers…can’t compare. I’ve spent my life
Determining values, of sin and pi
But you just laughed and said
“I’ve heard some say it was a sin
To eat too much of apple pie.”
And so a world was broken, and a new
Based not on numbers, but on you,
Was made. What is this fire?
Is it the bunsen that I know so well,
Or does my broken heart now stir?
I shall be Keats in words for you,
I’d sacrifice my play with lithium,
My focus on Potassium.
Instead, I’d whisper of Byzantium
The city of a thousand loves.
So please. I do not beg – how could I?
But still… I wish to ask, if I could,
Whether you would consider me,
Whose heart, only now, is free.
—by Andrew H.
Photo by Hubble Heritage. Creative Commons via Flickr.
How to Write a Poem uses images like the buzz, the switch, the wave—from the Billy Collins poem “Introduction to Poetry”—to guide writers into new ways of writing poems. Excellent teaching tool. Anthology and prompts included.
“How to Write a Poem is a classroom must-have.”
—Callie Feyen, English Teacher, Maryland