Today’s neuroscientists are tackling brave new worlds, or rather the device which comprehends that there ARE brave new worlds.
Albert Einstein was a very interesting man. He was driven to consider his mathematical model of relativity by of all things, philosophical questions about God.
Einstein stated that the theory of relativity was evident as early as 1905 but lack of curiosity about philosophy caused able physicists to ignore it. leaving it for him, a religious man to go after it. What impressed Einstein was that the universe was comprehensible. Why should man be able to comprehend the universe. He felt God was not limited by time and space and that what man called “Universe” was simply our own location in time and space, to which God would not be limited. He used burning pain as the example for relativity, saying an hour on a bench with a pretty girl seemed like a moment, while a moment on a hot stove seemed like an hour. Those of us with Central Pain could all agree with him. We feel like we have lived a good long while with this condition, even if we have had it only a month.
When Einstein realized God would be outside space and time, and not limited like an ordinary mortal, he wondered about the nature of space and time. This led to his general theory of relativity. As smart as Einstein was, he did not become interested in neurophysiology. Some of today’s geniuses, such as Francis Crick (discoverer of DNA with James Watson) who has contributed to this site personally, are now turning to the mystery inside man. The mind is what makes the comprehensible universe comprehensible. How is this possible???
Ironically, Einstein’s own brain, which was removed without permission by Harvey at autopsy is itself part of the lore of neuroanatomy now. Einstein wonder why the universe was comprehensible, but he never wrote about why the brain was capable of comprehending, the other side of the coin in the search for God in the universe as he would likely have put it. It was found that Einstein had an increaeed number of glial cells (surrounding cells which regulate and energize neurons) around the computational neurons on the LEFT hemisphere which were located in the inferior parietal cortex and that this region was 15% wider in him on BOTH sides of his brain. The Sylvian fissue was missing at it posterior aspect, causing no operculum to form, allowing computational cells to occupy more space than in normals, or at least that is how the neuroscientists have it who have studied his brain. (Wee elsewhere at this site using SEARCH for Operculum or Einstein)
Einstein’s mother had terrible pain at the time of death, not satisfactorily relieved by morphine. Einstein was deeply affected by this and mourned it the rest of his life, but came away, as many do, by saying that such things were an “inevitable” part of living. Had his curiosity extended to neurochemistry, and admittedly, there was no foundational knowledge at the time, Einstein may have felt that such things were anything but inevitable. Just as he was driven by the idea that a comprehensible universe MEANT something about his ability to describe it, we now address how it is that we can comprehend not only the universe and mathematics, but pain itself.
“Pain is the most terrible lord of mankind”, according to Albert Schweitzer. Brain science is beginning to flourish. After the early dabbling in consciousness and memory, we are happy to see some of the heavyweights addressing pain. When they succeed, even Einstein would have thought it miraculous, but evidence of an order in the universe. Einstein always asked himself if God HAD to make the universe just as it was, or if He had a margin of freedom. Once pain is eliminated, we can wonder about this a little less. Even the particle physicists today are beginning to wonder about brain science. Those who wondered why the universe is inherently comprehensible, ie. has a harmony of “laww of Nature”, are now beginning to wonder how it is that the brain is capable of comprehending. The “humble, poverty stricken” science of philosophy drives the hard sciences to their greatest endeavors. We have had a period of wondering why the universe is comprehensible. Now we wonder how it is that our brains seem built for it, that we are born sane, that we have the opportunity to improve our lot and more importantly, the lot of others. It is touching to see the efforts of the pain scientists and we deeply appreciate them. Einstein had to stretch his mind to think of time and space. Now we consider the organ which he was stretching, and why it signals pain unnecessarily. To discover this, we use, what else, the brain.