Do you really understand how the human brain works?
Well, that makes two of us if your answer was either “not really” or “no”.
But, to start with, the human body is controlled by a mass of grey matter called the brain and it is located in the head, I’m sure you know that. The brain is a complex structure and as I implied earlier, I know very little about it. However, as I took a reverie of my knowledge of the human body, what little it was, and I found myself stumbling on the obvious realisation that the human brain really is the world’s most complex “computer”. In fact, to perform any action, impulses are said to be transferred over nerve fibres as electricity is transferred over electric cables in a computer.
What’s more is that for any action to become a behaviour, the impulses carrying these pieces of information for action must have travelled these nerve fibres severally, say about thirty times. It is like having a delivery van ply the same route, back and forth, more than a few times. The driver of the van would by that time, know the route by heart and even inhabitants would unconsciously expect to hear or see the van daily. This is to say, in English, that a behaviour is learnt when the act is repeated approximately thirty times.
I remember what it took me to learn to drive. I learnt with a manual car and that means I had to steer the wheel, work all three feet pedals, manage the gear and keep my eyes on the road; all at the same time! It was an uphill task especially if I was to start moving the car from a depressed landing up a hill. I would rev the engine, in an attempt to move the car, for what seemed like minutes and the car remained where it was. If it moved, the engine abruptly stopped!
Well, that happened over and over for a couple of days till finally I was able to drive up a hill without stopping severally. How this happened was that gradually, I learnt which of the best gear levels were best suited for my speed, terrain or topography and direction. In two weeks, I had passed the learner’s test!
Those two weeks were not easy ones. They seemed like forever! But because I really wanted to be able to drive, I went through it gladly. After driving around town with my learner’s permit for about thirty days, I could drive really well. I got a most profound validation when I could drive my dad around without his constant corrections and reprimands. It was all I needed to know that driving had become a skill I’d acquired!
I’ll continue this story in my next post. Watch out.