PAPER4 12_17_07_edited2

PAPER4 12_17_07_edited2 - Lorberg, Michael Lorberg Mr....

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Lorberg, Michael Lorberg Mr. Jehle Expository Writing 101 November 12, 2007 "The Brain: Hardwired or Adaptive?" The brain is an amazing organ capable of things even the most advanced supercomputers cannot do. Composed of billions of neurons firing every second, the brain has virtually limitless capabilities. Franz de Waal, author of "The Ape and the Sushi Master", discusses various anecdotes, all of which ask questions concerning man's capability to be altruistic and moral. On a seemingly unrelated subject, author Oliver Sacks illustrates various physically traumatized people, and how their minds adjust over time in "The Mind's Eye". Both authors in one sense or another address questions about how flexible the mind is; to what extent it is "hardwired". The mind is hardwired in the behavioral sense, but extremely malleable towards physical trauma and hence the opposite of hardwiring in the adaptational sense. The mind isn't hardwired when physical trauma occurs. Conversely, the mind is actually very flexible and can do miraculous things to overcome or at least cope to some extent with whatever debilities are inflicted by said trauma. This trauma includes and is not limited to blindness which is highly explored by Sacks in his essay, as seen here: With the reallocation of the visual cortex to touch and other senses, these can take on a hyperacuity that perhaps no sighted can imagine. Bernard Morin, the blind mathematician who in the nineteen-sixties had shown how a sphere could be turned inside out, felt that his achievement required a special sort of spatial perception and imagination. And a similar sort of spatial giftedness has been 1
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Lorberg, central to the work of Geerat Vermeij, a blind biologist who has been able to delineate many new species of mollusk, based on tiny variations in the shapes and contours of their shells. (Sacks 477) By having the power to reallocate stimuli to other senses, the brain, in essence, is capable of creating a duplicate sense; a new pair of eyes or ears with which to interpret stimuli in ways never even thought of. Interestingly, Sacks suggests that deafness is not as much of an adaptation as blindness is; contrarily, he suggests that the mind continues to process the stimuli as if the
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PAPER4 12_17_07_edited2 - Lorberg, Michael Lorberg Mr....

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