Mind and Brain
There is no physical explanation as of yet, to why the body reacts as it does to words. For instance how does the human mind distinguish between ‘I love you ” and I Love U2″? One sentence leads to a joyful bodily reaction while the other leads to a fairly neutral reaction.
What about sentences such as: Its bedtime. Your life savings are gone. Look out, a rattlesnake! These sentences invoke different physical reactions when they are spoken. However, they all begin with a vibration in the ear drum, and the brain signals that come from those vibrations are barely measurable.
The San Francisco Chronicle reports that the adrenaline rush one gets from a rattlesnake represents millions of times more energy than the words that caused them. “It’s bedtime” also causes an equal amplification but in the opposite direction, toward relaxation of the body for sleep.
So why is this? Well, first we have to recognize that the human body relies on homeostasis. Words, however, cause our bodies to deliberately go out of balance, and there is no physical mechanism to explain that. Meaning is what explains everything we encounter.
Science states that the brain puts meaning to the words we hear; more specifically, the cerebral cortex does. However, if you try to say that the cerebral cortex puts meaning to the words we hear and then validate that with the fact that the physical world is ruled by cause and effect and the brain creates our responses to cause and effect, you reach a dead end with this explanation.
We cannot say that a feather can dust the table one minute and push over a boulder the next. Yet, the same tiny brain molecules that put “meaning” to words and justifies Newton’s laws of physics with our physical world seem to do just that. Certain words, sentences if you will, can create a fight or flight bodily reaction or cause you to relax and drift off into sleep.
The interesting fact here is that words do have meanings and your body can amplify certain signals but armed with only the definition and scientific understanding of the brain these two facts don’t seem to congeal.