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Brain: The king and the king-maker

The brain is a mini-universe, which provides an insight into many aspects of life. It’s an engineering marvel, a model of precision, perfection and performance. An integration of all universal phenomena that revolve around mankind and evolution. The structure and function of brain is a museum of art, education, culture and knowledge.

It is an entire universe compressed into an organ: a microcosm, a power station that connects to the larger universe (macrocosm). A massive amount of potential is shrink-wrapped into the skull. The neurons, the functional units of the brain, can produce enormous amount of electrical energy from natural resources. It is a mega power generating system undergirded by an elegant system of estimation, utilisation, retention, storage supplementation, distribution and highly specialised control systems. It even has a power backup: an alternate source of substrates that kicks in if natural resources become deficient. The inherent ability of the brain to produce innumerable proteins, neurotransmitters, hormones and chemicals on a daily basis makes it comparable to the largest industrial complex known to man.

To meet its huge energy requirements the brain needs uncompressed blood supply at all times. The brain derives its blood supply from two carotid arteries in the front and two vertebral arteries in its rear. The blood vessels are laid out in a network designed to ensure that the requirements of all parts of the brain are met efficiently. The vessels are linked to one another in a circular network called the “circle of Willis” from which arteries branch out in different directions to supply blood to specific regions. There are bridging arteries that link the entire system underneath the brain called “communicating arteries.” If there is blockage in one system then the other channels take over and keep supplies going effortlessly. A back-up system is in place outside the skull that supplies blood through external carotid arteries providing collateral circulation. There is an inbuilt regulatory system that manages demand and supply to different regions of the brain based on the age, type of work, time of day or night and estimated energy requirements. These sensors measure the performance minute by minute and constantly calibrate supplies with unbelievable precision and accuracy. Thus, the brain replicates the world’s best water supply systems.

The brain has an impregnable security system. Nothing can enter the brain from the blood without a valid gate pass. Glial cells in association with the external layer of blood vessels form the “blood brain barrier,” a fool-proof armour that ring-fences the brain from all harmful substance including toxins and bacteria. Only selected brain nutrients have the right of direct entry as they are recognised by automated signalling systems. This is called “passive transport stem” and is a routine process. The rest need a passport with a stringent verification process. The selected substances are accompanied into the brain by escorts known as “active transport and carrier transport,” facilitated by energy mediated channels and molecules, which are specialised in transportation. The system is so beautiful that once approved, only the required amount of energy is released to facilitate entry.

Signalling and communication happens through electrical signals generated in neurons called “action potential.” These electrical signals are transmitted from the neurons by a cable network called axons to target organs at a lightning speed of 120 meters per second. These are very specific, action-oriented communications. The axons are fully insulated by a sheath called myelin that prevents energy leaks, short circuits and any sort of cross talk. The human brain, in short, possesses a super effective, lightning fast communication system backed by an uninterruptible network that no 4G or future 5G can ever match.

Apart from delivering various orders, the brain collects all ongoing information in real-time. The entire data is collated, processed and used to improve performance with suitable modifications for immediate and future purposes. Both the processing and the data management system are versatile. All sensory inputs are assembled in the form of experiences to create a process of learning; important information is stored as memory. Based on need and utility unnecessary files are periodically deleted to refresh the storage space for future learning. Through parallel processing the brain collects, sorts, and processes data and also creates pattern recognition, that no super computer available today can match. Judgement and thinking are an exclusive faculty that can bypass the normal process and break into the data systems to enable quick decisions in a crisis or emergency; otherwise the data is confidential and unbreakable with excellent firewall systems.

Transporting information within the brain and spinal cord occurs through white matter called fascicles and tracts respectively. They connect the adjacent grey areas, lobes, corresponding areas of right and left brain and the body through the spinal cord. They are like small bridges connecting two areas of the frontal lobes and like long flyovers that connect the frontal lobe to the occipital lobe.

Memory is essentially: it is a record keeping process, which stores a life-time of experiences with a ready recall system. Any corruption in the sequence can lead to a failure of the system resulting in memory loss. Long-term memory is stored with codification process.

Brain is chairman of the planning commission. Day to day activities as well as long-term growth are meticulously planned, triggering an action plans for each organ and mobilising resources. There is a contingency plan for every eventuality, which kicks in instantly. There is a well-oiled system for unplanned events too. Depending upon age, growth rate, activity and circumstances resources are allocated internally. There is never any discontent, strike or bandh.

Thus the brain is a role model for governance. There is a higher arch. The nervous system works with peripheral units called motor end-plates to perform motor acts. Similarly sensory-end organs are used to perceive. Certain amount of autonomy starts from here. There is regional control between the sensory and motor peripheral nerves, which acts by reflex in every event. This is called the peripheral nervous system, which acts like a local corporation.

Once a message reaches the spinal cord, which can be equated to district administration, designated action occurs at a segment level. Simultaneously the message reaches subcortical structures like thalamus and brain stem, which size up problems and initiate quantified action. In essence, it is like state government and nearly 70% of routine work gets done here. Based on assessment and importance subsequent information is fed to the central body which is the cortex. The cerebral cortex is the final decision-making, execution and vetoing authority. All complex issues are resolved here on a daily basis not during designated parliamentary sessions. The beauty of the whole system lies in complete delegation of responsibility, close monitoring and perfectly timed coordination. All individual systems like respiration, circulation and excretion are like individual states, functioning with their own inbuilt systems and innate abilities, but ultimately governed. The brain is fit to be part of the curriculum of any management programme.

The brain functions as a major public work department undertaking maintenance and repairs across the body. The defence system protecting the body is amazing both during peace times (normal day-to-day life) and war situations, when the body is under attack from infection, injury and illness. The brain is the seat of immunity, the supreme commander of a multi-wing defence force: white cells (army), antibodies (navy) and missiles (activated T-Cells), nature killer cells, ans phagocytes (airforce).

The brain is the band master of the endocrine orchestra that regulates all hormones from time to time and maintains the body metabolism. The autonomic nervous system is like an invisible world. Together, they are responsible for many notable events like growth, sleep, puberty, menarche, menopause, anxiety, fear, personality, behaviour, fight or flight response and many more.

Finally the brain is an ideal example of true leadership. It regulates everything but remains behind the scenes. It silently works towards its own goals and of other parts of the body. Generally all credit for virtues like charity and bravery is hogged by other organs like heart and guts though the brain is the real master of these attributes. It maintains unity in diversity and plays no politics, creating cohesiveness among all parts for unparalleled team-work.

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