A simple and funny idea:
Why have a brain?
In simple words: why have humans evolved to have a brain? And what is the best way we can use our brain?
What can the sea squirt teach us?
There is a curious organism called the ‘sea squirt‘ — an organism which is born with a brain (to coordinate movement), and when it finds a good place in the ocean with ample nutrition, it eats its own brain.
One simple theory why we have a brain:
The brain is used to coordinate movement to procure nutrition.
This makes sense. To move is very complicated and requires a lot of brain-power.
For humans, moving as bipeds is very complicated. We must coordinate our visual apparatus (our eyes), our sense of depth-perception, we need to balance, we need to coordinate the cadence of walking, etc. Even in 2018, seeing the most modern walking robots– they pale in comparison to even the running of a toddler.
So perhaps humans have evolved to have brains in order to move more, to procure more nutrition, and to thrive more.
What happens when you no longer need to move?
A question I’m more curious about:
What happens to the human brain once we no longer move, or need to move, or once we have enough nutrition?
My theory: when we no longer move, we get brain-related-mental malfunctions. Perhaps a lack of movement is what leads to a lot of depression, and other modern mental illnesses.
How should we use our brains?
It doesn’t really matter why we have a brain. To me, it is more important to question ourselves:
OK, it is a fact that us humans have brains. But from a philosophical perspective, how can we best utilize our brain-power while we are still alive?
I don’t think there is an ultimate ‘best’ way to use your brain. We are all born with different skills and talents, etc. What is more important is this:
How can I (as an individual) best leverage my own brain, in a personally-meaningful way?
What is meaningful?
A question to address:
What does ‘meaning’ mean?
Or how can we define the word, ‘meaning’?
I pored into the question, and apparently the root word for ‘meaning’ comes from ‘mean‘ — which comes from the middle-english ‘menen’ which means “to intend, remember”, or to ‘signify’. And apparently the word goes back to proto-indo-european ‘Meyn-‘ which means “to think”. Another good definition is to ‘deem’, wish, desire, signify, or believe, indicate, signify, want, intent.
Thus this is a bit tricky, the word “meaning” is defined by lots of different concepts.
What does ERIC KIM think is meaningful?
For myself, this is how I define “meaningful”:
Doing something greater than yourself, to empower humanity (present and future).
This is because I think certain actions we do in life are ‘significant’ and certain things we do in life are ‘in-significant’.
For example in Academia, the question scholars often ask themselves (or others) is this:
OK, this knowledge is interesting– but is it significant?
To me, significance is something practical-philosophical which can benefit humans. To me, every action we pursue as human beings should ultimately benefit human beings, and perhaps contribute to the evolution of the human race-species.
Do things you like
I also don’t think you should self-flagellate yourself and intentionally suffer to help others. In-fact, I follow Elon Musk [Joe Rogan Interview] who says that he sees happiness as doing stuff that helps other people, which he likes to do.
Thus this is simple:
Do things which you enjoy, which can benefit others.
You wouldn’t want to be the only person in the Matrix
As my friend Kendrick Lamar lamented — sometimes he feels like he is the only one in the matrix.
Assuming if the ‘Matrix’ was real, would you want to be the only real human in it? Of course not! Life is only fun when we have other (real) human beings to interact with. Kind of like in the movie ‘Passengers’, the guy (although he had the human-like android-bartender to keep him company), he still started to go crazy. Why? Humans without other human interaction will all eventually go insane.
Thus, this is the irony of modern life:
The modern internet culture is making us more anti-social, and to hate humanity. But we humans get the most joy when interacting with other human beings.
I believe in technology which brings people together more in real life. Just like how you can use a phone to contact friends and family, and arrange to meetup “IRL” (in real life) for dinner. To be happier, have more (real) face-to-face interactions. Because no matter how good Facetime calls get, we will still like to physically occupy space next to other humans, to touch them, and to share the same real environment with them. You notice micro-expressions in their face, their hands, etc. Who knows, perhaps there are also some “pro-social” hormones which excrete from our pores when we are having a really good social interaction.
How to be happier
Anyways sorry I am totally getting off-topic.
To take it back, some basic ideas:
- We have a brain (first and foremost) to walk, move, and procure nutrition.
- If we no longer walk or move, we have no use for a brain (thus, we get mental illnesses).
- We can best effectively leverage our brain-power to create things, ideas, or art-poetry which can empower other humans (present or future)
- We have brains for social interactions. To be happier, spend more “real face time” with your friends, family, and strangers.
- Perhaps the desire for us to make art is just us ‘hijacking’ or ‘hacking’ our own brains for some other purpose. We haven’t evolved to have a brain in order to make art. But we have certain brain-related abilities (visual and haptic-feedback perception) which enables us to appreciate and create our own art!
How can you best exploit your strengths?
So simple question you can ask yourself:
What is your strengths in life, and how can you best leverage those strengths to empower yourself and the rest of society?