Fun writing this piece on how we talk (and think) about the brain!
Albert Einstein once said: “The only source of knowledge is experience.” Not to undermine Einstein’s authority, but there are many phenomena, especially in science, that we just can’t experience directly. We can make diagrams, but we can’t actually see or touch things like dopamine or gravity. And although we’re constantly experiencing both of those things, we’re not aware that we’re experiencing them in the way that we know we’re experiencing blueness when we look at the ocean. If experience is the source of knowledge and we’re unable to experience so many scientific phenomena, how, then, do we know and communicate about them? Metaphor provides one way of doing so: we talk about abstract concepts in terms of more concrete ones that we do have experience with as a way of making sense of intangible ideas.
Neuroscience is filled with metaphors, many of which are hardly recognizable as such. The brain…
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