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  • Free Will

    Science and Philosophy have a strange relationship, it can throw you down the existential darkness or it can show you the meaning of life. So come with me as I try to find the light at the end of the tunnel of Free Will. As of now, we know on a molecular level how our bodies work, and we know what happens when things go wrong and how to fix them. In brief, our bodies are a complex cascade of controlled chemical compensations that keep us conscious. But the chemicals are inanimate, just like how you can determine the trajectory of a thrown ball based on the force and direction of it, you can determine a chemical’s fate based on their environment and other chemicals they interact with. Therein lies the question, how can a bunch of inanimate things make something that’s alive? How can true free will emerge out of a deterministic universe? First, let’s define free will shall we, the common understanding of free will is very narrow, you are bound by the need to eat, drink and sleep. You literally can’t break the fundamental laws of the universe and you shouldn’t break the laws set upon you by your governing body. You probably won’t do something that’s against your morals, ambitions and responsibilities. But you would think, within these constraints, you are free to do whatever you want right? Going back to the question at hand, a collection of chemicals suddenly becoming alive. At the most fundamental level, a single celled organism is said to have life because it has an internal environment that it can maintain, if given enough resources. In a way, just being alive means you have to actively try to keep your internal environment steady, you are bound by this rule. So does a single celled organism have free will? Well, it can do whatever it wants, but the only thing it wants is to survive and procreate. It's a very simple demand but you could also say that an electron wants to go towards a proton but away from another electron does the electron have free will? Maybe the lines are too blurred at this level, so let’s move up the evolutionary ladder. Even though things get more complex for multi cellular organisms, sustenance, survival and sex are the only things that most animals seem to be seeking. But as the brains evolve, they want more and more things, and at the level of humans, our ability to want is greater than our ability to do. This is what makes us question whether we even have free will. The fallacy with our free will is that we possess an infinite imagination, which facilitates our increased wants and needs, but ever since your were born you learned from your family, your society and your culture to be a certain way, your experiences made you what you are right now and they will determine what you do in the future, which narrows the scope of your free will even further. So is that it? Are you nothing but a slave to your past, Fated to follow the trajectory that is already determined? So what if the choices you will make are predictable based on your past experiences, it doesn’t matter, because you made the choice so even though you were predictable, the goal isn’t to be chaotic, it’s to be able to do whatever you want, if I forced you to do what you didn’t want, you would be upset. On the other hand an electron wouldn’t be upset if I ripped it away from a proton. So in a way, the feeling of control is the ‘free will’ that we possess. But there’s more to it, remember how I said your trajectory in life is set based on the things you learned? Well guess what, the superpower that every human has is that everyone can still keep learning and change the course of their future. But as we get older, our beliefs become more and more consolidated and we feel more comfortable in echo chambers and the bubbles of ideas that we form unknowingly. On top of that, learning new things is difficult and sometimes challenges our pre-existing beliefs which isn’t always a pleasant experience. So if you see yourself heading down a path that you don’t like, believe me, you can change things, because you can learn. You can learn new skills, and new concepts but you can also learn how to be a better person, you can learn to care about other things, other people, it’s never too late. Now I’m not going to tell you to turn your life around or make that change, that is for you to decide, you do have free will after all.

  • Color vision

    Color vision physiology refers to the complex biological processes that occur in the human eye and brain to perceive and interpret colors. The ability to perceive and differentiate various colors is a remarkable aspect of human vision that allows us to experience the vibrant and diverse world of colors around us. The human eye contains specialized cells called cones, which are responsible for color vision. There are three types of cones that are sensitive to different wavelengths of light - red, green, and blue. When light enters the eye, it stimulates these cones, which then send signals to the brain through the optic nerve. The brain processes these signals to create the perception of color. The process of color vision begins with the absorption of light by the pigments in the cones. Each type of cone contains a specific pigment that absorbs light at different wavelengths. The red cones are most sensitive to longer wavelengths of light, the green cones to intermediate wavelengths, and the blue cones to shorter wavelengths. When light strikes the cones, the pigments undergo a chemical reaction that generates an electrical signal, which is then transmitted to the brain for processing. The signals from the cones are then processed in the visual cortex of the brain, where the brain compares the relative strength of the signals from the different cones to determine the perceived color. For example, when light with a longer wavelength (such as red light) stimulates the red cones more strongly than the other cones, the brain interprets it as red. Similarly, when light with shorter wavelengths (such as blue light) stimulates the blue cones more strongly, the brain interprets it as blue. The combination of signals from the three types of cones allows us to perceive a wide range of colors. However, color vision is not the same for everyone. Some individuals have color vision deficiencies, commonly known as color blindness, where one or more types of cones are absent or dysfunctional. This can result in a reduced ability to perceive certain colors or confusion between colors. In conclusion, color vision physiology is a complex and fascinating process that involves the eyes, cones, and the brain working together to interpret the wavelengths of light and create the perception of colors. It is a remarkable aspect of human vision that allows us to appreciate and enjoy the rich and diverse world of colors that surround us.

  • Your Brain

    We are said to have three vital organs, the Brain, Heart and your Kidneys but one of these things is not like the other, your brain has a unique exclusivity to YOU. Why is this? We can easily explain how our eyes turn electromagnetic radiation to biological signals, we know exactly what this signal is made of, how it travels to your visual cortex via the Optic nerve. We know that different parts of the visual cortex detect different aspects of your vision. But something is missing here, how did a chemical reaction running through some nerves get to YOU? This connection between The Cerebral cortex and you is what this article is about. Your brain has two types of “Matter” the inner white matter which is the complex express highway between various parts of your brain and the outer grey matter which is different, it’s color is grey because the neurons in this area are not myelinated, more so this area is home to a massive collection of bodies and dendrites which are the non-myelinated parts of a neuron. So the white matter is just a bunch of wires that connect different parts of your brain, the grey matter must be where the actual thinking happens then? But the dendrites that make up the grey matter, reach out and make connections with other neurons in the cortex. So it seems that the brain is just a gooey, myelinated ouroboros, but where does a thought come from? Where do YOU reside in your brain? You have a heart and your kidneys (I hope) but do you have a brain? I am not trying to insult you or anything, I am trying to say that you possess your heart and your kidneys but is your brain your possession? Or is it something else, something more intimate. Disorders of your brain like schizophrenia or depression can change you in a much different way than a liver failure or a heart condition would, we have identified these behavioral disorders to be caused by deficiencies and excess of some chemicals in your brain and we can modify and somewhat treat these disorders using pharmacological means, does this mean that YOU are modifiable using some chemical means? Are you just a collection of chemical reactions that are somewhat unique to your brain? Let’s entertain the idea that you might be a collection of chemical reactions, what is a chemical reaction? A chemical reaction is when precursor/s under certain conditions create a product, here the precursor and product are just a bunch of molecules arranged in a different way. Your brain is meant to produce a variety of different chemicals depending on circumstances, these chemicals make you feel good or bad. Now let’s put it into real world terms, at the time of your birth, the most developed parts of your brain are your mid and hind brain, these parts control most of your basic life functions and make it so you can continue to live provided a lot of outside support is given. The forebrain, which is responsible for your higher brain functions is just starting to develop, the foundation of the necessary chemicals and structures is developed but now it starts to learn. I am not going to go into detail about learning and memory (that would add 2 more pages) but we are all aware that it happens, and it’s so vital to your being that according to some, you are the collection of your memories and experiences. ever since you can observe things, you start to learn what things can happen to you and what you should do about them, for example throughout your childhood you learned how to walk, eat, read, write, talk to people, fly a plane whatever I don't know you, the point is your brain observes the problems and how to deal with them and tries to imitate it for itself. There is another type of learning that is hard coded into out genes, which is via the chemicals that your brain makes, for example when you were a child and you watched that tv show, or played that video game or went to the playground, it created some of that dopamine, the feel good juice, that makes you want to do it again, and becomes an integral part of your personality over time just like the bad experiences like being on a stage, trying to talk to your crush that one time and food from that restaurant that made you sick that day. All of these memories and feelings associated with them influence your next decision, even the experiences that you don’t remember have changed you to a scale you can’t imagine. Even after childhood, your brain continues to learn new experiences and how to deal with them. So if we were to make a YOU algorithm it would look like a complex problem solving system customized based on your past, you process your everyday using this algorithm and it changes the algorithm little by little and before you know it, your friends aren’t what they used to be, that one cousin is so different from how you remember them, and even you are not what you were all those years ago. You know what you were like and you know you can never be the same again. I implore you to think about your past because good or bad, it made you who you are today but don’t dwell on it because there are still so many more memories to make. So what makes you who you are? The answer is, your diet, your genes and the outside world, you might think that most of what makes you, you is not under your control, and that’s okay, do you know what is under your control? The people around you, you are the outside world for them, so make it good for them, be nice to each other.

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