Number Eight

– The Mimzy Effect –

Greetings from the Heretic Ranch! I am the Cowboy Heretic and I will be your docent as we trek through the corridors of mirth and mayhem, the objective and the subjective, the profound and the pointless.

It was my intention to post another politically tinged missive this time, but I am so depressed and sickened by the fools running our government (into the ground) that I thought it best to offer light fare for your consumption.  So….


In my work I am often called upon to help others heal. Inevitably, this healing process begins within the mind of the person seeking my assistance. Some of the skills I employ are those of psychologist, psychiatrist, spiritual counselor and, occasionally, witch doctor. All of these skills demand efficient and effective interaction between my mind and brain and the brain and mind of the person desiring my help. Please note my distinction between “brain” and “mind.” The brain is not the mind anymore than the mind is the brain. The brain is the organic appliance that serves as the information processor, translator, and data storage device for the mind. Rather than focus on the mind (a supremely ridiculous undertaking when limited to but 800 words), I should this day like to address the brain (an only marginally less ridiculous undertaking).

A while back I had the pleasure of screening a delightful film called THE LAST MIMZY. The premise of this movie was the impending extinction of the human race some time in the hyper-distant future and the attempt by a scientist to retrieve critical genetic information from the past by means of a time-traveling box of toys. These toys are found by a young boy and his little sister in the present day who begin to immediately experience a rapid increase in their sensory and mental capabilities as a result of their proximity to these peculiar playthings. One of the toys is a stuffed bunny rabbit which the little girl promptly adopts as her own and names Mimzy. (If you want to make sense of the story, which I highly recommend, I’m sure you can find the DVD available at your local film monger.)

Now, what has all this to do with my stated topic of the brain? During the course of the movie, the parents of the kids become terrified by the abilities their children have begun to manifest and seek out medical help to determine what’s “wrong” with the kids. It is what the neurologist tells the parents about “normal” children that inspired today’s screed.

The doctor relates that humans are born with roughly 100 billion brain cells. By the age of 3, a child has formed over 1000 trillion synapses (connections) between those cells. By the time we have grown into adulthood, we have lost well over half of those connections, the result of reduced demand on the brain, narrowed focus, the specialization of common thought processes, and habitual thought and action. In short, adult brains, when compared to those of our youth, have become ossified remnants of that which was. Children it would seem, to use a computer analogy, have greater “disk-space” and “processor speed” available to process information than does the average adult. For the purposes of this article, perhaps the more germane way to state this assertion is to acknowledge the sad fact that adults possess half the brain power they had as a toddler of 3.

It is rather humbling to think that, for all the amazing things adults have achieved, we have managed to do so with essentially half our brains tied behind our backs. Not too shabby, but think of the possibilities should we try to reclaim even a portion of what has been lost! What could be accomplished through the combination of a little one’s mind and the knowledge, wisdom, and maturity of a seasoned grownup? Though we don’t have access to a box of futuristic brain-boosting toys, we can take steps, however mundane they may seem, to reclaim a part of ourselves that, arguably, we should never have lost.

I am aware of no biological reason that those shut down synapses cannot be reenergized and reactivated, if not in total, at least in part. I submit, therefore, that it is a worthy endeavor to strive for the revitalization and rejuvenation of the adult brain, a phenomenon which I have dubbed The Mimzy Effect.

Now, while I’m sure several Ph.D. dissertations could be (and probably already have been) written on just this type of phenomenon, let’s cut to the chase and look at the basic problem and a few possible means to encourage achievement of The Effect.

The primary hindrance to a more fully functioning brain lies in the infernal tendency of adults to resist challenge and change. Even those bold seekers of experience who are constantly on the go are almost certainly victims of their own inertia and less than willing to move beyond their familiar zones of comfort. Well worn thought paths become trenches, the trenches over time deepen to gorges. Habits and patterns must be shaken up if not shattered if the goal is genuine rehabilitation and reclamation of heightened cerebral function. Routine is the sworn enemy of the youthful and vital brain.

Though one might prefer to just ingest some chemical, The Mimzy Effect is not likely to come from taking mega doses of fish oil, ginseng, and gingko biloba. Proper nutrition and sagacious intake of supplements certainly can’t hurt, but neither are they a panacea.

Because the brain is part of the body, constantly challenging the body with exercise and athletic exertion is a valuable complement to the quest.

New experience and the determined search for new knowledge can be a veritable brain elixir. Read voraciously, solve puzzles, learn new skills, a new language, learn to play a musical instrument. Expand your boundaries and you will mount a full-frontal assault on your brain’s limitations. Don’t accept the easy way as the only way. Play and play hard!

Finally, work not only from the outside in, but from the inside out as well. Meditate, pray, and, as Jack Handey might suggest, think deep thoughts.

Well, that is all I have time for. I think I shall now take a heaping tablespoonful of my own advice, then I’ll go see if I can find my own nanotechnologically enhanced bunny rabbit to show me how to levitate.

Billy Flying Red Horse
(C) 2007-2009

Published in: on February 23, 2009 at 11:40 pm  Leave a Comment  

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