The most amazing thing in the world is the human brain that apreciates it. That mass of corrugated gray matter boxed in bone which registers the impressions received from all things, from the stars to dust motes, is by far the most wonderful substance of all substances.
What would a tree mean if there were no brain to see it with its eye, to hear it with its ear, and to touch it with its hand? Nothing. Practically it would not exist.
There would be no sun if there were no eye, no perfumes if there were no nose, no sounds if there were no ear.
Blot out brains and the universe is extinguished.
There may be other suns in the sky, there may be spirit bodies moving among us, there may be stupendous music swirling around us, all of such quality that we have no organ to perceive them. For us they do not exist.
A telephone would be a dead thing and useless without a receiver. The brain is the receiver of the universe.
Very wonderful is Paderewski’s performance upon the piano, Raphael’s colors upon canvas, Shakespeare’s words on paper, and all of Creator’s glory of landscape and sea view; but not so miraculous as the grayish stuff in our heads that can receive their messages, record them, and translate them into emotion.
It was not such a task to create a world as it were to construct this curious organ that the world can play upon. For a world with no brain in it would be an Ysaye without a violin. So also a Wagner opera is surpassed by the brains that can understand it. Newton’s mathematical theses, and Wordsworth’s poetry, and Socrates’s reasoning, and Lord Christ’s life truths, greater than these are the people that can grasp them.
My mind is the ultimate miracle.
Long before this brain came into being there were electricity, light, sound, color, and all the phenomena of existence; but, actually, the universe was created when I was born, and when I die it will be the end of the world.
The whole cosmos, the sum of things, is all in that pulp in the bone-cup at the top of my spine.
More strange yet than our ability to perceive sights and sounds is our capacity for understanding those motions of pure spirit that go on in other brains. We can see the hope, love, hate, joy, and sorrow of another, interpreting them by words, signs, and other indications.
We can grasp world plans, recondite scientific theories, and the subtlest refinements of thought. We can weep at poetry, laugh at comedy, mourn in sympathy, fear from our own fancies, feel sin and rightness, follow evil or worship God.
Of all the jewels found in the earth or sea, of all machines made by man’s cunning, of all the incomprehensible works of the Deity, nothing excels that handful of gray substance that functions like a locked-up god in the cranium of the “two-legged animal without feathers.”
Four Minute Essays
Dr. Frank Crane