I had an epiphany the other day which changed the way I think about neuroscience. I allowed the idea to settle a little, but now I'm certain -- it's a big problem. This is gonna be a complete mind-fuck, or perhaps brain-fuck is a better word.
Neuroscience is ultimately about rationalizing the thought processes going on in our brains, and the brains of others. How do scientists go about doing this though? Put simply -- by using their brains. This is inherently an inescapable form of circular logic. How on earth are we ever meant to really find out how our brains works, by using our brains? What if the mechanisms of our brain processes are built in such a way that obstructs us from ever seeing what reality is? Whatever reality is anyway.
Ultimately we are slaves to our brains wiring. Our brain, our gateway to reality, may be showing us some sort of reality that isn't even real. For this reason, I've come to believe that we are never going to be able to truly know how our brains works, because after all, what we know is relative to how our brains store and interpret information. Reality is a relative concept. There really is no right, wrong or real -- only what we perceive things to be. Because of this, the brain will forever be a mystery, unless we come up with some way to perceive it from a non-bias thrid party, but even then, seeing as the third party would be a creation of us, it too would ultimately be a slave to our own brains mechanisms, and therefore would also be inevitably bias too.
I believe the implications of this 'brain paradox' extend far further than the reaches of neuroscience. Neuroscientists are not the only scientists using their brains to understand the world around them. Chemists and physicists too are also bound by the this paradox. The brain is essentially a pattern recognition machine. What if all the patterns we see in chemistry and physics are merely things that came about, due to the nature of our 'pattern loving' brains. How are we to know that physics and chemistry will ever be able to show us what is 'real' because ultimately even what physicists and chemists believe to be real comes down to the way in which their brain interprets the data. What if scientists infinitely continue discovering more and more complex patterns in the world around us?
Due to the nature of our brains, there is a very real possibility that the world around us could be infinitely complex, at least in our perception of it. The brain naturally makes more and more connections between external stimuli in order to create a continually growing complexity of understanding. Honestly, this is where quantum physics appears to be heading. We used to think we were only made of atoms. Wrong. Not only are atoms made of protons, neutrons and electrons, these sub-atomic particles have sub-sub-atomic particles like leptons, quarks, baryons and mesons which are in turn also made of even smaller particles.... how deep down the rabbit hole can we really delve? And furthermore, to understand the brain, would we not need to have an equally complex understanding of the particles which it is made of?
Would anyone like to try and disprove me? I've tried myself, and can't find any way around this paradox.... it's really racking my, ugh, brain... you get the point?