Tuning In

In a previous post i made the analogy that our brain can be likened in many ways to a Smartphone.


In this post i would draw your attention to some similarities between our brain and a radio or television.

Radio TV

Our brain is a lump of structured and organised organic matter. It comprises of many, many billions of individual cells of different kinds, some of which build up the structure and help retain it’s basic form, some of which provide avenues for the supply of nutrients to those cells and to take away the wastes each cell generates; in this the brain is not much different to any other part of our bodies.

But some cells are very, very special (and specialised) indeed – they are the brain’s neurons. Cells which can generate and transmit electro-chemical signals and which form circuits and connections to other neuron cells, in some cases many thousands of other cells, directly. Although our brain is only about 1/50th of our total body mass and does not physically move anything directly, as do our muscles, it uses up approximately 20% of the energy our body generates, including while we ‘sleep’. Our brain cells produce electric currents and even generate their own electric field.

An instrument called an electro-encephalograph (EEG) is the device scientists and doctors use to measure these currents and fields within the brain by means of electrodes  placed on the outside of our head in fixed locations which can detect them and then display the resulting electrical activity onto a display device, such as a monitor screen. The monitor may show a dozen or more individual records as horizontal tracks of realtime variations in electric potential (the voltage difference over time) which are usually recording a specific frequency of electrical activity which is measured in units called hertz. This is the number of times per second a signal varies between higher and lower voltage in the electrode receivers. It is the electrical frequency of an area of electrical activity in the brain at any particular moment. (Something that might be important to remember is that in our homes in Australia, and other parts of the world, are encased in a wiring system that brings electricity for us to draw on any time we choose. When we draw some of that current for whatever device, ‘fridge, air-con, TV, computer, re-charger, lights, etc, etc, current flows and electric fields are formed. This electricity ‘cycles’ at 50-60 hertz and can have a total energy of several kilowatt/hours per day, for which we pay big bucks – those who don’t have solar panels or wind turbines anyway)

These individual tracks of an EEG show what is now commonly referred to as ‘brain waves’.

We believe we know what they are and how they are generated and we have given them a name, but we are by no means certain of what they do and how they do it. Basically, they are an indication of brain activity such as thinking or sensory reception from our sense organs, but they also indicate dreams, belief patterns and who knows what else? Could we be ‘seeing’ our consciousness in action?  They show our (very) limited awareness, of ‘all’ that is going on, both inside and outside of our bodies.

They are us as we dream, create,  write and speak, when we understand and analyse,  make decisions for ourselves, or even when we make ‘automatic’ decisions that take place seemingly without us doing anything, such as breathing at the rate we do or making our heart beat faster, or our face to flush if we feel embarrassed.

So think of all these many different waves as concerning certain thoughts or ‘trains’ of thought that may last for a brief second or might hold our attention for hours. There are many different and constantly changing waves but they also operate within certain sets of frequency ranges. We have so far identified 5-6 major groupings of waves and they are named after the Greek alphabet, for want of anything better.

They are the Alpha, Beta, Gamma, Delta and Theta waves. (Not sure what happened to Epsilon Zeta and Eta, the three letters in order between Delta and Theta?) Each one is identified with a specific type of our state of awareness. (See image).



The lower frequency range (Delta) is identified with deep sleep while the higher frequency one (Gamma) is identified as being in a state of heightened awareness/alertness. Gamma is the most recent set to be given it’s own classification. We spend most of our waking hours with our brains predominantly in the Beta range of  activity, however our brain makes waves of all kinds, all the time.

Except… what if we are seeing this picture from one of two ‘ends’?

What if, besides our brain seemingly ‘making’ these waves, in fact, our brains are receiving them?

Perhaps our incredibly intricate net of inter-connected neurons in our brains are specially formulated to pick up and amplify certain external frequencies of some form of wave radiation and the resultant activation of these neurons forms into the observed electrical wave activity/responses?

In this sense they would be behaving like a radio or TV antenna that receives and sends to an amplifier in the set the variations in radio wave frequency or amplitude ( FM or AM signals) so as to allow information (music/pictures/data) to be observed from a particular location other than the broadcast source.

Perhaps the received waves are of a different frequency to the ones when our brains are ‘awake’ or maybe they are of lesser amplitude (energy) which results in us largely not noticing the information they are presenting us with? Perhaps we better absorb them when our brains are in the Delta or Theta states. Or, they may be of a high frequency that we are mostly unfamiliar with in the times we are processing the information in our Beta state?

Remember the point about our electrical supply to the house having a frequency of 50-60 hertz? This is covering the range of brain wave frequencies that some have associated with ‘Compassionate meditation’ as practiced by Buddhist priests that is believed to allow us to receive higher levels of our conscious thought and helps achieve a blissful state of well-being and greater awareness. Could these frequencies be being ‘masked or prevented in our brains because of the power supply’s electrical field frequency?

Or maybe when we meditate (in the Alpha state) we can better notice and recall/hear the outside information and we can use it to our advantage somehow?

Perhaps this is a way we might ‘connect’ to some form of non-physical world/state of being?

Could it be an explanation of some ‘paranormal’ events? Spiritual ones even?

On another tack, what if in our train of thought we are most aware of as each second passes in our day is but one of several ‘tracks’ or radio stations that are all playing concurrently? When we tune a radio or TV to one channel we don’t suddenly stop broadcasting all the other stations/channels do we? We just focus and tune our set (attention) to one of many of hundreds of simultaneous broadcasts.

That being the case, then if we are presently paying attention to a track of  a remembered event in our past that might be making us sad could we learn to ‘switch channels’ and become aware of a track that anticipates a time of future happiness to compensate and lift our overall mood that has been building while on the ‘other channel’??


Could the key to  a permanent state of happiness or self-control be as simple as learning to turn a dial on your radio (or punch a button on your remote)??


Maybe there should be more research into the possibility? 🙂



7 thoughts on “Tuning In

    1. i completely agree – that is part of the reason it is taking me so long to write this ‘manual’.

      So much of the information we already have ( which is really next to nothing despite there being millions if not billions of words written about it) is all ‘inter-linked’ – to understand one bit you have to describe 10 other bits that the bit you mean interacts and inter-connects with.

      NOT EASY! 😦


      1. Since my brain injury 5 years ago I’ve been reading what I can to understand about how the brain functions. I’ve seen an interesting connection between how I respond to stimuli and how people on the autism spectrum respond. Very often I can relate to their challenges. Both conditions are what would be classified as neurological atypical.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Injury that affected 5 main functionalities, larger social setting, emotional vulnerability, low tolerance for live music, vestibular ocular challenges most directly aggravated by riding in/driving a car, suseptible to cognitive fatigue.
        Worked with an OT to figure out my limitations and learn to manage my limitations. Focus on careful planning of activities.
        Worked with a psychologist in dealing with PTSD symptomology in connection to being in or near traffic. (My injury was result of MVA)
        One area the OT dealt with was mindfulness training as a strategy for dealing with sensory overload.
        My blog deals with the past 4 years of my journey of recovery and adapting to the new normal.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. As you say, the brain is an incredibly complex organism. It has unique abilities to repair itself, which it can do with remarkable speed in certain cases of impairment (perhaps more so than where well-established and normal pathways have become damaged through injury?)

        The problem with injury becomes finding a uniquely tailored therapy for the patient to best enable the brain to work out how to reconnect fully functioning neurons so as to do what it can in the way of repair in the most efficient manner.

        It would probably be a faster recovery the less time the brain had had to fix it’s existing networks. 😦

        Liked by 1 person

      4. One of my drawbacks is that it took almost 5 years for the inflammation to be completely cleared. For awhile it would flair up if I was in a situation which required sustained cognitive demand. That is what happened when I took part in an Executive Functioning experiment recently. (recent post titled Donating (oops) Lending my brain to science.)

        Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s