I ran across an interesting article recently that suggests that your brain operates more like an orchestra than a computer.
According to Dr. Rafael Yuste, professor of biology at Columbia, the new model depicts the brain "harnessing together ever-shifting neuronal networks, which work in a complex pattern of synchrony like musicians in an orchestra." The process of thought is a symphony of billions of neurons or "players" cooperating.
The article goes on to state: "Conscious states in this view consist of the pattern of variations in frequency, time, and space of the brain's electrical fields, generated by the correlated electrical activity of shifting assemblies of neurons, as members of a symphony orchestra work together in shifting patterns to produce a pattern of variations in frequency, time, and space of sound vibrations. Of course, the brain involves millions of "players" at any time, out of a population of hundreds of billions, and the "score" is improvised by the players collectively, like an extremely large jazz band."
It can really hurt your brain to think about your own consciousness . . .
Some people explain consciousness as being the soul, but that doesn't make any sense since humans tend to go unconscious every night when they sleep (though I guess during a dream you are technically conscious). That leads to an interesting philosophical question: do you exist when in deep sleep? It sounds kind of silly, because we tend to wake up the in the morning, or at least start dreaming, but in that state of unconsciousness . . . if you think about it . . . whatever your consciousness is . . . you are actually in a state of non-existence . . .
Musically, I guess it does kind of make sense. Now I know why I have to sit and listen to what's going on in my head when I begin a piece. Nine times out of ten, I can hear an entirely orchestrated tune from start to finish inside my head before I even start it.
This is going to sound egotistical (big word, need nap now!) but I believe Mozart, Beethoven and some of the other great masters dealt with this to some degree. Now I'm not comparing myself to them, I am a speck on a flea on a tick on Beethoven's dog when compared to him.
I guess what I'm really wondering is wheter or not other people hear experience this. I've been wondering about this ever since i began composing back in high school. Two of my best friends, who happen to be conservatory trained composers as well, say that they never do and I'm wondering what gives.
Any comments, anyone?
Thanks for letting me ramble,
PS: I also constently have music in my head. It's like having a jukebox wired in, playing hit after hit. Hmm, now all I need is a USB connection! :-)