The mind is a funny place. What is subjective and what is objective is hardly distinguishable and yet we try over and over again to understand our thoughts. We try to draw parallels between the way we think as well as behave while neurons within our brain do the same but a lot more associatively and technically. And of course, our conscious thinking is based on the neurological framework our brain provides, which in turn is based on our subconscious and unconscious. The more you try to think of it, the more it is an inception, and the more you try to read this paragraph, the more you know nothing about what I am saying. “The Mind Explained”, a Netflix docuseries provides answers to questions we probably have asked ourselves about our brain. Here’s how….
In 5 simple and short videos, Vox packs many articles worth of dry scientific knowledge with Emma Stone’s voice and visuals that explain processes within the brain. Here are 5 characteristics that make this infotainment extraordinary.
- The series is hit off by explaining the mind and memory. Sometimes we forget things or we think that we remember things wrong. However, the first episode explains how some memories that we are extremely sure about may not actually exist. Some childhood instance that you may pinpoint as a reason of your current behavior may or may not be true. It has been proven that memories can be added and removed like pieces of a puzzle and as that happens, the puzzle looks entirely different. Vox explains this by introducing people who remember a traumatic experience, such as the 9/11, differently – more associated with their emotions than what actually happened that day.
- Once it has grabbed your attention by exploring the basics of mind and memory, Vox moves on to talk about the memories of the unconscious – the dreams. What makes this episode very exciting is that it simply explains how your dreams are a product of your past and how it pieces the future together. While asleep, the part of the brain associated with logic is asleep as well. This explains why dreams tend to be bizarre or the combination of things put together in one frame have little or no connection to each other. The episode hints at how dreams were perceived in ancient times and how it translates to different myths associated with the interpretation of them. Every explanation is followed by a reference that you can link the information to and read further.
- By the third episode you will find yourself getting used to Emma Stone’s narration and are hungry to know more about what Vox has to say. This episode is about anxiety and let me tell you, a lot of people do not recognize that they are anxious. This episode simplifies what anxiety feels like and what are the factors that cause it. Some people find themselves anxious for “no reason”. However, anxiety occurs when our brain perceives something as a threat, based on a repeated previous experience. The episode zeroes in on the parts of the brain that are activated across various feelings and explains the mechanics around anxiety making it a very understandable concept.
- The fourth episode talks about mindfulness. From how it originated and how it is currently practiced. Vox explains mindfulness as a tool to be in the present and have complete control over actions and feelings. The road to mindfulness is paved by meditation. Meditation incites compassion towards others and self in abundance which, otherwise, is quite hard to maintain. There are different ways in which meditation can be performed that helps center an individual and give them the power over their mind. This episode actually explains how we spend our time thinking either about the past or the future and do not consciously live in the moment. Mindfulness reminds you that you are breathing.
- The last but the most exciting episode is about psychedelics. This episode first approaches the stigma around psychedelics and how that was put in place. It further goes on to elaborate on how the results from previous testing have made it hard to form any causal inference. The apparent usage of psychedelics does have the power to change the path of the neurons and shake the way one thinks. The episode shows how someone with extreme phobias or anxiety may learn to not be threatened to that extent when faced with respective stimuli. Various doctors have tried to test them on themselves and the results have been quite shocking. If you would like to know what that could be then you might as well jump over to Netflix and see for yourself.
Scientists are making many breakthroughs by researching the human brain but there are still some pieces of the puzzle unaccounted for.
All in all, this series not only bases its information on scientific and peer reviewed studies, but also explains how little we know about the human brain. Scientists are making many breakthroughs by researching the human brain but there are still some pieces of the puzzle unaccounted for. The least we can understand is that humans are meant to live together with compassion because that is when one is truly the happiest.
Edited by: Pritha Ray