We have never completely understood the human brain. In some ways, we’re actually frightened by the strange behaviors we’ve seen around us. Yet out of strange behavior can come remarkable gifts, like extraordinary insight and creativity.
Science journalist Helen Thomson has written a book to explore the brain’s unusual characteristics. Entitled Unthinkable: An Extraordinary Journey Through the World’s Strangest Brains, it was the culmination of two years of travel to investigate the most remarkable brains. Her goal was to go beyond the clinical and discover how these people with unusual thought processes live — their friends, their childhoods, their love lives, etcetera. These studies included a man who never forgets a day in his life, a journalist who sees colors that don’t really exist, a woman who is always lost (even in her own home), and a man who believed he was dead for three years.
By comparing these unusual lives, Helen believes she has created a picture of how the brain functions in all of us, including how to make memories that never disappear, how to avoid getting lost, how to feel happier, and what it feels like to die. In short, the project became a journey of self-discovery. Self-discovery in a most unusual way.
And no, I wasn’t included.