Study Finds Human Brain Capable of Finite Number of Thoughts
St. Paul, Minnesota, July 22, 2017 -- A groundbreaking study performed by the St. Paul, Minnesota-based Institute for Cranial Spelunking has determined that human brains are capable of generating only a finite number of thoughts before becoming "utterly expended or depleted".
The ICS study is expected to have profound implications on many aspects of human endeavour that involve thinking, pondering, mulling, or cogitation.
"The idea for the study came to me like a burst of inspiration some months ago," Dr. Rolando Sulcus, chief brain examiner at the institute, said. "Unfortunately, that means one less thought available in my neurological inventory. I hope this one was worth the expenditure."
According to the ICS study, which closely examined the neural structures involved in the generation, fine-tuning and transmission of thoughts in the human mind, the "wiring" of the brain shows signs of a form of automatic "planned obsolescence" reminiscent of the manner in which American cars were produced in the 1970s.
"The neural structures simply aren't designed to produce thoughts for an entire lifetime," Dr. Sulcus said. "Rather, each thought appears to come at a destructive cost to the brain anatomy, thereby reducing the capacity of the brain to generate additional thoughts. When you sit back and say, for example, 'Here's a thought!' what you are actually reporting is a minor, but no less permanent, incident of brain damage."
According to Dr. Sulcus' calculations, a typical human brain is capable of "between 411,000 and 436,000 thoughts before neural degradation makes the further generation of original thoughts impossible."
"There is, as best we can determine, no particular mechanism assigned to differentiate between worthwhile brainstorms and pointless muddles," Dr. Sulcus said. "They both come at a similar price, although thoughts of higher complexity may cause more damage than trivial ones. For example, thinking 'I'll think I'll go get a sandwich' extracts a fairly baseline price of one. An in-depth mental consideration of the origin and structure of the universe might cost the equivalent of one hundred thousand trivial thoughts."
The Institute for Cranial Spelunking has offered a set of recommendations to address the "rationing" of thoughts based on current human life span projections.
"What the implications of our study boil down to is that a typical human is only going to have a limited number of thoughts. Once those are used up, that's it—everything else will just be re-runs and derivative material," Dr. Sulcus said. "Individuals can either burn themselves out by thinking a lot when they're young, thereby condemning themselves to a remaining life term devoid of original thoughts when the inventory is expended, or they can develop from an early age mental control techniques to restrict their brains from spontaneously generating thoughts, thereby diffusing the damage. The latter approach, while reducing the average level of mental activity during earlier life cycles, will have the benefit of ensuring that capacity for original thought remains in the brain's 'mental warehouse' for a longer period".
On a positive note, a follow-up study performed by ICS has determined that many human beings, apparently guided by the brain's natural predisposition for self-preservation, have already developed and enthusiastically embraced a wide range of thought-suppressing brain control activities.
"Luckily, what we've seen in our follow-up is that many human beings instinctively spend a very high percentage of their conscious life actively suppressing original thought," Dr. Sulcus said. "Some of the thought suppressants we've found most effective in following our rationing proposal already form much of the bases of Western culture. These include most television programs, in particular so-called reality television, most modern pop music, American political discourse, mainstream fiction, video games, and 99.887% of the content found on the Internet. Any individual who immerses him or herself in these forms of media for an extended period will suppress virtually all original thought generation, thereby retaining nearly full brain capacity for use in later life. The amount of immersion each individual chooses to undertake will, of course, depend on how long that individual expects to live and on how much thinking capacity he or she would like to have available for that time period."
Dr. Sulcus pointed out that, due to their finite and limited nature, the expression "a penny for your thoughts" would have to be revised.
"We've worked out a generalized calculation based on predicted thought total and lifespan averages," Dr. Sulcus said. "More complex thoughts, of course, should cost more due to their greater capacity for destruction to the neural infrastructure. We therefore think a price of closer to about $4.76 per baseline thought would be just about right."
By Ion Zwitter, Avant News Editor
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