Why Did the Universe Create the Human Brain?

Here’s the latest music video (“Ode to the Brain!”) in John Boswell’s wonderful Symphony of Science series. I was at first repulsed by this one, since it has many images of the meaty brain exposed outside its skullcage. But then, in a quiet moment, I watched it again and again.

You have to work a little bit to see the beauty in the human brain, this wonderful and strange product of over 13 billion years of Cosmic evolution. That’s where the depth of its beauty lies: Our brains — we ourselves — are completely embedded in both Cosmic space and Cosmic time, inseparable from the scale of these dimensions.

We could not have appeared much sooner in time, because it required those billions of years of galactic, stellar and planetary evolution to prepare the nest for life on Earth, as well as for our birth as a species.

And our appearance in space? It’s beginning to look as though we might have appeared in any of a million places in the universe. And if by “we,” we mean “intelligent life,” then most likely … we have!

After you watch this video, it’s worth asking, “What use is the brain?

Does our use of it match the consummate beauty and honed perfection of it as an instrument of intelligence?

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