This is my new favorite word. I started reading “The Shallows,” which is highly interesting, and the first few chapters are a crash course in neurology. Neuroplasticity means the malleability of the brain, the ability for our neurons to form new connections.
It’s a pleasing way to think of our brains, flexible and active, always changing. Much nicer than the concept of a mere computer clicking away in our skulls, which was the old paradigm. But even ‘neuroplasticity’ feels like an oxymoron to me. How could something as organic and dynamic as our brains be compared to the processed variations of plastic?
Despite the current understanding that our brains change, people seem to be locked into thinking of their minds as tools. Even the book refers to the brain’s response to changes in structure as “reprogramming.” And in casual conversations, I’ve heard the phrase “I just don’t have the bandwidth for it” used to explain feeling overwhelmed. Deep down, for all the wonders of how people think and feel, all the breakthroughs in understanding neurology, I think most of us secretly want to be cyborgs.