Imagine with me…. First, there is the telephone itself, not to mention the network of telephone poles and wires spreading across the world. There are the electrical signals that transmit calls to the individual phones in each home that ring when a call comes through. Then there are the operators, who monitor and direct the calls that come and go. Now think about the human brain, and how it’s connected to the rest of the body, just like the all the telecommunications are centered at the operator’s office. Let’s look at this analogy more closely, applying the different parts of the brain to the different areas of telecommunications.
The Brainstem: This is the cord that connects and sends signals from the rest of the body to the brain and back again. We can apply this part of the brain to the telephone wires strung on telephone poles (a.k.a. the spinal cord) that connect the telephones to the main operator’s office.
The Medulla: The control center for heartbeat and breathing. It is similar to the electrical signals traveling down the telephone wires (a.k.a. the brainstem) that control in which home the telephone rings (like the rhythmic heartbeat and breathing).
The Thalamus: This is the area on top of the brainstem that directs sensory messages to the cortex and transmits the replies to the cerebellum and medulla. It is very similar to a telephone operator’s switchboard or call forwarding.
The Reticular Formation: This is a nerve network running through the brainstem and thalamus that plays an important role in awakening arousal. It could be compared to the actual startling ring of the telephone that alerts people to answer the phone.
The Cerebellum: This “little brain” resides at the rear of the brainstem. It processes sensory input and coordinates movement output and balance of the body. It is very much like the actual telephone operator, who handles the calls, does the brain work, and coordinates where each call should be forwarded.
Amygdala: These two seemingly insignificant neural clusters have been found to be very importantly linked to our emotions. They can be compared to two important factors that determine the emotional reaction of the person who answers a telephone call. Those two factors are whether the call brings good news or bad news.
Hypothalamus: This part of the brain monitors the state that the body is in and keeps regulates bodily maintenances, such as hunger and thirst and hormonal drives. It could be compared to our drives to use telecommunications—our need to hear from friends, to generate business, to get emergency assistance, and so on.
Hippocampus: An area of the brain associated with memory. It is our brain’s equivalent of a “save” button. It can be compared to our modern telephones’ ability to save recently used phone numbers, use speed dial, and save messages for us to listen to later.
All in all, one can make several interesting associations between the brain and telecommunications. But we must remember that this analogy does not even come close to illustrating the beautiful, complex, and yet orderly designed structure that God created.
Not only that, our brains can think! I’d like to see a telephone try that….