Last week’s bit on Debi Pearls big bad book of brains was about teenagers and their brains. It is here. Today Debi is talking about growing and developing great big ole brains. Let’s do this.
Debi starts off by saying you must use your brain, or you lose it. Citing people like Charles Darwin saying that the Aborigines of Australia were lesser people, and others saying the black slaves of America weren’t smart. Debi explains that’s only because they never had the opportunities to use, develop and exercise their brains. How very progressive of her.
And stand by for some subtle tv bashing…..3, 2, 1.
“Other things equal, a life filled with more complex flow activities is more worth living than one spent consuming passive entertainment.” Mihaly Esikszentmichalyl
What about a life spent ordering others to beat their children when not beating your own?
Debi rambles on about the Renaissance, ‘blue bloods’ and ‘commoners’. Actually the word aristocracy would fit better than ‘blue bloods’ She explains that those of high birth were exposed to the finest knowledge and enough high quality fats that their brains developed while the hapless serfs stayed dumb and malnourished. Debi rattles on and on about her ‘blue bloods’ even to mistakenly claiming things like they where all highly trained in animal husbandry. It’s the most bizarre misinformation and worship of a class of folks I’ve seen since college.
She tries to figure out what else makes ‘blue bloods’ so special. She repeats her falsehood about Paul Bach-y-Rita and his father’s brain stem mentioned way back in chapter one.
Big Lie #1
“No one knew that it (the brain) could change for the worst under the influence of negative attitudes–unthankfulness, bitterness (the evangelical boogieman!) and just general moodiness. With stinking thinking, the brain produces chemicals like cortisol that diminish mental and emotional capacity.”
This is such a breathtaking astounding lie I almost don’t know where to start! You are not your emotions! Your emotions aren’t evil, they don’t cause anything but how your feel. How you feel does not dictate brain power, or is indicative of anything more than how you feel. Example. Several days ago I got weepy and sad suddenly for no reason. My life was going well. There was nothing to make me sad going on. I took my blood pressure, blood sugar reading and oxygen levels. The pressure and sugar levels were way too low and my oxygen had tanked. I ate something, took my asthma meds and laid down for a half hour, rising to feel much more reasonable. Learning to recognize that my body needs impact my moods was an important part of the puzzle in learning self-care for my asthma.
It’s not ‘Stinking thinking’ driving many of our moods, it can be tragedies, or fatigue, or some unmet need of the body. Illness. Hormone imbalances, the still unmapped chemistry of the brain. Where is the bitterness in any of that? It does not exist.
Big Lie #2
“The prefrontal cortex–the most advanced brain region–is also the most sensitive to the detrimental effects of stress exposure. Even quite mild acute uncontrollable stress can cause a rapid and dramatic loss.”
As people like to say, photos or it didn’t happen. Debi cites no studies or scientists in her claim that stress destroys PFC tissue. Stress does have a negative affect on your brain, but if this was true Debi herself would likely be brain dead from the levels of stress Michael put her through during their marriage, from abusing her on the honeymoon, through abusing her car, and starving the family, refusing to hold a job, the list goes on.
And what the heck is mild-acute uncontrollable stress? Either it’s mild or it’s not, not both at the same time.
Stress can shrink the PFC, but there’s no evidence of some mass extinction level cell die off like Debi claims.
Debi claims that those people who are awesome musicians, or scientists or anything else superb in their fields, but are seriously lacking in other area are the real idiots. That a full life only comes from balance. Such a strange segue out of stress.
Much babbling about brain grooving, how we lose brain cells when we age, and the importance in lifetime learning and we’re out.
Next week is all sorts of fear mongering over all the stuff Debi thinks shrinks your brain. It starts with a demeaning story on how thinking you are the best when young will kill your brain cells. So incredibly stupid, I feel like reading that chapter caused me to lose brain cells. I need to go play a few rounds of Candy Crush to shake this off.
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