English Test 114
Directions for Questions from 1 to 5:
The key we shall try to use to unlock the prison door is to say that a brain contains knowledge and information, written in its own language. This is
actually a very complicated statement. We may all think that we know what is meant by ‘information’, but it is really a very subtle concept, not easy
to analyze. The word is of course borrowed from ordinary speech, but we shall try to give it a more precise meaning that will allow us to say that all
life depends on a flow of information. Information is carried by physical entities, such as books or sound waves or brains, but it is not itself material.
Information in a living system is a feature of the order and arrangement of its parts, which arrangement provides the signs that constitute a ‘code’
or code are transmitted along suitable channels; they provide the control that helps to maintain the order that is the essence of life. So the
concepts of signs and information, and of coding and language, are closely related to the nature of life itself, and like life they are not simple at all.
We shall return several times to discuss them.
For the present we can work with the idea that to understand a strange language means to be able to translate the sounds heard or the words
written into one’s own language. (although ‘translation’ is not at all a simple concept either). So to understand the language of the brain we must
learn to recognize and interpret the elements of the script and the meanings of the signs in which it is written. Neuroscience is beginning to do this.
In this book I hope to show how the organization of the brain can be considered as the written script of the programs of our lives. So the important
feature of brains is not the material that they are made of but the information that they carry.
What neuroscience can do is to translate the language in which the brain programs are written into ordinary language. Since these are the
programs that produce the phenomena of human language