Some years ago, two hundred and fifty miles over Alysson Muotri’s head, a thousand tiny spheres of brain cells were sailing through space. The clusters, called brain organoids, had been grown a few weeks earlier in the biologist’s lab here at the University of California, San Diego. He and his colleagues altered human skin cells into stem cells, then coaxed them to develop as brain cells do in an embryo.
The organoids grew into balls about the size of a pinhead, each containing hundreds of thousands of cells in a variety of types, each type producing the same chemicals and electrical signals as those cells do in our own brains.
What, exactly, were they growing into? That was a question that had scientists and philosophers alike scratching their heads.
Dr. Muotri and his colleagues reported that they had recorded simple brain waves in these organoids. In mature human brains, such waves are produced by widespread networks of neurons firing in synchrony. (1)
Brains observing other brains.
Fascinated by what they see.
A world full of light.
A world full of shadows.
Do not try so much to stay awake.
You are meant to sleep. And dream.
Of a cosmos somewhere else.
A cosmos casting shadows over shadows.
Which generates no brain waves to detect.
An invisible cosmos.
Penetrating this one.
Through all the brains and brain waves.
Yes, you can detect the waves some-How.
But it is the Why which makes you doubt if that really means something…
Do your brain waves mean anything?
Do you dare question yourself?