The Human Machine

The human body never ceases to amaze. What other machine or system actually gets stronger when coordinated stress is applied to it? Think about it: a CPU just gets extremely hot when overtaxed… The human body gets extremely hot and adapts. Likewise, a program only “learns” in so far as what it has been programmed to do. Those who have programmed before know that programming is like writing out explicit instructions to the dumbest creature in existence. Yet from the moment we are born, we’re learning. In fact, we cannot help but learn, whereas a computer has to be made to learn. The human body and mind are the most amazing things you will ever possess in this corporeal lifetime, for everything else in life can only be experienced so long as they are intact.

Next time you go running or go lift weights, stop and think about everything your body is doing. Your heart (hopefully) never stops beating. Your muscles and oxygen supply are growing because of the coordinated stress you are applying to them. Sure, some day they will eventually burn out, but before that point they are always growing and repairing themselves. Furthermore, while your body might have a set amount of potential, your mind is limitless. A computer, on the other hand, just starts to overheat or reaches its maximum point of processing power. It can sustain that power better than you can sustain high levels of exertion – most likely, anyway – but at the end of the day, it’s just going to cool down and be the same as it always was. It may be a little worse for wear, because entropy is always in effect. Nothing lasts forever. However, unlike your body, the CPU doesn’t adapt. It doesn’t get stronger.

People often compare a computer’s CPU to the human mind. A CPU is called the “central processing unit” of the computer, after all. However, if you stop and think about it, the CPU is really just the muscle – the body, if you will – behind the actual brains of the computer: the programmed applications residing somewhere in memory, whether in the form of a hard drive or a solid state memory device. Why? Because without human input – even just recorded input like a programmed application – the CPU is useless, in the same way that our body is useless without our mind.

A CPU can compute much faster than the human brain can. But it cannot think. It cannot adapt. Any adaption a computer makes is a programmed adaptation based on some such programmed manifestation, such as a complex strings of if-then statements and memory allocation, all thanks to a programmer… who actually had a brain. Computers follow instructions, that’s all. Human beings, on the other hand, can actually think.

So what was really the point of this little piece of writing? There was none, really. It was just to make you think. Hopefully you already stop once in a while and appreciate the most amazing gifts that God has granted each of us in this corporeal lifetime – our mind and body. For without them, nothing else in life could even be experienced. One is damaged if the other is damaged. One is improved if the other is improved. Take care of them.

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