“T-R-E-E” A composition of symbols ever so subtly depicted in black against a lighter contrast. It signifies nothing until it is confronted by an individual who fathoms the English definition of the term. The definition: A woody perennial plant, having a single stem rising to a considerable summit and bearing tangential branches at particular distance from the land. However, when two individuals perceive the word “tree”, the representation etched in their mind is dissimilar from one another. In addition, the cerebral representation may be revised when the term is stumbled upon at a separate instance. The word may not have changed, nor does the sound of its pronunciation, yet the semblance may! How can that be explicated?
As one comprehends the word, memoirs transpire into consciousness contingent on the former encounters. Synaptic fibers discharge through the brain, swiftly migrating through pre-molded neuronal networks; inciting the most vivid memories of that specific object. The brain is not stagnant, it is constantly morphed based on novel assimilation of experiences. Hence, subject to the path the signal voyages in, different memories may be recalled in any given moment in time.
Go ahead and picture a tree in the forest.
Now, I want you to picture a fallen tree in that forest.
Most individuals would have envisioned two separate trees in this case, one that is standing straight, and a “different” tree that is horizontally positioned in the forest. This is due to the efficiency of our synaptic connections; firing through networks that previously imprinted the images of each scenario. Rarely does one deliberately and laboriously commits to mentally “restructuring” the first mental image in order to satisfy the task at hand. The level of brain function necessary to perform the task is more strenuous than ‘passively’ recalling an image of a fallen tree that one previously encountered.
The brain often functions ‘passively’ to be more efficient.