Neurons and glial cells held a rally today in order to bring attention to their controversial plan to fundamentally re-shape the way the body is constructed.
Their proposal calls for a massive new type of processing center, dubbed “the brain”: essentially a drastically enlarged and significantly more complex version of the clusters of nerve cells that run bodies today. They claim that this dramatic expansion would provide untold benefits– from the ability to quickly analyze massive amounts of data to the capability to formulate logical models of the world around us.
But this highly ambitious plan would come at a steep price: staggering energy requirements, a difficult gestation process and no immediate guarantee that it will make existence any easier or more understandable. The proposal has been sharply criticized by constituents of other organs, such as the powerful endocrine lobby, who have ridiculed the idea as “preposterous” and characterized it as an expensive waste of money.
According to its critics, neurons’ use of resources is already excessive, and any further appropriation of the body’s energy would handicap other, more important systems. And commentators have pointed out what they see as fatal flaws in the plan: for example, that the relatively delicate construction of the so-called brain leaves it prone to damage.
Backers of the brain project have responded with the suggestion for a bony outer structure, called a “skull”, they say would protect the brain from all but the most concussive impacts. Ironically, though, this has increased the proposed budget for the brain even more. Though they continue to claim that the benefits of the brain’s processing power would more than make up for the tremendous expense, advocates for the brain face a difficult road ahead in making their dreams a reality.
“It’s a Catch-22,” said one glial cell, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. “You want everyone to imagine the possibilities– but they can’t really do that without, you know, a brain.”