Word, – The Path-maker of Humans.

‘Word’ is the mighty tool of human to human Communication System. Word is deployed in the Communication System through speech and writing. While vocal chord and tong help to utter a word,  a material surface is needed for words to be presented in writing. These are well-known facts which need no further explanations. However, when it comes to spoken words, there comes something worth noticing: Spoken words entail sound and that makes the difference. Sound cannot be written down in normal, known platforms. Both word written and word sounded are symbols of signals.

Human Brain owns two Signal Systems by which ideas, information and knowledge are received and conveyed from person to person. The two signal systems are categorized as the First and the Second Signal Systems.

During the course of evolution, Homo sapiens developed an extremely important addition to its nervous activity. In animals reality of the surroundings is signalized by situations and the traces they leave behind in the cerebral hemispheres of brain which come directly to the nerve cells through visual, auditory, olfactory or other receptors. This process belongs to the category of First Signal System which humans too possess by way of impressions, sensations and notions in relation to the world around, – the world that represents both the natural and the social environs. As far as humans are concerned there is a well-laid path of communication constructed by and through ‘word’ that is heard or ‘word’ that is seen in writing. That path of communication falls within the Second Signal System.

The Second Signal System is the special capability of human brain. The special capability of second signal system is of words written and or of words spoken. The knowledge the word conveys may be of impressions, sensations and notions in relation to the world around. Process of understanding the meaning and knowledge that the word conveys, either separately or jointly, depends upon the working condition of the sensory centres in the cerebral cortex of each individual human being: Idiots, imbeciles and morons may not understand the meaning and or knowledge that word represents or conveys. But an intelligent person whose sensory reactions to signals from the environs are sharp, might in all probability, understand the meaning and knowledge a word conveys  with consistency as compared to morons, imbeciles and idiots.

Humans cherish the additional ability of Second Signal System of communication through words while they overtake animals, birds and every other lower species to maim and succeed. Humans think, evaluate and invent through the magic wand of Second Signal System along with support or help from First Signal System.

 

Animals And Humans – Difference That Matters.

Both  Animals and Humans belong to the same Mammalian Family: But the members of the same family totally differ from each other. Every human being in the family knows the differences pretty well. That’s fine; still the system of communication available to each among the family members merits a go through. Because, the system of communication available to the animals as well as to the humans is the most significant boundary wall which divides both the families from one another.

Animals have five sensory centres in their brain like what humans have in their nervous system. The nervous system of animals has its permanent nerve connections ingrained at the time of birth. So also is the case of humans. The permanent nerve connections in animals, however, seldom got complemented or supplemented by newly formed nerve connections after their birth to the extent of what human brain could achieve on that score.

Animals continue to live with the abilities which are established in their nervous system at the time of birth; they do breath; they have cardiovascular system working; they eat food to sustain life; they grow, engage in reproductive activities to propagate the generations; they do communicate with each other. And finally, they too perish as every human being does face.

Humans too have permanent nerve connections in their nervous system which are there at the time of birth: The permanent nerve connections provide the inborn abilities of breathing, cardiovascular functions and ingestion. Humans grow; they engage in reproductive activities as animals do. Humans do communicate with each other and finally they too perish as every animal species undergo.

All the inborn faculties are common for both the animals as well as the humans. But then, unlike the animals, human brain has the capability to form hundreds of new and temporary nerve connections after the birth. The new nerve connections called conditioned reflexes are formed on the basis of the interactions of the nervous system through the sensory centres, with the external environs. This has enabled humans to think creatively, to invent new horizons for lively hood and comforts. Besides, changes in environs also helped changes in bio-chemical ingredients in humans as generations passed by. Here comes the significance of the system of communication developed and made available to the human species.

The system of communication that enables either to convey information or to receive information is named as ‘signal system’. The signal system consists of two major categories. They are the First Signal System and the Second Signal System.

That process of the central nervous system which enables the organism to receive and to convey information through signs and symbols in the environment is called the First Signal System. The First Signal System is common for both the animals and the humans.

The signal system which is in the exclusive possession of the humans is called the Second Signal System. The second signal system through which information is gathered or information is conveyed is confined to words. They may be words muttered, or words spoken or words that are written. In the Second Signal System information is transmitted through the medium of language which is the custodian words. The Second Signal System is the core of all what have made human beings as humans. But for the Second Signal System, the Human Species would have remained at the level of animals in the path of intellectual transformation.

The development of language, the Second Signal System, takes place in consonance with the formation of new nerve connections after the birth. This is attributed to the complexity of the nervous action, the complexity achieved during the course of evolution.

The major difference between animals and humans lies in the Second Signal System. Human brain is the sole custodian of Second Signal System: Second Signal System eluded the whole set of living organisms and it stood firm in its exclusive preference for humans.

During the big and tiresome journey inside the vehicle of evolution, the animal world remained where it was in the beginning. But when the vehicle went ahead leaving the animals where they were, the humans acquired the means of communication of the Second Signal System. There thus started all the intellectual innovations, the innovations those are only of the human race. There stands straight the difference between animals and humans that matters the most.

 

The Memory Track

Ability of human mind to retain traces of past perceptions and sensations and to reproduce them as concepts and ideas is what is meant by memory. Memory constitutes experiences of the past and the present: Since there is no future experience in the present, non-existing future experience cannot constitute memory of the present.

Brain activity that leads to reflection of objective reality of the outside world begins with sensations. Brain does not react directly with the outside objects, but it acts through receptors known as sense organs which are connected to sensory centres in the frontal cortex of the brain. Brain has five sensory centres each representing the five sense organs. Sensation is the primary mental reaction induced in the cerebral cortex of the brain by different stimuli emanating from internal or external environs. The stimuli interact with sensory nerve endings:

The interaction produces sensation in the nervous system. ‘Sensation’ is the initial stage of cognitive activity  which is generally termed as thinking process. By nature, Sensation is the elementary step in cognitive process: Sensation does not portray the object of information in its entirety or in its complete form. The process, by which the entire picture of an object of information is reflected, is known as Perception. Perception is the second stage of cognition. What is perceived through sensations leaves traces of images in the brain and when the encounter is over, the images become capable of being reproduced: That scenario represents what is called ‘memory’ and ‘memorization’. But at that stage,  images are subtle and the memory is unstable. This can well be compared with a growing child:

When the child starts growing, its mental development also starts picking up. In the early stages of growth, the images cast in its brain are poor and unclear. As the child grows, its brain starts developing Second Signal System which is identified as speech. Then the child’s world of images gets enriched: In adulthood, perceptions become clearer and with fully developed Second Signal System that is the use of language termed as speech, the adult becomes capable of generalization and segregation of concrete images. The capability of generalization and segregation of images is Conception. Sensations, Perceptions and Conceptions undergo evaluation and judgment. And thus ‘memory’ becomes stabilized and capable of being reproduced in proper and complete order. The whole process confirms that Conception is the torch bearer of memory and memorization:

Conception is facilitated by Second Signal System of language: Language plays a key role in brain activity of humans; language makes the major difference between humans and animals. Memory can be traced to experiences which one has encountered. Experiences can be of the past or of the present. Since experience of future does not exist in the present and since experience of the future did not exist in the past either, it does not contribute anything to the constitution of memory in normal brain activity. However in abnormal brain activity through and by imaginations, it is possible for some persons to build up memory in their brain. The fundamental principle of such memories relates to different beliefs nurtured by individual human beings.

Memory of past experiences sometimes leads to different emotional and attitudinal changes in humans. These changes may relate to matters of happiness, joy, pleasure and feelings of wellness, sorrow, worries, agonies and distresses. Due to conditional situations of something or the other, the emotions and attitudinal changes affect certain section of the people very adversely. As a consequence they  lose their mental equilibrium. Such persons are generalized into the category of mentally deranged persons. Mentally deranged patients need appropriate clinical treatments to bring back their cerebral functions into normalcy.