The Social Synapse

The Social Synapse

Look closely at the body and you will discover layer upon layer of highly complex interlocking systems. As you examine each layer, you will discover countless individual cells (neurons in the nervous system) that differentiate and migrate to specific locations throughout the body. These cells, in turn, grow into an infinite variety of forms, organize into functional systems, integrate with other systems, and, ultimately, creating an individual. This we accept easily; but what about the notion that nature used this same strategy to connect individual animals (humans) into a larger biological organism called a species?

Individual neurons are separated by small gaps, or synapses. These synapses are not empty spaces by any means for they are inhabited by a variety of chemical substances engaging in complex interactions that result in synaptic transmission. It is this synaptic transmission that stimulates each neuron to survive, to grow, and to be sculpted by experience. In fact, the activity within synapses is just as important as what takes place within the neurons themselves. Over vast expanses of evolutionary time, neural or synaptic transmission has grown ever more intricate to meet the needs of an increasingly complex brain.

We know that neurons communicate via these chemical signals, activating and influencing one another through the transmission of multiple biochemical messengers. When it comes right down to it, doesn't communication between people, as complex as it is, consist of the same basic building blocks? When we smile, wave, and say hello, these behaviors are sent through the space between us via sight and sound. These electrical and mechanical messages are received by our senses and converted into electrochemical signals within our nervous systems and sent to our brains. These internal signals generate chemical changes, electrical activation, and new behaviors which, in turn, transmit messages back across the social synapse.

The social synapse is the space between us. It is also the medium through which we are linked together into larger organisms such as families, tribes, societies, and the human species as a whole. Because our lives are lived at the border of this synapse and because so much communication is automatic and below conscious awareness, most of what goes on is invisible to us and taken for granted.

Children photo by Nathan Golden with A-scribe Images
Neuron found at the Slog
Tree mandala by Woven Essence

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posted by ashley


Celebrating a Clean Scan

My dad just had a 6 month scan that came back CLEAN!!! Yeahhh!!!

I'm celebrating with joy and wishing Paul and Cathy a happy anniversary!!

photo by athinaf
posted by ashley

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