Can The Human Brain Live Without A Body?

Brain Isolation

Imagine that you wake up one morning, and there’s absolutely nothing. You can only see a pitch-black void surrounding you. There’s no sound, not even the ringing of silence. You find that you can’t call for help no matter how hard you try to yell. Also, you can’t move or feel your body! What will happen next?

Fortunately, you realize that your brain has been removed from your body, is being kept alive, and can function normally. It is why everything is blank, and you have zero sensory inputs. You can’t feel your body because there’s no body for you to feel. Moreover, you don’t have the semicircular canals in your ears to tell you how your head is rotated. Unfortunately, this knowledge doesn’t provide any comfort.

You realize that you are helpless and that your existence right now is dependent on some unknown person taking care of you. But who is taking care of you? Why are they keeping you alive? How did you end up like this? Did an evil scientist steal your brain in the middle of the night? Did you sign up for an experiment and have no memory of it? Where are you? Stay with me to get all these answers.

Can the human brain live without a body? (Brain isolation)

The only thing that can save anything is our brain. What if your brain was kept alive in a jar? Practically, it is impossible to keep the brain alive in a jar because it will lose control of its blood supply. But theoretically, it is possible by using mental power and high-tech machine support. When your brain lives in a jar without your body, you wonder about your friends and family. Are they okay? What’s going to happen to you?

So many questions and thoughts run through your head, and it seems you’re not going to get any answers. No one seems to be trying to contact you. You are wholly trapped inside your mind, surrounded by nothingness. Will you be stuck here for months, years, the rest of your life?

So how will you keep from going insane? It’s easy for people to go insane in space shuttles or solitary confinement. You are experiencing something much worse. You have no way to interact with the world or people. Do you think there’s any chance that you’ll get out of this situation? Is there any hope that you’ll go back to your body and live the life that you had before?

The important thing is that you think intentionally by this, and you need to use your imagination in productive ways. Your brain works on a use it or loses it principle. It gets stronger if you use a part of your brain more often.

  • If you use a part of it less, it gets weaker.
  • If you stop thinking and try to wait for something to happen patiently, then there’s a good chance your brain will turn into mush.

You’re not using it, so you’re going to lose it. So use your imagination and keep your brain moving and alive.

Brain isolation
Brain isolation

Prison inmates have survived solitary confinement by imagining things for themselves to do in their minds. You could imagine yourself kicking a soccer ball into a wall. Then think about how you kick the ball. How straight was the ball’s path when you kicked it? Where did the ball go after it bounced off the wall? Mental exercises keep parts of your brain working.

If you want to prepare for your brain being put back into your body and reconnecting with the world, you should try to keep your imagination somewhat grounded in reality. Make sure that you practice the skills you might need when you return to the world.

Focus primarily on your motor skills and using your five senses. On the other hand, if you choose to accept this as your fate, you may want to create a less realistic reality. Create your own rules and make the most of your situation whatever you choose.

What if a newborn baby’s brain was removed from its body?

If you are put in complete isolation and don’t know anything about a particular subject, you have no hope of learning about that subject. If a newborn baby’s brain were removed from its body like this, then this brain would be unable to think. It is because it isn’t in a situation where it needs to learn and change.

This brain can’t learn about problem-solving, cause and effect, how to feel, communicate, or about any of the five senses. It would stay a blank slate because the brain can never develop if it can never learn. This complete isolation where survival is given without challenge prevents you from learning new information.

Can you get older if your brain is in complete isolation?

If your brain is put into a jar as a baby, will you become the person you are now? Aren’t your opinions based on your own unique experiences in this world? Haven’t you been at least a little influenced by the people you’ve interacted with within your life? Take all that away. Who are you? Not a painting but a blank canvas. But we’re talking about a situation where you’ve had prior experience.

You may know who you are or have an idea about it. But do you think you can grow in this isolation? If your brain were removed as a child, can you become an adult? If you’re already an adult, could you grow further? I’m not saying it’s impossible to change and grow on your own, but take it from me.

It usually takes a push to get you in the right direction, and your brain will also be physically changing in this isolation. We already talked about using it or losing it. So, your brain will take away whatever it thinks it doesn’t need and make room for what it thinks it does need.

  • Your ability to use all five senses will weaken without naturally using them daily.

Even if you exercise those parts of your brain and imagine the detailed sight, sound, smell, touch, and taste, it will not be as strong as real. Also, the brain will deem those areas as less essential and instead make more room for thinking and imagination. The activities will be primarily doing so with it being difficult to grow and your brain naturally reshaping to adjust to the complete isolation.

Are you still the same person you were before your brain was removed from your body?

That’s more of a personal question. It depends on what you feel is essential to you. If you feel like what you lose is more important than who you are, then maybe you can’t be the same person. But if you feel like you’re still you, then perhaps that’s true. Now you know how to stay mentally healthy after losing your body. You understand the challenges you’ll face in complete isolation.

We’ve covered the existential dread of your identity being only a brain in a jar. Now you need to ask yourself one question. Do you want to go back? Think about when you’re in a dark room, and the lights are suddenly turned on. Your eyes are irritated because they’re not used to the sudden stimuli, the sudden change from complete darkness to bright light.

What about your brain being in complete isolation? (Effect of brain isolation)

You get used to this, and your brain starts to rewire to adjust to this new environment. Let’s say you were given an Android body, and you’re suddenly reconnected to the world. Now there are noises everywhere. Bright lights and people are surrounding you. Everything is chaotic. There are sudden stimuli that your brain isn’t used to, which could irritate your brain.

  • Your brain starts to forget how to see in isolation and is having a little trouble processing the images you see.

People left in isolation for long periods tend to become more introverted. So, you’ll probably feel at least a little uncomfortable socializing. You need to learn how to communicate and be social with real people. Again, you find that they can be different from the imaginary friends you talk to.

You probably also need to go through physical therapy because your motor skills have decreased. Even if your new Android body is identical to the body you had before, you still need to relearn the motor skills you started to forget.

Do you think you’d feel comfortable like this? Is this worth being back in the world, or do you think you’d prefer being a brain in a jar? Just think about it and let me know your opinion in the comment section.


Read more about the brain:

Can We Upload Our Brain To A Computer?

What Does Dopamine Do For The Brain?


Sources:

Halbach, “The isolated mammalian brain: an in vivo preparation suitable for pathway tracing.” Eur J Neurosci.
Walkowiak W, Donkelaar HJ, “The use of in vitro preparations of the isolated amphibian central nervous system in neuroanatomy and electrophysiology.”
Holmes R. L., Wolstencroft. “Accessory sources of blood supply to the brain of the cat.”
Sam Boykin. “So you’re dead. now what? Things That Can Happen To Your Body After You’re Gone”. Creative Loafing Atlanta.

Julia Rose

My name is Julia Rose. I'm a registered clinical therapist, researcher, and coach. I'm the author of this blog. There are also two authors: Dr. Monica Ciagne, a registered psychologist and motivational coach, and Douglas Jones, a university lecturer & science researcher. I would love to hear your opinion, question, suggestions, please let me know. We will try to help you.

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