In this "Broaden Your Thinking" component of my first research round I would like to compare the correlation between exercise and neural activity with how Hitler's laws changed art and science in Germany.
Pretty obscure... Comparing how exercise affects neural activity (well) and how Hitler's ideologies, combined with his laws, changed the arts are sciences in Nazi Germany (not well). Lets be real though, comparing a comparison/correlation project with another project is difficult an inevitably will result in some obscure comparisons. However, I think that the compare contrast of these two different... things, for lack of an alternative common name, will be interesting. It would probably be easier to contrast than to compare but I would like to find some ways, albeit outside of the box, that these two topics compare.
During Sophie Offei's project on "How Hitler's laws changed art and science in Germany" the research moulded so that it focused a lot on propaganda which is fine by me as I think Hitler's propaganda, or propaganda in general, has some interesting comparable aspects to how exercise affects neural activity. My project on the correlations between exercise and brain activities or more specifically how exercise helps neural pathways and learning abilities to improve. So we'll keep it relatively short as there is no need to delve into such strange relations.
The one line correlation between exercise and neural activity for todays purpose is, along with its embellishments, "Exercise causes proliferation of the BDNF protein in the brain which encourages long-term potentiation (LTP) which directly improves learning and memory." Inversely, the one line on how hitlers influence changed art and science is "Propaganda or altered facts play in to the brains inherent cling to repetition as truth". This is only one of the many things stated in Sophie's metamorphosis but the one which I would like tom correlate. Both of these one line explanations are, of course, merely simplified ways to compare these already very different subjects to each other. There are many other interesting relationships, as everything relates to some extent, that I thought about but I will stray from philosophy as much as I can and just touch on three cool comparisons.
- First, while exercise helps to improve the brain's plasticity by increasing long-term potentiation, resulting in better learning and critical thinking/questioning, propaganda plays tricks on the brain through repetition and a seemingly complete belief in the altered facts by surrounding civilians and those in power, and solidifies people's thoughts and discourages critical thinking, learning and questioning. If you don't believe me read '1984' and think, as Orwell thought when he wrote it, about Stalin's propaganda (or, perhaps a better analogy in this day and age, think of Kim Jong-un, Kim Jong Il and north Korea's propaganda in wake of the practically opposite reality) and then read 'Brave new world' to contrast the other, materialist, consumerist, propaganda that is present in many aspects of our lives today. If you are unconvinced that exercise helps improve the brain's plasticity read some of my previous posts or research it on your own, I'm sure you'll find it a fascinating subject to research.
- Second, repetition is an essential to creating strong neural pathways (brain connections you probably know as learning). From remembering where you left your keys to remembering peoples faces to understanding how to deal with a situation based on past acquired knowledge, neural pathways require repetition to work effectively and efficiently. When you try to remember the French word for platypus it is easier the more you have thought about it and, unless you have a photographic memory, you may not be able to remember it if you only saw it once. In the same way Propaganda is not effective if only done once. People would not, in large quantities, believe that all Jewish people were the enemy as they were taking away jobs and had too much money if they were told this once. They believed this because they were told it so often that, even though most people knew that such a generalization was false, they started to believe this. It also didn't help that the blame for the first world war, despite them not really starting the war in any respect, was placed on Germany which caused an even greater depression in the 20's and early 30's for the germans and people are usually willing to place blame when they are starving.
- Finally, these two topics are dissimilar yet again in that while Hitler tried to assimilate art and science to reflect his disillusioned ideologies, exercise is trying to encourage growth... literally. It encourages potentiation and learning, memory, diversity of thoughts and even will not assimilate the type of exercise (although people will till tell you that running is the best or that lifting weights is the greatest) that you choose to partake in. Hitler, like any propaganda person, wanted himself portrayed as a great leader. He wanted artists and scientists that mirrored his ideals. Everyone who did not either left Germany or was imprisoned or even killed. Inversely, if you want to improve learning or memory aerobic exercises such as jumping rope and muscle building exercises such as lifting weights both have positive effects on your brain and will not force you to choose only one or the other.
These two topics while predominantly in different times are both really great topics of study for going forward in science and in humanitarian issues. They say that it takes approximately 60 years for the next generation to forget the tumult, the turmoil of their parents. I think this is incredibly sad. The hope that I have is that the new technologies of our generation will enable people to know about the injustices going on in the world and to help in any way they can, even if it just means that we can keep the UN more accountable in peace-keeping missions around the world and prevent another holocaust, another genocide from being left without mitigation. I have only this hope. For without hope there is no chance of changing these inequalities which, on a world scale, barely compare to other stuff going on. While looking into the past can help us decide how best to approach the future, so can looking at past research, when testing new workings and different applications of older ones, help to create the best possible future.
Thanks for reading!