ConsciousAugust 7, 2007
I’ve always wondered why God did not see fit to give us complete control over our body functions. While we can think, move, and act voluntarily; we do not have a say on the regulation of thyroxine hormones, production of Adenosine Triphosphate, and management of beta-oxidation among other things.
In fact, even breathing is not fully voluntary! Try committing suicide by holding your breath, and if by sheer force of will you pass the point of unconsciousness, your medulla oblongata, denied the power to override your will, takes over your breathing control with a vengeance and you end up breathing normally.
And it is this act of breathing that made me spend minutes in a few days thinking about breathing, and I discovered something trivially profound (or profoundly trivial) from those sessions. It is impossible to be conscious of involuntary breathing. The moment you become aware of breathing is the moment breathing becomes voluntary.
Now this fact made me wonder what made the experts conclude that breathing can be an involuntary act considering that they could have never observed involuntary breathing in themselves. Now I don’t know how they actually did it. I’m thinking it has to do with sleep.
“Since we are unconscious while we sleep” the expert continued, “but we still breathe during that time, then we must be capable of involuntary breathing. “
Or it could have went like this, “What makes us breathe when we don’t think about breathing,” said one expert to another as the topic made them both gain control of their breathing.
“I don’t know,” said the other expert. “Perhaps some part of our brain does it for us whenever we’re too lazy to notice.”
“Ahh,” said the first expert as both he and the other expert tried desperately to discover the point where they could notice involuntary mechanisms to take control of their breathing.
Perhaps it took a few decades, several centuries, or many a millenia; but technology finally gave us the answer. Electric brain analysis tells us that the medulla oblongata and the pons, both component parts of the brain, regulate involuntary breathing.
Now this got me thinking. Perhaps one reason why God didn’t give us complete control over all our body functions, besides the fact that this would point us to seek a Sovereign God who controls everything, is so that we wouldn’t be boggled by too many decisions. Considering that we can be boggled by breathing, what more if we had control over other functions.
“I have to increase my pulse to 130 beats per minute; my brain is not getting enough ketone bodies.”
“I must not pee, better produce Anti-Diuretic Hormone, but I could suffer from urine back flow. I’d better reabsorb this excess water with <insert hormone name> hormone.”