America doesn’t have enough digital bandwidth to carry all of the data that could educate us, entertain us, or help us do our jobs. I know because I live in a rural dead zone that barely gets signals. We also don’t have enough mind width to seize the opportunities before us. Under President Bush 41, the 90s were designated “the decade of the brain.” Government and philanthropists funded ten years of research. Imaging and lab work allowed scientists to map the brain and the human genome. They discovered that we’re not born with all of the brain we need. The brain itself adds to its own mind width by directing us to have broad experiences so it can grow more nerves and make new connections. Lo and behold, cell growth is greater after intense training, after facing difficult challenges, and after rigorous education even well into old age.
This is a miracle. The righteous God “who probes minds and hearts” (Psalm 7:9) has given us the capacity to probe our own minds and grow our own mind width. We know more about what sticks in our memories and our place in the world because 30 years ago we saw how glial cells and grid cells go to work in our brains. Brain research is helping those with Alzheimer’s. Gene therapies are treating other tough disorders, proving once again that those who hope in the Lord not only renew their strength; they also expand their minds.