This article was originally published in Profectus Magazine.

The human brain is an amazing organ. Though it only accounts for 2% of the weight of an adult human, it uses 20% of the energy our bodies produce. Many of the tasks our brains complete happen without our conscious awareness. Even when we are asleep, our brains remain hard at work managing the various bodily processes that keep us alive.

But what is really cool and unique about the human brain, compared to the brains of other organisms, is the cognitive complexity that grants us the power of self-reflection, self-regulation, and ultimately, self-determination. We can think about what we want to do with our lives and then we can turn those thoughts into actions. We can mentally time travel both forward and backward, which allows us to turn to the past for guidance when we are planning for the future. Our ability to think abstractly and symbolically gives us powerful imaginations, which fuels the artistic, scientific, entrepreneurial, and philanthropic endeavors that drive civilizational progress.