Brain-like structures have evolved by performing signal processing initially by minimizing tracking errors on a competitive basis. Such systems are highly complex and at the same time notoriously disordered. The functional trace of the cerebral cortex of the human brain is a good example. The electroencephalogram (EEG) appears particularly fragmented during the execution of mental tasks, as well as during the recurrent episodes of rem sleep. A stochastically regular or a highly synchronized EEG on the other hand, characterises a drowsy (relaxing) or epileptic subject respectively and indicates-in both cases-a very incompetent information processor. The author suggests that such behavioral changeovers are produced via bifurcations which trigger the thalamocortical nonlinear pacemaking oscillator to switch from an unstable limit cycle to a strange attractor regime (i.e. to chaos), or vice versa. This analysis aims to show that the EEGs characteristics are not accidental but inevitable and even necessary and, therefore, functionally significant. 25 references.