Saturday, November 24, 2012

My Damaged Brain

All right listen, I just started reading a book called Incognito - The Secret Lives Of The Brain.

Does this sound appetizing to you? It is f***ing awesome. The premise is that our conscious state of mind, which we all perceive as who we are, is merely the tip of the ice berg. That consciousness is merely the beneficiary of the incredible stuff that goes on behind the scenes in our diseased little brains.

I have read enough and thought enough and felt enough to know that this is true. I have been victimized by my own brain for a lifetime. All the dark nooks and crannies, all the diseased pockets of misinformation and disinformation, all the misunderstandings and misinterpretations that combine to make me a part time clerk in a liquor store at the age of fifty eight.

What I love is this guy's approach. He takes a tough subject and makes it readable. Don't get me wrong, I am barely into the book and I have come across a couple of dry parts already. it's the kind of book where you cannot allow your mind to wander. You cannot suddenly wonder if you put butter on the shopping list in the middle of a chapter explaining the misconceptions about the relationship about what role the brain plays in how our eyes "see." You will miss something.

You have to focus to read this book but, then again, isn't that a good thing for your brain?

A couple of great references he has thrown in early on. He pairs the following two quotes. Carl Jung: "In each of us there is another whom we do not know." Pink Floyd: "There's someone in my head, but it's not me."

Read a little Eckhart Tolle and you will dig where he is coming from.

He uses hitting a baseball as a great example of the separation between the brain's ability to process something and conscious response to that. If a pitch is thrown at 100 m.p.h. it reaches the plate in four tenths of a second. That is enough time for the batter's eyes to pick up light signals from the baseball and work all that information through the brain in a way that gets the muscles of the arms moving. But conscious awareness takes half a second, which means the ball travels too rapidly for the batter to be aware of it. In other words you do not have to be consciously aware to perform sophisticated acts.

This blows my mind.

I can see you are already getting bored so I won't drone on.

I am excited because I am working on my brain right now, kneading it like dough, trying to bring it back to life after decades of dumbing myself down. This book gives me more to work with.

The author raises the following questions to give a taste for where he is going with this book.

How is it possible to get angry with yourself; who exactly is mad at whom?

Why do people love to store their money in Christmas accounts that earn no interest?

If the drunk Mel Gibson is an anti-Semite and the sober Mel Gibson is authentically apologetic, is there a real Mel Gibson?

What do Ulysses and the subprime mortgage meltdown have in common?

Why do strippers make more money at certain times of month?

I think I am going to love this guy.

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