I Heart My Brain

Another day with its inherent problems getting started. Well, that's all in the past now and I'm well on my way into the storm. By the time I get to the end of this piece I'll be on cruise control and have to grab my temporal lobes and pull backward, to rein them in.

Whenever I surface enough from my sleep, during the night, that I can consider my options on whether to try to turn over to sleep some more, to get up to take care of needfuls or to lie awake and see where my thinking will take me, I've been trying to foster some tiny flame of creativity and think of a way to portray thinking in an illustration.

My obvious starting place is a diagram of the brain. It fascinates me. Physically and functionally, the brain is The Black Box. I remember as a child, imagining what was going on in the brain. I remember thinking of dreams like a cartoon, where there is a little physical room within my brain where there is an old-fashioned projector and a screen and a little man who tirelessly runs movies of things that I've seen, things that I've thought and sometimes wild mixed up clips strung together of things I fear taped together with all manner of junk from who-knows-where.

That was, for a long time, my model of one phase of consciousness. I literally thought that if you drilled a hole in my head and stuck a tube into my brain you could find a place where there was the actual flickering light of the tiny projector running, 24 hours a day. I also remember the moment when I realized that was a ridiculous vision of the way the brain worked and feeling kind of youthfully stupid at my naivety.

As I think about it now, it wasn't such a bad model. If I substitute electrical activity for the flickering light, it's pretty close to correct. There's some portion of my mind that strings together the visual representations of thoughts from all different sources and presents them to a part of my mind that evaluates input for interpretation and judgment. I'm convinced that the projection portion is separate from the evaluating portion and if that's true then the interesting part is the decision making that goes into putting together the clips.

That portion that creates the "films," "the film-maker," has decided that, for some reason, it's important to have the evaluator take another look at some chosen segments, to consider their importance. One part, the film-maker, is sending coded messages to the more conscious part, the evaluator. The "film" is exactly like a movie, edited for meaning, carrying messages in the form of metaphors and analogies, and emotions that the film-maker thinks is important to remember and mark for reference. Maybe it means to show patterns and commonality in things that we see and think.

The evaluating portion of my mind is the same one that runs all day while I'm driving, watching movies, on the computer. It's a bit smarter than what I consider to be my conscious mind because it knows what's being sent from my regular awake sense and what it's looking at from my film-maker portion. Every once in a while, the evaluator can become confused and think that a dream is real, but most of the time, it knows what's real and what isn't. Maybe there's a source flag that tells it where the input is coming from.

That's an interesting thought, and this came from the part that straddles the awake and the dream. I hope that's the creative portion that I've been trying to reach. For now, I'm starting to go back around in a circle, exactly like a common dream I have, so I'll move on for now. (Something I'm often not allowed to do in my dreams.)

More later,
Originally Published on Rising-Gorge on 6/14/2016


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