Monday, May 16, 2011

My Big Dumb Brain

I like to try to think my way out of problems. I rely on my intellect to make up for what I lack in so many other areas. But the problem with my "big brain" (see Vonnegut's Galapagos) is that it can't conceptualize its own limits. By that I mean, it tricks itself into thinking it doesn't have limits, or at least that the limits don't apply to it. This places me in quite a difficult situation, it seems. The captain at the helm seems to think he (unfortunately my brain is definitely a he) can steer in any direction and still end up where he wants to go. The falsity of this is evident, but from a very abstract level. It's like thinking of looking at a map and knowing that certain directions matter, that objects have a more or less fixed position in space, but then getting behind the wheel and throwing it theatrically so it spins endlessly in one direction, then the other, like some high school Peter Pan production set ship, but always expecting to end up in a particular place on that map.

I really think Vonnegut is right regarding the thesis of his book: that our brains, from an evolutionary perspective, have outgrown their usefulness. They've come to be the greatest orchestrators of our mass extermination in a way that nature seems only to have been able to do once in 65 million years. We could exterminate everything at the drop of the hat. How useful can an organ be, really, that is capable of inventing its own destruction?

Unfortunately I don't have an answer for Mr. Vonnegut (can you tell I've been reading him often of late?). He points to problems that my "big brain" cannot hope to solve. All I know is I've stuck with my brain, despite it's many flaws (mostly its impossible-to-sate lust for bacon at all hours of the day and night.) I just want to craft some armistice with it at least. So, brain, here's my terms:

  1. Stop telling me I can do whatever I want with my life, and that I'll succeed at whatever I do. This cannot be true. 
  2. My childhood was probably in the top 1% of all childhood's in the history of the world (in terms of love, advantages, luck in place and time of birth, etc.). So, whining subconscious, GET OVER IT. 
  3. Stop trying to make things harder for me constantly. I "know" I don't need an iPad or a sportscar or to live in NYC to be happy, so quit with the misinformation campaign, it's quite tiring. 
  4. Start helping me by easing up on the criticism and the constant logic checks. Existence is totally illogical, at best, and absurd at worst, so please just let me plant my feet somewhere in that "happy" medium, please. 
  5. Most important of all: I AM NOT WHAT I DO FOR A LIVING. I know, brain, that you value this idea perhaps above all others. But it is so maliciously defunct, so broken and dangerous and spiteful beyond all reason, that it's tearing me apart (Lisa). If you give up on any ridiculous notion, this one has got to be it. 

1 comment:

  1. Thanks, Adam, for posting this. You are such a gifted writer that I am certain that you "will succeed at whatever you do"! Speaking honestly, I loved reading it. I used the terms you outlined to start a conversation with my own brain. So, thanks for the free and helpful advice.