Tag Archives: brain

The Faults of the Brain

The air blows over my body and I feel at peace. It is neither too warm nor too cool. It is the same as me. It is a part of me.

These mid-autumn nights make me feel so peaceful, so perfect. In fact, today is the equinox, Mid-Autumn Day, so it’s appropriate that I should reflect like this. Though the equinox signals the inexorable coming of winter, I feel that, for now, things are still okay.

But now, the incessant pain and stiffness in my neck and shoulders is returning. It is always there. It is never gone, so call this a return is imprecise. But it does ebb and flow throughout the days and weeks, and the past few hours have been pain free, relatively. But this too, for now, is okay.

I can tell that I’m exhausted, that I’m ready to pass out and sleep a peaceful, yet dream-filled sleep in the perfection of an autumn’s evening. My left eye refuses to stay open. I can only close it by itself when I’m exhausted. When energetic, I can wink with my right eye, but my left cannot be closed independently, only as a pair with the right. But when exhausted, the left closes on its own and I know that it will take very little to send me away to that land of impossible things.

And it is a land of impossible things. The experiences I have therein are some of the most bizarre, unbelievable, yet strangely vivid and real that I’ve ever had. A mere dream, upon waking, fades over the first few minutes of consciousness as the brain returns from hibernation, and loads the day’s business into working memory. The dream, deemed unimportant, is overwritten, banished, not even sent to the circular file — it just disappears. But those are normal dreams.

These days, mine are different. They are vivid — more so than so-called real life — and they stay with me. The brain takes them and instead of nuking them like it should, throws them into long-term memory with dodgy timecodes. So while sitting at work, and my mind is wandering, a sharp image from one of these dreams will be flashed upon the screen of thought, and when I request a timecode, the brain always throws back that it’s first of all a memory and secondly that it was formed long ago when I actually experienced the thing.

My brain hasn’t categorized them as memorable dreams either. Only the metadata, which I can grep, can tell me, “nah leave it bruv, it’s a dream, it’s not real,” despite everything else saying that it is real and that it did happen.

I know this sounds weird, and it is. But I don’t know how better to explain it, and so I slip into metaphor and simile. Why, that’s what language is for, after all — to communicate what you want no matter how you have to do it. Lack the words to say directly and precisely what you mean? Speak around it and try to get to your point through a roundabout, if whimsical, route.

And now, sitting here writing this, the brain has thrown up another image on the screen of thought. The secret room in the large house (or miniature mansion), wherein the allegedly missing father is living a comfortable life with white walls and furniture and a big-screen TV. I’m not even sure who alleged him to be missing or why, because his son knew where he was and the room was hardly hidden — perhaps it was more that the house was too big and people forgot parts of it existed.

But it’s so vivid, it’s like it actually happened. Confusing things even more is that the brain, over time and after me throwing a goodly number of cycles at the problem of thinking about it, has linked that house with the house of a friend of a friend that I visited once in high school. I know that they are not strictly-speaking related, but the brain is a goddamned troll.

Yeah, I have a troll brain. You do, too. All brains are troll brains. Some are trollier than others and I will claim that mine is one of those extra-troll versions, but I may just be misunderstanding the everyday brain troubles others have.

Speaking of troll brains, it’s time to take the meds to whip the troll into behaving itself, at least more than it would otherwise. I fumble the packet, my fingers not working quite right. The troll has control of everything and will try to stop me from stopping it. It’s an insidious bastard, my brain.

Which I suppose also makes me sound mad. Most people (and, again, I may be misunderstanding the everyday lives of people-not-me) seem to say that every bit of themselves is, well, themselves. “Here is a picture of you, head to toe. Where are you?”

“Why, I’m here.” (They gesture to the entire picture.)

“Be more specific.”

“This is me, I am here. I don’t understand the question.”

“If you were to lose a leg, would you still be you?”

“… yes?”

“So you use your leg, but you’re not in your leg.”

“I suppose so. I can follow your reasoning.”

“So, given that mindset, where are you?”

The subject pauses and thinks for a moment. Then she points to the head. “I’m here. I’m in here.”

“You’re in your brain.”

“Well, the brain is me. Maybe I’m in it? It’s hard to say.”

But, for me, I very clearly see “me” as separate from “my brain”. Me may reside in My Brain, but My Brain is an asshole landlord and bullies Me and mistreats Me. Me would move out, but Me lacks the means to do that. So for now, Me is stuck inside My Brain, and has to put up with all My Brain’s bullshit.

Does that make any sense? It does to me. But then I may be a bit mental.

But isn’t it more fun that way?

As quickly at the stream of thought comes, it tapers off and is gone. Once again all that is left is the perfectly perfect air blowing over my body as I drift off to whatever adventure awaits me tonight.