Thursday, March 25, 2010

“About me” A thought provoking notion

I loaded up Barbed Wire Monkey this morning to write a post, and I realized, My personal information was rather bare. I scanned down the list, wondering why I hadn’t filled any out yet, and how long it may take to complete, I’ve got other things I’d like to finish today… etc. And my “right brain” as I call it, seemed to have been amused by the About Me section. I’ve come to think that our brains are more than just two hemispheres of some miracle organ, so much as a beautiful example of evolution at it’s finest failures. It’s a long, convoluted story that I’ll get to at another date. I am going to give you a long paragraph (those who know me won’t be surprised), about my mind theory, as it is very pertinent.
I read a science story about a frog mutation that was usually fatal, I didn’t remember at the time, but Mr. Soluri, my highschool biology teacher taught me in 1983, amphibians have two-chambered hearts. They are limited in size, endurance and a vast number of other ways that humans are not, as mammals have an improved design, with four chambers. In much the same way as a 4-stroke engine is preferable to a 2-stroke engine. But this frog mutation resulted in two hearts forming inside the frog, effectively giving them the correct number of chambers, but configured in a fatal way. When I read this, the way my right brain understands genetic mutation and evolution caused me to experience what the Greeks called aporia. It’s where you run out of information and are left speechless. In other words, it’s the new frontier, unsettled land if you will. And an inquisitive mind stands there and begins to construct, where an un-inquisitive mind will turn back, and say “I can’t go there.”

So I stopped for a moment and focused on the particular thing that had caused me this mentally unbalancing pause. Imagine you’re walking, holding hands with someone, and suddenly that person stops walking. Are you the type of person that becomes annoyed, and drags at them, slow down to their pace, and look at them to try to determine what’s up? I felt this way inside my own mind. This time I stopped and investigated.
Well what if one of these four chambered frogs didn’t just mutate in one way that caused the four chambers, but also in such a way that proved, not fatal, but beneficial! The frog could be incapable of breeding with it’s own kind if the mutation was too great, or it might get gobbled up by a fish, but it also, might survive, and mate with another frog, or many frogs who also were prone to the fatal four chambered heart… well now. We’re on to something here. And as I realized that notion, I had another “right brain moment” as I call it, where I’ll get a faint, mental notion or image of something I’ve read, seen, or thought before. And this time it was several facts:
1. Some human birth defects are fatal, one of which is being born without a brain at all, just an empty skull. I don’t mean this in the funny, you’re a dumb-ass way, I mean it in the tragic, you’ve carried a child to full term and are expecting a happy new addition to the family, and a dead baby comes out because, though it is completely functional in every way, there is no impulse to drive it’s organs. It was alive only because it was on autopilot. It’s a great tragedy
2. A human being can be born with only half a brain, and again, I’m being serious here, even though the statement is inherently comical stay serious with me here.
3. A human being can survive losing half their brain, say to cancer, and still have a happy, long life after the loss, only paralyzed on the opposite side of the body missing the brain.
4. A human being having terrible seizures can be saved from certain death by having their brain cut in half, as the seizure is a “noise” “feedback loop” that bounced from one half of the brain, to the other, getting louder until it gets so tired from the effort they fall down, exhausted in the failure. You can imagine this clearly buy thinking of two people, trying to explain something to one another, and getting louder and louder, until they get blue in the face and pass out, or Democrats and Republicans trying to discuss Healthcare.

So, how did we get two halves of our brain, stuffed inside one skull? Think about it people. Real Hard. And as you do, chew on this notion. People who have split brained surgeries develop two, separate personalities, each controlling half the body. In this condition, the right hand literally does not know what the left hand was doing. If I had this problem there would be so many spanked tushes I’d get put in jail trying to go to Wal-Mart.

But my brain is in two pieces still connected, thank you. But I realize there just MAY be another me over there, and maybe he’s smarter than me. (Egad, what if it were a she, over there?)

My belief in this dual-mind causes me to stop when I’m “given pause”, because I realize that I may be missing something very important that my right brain can’t tell me about with words, because ironically enough, the portion of our left brain that generates and orders our thoughts into words and speech, is in all other primates, devoted to accurate memory. Please read this paragraph again, even if you think you got it. I read it five times to make sure I had it right, it’s a really difficult brain pretzel for me, the me on the left that is.

I think my right brain is far wiser than I. And I was given Great Pause over the About Me section…. And this is what I got when I stopped and thought about it a while.

I am an insignificant organism.
I live on the outer crust of a body of space junk whose core is so hot, it may be as hot as the surface of the sun. The stuff surrounding it is melted into a glowing hot mud we call magma. On top of this layer of mud, is a very thin crust of hard stuff, about 20, of the 1800 miles it takes to get to the center. Imagine the skin around your arm being crust.

I live on this skin. My species was once nearly extinct, but now has covered the skin in what I would consider a splotchy, putrid, infectious rash, if the earth’s skin were on my body. I would go see a doctor if I had an infection that did to my skin, what we are doing to the earth.

I’m male, I have offspring, I have a mate and there is great disharmony between us. My extended family is spread far, and in poor communication. I am a primate, who requires close family, and a cohesive community for complete happiness. It is my instinctual, nature to be this way, and as such, I am unhappy much of the time, if I do not specifically remain conscious of how things really are, and not how my nature craves them. (I have to exert mental effort to maintain my happiness, but I am most often successful).

The crust of this planet is surrounded by a very thin layer of air about 500 miles thick. I need this air to survive as it allows my body to combust the food I eat, and continue my life. Beyond this thin layer of air, is the harsh reality of the universe. I am only capable of life in the lowermost section of this layer of air. All in all, with the layer of air and the earth below, all 2300 miles of it, I can only survive in roughly 5 of these 2300 miles. That’s a thin layer only .21% of the whole.

This ball of stuff surrounded by air is spinning at 1000 miles per hour, orbiting around the sun at 65,000 miles per hour and our solar system is orbiting around the galactic center at a speed I can’t find on the internet quickly, and our galaxy is hurtling through space, faster with each passing second, at over 2 million miles per hour.

Add this to the recent scientific discoveries of Dark Matter and Dark Energy. They have just begun to scratch the surface of this, it’s about as well understood now as rocket science was in the 1800’s. And we have routine advanced in rocket science! So far, the majority of the people doing the science on things Dark, tend to believe, all visible matter composes only 15% of what’s out there.
So imagine how it changed people’s idea of the world around them when it became known that the stuff we breathe is actually SOMETHING! That there’s atoms floating around out there, and that’s what we just found out about the “vacuum of space”. We’re essentially floating in Dark Matter where we thought we were hurtling through space!

So what in the hell can I really say “about me” no matter what I say, I’m only going to be 15% sure, and in the big scheme of the universe, I’m so fragile and insignificant, me writing something “about me” is about as relevant as asking a bit of plankton about its neighborhood, what it does to survive and its family tree.

I can only conclude I’m nothing of consequence.

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