Category Archives: Psychology

An occupied mind

My mind is saturated. So much so that the thought of writing original work seems impossible right now.

I’m just over two weeks into this new gig. The learning-tasks I’ve been told to undertake are manifold: a new platform (Microsoft AX — an ERP), a new language (X++), a new business domain (transportation mfg.), a new scripting language (Powershell), and a new and complex build and deployment process.

Needless to say, my mind is fully occupied. So much so that I have zero desire to sit down to pen fiction. Which leads me to ponder the concept of mental overload. I’m quite content right now with my mind being crammed with newness. It’s as though I had this brain-tank that was running at half full for a few years. Into it I could pour all sorts of fiction fancy. I’d fall asleep fabricating new plots and stories. Now? Now, I fall asleep juggling the new business puzzle pieces that have been dumped into my mind.

And I’m OK with it. I’m not going to try and fight the trend. I figure that once I get acclimated my brain-tank will begin to empty and into it I’ll once again trickle oddities and oblique oscillations of thought.

Do you cycle between mental saturation of workplace or family and story time? Or can you keep them both topped-off and bubbling?

 


Reading in one’s own accent

Here’s a strange thought: do we read in our own accents?

If you’re from Boston, or Atlanta, or Winnipeg, or Edinburgh do you mentally verbalize — as you read — in your own accent? That is, does your own mind’s voice speak to itself in the particular accent of your locality?

Got you thinking, right?

Of course, we can (probably) never know the answer. And the question is a bit of a tautology or more so, an impossible question. What happens in our Vegas mind, stays in our Vegas mind.

But to examine the question anyway: when we hear our own voice in a recording we do not notice our own accent. Actors no doubt can detect intentional accents of their own making. But average humans? Everyone else has an accent — not us.

So, I suspect we don’t read to ourselves in our native accent, or none that we can identify. But, perhaps, if we could tap into the biological wires that connect our reading mindĀ  / speaking mind to our listening mind I bet we would recognize individual accents. It’s rather intriguing to think that someone from Mumbai is reading to themselves in a Mumbai accent.

It’s concepts like this that, from time to time, drop into my brain and make me wonder.

 


You know? Yeah, I know already

Have you noticed the growing trend of people who use the verbal tick, “you know?”

“You know, I was a high functioning expansive vocabulary guy before I got caught up in this insidious affectation, you know?”

Hooboy, what an irritant that is. I find myself counting “you know”s now — ignoring whatever the person is saying, and just clicking my internal counter, you know (click).

How do these things get started? And more importantly, how do we stop them? I don’t feel comfortable mentioning to someone, after their tenth “you know” that, fuck, would you listen to yourself? I don’t know what you were talking about but I counted fifteen “you know”s just now. In like, two minutes of talking.

I’ve tried to respond, at times, with “yeah, I know.” But then once they catch on, they get miffed. Or, more often, they don’t catch on and I get exhausted trying to keep up.

Is it insecurity, you know? Like they don’t trust their own thoughts and words, you know? Like they’re seeking constant confirmation of their notions, you know?

I won’t win. These people won’t change because they realize how stupid they sound using such a repetitive pointless phrase. Hell, they don’t know they’re doing it. And even when they do realize, the awareness gets lost within seconds, you know?

Yeah, I know already.


How do you like your eggs?

That should be the opener to every relationship.

“How do you like your eggs?”

Doesn’t it say just about everything about a person?

“Oh, I don’t eat eggs.” — NIX!

“Sling those delicious little ovums any ol’ way you want for me.” — WINNER!

“Ooh, I can’t stand runny yokes.” — GONNER!

“A buttery, soft-boiled treasure chest of golden goo and toast is absolute heaven.” — CHAMPION!

“Bouncy and dry, Don’t try to feed me wet scrambled — any day.” — EXIT STAGE LEFT!

“Tobiko, a raw quail’s egg yoke nestled in a tiny cup of flying fish eggs, wrapped in sushi rice and nori, tipped onto your tongue, popping the yoke, letting that unctuous creamy dream slide down your throat while nature’s pop-rocks burst like salty fireworks in your mouth, must be the most sensual food ever invented.” — DING DING DING — GRAND PRIZE!

If you don’t share your love (or hatred) of eggs — the way you like them — then what do you really have in common with that person?

Poached, fried, scrambled, soft-boiled, hard-boiled, deviled, frittata’d, quiche’d, pickled, omeletted, and raw. Eggs are wondrous orbs of divisive lines in the sand. Cross those lines — at your peril.

How do I like my eggs?

(Spoken with a heavy Scottish brogue): Squeezed from a chicken’s vagina, heated slow for the whites to jell, the yokes jiggling like a fat baby’s cheeks, and then slid over grits creamed and peppered, with a thumb-sized dollop of salted butter lowered onto the delicate golden pillows, and then, oops, I’ve slit the sack, providing for that viscous yellow ink to leak, molten and slow into the nooks of the dish. Yes, that’s how I like my eggs.


Complex entertainment

Consider the entertainment industry 100 years ago. Or 200. Or 2000.

Could you ever believe you might be satisfied with shadow puppets, Punch n’ Judy, traveling minstrels, oral stories in an amphitheater or around a campfire and maybe, if you’re lucky, a play or a view of the art of a city, the wealthy or a religious edifice?

Throw your 21st Century self back into antiquity and imagine how bored your mind would be after about a month of getting used to life then. Sure, your time would be taken up with ten times the survival activity you practice today. But if you were one of the leisure crowd, try and picture the limited mental stimulation you’d be exposed to.

Today that would be worth a few hours of “Oh, this looks interesting…” (Now, what’s next? Because — I’m bored to tears.)

In our era, we’ve got so much entertainment, arts, media, sociality that we have a hard time turning it off. The common mantra “unplug, disconnect, go outside and live a little” is to return to a time when humans had little to fill their intellectual minds. “Ah, no jingles, beeps and buzzes, aside from the insects. Tranquility.”

I wonder at this progression.

From the simplistic, 300 baud data input stream of the natural world to the flood of terabytes saturating our brain cellsĀ  — we adapt; humanity’s every growing capacity to embrace the complex.

In 100 years we’ve gone from, what today’s media moguls would call pathetic information and entertainment input streams to what can only be called total-sensory-overload. Yet we condition ourselves, brace for the onslaught and beg for more.

In 100 years from now, imagine the exabytes that will blanket our minds and drive our desire for more, faster, now — even higher.


Bring ’em back

Courtesy of the lovely Doctor Martina, I learned of the 27 Club; musical artists who died at the tender age of 27 years.

Well, shit, that’s pretty damn young to die, I will admit. And the list is sad — there’s no other way to describe it. Sad.

FreddyMercury

But, let’s say that if we all clap loudly and wish wish wish (and fling pixie dust out into the netherworld) we might bring ONE of them back. And not just those who donned the shroud of death in their youth — but others who died too early.

What musician would you vote to bring back from the dead — to live another 20 years (at least)?

 

  • Michael Jackson
  • Jim Morrison
  • Freddie Mercury
  • Janice Joplin
  • Amy Winehouse
  • The King – Elvis Presley
  • Kurt Cobain
  • Buddy Holly
  • Prince
  • David Bowie
  • Jimi Hendrix
  • Bob Marley
  • [In the comments?]

 

 

 


A bramble vine basket

Humanity evolved creating stuff.

Everyone in a tribe or clan contributed to the group’s survival. If things needed to get made, everyone (I imagine) pitched in. Sure some segregation of tasks took place, but I suspect most jobs were shared across gender, age and ability.

Here you see a simple bramble vine basket I made just for fun. (I later hung this up in a small tree in the woods thinking it might become a nest for some woodland bird.)

BrambleVineBasket

The thing is utterly simple yet effective. Crude but serviceable. Just what, we could imagine, some bygone set of folks traversing the hills and valleys of ancient lands — eons ago — might make, on the spot, to help them gather berries or herbs or for ceremonies to honor deities and spirits they found compelling.

It probably took me 30 minutes to weave from wandering bramble vines I found in the backyard. The effort was thoroughly fulfilling. Taking a weed and turning it into a functional tool easily cast my psyche back to a time I know our ancestors found invigorating.

In those times, everyone (I’m sure) participated in the survival of the People. Sharing was a built-in response to everything that was done. If you had two, you gave one away to another in need. Of course you did. And you did this knowing when they had two, they would do the same for you.

The unit of survival was the group, the tribe, the clan. Your kin were all those people around you who knew you and protected you — and you protected them. When the group needed housing you all pitched in. When the clan needed to process an animal — all were on deck. When you found a cache of vines to make baskets, you picked all you could, shared the resource and if you wove many, passed them out without expectation of recompense (not entirely, but the spirit was there).

I think we’ve lost that altruistic sense of collective prosperity — enacted on a daily basis. Giving when you can. Accepting kindness when you can’t.

A simple, empty basket seems the most unlikely symbol of charity, don’t you think? But, filled with wild-picked berries, you can see what a gift it might be.