Category Archives: Psychology

We all wear masks

In the United States, Thanksgiving is over and most of us can store away the masks we wear for family occasions. We unlock the chest, rummage to the bottom, and tuck them beneath the yearbooks and faded photo albums. We’ll unearth them again at the Winter Solstice holiday (Hanukah, Christmas, Kwanzaa and the New Year).

Meanwhile, we’ll only have to tote around the two or three we use daily to get through our work-a-day lives. Flip-slip-snap! On goes the work-mask. Zip-clip-pip! Here we swap one out to talk to our children (or elders). Peal-squeal-kneel, we don the one we wear for our spouse.

These masks we wear, do we even consider them? Do we ever resent them? Or, embrace them — gathering them in droves as flavors of personalities we expose?

And then, at night, we sleep and our masks melt away while we dream; our true selves bubble up through the falsity of cultural-behavioral control. In our dreams we are who we are, our masks flitting over our faces like tissue — there and gone, torn away by our unconscious desires to be both ourselves and our un-selves.

How many masks do you wear? Are there those you find uncomfortable? Alluring? Disturbing?

 


Squirrels Love Dave’s Killer Bread

Dave’s Killer Bread vs Acorns.

Here you will witness an experiment. Below you will find an array of acorns matched with a line of Dave’s Killer Bread.

Now, truth be known, EVERY squirrel in our back hard loves DKB. They eat it out of our hands and fight over it like demons.

However, notice the progression of missing nuts. Below you you will see one larger, wiser squirrel FORGO the bread in lieu of the acorns — every time he comes back (yes it’s a he). He comes back TEN times to take every nut.

Yet the younger, adolescent squirrel, will take the bread — every time — ignoring the nuts. In fact, we had two youngsters bopping up and taking bread while the older squirrel sequestered every nut on display out into the yard.

I opened the door and sat their trying to capture photographs of these guys. (Look at the size of those acorns!) This was about 18 inches away. The big fellow came in and gave me a sniff once, but opted for — you guessed it — another acorn.

The bread is this nutty, heavy protein stuff that the tree-rats beg for on a daily basis. To actually ignore it is an amazing feat of dedication vs temptation. The wee squirrels didn’t give a fuck about the future, “gimme my daily bread you damn humans!” The adult had one thing in mind, take every nut and save it. It was a stunning example of the dichotomy of youth vs elders.


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.