I was watching this television program on the human brain the other night where the brain was described as a computer that processes lots of information. There is a theory that everything one has ever experienced resides in the human software and can be recalled with the right stimulus.
That makes sense to me. Every fall, when I drive up behind a school bus, I have flashbacks to buying four new pairs of blue jeans – the operative word here being “blue.” There was so much dye in those jeans, my legs were blue until about Thanksgiving. I recall paying four dollars of my own money for a pair of those jeans. Four dollars was how much I made in a day cropping tobacco.
And of course when this thought process is primed a bit, then other memories spring forth – like going to the creek after a hard day’s work and doing cannon balls off the bluff. I can remember specific conversations that took place around some of these events.
Each memory is stimulus for another. The tobacco patch feeds right into smoking an unfiltered Camel in the outhouse and then chewing pine needles so Mama couldn’t smell the smoke on us. Looking back now, it would have made as much sense to just gargle with turpentine.
Now occasionally the human software gets tangled. We might even remember stuff that didn’t happen. Those may be the more interesting stories.
After thinking about all of this, I theorized why dreams often seem to be so stupid. I think our experiences are trying to find their right place in the human software and when we dream, some jump the track. I don’t recall ever having a logical-sequence dream that made total sense. Sometimes it’s like the Twilight Zone.
Let me give you an example.
The other night I was watching the History Channel and there was a program about how the Texas Rangers were charged with running the Comanche out of West Texas. At the time I was eating an Almond Joy and drinking a Pepsi.
So that night, I dreamed I was sent to negotiate with the Comanche. There we were sitting in a circle, and I’m trying to cook some form of dead animal over the open fire. I looked around and the Comanche were eating Almond Joys and drinking Pepsi. I think my software crashed. Go figure.
Last night I watched a program about the running of the bulls in Pamplona, Spain. I may try to stay awake all night tonight. It’s going to be hard to outrun a herd of mean bulls while drinking a vanilla milkshake.
There’s also a theory that we don’t use but a small portion of our brain. And there’s research going on about how we might employ more of our brain cells. I guess in layman’s terms, the question is how to access more of the human software.
But then parallel to that theory, there’s evidence that some people use even less of the brain than might be termed conventional. Along those lines, I saw a kid, sporting an array of tattoos, rushing to the rest room in a store. He was talking on a cell phone, and he was holding up his pants up with the other hand.
He appeared to be stressing somewhat. I’m just guessing here, but I would say he wasn’t a member of Phi Beta Kappa. I had this urge to wait until he returned and ask, “So how did it go in there?”
So if he was part of that research on how much of the brain we actually use, I’m not sure where they would draw the baseline for the comparison. Probably down around his neck.
Walden is editor/publisher of The Moultrie Observer and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.