I Find Reading About Neurology Helps Me Feel Better About Myself.

I just finished “Being Mortal” by Atul Gawande and now I am reading, “The Man Who Wasn’t There, Investigations into the Strange New Science of the Self”  by Anil Ananthaswarmy. The first made me feel a lot better about my mother’s death, which was a “good death” all in all. He makes reference to several other books which put me on another path of reading, hence “The Man Who…”

“Thinking Fast and Slow” is the next one I hope to get from the library although I am 369th on a waiting list.

I have had a few experiences and I possess a few patterns, at times frightening and other times  wonderful . But I have never enjoyed being “odd” or “weird” except perhaps when I finally gave up trying and just practiced Zazen and Tai Chi a lot. It is exciting for me to learn that neurology is coming up with some very neat connections; New ideas that sometime sound like Buddhist psychology, Zen, Shinjin.  🙂

Digesting the jagged

I am sick of war. I am tired of us and them.  Let’s focus on what it is like to be human. Fear feels the same for all of us, suffering from violence feels the same for all of us. We need to stop feeding into what fuels violence and what always incites it. And what that is, is a sense that we are different in important ways, that we are entitled in some way that others should not be (because of this and this and that) and some people are just too different to be allowed to breathe.


All people die when one person dies and how everyone dies is important. We don’t want assault rifles in our clubs or our homes .  We don’t want assault rifles killing anyone anywhere anymore people of the world. We are sick of the war on this and that.  We want peace with this and peace with that and peace with each other.


This is when I am usually informed that I have missed the point. Eat your point. Break it into all its tiny pieces so you can swallow it. Stop sticking it in my face. Yes, I am angry. But I use words.  I am heartbroken but when I feel this way I cry.  I don’t fight.


When we all feel better we can talk calmly about how we are not so different. We can talk about loss and fear and how we want to share a better world.  And those jagged pieces that we both have had to swallow, we can digest and perhaps even come up with legislation to improve things.  How’s that for extreme radicalization?

So I think I am done with ten things to beat the winter blues…

I don’t think I managed it. I think the winter blues beat me, in fact, the winter blues made me their BEE-ACH. (My apologies to those who know the proper spelling and use of the expression.)

I did however write a short piece about a psychopath with aspirations of working as a receptionist and I just found out it will be published in an anthology of stories about coffee. That’s exciting. *Sigh*

When I get my copy or whatever I will post a link or something…is that how this internet stuff works…? *watches brain shrivel up like a raisin*

Sigh. Did I spell raisin correctly?

If all you have is a hammer, everything becomes a nail.

This is my favourite quotation. For me it speaks of how we suffer greatly and act accordingly, often, because we don’t have the tools we need to change our situation. But for now I am thinking about how we communicate and how it affects what we communicate. I think some guy from Canada wrote at length about this…

I had a discussion years ago with some of my French fellow students about language when I was in art school in the 70’s. Quebec nationalism was a huge topic and the importance of preserving the French language really important, so much so that when the conversation got really impassioned we each would shout in our own! Our argument was whether the true nature of a person wasn’t formed by the language they used to express themselves.

Is there some mystical quality in language? Can you change the scope of your mind with language alone? I would prefer to believe that understanding is what is the greatest power for change and language is only one way to get there.

Words can be used to distance ourselves from our experiences and from each other and so in the end they are limited. They can even be dangerous when used to express division of self and other. They can inspire, motivate and condemn but they have to arise within a context that is somehow meaningful to the listener and it is the context that decides their effect.

If you judge others favourably on the basis of their eloquence alone, you can end up surrounded by liars.

What I take the quotation to mean is understand the tools a person has, if you want to understand what they are saying.
I also take it to mean, spend your life acquiring tools of expression but pay attention to the intent and the context.
True expression is often wordless.Even the greatest poets stutter in the face of reality, it requires effort more than just a vast or specific vocabulary. The greatest tool is an open mind and that is the hardest to maintain.