Tuesday, February 28, 2012


I was on auto-pilot this morning like I am every morning.  I have various auto-pilot modes depending on how much time I have before I must be at work.  this morning in particular, because of time constraints, I had to take the train to work instead of my usual walk.  Here is my auto-pilot path for said conditions: up the stairs to the station, look at the screen to see if the train is close and decide whether to run for it or not (I normally dislike running, makes me feel like I am placing more importance on my destination than on my own comfort), then I take the west entrance to the station and go down the left stairs for the west-bound train.  EXCITING!!!!!!

This morning was weird.  I changed one part of my path, and I almost went the completely wrong direction because of it.  The reason is because my auto-pilot still continue in the path that was programmed into it from so much repetition.  here is what I changed:  I decided for some reason to take the east entrance into the station instead of the west.  This shouldnt be a problem if I was able to correct the path that proceeded that desicion, but it was auto-pilot.  my waking conscious mind that decided to change from west to east was like a split-second virus eradicated as quickly as it came, and my auto-pilot just continued on its course.

It is so amazing what happens next!!!!   if you recall from earlier you will remember what the next step in my path after I enter the station is heading down the left stairs.  so I head down the left stairs......... for the east-bound train?  what?  why the east-bound train?  didn't I say my path lead to the west-bound train?  lets check one more time to make sure.........yep clear as day, I enter the west entrance, go down the left stairs for the west-bound train.  Wait....If you face west and raise your left hand, then turn around and face east, your left hand is still raised, but your left side has now been changed.  My auto-pilot stupid robotically challenged moronic no sense of direction lost in neverland subconscious has no idea of this distinction.  It just does what I trained it to do, blind to the outside world, completely indifferent to the now, then, and future.

So what saved me from walking all the way down the wrong side of the station, and boarding a train going in the wrong direction?  believe it or not, it was the very same thing I just finished ridiculing.  HAHAHAHA!!!!!   It was my auto-piloted subconscious....i think.  lets analyze this together.  So if you remember, another part of my routine was to look at the board to see if a train is closing in.  well of course I did and there were no west-bound trains near my station.  That little tidbit was logged away in my mind, and that little tidbit is what saved me because as I walked down the wrong stairs I saw that people were........boarding......a.........TRAIN!!!!!!!!  but I just saw that there wasnt to be a train for a couple of minutes.  My brain recalled the board, then recalled the change from west entrance to east, then concluded I was walking down the wrong stairs.  As I emerged from the stairs I saw that my brain was correct.

so what PART of my brain kept me in auto-pilot regardless to the outside changes that occured, and what part assessed the whole situation, cued the feelings of abnormality, and communicated to the body this weirdness that then sent me into the path of correction?

I have no fucking clue.

Monday, February 27, 2012

do we even need 1 hour?

I am not even attempting to surmise that sleep is not necessary.  I have done my share of time without it and know the infernal hell that world is.  I wouldn't even support the title of this post.  This title is a lie.  But I had an experience recently that challenged my very ideas of what sleep was, should be, and could had previously been.

I was at a concert, a semi personal, completely intimate, obnoxiously loud concert.  I had been out all day dilly dallying with various errands, so when 8pm rolled around my body was showing the tell tale signs of fatigue.  You know that feeling in the back of your neck where it feels like there is no more back of your neck?  plus the overall corporally shared spirit of slag; I was tired.  I sat down and listen to the tunes of the bands.  the first was melodic and emotional, and started putting me into a trance.  then before sleep befell me, the band changed; into a gothic version of Samsung electronics.

This group was loud.  no other way of putting it.  A loud you have never heard and I'm sure of it.  I plugged my ears so I could enjoy, but felt bad because I might be giving the wrong impression to the band.  I totally how the crowd can affect your energy input into your performance.  But I don't think this particular band did because their second and final song was so selfishly them I really think they forgot there was a crowd throughout the 10 minute song.  They just kept playing even as people walked out, back in, then back out as if they were trying to communicate with their legs, "stop playing that infernal song!!!!!"  But the band oblivious to it all kept playing and playing that monstrous, murdering, melancholy melody.

I was at a crossroads.  do I follow in suit and do the walk in and out dance hoping that my pairs of legs hold the key to their attention, or do I close my eyes and let my imagination take me to wherever this band was trying to communicate to us.

I chose the rabbit hole. I closed my eyes and the images flooded my brain of large lumbering Leviathans,  completely clueless to the leagues of living creatures they were trodding upon with their tarantula limbs.  Happy and friendly as they were, it was juxtaposed picturesquely with the path of calamity and catastrophe they left behind.  Then I woke up.

I know......I am as confused as you.  I had to close my ears from the blistering volume of their instruments, yet I WOKE UP minutes later.  Woke up from what?  How could I have possibly slept with such rowdiness?  This is where it gets interesting.  I use the phrase "wake up" the context of sleep not because I have any conscious knowledge of sleeping as I have been so accustomed to at the end of any busy day, I say "sleep" because when I opened my eyes minutes later, my fatigue was gone.  I am making the presumptuous assumption that I slept because I was relieved of an ailment typical of a lack of sleep.

But if that is the case, then what IS sleep.  if both, closing my eyes for 6 hours quietly, undisturbed in my bed, and for 2 minutes sitting upright in a chair with loud music invading my ears relieved me of my fatigue, then is the latter justified as sleep?  Could two situations linked only by the closing my eyes be considered both as sleep?  Is the former in actuality sleep and the latter a game I played on my brain to fool it into giving me the full benefits of sleep without the actual effort required?

I feel there are many neurological implications that I am completely unaware of here so anyone from a well educated background in that field please forgive my ignorance.  I am just reacting to this outcome with a naive curiosity, but I also think this naivety of mine is what allowed me to notice this distinction, so please entertain me with that in mind.

I have read many opinions about the subject of sleep.  someone named V.S. Ramachandran
said that possibly we are always "dreaming" or "hallucinating" and that our perceived reality is simply that which fits best to our current point of view.  Another dude with a little more credibility (whatever that means) named Jaak Panksepp says that our current state of waking consciousness is simply an evolved state of our dreaming consciousness.  I think that means that what we see as unconscious dreaming is simply the only conscious our ancestors had, then we evolved brains that built upon that state to what we now call a waking conscious.

I personally like Jaak's idea more because it entails that we are evolving, improving (in our immediate scope of awareness, not in evolutionaric terms) on this conscious machine we have called a brain.  the idea of progress is what attracts me.  Mr. Ramachandran's idea is fun and would make a great movie, but it is too romantic for me to hold any ground in my life.  if he was right than if I thought hard enough I could just change my reality.  Choose a perception that although didn't fit my current reality, fit whichever reality I perceived as correct.  There seems to be too much subjective control there, as if this world were a computer and we can become master programmers.   Makes me wonder if the movie Matrix is simply Wachowski brothers' visualization of Ramachandranian ideas.

I like the idea that we once only had a brain similar to animals of today; capable of only keeping us alive and nothing more, then as evolutionary time passed the vehicle in which our brain resides got bigger and our brain of that time took the back seat in the form of our sleeping conscious and what we refer to as our waking conscious now filled in the drivers seat.  With this arguement it allows for the possibility that our current waking conscious will one day outgrow the drivers seat and will take its place together with our sleeping conscious in the back seat as a newly evolved part of our brain fills in the empty drivers seat.  This logic makes perfect sense and is totally possible under any form of Darwinian theory.  (Wow, I said that last statement with so much authority as if I was fuckin Darwin himself!!!!)

 (once again, a disclaimer, I am in no way stating that anything I say here is anything more than a thought in my brain, it is all open to debate and critique, and I hope anyone reading this will do so.  also the people I have mentioned who's ideas I myself have critiqued have written books about them.  Mr. Ramachandran's is entitled "phantoms of the brain" and Jaak's is called "Affective Neuroscience" check them out!!!!!)

Now I must tackle the heavy duty of linking these ideas (or my interpretation of them) with what I experienced that lubricious night.  Which I will do later, I am too tired right now.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

tit for tat

This phrase made me chuckle the first time I heard it for lots of reasons. I'm sure you can guess a few.  So it was a little difficult to grasp the nature of its meaning because of this comical nuance.  but I did and it is interesting enough that I feel i need to log my feelings about it.

This phrase was introduced to me by means of a phenomenon called "prisoners dilemma".  but more fitting an iterate prisoners dilemma.  when you find yourself in a situation where you are in direct competition with someone/thing else for someone/thing, you got yourself a prisoners dilemma.  BUT if this competition is a non-zero sum game, then you got yourself an iterate prisoners dilemma.

 (dammit I hate explaining things cuz I suck at it.  I know we should always try to strengthen our weak points but dammit I almost want to delete that pathetic explanation I just gave about this particular dilemma.  BUT i digress, the act of explaining things does in turn show how deeply you grasp said topic)  (but I am currently this me, so I will just assume whoever is reading this understands what "tit for tat" and "prisoners dilemma" phrases entail)

after being introduced to prisoners dilemma and the various strategies that have evolved from the things that have participation in it, I come to the understanding that the most effective in terms of long term payout is that of tit for tat, or in other words, always cooperate with your opponent unless it stabs you in the back, and if so retaliate with a stab in it's back.  (there are varying levels of forgiveness with this strategy as well, depending on the environment and amount of loss with each stab in the back.)

this makes sense and you can see the immediate use of this strategy everywhere around you.  business partners.  figs and fig wasps.  cows and farmers.  domesticated canines and canine loving humans.  Married people.  These all are relationships that are founded upon an initial mutual cooperation, but under certain circumstances much could be gained from a sudden jab into the heart of mutual honesty.

What has been bouncing around in my mind is us, as products of millions of years of evolution, at various points of our existence we were completely different from how we are today.  What if what we think are 100% "good", void of any selfish intent feelings like "love" and "empathy" are just tit for tat strategies that we began using millions of years ago.  what if the origin of love began when we realized that if we don't cooperate with each other we will never be able to procreate, and as we played the tit for tat game, it became apparent that it was more profitable to have more tit than tat.  this evolved to the point where we exhibit so much tit and so little tat in the game of "love" that we now view it as a pure tit emotion, and any expression of tat within is considered the opposite emotion.   HAHAHAHA!!!!!! this makes my head whirl!!!!!!

What other things in our lives, practices within our culture that we think are "good" are actually just high tit concentration tit for tat strategies?