My people are not sober people. Most of the folks in my life are drinkers or druggies or both, it’s always kind of been that way, and while people who use their brains seem able to stay sharper for longer despite substance abuse, it’s not good for those minds that are idling, for brains with no projects, nothing to keep them busy. Yes, it’s sad to waste a mind – but was there something else you were planning to do with it?
You can tell where I’m from, I can’t get through two paragraphs without an apology, but I’m sorry – mostly, nobody wants your brain. There are not enough projects in the world for all these brains, so put it in Economy mode. The golf tournament this weekend is an anticlimax after the Masters, but “The Expanse” is back, I’m excited about that.
I’m nearly sixty and people my age love “American Idol” or some more police-based “reality” TV, maybe some situation like an exaggerated family, factionalized and playing out their social conflicts in some one-sided dollhouse . . . the stuff is food for our social selves, it’s emotional, but there is nothing there for our intellect. Seven billion human brains, one could imagine the processing power, if we were to use it somehow, like the SETI project does with our computers, but no.
We have a hierarchal system, I mean many hierarchal systems.
We combine our multitudinous selves for the physical advantages, but we’re all running on some few brains. How many intellects does it take to change a light bulb? One, and one body. How many intellects to build the pyramids? One, and a million bodies, right? A war? – then you need two and an endless supply of bodies. I really am a true contrarian, as a friend once said of me, because this jars on me, I see the glare of cognitive dissonance like the sun on a dusty windshield, that these very achievements are precisely what we have congratulated ourselves and specifically our giant brains for. I know – I’ve got nowhere to put that either. A million details will show me reading it backwards – but it’s not untrue, is it?
This is where I live, caught between opposing macro-truths and reaching for some way to reconcile this, the impressiveness of the outsized human brain with the apparent fact that in any sense in which we are part of an organization, a company, a nation, we all share a single one and disregard the rest of them, seems to beg for an explanation. If this organ is our answer for everything about us, why do we so devalue the vast majority of them? I mean, I just find it sad. My own intellect has been starving. I’m trying to invent my own branch of psychology or something because the hum of it keeps me awake, I have to put it to work, tire it out, or I’ll never sleep. I have this project, though, this train of thought going, and I’ve set it up that I think I’m the only one with this perspective, so if I don’t think about it, no-one else is going to – this seems to fool me, that my brain isn’t idling, and it isn’t completely redundant either. These sorts of carrots get me through the day somehow, despite that I’m holding them out in front of me myself. Call me arrogant, sorry again, it’s that or I’m just delusional, but I don’t think most folks get themselves through the day telling themselves they’ve found the secret to life and human nature like I do.
I think most people, unlike myself, are aware that no-one’s asking them this shit, we mostly know that no-one is waiting on our answer to questions about the human condition and most folks understand that your brain is for work and that better brains than ours have failed to solve for human misery. Practical people just give up and take what joy and comfort they can – especially if they’re as privileged and comfortable as this white boy has been for most of his adult years, through no special effort of his own. These advantages are huge, but these days every bit of comfort, every light bulb means another bit of sand washed away from the Seychelles, and so these idling intellects are starting to look expensive. “America’s Got Talent?” This is what I’m melting the world for, I really have nothing better to spend my brain calories on?
I know, there is plenty of work for bodies, plenty of volunteering to do, a world of help that is needed. I’m hoping to get outside again some day, do something for somebody, but in the meantime, this is my contribution, such as it is, just to say to people, who maybe weren’t complaining about it but are probably suffering it, I’m sorry you got that expensive thing between your ears that could pilot a ship to Alpha Centauri but instead just sits idle costing rent and even getting you into trouble. I’m sorry we don’t have something more gratifying for you to do with it than crossword puzzles. A mind is a terrible thing to waste.
I wish I had other options for us. I am kind of suggesting that my project could use another mind or two, but, you know. Then I’m redundant again, aren’t I?
April Friday the 13th., 2018