A Mind is an Obvious Thing to Waste

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

6 thoughts on “A Mind is an Obvious Thing to Waste

  1. Scarlett April 13, 2018 / 5:00 pm

    So this is the common thing again, I know how you feel.

    “So what do you do?”

    I lied when I was an escort and now I find still people don’t believe me when I’m honest, much less have any idea what I’m talking about if I do explain anything in detail to them. Often I struggle to express any of it in lay terms so I don’t. Girls are rarely raised to be more, really. I should expect less – there’s a meme for this millennium.

    That stuff – the reality TV – it’s same for the younger crowd. Or sport, I know fuck all about sport so here in the world’s underpants I’m a triple freak. Soooo what do we talk about?

    The problem with having a big brain is that the world isn’t designed for us, the guide book for us isn’t written so we are left with out minds hand in our minds undies just rubbing what feels good.

    Apparently Einstein was an accountant – think about that – he’d have spent his life like ours if he didn’t manage to get in front of the right people – finding those is basically the meaning of life then right?

    I could always do a pop science youtube channel in a mini, now there’s something to aspire to. Be grateful you don’t have boobs 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Jeff/neighsayer April 13, 2018 / 5:06 pm

    Ha ha ha ha . . . lotta laughs in there, “here in the world’s underpants,” Jesus. I love the Einstein story, he sat there in the patent office, doing research and playing at his hobby until he had his theory . . but yes, he got someone’s attention first.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Scarlett April 13, 2018 / 7:11 pm

      Glad you liked it, one thing about talking to much is you get good at armature stand up, or being asked to leave…

      Patent office – yep I should check my sources!

      I recommend implants, not because I have them but I know a few women who had – not nice boobs – who went from – “I’ll be with you in a moment” to “You – yeah you at the back who walked in the door a second ago, you’re next!”

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Johanne April 28, 2018 / 12:06 pm

    Jeff, I totally understand what you’re saying. Seems to me like not too many people want to think; it’s too hard on the brain. Many don’t want to crash their faces into reality or attempt to think at all. I wonder how some can even look at themselves in a mirror. And this started long before where, what, 80% of the population started having intimate relationships with their cell phones as opposed to humans. Anyway. That’s another story.

    Except for my sister, I’m not surrounded by people who think the way I do, not that anyone has to. Hard to blend with those who’s only brain fitness is to… Here, I’ll quote you. “I’m sorry we don’t have something more gratifying for you to do with it than crossword puzzles.” I had to chuckle as it’s so true.

    Psychology and writing is your niche, Jeff. It’s your voice, keep the lines open. It will always keep you sane.


    Liked by 2 people

  4. Jeff/neighsayer April 28, 2018 / 12:28 pm

    wow, thanks. Yeah, I’ve still got two sisters, they’re as close as it gets, I guess.

    Liked by 1 person

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