The title is so satisfying for my misanthropy, I hardly need to write the blog! Take that. Ha.
I understand “mirror neurons” have gone by the wayside, is that right?
I don’t remember the details, but I’m pretty sure that’s the case, maybe there are some, but the idea that they are a big thing in our world has been relegated to something like New Age or psychology (sorry), I think. The immediate allure of it was a phenomenon in itself, though, wasn’t it?
I think it seemed to answer some real question we all have, it seemed so understandable and to explain so much – like how emotions seemed to pass across the internet without any apparent biological connection, like pheromones, or actual threats and/or relationships . . . so, I got to thinking, same old neurons, but mirror pheromones? A scenario where we are reading or guessing someone’s emotions and so we produce those chemicals, or we name the distant other’s emotions, based on our own pheromonal response to it?
If I feel attacked, does my brain send attacker smells into the air so that even if I am unconscious, my organism senses trouble and initiates autonomic responses? Or do I have my response to the content of my senses OR my conscious, language centre, the fear, and then smell that and decide I am being attacked? I don’t suppose I’m even asking the right questions, but certainly a person sitting alone on social media having a bunch of feelings smells like they are having a bunch of feelings and if the only pheromones flying are ours, surely we wind up having emotional reactions to our own emotional reactions.
Obviously, while it may be important to smell a devious enemy’s aggression directly when they’re close, it seems most likely that we are usually reacting to our own emotional secretions, again, in order to have a system that operates on its own, regardless of where our consciousness is directed or misdirected. A bear’s breath should wake you up, but perhaps it is your sleeping body’s awareness that initiates the autonomic response, part of which is your own fear smell. It sounds like every emotion is a sort of runaway scenario, you feel it so you smell it so you feel it so you smell it . . .
Surely someone has done a lot of work around this stuff, testing smell-inhibited people and whatnot. I keep jumping ahead to some surely dumb idea about how peace talks need to happen with everybody’s noses turned off, somehow, teleconferences aren’t enough separation when we create all the problematic threat odours ourselves wherever we sit, unfortunate pun not intended but welcome. I suppose conference room chairs are some attempt to mitigate pheromone propagation, like a dog covering its glands by keeping its tail between its legs, chairs generally, sitting generally. (Of course “man-spreading” is an aggressive attempt to defeat this peacemaking technology.)
I make no effort to hide that I’m alone and I use the blog and social media along with TV to fake my organism out that I have people in my life, there are voices, and I get into conversations with authors on Twitter that they are not aware of or privy to, these authors are my fake friends, and this blog results from one such interaction. Over the last few days, I wrote a blog where I misread something, put way too much on one of these authors when most of what I was reacting to was from everywhere else in life except from them. You know, doing that ol’ hurt the ones you love, bite the hand that feeds thing. So I had a misunderstanding, a fight, an apology and an attempt at reconciliation – a social life!
And I could have read their book right in the first place, or I could have got it wrong a hundred different ways, and then I would have had a different emotional experience, from the very same book, the very same ideas, coming from an author who was feeling the same way the only time they strung together those same words. So how much of anyone’s social life is all between mostly us and our own stink glands?
Again, no-one but me in any of that drama, but I was feeling it, I am going with that, I had a social problem, I tried to solve it – just like a real boy. I felt like it, and I guarantee I smelt like it, I mean I hope so, it’s a biological solution required, not just the words around it.
October 30th., 2019