Adonis Diaries

Archive for October 3rd, 2009

“Once upon a time, there was a King…” 

What else?  If not a king, then a queen, or a chivalrous knight, or a young beautiful princess, anyone that strikes the imagination of the common people who never have seen secretive “noble” individuals.

There are no new stories to invent: they were all told by the many cultures that we don’t know the languages and had never read their stories. The most enduring stories, through the ages, are the most common ones. Do not invent stories; just tell it.

Once upon a time, there was a King.  The astrologer warned the King that all his children must be males or he will lose the kingdom.

The first child was a girl and she was executed.  The second child was a girl and did not survive the day.  The third child was a girl, and it was becoming such a habit that control got lax and the mother got to see, hold, and feed her daughter.

This time around it was out of the question that this girl dies. The Queen bribed the executioner to save the child and fled the castle with the kid and a few servants.

The King tracked the Queen down. In his journey, he had to conquer other kingdoms, burn, and maim.  One tiny kingdom resisted and the Queen refused to meet and negotiate with the invading King. The Queen of the steadfast territory was ready to burn her kingdom and to fight to the last willing men.

The daughter of the Queen finally decided to meet with the King, spent the night with him, and saved her Kingdom.

The Queen was beside herself and suspected the worst in the generosity of this cruel King.

“What do you think was the end of this story?” said grand mom to the listening grandchildren. The kids wanted an ending to the story but grandmother refused to offer any: that was a mystery. No one had a satisfactory happy ending.

As she married, Safiya told her old father-in-law the story and asked him what the ending was. He replied “I did not even know the story. Anyway, it could not be but a tragedy since incest was consummated.

The next day, the old man relented and told Safiya that there could be an alternative happy ending; in general, for one happy event there are two tragic events. 

The ending should be decided on who must be happy the daughter, the Queen, or the King.

Should the moral Queen die? (What morality is there in the destruction of an entire population?)

Should the law enforcer of a King die? (What kinds of laws are so lawful to execute the supposed “traitors” for a King’s personal satisfaction?)  Should the daughter die in order to let her parents live “happily”?

We try hard to find a happy ending at the detriment of our own, because morality and customs decided that parents, relative, and community take precedent to our happiness.

In Greek tragedies everyone dies; in Shakespeare’s tragedies everyone dies or goes mad.

There is lack of imagination on the outcomes of the ending and people still flip the last page to know how the story ends.

It is so easy to let everyone die so that custom, tradition, ignorance, and censure win.  And yet, all these stupid tragedies are considered work of art for the ages.

No wonder society did not progressed at the same pace as sciences: stories fundamentally lack courageous alternatives that defy acceptable “common sense” outcomes.

Note 1: This story, with minor alterations, is taken from “Stone of Patience” (Syngue sabour) by the Iranian Atiq Rahimi.

Note 2: I won’t let this post ends without a joke.

An Afghani army recruit is asked by the sergeant “what are you carrying on your shoulder Ahmad?” The soldier replied “This is my rifle.”  The sergeant screams “This is your mother’s honor Ahmad, your sister, and your wife.”

Brain, senses, and sixth sense; (October 3, 2009)

 

            There is this modern tendency to consider man as plainly a brain that controls all our behavior and actions.  The senses are considered as supplement to our brain to execute the various brains’ commends. How about this venue that it is our brain that created and developed our five senses?  There are many animals and living creatures with less numbers of senses and many with senses far more developed than man. Our brain is an amalgam of cells, nerves, neurons, axons, synapses, and chemical molecules (hormones).  Our brain has developed four specialized parts in addition to our primitive brain but all working together to achieving an elementary input/output task by firing electrical and chemical signals to the specialized glands and members.

            Man can atrophy one sense or develop all his five senses and permit the brain to create a new compartment for a sixth sense in order to handle complementary inputs that cross the current normal threshold for a qualitative shift to what could be the emergence of an additional sense or a new specialized lobe.  In the last century, almost everything was designed to rely exclusively on the eyes and ears.

            First, let me offer preliminary knowledge of our brains, constituents, and functions. The sensorial perceptions are mainly located in the parietal lobes (the top back of the head); the taste, touch, temperature and pain are solicited in that compartment; these lobes also integrate the hearing and visual signals and link them to our global sensorial memory.  The temporal lobes (on both sides of the head) are the locations of musical signals (intensity and tonality of the sounds), and the comprehension of the meaning of words. The frontal lobes or cortex (upper and front of the head) are the newly developed brains and locate the functions of organization, reflection, planning, and modulate our emotions. Voluntary movements take their sources in the posterior section of these lobes.  The occipital lobes (back of the head) are engaged in reading, and decoding visual information (shape, color, and movement of objects are analyzed in these lobes).

            There are specialized neurons that can be activated when an action is executed or when an action is also observed (mirror neurons).  These mirror neurons are the biological basis for empathy, imitation, and training; almost every decision is influenced by our emotions.  Neurons have the potential to flow or transfer from one brain to another when recycling cognitive aptitudes such as reading and writing are elevated.  Neurons and connections are modified when training tasks are memorized. It is the quantity of synapses (connections) that differentiate among intelligence. There are phases in our sleep when brain activities are most intense while muscular activities are extremely inhibited; this phase is called “paradox sleep”.  We produce new neurons at every stage of growth, especially in the hippocampus and the smell brains. Almost 10% of our synapses are established when we are born and they increase with our activities and cognitive demands (efforts, mental and physical, mean increase in fresh synapses and neurons).

            We have 8 varieties of intelligence; mainly the visual, spatial, naturalist, logic-mathematics, corporal, musical, inter-personal, and intra-personal intelligences. The new battery of experiments for testing cognitive and movements capabilities are designed to account for our eight kinds of intelligences.

           

            Each brain compartment has a daily program to activate depending on the daily strength of activations of the synapses and a longer term memory.  When we fast the brain compartments for the senses, mainly the smell and the taste buds, send frenzied signals for feedback; the daily program is mainly saying “you activate me or I will be forced to delete the daily program very shortly”; the cortex sends signals for the brain senses to cool down their engines because it is bombarded by counter-mending instructions; it is saying to the brains senses “I am not able to function properly because I am overwhelmed by increased rate of urgent though  superfluous instructions to control your damned activities”.  The tag of war among the brains induces the fasting individual to go to sleep or be diverted to ignore the senses signals by daydreaming activities.

 

            The cortex was developed to specialize in comprehending the interactions among the senses. Man can consciously interpret the interactions of three senses simultaneously; this is no small feat. Not only you have to weight the strength and potency of each one of the three senses but you have to interpret the interactions between two senses out of the three and then the three senses altogether.  This conscious capacity to interpret the interactions of three senses simultaneously at every moment is what we call developing a sixth sense for forecasting events, foreseeing changes, and planning ahead for incoming changes in climate and survival.  Man can interpret interactions among three variables (in experiments) but his abilities to interpret senses interactions are faltering due to the deficiencies in the senses of smell, touch, and taste.

            Before the advent of modern man, people could occasionally experience their power of premonition or forecasting accurately; this is the main reason people elected elders as shaman leaders and believed in their spiritual power because they experienced it personally and was not a matter of faith at all.  Modern man has elected unconsciously to atrophy several of his senses on the basis that smart machines, fast communications, and powerful programs for analyzing huge quantity of data could easily supplant human cortex power. That might be true for the few specialists but surely human mental capabilities have significantly dwarfed compared to man seven thousand years ago. We might grow in length, weight, and physical power but our mental potentials of making good use of our senses is waning and we are no longer fit to survive in catastrophic events.

            As holistic man we have degraded in the past four centuries for individual survival because four of our senses have been gradually atrophied.  The consistent atrophy of our senses of touch, taste, and smell has damped our capabilities for developing our sixth sense to forecast emerging needed precautions for the near future. What is needed urgently is that the newer generations be initiated at schools and in the communities to get in touch with the deficient senses.  Weekly lab sessions to acquire the ability to discriminate among odors, texture, and tastes should be formalized and encouraged.  The whole gamut of subtleties in numbers and flavors of the deficient senses should be re-integrated in our brains in order to acquire stronger affection to nature, the environment, and the surrounding habitat and relationship among communities.

            Man can prove to the brain that he appreciates living on earth and enjoying its nature and environment or he may instruct his brain that he prefers to return to caves or being confined to capsules roaming the sky amid the planets. These choices will be reflected in our teaching methods, community behavior, and new professions that encourage the atrophied senses to emerge as valid and effective resources for the next generations.

            So far, the activists for “back to nature” and caring for the environment are mostly urban dweller with moistly abstract concepts on climate changes and natural degradations.  It is far more effective to ground our determination for alternative life styles by rejuvenating our faltering senses and appreciating what gifts we are wasting.


adonis49

adonis49

adonis49

October 2009
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