Friday, June 27, 2008

The Mechanics of Thought

The human brain is an amazing thing it really is.Boffins are still struggling to get to grips with its mechanics and the best they can do at the moment appears to be making a computer diagram of the squelchy thing glow in different locations depending on whether a test-subject is looking at a picture of Beyonce washing a car or Noel Edmonds playing Boggle.

Where would the diagram be glowing if a brain probe was connected to the stocky, badly dressed, unshaven, middle-aged Mondeo driver I witnessed pulling over on the side of Zetland Road last night?

Out of the car he springs aggressively, a bin-liner clasped into his no-nonsense hands. It would be wrong to say there was rage on his face, but there’s a definite determined aggressiveness. This man wants to dump the bin-liner - for some reason, and I don’t know what it is (he’s not verbalising his internal thoughts the crafty beggar). What ever it is, this man is in no mood to share his battered Ford with this bag any longer.

But then he feels it for the first time - he’s outside his protective metallic shell, unwrapped from the blanket of soft-rock. He can feel the conspicuousness of the fresh air pawing at him like an excited puppy. All eyes are on him – waiting for his next move.

There’s an area cordoned off to his left with tempory six-foot metal barriers in what looks like preparation for some kind of digging. For now nothing lies within this area, its only property is its inaccesabilty.

This is where the wonder of brain mechanics takes over. This is where some series of electrical signals started firing around in this man. The wonder of evolution created his next action, an action born by some kind of thought and judgment, maybe predetermined by the movement that could theoretically be traced back to the Big Bang: He launches the bin liner into the air and into the cordoned off area.

Somehow for him this works. It’s not dumping waster on a public highway, it’s neatly filing it away in where it’s supposed to go. Back into the car he goes - the grey matter now resting.

1 comment:

David Duff said...

For a more serious but still entertaining enquiry into thinking, I highly recommend Michael Frayn's recent book "The Human Touch".

Alas, I can recommend nothing worth reading on the subject of dumping.