Friday, January 13, 2017

Celebrate the Small Things: Thoughts on the brain

A war is said to rage, in most men and women, between the head and the heart. The head refers to logic, to rationality, while the heart is the seat of our emotions. This is a metaphor obviously because as we know the heart only has one function: to pump blood around our body. Admittedly, it's a pretty important job, but the point is the heart is merely a muscle with no capacity for producing emotions.

Feelings are generated in our heads, by the chemicals produced in our brains. Does it disillusion you to know that the alleged battle between the heart and the head is really a civil war fought inside your cranium? Head V Head. Different parts of the brain fighting for control of the same territory.

Emotions are merely brain functions, but I wonder if how we feel is a product of how we think, or if it is the other way around. Aha! Another chicken and egg question.

In Crime and Punishment, Raskolnikov challenges Svridrigailov about the morality of his pending marriage to a young woman much his junior, by saying: 'The fact is this monstrous difference in age and development excites your sensuality. Will you really make such a marriage?'

Svridrigailov replies, 'Why, of course. Everyone thinks of himself, and he lives most gaily who knows best how to deceive himself.'
(spoiler alert: read what happened to Svridrigailov below)

Most of us attempt to control our feelings by managing our thoughts, by restraining them as best we can, but for many this is an almost impossible task and one which, at the very least, is exhausting. Maybe I am the only one whose brain gives him as much trouble as it does pleasure. (What a strange confession.)

My brain controls all my body functions, and I earn a good living with my brain (as a teacher and a writer), but that same organ often gets me in all sorts of bother. A character on a TV soap* recently said that she wished she could take her brain out of her head for a just a few hours so she could have a rest. I feel the same way some times.

Today I thank God for my brain.

*Paige (Olympia Valance) on Neighbours

Photo sources: 

Svidrigailov visited his 16 year old fiance and her family one rainy night, paying them a large sum of money and saying he had to go away on urgent business, but would return soon. He then spent a sleepless night in a cheap and nasty hotel where he suffered through an horrific series of nightmares. The next day he proceeded to the American Embassy where he shot himself dead at the front gate, despite the protests of the guard who told him his actions were inappropriate.


  1. Huh. Sounds like there's a bunch of overthinking going on here. I overthink too, but find it's always a waste of time. Things never go as I expect anyway. Svidrigailov's quote is great! I believe most May-December romances are due to the fact December wants to pretend he/she is still May -- young, vibrant and youthfully immortal. It never works, but shooting yourself in the head isn't the answer either! lol

  2. Ha ha. You kill me Lexa. I haven't heard that term before: May-December romances.

  3. Hmm...after reading this, I only have one thought. Whiskey time ;)

  4. Ha ha ha...good one. I don't drink whiskey, but I've taken a real shine to a drink called Cowboy. It's butterscotch liqueur. Very nice straight over ice. Cheers.