Green Brains

This post actually has nothing to do with green brains–but I happened upon a whole bunch of them the other day and thought you all might enjoy a photo.  They were just lying out in the open like this, unguarded and uncared for, as if the rightful owners had forgotten all about them.  A more sensible and civilised gentleman keeps his household green brains in a bin.

Green Brain Bin
Green Brain Bin

The whole matter seems to me quite careless.  The brains could be stolen or lost or even eaten by a brain-eating squirrel.  And I can tell you from experience that it is a terribly unpleasant occurrence to lose one’s mind–or minds, as the case may be.  The worst part about it is the extravagance.  This person has such a plethora of green brains, and while most of us are but scarcely able to maintain a single brain in good keeping, he or she has thought it acceptable to absentmindedly leave all these just lying around.  Clearly this was not well thought out.

Anyway, what I wanted to write to you about today was something much more weighty: pencil sharpeners.  Recently I’ve been composing a piece of vocal music for which I have decided to first produce, as a part of the creative process, a grapical score.  For those of you who are not familiar with the everyday proceedings of music compositional pedagogy, a ‘graphical score’ is an emotional or textural representation of music in a visual medium.  Mine is an exceptionally large and elaborate example that stretches around my whole room (see below).

Obviously, this sort of work requires many grades of shading that cannot be achieved with a propelling pencil alone.  For this reason was I compelled to seek a sharpener for my more archaic device–the common pencil.  On campus, we have a brand new building that contains every kind of futuristic education gadget ever conceived or contrived.  It has massive flat-screen monitors, LCD projectors, and other strange devices that I cannot even identify.  It seems to lack nothing…except a pencil sharper.  Indeed, nearly the entire university seems to be in want of one.  The only place I was able to find one was in the school of music building, at the top of a massive winding staircase that I like to call ‘the tower’.  I am intentionally not including a picture of the tower in order to leave it to your imagination.  Picture a mysterious, creaky-old structure, protruding high into the sullen heavens, where black falcons and other occult, avian creatures circle about, making ghastly grim calls and hideous cries.  (It’s actually nothing like that.)

Anyway, this got me thinking, as I am apt to do, about the world and what’s happening to it.  Though I’m rather disinclined to discuss such empirically based observations as these on this blog, I don’t suppose any social historian would object to my saying that we live, today, in an age of human history that has undergone and continues to undergo more rapid change than any other period yet known.  Some people find this really exciting.  At large, I’d say I’m indifferent, though I do suffer from a severe case of Golden Age Syndrome–I mean Theory.  But quixotic dreamings aside, one thing about which I think we ought to be concerned is how these dramatic changes, particularly technological advances, affect the way we think.

In the near future, hopefully before the internet has become obsolete, I will post a more involved article about this matter, but for now, let us consider this: in order to function soundly, a human mind must be exposed to the proper amount of stimuli.  If it is exposed to too little, it will begin to invent its own in the form of hallucination, but if exposed to too much, it will stop filtering the data it takes in.  According to my recent, inadvertent study of psychology˚, it is supposed that the latter of these is among the cognitive functions responsible for hypnosis: when the conscious mind is overwhelmed, it stops thinking critically and begins to pass on all the input it receives to the subconscious without discretion, so that the suggestions of a hypnotist may be accepted in the subconscious just as if they were posited by the conscious mind itself.

As technology becomes more and more overwhelming, society’s thinkers becomes less and less critical, and by slow degrees, something as simple as a book becomes boring.  If people can’t think critically, then they will find nothing of value or interest for them in good books; they will require more intensive forms of entertainment, in which alternative realities are forced upon them in a way that they are unable to question–in a way that bypasses any sort of real analytical filtration processes.  And once people stop analysing things and developing perspectives, one will hardly be able to call them people at all.

This article is not about the evils of technology; indeed, an article on the internet about such would be like a created being who opposes his own creator–which is absurd, needless to say.  Instead this is a cautionary article.  Humanity must learn to handle the technology she develops, or else not use it, lest she should become the sort of race that no longer finds delight in something as simple and trivial as a green brain†.


˚ Don’t you hate it when you suddenly find yourself studying something, and you don’t know how it happened?  This is a particularly ponderous phenomenon when the field of choice is psychology.

† Ha, ha…Do you understand the pun?  A ‘green brain’, as one which, in an archaic sense of the word, is ‘unripe’, and therefore, ‘young’.  Hence humanity must find the same pleasure while thinking in her aged brain as she has found in her green brain.

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