Saturday, September 15, 2007

Weeks Readings

While reading 'What is Confabulation?' in Brain Fiction I find the accounts to be haunting and yet humorous. How is a doctor able to keep a straight face in defence of the illness that the persons' brain has? That is it isn't it? These are misfunctionings of our brains not our selves, so where does the blame lie? And who is responsible? Perhaps these questions are redundant, but I am wondering who suffers more the patient or the doctor and which out of pity.
Confabulation indentifies its relativity to lieing, but a different kinship. It cannot be a lie because the person is not concious of it.
What I didn't understand is how can it not be considered lieing in those who are not mentally ill? In the case of the placebo pill, obviously those people were just making themselves believe that the pill was making them tired, when in fact it was all in their heads.

In LeDoux's 'Synaptic Self' the actual words of philosophers, authors, and artists caught my interest the most. Our individual relationship with God adds a different dimension as well, because although God presents different ideas in each we must have this understanding that 'God interacts, but does not interfere.'
When Descarte says 'The only thing he could know with certainty was his own mind.' it is a beautiful statement. I agree that even though we are not certain of many things and doubt and denial play a large rule in self-confidence we are indirectly responsible for knowing ourselves and our capabilities. Then when Bob Dylan says that the self that he wakes up with is not the self that he falls to sleep with, and something said by Philip Roth along the same lines of not really knowing oneself, is it that we choose not to know, or we are just unsure of what exactly 'knowing thyself' means?
Also when it is said that stress is known to impair explicit memory while doing the opposite to implicit, I had trouble identifying exactly what this meant, so maybe someone can help me out. To put it very simplictically I took it to mean that although our stress is represented externally in an uncomfortable physical form it takes shape in us creatively, and more concretely places a memory implicitly?

As for the readings of 'The Man who Mistook his wife for a hat' Those stories leave the question open for fright as many have said already and hope. In 'A passage to India' this image of watching a young girl dream her way to death and in that find eternal life, is beautiful. Horribly sad, but in that small example we are lead to believe that the mysteries of the brain are those all to their own.
In 'The President's Speech' the episodes of aphasia are so delicate. It is like another form of language. It stopped me for a moment when the nurses of aphasia patients relate them seeming most of the time fine. Then I was lead to the reading 'Witty Ticcy Ray' and it just proves that 'fine' and 'normal' can only be defined by the patient. It is hard to say whether or not we are living our lives wrong, if we are still living them. Like when Ray takes Haldol during the week to maintain 'normality' and then dismisses it on the weekends to be himself, the different Ray. The aphasiacs are the same, they just function differently. Maybe these comments are too obvious, but I find in trying to understand the complexity of situations like these stories it just easier to find the beauty.

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