Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Enlisting My Brain in Higher Learning

In my ongoing quest for self-betterment and mental health, I am actively following suggestions set forth by my psychiatrist, Dr. Neil Weakly. The following transcript documents the session I had with Dr. Anthony Bennett, a well-know physicist, and Nobel Prize winner.

Dr. Bennett: So, my friend, Dr. Weakly has sent you here?
Me: Yes, he believes my brain is functioning at an extremely slow rate. Because I am at such a low learning level, I am in what is known as the ‘drone zone.’ He says, if it is left unchallenged, my brain may turn off altogether. (quivering voice) The idea of this happening to me is terrifying.
Dr. Bennett: (gazing at me as if I were under a microscope) And you would like to find the optimal state of challenge, stretch your brain, and ultimately be exhilarated by a sense of accomplishment?
Me: Yes!
Dr. Bennett: On the other hand (holding up his left hand), if we tackle learning that is too much of a stretch, you will be in the ‘groan zone’. (He gives me a quirky smile).
Me: Is there some type of IQ test that I can take that will find the right level of challenge in terms of pace, level and precision?
Dr. Bennett: Forget about IQ…it’s bogus. I would like to begin by addressing your reptilean brain.
Me: Excuse me?
Dr. Bennett: There is a center in your brain that carries the legacy of our evolutionary past, with emotions such as fear, anxiety and passion. Depending on which emotion you are tapped into, you can speed up or slow down your learning to a Worm Lizard’s pace.
Me: Oh my God! I had no idea.
Dr. Bennett: Well of course you didn’t. That’s why you’re here. Let’s begin with the theory of the universe.
Me: Really? That’s a stretch. You don’t think that’s a bit advanced for my reptilian brain center?
Dr. Bennett: (giving me a look of disgust) who is the Nobel Prize winner in this room?

Me: You are.
Dr. Bennett: Exactly. (assuming a more comfortable position) If the universe was created from nothing, then nothing has potential that you have never dreamed of before. This brings us to the idea of you.
Me: Okay.
Dr. Bennett: We cannot see two points because they are at zero dimensions. But, if you make a line between the non-points, then there can be a relation between them. Imagine this now.
Me: Does it make a difference how fast the line is going?
Dr. Bennett: It takes no time for the universe from one point to the other. You would have to reduce the speed infinitely, which translates into eternity. (appears bored) Perhaps Dr. Weakly’s suspicions about your brain shutting down are well-founded.
Me: Wait…can there be a negative speed that I don’t know about?

Dr. Bennett: There is a way, through reducing the rate of the line at which potential information can be received; and in this way essentially, have our whole uneaten pie while enjoying a piece of it because we are continually creating the pieces. Do you understand this hypothesis?

Me: (staring blankly) Where did the pie come from? I thought we were talking about lines. Now you have introduced something circular. It’s hard to wrap my brain around two theories at once.

Dr. Bennett: Of course it is, my child. I’m talking about two, zero-dimensional points creating a single dimension. Your question of how it is done is, by way of time reduction, or in other words, is nothing more than stalling. It is not a velocity-dependent line. Time, slowed down, is the sole determining factor of conscious reality. Avoiding my question most likely reveals some emotional disorder or mental illness.

Me: What kind of pie is it? Fruit or cream?

Dr. Bennett: What is so difficult about imagining a cycle? They have beginnings and endings much like the four seasons; and do they not keep repeating themselves?

Me: I had a gift certificate for the Four Seasons once but it expired before I had a chance to use it.

Dr. Bennett: Discard the notion of seeing in the literal sense. If you could see absolutely nothing, it would be the same as if you could see everything simultaneously. With this perspective, creation would require no beginning or ending. Thus, the straight line can travel in any direction, don’t you see?

Me: I have a question.

Dr. Bennett: (looking perturbed) Yes?

Me: When you say reptilian center, what species are you talking about? I mean, there are snakes, lizards, Gila monsters, turtles and crocodiles. And aren’t certain species endangered? Maybe you mean the already extinct reptiles like the, Tonga Ground Stick, or the, Yunnan Box Turtle. Do you? I’m not so sure that I like the idea that a part of my brain is cold-blooded or scaly. I mean, I was just wondering.

Dr. Bennett: Just because there is mental activity going on in your head doesn’t mean that you are thinking. Thinking is hard work. Having a thought doesn’t mean you are thinking either. We all have thoughts. In your case, I would say you are merely rearranging your opinions. Everyone has an opinion, as well as a navel, but it takes a special talent to think properly.

Me: I heard that Alfred Hitchcock didn’t have a navel.

Dr. Bennett: Have you ever had a brain scan?

Me: Yes, but it was inconclusive.

Dr. Bennett: Your brain is a physical organ. It is crucially affected by your physical condition and surroundings. The concept of the line and the relation between two points is still in question. Have you formulated an intelligent answer?

Me: So, do you think I should enroll in a line-dancing class?

Dr Bennett: (Staring at me as if I had two reptilian centers) let’s just hope your feet have a mind of their own.

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