The computer is often used as a metaphor for the brain. We talk of the brain being hard wired and re-wired, but then: If the brain is like a computer, who’s controlling the keyboard?
Likening the brain to a computer has been around for awhile. We think of ourselves in machine terms. We enjoy time on our computers but lose contact with the natural world.
Nature deprivation due to hours spent in front of TV or computer screens is associated with depression (University of Minnesota).
In Last Child in the Woods Richard Louv explains how not spending time in the natural world is linked to depression and attention deficits. The Biophilia Hypothesis is about how humans have an instinctive bond with living systems and suffer when deprived of them.
Sometimes all it takes is an enjoyable walk in nature to improve memory and mood in people diagnosed with depression, but people continue to separate themselves into abstractions and spend inordinate amounts of time in front of screens as ‘experts’ debate separations of mind and brain, subjectivity and objectivity… man and reality.
Such chatter takes us down a “rabbit hole” where we associate more with information and less with the natural world.
The rabbit hole is a metaphor for that which takes us to difficult truths and the bizarre. It is a reference to the rabbit hole leading to Wonderland in Alice in Wonderland.
Spend an evening looking at nefarious activities on the internet and Wonderland looks normal. It’s hard to know what’s real. Much is rooted in ego, delusion and fear.
As Morpheus softly said, clad in leather sitting on his Santa Claus chair in The Matrix, “You take the red pill and you stay in Wonderland and I show you how deep the rabbit hole goes.” In electronic worlds we lose touch with the natural world.
Humans have a tendency to perceive meaningful patterns in randomness. We see faces in circles, lines and linoleum patterns. We see what we want. Meanings become self-referential and paranoid. We think that our own existence is the only thing that is real so instead of epiphanies we have apophanies.
An apophany is not an insight into reality but a “process of repetitively and monotonously experiencing abnormal meanings in the entire surrounding experiential field” (Klaus Conrad, Die beginnende Schizophrenie). In other words, like schizophrenics, people see meanings that aren’t there.
Back to the question: If the brain is like a computer, who’s controlling it? Some scientists say it’s the brain controlling the mind and some say it’s the other way around (Does the Brain Control the Mind…?). In California Gladding and Schwartz say that with their 4-Step Solution you can rewire your brain with your mind and find your Wise Advocate.
The Wise Advocate (true self or inner guide) can be thought of as a cognitive construct or as something spiritual. It is attentive to the bigger picture. It knows what you’re thinking and feeling and wants the best for you because it cares for you. Here we see hints of science meeting religion.
In the Power of Myth Joseph Campbell said, “People say that what we’re all seeking is a meaning for life. I don’t think that’s what we’re really seeking. I think that what we’re seeking is an experience of being alive, so that our life experiences on the purely physical plane will have resonances with our own innermost being and reality, so that we actually feel the rapture of being alive.”
Imagine that time spent electronically is time spent on shaky ground. On shaky ground we stare at our feet. Open yourself to full recognition that you partly create yourself. Try less over-thinking and more feeling with heart.
Dissatisfaction and deceptive pleasure habits form neural pathways that cut deep ruts hard to get out of. The life you live may not be the one you envisioned, but with imagination, a spirited effort and new routines, you can travel past trouble and feel enjoyment in the world.
Life is an experience made of happiness and sorrow. There will be rough and smooth places, disappointments, happy surprises, tragedies and discoveries.
Through it all, be brave: then pack some food and a Thermos of tea, cut a good walking stick, and once more travel with face forward towards the enjoyable goal and a song on your lips (perhaps a 1920 hit).
To one awake to life in the natural world, to its symbolism as well as its facts, with a Philosophy of Enjoyment, depending where you are in the world, there is always air and quite possibly a hare for you to see and love!