Friday, January 4, 2013

game of throwns


I read that our brains work by projection. We experience anticipated sensations. This enables us to react faster than our neurons can transmit electrochemical signals to our extremities, a requirement when we need to do things such as catch a ball. We intuitively calculate the trajectory and experience the feeling of the ball hitting our palm before the actual nerve impulses from our hand arrive at the brain. Unless the ball doesn't hit our palm as anticipated, in which case the contradictory nerve impulses from our hand cancel the experienced anticipated impulses. But in the normal course of events, when we catch the ball as usual, then the experienced sensation is very slightly ahead of the nerve impulses generated by the actual event, and a product of what might be called projection, however faithful to the actual nerve impulses.

This is part of the explanation of the phenomenon of phantom limbs, where people continue to experience amputated limbs as if they were still there. In the absence of contradictory nerve impulses (from the missing limb) there is no cancellation of the projected experience. Thus, some people feel their lost arm waving at a friend they see on the street, experience itches that cannot be scratched, or cramps that cannot be eased.

Projected experience is not just the plight of those with amputated limbs. We live slightly ahead of ourselves, shaping reality before it immerses us. We wake up happy and the world is good to us. We wake up grumpy and the world is inhospitable. Even though we know the world would be better if we changed our attitude …we find we can't. We 'find' ourselves in a mood. Mood locates, or orients, ourselves in the world, and our position determines what of the world is disclosed. In revealing our throwness, moods reveal a trajectory -- a direction and velocity, an angle and impetus, a bias and conviction.

We are all projectiles.

If you prefer less introspective fare, my other blog is for the more practical and professionally-minded reader

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