I’ve seen this piece hundreds of times:

It is a perfect representation of my brain: dark, locked in and full of ghosts.

It also perfectly represents how my brain deals with the unknown: each time it encounters a new situation, person, or problem, it immediately searches for a reference within itself and shoves it into the hole so that unknown becomes known. Or at least familiar. It makes way too many assumptions, asks very few questions (if it all) and ends up making wrong conclusions.

Thus, for example, for more than 20 years I used to think that WC stood for Women & Cavaliers. 

My brain seems to never doubt its previous experience or ability to draw conclusions despite the former being ridiculously insignificant compared to an all-embracing fullness of life and the latter reminding a paraplegic trying to learn how to dance ballet.

The funny part is that my brain is just a piece of flesh locked inside of my skull. There is no light, sound or smell there and yet I somehow manage to see, hear, taste, smell and feel.

How?

Through receptors—tiny cells spread throughout my body sensitive to specific stimuli (light, sound, taste, pressure, temperature, etc). In the true sense, my brain never sees, hears, tastes, smells or feels—it only interprets whatever it receives from receptors.

I imagine these receptors as journalists of National Geographic: they send their reports from all around the world to the headquarter to cover a certain event or place. Depending on their amount and skill these reports can be objective or one-sided, funny or serious, interesting or boring. Never full though—there is always something left out.

Similarly, my brain receives information from receptors. It never knows what’s going on out there but only assumes that this or that is this or that. The more it receives—the better is assumption. Then, it categorizes its assumptions and creates labels such as “strawberry taste”, “white colour”, “mom’s voice” or “severe pain”. Categorizing helps react quickly and save energy.

All this—to ensure survival. Makes sense, right?

It certainly does to me.

Until I try to apply it to the idea of “I”.

Isn’t “I”, too, just a limited assumption of my brain about itself? A ginormous catalogue of labels collected for decades? A partial self-portrait it’s been drawing over and over again?

Man, tall, skinny, raven-haired with gray hair, funny, ignorant, not-russian, young, hypocrite, a bit older, mad, arrogant, occasional blogger, sportive, terrible son, moderate meat-eater, compulsive, egocentric, amateur video editor, book lover, obsessive, air guitar player, rare name owner, wishbone ash fan, not particularly talented in anything, judgemental, narrow-minded, risk-taker, conservative…

It is tempting to say “Yes, it is!” and make another hasty conclusion but then what was the point of writing all this?

After all, the idea of “I” can be easily just another WC I’ve been misinterpreting all along.

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