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Mind Matters   Leave a comment

harvey_cushing_drawing_brain

Harvey Cushing Brain Drawing

So I’m back after a bit of a holiday, spent at the New Jersey shore and elsewhere.  Alas, it’s time to begin the new year with something I’ve been meaning to write about for quite some time.

You can say it’s been on my mind.

Did you ever notice how much of science fiction has to do with all the stuff rattling around in the brain?  Quick, close your eyes and in ten seconds, name as many cranial control films as you can.  What’s your number?  Three? Seven?  Zero?

Aw, c’mon.  There’s so many out there!

All right.  Here’s a list.

Why exactly does the mind intrigue us so?

Generally speaking, a human’s interior organs are fairly cut-and-try.  The heart pumps blood, the liver cleanses it, the lungs keep you breathing and all the other bits and pieces keep you going.  The brain, however, is smarter than them.  Whereas all the other body parts have one or two functions, the brain governs them all.  And if we were to stop there, it’d still be a pretty remarkable job description.

Trouble is, the brain’s so much more.  It’s who we are.

While the brain is churning the engines, it’s threading stories through its cells, directing proper ones to safe storage, to be retrieved when our bodies recline to rest, popping alive as dreams.  It helps us remember the good, the bad, to make decisions, to weep, laugh and smile.  Why is it that some brains are healthy and others are weak, or the soul that inhabits the body deserts the brain to resort to evil?  How come we can sit and simper one moment, jump up and cheer three seconds later then show disgust immediately following?  Or why can it remember thousands of books read over a lifetime, yet recalling the location of keys becomes impossible?

Perhaps it’s mystery that draws us in.  Venturing into one’s consciousness is a journey into the unknown.  Wondering why she said that.  Guessing what he really means.  Why do one thing and say another?  How can you live with yourself; what were you thinking?

It’s no wonder mind control is such fodder for science fiction.  It’s the ultimate revenge tactic.  How else to get back at that girl you liked and she blew you off?  Create a plot line about a high-maintenance chick that stood you up who suddenly discovers she can only do makeup and hair standing au naturel in Times Square.  Or the guy who butted in front of you and stole your seat?  From now on, in your story his brain dictates him to sing, “I’m a little teapot” (as well as act out the song) during any and all sports events.

Controlling the mind is engaging the recipient to do one’s bidding.  Now the brain manipulator orchestrates an army of individuals (say, The Borg) to become a collective.  Imagine what can be accomplished with millions of minions.  I mean, why stop at one mind, when you can dominate the world?

Think about it…

Mind Matters   Leave a comment

A great deal of what occurs in the world of science fiction involves the mind and/or brain.  Strange forces, and not necessarily alien, want to control others thoughts, expressions, decision making capabilities, functions and more.

Why is that?

Well, for starters, the brain/mind is who we are.  What we see.  What we do.  It governs our perception of the world and how those react towards us.  It goes without saying that a brain controlled is a person conquered.

Mind control is like getting the keys to the kingdom.  Figure out how to rob one’s senses and you have the entire population cornered.

Take, for instance, Invasion of the Body Snatchers or its modern update, The Invasion.  A pod of sorts lodged itself to a human form and, long story short, assumed that person’s entire being except for its soul.  Seemingly, the soul was destroyed in the process and everyone was pretty much like the women in The Stepford Wives.  In that film, the women were duplicated via robot/android.  Then it’s assumed everyone was bumped off and buried anonymously in a hidden grave deep in the Connecticut woods.

In A Clockwork Orange, our hero Malcolm McDowell has a rather questionable attitude when it comes to women, violence and society in general.  It’s a pretty simple fix when he’s subjected to the Ludivico Technique.  After that, the urge to vomit pretty much takes over when he’s starting to explore those negative tendencies.  If that were me, the idea of having my eyelids pinned open would be enough to gross me out and get me to never do anything evil again.

Oh, let’s not forget the classic Jedi Mind Trick, either.  It’s one way Luke Skywalker invites himself in for a visit our revolting friend Jabba the Hut.  Come to think of it, just by simple virtue of being a Jedi all that is familiar to your being is a mind trick.

The mind is a mystery.  We all have one, but who knows what’s in it?  How many times have you said, “What are you thinking?” Haven’t you ever taken your fist and rapped it on your brain, or that idiot friend of yours and said, “Dude, are you nuts?  What happened to your brain?”  Yet, we still wonder what occurs during the thought process, what makes us arrive at the decisions we so nimbly or slowly do.  Our influences, our impressions, our decision to eat yet another piece of food that will stuff us silly all comes from that thick grey matter residing in our skull.  Is it a machine?  Is it will?  Is it hope and dreams?

It’s a thought worth thinking about.

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