Monday, April 16, 2012

N is for Neurons

I don't know precisely what neurons are. As a poet I need to know about things to the extent that they affect my living experience. As far as unwitnessable scientific properties go, that falls under the nice-to-know category. And if I may be permitted a lame generalization, I do find science both interesting and useful.

My understanding is that neurons for the most part are brain cells and we probably have billions of them and they are divided into colonies, or perhaps, agencies is a better word.

[Editor's note: Billions? Try a hundred trillion.]

I know that neurological activity goes on constantly. There's a whole lot of it and it's going on outside of my conscious awareness.

I know that these agencies are always communicating. And I know that they are not communicating in English.

Nor, I suspect, are they communicating in the same language in which my consciousness thinks. Otherwise my consciousness might eavesdrop, might it not?

But I suspect it is a very similar language and here's why:

I have a theory and like all my theories and other understandings they are of original construction though I would never suspect that they are unique to me nor that I am the first to come up with any of them.

I sense that my consciousness does in fact eavesdrop and that it does so constantly, or at least, always has the opportunity to, but that the communications, being in a different though similar language, are wildly mistranslated by the consciousness. And I very much suspect that this is what we experience as dreams. Which is why dreams often make little or no sense yet seem to mean something.

I think that we dream all the time (because the brain is in communication all the time) but that we only ever notice the dreams when our consciousness is in a specific state; where it is active yet unencumbered by any input of greater significance; such as while we are awake and overwhelmed by the input of our senses.

It's like looking out a window at night. If the light is on in the room, then the window is like a mirror. You only see the inside of the room. When we are asleep, the light is off and we can then see through the window into that dream world; that outsider's view of the secret brain.

Switching back and forth from night shift to regular hours every week, I am very frequently tired. And thus I'm often falling slightly asleep for a second at a time. Each time this happens I catch a couple frames of some dream (always different) that seems to have been playing for some other audience - like walking past an open door to a cinema and catching a glimpse of a movie but without context. I think of them as dreamettes. This is why I can't help but feel that we actually are dreaming all the time.

Anyways.. It seems to me like a fairly obvious explanation.



Roger said...

What a novel way to look at that. It totally makes sense and passes my "logic" test..It also explains where creativity could come from. Thanks for the mind bender today..

Stephen Tremp said...

I had a similar post for my N day on the nervous system. I tried the night shift day shift thing once. Messed me up pretty good. I need my night sleep.