The Brain, Part II

As you, my faithful readers, know, I am an amateur neuropsychologist. A student of the brain, as it were. An untrained student, but surely that only leads to freedom of thought. Because of this interest, as I go through my days, I consider brain issues. Thus, when I was listening to the Tanis Podcast (which is excellent by the way, if you don’t mind frequent tangential asides that have nothing to do with anything) and they were talking about mass hysteria, it occurred to me the brain might be to blame.

Here’s my thought. I’d like your (amateur) opinion. Unless there are actual qualified neuropsychologists out there in reader land, which, if so, please chime in. The theory being as follows:

We have fears. Some are of our own devising. Others are manufactured, such as an occult movie that watchers believe will make them lose their mind if they watch it (this, the Tenebras Occulta, was the subject of the Tanis episode, and, in fact, has its own podcast). Such fears are often persistent or, though of limited duration (such as with the movie) intense. The fears pound and pound the brain, assaulting it. The brain knows the fears aren’t real—for example, nothing indicates we are going to catch ALS and lose the use of our limbs—yet they persist. And persist. The brain wards them off for a while, often for a long, long time.

But what if the brain finally gives up? What if it says, okay, you idiot. I know this is just a fear. But if you insist, I will make it so. And whatever we’re afraid of becomes reality. We watch the movie and actually do lose our mind. We fear we will get ALS, and, in the most ironic twist of fate, we do. Or is it irony? Perhaps it’s the brain that eventually mistakes fear for directive.

I shared this theory with my husband as we rode in the red Mustang humming down the highway listening to the podcast (but paused so I could voice my amateur neuropsychiatry theory.) I asked him, do you think that’s possible?

No, he said. If it were a legitimate theory, all the true, professional students of the brain would have discovered it.

But I am a stubborn amateur. And I continue to believe it is a possibility. Do you?

The kids being Brainiacs at Mardi Gras


amateur neuropsychiatrist, brain theories, podcasts, Tanis podcast, Tenebras Occulta, the Brainiacs, The Last Movie podcast

Comments (4)

    • Uh, oh. That’s exactly what I’m talking about. I suppose the other explanation is that there are only so many ways to die and fears/reality must, as a result of normal probabilities, sync up every once in a while. Or you can go with my much scarier theory. 🙂

  • Well… I did study brain development in children, though I am still an amateur by a long shot, and recently I do get confused between what is real and magic. But here goes… An interesting fact about our genetic code is that we all have little flaws and imperfections that we never manifest. Because of those flaws, many of us might have a predisposition for schizophrenia, for example, but we never become schizophrenic because the flaw is never triggered. And triggers don’t have to be physical in this case, but are often psychological. It would follow that prolonged dwelling and an intense focus on an illness could trigger a faulty gene. That’s the science part. Here’s the magicky part. Our thoughts are quite capable of creating our perceptions and reality. I honestly do believe that we have an energetic impact on the space and people around us. We feel instinctively connected to some people and instantly repelled by others. So, I think it’s very likely that if we put a lot of “illness” energy out there, we are likely to be more sickly than a person who puts “wellness” energy out there. We are what we think we are. 🙂 Great question, Ellen. That was fun!

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