It’s all in your mind… but not in your head

The biggest lie we tell ourselves is that “it” is not all in your mind. Instead, it – your life and everything about it, even the universe – is inside your skull. Your head is a vast reservoir of everything, from the tiniest microbe to spiral galaxies, are all somehow in there. It’s total nonsense but also something “everybody knows,” like the flat earth and illnesses caused by the imbalance of humors.

by David Stone

Assorted Ideas, Large & Small

Is it all in your mind…?

pensive woman looking at window
Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on

One of the goofiest claims I ever read from a respected scientist is that, in your brain, there’s plenty enough capacity to store all of your memories. It’s about as desperate an attempt at avoiding the truth as has ever been tossed into the wind, being approximately as substantial as the wind itself.

First of all, what is the size of a memory? And while we’re at it, what is a memory really, anyway? Any memory, in fact, is an artificial thing we resurrect

in our thoughts. Some aren’t even accurate, as anyone who’s ever argued with their spouse knows, but we throw our arms around them like gilded treasures anyway.

But treasured memories can be treasured fictions, like Larry McMurty’s great All My Friends Are Going To Be Strangers, a novel carried out as a slice of autobiography. Loved that book, read it multiple times, but nothing in the story happened to me. Much of it, in the raw, happened to McMurtry. Yet, I remember parts of All My Friends as if I was there and an active part of it. I even feel the anger when they refuse Danny Deck a chance to see his newborn child.

The other thing about memory is that it’s never one moment; it’s a running stream, one with tricky currents and shifting shores. So, you’d have to remember that whole stream in all its nuance and context and plunk it down somewhere in your skull, millisecond by millisecond.

No one has yet found that massive repository inside your skull. The best anyone’s come up with is a fanciful alliance between multiple brain parts where, stimulated, they all coalesce in an active picture in your minds eye. Not kidding. And just for the fun of it, keep in your mind the fact that that alliance must be happening all the time, along with everything else, your brain has to do. Lik grow toenails, for example.

Maybe with a simple event, the time I reeled in a catfish in my uncle’s boat on the lake in Montrose, in some extreme stretch of imagination – which you also must remember… But what about the first time you fell head over heels in love or when got that call telling you that you landed your dream job?


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