30 January 2009

Dissociation of sensibility

Beh. Just got a blue screen of death on my ailing lab-PC. Now it won't start. Gotta get it replaced.

Sitting in the lab, working lazily and listening to an old Philoctetes Center classic: Origin of Norms, with Gerald Edelman among others.

Friend talked yesterday about the dangerous spiral of depression->unemployment->worsening economy->more unemployment->more depression that goes largely untreated in many developing countries. Makes sense. As I've said before, I'm finding it difficult to see how the Anglo-Saxon world, with its small population, maintains such a lead in living standards.

Computer still won't start. Dammit.

I read the transcript for the dopamine video at a creative writing session a few days ago and someone said "You think that's really how it works?". She didn't mean was I correct about the details but did I think desire and motivation was all about chemistry. I said there was no question about it. She talked about a "part of us that doesn't want it to be like that". I wonder. What is lost when we think of the mind as a machine? Magic? The ghost or soul? For some, a sense of wonder and mystery. Control. Because, remember, most people are not neuroscientists.

I talked to a guy on a bus once, he was an English student and on hearing that I studied neuroscience he said "I don't know anything about the brain". I told him 'Yes you do, you have one!'. If only that were true. If only people were as knowledgeable about their brains as they are about their computers, cars, kitchens, feelings, children. If we could track the rise and fall of transmitter concentrations as we can track the rise and fall of sleepiness, hunger, lust, and see how they're related. A brain scan for every man, woman and child in Europe!

Computer still won't start. I understand we'll be getting a new one next week if all goes right.

You know, I realized the other day there's actually a pretty advanced MRI here at the university. Maybe I'll go sign up for an experiment and see if I can a few images of my brain.
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