LIFE, ACCORDING TO COOK
This page was dictated,stream of consciousness. If anything seems absurd when you read it, go ahead and laugh. I was probably serious when I wrote it but my feelings won’t be hurt because I won’t be able to hear you laughing.
Margaret and I met and had lunch with two other couples a couple of days ago. Our connection was several of us had attended Oak Harbor high school together 60 years ago. Several stories were told about things that happened back then and it was a lot of fun. Memory is an interesting phenomenon.
This morning after awakening from a sound sleep I was lying there in a pensive mood and my brain was enjoying itself with thoughts and memories bouncing around at random. Once I realized what was happening in my brain, my mind, I took some degree of control and started looking at memories from my early childhood and thought it might be a good idea to write/record my memories and stories from the beginning forward based on little things that stuck in my mind and remain as memories to this day. I am aware when I reconstruct the situation and circumstances around those memorize it might not be very accurate because of the way the brain apparently works. My, nonofficial, understanding of the way the brain recalls things from the past is; a specific memory or memory of a specific thing or incident is the starting point. From this starting point the brain reaches into a vast pool of other memories and recollections of things and pulls as many pieces as are needed to create a full picture around the specific starting point. I saw an example of this when I returned to Oak Harbor years ago and sat down with a group of people I had been in school with. One of them, who I didn’t even recall knowing in school, told a story about something he and I did which I remember very clearly. The difference was, I remembered I had done it with someone else. It was talked about a lot and he had apparently heard the story frequently. he eventually adopted it as his own memory and he was truthful and thinking he was telling a story involving the two of us together. I have heard the same story told by others from that era and it differed from my recollections of reality each time. Each of us had rebuilt the story based on a specific incident and a lot of random incidents in our big memory pool. The items in this big memory pool are apparently un-assigned to specific incidents and used as needed.
I love words and I try to use words correctly. Each time I am about to say something about having written or dictated something already I wrestle with which is the correct word to use. For explanation, I am dictating using a voice recognition program so I don’t have to type. I have wanted to do more writing for many years but because my typing skills are rudimentary at best, I found it very difficult if not impossible to put good thoughts on paper in any order that made sense. After dictating the previous paragraph I realize the concept I was looking for was stream of consciousness. I have encountered this a few times in the past when preparing for a speech or something and recognized its value for the way my mind works. My mind races ahead of my typing speed or even my speaking speed so a lot of what happens in my mind gets lost before it ever gets transferred to anyone else or any other medium. When I was half awake this morning and I realized I was in a half dream state with my mind racing from issue to issue and thought to thought without me directing it I believe I discovered what I will call “stream of unconsciousness”.
Remembering the phrase “stream of consciousness” reminded me of something in my life I feel is somewhat unique to me that not everybody else experiences. Whether I am really different from others in the way my brain works or not I don’t know for sure but I do know my brain is very active and to a large degree has a mind of its own. This is probably described by some academic person but I’ve never found it described by others. A friend trained in psychology told me there was a name for it that I can’t remember that name. It has to do with levels of the mind other than the conscious. I have participated in group hip gnosis demonstrations before and do not feel I was really successful in being hypnotized by someone to the level they could plant subconscious thoughts in my mind. That might be possible but I haven’t made it work. I did, however, hypnotize myself one time when I wasn’t trying to. My problem with trying to do that sort of thing is my lack of focus. I keep looking at all and all angles of everything as it enters my mind and that breaks the focus that would be necessary to use self hypnosis. The time I hypnotize myself was when I was a student at Everett junior-college. I live Dennis small semi basement apartment by myself and one day when I was restless I knew going out and driving around would probably only frustrate me because I would be spending money on gas and wouldn’t accomplish much. Instead of leaving my apartment in the middle of the day I laid down on the bed on top of the covers and rested with my eyes closed. I may have gone to sleep or may have still been awake, I’m not sure which, but I found myself daydreaming. I had daydreamed a lot when I was younger and never thought anything about what I was doing or what was going on in my mind. On this occasion I consciously recognize the fact my mind was dreaming about doing things and it was visual just like I was having a dream in my sleep. This was going on at one level of my brain and I was realizing it was happening with another level of my brain. Out of curiosity I decided to try to direct the dreaming that was going on to new scenarios like one would change the channels on a TV set. It worked and I was enjoying the fun of dreaming at will when suddenly I experienced a loud noise combined with flashing lights in my mind. It was the same audio and visual effect I experienced when I went under ether when I had my tonsils out at the age of about six. This loud noise and flashing was frightening and my first thought was maybe the house was on fire or something. When I first tried to move I couldn’t move. After trying to physically move for some short period of time I regrouped my thoughts and focused on moving my foot. I succeeded in moving my foot and when I did so I woke up.
My experience with self hypnosis was interesting but I didn’t even realize I had hypnotize myself at the time. I was very busy with taking a full load of classes in school and driving truck for Oak Harbor freight lines in the afternoon and I didn’t give it a lot of thought at that time. About 20 years later while living in Fairbanks Alaska I had gotten a pilots license and had another experience similar to my self hypnosis experience this one was different in that I didn’t hypnotize myself but I was able to observe what was happening and part of my mind with another part of my mind. I had flown a Cessna 172 from Fairbanks to Delta Junction for something in the afternoon with the intention of returning home that day. Whatever I was therefore took longer than expected and it was approaching darkness by the time I got back to the airplane. It was winter time and it had been snowing off and on. When I checked with flight service I found I learned there was a squall line of snowstorms between Delta Junction and Fairbanks but otherwise the weather in Fairbanks was clear and expected to remain clear. I made the conscious decision to fly through a snowstorm after dark even though I did not have an instrument rating. I did this because I had flown the route many times in new there was no mountains to run into. Even though I did not have an instrument rating I felt confident, foolishly so, about my abilities to fly with only instrument reference. After I took off and headed for Fairbanks I knew the flight service information had been correct because once I got a couple of thousand feet in the air I should have been able to see the lights of Fairbanks 60 or 70 miles away. I could see nothing ahead of me except pitch black. Sure enough a few minutes later I started seeing the snowflakes flash around the windshield and before long I was flying in the thick of extremely heavy snowfall. Not only could I not see the ground I couldn’t see anything except the instrument panel of the airplane. From training, I consciously focused on the airspeed and altitude and the rate of climb and the horizontal position indicator very intently. While I was doing this with my conscious mind I realized my unconscious or subconscious mind was doing something else it was like it was screaming at me to pull up or pull back on the yoke to gain altitude because somewhere my conscious mind there was a fear I would run into something since I was traveling at nearly hundred miles an hour and could only see 10 feet ahead of me. I rationally knew there was nothing to run into but some part of my mind wasn’t convinced. Some of the muscles in my arms tried to pull up on the yoke and other muscles in my arms resisted those trying to make me gain altitude part of my mind screamed at me to reach over and add power and the other part of my mind told me to keep focusing on the instruments and doing exactly what I was doing. In addition to these two parts of my mind operating independently, a third part of my mind observed the battle going on and found it amusing. I almost laughed at myself as I realized what was going on in my head. After what may have only been a few minutes or could have been even 10 or 20 minutes I suddenly started seeing the lights of Fairbanks in the distance and no longer had to depend entirely on the instruments. Unlike myself hypnosis experience years before at this point in my life I had the time to contemplate what had happened in the following days. My best analysis was I had experienced the use of what Freud had referred to as the id ego and superego in my mind. I’ve never seen this described in writing or heard it described by anyone but it was clearly an experience I will always remember.
I think I have an active or even an old overactive brain. Being reminded of the admonition to not judge another tell you have walked a mile in their shoes/moccasins, I am aware my brain might not really be overactive but might even be underactive. I don’t know what everybody else’s brain does. One of the few things I remember clearly is when I took my first philosophy class at Everett junior-college. As the professor lectured on the history of philosophy and told us about Plato and Aristotle and Descartes and other ancient philosophers, I had a feeling of exaltation. Finding out there had been many other people with the same questions in their minds I had always felt but not dare ask about made me feel like a dried-up sponge on the desert with water being poured on it.
I have, with tongue-in-cheek, referred to myself as a philosopher off-and-on through my life but have never been inclined to try to qualify, however that is done, as a true philosopher. I do know my brain operates quite independent of what I think of as me or my consciousness. It is asking questions and coming up with answers continuously night and day. When I meet someone and they comment on some business issue or dilemma they face my brain races like a car motor with the throttle stuck open. Occasionally I feel one of the answers my brain comes up with is worth conveying to the person with the problem but most the time my brain moves on to other reasons to stay around.
I am at a stage of my life I need to think a little more seriously about my financial future than I have for the previous 77 years. I’ve never worried about having any significant money in the future as long as I had enough to pay my debts. Since I was old enough to be on my own I have generally had some debts because when I felt like doing something with her it was buying a book or traveling to a foreign country, I usually started moving in the direction of doing whatever it was I wanted and did it and then worried about how I was going to pay for it. That is not true because I usually didn’t worry about how I was going to pay for it I just got a job or did something to earn some money and beta without worry. I am fortunate that Margaret adapted to my disdain for security and has put up with me for over 52 years. Paragraph I had an unusual experience this morning early when I will awoke and my brain was rehashing several problematic situations which I finally figure out where leftovers from dreams I had had either last night or at times in the past. Once I got fully awake there was nothing there to worry about but for the first minute or so while waking up it was quite an adventure wondering how I was going to deal with all these issues.
Other than knowing I enjoyed philosophical thoughts and words and did develop a reputation for playing with words more than most people, I never gave much thought to my brain until we were in our serious auto accident in 2005. After getting out of the hospital and being home a couple of weeks I realized one day something was wrong. I hadn’t picked up a book or read anything to pass time since the accident even though I had plenty of free time while sitting around with my crippled foot. I found I could read that whatever I read seemed to go into my head and go right out again and if I tried to comprehend anything difficult I almost immediately became brain weary. I came up with a name for this brain wariness since I had some experience with drinking martinis previously. I named it after realizing every day around midday my head would clear up from the fog it had been in most of the morning. I named this fog quote my martini feeling” it was most noticeable whenever I spoke to somebody from the insurance company or an attorney or had to relive the details around the accident. I would immediately become mentally exhausted. I was told by a psychologist after they did a cognitive test in to the CAT scan of my brain there was nothing they could see that had been damaged but the only treatment he could suggest would be to keep trying to read and utilize my brain in a way so as to exercise it. The first book I read was a coffee table book I had bought mostly for the pictures. It turned out to have a lot of interesting text explaining how different parts of the brain worked. After reading that book I went on to read several other books discussing what neuroscientists have been learning about the brain in recent years with new technology. After a few years I found I could concentrate and focus on things for longer and longer periods of time and finally the martini feeling was not with me every day. It still came back in a hurry when something triggered it like having to deal with our insurance situation or when Margaret would raise her arm and say something at the same time while I was driving. This motion was a duplicate of what she did when she saw the trailer starting the fishtail in the opposite direction a second before I saw it.
I am now faced with the decision of what kind of goal I want to make for the next five years so I can work towards succeeding with my goal. I don’t like just drifting and I financially need to do something to earn income so this is important. One how-to book says it’s easy because you just pick your goal and then plan everything you have to do between now and when you achieve the goal. Another one states if you identify your dream and don’t let anything distract you that’s another way to reach her goal. Unfortunately it appears along with a dream one has other maintenance issues which can be distractions such as taking care of one’s family being socially responsible staying healthy etc.
Money is a concept. It is an ingenious way of storing the fruits of labor and manipulating others.
Fun is almost as difficult to describe as is money. Whereas money is a way of storing the fruits of one’s labor, fun is one of the better ways of spending the fruits of one’s labor which has been stored. Sometimes it competes with investing and gaining education but ideally one can do either of these while having fun also.
Fun seems to have a frivolous non-serious connotation until it is looked at closely. Climbing a rock faced cliff with your bare hands is obviously very dangerous and non-frivolous but to some people that is fun. From personal experience I know struggling through deep snow in subzero temperatures with a snow machine more frequently stuck than moving forward was fun.
If I succeed in creating a link here to my other, newly created site I will be pleased.
It worked. Accomplishing something thought to be difficult is one of the most fun things I know of. That is all for now. 11/17/17