02006-02-06 | Uncategorized | 1 comment

I have been thinking about David Byrne’s post regarding Self and Brain. From observation it seems to me that the brain craves order. The brain will do anything to achieve order, including believing in something – just to be done with it. The brain thinks that believing something is efficient since a problem is solved – or rather filed away.

Believing is not centered around religion, because the brain uses it all the time, every day. Most people just don’t see that they believe in politics for example. Even people who are atheists believe in this or that political party. When that party doesn’t live up to expectations they make up excuses, because once a belief has been settled on by the brain, the brain loathes having to change it. It’s a problem solved, a corner stone selected… It takes a long time to look at each issue before every election and decide on merit who one should vote for. Instead we believe in a party and vote the line. Problem solved.

Now, let’s look at music. How often do we say we don’t like a certain genre of music, whether it’s Heavy Metal or New Age. That’s a belief based on a few samples we have observed. Hm, might also mean we’ll miss some really cool music. Isn’t it also belief, when a musician hears a piece of music and automatically selects a certain scale to use with it? Sounds bluesy – I think I will play a pentatonic blues scale over it. Brian Eno said in an interview a couple of decades ago that guitarists were so predictable – they always play the same riffs. This riff fits on this progression, that riff is good for that one… This, of course, saves time. No need to rediscover music, just jump right in with pre-fab music-slabs.

No need to rediscover everything every day, says the brain – I’ll just set up some beliefs and that will take care of us. No need to go there again.

Observe your brain during the course of a day and see what I mean. How much of what we call experience is actually just a belief – not based on truth observed in that very moment, but rather something chosen ages ago by our brain in order to save time and create order. I bet order feels really good to a brain. Lots of heroin-like wellness-feeling probably derives from that (false) sense of order.

Are we willing to give that sense of order to face a brand new world every day? Maybe we can just move the parameters a little? Just a little less belief and a little more experience of the moment? Or, at least some awareness of the filing methods and order creations of the brain.

1 Comment

  1. Adam Solomon

    Mmm…reminds me of the religious leaders you see interviewed who argue that they believe in God because it makes life easier for them. But even the most rational person has a belief in rationality itself. The scientist assumes that the facts are absolute. It’s probably the best assumption anyone can make–it is the base of all assumptions–but who are we to say it is 100% true?

    Your observation about music (to bring this comment to a less esoteric plane) rings particularly true, by the way. I believe it’s hard for most anyone to give up those long-established beliefs–well-supported although really not worthy of being applied to an entire genre–about why rap is bad, or country western, or Genre X or Y or Z.


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