The brain is personality’s whereabouts. It’s also a stern warden, and, at times, a self-tormentor.

cute socks

My brain likes cute socks. But it also likes kisses. And asparagus.

Imagine the brain, that shiny mound of being, that mouse-gray parliament of cells, that dream factory, that petite tyrant inside a ball of bone, that huddle of neurons calling all the plays, that little everywhere, that fickle pleasuredome, that wrinkled wardrobe of selves stuffed into the skull like too many clothes into a gym bag… We take for granted the ridiculous-sounding yet undeniable fact that each person carries around atop the body a complete universe in which trillions of sensations, thoughts, and desires stream. They mix privately, silently, while agitating on many levels, some of which we’re not aware of, thank heavens. If we needed to remember how to work the bellows of the lungs or the writhing python of digestion, we’d be swamped by formed and forming memories, and there’d be no time left for buying cute socks. My brain likes cute socks. But it also likes kisses. And asparagus. And watching boat-tailed grackles. And biking. And drinking Japanese green tea in a rose garden. There’s the nub of it – the brain is personality’s whereabouts. It’s also a stern warden, and, at times, a self-tormentor. It’s where catchy tunes snag, and cravings keep tugging. Shaped a little like a loaf of French country bread, our brain is a crowded chemistry lab, bustling with nonstop neuroal conversations. It’s also like an impersonal landscape where minute bolts of lightening prowl and strike. A hall of mirrors, it can contemplate existentialism, the delicate hooves of a goat, and its own birth and death in a manner of seconds. It’s blunt as a skunk, and a real gossip hound, but also voluptuous, clever, playful, and forgiving.

by Diane Ackerman (October 7, 1948 – )
from An Alchemy of Mind, 2004, The Enchanted Loom
image – eren | thisvintagechica

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One Response to “The brain is personality’s whereabouts. It’s also a stern warden, and, at times, a self-tormentor.”

  1. Grumba/Murf Says:

    Wonderful phrases- you can only approximate the immense microscopic complexity of a brain, but you did it well! My brain is ME, but it’s such a helter skelter melee so many hours of the day that I sometimes wonder if other brains are similar. I’ll never really know. It amazes me that one day I won’t exist because my brain doesn’t work any more, and I won’t know I’ve gone or that I ever existed. What a waste of selves the universe is.

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