old notes: I Always Loose My Way 3: the day you find out why you were born (and miss the point)

   …Once more unto the breach… Ahab, whales maybe, Twain’s two most important days and such. On the last ‘Loose My Way’ post I added a third: the day of detachment. I would add a forth here ….but that will come in the next… by now anyone perusing these lines probably gets one of the meme-ish aspects of this long essay, (…running comedy, chorus, repeated form alluding to a theme,): there are many days (that aren’t days but moments that count, moments when a new tonic emerges and much that is and was within, hidden, makes its way to visibility, for better or worse.) An ‘n’ of a system or systems, so to speak, doesn’t really change but how you might read it does, what you infer, including yourself, that in turn changes what you will do, which kind of fears will delineate the same, your affect: the day you are deluded, the day you delude, the day you are happy, the day you have no place to turn, the day you climb into love, the day it leaves you, the day you stop forcing, the day of… (fill in the blank. Almost.) Anyway.

I suppose I should also try to emphasize other aspects, however banal, these words are trying to convey. One of those: stuff emerges after it’s already happened. The expression of any system, including you, those from which you create the story of yourself. Stories, as odd as it may feel, you make up after and though not inevitable are limited by motivation and topology dancing and whirling, or so many motivations and topologies, like couples waltzing around a ballroom – what happens next, or the last drop of water that undoes the balance of forces at the rim of a vase and off the liquid drips or it doesn’t and nothing changes, the last grain of sand on the mound until it re-settles, sort of, ecc. The last moment before… you find yourself in another, in one of Twain’s days.

Those moments had already happened, their representations, but you didn’t know, couldn’t have known. Uncertainty isn’t avoidable, maybe thankfully, even if we try to (we have to, really, we’ve evolved to,) contain it. And complexity. 2 other points to point out point-fully, or pointlessly. I wax.

link –  Researchers identify ‘social place cells’ – https://phys.org/news/2018-01-social-cells-brain.html#jCp 

   And wane. I left off the last ‘loose my way’ post after running away, inside, from the place I was, ‘place’ of course as a large word, not as much or so much the actual room I was in. We form memories of literal place, represent it, every time we form a memory of self. So in that too hot high school on an August afternoon, filled with so-o many kids and men, it felt to me (was that running away self-removal? Distance from place?) claustrophobic or a phobic reaction in any sense, like a cell wall double-lined, the phobia delineating the form inside, an inevitability given the context. The preceding might be perceived as pointless questions, almost rhetorical and maybe they are but, if you think about it, maybe not so much. Was the running away due to a cause and effect thing which created a story or instead a temporal expression, as all those moment-days here, emerging from entropic evolution?  (I’ve become fairly convinced of the later, of course. Otherwise why bother with such words?)

link: A Computational Account of Optimizing Social Predictions Reveals That Adolescents Are
Conservative Learners in Social Contexts – http://www.jneurosci.org/content/38/4/974

Anyway the later could be one way to look at it, place and self. Usually though we use the former, narrative cause and effect (our fabulated and fabulating narrative forms to create and describe cause and effect or causality.) So let me bring such in. Story. History. Character. Context.

Silence. Except for odd weekend days when my brother tried to play his electric guitar (very, very loudly. My ass well remembers the vibrations of ‘She’s got the Jack’ and ‘Big Balls’ – AC/DC was one of his favorites. Glasses resting in the living room credenza whined, struggling to hold themselves in tact from the onslaught gushing from the Marshall amp below. ‘Help,’ they seemed to cry. Windows sighed. Even the plants assumed a mildly disgusted air. The dog remained out in the back yard a lot, poor thing,) after the heated wars my parent’s house had faded into silence, or quiet, the almost utter absence of interaction. My brother spent most of his days away after taking possession of the ‘good’ family car, (the 2.0 Pininfarina-Fiat convertible which he would spend oodles of my father’s income on, dip-painting the chassis, paying a Ferrari mechanic to soup it up….likely the most expensive Fiat on the planet at the time,) before heading to University that year (Kenyon.) After school or track practice I’d head home and try to cheer up my mother, who would wait until she heard the sound of my father’s car (the ‘2nd’ car, a used Lancia or Fiat not so expensive as the convertible but still, as they used to joke: what does FIAT stand for? Fix It Again Tony,) pulling up the driveway when she would scuttle upstairs into the master bedroom and lock the door, remaining there until he went to bed hours later. (He slept in his studio. Understandable…he’d beaten her at least twice badly, I can’t know how many other times, and she remained terrorized. He’d beaten the hell out me as well when I was quite young though only twice – I have no recollection as to why. Merely the full wind up slap-hitting, arm raised full up and bam-sting-bam until a small chunk of my body’s skin was reddened. Though that behavior, the physical part, had faded already by the time I was an adolescent and was to disappear – as we age so does our brain and mind. GABA, one of those molecule-soldiers in our noggin’ and elsewhere, in particular declines generally in the front half of your head up top. It acts as something of a break, sponsoring or directly inhibiting the bottom-up expression of some of those ‘partitures’ in our internal symphony. When it does, equilibriums change until in some cultures you get… middle aged men divorcing their wives, buying yellow ferraris and fucking 20 year old Romanian blondes. On the other side…you get the second peak in women’s suicide at age 50. But for most… slowly you let go of the old meanings of things you’ve done, like finishing a book good or bad, and ease into a generally happier state.) So, silence, that house, all that open… space, and beyond family…. the lack of any strong external social pressure to belong.


Then, well… I never studied, basically. School subjects, that is. My sophomore year I did promise myself I would look at the books one hour a day and most of the time I did – with no discernible results. (A’s and a B or 2 each term. The… only real objective from nearly all coursework was to get grades just good enough in context to attend the wanted university.) Socially…well, the running away wasn’t merely from a football team but from… the horror, as it were, of social forms, at least those to be observed and understood in a middle-class suburban high school. One winds up a sort of loner, (which could bring to mind another Twain day: the day you take your lunch not to the usual table – the ‘2nd’ table. You’ll likely remember, those cafeteria tables, the first where the most popular normally adjusted students might sit, usually with a make-shift king and-or sometimes queen, both with attending nobility and liked, and a jester, a prince, a councillor, the 2nd of the minors, not enough of whatever was needed, looks, attitude, ecc. … to the table of the terribly misfit but rather smart El Salvadorian refugee brothers, the younger of whom would then become my best friend for many years and remains the person who likely knows me more and better than anyone else,) facilitated by, well, looks.


….that is, an u-ugly kid was I, uglier than the smiling Alfred E Neuman on MAD magazine, tons of unkept unruly curly dark hair sitting atop down-looking hazel eyes distorted behind the heaviest and thickest of dark-plastic framed glasses with the thickest and heaviest lenses, and gaps, from having chipped both my front teeth falling from a bike years earlier, revealed any time my mouth might open, which likely caused a quick pause before the person in front of me realized that most of the other teeth there were zig-zagged and yellow-ish (only later were they only partially straightened by wearing a retainer for a few seasons. The yellow-ish-ness remained, actually a symptom of resistance. No cavities, practically ever.) Clothing… a lovely collection of mostly terry-cloth and corduroy pants of brown, red and blue all happily opened once a year at christmas, my parents christmas gifts. Add to that a quiet reputation of being, well, physically quite strong despite an un-impressive appearance and, ah, ‘really’ smart despite my always falling asleep after lunch, (how can you not, the easy buzz of a classroom, a baritone physics teacher mumbling up front, a brought lunch later accompanied by wine happily being digested… body temperature falling… gentle sleep, nature’s soft nurse sometimes,) missing as many days as possible and arriving late too often on the rest. Put an auditory cherry on top of those visuals with my mumbling-background softest spoken voice, hiding my own since a moment in the 8th grade when that my already deep baritone (a couple chronological years early, that matured tone,) would rumble across a study hall to the teachers desk from where, with a smile, she told me such and to keep quiet, so I did, more or less permanently, a sort of running away much like the Jim affair only 2 years later.

I wax, waning the notion by the waxing. In short: I had all the time and space in the world. No boundaries. No forced familial obligations, merely the willing care of that extended self (the love felt for my two rather destroyed parents and ‘my big brother’;) no accepted or presented social entwinements, merely a deep friendship in which to share and discuss; no academic responsibilities, merely the hungriest of desires to dive into subjects that mattered (to me.) It was, from within, a great time. Wonder.


And expansion. Body. It always begins with the body, its occupation that allows the rest of you to fly about.  In dialogues, always connected to something out there or within that nevertheless reflects larger systems expressed in a past out there. Or, in more practical terms: time spent outside expanding your body’s capabilities or inside bringing expression out, often via music and-or gesture. Or, in still more practical terms: I spent a great deal of time riding, running, walking, lifting, dancing – the privilege of the middle class in a wealthy nation (even though I wonder. That attitude reflects what happens in many other societies naturally. It’s the sitting in front of flat screens or shutting ourselves up in straight lined temperature controlled places that isn’t at all … useful.)
tangent link : Model sheds light on inhibitory neurons’ computational role
tangent link – Modulation of Neocortical Development by Early Neuronal Activity: Physiology and Pathophysiology:  https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fncel.2017.00379/full?utm_source=S-TWT&utm_medium=SNET&utm_campaign=ECO_FNINS_XXXXXXXX_auto-dlvrit


Much of all that was, in context as always, mostly inevitable. As mentioned in the first post… the map inside, the way things were to be represented including self or selves, and the resulting motivations were perhaps largely too strong for very different outcomes. Usually we call it personality but that likely doesn’t convey the right concept. Style, maybe, as O. Sacks used. But the context of open-ness and space, silence… gave the developing networks a context that was likely larger or less bounded than usual. That is, a lack of most any kind of felt fear or pressure from either the outside or from within. The end of stress. Cortisol. The little fucker-upper of expressing motivation. Left me alone as I grew into adolescence. Leaving deeper motivations, maybe immature in a social usage but most of that is… equivocal, free reign and rein. So what does that sort of non-social motivation drive a kid in that context to do, or more, how does motivation (those dopaminergic-influenced pathways) develop?

link –  Small but distinct differences among species mark evolution of human brain:

This is a bit harder, quite, than I’d imagined. Not the sitting and writing of course but what to leave out, where to proceed, where to begin and end a parenthesis.

(Ie, should I bring in the sequence of singular best friends, Steve-Jim-Rafael, very unlikely by coincidence always the 2nd youngest in my class, and some of what that might imply? Should I back-track more to other moments that weren’t and aren’t Twain days (too early in context) but reflect what will come or the observable behaviors reflecting network expression beneath?)

(What’s the balance, the writing of a story with all the aspects of narrative? Indecision, Hamlet meeting 1900 (from Baricco’s book). Or…the opposite of that my adolescence, when all those constraints weren’t there, at all, leaving the metaphorical words to easily flow into the pages. That is, aspects of any narrative, words here as the metaphor, are then used to form a story. If those aspects aren’t so… inhibited by culture, delineated by carried fear… a different sort of story is then created. Hamlet was indeed constrained in many ways, conflicts a go-go. In Baricco’s books, when the main character 900 decides to leave his ship, the only place and culture he knows, his words so to speak (beyond music), he cannot in the end bring himself to leave. So.)

Motivation. Ambition. To feel and understand. Without anything to hold those in in some way, bound them, they themselves in words become the doing. So that’s what I did. But feel and understand what? Well, that’s the thing… there weren’t roles or boundaries or fears, after what can only be termed as a difficult late childhood. A third time so… everything, basically. And the distance between the two, feeling-understanding, because of a lack of sustained affect, socially anyway… was very small. Everything.


Not everything as in this-that-this. You’re not writing a story or stories. You are the story. There were subjects of course and all the rigmarole in each. Number stuff, (ie. creating a betting league based on NFL games. Where you learn: remember to loose more often if you want people to play; number series in math, where you develop equations which the teacher even allows you to use on exams where you learn: prove them formally, on your own if you have to, or nothing comes from the fun; investing your father’s money, where you realize how relatively easy it is not by looking at financial markets but the world and only after finding where the representation of that world on ‘wall street’ has it wrong, where you learn: if the money can be stolen by others within the system – an AC/DC playing elder sibling in that instance- it likely will be.) Training stuff, flavor stuff, music stuff, art stuff, ecc. But never as fields or things or subjects as such but more like…. feelings. Feelings can’t really be removed from anything of course, ever present, the way we time travel, so to speak. But… that’s how the approach was, and is. Lots of research on any individual field, of course, anywhere you can find it.

….Those were the years of Carl Sagan, Dr. Who, Jazz, Beethoven, A Flock of Seagulls…. words of an age and a time. But mostly it went fairly straight to questions, the obvious ones: why is there anything when nothing, as in nothingness, seems, at that age, so much more intuitive? And right after, of course: is there actually anything? And just after that, depending on how you approach those two questions: if so, what characterizes it?

In the meantime you begin to experiment, seeing as you’re stuck in high school and won’t enter the, then imagined, even presumed, fulfilling world of university for another couple years roughly. You fiddle with your classmates and yourself (what are we, how do we develop, what is our circumstance, our social forms, ecc. Ah, I left out… the religion stuff, then ‘god’ thing, pretty much left as such within a few weeks after sophomore football season ended.) Dreams. Dreaming.


That was a subject that occupied a good while, investigating dreaming, my own that is. But here I am now pushing once again the word count limits of this essay. So I’ll end this section (then go straight back to dreaming in the next) where nevertheless I’d intended to go anyway: the day you find out … what you have to do. And get it wrong.


Spring of my junior year, standing at the family room window looking out, contemplating is the word but it’s used a bit often too…easily, at dried leaves twirling about in a vortex. I whispered a line out-loud to myself a bit kitsch-dramatically: ‘I have to understand the human brain.’ What I was born for. But I’m dumb, was dumb then so failed to notice, to see the obvious, that’d I answered the wrong unheard question. It should have been, that unheard question: what do dry leaves turning about in the wind have to do with our brain? Trying to understand that would have been the next reason why.

So. I answered 41, you might say, instead of 42. The day you find why you born – and missed the point. (43…)



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