Worms in the Mind.

I had a strange dream the other night; my left hand had three spiny tentacles painfully sprouting from it. As the skin slowly stretched and broke after a long period of gestation, the tentacles, upon closer inspection, turned out to be an unholy triad of slippery, black worms with betoothed maws, snapping at the air and disturbing me greatly. I don’t remember my dreams too often these days, perhaps because (barring the nights when the cat is on Annoying Street) I’m fortunate to sleep fairly soundly at le Chateau. I remember the nightmares, however. What could have possibly brought on this one?

It might have something to do with this visual.


This horrific image was taken from a very clever website that disguises a new video game from Ubisoft. I’m not one to be internally disturbed by visual stimulus, but who knows what tangled webs are woven within our subconscious? That was two days ago. How long has my unaware self been struggling with this horrific diorama?

On the subject of the struggles of the mind, I’ve been thinking a bit lately about cranial exercises; more specifically, how the methods of thought and processes of knowledge must be cultivated to be effective, just as with any other muscle. It’s obvious that rote knowledge, once learned, can leak out of memory and cognitive recall if not used through immersive or repeated application. But the bigger question of whether entire processes of thought become relegated to subconscious holdings – or whether once learned, they are always ready to be fired again – has recently become relevant through an interesting experience.

I was contacted for assistance in a spot of historical research in the field to which I dedicated my postgraduate career. It was an absolute pleasure to pull down some of the old books and papers and to delve amidst the shuffle of factoids which I had recently known so intimately. It didn’t take much time to reacquaint myself with the deeply-ingrained method of historical research, as zeroing in on identifiable proofs and citations has become a comfortably innate skill after so much tome-delving and document-dancing in the musty, dusty archives of old Scotland.

After providing the requested information, I became engaged in a curious stream of correspondence where much detail and interest of scholarly pursuits was bandied about, and it was then that I found myself blindly reaching out for the extra cognitive chair that I remembered being once beneath me. The particulars of the subjects of research played second fiddle to the *processes* of historical thought. The bigger, systemic consequences of historical happenings, and the links between groups, societies, cultures, and nations became my concern and my interest, and I struggled for a bit to apply this concisely within my correspondence. I had forgotten how to think this way, quite simply because I hadn’t had a use for that process since I’ve been out of university. And I really, really missed it, because it seems so important compared to the way we go about out lives, living in the minutia and in the microcosmic specifics of ensuring everything fits perfectly into our day-to-day schedules. It’s healthy to take a little self-importance out of the ego, and to realize that we’re just really small blips in a really big game of Pong. The past really does reflect on the present. Thinking about the organism for a moment, instead of just the cell. This is important, and the only kind of thought that really carries on through the ages. It’s refreshing. It’s bigger than me.


The most valuable thing I learned during my academic stint in Edinburgh was simple: to think on a broader scale – a systemic scale – as a skill in learning a great deal more about the scrutinized period in question. I entered that institution completely smitten with the bottom-up perspective of history – the plight of the common human being, awash amidst the flood of the historical paradigm. My supervisors would sometimes balk, and I strongly resisted the demanded shift in thought to a more-inclusive, less-personal perspective. And while I still maintain the necessity of the individual when considering historical conundra, I recognize and do my best to apply the broader vision, which honestly just came to me toward the end of my tenure there. It just came, and everything just came together, and because of it, I feel that I truly got my money’s worth.


Now, if I could just remember how to use it, and to put it into a semi-regular application. It’s still the only creeping thing that makes me feel that I’m currently wasting my time, but that’s another story.

In other news, angledge makes some damn tootin’ banana-chocolate chip muffins. Sunday mornings were made for these, a nice cup of tea, and wireless internet – all while still in bed. It’s not often I get to relax like this these days, but it is much needed, and much appreciated.

9 Responses to “Worms in the Mind.”

  1. ubernacht Says:
    February 27th, 2005 at 3:29 pm

    Either that or you need to spend more time away from the store!

  2. agntprovocateur Says:
    February 27th, 2005 at 3:58 pm

    i say he must be secretly stashing japanese marine animal/tentacle porn.
    but, shhhhh. we have to keep that on the down low.

  3. dr_beep Says:
    February 28th, 2005 at 10:43 am

    Blasphemy! The store is all!
    I think I actually believed that at some point, but that was a long long time ago 🙂

  4. FunkyPlaid Says:
    February 28th, 2005 at 11:16 pm

    Away? What is this 'away' that you speak of?
    *blinks hard at the sunlight*

  5. dr_beep Says:
    February 28th, 2005 at 10:42 am

    First: Mmmmmm betoothed maws
    Second: "how the methods of thought and processes of knowledge must be cultivated to be effective"
    I find that where I am in life at the moment demands too much of my attention and not enough of my ability, and it drains just enough to make what time is left to me alone less than productive.
    In more direct terms, work has been making me stupid.
    I need to get my ass back to school and get rid of this beer belly of the mind.

  6. FunkyPlaid Says:
    February 28th, 2005 at 11:22 pm

    I hear you very clearly, and that you're feeling this way is a good sign that you have bigger fish (or circuit boards) to fry. I love that the inexorable advancement of the progressive soul virtually demands that the long search and desire to stay sharp takes some precedence.
    You're destined to use that big brain of yours in some creative way, whether it's sculpting Doom out of clay or taking over the world, one cephalopod at a time.

  7. podle Says:
    March 1st, 2005 at 10:09 am

    "I find that where I am in life at the moment demands too much of my attention and not enough of my ability, and it drains just enough to make what time is left to me alone less than productive."
    Dang – that *so* hits the nail on the head for me right now. My schedule lately seems to be: 11:00 a.m., have interesting creative idea; 11:01 – 4:30, have all energy and life sucked out of me by work, 4:30 – bedtime, wonder what the hell happened and try to at least do one useful thing before I pass out.
    I need to find something outside of work to inspire me big time, or I will become a hideous droning bee person.

  8. FunkyPlaid Says:
    March 1st, 2005 at 12:44 pm

    Your words here mirror your last post closely, and it seems that you already know there are changes in the works. The trick is, as always, letting go of your safety net (even with its holes) and making a wild and dangerous jump, knowing that there is a blissful pool of…something…below. A bunch of my friends are going through this very thing right now. The time for change is in the air, all around.
    What's the point, G? You've already voiced it. We're getting older, and we just might possibly only have this one go at things. So we need to make it full, and fun, and creative, and if we're not doing all of that, we need to implement changes. Not everybody is blessed and skilled with the ability to create, in any of creation's myriad forms. We can't waste that talent with day-to-day drudgery, and the reciprocity of that path manifests in the fact that we'll have less money but be able to do more, and more beautiful things. The perfect synthesis would be a little of each. So we're on the search.
    You'll never be a drone; there's too much buzz in your bonnet. We should get together and discuss this in person, say, in the next ten days or so? You tell me when you have some time.

  9. podle Says:
    March 1st, 2005 at 3:20 pm

    "You tell me when you have some time…"
    Baby – I'll *make* time for you. What's your schedule? Me – I've got Friday night open, Saturday afternoon, any weeknight next week (I could scoot into the city after work). You just tell me when you can squeeze me in.

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