Sunday, July 8, 2007

"You're not your f---ing khakis..." (Or your legs, for that matter)

Everyone's heard of phantom limbs; you know, where you get an arm amputated and still "feel" it from time to time. But consider phantom itches, and even phantom pain. Apparently, after a while, the brain is able to recognize that the limb isn't really there, and may seek to reclaim the usable brain matter. Sometimes crosswiring happens, and an amputee may learn that the nerves in (say) his face have rewired in the brain so that, to scratch a phantom itch on his amputated thumb, he may scratch his cheek where it meets his nose (or wherever). The missing limb may occasionally feel shorter or mangled or stuck in an uncomfortable position--troubling.

So, we're much more "brain" than we are "body." But if we aren't our bodies, and if our brains are as plastic and dynamic as they seem to be, how much crosswiring could our brains really do? How much are we our brains? Wallace Stevens once said, "The real is only the base; but it is the base." I'm starting to wonder.

I have a phantom ball of wisdom that walks with me everywhere I go, about six steps behind and slightly off to the right.

3 comments:

Wishydig said...

Be the ball Casey.

Be the ball.

brian said...

Don't be the ball.

50/50

Casey said...

Perfect.