Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Magnets and Thought Attraction

Sometimes I feel feverish and my head explodes with ideas but it can be messy like any explosion. There is no order to the ideas and they rub against each other creating friction and sparks and uncomfortable feelings. I have a wonderful set of magnetic poetry words which I keep on the  metal door of the cupboard in my studio and fiddle about with. 

It’s a fun diversion but is limited because all you have to draw on is the limits of the box of words. There must be a certain algorithm to illustrate the number of combinations that can be made and I am being a bit lame in suggesting I have exhausted the possibilities but that is not the problem. Our brains have an insatiable desire for novelty and I feel I have exhausted the novelty of the toy. The internet can be the same if you use it in the same way each day.
When I used to teach, my favourite resources were dictionaries, phone books, street directories and atlases. Google Earth is exciting and a valuable addition but it doesn’t lend itself to the same type of search. Google maps is limited by your search entry or the size of the page. The hard copy books could create curiosity and word trails. A random opening of a page of each book could lead to a search by chance and a rubbing together of completely unrelated ideas. For this reason I love the craziness of the book of answers. You have to have a question first and randomly open the book to find out if it will come to pass. A bit like the yes no oracle toy that was popular in the 90s.
Mystical Orb
 I like to start an adventure with chance. I am lucky that I have a head that retains odd ideas for a very long time but it is extremely poor at retaining any number facts. I am happy to be astounded by number facts and I understand them but cannot recall the truth of any of them in retelling a story that has excited me, which must be a great source of frustration to listeners. It also draws scepticism from my audience because I cannot nail a fact at will with a magical number. My greatest skill is in combining one idea with another. It’s good to know your strengths even if it has taken a long time to work that out and even if there doesn’t seem to be a current application for such talent.
I have been noticing a lot recently in my reading about electrical enhancement for the brain and that application of small amounts of charge to the brain can accelerate thinking.  http://theweek.com/article/index/226196/how-electrical-brain-stimulation-can-change-the-way-we-think   It can actually turn off the inner critical voice which fills us with self doubt by muting some synapses for the briefest moments making them more receptive to clearer thinking.
I also read recently of an older theory (like 4 years old!) that the human consciousness is just a magnetic field. That would explain ear worms, memes, zeitgeist  and crowd control to me.  Having had and lost a friend many years ago to depression for which she was unsuccessfully given convulsive electro therapy treatment and having lived near power lines that kept me in a constant fear of electric magnetic radiation, fiddling about with electricity and brains seems to be a dangerous and emotional field. Maybe you could change a person’s make up by changing their electrical levels. Chocolate does it for me! Too much and I am completely overcharged and unable to rest.
I have just listened to the books and music program on RadioNational and the discussion of a book called Lexicon by Max Barry which is all about the magical power of words and recruiting poets to control people’s minds. Max Barry had previously studied Marketing and Advertising so he knows about manipulating brains with words and ideas.
There is an interesting experiment which has come under different names, one being Takeluma, in which people were tested to see which line shape matched their interpretation of two different words. One was a prickly line and the other a rounded sinuous wave.
 The prickly line matched the word that had an" ick" sound and the sinuous wave matched the "oum" sound. Maybe words are magnetic or electrically charged in the way they are spoken and that is why they stick in your head or are able to move you to tears in certain combination. In cultures where there are words used differently by gender role I wonder if there is a different power in the words. In cultures where only men speak publicly does that limit the electrical balance of the brain and thus influence behaviour of the dominant gender?
Alfred Tomatis researched the frequency of sound and the influence it had on the smallest muscle in our body called the stapedius. It is the tiny little muscle that works the hammer and anvil in our inner ear. Not only does it respond to frequency of sound, it is also influenced by emotions, say through involuntary clamping of jaws or tensing of neck muscles and in turn influences physical balance and perception. Each cultural language has a different frequency and the amount of exercise the stapedius gets in listening to a variety of sound in turn enables the ear to hear more acutely, and the brain to flexibly perceive more things. This is the  triggering theory behind Mozart learning. American language frequency and French are quite different and Tomatis surmised among other things this had something to do with their perceived contempt of one another the living out of an adage of not being on the same wavelength.

Writing is my way of getting the scramble of scratching clashing ideas into a visual form so that I can redigest it. It’s a bit like crushing a whole lot of rock ingredients together and mixing and sieving to make a glaze which actually only comes together because of the right electrical balance of the molecules in it. It’s just annoying knowing that there is some thought in the back of your head that draws all these ideas together like a magnet and you just can’t get at it.

One of the pieces of music said to bring about the Mozart effect is this by Greek musician Yanni
Maybe if I sit and listen to it, I will be able to make something that has magnetic attraction. 

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