Wednesday, 13 September 2017

Mental Extremes and Bad Stars.

I was in the supermarket today looking at washing up liquid. The choice was between red and green. The woman-in-Sainsbury’s-who-talks-to-me (Chloe by name) came over and asked:

‘What are you doing?’

‘Trying to decide which one suits my personality best – Cherry Blossom and Red Petal, or Apple,’ (I managed a rare rueful smile in an attempt to indicate that I thought the concept amusing.)

‘I always go for the blue one.’

‘There isn’t a blue one.’

‘Yes there is, up there. But it’s more expensive.’

It was, too. Nearly twice as much because it was a branded label, not Sainsbury’s own.

‘In that case I’ll go for red.’

And then she walked away without another word.

*  *  *

At the other end of the scale, I’ve started thinking about thinking. Just as I’m in the process of working something out or deciding between options, my mind splits. One half carries on performing the original function while the other half tries to observe the process.

‘What is this "thinking" thing all about?’ it asks. ‘How does it work? Can I watch it happening?’

And so I try to watch it happening, but my eyes are on the outside of my head and all I can see are loads of cars in a car park. I imagine synapses flashing, but I can’t know whether they’re the right ones because I can’t actually see them. And even if I could, it wouldn’t answer the fundamental question: how does something simple and objective like flashing synapses translate into the abstract and utterly mysterious business of thinking? And the interesting thing is that this new habit of mine is coinciding with an increasing tendency to be absent minded.

So then I think some more and consider a potentially disturbing question: does all of this represent an ascent into greater use of the higher mind, or a descent into the twilight zone of true insanity? Or is it the same thing? Being me can be a frustrating business at times.

*  *  *

Generally speaking it was a horrible day today, replete with absent minded errors, malfunctions and minor monetary losses. And the bats declined to visit me at twilight. It was one of those days when you begin to give credence to astrology after all.

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