Saturday, September 2, 2017

Working the head

Today, I am writing blog post 2903, nearing 3000 times, Why do that?  Many reasons and forces and ideas and goals come together.  The writing itself is a different business from the posting.  That part, the putting it out there, is one thing but to put it out there, I have to have something to put.

You may have run into the neuro surge.  I could call it the plasticity revolution or the neuroplasticity revolution.  But in truth, like most anything else, it is not exactly a revolution.  Again, like other aspects of thought, communication and activity today, it does have some distinctly new angles and directions.  One hundred years ago, we were approaching the end of World War I.  That war created 18 million deaths and 23 million wounded.  It was quite terrible and the American president, a former Princeton professor with high intelligence but somewhat restrained personality was hoping to create a League of Nations that could monitor relations between nations and prevent any future wars.  You may remember the rise of Hitler, imperial Japan and their Fascisti allies on the Mediterranean.  All that was still in the future.  

Radio was quite new, research was limited, and its results were slow to spread.  So, the idea that novelty, thinking, effort of mind and body was definitely a part of life and it is easy to show examples of awareness of the brain and mind for the past millennia.  But there wasn't the larger numbers of people aware of and dedicated to working the head and the body purposely to keep things flexible and fit as there are today.  

I did a little jogging about 1966, as a result of a Sunday supplement article in the newspaper by Dr. Kenneth Cooper, on the benefits of "aerobic" exercise, which he regularly defined as running/jogging/walking, biking, and swimming.  In other words, he advised something that caused heavier breathing.  We read "The Brain that Changes Itself" by Norman Doidge, MD in 2013, nearly half a century later.  New research and as important, new conceptions of what the brain is and how it works, showed that our brains are something akin to blackboards in that they know what has been written on them lately.  Of course, they are more like today's "smartboards" that can be used in front of a class but can bring in images from the internet.

We know that attention, simple intention to focus physically and mentally, on something, matters.  Hearing a tv in the background is a different thing for the mind from paying attention to what the announcer is saying.  So, writing, one line a day or a whole chapter of a novel, works the head and the hand in writing or typing, or the voice in voice typing, in ways that help keep the mind and communication abilities warmed up and capable.  

So, write something.  Could be to friends on paper or by email.  Could be to yourself: what did you do yesterday?  What were you doing on September 2 ten years ago?

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