Sunday, July 27, 2008

Fan the Mind's Full Flame

Our brains are like huge organisations where only selected divisions are functioning well. We must recover and (re)use our mind's full scope of abilities.

Infants and toddlers receive stimulations from all sources (tactile, audio, visual, the works) to open and vitalise as many neural channels as possible. At (a good) school, students are taught subjects as diverse as Art, Science, Languages and Dance. Patients at risk of Alzheimer's are told to exercise more areas of their brains.

And, yet, what are we 9 to 5-ers doing to maintain the full-dimensional use of our minds? Many of us perform the same activities which drive the same neural-cycles for hours a day, day in and day out.

This is the bane of specialisation and expertise: our minds turn a little mono-sided. We progressively nurture the under-use of our brains.

But when the opposite happens - when half dormant, itchy, shifty, yearning-for-arousal neurons come to life - pleasure follows.

Ditto the popularity of Sudoku (for non-Maths people). Ditto the joy of cooking (for the busy exec cum mum). Ditto the rise of fitness clubs (for folks stuck in a cubicle all day). Ditto the practice of doodling at work (for the high-school artist turned Marketing VP). Ditto enjoying friends who bring with them a different set of conversations from the kinds that happen at work.

All welcomed sparks of a steady flame we could fan on a regular basis. And we should fan it.

Maybe we could take a drive to a place we've never been or try a completely unfamiliar product.

Maybe we should take a break from the Epistles and spend a few weeks with Ecclesiastes.

Maybe we can talk to the wannabe heretic who's ideas are creating some awkwardness in the nice respected church community.

Maybe we can practice abstract, impressionistic art. Or try the paint-batik-by-number tool-kits (MPH has loads of it). Real fun.

Maybe we should call up some friends we haven't spoken to in months.

Maybe we should blog on the Environment instead of Politics. Or Marketing instead of Theology.

Maybe we should try the crossword or "Who Dun It?" puzzles in the papers. Or Sudoku.

Maybe we could take up prayer. I heard this kick-starts a couple of grey matter areas, too.


fishtail said...

Maybe that's why people play scrabbles; not just with grandmas on Thanksgiving weekends.

alwyn said...

yes, that's a table-sport we should encourage more.

interestingly enough, only last night i heard about the resurgence of 'Monopology' - some of my friends actually get together and play this time-honored game.

Yan said...

To add on the list -
Reading blog like yours!