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allen st john

actually, policemen *can* take the romantic view. See the link below.

I would have just posted this on your facebook page but I assume the 46,000,000 fans you share with Justin Beiber would overload Zuckerberg's server and send the world into chaos.


Good afternoon:

I'm trying to figure out how I got here, first of all. I was over at Scienceblogs on Ed Brayton's "Dispatches from the culture wars" and somehow or other wound up on your blog. The film thing is spookygood or good but spooky. I was gonna comment on the Dorsey book review, I loves me some Serge and Coleman, but the comments were closed :(

Oh, well. We share variants of the same last name (1 "n" in the middle for me). We both like Tim Dorsey's work (I tell people that he's like Dave Barry and Steven King's lovechild) and we're both in NY, although you're in the civilized part, I'm up in the wildnerness in Oswego.


Ken Muldrew

"I read somewhere once an argument that we have no true selves. What we think of as our “self” is an illusion or, it might be better to say, a construct we assemble every day out of the terabytes of memories we have stored in the neurons of our brains."

"Self" is a curious thing. Sometimes our "self" does something that surprises us. How can that be? Are there a bunch of "selves" and only one, or a few of them, are surprised? Or is the surprise just a crack in the illusion of "self"?

For my own part, I'm pretty sure that there are more than one "selves" calling the shots, although I only seem to be aware of one of them. The "self" that I'm aware of seems to have very little control over what I ("I" = the self of which I am aware) am able to concentrate on or pay attention to. The aware "self" has a pretty good idea of what the hidden "self" is going to go in for, having had a few years to build up a database, so I am usually able to choose topics wisely. It can be pretty tough sledding when I try to focus on something that doesn't interest the hidden "self", though. Usually I can force myself to slog through enough to fake it, which is lucky, because it would be a mighty hard sell to try to tell your employer that some part of your brain just didn't care to focus on that particular task. It's strange, though. Some people seem to be able to concentrate on anything at all, while other people can't seem to concentrate on a damn thing. I just wish I was in charge of my own self.

The hidden self also seems to have emotional feelings that only break through under certain odd circumstances. When I look someone in the eye, I feel a diffuse feeling of discomfort that has no discernible origin. The feeling quickly becomes acutely uncomfortable, as if some voice is screaming for me to look away, though there is no internal voice saying any such thing. When I do look away, the immediate relief is palpable, but the origin of the discomfort remains elusive. I put up with the discomfort, obviously: you would have grave difficulties with everyday life if you couldn't look anyone in the eye, but it really makes it hard to concentrate on what the other person is saying to you. Once again it comes back to focusing attention and concentration.

I get the same feeling when I talk on the phone, though it is far less acute. But it's still substantial enough to make the thought of talking on the phone quite painful. And, of course, I find it ridiculously difficult to concentrate on the conversation. It's a damn shame that so much business is conducted over the telephone.

It's a bizarre thought to consider another "self" living inside your brain, going about it's business (whatever it might be) but never interacting with your conscious self except in the most indirect manner. I suppose it's all just illusion and my postulated silent self is just a way of anthropomorphizing some pathological behaviors.

Dr X

This is the first I've heard of this film. It looks like a must see. You're comments on the self or selves are very much in keeping with contemporary thinking in the branch of psychoanalysis known as self psychology. Many therapists would argue that what therapy is doing is rewriting unifying narratives. Some memories become less significant, some become more significant and the story that provides a sense of memory continuity is altered. This might sound rather arbitrary, but keep in mind that the construction and recall of memories is, in first place, determined in large part by existing narrative frameworks. The self is always, to some extent, a fictional work.

Demo, What are you doing around these parts?

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