Karen’s vlog #2


 

This is a picture of my brain, pretty cool, huh? It’s made with “magnetic resonance imaging” or MRI, it’s a fairly new technology and the technology has given birth to a new science, cognitive neuroscience. The black and white picture is a “structural” MRI, it shows the architecture of my brain, the color picture is a “functional” MRI, it shows what areas of my brain are active as I do some particular thing like laugh at a joke or add some numbers or experience something like pain or the color red.

When I was a girl, we had this night blooming cactus in our front yard. It bloomed in late summer and into fall. It’d have all these buds that’d keep getting bigger… and you could always tell which ones were going to open that night, they’d be so… so… pregnant. They’d start to open around dusk… around two in the morning or so – they’d be huge, like almost the size of your head … and then at dawn they’d be closing up. I remember seeing bees trying frantically to squeeze in those giant, closing blooms for that last raid of pollen. I almost never got to see them really big cause I always had to go to bed. One evening I was looking at one that was getting ready to open that night… and you could see where all the parts, where all the petals, were going to be; they just hadn’t opened up yet, like a folded umbrella, you can see how the structure will spread out even though it hasn’t done it yet…

Anyway, it was almost time for bed, and I took the flower and, I really wanted to see it open, and I started to peel it open… I wanted to open out the parts, see the big flower in bloom… Well, it didn’t exactly work out that way… the pattern of the flower was there, the instructions for the flower were there… but it wasn’t a flower in bloom, it hadn’t grown into one yet, it was a possibility… it was a causal cascade… it was a trajectory that might be followed, but hadn’t happened yet…

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