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Wednesday, August 30, 2006

When Brains Attack . . .

I haven't posted for a week - been to an ongoing party at an event in New York City. All I did was socialize, have some drinks, sleep, and socialize some more. It was quite fun and I met up with an old friend I had not seen in a decade. We had a good time and it was like (for me anyway) we hadn't missed a beat.

Which brings me to the subject of WHEN BRAINS ATTACK . . . how, you may ask. Well, I'll tell you. As much as I enjoyed a chance to interact with people I don't normally get to see over the past weekend, I got restless after a time. Days of constant socializing was draining and even got a little boring. That doesn't mean I didn't enjoy the time I had - I did very much. But my need for solitude becomes more obvious to me at times like that. I need time to be alone and I look forward to that time. My brain hurts after too much of one thing - any one thing. Intellectually I was telling myself: "You need this outing. You need to socialize more" but the reality is as much as I like going to a party, I like going home too. I don't feel any let down after the party is over. Part of my ongoing process in daily living is to gravitate towards stimulation, enjoy it and then move away for a bit. This process keeps me sane.

If you came to my apartment and checked out my library, you would see dozens and dozens of books on psychology. I love reading books on psychology. I love watching people at large and small events. I study them. I study them online too. It's endlessly fascinating to me. Sure, as a performer and writer such a vocation is valuable but basically, I find human behavior stimulating. The hows and whys of someone's behavior is an endless chew for me.

One of the key dynamics of the human being is the relationship between the brain, the conscience and the intellect. The brain reacts as it pleases. You can't control it. The conscience is the knee jerk reaction to what you are presented with and finally the intellect is what you process everything with. This is where the brain tends to attack. We tend to associate intellect with the physical organ - the brain - though their individual functions are quite different. The danger of my studying psychology and also philosophy is that I could distance myself from my own feelings. The act of rationalizing why you are reacting or behaving in a certain way is a critical skill in order to understand yourself the best you can and prevent yourself from doing something self-destructive or stupid. But it is equally important to acknowledge or, as it's said now, "own" the emotion/reaction you have. To not acknowledge you feel a certain way because you intellectualize that it is "silly" or "foolish" further distances you from understanding who you are.

There have been times I have written or played a character whose reactions to a situation were, in my opinion, ridiculous. One reason I dislike soap operas so much is that characters do the same dumb thing over and over again and it's mind-numbing to me people do that. The fact is, they do and if I were more honest with myself, I would realize I do as well. There is nothing wrong with understanding human behavior, including your own, but it is critical to own what you feel and to do so uncensored. Acknowledging a feeling doesn't mean you have to act on it. Understanding you are hurt when intellectually you know you should not be will provide a greater insight into yourself and in the case of being an actor or writer, get into the head of that character at the very basic, gut level. If you dont do this as a creative person, you run the risk of not bringing your character to the 3-D level.

Intellectualizing feelings and disassociating myself from what I consider to be negative or petty thoughts prevents me from getting to the root of an emotional issue. What happens to us is seared into the very marrow of our bones. It's always there. You can't wish it away. You can't even pretend it's not there. It is there and it will stay until you acknowledge it and deal with it.

The brain gives us the ability to have an intellect and a conscience. None of these must be allowed to stand in the way of the other.


Heather said...

Great post...good stuff [thumbs up]

RebJam said...

Have had your Myers-Briggs personality profile done? Everyone thinks I'm a huge extrovert but like you. . i want to be alone after serious socializing. After the "event" I too stayed home for a day all by myself. .heaven. . .though I too loved the socializing and have very adored friends there (tu es uno mi amiga)..but I can totally relate to your need for solitude