Oh boy oh boy oh boy. So I was feeling a bit low with some sort of GI thing/possibly running more than I should in the summer hot spell (It only lasts for about 10 days in Thunder Bay)…..whatever, and I got this book from a lovely health professional….(no I don’t get any money from Amazon…but when I put the link in…it just popped up like that, which is cool!)
Sooooo unbelievable. He tells both the sort of story of himself doing a variety of drugs and what it feels like….then does a full break down of what is happening with his neurotransmitters, neurons, axons….everything going on in the brain is correlated to what he actually feels like in the moment….which is pretty amazing.
I had a beer a couple of days ago and I had to re-read his “drinking” section just to see what was going on. Apparently it’s slowing down the glutamate that is released by brains cells to cause waves of excitement between neurons and receptors (I think???)…I imagine glutamate overload would be like drinking 5-10 cups of coffee….like you are super anxious (Lewis describes this as background noise, little voices, a little niggling feeling of doubt) because your brain is super excited and sending waves of jitters down into your body. At the same time as your beer is inhibiting your brain cell exciters….it’s upping your brain cell slower downer molecules that he called GABA.
Of course he nevers tells you what GABA is so I have to look it up! Ah ha! Thank you Auntie Google, Gamma-Aminobutyric Acid. So essentially an big increase in these special acid molecules that slow down anxiety, calm everything down and Wikipedia says are responsible for motor control (which immediately makes me chortle and imagine a stumbly drunk person). So like a super slow down cross effect between the glutamate and GABA. I’m totally not a neuroscientist and obviously Dr. Lewis says it WAAAAAY more succinctly, but I’m just so jazzed to understand in a minimal layman way what’s happening upstairs when I’m chugging Sleeping Giant 360 and chowing down on the old hot wings. Or just drinking by myself and reading books about addictions and eating all of my partners favorite chips before she gets to eat any. Life partner of the Year Award! Those fucking Chili/Lime chips get me every time…they make you a ‘mindless’ eater….NOT a mindful eater, which I’ve heard is very hip and trendy with many health benefits.
Anyways, brain stuff, all these little molecules are sent off all around your brain with millions of little electrical impulses every half second or so. I imagine it like your brain is a giant bait ball (remember Shark Week?). Every time you have a thought or feel an emotion a ripple blasts through your brain super computer cells and it reacts by sending out calls for behaviours…..sorting though all your options, bringing up memories to triangulate possible truths that it can rely on to accurately predict what you should be thinking, saying doing…..how high you should raise your right eyebrow without insulting anyone. Crazy….just crazy.
After reading this and reflecting in the wake of it’s awesome-ness…..it kind of dawns on me that it is weird SOOOO many people are obsessed with the whole artificial intelligence movement (yeah, it’s big money) when eventually the whole field of AI will likely just lead back to the human brain….battery life of 100 years, unlikely to become Hitler (there’s only ever been one, but there’s only ever been one Jesus too….and we killed him….so ugh….his Dad had to bring him back just to one up the human race, bad computers….bad bad human brain computers), grows it’s own energy sources. I dunno, seems like there’s a whole lot of binary zeroes and ones ripping around in the brain which has some substantial processing power….not for numbers maybe….but for lots of other stuff…..based on this book and it’s got me pretty excited about learning again, cause I was getting pretty bored for a bit.
I really really wonder how Forest Bathing, how rock climbing, how catching a Lake Superior salmon….creating the perfect wood fired pizza….what happens in the brain when you have a Flow experience. Particularly one rooted in nature based play….what does the neurological bait ball do and do these changes last?
I think I have a lot more books to read. If you read this and are like, “DUDE! You have to read this book, I can’t believe you haven’t read this yet,” then please let me know what it is because I’m riding the Reading express and I don’t want to get off!
Now I have to probably confront my fears and go get another Masters degree in Psych before I can do my Ph. D. and then spend my whole life reading and writing….probably more formally than this (and with less grammatical errors! Woot!)