Sometimes the epiphany arrives like the UPS delivery chap who knocks on the wrong door.
Like the package I can’t keep, the epiphany is one where I learn I’m wrong about something.
Sometimes our mistakes make us better teachers.
To get a handle on the kind of work I do–which looks at how meaning is constructed in text and in the mind–I often dip my toe in foreign waters.
Sometimes that means learning how the mind works.
It is amazing how little I know.
One of the solid theories we toss around in communication is the notion that we pay attention on two different levels–one superficial; the other more deep and lasting.
The peripheral level is described as a route–which sounds like a road or pathway–that pays scant attention while the central route of processing is described as a deeper, more thoughtful method of thinking through issues.
Advertisers refer to the peripheral route as “top of the mind,” while central processing takes on adjectives like deep.
Visually speaking, a picture of the model shows an image where superficial thoughts dot the surface of the brain while more thoughtful processing occurs within the core.
But when I asked my neurologist whether we process information along these two routes he said, nope.
The processing theory is a metaphor of how the mind works: it’s not a snapshot that resembles thoughts. Thoughts don’t actually flutter on the surface ready to be dusted off while others lay buried within our brain’s core.
Still, we persist in describing the mind metaphorically. The lovely parcel of thoughts and dreams seems more elegant than mechanical.
And I like to imagine the mind as something other than a squishy mass of jello-like mousse infused with electrical charges that help us think, swallow and poop.
Picture by Robert Fludd, 1619, from http://rarepattern.com/nodes/2011/hat-brain