sarahkeenihan

Day 344. Losing my inner smart arse

In July 2013 on July 22, 2013 at 7:44 am

brain

Today I worked out that I’ve been performing a gradual and voluntary process of cutting free my brain’s frontal cortex over the past year or so.

It’s probably not a change of such earth-shattering proportions that would be noticed by anyone other than me. But I can feel it. And who knows, maybe one day I will publish something that will reflect it.

This is what I mean:

My revelation came as I ran around the frosty and beautiful suburbs of Adelaide this morning, listening to Kylie Ladd and Richard Fidler chat through my headphones.

Kylie is an author and neuropsychologist who works in dementia diagnosis.

In talking of her work, Kylie explained to Richard a case which had been described by neurologist and author Oliver Sacks, and regarded frontal lobe dementia.

The frontal lobe interacts with the rest of the brain to moderate and control its activity. Amongst other things, this particular brain region give us insight and controls our judgement and inhibition.

The man in the Oliver Sacks case had been able to develop his prior musical training to become a first class musician once the behavioural constraints effected by his frontal loba had been released.

Richard said,

“So he lost his inner smart-arse in other words, did he? He lost of kind of voice that is harmful to the creative process, the one that says ‘oh, that’s no good’? “

Kylie agreed this was a great way to express what aspects of frontal lobe dementia can be like. And she admitted it actually happens all the time, not just in cases in frontal lobe dementia but also in less extreme terms as people seek out their creative selves. She described what had happened to her as she transitioned to being a writer.

“I’ve only learnt over the last few years that when I have a problem with my writing, the best way to solve it is not to sit in front of my computer banging my head against the screen. It’s to go for a run, or to go and hang out the washing.

That’s because you’re de-focusing your attention, and you’re letting the other parts of your brain do the work rather than letting your overwhelming prefrontal cortex – which wants to boss everything around –  try and solve everything.

And it’s not just me. It’s the poets, it’s Kubla Khan coming to Coleridge in a dream.”

To Kylie’s great delight, Richard then grinned (well, I couldn’t actually see him, but I bet he was) and said,

“I heard David Malouf say exactly the same thing yesterday.”

The experts agree. Lose your inner smart arse, and get creative.

[image thanks to perpetualplum on flickr]

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  1. […] Working from home, I walk him several additional times each day. It sounds like such a time-waster, but I plug in my headphones and make phone-calls and listen to podcasts whilst out and about. The perfect opportunity to lose my inner smart-arse. […]

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