Re: [ba-unrev-talk] Being Mentally Slow
Interesting observation. Environmental factors affect all found in that
Myself, I was thinking less of this kind of shared factor as one shared
by ageing people. I understand that the shrinking of the myelin sheath
around slows down communications between neurons. Consequently, proceses
requiring lost circuitry are slowed the most. (03)
Under many social circumstances, people kind of expect the ageing person
to be a little slower on matters of recall; in others they are sensed as
socially embarrassing. I have a hypothesis that one reason (some?) older
people talk so much is to avoid having to listen, which would show up
this defect. The tendency to be obstinate may also be a natural defense
Going back to school looked like an interesting experience, but being in
it gradually became quite painful. I had great difficulties following
the teachers (for both of whom English was a second language); they
talked too fast - for me that is. Home assignments and projects were
alright, but exams became nightmares at first - to the point I developed
dandruff from tension. An utterly nonsensical reaction, of course,
because I don't need the marks! But we are so conditioned by society, no
matter how free-spirited one believes oneself to be. Hence, I needed the
marks for psychological, not for social reasons. Crazy, ain't it? (05)
One thing I like to do occasionally is to take my son and his whole
family to a movie. "Lord of the Rings"; "A.I."; the latest James Bond.
Thing is that so much in them passes me by. They have extensive
discussions about connections among the characters and events and how
these relate to the triology or previous films. For me, mental slowness
prevents me from making these connections; I just couldn't make them at
the speed the stories were unfolding. Hence, I prefer to see old,
slower-paced films. (06)
And yet, given some time, I find myself capable of digging deeper into
story webs than any of them do. If you have seen James Cameron's movie
"Titanic," you may enjoy my attempt at analysis done only a few years
ago. You probably find a lot there you never ever dreamed of. It is
found hidden on my Fleabyte website:
In other words, ageing offers the opportunity to gain depth from
connecting experiences, but slows the processes of getting there. (08)
Here is where the digital revolution may also do wonders. But it must be
coupled to neurobiological science. I'll have to find some time to
review a book I have here on the ageing brain. (Eric will love the
free-radical theory of neural damage. Recipe: lots of fruits and
veggies.) But right now I have I am giving some priority to work on
Doug's website and his colloquium. Wish I could work myself up to be a
bit faster. (09)
On Sat, 2003-01-11 at 01:08, Eric Armstrong wrote:
> Henry K van Eyken wrote:
> > With life expectancies lengthening, the slowing of mental functioning
> > would be an interesting area for potential digital augmentation...
> Somewhere, someone pointed out that there is less oxygen in the
> atmosphere than there was 100 and some years ago.
> I don't doubt it. We're burning the rainforests in the southern
> hemisphere, and cutting down anything that looks like timber in the
> northern one. Eventually, the whole planet will look like Easter
> Island (whose civilization evaporated when they used up all the
> trees) or Ireland (which was close enough to England to import,
> but only by a knucle's whisker.)
> Meanwhile, global warming and the pollution we're dumping into
> the sea are killing off the plankton, which is an even more
> important problem.
> And the greenhouse gases and other by products of overpopulation
> are driving down the percentage of oxygen as other gases increase
> -- not only because we have more people, but because we need
> more cows to feed more people, and we burn more fuels....
> I think *all* of us have slowed down in mental and physical energy
> to some degree, and that this effect is at least partially responsible
> for the rise in obesity. (Not that I want to let partially hydrogenated
> poisoners off the hook.)
> In particular, I've noticed since my 20's that some days I've very
> alert and energetic, while others I'm very lethargic. For a couple
> of years, I kept a record of how I felt mentally and physically, and
> how well I performed at sports, at work, and the like.
> I tried everything I could think of, looking for a correlation: phases
> of the moon, what I ate, successes and failures, humidity, rainfall,
> temperature, weekly rhythms -- there was no visible correlation
> with anything I checked.
> But in the last few years, I've noticed that on days at work when
> I'm feeling guilty as hell because I'm not getting anything done,
> most everyone I talk to is feeling the same way. And when I'm
> alert and energetic, they are, too.
> These days, we have air quality indexes. I haven't run tried a
> correlation analysis using that data, but I'm betting there would
> be one -- especially if I had sophisticated enough equipment to
> check for the percentage of oxygen on a daily/weekly basis.
> Hey -- we may wind up *needing* machines to think for us...