In an effort
of ratiocination, I can qualify certain visual miscomprehensions: The
bright sun that was back-lighting this whole experience did diffuse
specific details of the hovering bird. I did not see the delicately
pointed beak, for instance. But what if I had? I’d have had an
even worse nightmare to contend with: a beaked airborne shellfish.
The sunlight also washed out the bird’s coloring making it a
shadowy pinkish grey, not unlike a shrimp. Finally, having had no previous
knowledge or experience of a bird that vibrates its tiny wings at seventy
cycles per second, rendering them all but invisible to the human eye,
my brain received an image of a curled, fantailed, vertically positioned
creature hovering in mid-air without the aid of wings.
“Sure, guv’,” says
the brain, “that’s a shrimp that is, seen ‘em before
at the seaside.” While my conscious controlling agent, the mind,
replies, “But we’re hundreds of miles from an ocean, and
shrimp don’t fly !”, the brain, getting shifty now and
affecting the persona of Michael Palin in Monty Python’s famous “Dead
Parrot Sketch”, slyly replies “Could do. Shrimp
are very upwardly mobile, they are, when they want. Besides,
beautiful plumage, innit.
with my second, thrill-a-minute True-Life Adventure perhaps I should
clarify that my continuous distinction between the workings of
the brain and the function of the mind is not a mistake, an oversight,
nor an heretical challenge to anybody who happens to believe that
the mind and the brain are one and the same or, at least, of such
similar properties and purpose that they are synonymous. I shall
elucidate my personal beliefs and experiential theories in forthcoming
volumes of OPUS.
This next anecdote
reveals a different side to the nature of mankind when faced with
the unknown. Whereas the preceding story illustrates the mental and
emotional contortions affected by an apparent impossibility, the
following offers guidelines of how to avoid confronting strange realities
at all costs.