The current course in my specialization of Arts&Culture called Brainspotting. It is about contemporary perspectives on the mind and body. We talk about the philosophical sides (naturalism, materialism) but also about the social and cultural frameworks of depression and autism.
This week, we had a workshop about neuroscience and how misconceptions are created through miscommunication and/in the media (neuromyths). A lot of things are published which just sound ridiculous. For example: “The Trick to Winning the Nobel Prizes: Drink Milk!” (Newser.com). The website has as the ironic subtitle:“Read less, know more”. Or: “A Broken Heart Really Does Hurt (The Telegraph). You can find this Captain Obvious and a lot of others all over the web. Just type in “brain scans” on news websites, and you will be thrilled of what you will find. My teacher calls it “Brain porn”.
This made me think about the well known book 50 Shades of Grey. And yes, I’ve read it and no, it is not that shocking. In the context of the neuroscience, we can translate it to “50 Shades of the Grey Cells”. Instead of latex, it is the prefrontal cortex which turns you own and according to another headline: sex may relieve migraine…
Since our society is based on sharing knowledge, my grandmother thought it would be good if I read the book as well. I had no choice; she can be very dominant, you know. In any case, there was no way out of it. I don’t know what she thought. Maybe: what’s learnt in the cradle lasts till the tomb, but than I could never, ever, look to my granny again. There is a claim spooking around saying “use it or loose it”, but I don’t think she thought that either.
A.Moraal wrote in the Observant (nr. 23), that she refused to read the book, just because her mother gave it to her (and I have to agree with her); it is traumatizing, thinking of that your mother read it and above all, enjoyed it. If I was in the same situation, I would not even dare to touch the book at all. But in this case, it was my granny who exactly told me, in very calm and down-to-earth-tone: “Oh well, it was a cute story, but that’s it. I guess I’ve read too much already to be shocked”. I was not shocked with that answer; at least she didn’t used the word experience. Since my granny is 85, I think she knows what she is talking about. Wisdom truly does come with the years.
But, when she gave me the book, she asked my if I could give it to my mother when I finished it. I did what she told me, but still, I don’t want to know if my mum enjoys the book or not. At least, I don’t want to talk with her about all the details. If so, I’ll join A.Moraal in a brain scan, to determine how psychologically traumatized we are.