I become nervous and fearful when I think a certain way or at a certain depth about the fact that all my conscious experience is trapped in a spongy organ in a skull that happens to be occupying some specific, arbitrary physical coordinates. It’s a special combination of fear of death / the fragility of life, claustrophobia and hypochondria.
Just now on the radio I heard the tail end of some ad for a medicine or test or something. They said “[…] better brain function.” It sent a shockwave of terror through me. Reflecting on why, I think it’s these things:
- Above all, an absolute and all-powerful fear of death. All the following stem from this.
- Our brains (and bodies) are hilariously, terrifyingly fragile. We’re basically balloons bobbing around in a breezy room full of needles.
- The entire universe as we know it is - for all intents and purposes - folded up on itself and stuffed inside our heads. Our avenue to perceive and exist as conscious creatures is our brains. It’s even too far off to say “we think with our brains” - no, we just are synonymous with them.
- To a lesser degree: There are lots of ways for a brain to work less than perfectly, most of which have negative impacts on our experience of reality. One could even say that this entire post (perhaps this whole site? I don’t know, there’s not enough on it yet) is a good example of that.
As I said, all of the above are essentially supporting pillars to hold up the primary terror of death.
[ more to come ]