Mike Burr - log

[bio] [mind] "Enhanced" meditation

My theory, which I will not fully describe nor defend is that your "feelings" are a process that goes roughly as follows:

  • For reasons not understood, some thought or other pops into your head. It's like someone popped another tape into the VCR. You just suddenly find yourself thinking about thing X [Hopefully you'll at least grant me this part. Isn't this universal?]
  • That thought parks in your conscious mind for a while and, since we have definitely seen this one before, you get out all the associated thoughts and chemicals and have a good rumination. Yum! None of this happens consciously or intentionally. It just happens.
  • These thoughts start to feel more and more "real". You watch the movie play in your head and you can feel that person belittling you, or you can feel loathing toward that asskissing coworker or you can feel intense love for that coincidentally-also-attractive-and-accessible new girlfriend of yours.
  • The chemicals (or maybe just thoughts, but does it matter?) start to feed back on themselves. squirt-squirt&emdash;"Oh man that thing he said. How fucking rich!! What a cunt." more-squirt-squirt

We discover "meditation".

Destructive ruminant thinking universal and timeless. Many, many times throughout history, independently, folks have come up with all manner of "meditation" whose job, at its core is to derail this train of thoughts and leave you with a snowy blank screen (for once! for chrisake.)

And note that we haven't discovered the meditation yet. They're all different kinds of brain hacks of varying quality.

There are whole branches of medicine, and whole parts of medical education (coursework and institutions) devoted to: Hey, how can we elicit this state? How can we enhance it? What are other ways we can do this? ...

I wonder if there are more direct ways. If we have a conveyor belt of unhelpful thoughts coming in and wrecking our day [reminder: all of this could be wrong], why not look for ways of derailing that conveyor belt, by any means necessary.


This may amount to saying "Hey, why don't we also try using drugs and surgery in trying to improve one's mental health?", and that's nothing new.

I'm just beatboxing here.

If thoughts go from cold storage to "making me so goddamn mad" [or glad, sad, yadda yadda], which they appear to definitely do, at least in me, why not look into the why and how.

I don't need any fancy particle accelerator to know* that all-too-frequently, some memory from my past will pop into my conscious train of thought and some how or other kill my buzz. This will happen today, tomorrow, and every day for a long time comein'. And the same is true for you [Again, send fan mail if you think this part is wrong. I'm kind of using it as an assumption after all].

Hopefully we agree that

  • Thoughts that were "sitting" in your memory, undisturbed will suddenly be part of your conscious thinking (with the above negative consequences sometimes.)
  • There is no magic involved here at all and it's perfectly ok for us to try and understand what is happening here which, as optimists we will assume some day will all be well-understood and explainable.

There is necessarily a lot of fuzzy talk here. I'm using words wantonly.

If all this is happening, there must be a kind of mechanism.

Can we understand it? If we have a big, complex mechanism that picks a random memory and sends it to the mainfraime sometimes, maybe we can ask?

  • How?
  • How often?
  • Why?
  • Are there identifiable chemicals that causate this?
  • Is there not some place to put a derailer that you can uninstall later if you (likely) find out that either
    1. You don't want to just turn this "off". Bad idea.
    2. You don't even want to fuck with this thing at all, trust me.


- 1 toast