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Gray Matter



I can appreciate computer metaphors for the brain as mentioned by Barry Evans in "Rogue Neurons" ("Field Notes," Aug. 8), but I also value non-computer metaphors, too.

I have a special appreciation for computer metaphors because I still experience the effects of post-traumatic stress disorder from early childhood abuse. And I have learned from experience that there is a neural process very similar to the "system restore" application in Windows operating systems.

It took me a long, long time for me to understand why I would have relapses. But when system restore first came out in Windows XP, I realized that my brain and nervous system needed to go all the way back to my very early childhood and start everything all over again, including verbal and nonverbal communication, meaning acquisition, touching and being touched, hugging and being hugged, etc. Perhaps in some ways, that system restore process parallels the theory of rogue neurons.

But on the other hand, I can also appreciate non-mechanical and non-computer metaphors for the brain such as "the brain as a temple."

For some brains, "the brain as a temple" might sound unscientific. But in other brains, it doesn't sound "unscientific" because inside some brains, traditional and modern science are viewed as sacred.

During my healing process (the "system restore") I restored the part of my brain that could think in metaphors and also the parts of my brain that could construct meaning. I even restored the part of my brain related to acquisition of a sense of self (as in the book Self Comes to Mind by neuroscientist Antonio Damasio).

And when I restored the meaning of the word "science," I realized that I never had to see science as something other than sacred.

My brain is a sacred place ("temple") to be in.

— Orion Palomar, Eureka

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