"Post it notes" on your forehead
Have you ever walked into another room, determined to accomplish some task or other, and when you got there, forgotten what it is you were going to do? I sure have and lately I seem to do it more often. Mary and I often laugh about the condition, suggesting that we place post it notes on our foreheads so we don’t forget some task that needs doing immediately, albeit in ‘the next room.” I always thought it was a byproduct of the aging process. Perhaps, some faulty relay, of neural receptors, had malfunctioned and sent a wayward, task-oriented thought into the ether of never-never land.
In some instances, that may well be the case. A preoccupation with any number of other concerns, on a stressful day, may cause you momentarily to forget what it is that you were going to do in the next room. But, not always it seems. Recently, a team of neural researchers at the University of Notre Dame completed a study. In their findings, they suggest that the structure of the brain itself may be the culprit.
In that we cannot keep every thought and every concern of our experience at the forefront of our thought pattern, the brain consciously relegates some thought patterns to the background, as we approach another task where newer information is required to cope with a different situation.
When we physically walk through a doorway, the scientists concluded, the brain sends most of the thought-data, in use in the previous structure, to a secondary or tertiary holding place, while it prepares itself to deal with whatever sensory interpretation is needed to deal with the experiences it will encounter in the “new room.” That makes sense to me. And it gives me an increasing fascination with the human brain and its complexities. If the original programmer was indeed celestial or theological in origin, they must have been a genius on steroids in figuring out the programming needed for humans to adapt and survive.
Whatever the case, when I walk into another rom now and realize that I have totally forgotten what it is I had intended to do, I won’t get so annoyed. I will just stop and think of the marvelous intricacies of the human brain and its infinite capacity to reason and function in any type of environment.
And maybe too, when some windy rascal is being particularly annoying, or more than usually boring in their speech, I will simply imagine myself getting up and walking through the nearest doorway, hoping to make their irksome thoughts and images go the way of the wind. It would be a real hoot someday to see an entire audience at a political event, or awful theatrical production, get up and start walking back and forth through doorways, hoping to erase what they are hearing and thinking.
The Good Lord, in his infinite wisdom, thinks of everything.
Joseph Xavier Martin