i;ve been thinking alot lately about the fact that what we think is based on what we know. our brains have developed to make important decisions on limited information. it is a survival skill both on the savannah and in the city. however, many of us get stressed out when we dont have a complete handle on what is going on. the brain could handle this problem in at least 2 ways. one way would be to gather data and weight pros and cons and do obscenely huge calculations for most of our decisions, from what house to buy to where to place our next footstep. the other option is for the brain to make a quick rough calculation based on limited data and then just lie to our conciousness and make it feel like we have weighed the consequences and made a rational decision. the brain has many shortcuts in place to facilitate this calculus. one quick example of a shortcut is the use of categories. we dont have to ponder the large fluidly moving cannister of muscle padding toward us (hmmm.. its a bit bigger than that panther thing i saw last year, and it has funny dark stripes on its back and a scar on its... aaaaaaahhh!!), we just have to think "shape = panther = run like hell and trip your neighbour". the exclusive or inappropriate use of this particular shortcut can lead to things like racism and stereotyping. other shortcuts can lead to other signifigant lapses in logic but i will have to leave that for another time. on the flip side these shortcuts are vital to our functioning in daily life and we dont give them enough credit.
this is playing into my thoughts lately in 2 ways:
1. we dont always know what we think we know
2. what we think we know is only as accurate as the scope of information we have been presented with and have assimilated into our neural networks
these 2 categories further inform 2 different information sources i have been considering
1. media - see previous post
2. blogs - notwithstanding the early adopter move into blogs as current event sources, i am thinking here more about information on a personal/social level. my buddy steve (who i value for always trying to undercut my beliefs and question my (occasionally) wild pronouncements) was arguing that blogs are poor social info sources b/c most people present their best self and also the information is one way. the return is fully optional and at the discretion of the reader.
i need to go to bed so i will not elaborate further, but possibly you can see where these thoughts are taking me given my current state of mind...
anyways, on to the real reason for this post (see title). perhaps i have convinced you all that kylie and i are wallowing in despair. this is simply not the case... why, just this weekend we made a trip with niko and shawn and his sister chelsea to cascade falls near mission. a 45 min hike up the creek bed (past many beautiful falls and swimming holes) led to this amazing swimming hole featuring a 15 foot natural waterslide that dropped you another 10 feet into a (semi) deep pool. there was also a fallen log with convenient grip tape on it that you could walk precariously out on and leap into the pool. we had a fantastic time beating the heat (37 degrees C) but niko just got stressed out by all the people hurling themselves into the deep frothing water. his protective instincts were kicking in so hard (initially he watched intently as every person went down the slide and then went over to check that they were all right as they exited the pool) that eventually he just lay down and put his paws over his eyes so he didnt have to witness it anymore. seriously.
i would also like to underscore my love of creepy crawlers... these are from the montreal insectarium. the white blocks are ~8-9 inches wide.
lastly, i am taking the plunge and wearing my furor causing striped pants (or sassy pants as katherine dubbed them) to work tomorrow. its hot and they are cool (very cool :-), and plus kylie has assured me that i can only pull them off in flip flops, which is a great excuse to dress down in the summer. wish me luck... to my knowledge i have never seen a male in the hospital wearing striped pants (this is chilliwack folks) also, as some have astutely noted, they are totally without cargo pockets, a big step for me.