Sunday, 25 September 2011


A few months ago, I walked out of my science classroom to prevent myself from actually throwing up. I wasn't ill, Dr. Clarke was doing a demonstration of the human anatomy, and I'm extremely squeamish. But on a deeper level, what was the problem there? I received input, both through sound and images, that my brain processed, and when I understood what it meant, I reacted with disgust that became nausea, and had to walk out and endure ridicule from everyone in my class to stop myself from understanding.

But you know what a better solution would be? If I could simply stop understanding.

After that Science lesson, Culaan, a pseudo-Irish popular guy at our school, was teasing me by describing vividly human processes and using words like "bile" and "guts" and ... words that would again trigger nausea in me. I was sitting there thinking "If I could stop the process that goes between me hearing the words Culaan was throwing at me, and me understanding them, then I could safely tune out what he's saying better than with earplugs. This would be a hugely useful ability to have.

The problem is, unlearning just isn't possible, at least, not that I've heard. I believe it's a popular saying that "Once you've learned something, it can never be unlearned." You can tune out words, but I've never in my life heard of tuning out meaning. Something similar is described in the concept of doublethink, from George Orwell's 1984, but doublethink is more to do with the act of concealing memories from yourself and being able to call them up again when needed, (it also describes the ability to hold two contradicting viewpoints simultaneously.)

So I guess I'll have to make do with plain not listening when it comes to human biology.

~Love Leonidas

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