Consider this: the working of the human mind is not well understood as yet, but what is, by now at least, well understood is that the brain undergoes a course of electrochemical alterations in response to stimuli, alterations which are reflected even in the measurable electricity that emanates from the brain (i.e. brainwaves). Knowledge (or what passes for it) exists. Memory exists. We hear or see or feel things, and we remember them, we lock a record of that thing into our minds. So where does it go, and why can't we track down the physical location in the brain of a specific memory? Well, the human brain houses over a hundred billion neurons, and each one of those might be in a direct, communicative relationship with up to ten-thousand of their neighbors.

With that number of potential recipients for the maintenance of information set down, and that exponentially higher number of potential communicative events within the brain to record it, it is little surprise that no means exists to figure out where, for example, you keep that memory of the first time you looked into the eyes of that beautiful girl, or your general memory of what green tea with honey tastes like. There is, and must be, a physical mechanism which comes into effect each and every you experience anything, a chemical interaction which occurs within your brain to capture and store this experience in some way.

Even wholly hypothetical constructions are thus implanted in the physical reality of your brain matter. Suppose for example, that I propose the existence of a large beast called a rhinopotamus, and I ask you to picture the creature. Even should I say nothing more than the name of the creature, you have already dredged up similar sounding concepts from your internal system storage files and created your own internal construct of how these concepts might be meshed together into a coherent whole (probably invoking the rhinoceros and hippopotamus and constructing from these concepts the idea of a big, grey, horn-snouted African beastie with a gaping maw and a preference for spending it's time mostly underwater in lakes and slow-moving rivers. If I state that this animal comes in a variation known as the "wooly arctic rhinopotamus," then you will probably take the construct you have already assembled and graft long white fur onto it.

The point of this exercise, however, is not in the thing you construct -- it is in the fact that by proposing this hypothetical creature (and your having read the preceding paragraph), I have worked a permanent change on the physical structure of your brain!! "Rhinopotamus" will forevermore exists as a fixture of your mind. A minute change to be sure, probably causing the dedication of a handful of those hundred billion neurons to the purpose of sustaining it in your memory (even if there comes a point where you can no longer readily bring it from there to the front of your minds). But I can sit here all day and throw out a whole world of hypothetical creatures or devices, or even merely introduce you to real concepts, some of which you have heretofore not been familiar with, tidbits of trivia of the kind with which we are all obsessed. And, of course, writ large the construction of our personalities and belief systems is a function of concepts being introduced to us which physically alter the substance of our minds.

Experiments have been done which show that the display of a seemingly random set of words -- even flashing by at a rate to fast for conscious interpretation -- can subtly influence the way people tend to answer a set of standardized questions of opinions afterwards. So, even if it is true that arguments don't change minds, perhaps just the random invocation of a bunch of carefully selected (though seemingly disjointed) concepts might suffice to make you make a minor adjustment to a purchasing decision or, over time, to a frame of belief. Of course turnabout is fair play, you could do the same thing to me, or anyone else throwing signals your way!!

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