As a preface to an already short node, I'd just like to say that I am not, by any stretch of the imagination an even moderately well-versed person on this topic. This is just what's been floating around in my head for a while.

For one, consider the mind, not the brain as a sum of its parts, but the mind that is the result of the brain. Although research shows that you use ten percent or less of your total brain mass, the mind is still cultivated within that ten percent. The mind has developed over millions of years and has a hundred different ways to protect itself, as if the mind and body have some sort of shaky alliance that can be broken at any time. The mind, mostly subconscious, deals with the body in an almost indifferent fashion, with a sort of condescendence that is the scourge of the sharper sentient beings on this planet. The body is part slave and part spoiled stepchild, knowing that it holds squarely half the cards and it can still persuade the mind to yield to it’s will, be it for nutrition, rest, or libido. The mind, while being able to suppress these impulses, realizes that it’s all a matter of time before it has to bend to the body’s need. Much like that of a parasite and its host, the relationship of these two has cultivated some interesting beings that bear the proper chemistry (pun not intended) between mind and body, not the least of which are those we know by name alone, Einstein, Fermi and the like.

If the body is unhappy, then the mind will suffer, and vice versa. For that reason, the Mind has natural reflexes to suppress anything that may linger and disturb it longer than need be.

One of those is what I call the cheesecloth effect (I know it sounds dumb, just bear with me). Try to remember back to your childhood, five or six should do. Notice how the memory is hazy? In fact, you’re not sure that it’s really happened, maybe it was a particularly memorable dream?

Now that the seed of doubt has been planted, you mull over it methodically, until you’re sure that it was, indeed, a dream. That’s the cheesecloth effect. A conscious use for this is forgetting particularly bad situations, anything from being embarrassed as a child, or a particularly nasty part of your life. In a space of time directly proportional to the image’s effect on you, you deny that it happened to yourself until you’re sure it’s a dream. That’s when it moves to the back of your subconscious and stays there.

This mechanism works so well, that you may get other people to believe you. In fact, this is a technique used to beat the polygraph, because if you think it happened, or didn’t, then it becomes the truth, in your mind, at least.

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