Map of the world projected onto the surface of an apple

The Deep Science Part

We're about to get into the deep science part of things here, so I have to make a series of disclaimers. Otherwise, some fuckhead is going to make medical decisions based on it, and try to sue me for not knowing he was stupid. Or, at the very least, I will get email from med students saying "that's not true" and explaining shit I don't fucking care about.

The purpose of all this brain science is to give you a rudimentary understanding of the idea that your brain has lots of parts which all have to work together. And some of those parts are similar to certain animals. And that metaphor applies to a specific work style. And that work style lends itself well to a particular element of running an online business. And running an online business is the natural and normal expression of one's general badassery.

So when I say "this part of the brain handles this," that is not me lecturing your pre-med neural anatomy class on how to diagnose and treat problems of that nature. It is a helpful shorthand for you to connect the dots, because your brain remembers better when seemingly disparate ideas are used to illustrate abstract concepts.

We have known this for thousands of years. Moses did it. Aesop did it. Jesus did it. Mohammed did it. The Brothers Grimm did it. Joseph Smith did it. L. Ron Hubbard did it. Stan Lee does it. (That fucker's still alive, too.) The white-hot core of instruction is story. It's the ball of molten nickel and iron in the middle of the forbidden fruit.

See what I did there? Core of the earth + core of the apple. That cements this idea in your head. I even have a picture of it, to engage the other part of your brain. Verbal + visual. I also produce audio and video content, to engage the passive listening mode. Plus it has an additional implication: the world is your apple. Also maybe you're a faggot Mac user and apples make you moist. And never mind that historically, most biblical scholars agree that the forbidden fruit was more likely a pomegranate or a fig.

It's all bullshit. It doesn't matter what I say, so long as what I am teaching sticks in your head.

Plainly speaking, the scientific accuracy of the discussion to follow takes a back seat to the concept I am trying to illustrate. When I start talking about the cerebellum next week and illustrate that with bugs, I just know some arsehole is going to poke his head up like a prairie dog and start saying "in point of fact, the insect brain never really develops past the rhombencephelon stage" as though anybody ever listens to a single fucking thing anyone says after they say "in point of fact." You may as well say "I'm boring and pedantic and think I am much smarter than you," because that's all anyone actually hears when you say that.

That's why comments are off on this blog. There is no shortage of places to hold discussions on the internet; feel free to paste a link to this post in one of them so you can hold forth on the scientific inaccuracy of my examples, which I've already admitted outright so what the fuck do you want from me?

And there's not a lot of hard science in this blog post, of course, because I'm only talking about the brainstem today. There's just not a lot to talk about. Most of what the brainstem does is involuntary. It's shit like breathing and digestion and the autonomic nervous system.

But it's also the gateway from the brain to the rest of the body. Absolutely nothing gets in or out of the brain without going through the brainstem, which you can think of as the plug that fills the hole in the base of your skull. Like a cork in a wine bottle.

Ever pop the head off one of your action figures as a child, and swapped them around so you could give Han Solo a biker scout uniform, or make Luke dress in drag by putting his head on the Cloud City Princess Leia because he just seems like his complexion would work so well with that kind of burgundy wine colour?

Just me?

Well, the part of the body that fit up inside the head is like the brainstem. It doesn't do a whole lot, but without it, all your action figures are just running around looking for Ichabod Crane. Except they can't find him, because they've got no eyes. It's like the world's worst game of hide-and-go-seek, where everyone is "it" except one guy. Which is sort of like "Where's Waldo," I guess. This whole discussion has got really weird. Actually, I think that kind of happened two paragraphs back.

But I've kind of covered all there is to cover about the brainstem. And it's the only part of the brain which gets an object metaphor, instead of an animal metaphor. I'll talk about that some more tomorrow.