Aphasic perception

I have these moments sometimes of incomprehension. They feel like what I imagine a hunter-gatherer, or someone from a very different culture, might experience if dropped into the middle of this one; or perhaps more like aphasia in an adult, a sudden inability to decode symbols that once were meaningful. They happen perhaps when I’m depressed, or when I’ve had a few drinks and I’m tired. All of a sudden, nothing makes sense. Why are there roads? How can there be all these plants in tidy organization? Who takes care of them? Why do people live in houses? I have a house? Why do I have a house, surely I can’t possibly need one? How am I allowed to have all these things when other people don’t have them? What is other people’s experience like? How could I possibly know? How can I imagine that I know anything at all? What was I doing at work today, acting like I knew things? Why does it matter what my opinion of anything is?

My thoughts remind me of the kind sometimes reported by people meditating deeply, or otherwise having a profound spiritual experience, except that they lack the sense of connection that those same people report, a sense of everything in the universe being one. It’s possible that this is what is happening, neurologically. The temporal lobes control that sense of oneness; I’m not sure anyone knows exactly what part of the brain controls the belief that your life experience is perfectly normal and your cultural benchmarks have value.

You’d think these episodes would be useful, but they aren’t. Perhaps universal lessons are best served with a side of oneness.

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