Defined Words: obsession, meaning, loose ends, anguish, bottled-up thoughts, enlightenment, closure
“What does it all mean?” It’s a question asked by many: a detective pouring over an unsolved case, a concerned mother watching a news report about yet another public shooting, you when you wake up from a vivid dream. When presented with incomplete information, our completion drives us to fill in the gaps.
When we have tons of stored information but the causality between it all is missing, we feel a need to complete that last synapse. We pour over the information, solidifying synapses we’ve already made as we try to determine the causality that links it all together. The more we solidify the neural cluster, the more we need to determine the causality. That need is often called an obsession and it’s a product of heavy solidification on a single neural cluster. Let’s look at a few of the effects of obsession.
Humans are fairly logical creatures; however, we are selfish at the same time. This means that you might synapse events that have nothing to do with each other because you are the common link between them.
Let’s say you are walking through town and see a “50% off” sign in front of a tattoo parlor. You think about it for a moment but then move on. Within the next three minutes, you see a couple with matching tattoos, a magazine with pictures of a famous actor’s new tattoo, and you hear the word “tattoo” in a song playing in a restaurant as you pass by.
All of these are completely unrelated pieces of information but because they all have a common link, you decide to turn around and get a spontaneous tattoo. You might think that the causality of the stimuli is a sign telling you to do it. You have assigned causality to unrelated information because you believe there has to be more relation between them than just you experiencing the stimuli; we call this type of causality meaning.
That was a silly example of assigning meaning, but it illustrates a larger concept. We often link unrelated events together because they relate to us and we think there has to be a meaning. The assigned meaning is usually a sign to help make personal decisions, but you just made up that meaning.
If it helps you to believe that something else is directing you toward a path, then go ahead and follow that path. However, do not forget that you created the meaning which means it goes no further than the relationships you used to create it. Getting a tattoo because you heard a song does not mean it’s wise to make all your decisions based on song lyrics.
Sometimes we aren’t able to assign a meaning to a group of events and instead obsessing, we have to put it away to focus on other things. If you have an incomplete neural cluster, especially one that has been well solidified, it has loose ends. Those loose ends are basically the gaps that are ready to be filled in with the meaning once you discover it. Even if your consciousness is not allocated to that neural cluster, the loose ends can still be stimulated for completion.
Mental and emotional pain, often called anguish, is a form of reinforcement to encourage a change in behavior. The pain subsides and then disappears when we find closure or experience a catharsis. In these scenarios, your unconscious mind is using pain to stop you from avoiding those incomplete clusters. Knowledge is power; it lessens your fear and pain.
Bottled-up thoughts are dangerous because you actively chose to ignore the cluster instead of unpack it to completion. An incomplete cluster will activate eventually and those thoughts will always return to the front of your mind. Sometimes we feel as though a painful or confusing memory should be hidden from other people as well as ourselves.
Most of the time, a cluster is left emotionally incomplete meaning a catharsis is necessary. Unfortunately, unpleasant emotions are often shunned in our society which means we just put the clusters away without exploring our own emotions. “Bottle it up, and the bottle goes crack.” There is a reason that we often cathart when we finally crack. If you have many incomplete clusters, you might trigger more than you intend if the emotion are synapsed to them.
Your knowledge will grow large enough to see where each section of your understanding falls within a larger picture. When that happens, you will have the opportunity to synapse everything you know to a single story or neural cluster. A single neural path that synapses many large clusters throughout the brain releases a great amount of pleasure.
To know where you personally fall within the larger picture is called enlightenment, and you’ve experienced this more than you know. Completion causes the urge to find your place within it all because you know that you exist and therefore must fit into the universe somehow. The comforting feeling you get when you understand your place at the end of a relationship is often called closure.
Completion is fundamental to how your brain works, meaning its scope is not limited to simple neural paths. Even the most complex thoughts are still made up of memory neurons that yearn to form more synapses. When you understand the basic drives of your brain, you can work with it to better yourself.
If you like to place meaning on everyday occurrences, try to think of a more applicable meaning beyond just “the universe talking to you.” If you bottle up your thoughts often, take some time unpack them to tie up any loose ends. Your brain is a predictable machine; when you know how it works, you can change it to be exactly what you want.