A little over a year ago I had open heart surgery. As I recovered, I noticed that I was not as mentally sharp as I had been. Since it didn’t seem to improve over time, I researched this effect and found that many people who had been placed on a heart bypass machine during surgery were suffering from the same kind of mind alteration. There is even a name for it — pump head.
Also, about a year ago, I diagnosed myself as coping with adult ADD and began taking budeprion in order to bring some sort of evenness to my life. This has worked well for me.
With this new rewiring of my mind from both the surgical effect and the dosing, however, I find myself reconsidering my history. If everything I think I have experienced has passed through my brain and been deposited somewhere within my ADD filing system, how can I trust anything I retrieve? I recognize that some of what I am considering has been filtered and stored thorugh whatever process of coping revisionism my mind feels has been necessary or convenient, but if I allow myself to peek past any obstructions, how reliable is this new hindsight?
It is as though I have discovered a new narrator and a new editor for the telling of my life story, though this narrator understands that its sources are unreliable. So now I find myslf dealing with several narrative processes: one which has basically served to commit to the truth as nearly as it can comprehend it, one which has supressed the truth for mental health considerations, one which has been an analytical tool running in the background, one which is a fine revisionist story teller, and one which is now seeing things from a different perspective. And who knows how many more.
I talked to my old friends at a class reunion recently and found that we each brought something different to tales of the past, even to the point of contradiction. Is my life only what I perceive in my mind? If so, since dreams are also perceptions of the mind, are they as real as what we consider consciousness? I can’t quite wrap my brain around what I am trying to consider. I am a pump head after all.
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