I would really like to have my brain scanned. As someone with a big interest in psychology and neuroscience, I think seeing what’s inside my skull would pull everything together, put it into context, make it real.
It’s not that I don’t believe it’s in there, but sometimes it feels somewhat distant, the colour-coded textbook diagrams, the plastic models, you wonder ‘Is that really going on, inside MY body?’ I think a small part of me holds the irrational belief that inside me is just space, or machine cogs. All those instricate processes that I learned about in biology lessons, that can’t all be really going on. I get a strange enjoyment from seeing the outline of bones, blood vessels, tendons, and feeling like I’m getting a glimpse of the workings of this human machine. It does feel strange that it’s all happening, it’s such a part of me, yet I’m often so oblivious to it.
I took an open unit in anatomy at university and for one of our first dissection classes we formed groups and were given a cat’s head, instructed to remove the brain. So we did. And then it sat there, this little mound of grey putty, so fragile, on the sterile table surface. I’d never seen a real brain before, and all the diagrams and photos, it didn’t really prepare me for how flimsy and squishy it seemed, so easily damaged. And how all the different lobes, the cranial nerves, which I’d learnt to identify and label so particularly, they all looked the same, all rolled together into this bundle of grey mush. It seemed no wonder that a quick jolt to the head can do so much damage, when the skulls’s so hard and the brain’s so delicate. It seemed amazing that people don’t damage their brains more than they do already.