I taught several tutorials on cognitive neuroscience (read: how the neural networks of the brain are involved in thought processes) this week. I rely on analogies a lot in my teaching. This week, stolen bicycle chains, and not having enough money for tickets to get inside the Millennium Stadium to watch the rugby, made their appearance.
Using these analogies again, after so long, I remembered another (straight neuroscience) one. Not mine, but one I use. How the frontal cortex of the brain is like the conductor of an orchestra. If we’re talking emotion, then the amygdala is the nerve centre; the musical instrument(s) of emotion. And the frontal cortex, the conductor of those instruments, so they all play at a tempo and volume (and harmony) that the world at large finds acceptable.
Apart from, at least one of my musical instruments broken. Maybe a string has snapped on a violin. And events this week have left that violin playing at full pelt, beyond the will of the conductor. And the conductor has tried desperately to calm the orchestra, to mend that broken string, with distraction, and teaching, and taking on more work, to try to fill the void of the struggling, silenced instrument, but all the conductor has managed is a reef knot. A violin playing with a reef knot in the midst of one of its strings doesn’t sound like a violin.
In fact, the violin doesn’t seem to like being silenced. When it sees its score come up, it wants to play; struggles against the conductor trying to hush it while a replacement string is on order. But it will not be silenced. And it sees its score more and more easily, and sends the orchestra into a discordant meltdown more and more often. The conductor is exhausted from trying to hold the violin together, when it wants to play of its own accord.
I am ready to give up. The meltdowns are a consuming fire of tears and stress and anger. Unrelenting anger. I am horrid of horridness. Anger upon anger upon anger. Sad and desperate and lonely. Unless I am working. But work is of no use at all. It will all be blown away one day. I have had enough. Enough. Enough.