24 September 2005





Have you ever CNTR-ALT-DEL your head to see what is going on in there?


If you have the Windows XP operating system on your computer, you know that if you press down the CNTR-ALT-DEL keys at the same time, up will pop the Windows task manager window, which has 5 different tabs to include applications and processes and these tabs list applications and processes, which are currently running or resident in memory.


Applications are those programs currently running or using computer processor time and in my case, only the application Microsoft Word is currently running.


Processes? When I click the processes tab, I see 39 cryptic “Image Names” like “winlogon,” “spoolsv” and “vsmon.” Processes are these little pieces and sometimes not so little packages of computer code, which are resident in memory so they can quickly respond to a specific event. For example, if you suddenly want to print 10 documents, “spoolsv” or the memory resident spool server software demands and gets processor cycles and temporarily holds a copy of each document you print so that you do not have to wait for one document to actually complete printing before you can print another document. But the point to all the tech geek is?


When I was in college and took Psychology 101, we briefly covered various psychologists and were introduced to cryptic words and concepts like “ID,” “Ego,” and “Superego,” which in retrospect and in light of Windows task manager, was an attempt by Freud and others to quantify and label our mental applications and processes.


Since those college days, I have had occasion to read and learn about current theories of mental operations and at the base of ever model or theory is the concept that we are a memory-based machines. What goes in, in the way of experiences, learning, stays in there and is used every time we interact with the world. For example, when I see a cat, every memory of a cat I have is fired, activated, every neural path containing a cat, image of a cat, interaction with a cat, readings of a cat, every reference to a cat, those neurons are fired in some cascade and then from a view above the cascade, the summation, the firestorm of memory, results in some combined “image”, stereotype of a cat upon which I take or not take an action or think or not think about a cat. Yet still more tech geek, sorry, just laying the groundwork.


So applications and processes in my head and yours? Processes first: all our five senses have processes associated with them. The brain actually has a dedicated area associated with each of the 5 senses, which is processing data from the world all the time and when necessary, triggers the start of some application. For example, as I type this, my hearing is active but because nothing of value is really coming in through my ears, there is no real application running. However, if I turn on music and listen to it, then my ears trigger the music application and sometimes, the only application running in my head is music and music can be a very strong, powerful application, causing all sorts of memories to be fired, cascaded.


Applications? When I drive my car, the major application running in my head is “driving the car” and dealing with traffic. Of course, like Windows XP, my brain can multitask and I can be listening to music and drive and talk with a passenger or be on a cell phone and thus there can be other applications running but “driving the car” should be and most times is, the application which gets the most head attention, processor time, focus.


But all this is mundane stuff. What is of real interest when I CNTRL-ALT-DEL my head are all those non-sensory processes like emotions, fantasy, stereotyping. Just like your computer, most of these processes in your head happen, are there, in the background running and you are not even aware of them.


So, if you could take a look at really was running in your head, foreground and background, multitasking, in some priority, etc. etc., what would you find? Can you, me, be objective at examining running processes and applications? Is not the observed impacted by the observer? Interesting to see the observation application running. The observation and analysis application ought to be a CPU hog and usually, with me, it is. Still waters run deep and all that.


Models. Always models with me. Computer. Brain. Hardware. Software. Memory. Memories.


Don’t think anywhere near all the various processes running in our brains at any one time have been identified yet. All sorts of stuff. Fear. I think in some people there is a fear process running all the time, which is just sitting there looking for any and all signs that the person should flee, fear. Imagination. Now there is a process, which can attach to any application.


Always hoping that one day, some new processes will be created somehow and I will be able to fly or do some incredible thing but so far, it has not happened. Perhaps the hardware is too constraining but I don’t think that is the problem. I think the old processes and applications have come to call me home and will not surrender their time and space to the new kid on the block. Process for hearing the thoughts of others? Nope, no room in here with us chickens.


Now and again, a new process or perhaps an old one that is not very active, will jump to the forefront and startle me. Perhaps I am reading some book and some passage will “hit” me like a ton of bricks. The meaning. I fully and deeply understand the meaning. What is that? A new process or an old one just looking for stuff to integrate, make whole, tie up loose ends?


Oh, enough. Around and around and up and down like some mental Ferris wheel and nothing solved or learned or gained. Only questions, like always. What is sin anyway?



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