The best thoughts come within the first 12-14 minutes of early morning caffeine intake. Unfortunately, early morning caffeine intake has other consequences too. This morning as a cheap & acidic stream of Maxwell House shot downwards from my eat-tube to my toilet-hole I started thinking about a walk I took this past winter.
crunch, crunch, crunch, crunch
(pause) (reads sign) Portland Avenue
crunch, crunch, crunch, crunch
Very descriptive, right? On the particular afternoon that came to mind it was sunny, cold, with plenty of snow on the ground (and no clouds in the sky). I was walking towards Grand Avenue from Selby avenue and thinking about some research that I’d read earlier in that day. The reason I’m telling you about this sunny, cold, snowy afternoon is that for some reason, roughly 12-14 minutes into my coffee session this morning, my brain began buzzing about the amazing research I read back on that day. But ye olde brain’s way of doing that was to recollect the walk that I took after first reading that research: along with the abstract, came the crunch, crunch, crunch, crunch of the snow that day. Along with the study design came the (pause) (reads sign) Portland Avenue, and along with the findings of their research came the crunch, crunch, crunch, crunch. Isn’t the hippocampus fucking strange?
On to the research. On that snowy afternoon I’d been reading something about using microphones to pick up subvocalizations taking place in human vocal cords. The way of doing this was simple enough – taping microphones to peoples’ throats. The consequences were astounding: even in the absence of audible speech patterns, one can record (and then amplify) a signal from a throat-mic and sort of hear what the person is thinking. In other words – even when we aren’t speaking, many of our thoughts engage in some sort of a phantom jam session with the skin on our throats. Isn’t that fucked up? Luckily, some clever group of people quickly had the notion to apply this laboratory tool to folks with psychiatric ailments. Ruminative speech – be it organized, chaotic, excessive, or absent – is one of the traits I immediately associate with nutters such as myself. A very large part of the reason I’ve kept thorough audio diaries for about 4-5 years now is my (yet unchecked) belief that speech patterns reveal much about the state of one’s brain at the time. Though they already serve as a valuable personal record it’s my suspicion that this stash of audio diaries will, in time, be a sort of retroactive diagnostic tool. Or if not a diagnostic tool, some indicator of some aspect of brain functioning or brain structure at that time. Let it be known now, in 2018- anyone with half a mind to studying psychiatry or affective illness ought to realize that a microphone probably offers as much or more to the researcher about structural & functional brain states – within or between individuals – than does the fMRI.
So what’s the relevance of this throat-microphone trick, & where do nutters like myself come in? (PS, if you aren’t a diagnosed nutter, you aren’t allowed to call nutters like myself nutters. It’s sort of an in-group thing)
Let’s find out.