I am in the middle of a flight to St. Louis to give a reading. I was reading a New Yorker story that made me think of my mother and all alone in the seat I whispered to her “I know, Mother, I know.” (Found a pen!) And I thought of you — someday flying somewhere all alone and me dead perhaps and you wishing to speak to me.
And I want to speak back. (Linda, maybe it won’t be flying, maybe it will be at your own kitchen table drinking tea some afternoon when you are 40. Anytime.) — I want to say back.
1st, I love you.
2. You never let me down.
3. I know. I was there once. I too, was 40 and with a dead mother who I needed still.
This is my message to the 40-year-old Linda. No matter what happens you were always my bobolink, my special Linda Gray. Life is not easy. It is awfully lonely. I know that. Now you too know it — wherever you are, Linda, talking to me. But I’ve had a good life — I wrote unhappy — but I lived to the hilt. You too, Linda — Live to the HILT! To the top. I love you, 40-year old Linda, and I love what you do, what you find, what you are! — Be your own woman. Belong to those you love. Talk to my poems, and talk to your heart — I’m in both: if you need me. I lied, Linda. I did love my mother and she loved me. She never held me but I miss her, so that I have to deny I ever loved her — or she me! Silly Anne! So there!
I want God,
I want poetry,
I want real danger,
I want freedom,
I want goodness.
I want sin.
Although it’s far from the sort of brain transplant beloved by science fiction enthusiasts, scientists have taken one step in that direction: they have spliced a key human brain gene into mice.
In the first study designed to assess how partially “humanizing” brains of a different species affects key cognitive functions, scientists reported on Monday that mice carrying a human gene associated with language learned new ways to find food in mazes faster than normal mice.
By isolating the effects of one gene, the work sheds light on its function and hints at the evolutionary changes that led to the unique capabilities of the human brain.
For the study, scientists used hundreds of mice genetically engineered to carry the human version of Foxp2, a gene linked to speech and language. In a 2009 study, mice carrying human Foxp2 developed more-complex neurons and more-efficient brain circuits.
Building on that, neuroscientists led by Christiane Schreiweis and Ann Graybiel of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology trained mice to find chocolate in a maze. The animals had two options: use landmarks like lab equipment and furniture visible from the maze (“at the T-intersection, turn toward the chair”) or by the feel of the floor (“smooth, turn right;” “nubby, turn left”).
Mice with the human gene learned the route as well by seven days as regular mice did by 11, scientists reported in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Surprisingly, however, when the scientists removed all the landmarks in the room, so mice could only learn by the feel-of-the-floor rule, the regular rodents did as well as the humanized ones. They also did just as well when the landmarks were present but the floor textiles were removed.
It was only when mice could use both learning techniques that those with the human brain gene excelled.
Language gene may increase cognitive flexibility
That suggested, Graybiel said, that what the human gene does is increase cognitive flexibility: it lets the brain segue from remembering consciously in what’s called declarative learning (“turn left at the gas station”) to remembering unconsciously (take a right once the floor turns from tile to carpet).
Unconscious, or procedural, learning is the kind the feel-of-the-floor cue produced: the mice didn’t have to consciously think about the meaning of rough or smooth. They felt, they turned - much as people stop consciously thinking about directions on a regular route and navigate automatically.
"No one knows how the brain makes transitions from thinking about something consciously to doing it unconsciously," Graybiel said. "But mice with the human form of Foxp2 did much better."
If Foxp2 produces the cognitive flexibility to switch between forms of learning, that may help explain its role in speech and language.
When children learn to speak, they transition from consciously mimicking words they hear to speaking automatically. That suggests that switching from declarative to procedural memory, as the humanized mice did so well thanks to Foxp2, “is a crucial part of the process,” Graybiel said.
and a drawerful of necklace chains that I will never
have the patience to separate. I am sounds mixed with
different mediums of light. Six thousand eight hundred
dialects of flesh that I don’t have enough time to
translate into words. This dictionary of skin is unreadable and
Latin is dead because of what we never had the balls to
tell each other.
|—||Shinji Moon, I Don’t Want To Be Loved. I Just Want To Be Untangled (via larmoyante)|
Burn all your bridges
just so that you can build them again with thicker ropes.
Hurt all the people you love
and then commit every felony to win them back.
Drown yourself in bleach until not even Heaven’s light
can compare to how bright you burn.
Turn yourself inside out and
paint your organs the color of what you see in your dreams.
This is the art of living with a ticker heart- a grenade
you throw through the windows to make a point that
language has no room for.
This is how I destroyed you. And this, is how I kept you alive.
Dig yourself a ditch, six feet deep, and bury everything that you’ve
ever said, everything that you’ve
never meant, and everything that has burned you and left you with nothing but what’s left. ”
|—||Shinji Moon, “Advice From Dionysus” (via carthaginianpeace)|