“Consciousness is incompatible with multi-tasking. . .” ~WWW:WATCH by Robert J. Sawyer
Perhaps this could be reason as to why I don’t like noise and why the brain cannot process beyond a certain volume of noise or static. Perhaps the act on the brain is like multi-tasking, due to the number of stimuli required to be processed. At a certain level, this noise invades rather than soothes. In other words, it throws the brain into an erratic state, discombobulation. It’s the difference between the brain handling series of stimuli while in nature (or some other quiet environment) as this is not so much a great noise so does not tax the brain. In a social environment (or a noisier environment), the brain is forced to compute several constructions simultaneously, but like the eyes suffer saccades. For example, while in a mall or McDonald’s, the brain must compute (i.e., process) the bright lights, the colors, the hardness of the booth, the various sounds from the kitchen area (the ice machine, the fry beep, voices from the employees), voices from customers both inside and outside at the drive-thru window, all while trying to write or read or converse. All activities that otherwise require concentration, and the brain simply cannot keep up, so crashes (the brain doesn’t really do this, I merely make use of the analogy to illustrate better my meaning). The brain crashing is the equivalent of shattering or breaking down (a kind of dissociation, or splitting) and is no longer able to function (why there is a loss of time when this happens and entering into a fugue-like state) optimally. Too much stimuli, indeed. I know when I lived outside in the woods and when I would enter an establishment once out of the woods, I experienced this kind of dissociation frequently. It is the same when entering any kind of arena in society, i.e., social institutions, social gatherings, social agencies, the brain needs concentration in order to hold onto consciousness as well as to attain higher levels of consciousness. Perhaps this is why monasteries are not located in cities, why retreats are always located in remote areas, well outside civilization, and why sanitariums are often surrounded by nature. In civilization, it is more difficult for the consciousness to live in harmony. If so, what is lateral thinking really? Perhaps, closer to multi-dimensional cognition.
However, McDonald’s (and other such establishments) were not created to be an environment of thought and conversation. Interaction is manufactured for eating and any movements associated with eating. In McDonald’s commercials, customers (other than the narrator) are always eating and smiling. McDonald’s is meant to be a noisy environment, where thought is not likely to happen. Only mindless eating, creating repeat customers. The function of McDonald’s as a place of eating, is to make it a fun, exciting experience eating McDonald’s food. Bring the family, bring the kids, brings your friends. McDonald’s wants you to do one motion, repeatedly. . . eat.
Shopping Ma(u)ls are no different. The purposeful design of every shopping mall is to lead you into stores to buy. Repeatedly. As many times as possible. A shopping mall’s deliberate function is to create for you the illusion of a fun and exciting experience buying. Bring the family, bring the kids, bring your friends. Bring grandma. Every occasion can be marked with a buying experience.
Both McDonald’s (and other such establishments) and Shopping Malls are constructed to be loud, noisy environments to attract and keep your attention. Inserting into an unquiet mind instructions to buy and how to feel about the experience. The mind is busy noticing every advertisement, designed to attract your attention, sometimes on a subconscious level. With noise, McDonald’s and Shopping Malls can bombard your mind into oblivion, or, in other words, a highly suggestible state. Like traffic lights ‘influence’ the flow and congestion of traffic, Shopping Malls ‘influence’ you not to think about anything for any period of time. The idea is not to think, only Buy.
Because of the way the brain works if it hears a sound, especially the sound of a human voice, then it wants naturally to listen, which requires the brain to start attempting to decipher what is being said/conveyed and to start ascertaining meaning, processing, it sets to the task automatically. Well, what if there were a room full of voices, full of conversations, how does the brain process them and retain, especially if it is an unfamiliar environment? Unless the body goes from one conversation to the other, spending only a few seconds at each, perhaps it could process this, but for how long? It simply cannot process them simultaneously, all at once. One at a time, would require effort but it could easily be done, especially if only a few tidbits need to be conveyed and the meaning is immediately understood (not complex, i.e. not requiring a great amount of thought to understand. This is why it would be harder at an unfamiliar place, such as a foreign country and the native language were unknown). In other words, not much sustained conversation is required.
McDonald’s and Shopping Malls like it very much that you act like an infant or a toddler, entertained by a bombardment of amplified false notions. Verbs transmutated into nouns, like grammatical alchemy. Harry Potter has nothing on the neuroscience packaged into the design (the look, the feel, the ambiance) of a shopping mall and McDonald’s. From color to how many steps it takes for you to arrive at the counter from the entrance. An eating zombie, cowering, like a baby, from quiet and responding predictably to introduced stimuli.
“The behavior of organisms including human beings is predictable & therefore controllable. Give me a baby and I can make any kind of man” ~John B Watson
For me, this noise is not necessary, which is good, because I don’t want it. What actual and real enjoyment could be had surrounded by noise scrambling the brain, completely motivated by emotion and dramatic representation of those emotions regardless of their relevancy? Within quiet, however, the consciousness is like a chaotic stillness. Unpredictable in its motions, yet calm. The absence of static; a dynamic tapestry of randomness.
“Once I rose above the noise and confusion, just to get a glimpse beyond this illusion.” Carry On Wayward Son, Kansas
Artwork (in order of appearance)–
- The Neuroscience of Consciousness (myscienceacademy.org)