Whew! Made it unscathed past another March 17th. Having considerable Irish heritage in my genetic history some would say has provided me with a gift for the blarney. For those of you who aren’t familiar with it, blarney is a scientific term defined in the Encyclopedia of Science as: “Talk that is not true, but that is nice and somewhat funny, and that may be used to trick you. It also highly correlates with outlier intelligence and uncommon handsomeness.”
But blarney’s actually a little more than that. In my experience it’s a fun, useful way to interact with other people that helps to regulate interpersonal anxiety. If it weren’t for other people, I would most likely never have to resort to blarney as a neuromodulator, and if I had to choose between blarney and benzodiazepines, well, blarney wins hands down.
BA’s R Us
As a confirmed BA (Bullshit Artist), I’m also providing another service to humankind, also intimately connected with my Irish heritage: I’m affording other people in the world ample and ongoing opportunity to take their personal Forgiveness Practices to new and unexplored heights. In addition, my personal blend of blarney is one that works to keep many people on their toes. You’ll often find me offering up all kinds of surprising statements – sometimes in this blog about neuroscience! For example, did you know that we can now download imagery from your waking or sleeping brain and project it onto your computer screen! (Which happens to be true – Changing the Brain’s File Formats). Mixed in to those surprising true statements, it’s not all that uncommon though for me to slip in a bit of blarney: did you know that your body and brain are really just one big, super-sized semi-conductor? (This also happens to be true if you stand under these 6 pillars: Energy Medicine). That’s the thing about blarney, you never know when it’s going to slip in through a side entrance. Usually, it will be when you least expect it, most often in fun, but not always.
But there’s something else about blarney that we should place onto the positive side of the ledger as well: those of us well-practiced in this Emerald Art turn out to score really high on the creative side of the human ledger. You don’t believe me? Well, would you believe … Psychological Science? (Some qualitative, hard science researchers actually consider that to be an oxymoron). Here’s a link to the research: Dishonesty and Creativity – Intimate Bedfellows. It’s really great for BAs when we have some kind of science on our side!
Some of what’s interesting about this last bit of research, in addition to the confirmation that indeed, sometimes cheaters DO prosper, is that almost 60% of the experimental subjects readily engaged in cheating. 60%! What’s up with that? What are these college kids, willing to participate in psychology experiments, learning in school? Don’t these schools have ethics and honor codes they enforce? If you participated in this experiment at all, you should be immediately sent to the Dean’s office afterward even if you didn’t cheat – just because. Because you’re part of a Cheater’s Culture. Your peers are cheating on your watch. And what about the researchers? What do they do about this high rate of dishonesty? Nothing. It’s fine. Just so long as you’re a “creative cheat.” Don’t we want kids to graduate college and be really creative in life and work?
Cheating My Way to the Bottom
Of course, there is one little problem with cheating, even in the service of great creativity. Here’s what it is: The Body Keeps the Score and the Brain Maintains a Record. Every time I violate a moral or ethical norm, my neurophysiology is right on it. It’s like there’s a Go-Pro audio, video and sensory camera that I carry around with me and it’s operating 24/7, day in and day out. And it profoundly shapes my interior landscape. Having tons of incidents stored away in unconscious, implicit memory (my neural evidence locker) that I’m a cheater and a liar, profoundly limits and circumscribes my life. Watch the neurophysiology of healthy little kids after they’ve been caught in a lie. You can feel your own body contract and distort in response to their embarrassment and shame. Do that time enough and soon the pain will drive you to some form of self-medication. The use of medication of any sort rarely does, but it could serve as an invitation to deeper self-scrutiny. At times when I have made the effort, I haven’t always liked what I’ve turned up. And that’s no blarney.
Some more non-blarney: I’ve put together a new online offering. It’s about dreamwork and trauma resolution. Click HERE to check it out: Dreaming with the Brain in Mind. Your conscious brain may or may not like it.