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2019-10-18 | Journal | Stranger Brain

I drove a friend to an MRI scan, and it turns out that the most convenient place to have this done is in an office complex that I worked in during the late nineties. I read The Stranger in the Woods while I waited. It was evening, just after rush-hour(s), and the large building was mostly empty. I got lost once finding the restroom and stumbled into the break room, where the sole administration staff was grabbing something to eat from the fridge. She directed me back to the main waiting room, but the place is so big that it had another waiting room in the center of the building as well, surrounded by dressing rooms. I snaked my way back through the building until I found my waiting room, where I had left my book and glasses.

As I waited, a teenage girl with a letterman's jacket entered a dressing room. I thought how scary it must be for somebody so young to have an MRI. What could it be that needed so much equipment? As I was thinking this I read a part in my book where it talked about MRIs and the brain scans of people in solitude. The book is about Christopher Knight and how/why he was able to avoid any human interaction for 27 years in the Maine woods near some vacation cabins. Knight craved it, savored the solitude. The author explained that many people crack under solitude and it had to do with identity. Identity fades without normal human relations, and this identity keeps people going through life in most cases. He goes on to talk about how an MRI shows that the brain of people in solitude is still fully lit up, it is just that different parts of the brain light up, a deeper part that developed in humans prior to the cerebral cortex.

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