Box One

It's the box, in your brain, that makes you feel these things.

This is the as-yet-unnamed organ, rarely discussed in anatomy textbooks, that attaches to your spine at the base of your neck. It meters and sometimes halts signals sent from your body to your brain, and vice-versa, managing the interactions between your emotions, intellect, and actions. Medical researchers have also implicated the internal structure as the stimulating agent for a variety of other human functions, including the need for spirituality and the desire to speak with the dead.

These same researchers have identified several discrete assemblies of cells; one controls sexual impulses, keeping the brain from encouraging the body in any action that feels too free or vulnerable; another controls language, managing the expression of affection and kindness. Still others (there are over 600) control the avaricious appetite, and the expression of trust, and the need for contact.

We'll discuss this more later.

Prisoners and lunatics have malfunctioning versions of the structure, sometimes with the top and bottom ganglionic extensions reversed. Those raised in strictly religious homes have an extremely well-defined limiter/resistor arrangement, and often the organ (one cm or less in average humans) extends and grows over the entire body. In extreme cases, the organ can take over the brain and muscle function, creating a contant conflict of intent, rendering the victim incapable of either action or thought without extreme effort. Such victims often give off visible electric charges. Still others show a reversal phenomenon, where desire and effort yield the exact opposite result; examples here include the woman who will just "be good" about sleeping with men, yet goes home with one that night, the perpetual dieter who eats compulsively, and the child who wants to be nice to his mother, but throws something at her anyway.

After reading the recent reports, I have been thinking about this strange organ for a week or more, and this is my first attempt to sketch it. More will follow, along more detail on its function.




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About the author: I've been running this website from 1997. For a living I write stories and essays, program computers, edit things, and help people launch online publications. (LinkedIn). I wrote a novel. I was an editor at Harper's Magazine for five years; then I was a Contributing Editor; now I am a free agent. I was also on NPR's All Things Considered for a while. I still write for The Morning News, and some other places.

If you have any questions for me, I am very accessible by email. You can email me at ford@ftrain.com and ask me things and I will try to answer. Especially if you want to clarify something or write something critical. I am glad to clarify things so that you can disagree more effectively.


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© 1974-2011 Paul Ford


@20, by Paul Ford. Not any kind of eulogy, thanks. And no header image, either. (October 15)

Recent Offsite Work: Code and Prose. As a hobby I write. (January 14)

Rotary Dial. (August 21)

10 Timeframes. (June 20)

Facebook and Instagram: When Your Favorite App Sells Out. (April 10)

Why I Am Leaving the People of the Red Valley. (April 7)

Welcome to the Company. (September 21)

“Facebook and the Epiphanator: An End to Endings?”. Forgot to tell you about this. (July 20)

“The Age of Mechanical Reproduction”. An essay for TheMorningNews.org. (July 11)

Woods+. People call me a lot and say: What is this new thing? You're a nerd. Explain it immediately. (July 10)

Reading Tonight. Reading! (May 25)

Recorded Entertainment #2, by Paul Ford. (May 18)

Recorded Entertainment #1, by Paul Ford. (May 17)

Nanolaw with Daughter. Why privacy mattered. (May 16)

0h30m w/Photoshop, by Paul Ford. It's immediately clear to me now that I'm writing again that I need to come up with some new forms in order to have fun here—so that I can get a rhythm and know what I'm doing. One thing that works for me are time limits; pencils up, pencils down. So: Fridays, write for 30 minutes; edit for 20 minutes max; and go whip up some images if necessary, like the big crappy hand below that's all meaningful and evocative because it's retro and zoomed-in. Post it, and leave it alone. Can I do that every Friday? Yes! Will I? Maybe! But I crave that simple continuity. For today, for absolutely no reason other than that it came unbidden into my brain, the subject will be Photoshop. (Do we have a process? We have a process. It is 11:39 and...) (May 13)

That Shaggy Feeling. Soon, orphans. (May 12)

Antilunchism, by Paul Ford. Snack trams. (May 11)

Tickler File Forever, by Paul Ford. I'll have no one to blame but future me. (May 10)

Time's Inverted Index, by Paul Ford. (1) When robots write history we can get in trouble with our past selves. (2) Search-generated, "false" chrestomathies and the historical fallacy. (May 9)

Bantha Tracks. (May 5)

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