Nickelpicklemama's Blog

October 27, 2009

A Whole New World

Filed under: Uncategorized — by nickelpicklemama @ 10:42 am

After Peter was born, I suddenly saw people with Down syndrome everywhere I went. At church, at the grocery store, at my son’s school… Not only that, but I was also seeing references to Down syndrome everywhere I looked; the newspaper, the books I was reading… Even when I was driving I’d notice other cars with bumper stickers from our local Down syndrome association.

As strange as my sudden awareness seemed; what was happening to me, and the cause for it, actually has a name. It’s called the “Reticular Activation System” or RAS. It is the part of your brain that automatically filters out what is not important to you and brings your attention to things that are important to you.

It’s a common phenomenon. Almost everyone can relate. You start looking for a new car, something special, something not like anyone else’s, something unusual. You pick out what seems to be a unique, unusual choice of a special red car and all of a sudden, there it is– your red car, the one you thought was only yours. It’s on every street corner. It is at every stoplight. You see three of these red cars just driving down the freeway. You never saw these cars before. What happened? How did all of these people get your unique red car at the same time?

Well the fact of the matter is that your brain is seeing the red cars that were always there. Since you picked out this car for yourself, that car has become special for you and now you are noticing what was really there all along.

It’s pretty amazing: the human brain. If you understand how the reticular filter works, it makes it pretty clear that we ourselves create the world we live in.

Pretty heavy stuff. 😉

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