What Fascinates Me?

Just for fun, I’m going to try to answer the question posed by the Impromptu Promptlings Sandbox Writing Challenge 11: What Fascinates You?

I am fascinated by hidden patterns and connections in things. I’m fascinated by the brain. I’m fascinated by tests that divide people up into interesting categories, like the Myers-Briggs test, or Gretchen Rubin’s 4 tendencies, even if there is no scientific basis for the results of these classifications. I’m fascinated by self-knowledge. I would like to have my genome sequenced.

I’m fascinated by theories of the origin of consciousness. I met Julian Jaynes and took a course from him in college, but I still don’t know what to make of his theory of the breakdown of the bicameral mind. I’m fascinated by the neuroscience of mindfulness.

I’m fascinated by the “Problem of Evil” and the literature of theodicy. Whenever I have what I think is an original thought on the subject, I always find that there is someone else who has written about it, in great detail, first.

14 thoughts on “What Fascinates Me?”

  1. ESFJ! I am fascinated by the human body’s ability to communicate using language. How we create and use words to interact astounds me. The system is fraught with the potential for breakdown, but 99% of the time we manage to say what we intend to say. When you think of the complex muscle movements involved with shaping air flow to produce sounds – sounds which we string together in a way which our brain recognizes as sounds which have meaning – and then our communication partner understands us! Well – it’s astounding.

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    1. I’m usually INFP, but I’ve taken the test a number of times and all the letters can change except I. I am a strong introvert and I think this distinction is useful, even if most if us aren’t completely one or the other.


  2. BTW, I think the simpler personality tests like Myers-Briggs are great when used as starting points for self-evaluation, but about as valid as astrology (as you acknowledge). The definitions are so broad that almost anyone can see some of themselves in almost any category. I am fascinated, though, by deeper probes (including MRIs) into personality.

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  3. To balance the Jaynes, I think you’d enjoy reading the Haidt book I’ve mentioned a couple of times, http://righteousmind.com/, if you have not already. Haidt is a social psychologist and atheist who traces the origin of religion to an evolutionary advantage as humans began cooperating in groups larger than the family unit.

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    1. Ah, but Mel, that’s about the origin of religion. For some reason I’m not as fascinated by the origin of religion as I am by the origin of consciousness. I suppose one might argue (plausibly and reasonably) that the two are quite related . . . but this post was just about what fascinates me. I think consciousness is more fundamental than religion, in a way. Could you even have religion without consciousness?

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      1. Interesting. In my mind I got confused between consciousness and religion. Totally my confusion. I don’t equate the two, although some people probably do. I’m sure that Haidt believes consciousness came long before religion.

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  4. I’m fascinated by the “Problem of Evil” and the literature of theodicy. Holy cow, kiddo! Now THAT is a big bite to chew on. I haven’t done mine yet. I was going to start with rainbows. Seems rather simplistic in light of good and evil (though that will make my list in the form of Hitler!). Interesting post! And thanks for playing along.

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      1. I’ve been obsessed with WWII books the last ten years or so. Ever since visiting the Holocaust Museum in DC. Been back three times. I cannot get my mind around Hitler. He leaves me befuddled and horrified.

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    1. My husband grew up in Germany and my own background is German, although my Allendoerfer ancestors came over in 1848. So I’ve heard a lot about Hitler over the years. I’m actually not fascinated by him–repelled and horrified, yes, but fascinated, no. I think I’ve become more fascinated over the years by what makes people *resist* horrors like Nazi Germany and Hitler. I loved that aspect of the book, All the Light we Cannot See, that I reviewed in another post.


  5. My fascination is with tribalism. Out here in God’s country, people get in fist-fights over whether F150’s are better than Silverados. When my urban son laughed about this, I told him to reflect about tribalism the next time he sat down to watch The Daily Show or Last Week Tonight with John Oliver and to try to convince himself that their message was something more than a chest-thumping confirmation that “our tribe is the bestest”.

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