"Welcome to Japan, folks. The local time is . . . tomorrow."
- from 30 Minutes Over Tokyo, The Simpsons, Season 10

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

The Mind of a Child

The mind of a child has to be a truly alien thing.

Take for instance my older son. His younger brother has recently started eating infant cereal. We've given it to him a couple times, sometimes he can't seem to get enough of it (like when my husband feeds him) and other time he wants nothing to do with it (like when I feed him ). So when we got home from our walk today, I set the youngest on the floor so i could take care of some stuff in another room. While I was out, I heard my oldest giggling, so I thought nothing of it.

When I got back, there were cereal flakes everywhere. It was like it had snowed in that one section of the living room. The floor had enough flakes for our son to draw in. The blanket the baby was laying on was covered in flakes. So was the baby. And after picking up the baby, I was covered in cereal flakes too.

The oldest had this big smile on his face, showed me the box of cereal, and might've even said, "Baby more," which is his way of saying the baby's hungry and wants to eat. He just didn't understand why mommy got so upset when he was trying to be helpful.

While in college, my husband studied psychology and one of the things they talked about was how up until a certain age, the right hemisphere and left hemisphere of the brain don't communicate with each other. And I was like, well, what does that mean? The best he could describe it was that children will do stuff without knowing why.

Like if our oldest son had better communication skills, I could ask him why he poured cereal all over the floor. He'd probably tell me, I don't know. And he truly wouldn't know.

Since my husband told me about this, I wondered what it would be like to live this way. Sure, there are those rare adults that either by some genetic defect or brain damage, the right and left hemispheres of their brains don't communicate with each other.

But what would it be like if a whole society maintained this disconnect into maturity? How would their society be different than ours? And, more importantly, how would it be similar?

It's one of the reasons I like writing speculative fiction. You can take something from the real world like this, and see how a fictional society would change with it.

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