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Building a blueprint for a better brain by tinkering with the code.
February 24th, 2019
Lucilius sat in a crowded student center studying a textbook. He turned to a diagram he was drawing and labeled cranial nerves and nuclei. The center was bustling with students rushing in and out to eat between classes, everyone chatting, creating a kind of static humdrum that helped Lucilius concentrate. He was highlighting the path of the Vegus nerve, switching markers to make connections to the heart and lungs when a comment popped out of the fray.
“So gross - lucky he’s blind.”
Lucilius looked up from his work and found a group of young men huddled around dirty plates near him. They all chuckled at the comment while staring. Lucilius followed their stares to find they were gawking at a couple. The man had a folded white cane beside him as he sat close to a woman who was clearly the aim of their comments. Lucilius was entranced by their interaction, the woman’s smile so bright, as though a person were smiling for the first time, the blind man’s fingers dancing along the back of her hand as he spoke like a kind of gesturing for his comments.
“Can you imagine?” one of the guys said, interrupting Lucilius’ thoughts “being stuck with that and not knowing it?”
“Hey pretty boys,” Lucilius piped up, cuing them as they looked over with a quick lift of his chin. “You give any thought to how ugly your comments make you look?”
They stared blankly at Lucilius for a moment and then sneered, turning back to each other and laughing. Lucilius watched them for a moment or two longer wondering what effort would actually make the difference he had sought, but he left the effort went back to his work.
A few minutes later he felt a strange silence in the fray of noise and looked over. The boys had fallen silent as the blind man had walked up to their table.
“It’s interesting,” the blind man said, “Everyone always thinks I’m at a deficit because I can’t see, but in the same breath no one seems to remember what benefit there are in limits. The disciplined man shapes his body by shaping and pushing limits of exercise and diet. The disciplined mind does not easily distract by some passing trifle, flash nor advertisement.
You’re right, actually: I am lucky. I can see so much more than you can, and I simply can’t imagine how terrible it must be to be blinded by vision in the way you are.”
Then the blind man turned to walk away and just as he passed Lucilius,
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