Abs, memory… and SSRIs

We are a mobile species. Our survival depended (before the implementation of agriculture-livestock) on our mobility, walking around looking for a shelter, sustenance and company. Mindless mobility would only be used to waste energy or take unnecessary risks. 

Therefore, us mobile species have an extensive neural network whose mission is to select smart decisions, those which optimize cost-effectiveness.
We need muscles and neurons: strength and memory, gyms and memory workshops, weights and crosswords.

I studied piano in my town with the band director. I received lessons at noon, when the teacher had just woken up. He used to listen to me from his bed or the bathroom, and from time to time, would yell at me to correct: “F sharp!!” He rarely observed or corrected my piano “technique”. I learned how to play by what God or the devil gave me. For me, playing the piano was a muscular issue, I had to take strength in the fingers and design systems of gums to exercise the flexors, which I thought were responsible for lowering the keys.

Around the same time came the “Friars School”, where pedagogy focused on memorizing each and every one of the texts as fast and accurately as possible. Interestingly, the piano teacher flatly forbade me to learn the songs by memory and I had to keep my eyes fixed on the sheet.

I exercised my finger flexors and memorized lists of rivers and Visigoth kings but could not retain any music sheet. The lists are missing now, the flexors have recovered its normal and desirable volume, and when I play the piano I have to make up the notes.

We are in the age of fitness, of muscular and neuronal crush, of obsession to highlight the abdomen muscles and the brain (although not visible). We need abs to do more sit-ups, like Cristiano Ronaldo, and solve puzzles to solve more difficult ones. The intent, meaning and complexity of the task don’t matter. 

Reductionism is raging: to have a good response capacity, we need shaped abdomen muscles and an incredible memory capacity. Gym and memory workshop.

A laboratory mouse in a cage with no gym and no stimuli is left without hippocampal neurogenesis (generation of new neurons in the hippocampus: an essential brain area to deal with the new). If we make the mouse exercise, making him spin eternally in that absurd wheel, the hippocampus renews its production of new neurons. If there is no muscle or newness to remember, we discourage, apparently because our serotonin goes down.

We don’t need to worry if serotonin wanes. We can improve its availability by preventing the neuron that released it from swallowing it back without even letting it take its time to make effect: we can block the “reuptake” (an absurd gesture of evolution with no apparent purpose) so it becomes instantly solved. The Serotonin-Specific Reuptake Inhibitors, the SSRIs, complete a survival kit for these turbulent times:

Abs and puzzles and SSRIs just in case.

– Doctor, could you give me something to forget about all this? Lately I haven’t been able to forget anything. With today’s advances…

– Sorry, but we have nothing to improve your forgetfulness.