Author Topic: Potatoes, Snakes, and Armor  (Read 2348 times)

Q. G. Pennyworth

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Potatoes, Snakes, and Armor
« on: February 05, 2017, 04:30:04 am »
This is a dumb metaphor I use for the garbage in my head. If there's a nugget of something here that can be expanded, let's riff on it. If it's too specific to my brainmeats, feel free to ignore.

I used to use the term "brain weasels" to describe the various intrusive thoughts that I have to deal with on a distressingly frequent basis. It ended up not being sufficient for me, because there is a qualitative difference between the nagging, peanut gallery level of negative self-talk and the more clinically relevant stuff. For a while, my therapist and I tried classifying the brain weasels by scale, and then by scale and frequency, but it wasn't until I was on a call with a shitty client that the correct solution finally presented itself.

Shitty client made me want to tear my hair out, so instead of listening (partner was also on the call) I scribbled a little potato looking blob, with itty bitty stubby limbs and giant round eyes, with a gleeful smile and just a hint of angry eyebrows. "Everybody who says they love you is lying or stupid!" it announced. This is a Potato. Potatoes are those dumb, persistent negative thoughts that pop out of nowhere and try and trip you up. Potatoes get kicked.

Snakes are different. Snakes aren't blunt like Potatoes, asserting whatever nonsense they're up for directly. Snakes imply. "Oh, hey," the Snake says, "look at that staircase! I wonder if it would hurt if you fell down it. You're not dizzy, are you?" Snakes are the goddamned worst. You can't kick a Snake, you just have to ignore them and try to keep moving.

I picture both of these things as inky, blobby messes (Snakes being longer, skinnier, and less smiley than Potatoes), and the ink I see as the material of my internal experience of consciousness, my mental landscape. My brain isn't all scary, I can move that stuff around, too. There are a lot of times I have to mentally armor up, and when I do it's the same inky stuff that makes up the Potatoes and Snakes and Memoryphages and all the rest of the mess in my head. And when I make worlds in there to escape in or to plan out real world actions, it's all made of the same stuff.


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Re: Potatoes, Snakes, and Armor
« Reply #1 on: February 05, 2017, 05:07:24 am »
Going to sleep on this. It speaks to me, but then I'm not exactly right in the brain either.


Ink as mind-stuff is good. There's so many reasons it's good that it's hard to describe. Need to work out the exact reasons and look for possible flaws.
Potato/Snake metaphor is IMO unintuitive, but the details sing truth. Definitely a divide between blunt/dumb and subtle/smart sorts of evil, even outside of the personal/mental realm.
Noting that evil is just badly applied neutral is an IMO important thing that deserves deep thought and may even be applicable outside of the personal/mental realm.
Armor metaphor might be considered as camouflage? Ink, mindstuff, etc. -- implications of avoiding nonsense instead of weathering it. May not apply, need to think on it more.

Mesozoic Mister Nigel

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Re: Potatoes, Snakes, and Armor
« Reply #2 on: February 05, 2017, 07:26:24 am »
This is interesting, and I think potentially useful for a lot of people.
“I’m guessing it was January 2007, a meeting in Bethesda, we got a bag of bees and just started smashing them on the desk,” Charles Wick said. “It was very complicated.”