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Clean Up The Filing System

A friend of mine’s son of 14 made the remark that if we were to be immortal, our brains would eventually have to start deleting files from storage in order to make space for new files. I like the analogy and think he has a point. We have some files that take up lots of space – our childhood trauma, the death of a loved one, the long divorce. Often, when we do not deal with these files, they actually stay open on our desktop and take up a lot of space. Maybe we are not ready to delete them, but leaving them open on our desktops means that they are literally in our faces. Every time we start the computer, this le is opened on the desktop, and search around in the background for updates, churning away through other les to see if there is relevant information for it to add. These files slow down our system.

Often it is very dif cult to clean up a le. The death of a child or the betrayal of a friend or lover often stays in our conscious minds and affects everything that we do. How do we delete this le? I don’t think it is possible. Yet, over the years this file will eat more and more, take up more and more disc space and prevent us from opening new les, reminding us of its presence every single time we start up.

I think it is important to clean up our computers from time to time. Mayne does not necessarily delete what is on the desktop all at once, but maybe stores it somewhere else. Start with a folder somewhere that is not visible on the desktop. Then maybe on a cloud somewhere or an external hard drive. As we get older, we need to create space. We need to clear our desktops to be able to have a clearer, cleaner visual image of who we really are. We need to start looking deeper and deeper inside, past the desktop, to nd our operating system. What is it that really defines us? What is our essence reality – that deep knowledge of what we feel is our Truth? How do we tell our story? What is the narrative we use?

This young man’s analogy made me think that perhaps for many older people who lived a long life, this is exactly what happens. Some of the les get dropped, perhaps accidentally deleted, perhaps corrupted. A corrupted le does however not necessarily affect the motherboard of the computer. (Interesting that it should be called a motherboard…). I do believe that a shift in consciousness is what happens when people’s minds start changing. The loss or shift of files is essential. We need to clean up the desktop, and make space. This could result in an altered reality that seems strange, out of the ordinary, or even weird. And herein lies the challenge – what do we do with this change, this different reality, this altered state? Let us consider it not to be something that we should diagnose as a syndrome…

This has been said many times. The shift in mind, the so-called ‘memory loss’ or dementia – what if we framed it differently? What if we see brain pathology in terms of more than just physiology? What if we start paying very close attention to that which lies beyond the pathology – the Soul, or the Mind? I want to propose that we will be pleasantly surprised. I want to quote Dr Al Power again: “WE must change our minds about people whose minds have changed”. If we change our medical gaze and the narrative of de cit and decline, if we construct a habitus that is inclusive, embracing, and honouring, people whose minds have changed will no longer be ‘demented’.

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