Experience as it is laid down in the brain.

This diagram is again oversimplified but shows how experience is laid down in patterns, as nerve impulses travel through branching neural pathways. Common characteristics of current and early experience such as a shade of blue in the eyes of one's wife and mother are stored in the same receptors. During a current experience with one's wife nerve impulses travel though some of the same branches they did in early experiences with one's mother. The pattern of current experience is similar to, and is mixed with some unconscious memories of early experience. In a sense, it is a re-experience of many past interactions. Some neuron endings and receptor areas that store characteristics (perhaps a shade of brown in the mother's hair) became clogged up with toxins as a result of suppressing anger as a child. In the current interaction nerve impulses cannot travel through certain branches and may be diverted (not shown). If the person's anger in the current interaction is out of proportion to the situation, some of it has more to do with the mother, but is not being directed to her because of the clogged neural pathways. It may instead be misdirected toward one's wife. Since the pattern of the current experience is incomplete, it might be said to be a partially unconscious experience.

Return to article