By Tim Schrempp, Contributor originally published in Issue 3, Volume 30 of the University Register on Friday, October 20, 2017.
You know that feeling you get when you’re walking home at night, all alone? The feeling of paranoia that someone is not too far behind you and wants to hurt you? What about that feeling when you’re home alone, and you swear you heard someone walking in the other room? You attempt to rationalize these feelings by claiming they are not real, they’re just your nerves warping your reality.
You know your fears are all inside your head. The real reason you feel this way is because your mind just plays tricks on you sometimes, especially when you’re all alone. On some level you know that as you walk through your street all alone you didn’t really hear a second pair of foot prints trying to synchronize with your own. You also know that sometimes your mind happens to wander and you just imagined the creaking of floorboards.
Your mind is powerful, your imagination just makes up these sensations and you believe them. It’s amazing how vivid these sounds can be without you even trying. But how can someone create thoughts that seem so vivid without even realizing that they are thinking them? Try to move a limb without actually thinking about moving your limb. This seems like an oxymoron, you know that no matter what that you’re entirely in control of your limbs as well as your thoughts. It also doesn’t make sense from a logical standpoint.
Why would your brain want to make you think that you are in danger? Logically you would want to make yourself believe you are not in danger. The brain would want to convince you you’re safe and ignore dreadful sensations rather than create its own stimuli simply to scare you.
When you think about it, ignoring sounds seems easier for your imagination to do than creating its own sounds. The brain can easily ignore the outline of a dark figure in the distance as you quickly turn around to see if you really heard someone following you. Your mind would find it too intense when it hears the sound of glass breaking in the other room, so it only focuses on the sound of creaking floor boards. In fact, when you go to the room you swear you heard the creaking of floorboards your mind only shows you an empty room and completely ignores the sound of the closet door closing as you enter the room.
Your mind convinces you that you’re alone. Your mind convinced you that you didn’t see the homicidal maniac follow you to your home and that he has been following you every night for a week. Your mind just finds it too easy to not think about the dreadful thought that you will be murdered in your sleep tonight.
This makes the fact that you are going to die tonight easier to accept when you don’t know it’s coming. It will all seem like a surprise to you. You should be grateful, not many people get to spend their last hours of life blissfully unaware of the fact that their killer is waiting for them to fall asleep. The power of imagination has made it easier for your death to come and you won’t even know that