Centres

Every human being is convinced he or she is the centre of the universe. From day one, the brain is unable to cope with the idea of something being so big, and the person so tiny in comparison. So, the person creates his or her own small universe in which to live, sheltered from the huge, immeasurable space outside.

No matter how much you travel, of if you have an inferiority complex, or if someone showed you a map of the world with a tiny dot in it marked “You are here, pipsqueak,” it is still mentally impossible to picture how vast everything is compared to yourself. You may try, but only go so far for so long until the task seems too daunting, or you are unable to stretch your mind any futher. When this happens, you have two choices: retreat back into your shell or go mad.

Go on, try. I’ll give you five minutes. Open your mind and think about the space either side of you, above and perhaps even below you if you happen to be skydiving (though why you’re reading this falling through the air beats me.) Keep stretching yourself outwards – mentally, I mean, don’t bust a gut – and keep going. Towards the walls and the ceiling, pass those, towards the horizon, and then, er…ooh I’m going boss-eyed…argh help I’m stuck….no, no use, sorry, can’t go any further. My head aches.

3, 2, 1…Are you back with me? Yes? Not gone doollally? Good.

So now we have reached the limits of our awareness, shall we talk about something closer to home?

Never mind about being the centre of a universe, what’s at the centre of a person? Literally speaking, we have guts and all manner of stuff the likes of which we’ve seen on Casualty, but I mean is there anything else? There must be, or we would be plain animals. How do we be conscious and thinking, and conscious OF our thinking, all the time? It must be something to do with the black you see when you close your eyes. Or eye, if you happen to be a cyclops.

Where would this thing be situated? Is it really just your brain? That’s what I’d like to know. But then, if the thing that thinks is inside your head, it’s not in the middle of you, is it? So perhaps I’d be right in asking what’s at the centre of a person’s head instead.

So now we have tried to go the distance, outwards and inwards. We all deserve a long nap.

Which reminds me, the other thing I don’t understand is dreams.

For instance, how do I know I’m awake, and not dreaming? Or indeed asleep? You only seem to know you’ve been asleep after it’s happened. Maybe when you are awake, you are dreaming, and when you are asleep it’s reality. In which case, everybody’s been mixed up for years.