“Think Smart” paraphrase, part 4

Part 1 can be found here

Part 2 can be found here

Part 3 can be found here

2/11/17

If you’ve read some of my posts, you may know there’s almost always a personal, usually unguarded element to them. I understand not everyone may appreciate that, but at least some don’t seem to mind it.

Still, I usually try to be brief about it, because I can’t get over the feeling that my personal thoughts and issues are not something anyone would care to hear.

But I warned you beforehand, in my About page, telling you this site would be not one of educational content alone, or content belonging to one category—I basically said I’d write about whatever the heck I wanted. And there will be those who appreciate that and those who don’t.

I just feel a little down. Disappointed in myself. I probably won’t post this because I can’t imagine anyone feeling anything other than annoyance. I guess that may be because I’ve always felt a bit tense when emotions are shared, and it seems like a weakness to be so vulnerable before someone—because it is. The more of yourself you reveal, the more you equip others to hurt you.

Sometimes it feels like life doesn’t have enough pleasure, and it becomes a little like a drag.

And you wonder why you have so many problems, because you shouldn’t. Everything should be fine. You feel that the happiness you feel is not sufficient; you feel that the love you feel is not enough; you always feel like a disappointment in some way.

Today I was supposed to have read “Think Smart,” but instead I watched a movie my parents were watching and played a bit of Star Wars: Battlefront with my brother.

I didn’t like it, not what I played. I played missions, and they were out of context. Just fighting without real purpose. I chose the game because it seemed to promise action, adventure, and camaraderie. Because it seemed wild, messy, and thrilling. Because the graphics were nice and I thought the plot would make it seem like I was inside one of those books I read as a kid which made my heart pound and made me feel the rush.

I’m older now. When I read fiction books, I don’t usually get a thrill. I used to read fantasy and action. I enjoyed adventure. My younger brother’s different, he goes for humor books. I enjoyed humor books too, but the action and adventure ones always drew me. I was heavily guided by the front cover, I must admit. Percy Jackson, Artemis Fowl. I’ve shown him those books eagerly, but he hasn’t shown interest, and that’s saddened me, because those books mean something special to me. They’re not just books or stories, but important memories of mine. I went on those adventures. I felt I was there. I felt I got to know Butler, Artemis, Holly, etc. I was with them, and I felt their company and presence, and it was better than real life back then. Back then, fiction was the better world.

I was in the camp, I was with Annabeth and Percy, I met Nico, and Hades, and Poseidon. Those stories shaped me, damaging and inspiring me all at once. I became damaged in the sense I saw love as a weakness for a long time and tried to bury it along with my humanity. I tried to be perfect, and it was only until recently that I understood I had to stop.

I was underwater when Percy went to his father’s (underwater) realm. I remember when Percy was washed on the shore after a long battle, or when he was with Annabeth underground, traversing a large maze.

I remember the thrill of the action, the excitement of the adventure, the engagement because of the protagonist’s sarcastic voice.

Those stories gave me something to hold on to. When my brother rejected them, I felt that… I couldn’t pass on that feeling that I haven’t felt in a long time and that I miss. I know I miss it all the time. Maybe it’s why I keep looking for books, or thinking about what I could roleplay; maybe it’s why I keep searching for video games that are satisfactory enough.

I chose Star Wars because it was a two-person game and I thought maybe it would be a way for Daniel and I to enter that world that I still dream of entering.

The world I entered when I saw the movie Avatar.

It seems it doesn’t matter whether the plot relies on fantasy or science; I get equally involved even today. I was worried that I had lost the ability to be stirred in such a way by fantasy because of my developing reasoning ability. Because I’m getting to be more practical than ever before.

All this brings me back to the same idea I’m sick of entertaining. Should I write? Saying “a book” may be asking too much—I may start just by taking little steps. Recently I haven’t enjoyed writing, but let’s see: what have I been trying to write? Romance, friendship-type love, humor. Not action, not adventure. I’ve been trying to write for the aesthetic pleasure, too. You see? Why the heck have I been trying to write something which is so not my area? I guess because I was trying to answer questions, and find happiness when I was down. When I laugh I feel I’m at my happiest, and I wanted to see if romance was for me; if friendship could help fill the void I feel.

The thing was that I didn’t want to write. I didn’t even want to write humor, because writing was not enjoyable for any of those things. So I came to think that maybe writing in general wasn’t for me, fiction writing, anyway. Because I do enjoy writing non-fiction.

But I still feel a void, an unhappiness somewhere, that nothing seems to fix. I don’t know why I feel it, and I wonder if maybe everyone feels it, always, regardless of what they have or do. Maybe if everyone feels it there’s no point in trying to find out why I feel it; maybe it’s a gap that will never be filled.

It’s just that when these three elements are in my life (action, adventure, camaraderie), it feels like there’s no gap at all. Maybe I underestimated their importance.

2/12/17

Richard Restak (author of “Think Smart”) starts off a new section by stating that “What’s Good for the Brain Is Good for the Heart” (30). He says that until the effects of certain foods on brain function can be directly studied, it cannot be sure whether one line of reasoning is or is not correct, that being that foods that slow cognitive decline in older individuals may maintain/ improve the brain functioning of younger individuals.

Vegetables, “especially green leafy ones,” are thought to slow cognitive decline. Restak attributes this benefit to vitamin E and antioxidants. Then he explains what antioxidants even do, which is “interrupt” (31) oxidation, a process of decay. Oxidation occurs because of “molecular fragments” called free radicals, which have “at least one unpaired or odd electron.” Being unstable because of this, free radicals seek stability, and do so by seeking out more electrons. Free radicals in the body will take electrons from structures in the body (like cells), damaging or impairing these structures. According to Restak, it’s only a matter of time before free radicals attack a person’s DNA, causing chemical changes that will warp DNA (change it in ways it should not be changed).

“The ensuing chemical damage to DNA is thought to be at least partly responsible for aging.”

That makes sense, seeing as (if I understand it correctly) aging is decay caused by the accumulation of mistakes.

What if all the processes of decay which create aging could be battled and slowed? Would we live longer? Could we theoretically live indefinitely?

Someone who has the interesting idea that these processes can be battled and that lifespan can be prolonged, the lifespan of people living in our time, is called Aubrey de Grey (I recommend checking him out). I haven’t seen much of him or read his book Ending Aging: The Rejuvenation Breakthroughs That Could Reverse Human Aging in Our Lifetime yet, though I really want to—it’s just: one thing at a time, right? But one thing which concerned me is that in the talk he gave, he said he and his team were not recieving sufficient funding.

I was talking yesterday about writing. I’ve always had that idea. Maybe if writing works, I can gain a decent amount of money from selling my book(s) and donate heavily (donate a large portion of my earnings). That sounds fantastic, actually. My parents are currently sustaining me, so I have the notion that if I still have their support in the near future once (if) my book is published, I won’t have a problem giving away a relatively large sum of money (larger than I have ever had) for a good cause.

But then again, I’m not really the kind of person who cares much about money, status, and appearances. I feel that it might be a little hard to give away something like that, because of our instinct of gathering resources, but I try to fight my instincts, and I feel that I would donate regardless. Maybe if you find his cause appealing to you, and would like to see his goal realized and the life of yourself or a loved one extended, you may also seek ways to donate.

You know, maybe money would matter more to me if I wrote for the money (as opposed to writing out of enjoyment and interest). Maybe it would be harder to give if I felt I had had to work for every cent. You see, I’m a pretty lazy person. I love working hard—if I am motivated to; if it doesn’t feel like work. I produce good content and put in a lot of effort—but I can only manage this if it doesn’t feel like work. The moment something is boring and tedious, it’s painful. If I do it, it’s not because I have an intrinsic motivator: it’s because I have to do chores to help out in the house, or because my teacher says I have to complete an assignment I do not care to complete. I don’t want to work like that all my life, but for some people, sadly, that is their reality. And for them, it may be harder to give money to others when they feel that that’s the only compensation they really have for that painful work.

.

(When you see that period separating bodies of text, it means a period of time has passed between writing them)

Anyway, oxidation is not good for us, and antioxidants (which battle oxidation) are something we probably want in our system.

Restak goes on to describe a study conducted which showed that “older persons who ate more than two vegetable servings a day performed as well on cognitive tests as people five years younger.” He says that fruits, however, have not been shown to have the same impact on the rate of cognitive decline. In the study, fruits were not equally beneficial. Compared to fruits, vegetables contain more vitamin E (I wish I knew why vitamin E is healthy for us, but I can only do one thing at a time), but Restak says he doesn’t think that explains the findings of the study (i.e. why vegetables do a better job of slowing cognitive decline). Those who conducted the study believed that maybe the findings were due to some aspect of the fruit counteracting the efforts of the antioxidants. That would explain why fruits by themselves did not do as good a job as expected of slowing decline in cognitive function related to aging.

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