Monday, September 13, 2010

Practical Inception

 What is the most resilient parasite? Bacteria? A virus? An intestinal worm? An idea. Resilient... highly contagious. Once an idea has taken hold of the brain it's almost impossible to eradicate. An idea that is fully formed - fully understood - that sticks; right in there somewhere. 

---Don Cobb

I quote from movies all the time, however the one above stands out because something I witnessed today. 

We were about to start a routine toxicology lab and the lab supervisor was going over the safety procedures. After some politically correct information about ethics, he mentioned " of the problems we had in the past years was people fainting, so if you are known to faint to blood don't sit on the stools and fall to crack your head open..."(I did not chronicle word for word but the meaning is close). At this moment, the noise of a soft object hitting the ground was heard. Someone actually fainted; fortunately he fell forward and did not hit anything. When he came to, he had no recollection of events before the blackout.

Later, several people had fits of malaise both before and after taking blood samples, including my lab partner who had to spend several minutes sitting on the floor before work resumed.

The affected appear healthy and in sound mind. None of them is known to be haemophobic or have any other related phobia (Trypanophobia, traumatophobia....I am sure one can spend a lifetime counting phobias.). Blood sampling is not novel either; the same has been done in one of the bigger labs last year using the same equipment, and nobody showed any adverse reactions. 

So what went wrong? First, the speaker suffers from self-admitted Stage IV pessimism, which definitely did cast a bad outlook on this lab. The language used was also suggestive (If you are......) and came from someone of authority(He's a professor so he must be right), which tricks the subconscious to believe the possibility of fainting(This can happen). The ideal parasite grows, traveling up the vagus nerve to shut down conscious. Although only one person came down initially, the event itself reinforces its presence in others and the cycle keeps ticking.

Inception, self-fulfilling prophecy, massive hysteria or whatever, it is working in our subconscious to deliver some surprises.
Before I close this topic, I must mention that yawning is contagious. Yeah, seeing, reading or even merely thinking about yawning is enough to induce yawning, again unconsciously. Next time when the chain reaction start while you are giving a speech, try not to blame them. 


Emotional rollercoaster explained in songs:

First I was like this

Then I was like this

Deep down



Also, you can follow me on Twitter @DillADH. Another late conversion here but I am learning fast.