What is it about the human brain that enables us to see, hear, or smell a thing and instantly recognize disparate details about that object based upon past experience. Carl Jung’s comment that life begins at 40 because up till then you’re doing research has a lot of truth to it. We are accumulating memories that are going to provide the context for so much of life later on.
Take for example this watercolor by Robert McGinnis.
McGinnis was the artist who did a lot of promotional art for the James Bond franchise — and also for a great many other cultural icons of the last 90 years. And
I have been thinking about how our brains can look at an image, or an ojbect and instantly recognize certain characteristics about it. We can place it in time, we can associate it with other know entities — like an entertainment franchise. Heck, there are smells I smell today (well, in recent memory) that remind me of a ratty house in our neighborhood inhabited by the filthiest family I have ever known. I KNOW that aroma. It says only bad things to me when I smell it. Similarly there are mechanical sounds that I heard in 35 years of helping my dad superintend an apartment building that mean No Good — the sound of water dripping for example. And sight — of course — gives us the most clues. We make myriad associations based on what we see.
When you look at the James Bond poster adjacent it’s not hard to know without a doubt that it belongs in the 1970’s (actually 1973). That image above was used as cover art for an Earl Stanly Garner novel, one of the Perry Mason series, The Case of the Bigamous Spouse and it’s easy to tell that the work is at least back into the 60’s (actually 1964) by the different nuances in the image. We might say, “it looks older.” Why we may not be able to define. We just “know” it. Sometimes our brain draws lines of demarcation and definition in order to put things in some sort of category that only one person in the world will recognize — but to that one person it’s all that exists in the world.
I could talk about “batons”, or I could talk about “batons”. In either case I’d be using the same word but there’s quite a difference between a baton used for twirling and one used for self-defense (a tactical baton). Yet, a glance at either is enough for the brain to make a connection between very different things.
All of this has a way of coming back to RV’ing — wouldn’t you know it! A part of being a good (read that word “good” as in “successful”) RV’er is being able to recognize patterns in the RV life you live. And there are patterns everywhere. Some of them are visual, others are aural or olfactory — but the brain is able to recognize them and we do well when we pay attention.
In an RV a “musty smell” is never a good thing and as soon as one smells it you really need to find out where the smell is coming from. So much of modern RV’s is built with particle board of one variety of another and water is the death of that stuff.
Similarly, discolorations are another dead giveaway that something is wrong. Once again a little water laying on a surface will get into the material and both weaken it and change the color. Then again wood takes on different colors depending on how much heat it’s exposed to.
Take this sample of the same wood exposed to differing amounts of heat. If I harken back to our friends experience changing out their refrigerator, one of the things they found when Michael started working on the repair is that there had been charring of the wood surrounding their refrigerator. And I’m betting that there was an aroma to go along with the head damage.
Yes, it’s possible to let things go until they just quit. We can ignore the signs, the patterns that are there to be seen, but we do so at our own jeopardy. And the jeopardy of others on the road with us. For surely, a lot of the things that can go wrong with an RV are failures that are going to reveal themselves when we’re going on down the road.
What is it about a thing that tells us that we’re looking, or hearing, or smelling some particular fact that we already know about. The picture of folks standing in a depression era line for coffee and donuts does not need to be explained. Similarly, one can instantly place the era for a really great piece of stride piano music.
There are patterns all around us. There are clues and giveaways that speak to anyone who is watching – listening – smelling that tell us who, what, what, when, where and how. But are we paying any attention? If we are we can save ourselves a lot of trouble. If not… well, the repair shop is willing to collect as much “green” as they can… The choice is up to us.
I hope that today I might have inspired at least one person to think more carefully about what it is that’s going on around us. To me, patterns are everywhere. But not every recognizes patterns.
Anyway… Thanks for stopping by and I’ll be here again tomorrow to chat. Why not stop by!