An irregular, irreverent, post-modern account of the surreal, the ordinary, and the bizarre happenings on and around the Felia lavender farm in Crete

Monday, March 13, 2006

Cocaine nights and mirror neurons in Super Cannes

I have two ongoing issues right now and they are mixing badly in the background partition of my brain. One is a reflection on my own knowledge and is prompted by recent very local incidents and one is an acquisition of new knowledge (scientific) and the necessary assimilation of that knowledge into my own knowledge base and hypothesis repository.

Neo-Colonialism, and Mirror Neurons are the two topics. One is a cultural phenomenon and the other a physical phenomenon with cultural implications. It's some time (months) since I undertook a detailed acquisition of brand new scientific knowledge and there's a lot of research yet to come despite mirror neurons having been discovered in 1995 so this is also taking a lot of foreground processing. The neo-colonialism thread was bumped to the top of my priorities this morning by the report of an English couple in Crete being murdered although I have been considering this piece for a long while now and thus may surface first as a full blown blog entry.

I want to briefly sketch the pair, and or where they fit with my weltanschauungen, so that, a) you know what to expect (or possibly as a teaser, b) so that I can refer back here myself to crib (or to double the value of a single entry) and c) to fill an otherwise empty blogspot (outside of these two items there really isn't much space in my craniosphere for anything else).

I am often berated here, especially among the subjects of these musings, and elsewhere for referring to the recent incomers to Crete as neo-colonialists and for likening them to the communities featured in Ballard's Cocaine Nights and Super Cannes but now I'm close to having worked the whole hypothesis through in fairly rigorous fashion both socio-economically and culturally. That double murder this morning prompted me to look at an ex-pat website on Crete and that experience itself gave my ponderings an additional impetus.

I came across mirror neurons quite by accident in a short piece on Radio 4 this weekend and the idea that they might support my recent hypothesis on empathy piqued my interest no end. In those pieces (on the topic of sociopathy) I hinted that I might believe empathy to be a hardwired - possibly genetically encoded - human ability and these little monkeys, the mirror neurons, appear to be the actual mechanism that enables empathy (as well as explaining a couple of other strange human abilities). I cannot resist. But, there is a lot of material to sift through so this piece might be delayed for a while. Suffice to say that what I've read so far suggests that these little monkeys might hold the clue to a much better understanding of what it is to be human, how we got to be homo sapiens, and may even destroy the intelligent design morons in a cloud of neuronal dust. I'll leave you with one fact that speaks volumes - some monkeys have them (in fact they were first discovered in monkeys) while autistic humans do not have them!

An interesting week lies ahead of us!


  1. papz, i'd like to see the link to the crete expats site...just curious. and not knowing any of your personal background, so please forgive me...but are you an expat in crete? and how is you and your experience substantively different from any who follow you...if you are, in fact. cheers...i look forward to your bipolar musings ;)