My brain is like Japan


Since Japan would like to maintain its traditional identity and integrity it doesn’t let in many immigrants. It is afraid it will lose its essential Japanese-ness if it throws open its gates too widely, too quickly. Along with all the new restaurants and colourful ways of doing things would come less desirable changes which, once started, are hard to stop.

Even good changes would change the essential character of Japan forever. Being a rather conservative country, Japan fears these changes and thus keeps a tight control on who it lets in.

Japan has an ageing population but unlike most western countries it seems to have decided to manage a gradual decline into old age rather than the quick fix of importing large numbers of young, hot-blooded foreigners to rejuvenate itself. Most of the new blood that rejuvenates Japan will have to come from within the Japanese population.

My brain feels the same way. It doesn’t want it to be swamped by lots of new ideas from books, TV and the internet. I spend lots of time thinking and re-combining ideas that have been in my head for decades. This way I get to feel that there is a degree of continuity and stability to my thoughts. My mind, for good or bad, feels like my own.

Of course this also means that I can’t keep up with current trends and I am probably missing out on some great ideas that I haven’t yet come across. Yet this seems to me a small price to pay for having a mind that I feel comfortable in. I don’t want to be constantly integrating new ideas into my head, no matter how good they are. Even good new ideas would change the tenor of my mind. Seen objectively, this might not seem a problem. But my mind is not objective. It is subjective and partisan. It wants to stay as it is.


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