The Surgeon

The surgeon looks inside with a device similar to a microscope, a fibre optic thread. He sees the brain of his patient like another world. He enters that world. He knows a mistake could leave her paralysed, or worse. He delves through the plumbing of arteries, through networks of nerves, like the cables in his home. This is his home, he belongs in the patient’s brain. He knows his way through the folds and fissures to the stem. But there’s no one here. And there are no ghosts, no spirits, no soul. The lights are not on. He senses the electricity that surrounds him, the power supply to each cable, and the fizz and pop of synapses. But here, when he looks, he cannot see life, or consciousness. And he knows, as he burrows, that were he to look in his own brain, even as he looks into another now, he would see nothing of what he is so vitally aware right now. The quality of his own experience, and the knowledge that here, in this blancmange, is another’s character, desires, beliefs, memories. The surgeon is held in high esteem, but he thinks of what he does as a primitive science.  He is, at the same time, proud and humble. He senses this, but is aware that, were he to look into his own skull, these very attributes of his character would never be found. He is a stone age man attempting to understand relativity.


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