Sometimes I wonder if there is something fundamentally wrong with me that I barely spend any time thinking about the future. When asked whether I spend most of my time in the past, present, our future, I answer past no hesitation and expect everyone else will too. See the thing is, is that I was wrong. Most people spend the majority of their time dreaming about the future.
I didn’t even notice until my first boyfriend asked nude what I dream about and I couldn’t think of a thing. I had to really shit there and think before I came up with a few small dreams, which in his opinion barely counted. But I must not be that messed up because he’s still dating me three years later. And he is definitely a great balance for me because he thinks enough about the future to compensate.
I got thinking about all this because of a book I’ve started reading, Stumbling on Happiness. One of the chapters was talking all about Phineas Gage. Ever heard of him? No? Well if I describe him as the guy who got a pole stabbed through his head and lived does that help you ring any bells?
See in the book he came up because he was a big part of the reason that doctors believed that the front part of your brain doesn’t do anything. Which is kinda hard to blame them when you think that a pole went front his cheek to the top of his head and he was still fully functioning the rest of his life, although supposedly he had some major personality changes.
Anyways, that belief that the front part of your brain didn’t do anything led to lobotomies being performed. Because removing the front part of the brain shouldn’t do any damage if it doesn’t do anything anyways. But it turns out it does. Initially they only noticed that it reduced anxiety and therefore thought it was great. But eventually they realized that it completely gets rid of the human ability to plan and dream about the future.
When someone who had lost the front of their brain was asked what they would do later they did not have a clue. They even described thinking about it as being asked to find a chair in an empty room.
This is definitely my anxiety talking but i wonder if it’s possible to have a smaller frontal brain region than average. I wouldnt be surprised if I did. But I’m also reassured because anxiety is tired to thinking about the future so the very act of me thinking and worrying about this shows that my prefrontal lobe is alive and well.