Idle hands

I’ve mentioned in the past the book “The User Illusion.” Much of this book discusses the idea of the unconscious – the part of your mind that wills actions you are not conscious of. This of course, sounds like freaky Freudian voodoo to a lot of people but it’s really just describing a lot of the automatic actions we do every day. For instance, the other day I was driving to a gig. Getting to this particular bar involves going on about four different highways. I was driving along, lost in great thoughts, when I realized I had no idea where I was. Was I on the right highway, had I made the appropriate turns? I had no idea. Finally I got a sense of where I was and realized I was indeed right where I should be. I had driven down several highways, made the correct connections and was perfectly on track, but I had done all this unconsciously!

Today I’m doing a little piano playing and realizing it also involves unconscious action. Most piano pieces require playing two complementary parts – one in each hand. I find I can only consciously direct one hand so what I end up doing is training one hand’s part through repetition then letting it play automatically while I focus on the other. If effect, that first trained hand is running on its own; I’m not consciously controlling it. In fact, I was playing a piece today and realized that my unconscious hand was not playing piano at all but strangling a prostitute who looked like my mother! Fascinating!

1 Response to “Idle hands”


  1. John Saleeby

    I saw “Fat City” again on TCM and was reminded that Kris Kristofferson’s “Help Me Make It Through The Night” was the film’s theme song. It’s a great song and I realized that Kristofferson is generally pretty awesome as long as he is not appearing as an Actor. He never should have gotten mixed up in that Movie Star mess. That’s why I’m not a Movie Star – I don’t want to wind up like Kris Kristofferson. Not me!

    Also – Susan Tyrrell, the female lead in “Fat City” just died. She’s great in that Movie but both her legs were amputated a few years ago and she was doing voices on Nickleodeon cartoons for a paycheck. It would be weird if all those cartoon voice people were amputees or deformed in some awful way, like they didn’t have legs like Susan Tyrrell or they looked like Harry Shearer.

    That’s a real long way to go just to insult Harry Shearer.