Conversations with a blue ball

Blue Ball

Recently I have started to have conversations with a blue ball. Some may find it odd that I have started to converse with an object, however the object itself doesn’t actually exist – it is an imaginary object.

I could be criticised saying that I have finally stepped over the edge of sanity and into the deep dark realms of insanity. Others could state that I’d gone over to the dark side years ago. However I have found that I am having more intelligent and meaningful conversations with the blue ball than I have with the majority of people that I deal with during the day.

If the blue ball could give me money and coffee, I’d be a very happy man.

POTR: Hello and welcome. I’m very glad you could join me today.

BB: Thank you. I’m happy to be here. Although being a non-existent sentience, I can’t really say that I’m anywhere. However appearing on your blog does give some credence to my existence, so with that said, being able to be interviewed here makes me happy.

POTR: Well, I guess in this instance I’m referring to here as my psyché. Which brings us neatly to the first question. Given the blue ball is obviously symbolic of something, what exactly are you?

BB: (laughs) Very direct question. And definitely pertinent based upon the fact that we have started to discuss the psyche. And in English there is generally not an accent on the last letter, despite the pronunciation.

There is a lot of writing on what makes up the mind. There are schools of thought that say that it is purely a physical being and that there is nothing beyond the physical behind it. While we won’t discount these schools of thought, they fail to explain fully things like dreams and imagination. I guess the short answer is that I am a part of your mind.

The longer answer, though is much longer, and keep in mind that I’m not a trained psychologist or neuro-chemist or anything of that ilk.

There seem to be an extraordinary number of theories relating to the mind. Edison referred to having 12 men inside his head who all contributed to his thoughts. There was also a study done at another stage saying that the mind could not think of 7 different things at the one time, suggesting there are at most only 7 elements. But for the sake of simplicity, rather than going into the depth of all this, let’s look at that link you supplied above, which gives a very broad overview of the psyche, and assume that Freud – while not giving the only viable answer – gave an answer that has enough complexity to really give us a foothold in where we are.

So, assuming PuppyOnTheRadio – you – is an extension of the ego, then that would then suggest that I, as a blue ball, am an extension of the super-ego.

POTR: If that is the case, there where is the id?

BB: I’m sure you allow enough of the id to come through to keep it satisfied. It doesn’t really need representation here.

POTR: Fair point. So, being that you’re a part of me, why is it you don’t suffer the same feelings of depression and anxiety I do?

BB: Big question. And it has a lot behind it.

Depression, as a simple definition, is feeling bad. And feelings are based upon a number of factors. To get a better understanding of why someone is depressed it makes sense to understand what feelings are in the first place.

So rather than trying to define all feelings and emotions, and what causes them, the quickest way to come to an understand of emotion is to simplify the entire gamut of emotions down into the two, what I like to call, meta-emotions. Love and fear.

The reason why I refer to these as meta emotions is that all emotional context can be boiled down into one or both of these two. Love is the emotion that draws us towards something. This can be hunger, lust, greed, enjoyment, anticipation, and so on.

Fear, on the other hand, is the emotion that draws us away from something. This could be anger, hatred, betrayal, distaste, and so on.

Of course these two meta-emotions are not like the light and dark side of the force. Jealousy can be a form of Love, as it relates to an object, person or ideal that we are drawn to. Ambition can be a form of fear, as it relates to getting away from a situation.

Bit for the moment, even if you’re a sceptic and don’t agree with the idea of two meta emotions, let’s look at love in a deeper context.

POTR: Sorry to interrupt here, but you’ve linked back to two articles I wrote for Uncyclopedia. Why is that?

BB: Well, obviously I’m letting your vanity come through in parts, but also because they use comedy as a vehicle to try and understand complex concepts.

The article on love, for instance, tries to define the indefinable. But more than that it goes over some of the most important points when looking at emotion.

Emotion affects every aspect of the human condition. Love is in part a neuro-chemical reaction. Despite the non-science in the article, you do talk about how love has chemical reactions that are linked to an OCD state, and how it also links back to SSRIs, which are often used in the treatment of depression.

Now the main point of that is although we talk about social and religious perspectives on love, we also acknowledge that although everyone’s experiences and views on love differs, there is a very basic and human element to live. In short, everyone feels emotion – and part of this is physical.

So, being that you’re in a physical body, your emotions are somewhat affected by physical things. An excess of one chemical one way, a decrease in another, and suddenly you go from singing while dancing in the flowers to slicing veins with a broken beer bottle.

POTR: I’ve never done either of those things.

BB: True, but they’re examples of extreme mood swings. So in this context although the end result may be different, you can understand the emotion that is described.

So, going on from there, we can look at significant scientific stuff relating to emotions. Sex involves the release of various chemicals throughout the body that cause intense pleasure. Chocolate apparently has a similar effect.

Alcohol and marijuana work on very different parts of the bodies chemistry, but the upshot us the same – by changing the balance of chemicals it creates an emotional reaction that can be pleasurable. Of course, the depressing effects of both of these are also well documented.

POTR: Now this all relates back to depression how?

BB: Well, you asked why I don’t get depressed. The reality of it is that I am a part of the psyche that is separate from the body, and relatively separate from the id. So I don’t have the physical reactions to chemical changes that you’re referring to.

But as to the id, or whatever we want to refer to it as, this is the untamed, uncivilised part of your psyche. It is what drives you.

Think of the id as the animal part of you. It works on reaction to stimuli. This is where the fight or flight comes from. We can also add to that the fornicate or feed impulses to this as well.

Think of your psyche as a car, for example. The id is then engine, giving the push to go forward. The ego is the steering system, and the super-ego is the driver. The steering system is what is the bit in the middle that uses the force of the id combined with the understanding of the superego to make sure the car goes the right way.

I don’t get directly affected by the id, so I don’t get caught between the animal and the intelligent within you. Hence I’m the part of the psyche that is above the pressures that are placed on you, as the ego.

I hope that also starts to explain why you become depressed.

POTR: It does, thank you. I’d love to be able to go through more of this with you, but I can’t spend my entire life talking to you. Shall we continue this later?

BB: I’d love to.


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