Thinking: ?Cognitive reflex?

Most people learn about reflex, from stimulus to spinal cord and directly back to muscle response, in Biology 101

I’ve been thinking this morning about the way a cognitive stimulus travels, the journey it provokes. We’re sending off a little package to our grandson today, a print-out of my historical fiction short story and an accompanying letter. Maybe he’d like to do some illustrations for the piece?

The stimulus way back over a month ago was a very inexpensive writing competition that, bored as I was, I entered. I haven ‘t had any real success in competitions, though it’s been a delight to reach the shortlist sometimes. But cognitive stimuli (if that’s a real term, and not just something I made up to suit this musing piece) may take weeks, months, years even, to effect a response. Unlike the immediate, knee-jerk of a reflex.

And yet, aren’t our creative responses to stimuli a kind of cognitive reflex? We might make little of any particular remark or image. Maybe only a wry smile, maybe not even that. At other times we might mull over a slight, or an encouragement, or some strange idea that’s been raised, for a long, long time until the reflexive need for a creative, disciplined response takes over and we’re away.

Maybe the pursuit of a dreamy sort of consciousness, a meandering of the mind through experience and craft, until a creative product is elicited — maybe that pursuit is something to recognise and enjoy. Of course, when we’re bombarded on all sides with stimuli, we often just have to turn things down, or off. But when something catches, just there out of reach for now, but graspable after sufficient thought, what a joy that can be, if we let it move through us and out the other side.

I’m looking forward to some pictures, if my little story manages to catch in our grandson’s mind’s eye, and then a cooperative book, a story we can have and hold, a book the family can treasure. These days real printed books are within the reach of almost anyone, of course. My mind is already racing with the excitement of a shared project.

Give us a stimulus, and we shall create wonders.

One response to “Thinking: ?Cognitive reflex?”

  1. Larry, Thanks for writing Today’s Joy. Apologies for free association. One of my great-grandfathers wrote a 2+ page autobiography near the end of his life. I do treasure it. He was a pioneer in area of anthracite coal regions. i also want to write a brief autobiography. If I illustrated it myself that would inject some humor into the narrative. Hope you complete the task you have set before yourself. I know your descendants will treasure it! Write on, Henry


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