Peacock Gap Trail, southern Marin Co., a steep sunny climb to the Shoreline Trail. I look down onto shadow-laden algae floating on the bluish-gray the bay, and the laughter I hear beneath. Not paying attention, the way is unknown. Puffs of clouds rearrange the sky. Yesterday I misplaced the car keys, this morning we set the clocks back. A life of continuous loses.

"My sister's husband was a hypochondriac. The doctors refused to see him anymore. Then he began to fantasize that he had a brain tumor. His family took him to Johns Hopkins for tests, which didn't show anything wrong. He accused them of lying, and insisted this and other anterior regions of the brain provide the highest level of review in human brains but, phylogenically speaking, there are much lower levels, giving a multilayered effect. Did consciousness first evolve as a steering mechanism for motor behaviour, and then develop additional layers that allowed review of the review that he was dying. Finally, to stop the pain, he shot himself in the head." "After which," I laughed, "he complained that he was dead."

 

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