Writing, Lizards, and the Quake Brain


At first I thought “Who wrote that?” Then I realized it was me. It was a combination of two of my posts written for a teacher audience. Such memory lapses are not uncommon since April 25th.



I would much rather be writing about exotic shopping or festivals.


I probably should and could write more about the earthquake experience, but as a group, and I mean those living here, we are not thinking as clearly as we should. We call it quake brain. 

What is “Quake Brain?” I think it is when the reptilian part of your brain, the ancient piece at the base of your skull, is sucking away valuable resources as it is always on call to take flight and bolt for the nearest exit. The reptile brain is responsible for compulsive behavior. In quake brain, the higher cognitive functions of the primate neocortex just get in the way of survival, so those functions are on the short end of the blood supply. That is why, by the end of the day, we are mentally exhausted.


Yesterday I saw an example of this. I went for an end of the school year party on the rooftop of a teacher’s apartment. People were either sitting in chairs or leaning against the railing on the edge. The weather was great and the sun was setting behind one of the Himalayan foothills. It was beautiful. Then the air of the neighborhood filled with crows. Without a pause in the conversation, the people leaning against the rails, moved away from the edge. They were embarrassed when they realized what they had done. We didn’t feel anything, but that lizard, reptile brain we possess at the base of our skull, the one now full of energy was saying “Danger! Move away!” It was right….There was another trembler. 



Of course there is zero scientific evidence for any of the observations above. It is just all the wild speculations of a blood starved neocortex.

Heading back to California tomorrow for summer vacation! Not sure how long it will take, but eventually the various parts of my brain will adjust to a new status quo, California chill.