I’m surprised by my body. I’m surprised by its funny noises, its sprouting hairs, its dubious responses to the environmental stresses I put on it. I can’t wait to see what it does next. And although I feed it and shave it and exercise it, it is mostly beyond my control.
But I am also surprised by my brain. Sometimes I have a thought which genuinely seems to come from nowhere, because I have not constructed it. If I think about it, I don’t actually construct my thoughts at all. What I perceive to be a thought is actually a little bit of colour from vast quantities of tumbling information which has come to the surface. I might pluck at it, and turn it over, and make something of it by speaking it or writing it. But mostly I’m surprised by my brain, and can’t wait to see what it does next.
My consciousness, what I think is a world, is just a thin sliver of fat running between two huge muscles.
But that is not to say that I am just an enthralled observer, or powerless. I can surprise my brain by reading or writing. I can surprise my body by reading or writing. And by reading and writing I mean all the things I can experience, going to the movies, being a glutton who runs and swims and climbs trees. I am not a passive receiver, a cosy passenger nestled between the brain and the body. Without the constant communication of reading and writing, all three of us would be bored and flabby. There would be no delight, no evolution or invention.