When your brain lies to you

Ever were sure of some “objective truth” only to find out that you are wrong?

My dentist told me this week that my brain isn’t telling the truth. After installing a crown on a lower tooth, he asked me how it felt. I stated that the crown was too high and was touching first in my bite. He checked it, concurred, and made some corrections. Then he asked me how it felt. It was better, I thought, but still too high. He checked again with something that tells him how my bite is coming together and that is when he told me my brain is not telling the truth. He stated that the the nerves are sensitive around this newly rebuilt tooth and so it pays attention to that feeling and ignores the rest of the bite sensation.

I’m not surprised. Our brains don’t always tell us the truth. People have phantom pains on amputated legs. Our eyes play tricks on us and so we “see” what isn’t actually there.

Isn’t it hard to accept that some of what we think or perceive isn’t real? It can be quite unnerving.

What about our emotions, assumptions about others, about what God wants us to do? What about our ability to correctly perceive these things? Does our brain/heart lie to us here as well? Have you ever thought someone was mad at you and found out later that it wasn’t the case? Did you ever experience panic over something that turned out not to have happened?

Where are you inclined to hear and believe lies? How did you come to realize you perceived wrongly? What have you done to try to counter these lies, to train yourself to hear the truth?

As to my tooth, I want to believe my dentist. He has a good track record for being right. But right now my mouth says something is wrong. I’m going to make an effort to either ignore the sensation or be mindful of the interesting way the brain works with new information. In a couple of weeks I may change my mind. Maybe my bite is different AND the crown isn’t too high.


Filed under Psychology

2 responses to “When your brain lies to you

  1. Scott Knapp, MS

    The day before Mom died, I was sitting in the hospital room with Mom and my sister, Carol, just biding time with her, since she seemed to be getting worse and worse as time marched on. A grim-faced doctor came into the room, and rather than speaking to my sister or I, he walked to the bed and looked at my mother, and with a dead-pan expression with no bedside compassion whatsoever, he announced that they’d found a tumor of cancer the size of a softball on the base of her spinal column, and it’d worked it’s way up her spine and over into her arm…it was inoperable. My sister and I were stunned, and it took both of use a few moments after the doc had left the room to say anything. Mom was a bit sedated with Morphine, and wasn’t able to comprehend much at that time. Carol tried to tell Mom what the doctor had said, but all she could manage to say was “your a very sick lady, Mom…so very sick.” We were devastated. Mom died of cancer in our presence the next afternoon. Several months later, I complained to Carol about the total insensitivity of the doctor who came in an nonchalantly told her about her cancer, and my sister totally dumbfounded me by asking, “how would you know what the doctor was like when he told her?” I was a bit confused by her question, and I said “because I was sitting right there in the room when he came in!” She replied “No you weren’t, I (Carol) was the only one in the room with Mom that night…you were at home and I called you with the news when I left the hospital!” Although my personal journal I was keeping at the time confirms my sister is correct, I continue to have an astoundingly vivid memory of being in that hospital room to hear the doctor’s dire news! The weird thing is…I got much of the detail right! Not sure what to think about that one…..

  2. Elizabeth

    Excellent thoughts. I also believe you are what you think-also how can we tell when we are spirit led to say or act in a certain way? e

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