Time to empty my prefrontal cortex

Ahh ... that's better.

The good old prefrontal cortex. Where would we be without it? Pretty much brain dead; that's where we'd be. The prefrontal cortex is the region of the brain responsible for planning complex cognitive behavior, personality expression, decision-making and moderating social behavior.

But why empty it? And how would you even do that? You might not be familiar with this process as I identify it here. You might know it by other names - writing, painting, composing, photographing, filmmaking, etc.

I suspect I am immortal. You probably suspect the same. Here's the truth, we aren't.

However, we shouldn't be too hard on ourselves. It's only natural for us to believe that ceasing to exist is implausible and highly improbable.

How, after all, could such a thing happen? We're breathing and thinking and conscious one minute and not breathing, not thinking and not conscious the next. To show my age, let me call it as I see it - bummer!

But, sadly, that's how easily our prefrontal cortex goes the way of those largely unthinking dinosaurs. Kaput! Gone. All those years of memories, lessons-learned, 20 years of expensive education, your perfect golf swing - oh, it's all too depressing.

So what's a mind to do?

Write. Or paint. Or compose. Or photograph. Or whatever is comfortable for you to do. Empty your prefrontal cortex on a regular basis. It feels so good.

And you might wonder who will care anyway? Well, your family for one and your grandchildren and great-grandchildren. And maybe a lot of others, too. All of us are too modest about how instructive, interesting and even inspiring our lives have been. Empty that prefrontal cortex and they will come!

For me, it's writing. Now I'm not going to die. Well, I am, kind of, but the essence of me will live on through my words.

And the essence of you might live on through your drawings or paintings or music or films, or videos of your perfect golf swing. Fore!

Emptying our prefrontal cortexes is the closest thing we have to immortality. It's the best way to let the world know who we are and, eventually, who we were.

Hey, our prefrontal cortexes aren't going to be around forever. And, however sad that might be, crying over dead prefrontal cortexes won't solve anything. Only emptying them will.

We're going to die. It's coming. And our best - and only - revenge is emptying our prefrontal cortex on a regular basis.

fi ... don't you feel better?

- Bill Barre of Hinsdale is a contributing columnist. Readers can email him at [email protected].