The rude mechanic and the cat
I have a cat that is extremely catlike. Cuddly (whenever she wants to be), scratchy (whenever the world has been mean to her), smart (always), in need to be left alone (except when she needs not to be left alone).
When a dustball crosses her path in the wrong moment she gets totally flustered and scared and runs for cover. I know, there ought not to be any dustballs where she is. I should keep the place tidy anyway. Problem is: a vacuum-cleaner is worse than dustballs.
Life is not always easy.
So my friend hid behind the big fridge for over a week, only coming out at night to get some food and then disappearing again through that small gap between fridge and washing-machine.
I started to get worried and tried to coerce her out of there. Great food didn't help. Sweet-talking led to nothing. Turning the lights off - or turning them on. Futile. She seemed to blame me for the dustball-scare. She was totally unforgiving and made me feel terrible.
One evening I talked with a colleague. He suggested to withhold food altogether. No water, no dead animals, no nothing. She would come out eventually. When I said that this sounded too cruel and would certainly ruin all trust of that little fur-ball and - knowing the cat - she would rather starve than give in, he just said: I am a neuro-scientist - I know what I am talking about! Those critters are a bunch of hard-wired neurons, they function like robots.
My cat certainly didn't. And, actually, robots don't.
There is this big not-understood mess of bio-matter which my brain-mechanic might allude to as 'hard-wired neurons'. But then there is the software that controls all that. It certainly is not as easily separable as in your chunky iPad-one (commonly known as 'the old iPad', thanks), it is an agglomerate of neurons, synapses, connections, currents, chemistry - you name it. But it is certainly wrong to claim that since the parts of the brain can be labelled, listed, and charted the whole system is understood or even that its function is superbly deterministic.
(How boring the world would be! Those scientists claiming to understand the world by reducing it to their latest model are probably simply too scared themselves to face reality. It is full of ill-understood stuff that might sometimes resemble dustballs.)
Does my Brain-Mechanic accept that his laptop has software running on it? If the word-document doesn't open properly, would he plug in the soldering-iron? If the cat does not behave as desired that means what? Call a neurosurgeon?
I tried cat-psychology.
It is tricky. But it worked. My cat got out from behind the fridge and we both cursed dustballs at length. What a wonderfully complex world we live in!