After two days, I’d turned into an idiot

Ever wonder why astronauts schedules are crammed with activity? A simple explanation is that time in space is a very limited commodity and so they naturally want to accomplish as much as possible. While that’s undoubtedly true, there’s also another reason.

Early in the space program, a NASA psychiatrist spent two days in an isolation tank with scuba gear to experience simulated weightlessness.

I thought a little, and then I stopped thinking altogether. … incredible how idleness of body leads to idleness of mind. After two days, I’d turned into an idiot. That’s the reason why, during a flight, astronauts are always kept busy.

From Rocket Men.

Related post: Not exactly rocket science

7 thoughts on “After two days, I’d turned into an idiot

  1. Any chance of a more specific citation? Using Google Books I can narrow it do to ‘Fallaci, 117’, but multiple Fallaci items seem to show up in the bibliography.

  2. I’m quoting Rocket Men, top of page 287. Rocket Men sites

    Fallici, Oriana If the Sun Dies. New York. Atheneum, 1967.

  3. I can relate to this. A few years ago, I was incapacitated by an injury and confined to bed for a number of months. During those months, I did so much less mental work than my normal level and this probably explains why.

  4. I read the same point some days ago in “Confessions of a Public Speaker”, by Scott Bekun. He says that a useful trick to engage an audience it to make them move (e.g. through a show of hands) because “our bodies, sitting around doing little, go into rest mode—and where our bodies go, our minds will follow.”

  5. As I grow up, I realize that I really must keep myself busy. If I didn’t do this, I always do mistakes, fall in them, and after a while, … I regret and feel sorry, and wish I was never been idle.

  6. On the other hand, Jean-Dominique Bauby – at one point Editor-in-Chief of French Elle – wrote “The Diving Bell and the Butterfly: A Memoir of Life in Death” while being entirely paralyzed, with the exception of a single eyelid. First perceived as a vegetable after a debilitating stroke, he wrote the book letter-by-letter, signaling to the assistant who read the alphabet where to stop. An incredible feat.

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