In the docuseries, “Inside Bill’s Brain”, the interviewer asks Bill Gates what he’s most afraid of, and what scares him. His response is that he doesn’t want his mind to stop working. The first time I heard that, I was taken aback by how simplistic, yet how selfish that was. I couldn’t quite understand why he felt that way, and what motivated him to say that. Through the entire docuseries, he highlights so many challenges and so many problems that the global community is facing, and yet – the one thing he’s scared of is that his brain will stop working. I didn’t get it. I thought his response would be “climate change” or something of the sort.
Upon reflection though, I sort of do get it. On multiple levels. First, the individual level – Gates’ brain is what keeps him going, literally. Second, the societal level – after watching the documentary, it was apparent to me that he viewed all these issues we call unresolvable as challenges, and he’s spending all his time committed to thinking about solutions to these.
It’s therefore sort of comprehensible that he’s worried about his brain not functioning.
In a sense, I am too. Reading Flowers for Algernon made me fear that even more. Today, I had a really productive day – I got a ton of work done, spent a lot of time with my family, and read two books (almost). All these things gave me immense satisfaction, of different kinds. I’m worried I’ll lose my curiosity – which comes from my brain wanting to know more. Then I’ll stop reading, and that’s not something I ever want to do.