Murakami IQ84

This is an extract from the wonderful IQ84, I found it particularly interesting – outside of the narrative world of the novel – although I am not sure why. I wanted to capture and store the extract in case I could ever make sense of it. It appears at the beginning of chapter 22 and it belongs to Tengo…


Tengo thought about his brain. Lots of things made him do this. The size of the human brain had increased four times over the past two and a half million years. In terms of weight, the brain occupied only two percent of the human body, but it consumed some forty percent of the body’s total energy (according to a book he had recently read). Owing to the dramatic expansion of the brain, human beings had been able to acquire the concepts of time, space, and possibility. The concepts of time, space, and possibility. Tengo knew that time could become deformed as it moved forward. Time itself was uniform in composition, but once consumed, it took on a deformed shape. One period of time might be terribly heavy and long, while another could be light and short. Occasionally the order of things could be reversed, and in the worst cases order itself could vanish entirely. Sometimes things that should not be there at all might be added onto time. By adjusting time this way to suit their own purposes, people probably adjusted the meaning of their existences. In other words, by adding such operations to time, they were able—but just barely—to preserve their own sanity. Surely, if a person had to accept the time through which he had just passed uniformly in the given order, his nerves could not bear the strain. Such a life, Tengo felt, would be sheer torture. Through the expansion of the brain, people had acquired the concept of temporality, but they simultaneously learned ways in which to change and adjust time. In parallel with their ceaseless consumption of time, people would ceaselessly reproduce time that they had mentally adjusted. This was no ordinary feat. No wonder the brain was said to consume forty percent of the body’s total energy! Tengo often wondered whether he had actually witnessed the memory he retained from the age of one and a half or, at most, two—the scene in which his mother in underclothes let a man who was not his father suck on her breasts.