Friday 8 March 2013

The mind's default is a pinball machine.

We start off with a linguistic problem with the definite article. "A" mind,"the" mind or just "mind"? I would prefer Mind's default since I am fairly convinced that the problematics of identity, solitude, agency and individuality are overcome by the perspectives gained from holism. But of course we can't escape from the privacy of our own bodies, so here we are each one of us thoroughly bound to a sense of self.

That's the sensory default. The default of being physiological beings in a physical world. The question of whether mind arises from or is the ground for the physical universe is a matter of decision. You decide how to think about this.

The logic of intuition tells me that mind creates the physical world. The basis of this kind of logic is that although I am thoroughly immersed in a physical universe I have a strong sense of the eternal. I am not prepared to argue either of these away. I am not prepared to deny the table in front of me, nor am I prepared to dismiss intimations of immortaility.

A key aspect of awareness that helps to confirm a default setting is imagination. Free-focus experiential, existential play. It's part of daily pattern, fully switched on in dream mode, suppressed during operational mode unless your work uses it.

You're free to imagine anything, act on it, work it through, make things real. The light-bulb didn't always exist, neither did the rifle, glass, internal combustion engine, paper, or tablets, either the medical or electronic version.

You may not be an inventor, but you do create your own mind on a minute by minute basis. Elsewhere in these blogs you can read about how I decry formal education. For most of us, the default relates to conforming, compulsion, compliance and obedience to what appears as decency. Our mind's formation is shaped but not freed by these imperatives. These are not the whole of the default.

Imaginative open-ness is crucial to following more of mind's default. Arresting one's logic for the sake of allowing greater awareness in any given moment will always allow you to hear more, see more, sense more, grow more.

Is that "more" physical, in the sense of seeing more green in the grass, more liquidity of the water? Or does intutive acutensess itself grow? How does the focus work?

I accept it when people tell me they see angels. I accept it when others explain algebraic solutions. I know the difference between vision, conviction and belief, and like Jung, I prefer not to believe but to know. I do not believe that the chair will hold me up, I sit on it and know that it does hold me up. I do not believe in God, I trust holiness in whatever form holiness comes to bless me. I am blessed over and over, and know it.

Not only am I blessed temporarily, in this life, with this food, that beauty and more friends, I am also blessed infinitely and eternally to catch glimpses of the human heart, full of desperate desires, wild affection and aspirations to beauty.

To seek mind's default is to approach poetic language. There's nothing neat or clever about it. It's not reducible. My experience leads me to think that courage is one of the first steps, also conviction, but not of the dogmatic kind. Conviction that leads to kindness works. Conviction that results in pietistic cruelty does not. Then clarity, which baffles me when so many people fear what clarity feels like. Becasue clarity is a feeling,not a concept. Perhaps I can alliterate even more and pull in carefulness as well as communication.

Once you open your mind, you can't close it again. This is what reason does. I don't argue because I want a particular conclusion. I argue because I want to find truth. I know I'm on the way when I get that sense of truth, that holiness isn't far away, and if we can hit the right speed of communication, take good care of the details in our intent, test our clarity, and utter our convictions, the default is working for fruitfulness in spheres that might surprise us.

Checking mind's default is very much like playing pinball. The ball wants to go one way, you want it to go the other way. The last thing you should do is get angry or desperate and tilt the machine because then the lights go out and you lose the game to the extent of having to pay again. There are rules, desires, inevitability, irreversibility. Even skill will never grant ultimate victory. There is not supposed to be ultimate victory. It's just fun.

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