I’m still not thinking about tree. I dont want to do it: think about tree that is. I want to think about other things, books and films, concepts, ideas… other stuff.
I was reading about the small intestine, how, with its hundred million neurons, is another “brain” that thinks within us. It occurred to me that I conceive of my mind as something that exists with my skull, between my ears, behind my mouth, nose, and eyes. What if that’s not really the case, but merely some easy way to conceptualize the mind as having some sort of box. With the vagus nerve running information back and forth between the brain and the gut, is it possible that the Mind exists “outside” the skull? Sure, we can recognize that the skull contains the brain and we can acknowledge that without a well-functioning brain, the mind sort of ceases to exist (or at least ceases to be measurable), but what does it mean that the lower intestine has a brain that communicates with the one in our skull in a language we don’t simply understand? Do we have to redefine, or at least relocate in our imaginings, the seat of our Self when confronted with
And what does it mean that when we close our eyes we can still perceive light just by tapping on our lids? Does it mean that the quality of perception is independent of the quality of the input? If that (surely ridiculous) observation is valid across the fields of our senses, then it seems to really suggest that the qualities that make up the reality of our experience are entirely dependent upon the consciousness of the person who experiences it. That’s both reassuring (for those who like to claim mastery of reality, all of those little Buddhas and manifestation-geeks) and a little scary (for those who like to put the causes of existence outside themselves).
Me? I’m furious and exaggerating. It incenses me (you know… a little incense) that I came all the way to here and I never saw that along my path. I feel like my mother was smart and gentle enough to figure out how to make me understand, but she didn’t. She may have thought she had with her, “You can be anything you want” speeches and her “You can do anything you put your mind to” talks, but she hadn’t. She was on the right track (of course), my mom, but she wasn’t willing to go to the end of the line; she got off the ride too soon. Fine example. Thanks.
She could have told me that most of the premises of applied psychology are correct. They have to be. It’s just brains at work, toiling away, creating habits of thought for themselves. We can even dispel Jung’s cloudy mysticism if we’re willing to admit how capable our cortices are and, from there, it’s just a trip to the pharmacy to pick up the remedy; a quinine and gin for some of us, a mantra for others, a goal or two scattered among the rest, whatever it is we need to placate us, to distract us from the absolute responsibility of our lives.
And that countdown clock freaks me out.