The Unique Mind
A quote from a renown Psychiatrist Stanislav Grof :
Quote; In the last few decades, it has become increasingly clear that humanity is facing a crisis of unprecedented proportions. Modern science has developed effective means that could solve most of the urgent problems in today’s world , combat the majority of diseases, eliminate hunger and poverty, reduce the amount of industrial waste, and replace destructive fossil fuels by renewable sources of clean energy. The problems that stand in the way are not of economical or technological nature. The deepest sources of the global crisis lie inside the human personality and reflect the level of conscious evolution of our species.
What about basic human nature? We live at a time where nothing seems to be impossible with the exception of our ability to get along as a human race.
The problems that plague us right now could well end the evolution of the human species.
As I see it, we are unable to view reality objectively. Objective reality is the world outside of our brain/mind. Subjective reality is the world as we perceive it through our mental filters such as emotions like love,hate, pain and pleasure. fear or confidence. Learning to see more of the objective means that we become more aware of our environment and other people in it. With approximately six billion people alive today and a large diversion of culture the problem has been compounded by the rapid expansion of technology. This has proven to be a double edged sword. Science and technology is rather new when compared to the time we have existed. Because of this rapid expansion in such a short time I am inclined to question our ability to adapt to it. Are we in control of these forces or are they beginning to control us? How so? With a world wide means of rapid travel and the proliferation of newer forms of communication like the Internet and adding the threat of abuse by military powers that can deliver a rapid deployment of a considerable amount of deadly force that was unimaginable in our past history, the human race obviously faces newer and more destructive ways of dealing with conflict.
Given the history of the human race and it’s propensity for oppression and war, and the cycle of the oppressed eventually overcoming the oppressors, who become future oppressors themselves, this has been the idiosyncratic behavior of the human race and it has not changed today.
There has been a growing opinion by some misguided ideological intellectuals that believe that reason will one day solve all of our problems. The problem is that reason is relative and therefore subjective to begin with. A word I would much prefer to use is reasonable , or reasoning. Those preaching reason quite often are not reasonable. The ability to reason is not equal in every one nor is it necessarily every ones desire. We have not yet evolved into a pure reasoning species so being able to think and react with reason is not intrinsic within human nature. Having a “wise”mind is a skill and a discipline, it takes time and effort. Evolution has plagued the human mind with a plethora of defense mechanisms in order to cope with our newly developed consciousness.
Quote from Wikipedia In modern psychology, cognitive dissonance is the discomfort experienced when simultaneously holding two or more conflicting cognitions: ideas, beliefs, values or emotional reactions
Many who preach reason also admit they are not with out their own prejudice. In a literal sense pure reason and objectivity are mutually inclusive.
The preponderance of evidence is that the human mind is incapable of absolute objectivity. I will now elucidate. We need to understand using practical examples and reason as to why we cannot experience objective reality. Fundamentally we are all unique. We all have a unique perspective.
From the day we are conceived we will develop into a new born baby with more or less the same physical attributes as most other babies.
However with the mind it is a slightly different story. The brain is a biological computer and unlike our silicon computers which are manufactured with a protocol that will effectively make them work identically despite differences in design. The human brain on the other hand is more complex and no two brains are exactly alike, we do not have “networking “for our brains yet ( loosely refereed to some as ESP) . As humans we have developed a less complex form of communication , that being language, both verbal and bodily . We can only communicate on a very crude level in comparison. This lack of adequate communication combined with our mental uniqueness is one reason objectivity is virtually impossible.
Our view of reality is created by our senses which are processed by our brain in various ways to create many illusions and interpretations of the real world. Not withstanding the rapidly growing movement among the science community, that argue that the mind should not be viewed as an entity independent of ones biology. The day we are born, we are born, with an “operating” system that then starts processing the moment we are exposed to our new environment. We all process things a little differently and every journey that starts at birth will be unique. The mind is formed , as we experience life.
We have an ability that is so misunderstood , and maligned. That is our emotions.
I mention them here because unrestrained emotions are a powerful force against objectivity. Here in lies the fallacy of the “REASON“ group. The greatest proponents of the idealistic “reason” movement have in fact an alternative agenda fueled by strong emotional and sometimes aggressive views. Hence their actions betray their claim to “reason”.
After having elucidated on some of the problems regarding the human mind and subjectivity , you might find it rather surprising that I in fact celebrate subjectivity. How so ? Because some of the most enjoyable aspects of being human are completely subjective , like love , and appreciation. Like the intense pleasure we get out of things like music and art. In fact the real point of this essay is to help people appreciate their subjectivity and embrace it.
Living with our subjective reality and recognizing that there is nothing wrong with it, it being perfectly natural , is imperative to our growth as humans and the eventual cohesiveness of our race as a whole. Understanding this subjective nature allows us to comprehend that no two people think alike and that is OK. We can learn to use that fact in building better relationships.
A further analysis of attitudes towards the general subject of emotions has elicited a plethora of theories and therapies and psychotherapies and self help books. All adding to the general confusion of what emotions really are. As for me I see them in their purest simplicity as a virtual dimension. An illusory dimension much as time is an illusory fourth dimension. Emotions are the most subjective part of our experiences as they are not a reflection of reality at all. They are in the strictest sense illusions. When one experiences feelings, these feelings are not verifiable. For instance in the sentence “I love my dog” there is only one reality and that is the dog. The dog is real the feeling is in your mind. Feelings allow us to enjoy life. With out feelings we would be a mere robot. Nothing would motivate us.
Yes you can train your feelings to be reasonable. Emotions find ways to attach themselves to experiences rather arbitrarily.
A good reason to accept our differences lies in the true “magic” of the corporate human intelligence where every one contributes to the whole making the whole very powerful.
This also ties into the whole subjective reality issue. Until now I have been referring to subjective and objective reality in a very literal sense. In practice , once we know what we are working with and embrace it we can in a very real sense be more objective and reasonable and be in a better position to know what REASON really means.