Monday, January 4, 2010

The anxious mind contemplates dualism

I remember reading Descartes and feeling comforted
because I too think and therefore I too am
and maybe this frightening, cryptic thing called a body
is just the masochistic figment of a fearful mind.

I remember reading an anxiety self-help book
that said you are not your mind, and I
just couldn't believe it because I am my mind,
because smart kids are inevitably attached to their minds
by the muscular straps of their egos.

I remember reading about epiphenomenalism and feeling terrified
that maybe there is no mind at all, that we are all just
machines, contraptions made of biological pumps and springs
and if I listen carefully I can hear my heart tick-ticking,
though it is a comfort, sometimes, to blame paranoid thoughts
on too much eating and too little sleep, excessive
holiday drinking and missed birth control pills,
temporary, superficial ails,
flat tires and rusty coils.

Portrait of René Descartes

        Do you believe the human mind is a purely biological construct, or is their also an intangible component to it (ie. a soul)?


Dorkmaster Flek said...

Are we slaves to our instincts? This is the age old question. We think we're so great because our intellect allows us to rise above our base instincts more than other animals (because that's all we are too; animals) however we can only do this for so long. Eventually we must succumb. But we are different, and there is something higher going on in our heads. Is it a soul? I don't know, and I choose not to speculate based on wild theories of pure faith. :) We may never understand it, but there it is.

dogimo said...

I believe that the soul is a powerful monster that lives forever, and only takes form to slake it's unquenchable lust for (in my case) goodwill and camaraderie (it varies).

But the trick is, the trap is, the mind is the trap that the jealous (and mortal!) body creates to entrap and enthrall the immortal soul. And if the soul gives in too far, becomes too closely identified with its incarnate, individual self, becomes too enmeshed in the mind, too at home in the body, then when the body perishes the soul will trapped! It will slowly (though it cannot truly die) decohere into a dissipated almost-nothing, as the physical form into which it has become fused disintegrates and spreads out into base, inanimate matter.

Sometimes the sudden shock of being immolated will jar the soul free, which is why initiates into the anti-individual have promulgated the practice of cremation. But depending on how deep you sink into the mind - there's no guarantee you'll ever get out again.

The mind is a trap! Steer clear of it!