Friday, December 09, 2005

The Mind is a Terrible Waste

Not that it doesn't come in handy now and then. It helps when reading instructions or trying to assemble something complicated. Then again, most of us heard the frightening statistics on how many people owned VCRs and didn't know how to use them. Imagine, a world where it's always [blink]12:00[blink]. Perhaps that's reassuring. I don't know.

It seems, as technology frees us more and more from having to devote time to some of the more "human basics," that we've long been in the process of relocating ourselves. Nothing as simple as a move to a new apartment or house. This relocation occurs without having to invite friends over to help you carry boxes. It seems that we are in the arc of a long journey; that of having once been creatures of hearts, souls and flesh, climbing the evolutionary ladder to the [to me] far-less-desireable creatures of the mind.

It's nothing new. Simple evolution, or devolution depending on one's point of view. But here we are. So much of our behavior is now dictated (and justified) because "we thought of it." We certainly don't have to devote our time to feeding ourselves, raising livestock, raising barns -- we actually have time for things to "occur to us" while we're surfing eBay. And, if it occurs to us, if it seems intellectually fair, then it must be right. It just has to be.

To even suggest, in public, that there might be things that are "fair" in nature that might not be "fair" to the mind will get a lot of folks twisted into a serious knot. To further suggest that "fair" might have nothing to do with many, if not most, things might get that Cosmopolitan ripped from your thirsty metro clutches and your pitiful self ejected from whatever establishment you happened to be in at the time you made that frightening observation.

Right and wrong might have far less to do with "fair" than many of us imagine. Love (n the best sense of the word) certainly isn't fair. But, done well, it's hard to see how it would ever be wrong. It's just one of those things that one could think about endlessly, form all sorts of opinions about, and yet still fall for -- at the most inappropriate times.

I've often thought that we could benefit from a sort of global "consciousness lowering." Many would argue that it's plenty low enough. I'm not sure. Stupidity is another matter entirely. I'm just not persuaded that the mind always has our "entire person's" best interests at heart. Sure, don't use it and there's always the risk of ending up with a career in politics or education. Use it too much, however, while denying the body, soul and spirit --

-- Maybe we need a new instruction manual, something the mind might understand.

5 Comments:

Blogger knowwhereman said...

We waste our minds because we can't stand to be alone with our thoughts. We waste our minds because the more we think, the more we are forced to take responsibility for ourselves and our life circumstances. We waste our minds because we want to morph into becoming today's human-machine
hybrid humans. Our cellphones and ipods today are just as essential to our existence as our arms and legs. And why? Because the more talk on our cellphone the less time we have to be alone with our
thoughts. The more we listen to our ipods the less time we have to feel our essential aloneness. We park our minds in neutral because we're afraid to experience the mysteries and subtleties of life. We run from our minds because we're afraid of ourselves. We park our minds in neutral because we're afraid of what these magnificent gifts could really do if we put the pedal to the floor. So we surrender to our fear and
ease off the gas pedal while
convincing ourselves we're not
really cowards. If we didn't waste our minds, the more questions without answers we'd be forced to endure. If we didn't waste our minds, the less we could blame those all-powerful faceless THEMs out there that we've convinced ourselves causes all our problems. If we didn't waste our minds, the more we'd be forced to experience the infinite. We waste our minds because we just can't find the strength to accept that we
are forever travelling alone in a universe armed only with a
gifted mind and spirit that is at once both our blessing and our curse.

8:35 PM  
Blogger Larry Hertzog said...

Ah, and here all along I thought I was championing NOT using our minds. You must use yours more than I use mine.

3:04 PM  
Blogger knowwhereman said...

Somewhere along the line in America it became acceptable
(even desirable) to be an underachiever. I suspect this change happened sometime in the '70s after the emotional turmoils of the turbulent 1960s.
Landing on the moon and dreams of peace and love gave way to gas lines and a rededication to
mindless materialism. We've never really recovered from that. Of course, gifted and driven individuals never stopped reaching for the stars and using their minds for a single moment. But as a society the bar of excellence and competence in our society in general got lowered year after year like a sagging limbo stick. "Not using our minds" just got carrying along as part of the
dissipation of inspiration or desire for achievement.
One reason why Nowhere Man hooked me from the start was that it demanded the viewer use his/her mind. It invited the discomfort of unanswered questions and answers that might not unfold for a long time, if ever. Nowhere Man
was/is a rejection of the
uninspired and it remains an oasis
for anyone who loves to question, wonder, and - use their minds.

7:18 PM  
Blogger pathseeker said...

I wish I could find some bone of contention with the sentiments expressed here thus far. Alas, I think (interpret?) that I totally agree with knowhereman's observations. But I would go a bit further. It's not only the mind that's in neutral. A very wise and talented friend of mine who is an unlikely combination of artist/inventor/master machinist has defined a troika of needs that he believes are key to, if not delirious happiness, at least a rich existence. The three things? Head, heart and hands. I concur. Modern society has not only stripped us of the desire to think for ourselves, love and affection has become a cheap commodity to be terminated or replaced when it becomes too
inconvenient. And too few of us actually make anything that we can stand back and admire with satisfaction.
Is there a solution? Maybe we should all get out there, dream up something, then build it for the ones we love.

6:25 PM  
Blogger pathseeker said...

I wish I could find some bone of contention with the sentiments expressed here thus far. Alas, I think (interpret?) that I totally agree with knowhereman's observations. But I would go a bit further. It's not only the mind that's in neutral. A very wise and talented friend of mine who is an unlikely combination of artist/inventor/master machinist has defined a troika of needs that he believes are key to, if not delirious happiness, at least a rich existence. The three things? Head, heart and hands. I concur. Modern society has not only stripped us of the desire to think for ourselves, love and affection has become a cheap commodity to be terminated or replaced when it becomes too
inconvenient. And too few of us actually make anything that we can stand back and admire with satisfaction.
Is there a solution? Maybe we should all get out there, dream up something, then build it for the ones we love.

6:26 PM  

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