21973, Lots to|
Posted by janey, Fri Aug-18-00 05:31 AM
I think that time is a construct by which we make sense of the world, but which does not exist as we know it outside of our minds.
And I also think that thoughts arise without our conscious will or control. Some examples of this are:
I try to remember a fact, like someone's name or something, but it escapes me. If I had control over my thoughts and memory, I should be able to retrieve them at will.
I try and try, and still can't remember it. I give up the search through my memory, and just let it go. A few days later, while falling asleep, or while walking down the street, it comes to me. Not while I was consciously trying to remember, but just seemingly on its own. Does that sound familiar?
The same thing works with "new" ideas. I'm puzzling over something, I can't quite figure it out. This could be the answer to a clue in a crossword puzzle, or a new theory to explain the way the world works. While I'm working at it, I have no insight. But, days later, again as I'm about to fall asleep, or having a conversation with friends about a different topic, an insight appears. Just presents itself. Not a product of the rational mind. Einstein said something to the effect of "My understanding of the nature of the universe did not arise from my rational mind."
Another example: have you ever meditated? I'm thinking of the kind of meditation in which you try to still your mind by focusing on one thing, which can be your breath, or a prayer, or a chant. Just one light focus. Those thoughts keep coming in, coming in, and it's easy to get caught up in them, but when you notice that you're no longer watching your breath, or that you can't remember where you are in your prayer, the thought falls away and you go back to what you were doing.
I think that the mind is not under my control, and Phraktal's piece out of The Dreaming Universe seems to agree with that -- there are thoughts that arise because of the connection of neurons in the brain, and thoughts that arise because of the collective unconscious, but they just sort of happen. If I am my thoughts, or if I owned my mind -- like if I could exert my will on my mind, then I should just be able to say "Okay, thinking mind, turn off for a while now," and get really quiet. But there's always a lot of noise in the mind.
Listen to me, taking apart thinking while saying "I think, I think." Weird.
So before I go on, let me go back and re-read your post again, so I don't get too far off the mark.