That neither our thoughts, nor passions, nor ideas formed by the imagination, exist without the mind, is what everybody will allow. ~ Irish philosopher George Berkeley
The mind is an intangible organ for perception and other symbolic processing. The mind’s functioning may be materially grounded in whatever biological system processes sensory input into ecological comprehension. For humans, the physiological system for intelligence is the brain and associated nervous system.
Physical concepts are free creations of the mind, and are not, however it may seem, uniquely determined by the external world. ~ Albert Einstein
Mentation is inherent in every life form, from viruses and cells on up. Every organism has a mind, even if it lacks an identifiable organ analogous to the brain.
As to the connection between mind and vital force, mind is the language of the vital force. This vital force and the consciousness appear simultaneously and always exist together. When there is no vital force, there is also no mind. ~ Nisargadatta Maharaj
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Mind and consciousness are not things but processes. ~ Austrian American physicist and system theorist Fritjof Capra & Italian chemist Pier Luigi Luisi
The mind has 2 functional realms. The useful part is willmind: mentation under volition, for problem-solving. The other – nattermind – is a not only a nuisance, it is the generator of pignorance.
The human condition: lost in thought. ~ German guru Eckhart Tolle
Nattermind is the woodpecker on the lumber of mentation: the voice of distraction, doubt, and distress; a deceiver by its nagging worries and schemes. The mind demands a sense of security, or it works itself into a frenzy of worry to resolve its fear. More mundanely, nattermind craves stimulation. It loves to be tickled by puzzles of every province. Nattermind insists upon needless worry about events which are not transpiring, upon which it spins countless scenarios to resolve.
The priceless galaxy of misinformation called the mind. ~ American writer and artist Djuna Barnes
It is not your real being that is restless, but its reflection in the mind appears restless because the mind is restless. The wind of desire stirs the mind and the ‘me’. ~ Nisargadatta Maharaj
Nattermind is a restless beast, continually striving to overshadow its source: consciousness.
In its relentless self-stimulation, the mind endlessly devours patterns and regurgitates them. The patterns may be sensory, emotive, or abstract in their origin.
Among the Collective, nattermind endlessly chatters while awake; so much that being alone with oneself is discomforting.
Kant discovered “the scandal of reason,” that is the fact that our mind is not capable of certain and verifiable knowledge regarding matters and questions that it nevertheless cannot help thinking about. ~ Hannah Arendt
You are familiar with missing something because nattermind has your awareness occupied with its musings.
Most people daydream every day. In fact, it is abnormal if you do not! ~ American psychologist Philip Zimbardo et al
Daydreaming is as normal as the ignorance of the Collective, because the mind running the show is what defines ignorance.
Youngsters daydream more than later in life. Nattermind engenders ignorance early on by generating paracosms and distractions that lower environmental awareness and obscure knowledge of one’s own true nature.
Only chemically assaulted or exhausted does nattermind seek repose, whereupon one succumbs to sleep. Yet the body’s requirement for rest is tempered by a mind that still wants to shuffle patterns: hence dreams.
While awake, though relentlessly engaged with sensation, the mind is quick enough to constantly conjecture and conceptualize about what is being received, what it means, and how it relates to an abstraction known as self-interest.
Though appearing to be intelligent, thought is unable to comprehend anything really. ~ Indian guru Vasistha
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The problem is excessive interest, leading to self-identification. Whatever you are engrossed in you take to be real. ~ Nisargadatta Maharaj
The mind believes in itself, taking as gospel what it concocts. Much of it are symbols from sensory input, soaked by perception with emotive meaning.
The mind craves for experience, the memory of which it takes for knowledge. ~ Nisargadatta Maharaj
Memory is fallible and the mind not reliable. To reassure itself, the mind often presents unrealistic scenarios based upon desires and fears. Its naturally repetitive perspective fails to conjure more valid viewpoints – but the Collective believe.
The mind has great importance only because you have not gone beyond it. ~ Nisargadatta Maharaj
The mind itself is the source of addiction of every sort. Physical dependence comes only as discomfort. The mind translates that into craving.
Thoughts are ripples in the mind. With a quieted mind, consciousness reflects reality.
The mind is the flow force. The mind is continuously flowing; that means the words are continuously welling up. When you do not get involved with the thought process or the flow of words, or the flow of mind, you are not the mind. When you are in a position to observe the mind, you are other than the mind. ~ Nisargadatta Maharaj
We are bound to our bodies like an oyster to its shell. ~ Plato
The mind identifies itself with its body: a self-centered dualism where the mind considers the body is its servant. The mind wants you to think that you are a mind-body and nothing more: a soulless physicality.
The setup for this runs deep. Body parts and property objects figure heavily in the vocabularies and word usage of all languages. This consistent focus suggests a natural inclination toward a matterist mind-set.
As we grow up, we construct a sense of self based upon interactions with others, which create the products of the mind: fears, desires, and experiences. By this we forget our true nature.
The intellect is the play of the concept “I am.” It is the string that flies the kite. ~ Nisargadatta Maharaj
The Descent of Ignorance
The world is entirely in one’s mind as fabrications of concepts. How closely that mental world hews to actuality is the practical measure of pignorance.
Imagination is the faculty for forming counterfactuality. There are 2 realms of imagination: problem-solving and paracosmic. Problems are solved by imagining a goal and then working symbolic representations to a status in which they represent satisfactory resolution.
Problem-solving associated with matter is craftwork. By contrast, purely abstract problem-solving, such as mathematics or philosophy, is symwork. A hybrid form – sociowork – is problem-solving of social relations.
As a symwork, worldview is by its nature paracosmic. Like musical notes on sheet music, actuality comprises a multitude of observations. To see patterns in the notes, and thereby make music, is metaphoric to constructing a worldview: a merging of minutia into a gestalt. Such a ‘discovered’ system may feel profound, even spiritual, but is ultimately a gross simplification. This is why theoretical constructs in any science often have incongruent exceptions – to our level of ken, Nature is not formulaic. Creative diversity being a guiding principle of coherence obscures underlying patterns of self-similarity.
All life forms, from viruses on up, practice craftwork and sociowork – solving problems to survive or simply enjoy life. Symwork is something else indeed.
Other organisms besides humans create and use tools, build homes, communicate in languages, play games, and practice culture. If there is any uniqueness to humanity, it is in symwork. As far as we know, only people construct the paracosms of worldviews, ideologies, and religions. Human imagination alone can be utterly divorced from actuality.
Hominids crafted wood tools for many millions of years. ~3.4 million years ago (MYA) they took to shaping stone: flint knapping. 1.7 MYA humans managed to overcome their fear to control fire.
Representational artwork dates to the Old Stone Age; becoming more elaborated, and expressed in different materials, into the New Stone Age. Hominin craftwork expressing abstractions only began to proliferate during the Mesolithic, beginning 20,000 years ago. Religions – the culmination of symwork – appeared even later. As a state of mind not obviously deranged, paracosms as cherished belief systems are unique to humans, and recently evolved.
Under cover of fear, nattermind generates pignorance via symwork. Once instilled, these false belief systems may prove impregnable. This is the triumph of ignorance which defines ‘civilization’.
Pignorance is a web of deceit that must be gotten through to achieve realization: the state of consciousness in which one lives as is, having shed symwork except as a recreation. In unity consciousness one witnesses the mind as a separate entity. This dissociation markedly contrasts with the state of pignorance, in which one is deceived into thinking the mind-body is the self, having the swallowed the lies of nattermind whole.
Mind is the creator of everything. When you are able to employ your will always for constructive purposes, you become the controller of your destiny. ~ Paramahansa Yogananda
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The evolutionary obstacles to enlightenment emanate from 2 distinct vectors: mental chatter which blocks the requisite transcendental state of consciousness (nattermind) and being bound to concrete experience (as contrasted to the potentiality of dissociation from actuality which affords abstract thinking).
Nattermind generates counterfactual thinking which may lead to self-delusion. For animals and other organisms which are not apex predators like humans, the paracosms of nattermind would be an evolutionary formula for extinction, as the need for diligent awareness of the actual environment is often paramount.
Organisms less burdened by nattermind ostensibly have an easier path to enlightenment. The reason this may not be so is that the dissociation inherent in enlightenment can be countermanded by rigorous identification with the mind-body as a survival strategy (concrete mindedness).
The same need for keen awareness of actuality which reduces nattermind concomitantly debilitates distinction between sentience and the mind. In other words, some living entities are constrained to concrete experiences, thereby lacking the facile ability to construe abstractly, and so unable to readily dissociate the mind from witnessing awareness (sentience).
The necessity for concrete mindedness is to sustain will to live. Enlightenment loosens the bonds of the mortal coil.
Multicellularity depends upon cells as steadfast to their function. Freed from their mental shackles, cells and organs might too easily give up the ghost rather than soldier on, thereby proving fatal to their host. Hence, as a prerequisite for the evolution of multicellularity, the subunits of multicellular organisms don’t philosophize. In contrast, single-celled life faces an entirely different situation.
With a continuous flood of sensory input which must be consciously consumed, plants live rich mental lives. Yet fungi and plants cogently comprehend the power of nattermind, as most flagrantly illustrated by some of them making psychedelics as a way to ward off predation by animals, who rightfully loath the disorientation of hallucination. Floral and fungal secondary metabolites indicate both potent imagination and close connectivity to coherence by dint of mystically knowing which molecular formulas would disorient their predators.
Other organisms are doubtlessly capable of enlightenment. It’s just that their obstacle may not be nattermind, but a tightness between sentience and assiduous mentation which binds awareness to the duality of Nature.
Failure to achieve high-level (abstractive) construal is evidenced by how easily many animals subject to predation are skittish: fear readily oozing from a mind which binds these creatures to their bodies and obstructs transcendence. (This same phenomenon also obviously manifests in the Collective upon occasion.)
Intriguingly, a very few conspecifics of such animals may be observed as having a preternatural sense of calm: the presence of mind to observe and unflappably react accordingly. This suggests enlightenment.
Ours is a world of feelings and ideas, of attractions and repulsions, of scales of values, of motives and incentives: a mental world altogether. ~ Nisargadatta Maharaj
▫ The mind is a symbolic processor: turning sensations into abstractions; then, via perception, assigning meaning and value to objects – an unceasing process that evinces belief in matterism.
Time, space, causation are mental categories, arising and subsiding with the mind. ~ Nisargadatta Maharaj
▫ The mind can be a restless beast (nattermind), continually striving to overshadow sentience and so keep its occupant in pignorance.
When it rains and shines, it’s just a state of mind. ~ English musician John Lennon in the song “Rain” (1966)