The Inconvenient Mind

the mindStrange though it may sound to most readers I had a very interesting and stimulating discussion with a couple of door to door callers. Even more surprising is the fact that they were none other than Jehovah Witnesses. What is so strange about that, I hear some readers cry, especially fellow believers or followers of that branch of Christianity, such discussions happen all the time.

That is true, but in my experience they are rarely interesting, and even more rarely stimulative in any way, but credit where credit is due. The two gentlemen were intelligent, open to different points of view, and open to listening to my, at times, unorthodox views. One area of interest that came under discussion was the mind.

We were discussing evolution and creationism, and they held the view that if evolution was a reality, why do we not use our minds to the full. They argued that evolutionary changes and subsequent adaptation was always used to the full by the recipient, therefore the alleged evolutionary argument had to be terminally flawed due to our understanding of how much of our mind and/or brain we use. This could have led to a much longer discussion on evolution and creationism, and an even longer natter about the  monist or dualistic alignment of the brain and the mind, but time was running short and food was calling, so the discussion came to an end.

It left me with an interesting question though. Why don’t we use our minds and/or our brains to the full, as regards cognitive ability, and if we both could and were to do, what benefits, and problems might occur. Such questions are discussed in more depth in Chapter 2 of the Paradox of mind,  but one of the questions I ask within that Chapter is whether or not we can truly afford to exercise the power of the mind, and thereby use it to the full.

At first glance it would seem that we should and could do so, but if we step back for a moment, do we not see and inconvenient truth and an inconvenient mind lying before us? Might it be that nature, or God, or whatever you believe, has presented with an item which is too powerful for us mere mortals to control? I am fully aware of how negative this sounds but to defend such a statement I would ask you to view the brain and/or mind as a high speed train which has been delivered to a local branch line.

The owners of that line have been told they must use it to it’s full high speed capacity, but they know that in doing so the train will derail at a set of unavoidable and fixed for all time sharp curves. So it is they apply speed restrictions on the drivers so that the train stays on the rails, and gets from A to B, and back again

They could train up a select band of drivers to operate the train, and create other teams to maintain such equipment, but the sharp curves will still be there, and, if approached or run over too speedily, the train will came of the rails?

Sometimes, with a select view of us, we do manage to go round the curves at speed, but very often there is  a darker  price to pay. I refer to the geniuses amongst up, those revelatory minds, whose words, actions, and actions inspire us all, but how often does genius drift into madness, and to an inner world which the occupant can barely endure

No great genius has ever existed without some touch of madness.

Aristotle tells us, maybe this is  salutary if inconvenient warning for us all

Any views anyone, any replies?




Categories: Growing pains, Just a thought

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