Your Mind

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Your mind is a complicated set of interconnected ideas, which are themselves interconnected ideas. As far as you know these ideas are insulated from “reality” and have no direct bearing on anything that “actually exists”.

Your mind gets new ideas through experiences, either internal (reflection, thinking, intuition, etc) or external (sensations, sight, smell, pain, etc). Most of the internal experiences seem to have to do with the brain somehow, and nearly all of the external ones appear to be additionally mediated by the rest of your body.

Your ideas can be manipulated into a variety of states. Many of these states have temporal significance. You call idea states about past experiences “memories”  or “recollections” and ideas about the future “expectations” or “plans” (and by many other names). The experiences with the shortest temporal offset from your newest experiences, we call the “present”.

The accumulation and organization of your ideas can be facilitated by transferring ideas from other people’s minds. Of course, since these ideas are insulated behind not only your own experiences but also the actions of others, a method of transfer must be employed, something to bridge the gap between your ideaspace and that of the person you wish to communicate with. The easiest way is for the ideas in your mind to be organized in a similar manner to the organization of the mind of the person with which you wish to communicate. You call this joint mutual organization and method of transfer “language”, and its construction and maintenance composes a large part of your mental efforts.

In fact, your language so fully affects the organization of your ideas, that the language and your mind are nearly inseparable. It is for this reason that we talk of language as being identified with a person, usually a corporate entity. The “language of England” (the corporate “England” populace, not the geography) is the identifiable idea-space organization and associated method of transfer. You are using English right now, and odds are your mind is organized to facilitate easy access and storage of English structured ideas.

Your language must be periodically calibrated and updated. Conversational mirroring and clarification are every-day examples of this process. When you talk to an in-experienced speaker (either young or of a different background) you may find yourself alternately frustrated and delighted; Frustration stems from the mis-alignment of your minds. Delight flows in the re-discovery of your own mental structure, reflected in another developing mind. Translation of ideas to different languages is a difficult process, precisely because of the inherent mis-match in the underlying conceptual structures.

Games are a way to both calibrate our mutual experiences in a “safe” environment and convey new ideas through direct experience. As communication devices, games are especially useful for transporting ideas which are not easily expressed in a common language, since they are offered as interactive direct experiences instead of assumed linguistic correlations.

There is a danger, of course, to this corporate mental structuring. All structures have weaknesses, inefficiencies, and drawbacks. These flaws can be exploited to introduce damaging experiences to your mind. Propaganda, advertisement, and gossip are among the many recognized methods of transferring suspect ideas, and often exploit structural linguistic flaws. A particularly virulent self-replicating idea (or “Meme”) coupled with a malicious payload could sweep through an entire language, damaging or distorting every mind it contacts.

One of the defenses against this kind of attack is language mutation, which presents a modified idea-scape and generally cancels out structural flaws. In this way slang, jargon, and other forms of mutation are beneficial, as they protect the mind from unrestricted transparency. Of course, this mutation works against the primary purpose of language, that of experience transfer, and so should be limited to the degree to which malicious memes are a threat.

Skepticism is another powerful defensive tool. By placing new linguistic experiences under close scrutiny, you can expose many ploys and falsehoods hiding in the linguistic cracks. Of course, this too can be taken too far, and an overactive analysis both slows linguistic processing to the point of uselessness and throws out many valuable ideas.

Does your acceptance, and conformance to linguistic standards make you vulnerable to malicious influence? Does your divergent vocabulary and undue scrutiny hamper beneficial communication? Did you learn anything from reading this article? Will you think about it later? Do you have a choice?

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About dudecon

I’m a Christian, one of the “crazy fundamentalist” ones perhaps, depending on what language you speak. As an engineer by trade, and an artist, computer wizard, and musician in the off hours, I keep pretty busy. Plus I’m married with kids. Life is good, even when it is hard.

People tell me that I think too much, but I can’t think of how that’s a bad thing. People also tell me I’m scary. Occasionally they tell me to stop singing so loudly.

If you really want to contact me, you can try e-mailing dudecon on my old fashioned Hotmail account. Or tweet dudecon on twitter. Or come to my house some time. I’m sure you can find me if you keep trying.

3 thoughts on “Your Mind

  1. Watch for keys in persons’ speech. that shed light upon their true meaning. For example, when I say to you ” You think too much.” What I could be saying , in fact, per say self-reflection [This is how your logical device impacts my psyche] and/or defense mechanism {I must discredit you quickly for fear of appearing inadequate, or worse, irrelevant} “I do not think enough.”

    I think I’ve heard the words “I think too much.”

    I think and think for months and years. Ninety-nine times, the conclusion is false. The hundredth time I am right.
    Albert Einstein

  2. Pingback: Imagination | Project Fledgeling

  3. Pingback: Flenglish | Project Fledgeling

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