My mind….What’s? On (in) it?


Every once in a while, my mind leaves the room.  It wanders, all by itself, wherever, without my permission, and does not come when called.  (Perhaps my mind is actually a cat?)  If the rest of me is in a forgiving mood, we can call me being in a state of “lost in thought”.  If not in a forgiving mood, I suppose I can be said to be “lost in the clouds, perhaps not to be found and good riddance anyway”; or “lost in a fogbank from which there is no exit”.  It’s a whatever.  I am actually not sure which I prefer.

When my mind wanders, good things can happen; but so can not so wonderful things–although rarely do truly awful things happen.  Depends on whether the thing gets stuck in mud or glory.  One of the thoughts the old girl was lost in lately had to do with minds themselves (other than my own, of course, which we all know is really sharp).  What is it, what makes it up (as when we make up our minds), and can we unmake it if the consequences of making it up are not so hot.

I make up my mind all the time, sometimes fortunately but often unfortunately.  In the former case, it’s “oh great, I did good”; in the latter case, it’s “it must have been someone else’s fault”.  That was easier when Bob was around, because we had an annual agreement (I don’t know if he was aware of it, but I am sure he would have agreed had he been aware) that anything unfortunate that happened was going to be his fault.  But that is not the point.  The point is that I can never be sure if I have made up my mind correctly or not, and so it becomes difficult for me to actually do the making up.  So what is the basis for the making up, and how to make up my mind better (assuming it is in the room with me).

What goes into a choice, a decision, a move down or toward one path or another?  Some philosophers might answer:   knowledge of the good.  Other philosophers might say:  fear of the bad.  Both sorts of philosophers are referring to experience.  We base our choices on what we have experienced in the past, and how we interpreted those experiences.  I think that both our experiences and our interpretations have a great deal to do with the environments in which we live and have lived.  In some environments, some things will stand out while those things may not register in a different environment.  Do I act morally?  Depends on whether moral action is important in my environment.  Depends on whether my “formative years” were spent in such an environment.

So the basis for how I make up my mind lies in my present, my past, and additionally, what I would wish to be my future.  But if this is so, why do I make up my mind in unfortunate ways so often?  Why doesn’t this recalcitrant, perverse, marvelous entity make itself up nicely all the time?

Change.  Or not changing.   That bottle of memories, of time.  Some stay, some are emptied out.  Sometimes, perhaps the really important stuff happens when my mind is out of the room.  In that case, is it better to be lost in thought, or lost in the clouds, or lost in a fogbank?

Here, kitty kitty!


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