PART 1: What’s [insert preposition here] your mind?

I actually do have questions:

  • So if the oil is drugs and a fried egg is your brain on drugs, the egg is your brain? If so, that means drugs allows your brain to be used in perhaps one of its most delicious purposes, sunny side up!
  • What is your brain supposed to be like, a raw unused egg? Because over time an unused egg that is neither cooked nor consumes, gets rotten and stinky.

I think that commercial is royally stupid, but it serves as good starting point for my blog entry today. What is the mind? What is YOUR mind like? What happens in there? Not just when drugs are there, but in any situation.

If a fried egg is a metaphor for a brain on drugs (which I must admit makes SOME semblence of sense, even tho the quality of that commercial makes me want to do some drugs so I can have a delicious skillet), then what is an appropriate metaphor for a brain that is functioning well, as it was intended to?

Why do we even need a metaphor for brain function anyways? For smoking they just show dirty lungs and that’s a great instant PSA. For arthritis commercials, they can show the knuckle joints. But the brain… no such thing that I know of.

The Human brain is so incredibly cognitive, there are millions of processes happening iside us every second. Yet the mind remains a mystery. How memory works, how sexual attraction works, on and on.There is so much that’s unknown. Which is probably why metaphors are required.

Language may help to explore how society looks at the mind. Some common phrases revolving our mental activity:

  • What’s “on” your mind? (as opposed to “in”, “around”… why the choice preposition)
  • Head “in” the clouds.
  • “Racking” your brain.

None of these strike me as very precise, especially because I would expect one’s mental processes to vary greatly depending on a variety of factors (the individual, the context, etc). All this leads me to believe that we do not have a very good handle, biologically, linguistically or otherwise on the ways the mind functions. Part of this is due to the incredible intricacies of the mind, but some of it also because we’ve been focused more often on the “how” than the “what.”

Personality profiles, such as the Meyers-Briggs Type Indictaor do a great job at describing “how” the mind works, how it makes decisions, how it perceives information, how it organizes information, how it processes information. But it doesn’t say much about “what” the mind working actually looks like. I’m not talking about the anatomical processes– synapses firing, dopamine levels rising, etc– I’m referring to “what” the thinking process looks like from the very person doing the thinking, the “mind’s eye” if you will.

I think that is important not only for our personal self awareness, but also to realize that for each person, and perhaps for people of similar personality types, the process of thinking can be quite different.

Which leads me to the one simple question for this entry:

What goes on inside your mind when you think about something? Or when you think about nothing at all?

I’m going to cut this short because I’m tired. But I will post what I have to get me thinking and maybe you thinking as well.

I ask this question not because I’m curious HOW your mind works (more rational, more emotional, etc) but I want to know LITERALLY LITERALLY what happens INSIDE your head when you are thinking about something.

Three situations:

  • At starbucks deciding what to order. What happens inside your mind in the 30 secs to 2 minutes you figure out what to order?
  • Someone is upset with you in your workplace/school/family. What goes inside your mind as you figure out how to handle the situation.
  • You are working out at the gym with no iPod and no TVs anywhere. What goes on INSIDE your mind Literally?

I’m going to think about this tomorrow and write about it.


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