The mind is a funny place. It is a room filled with memories, a pinball machine of fleeting thoughts and an echo chamber of impulses and signals.
Our bodies are tangible; physical, organic matter that is controlled by signals and senses. An arm with a hand with fingers; A torso supported by hips and legs. A feat of biological engineering. This intricate system, interconnected is generally understood to be controlled by one central processor:
The brain is humanity’s vessel that carries our bodies through all we encounter. It steers our movement, it sends the right cells to the right places at the right time. A perfect machine in constant harmony with the rest of the body. However, within the brain there is another entity. A system capable of not only translating the signals of the brain, but exerting foresight or reflection on these signals. We call this invisible organ the mind.
It can be difficult to put into words where the mind starts and stops. Is it when a thought occurs? Does it drive your unconscious? Or is the mind how we describe the higher power that directs us? This begs the question: are we in control? If we believe the mind is part of the central unit that is our brain — an organ that takes senses as input and provides action as output — can we really say that we are conscious? We’re only being lead by signals after all.
For what is a man but merely an observer of his own psyche?
Minding the gap
All the words that make up this piece were at some point just wandering thoughts with no inherent meaning. What is fascinating about our mind is that it fills in the gaps. What we see, hear, feel or otherwise experience through our senses is only part of how we actually process all this information.
We might just use our eyes to see a nice painting, but our minds will immerse us into the scene, almost synthesising the input for our other senses. This is why sometimes when you think your favourite meal, you may start smelling it ever so faintly. Or when you’re listening to music, it brings back memories of a specific scenery you drove by in a car while this same song was playing.
Reading can be a powerful tool for understanding and interpreting the world around us. It allows us to immerse ourselves in a story, to feel the emotions of its characters, and to gain new perspectives. But beyond that, reading can also be a way to explore our own minds.
By reading, we can fill in the gaps of our own thoughts, and use the words of the author to give our own ideas greater clarity and meaning. Through reading, we can gain insights into our own minds, using the words on the page to bring to life experiences and emotions that we had not fully realized prior.
Our minds are a fascinating thing. It is amazing how they can take seemingly random words on a page and bring them to life in our minds, giving them new meaning and significance. In this way, reading can be an incredibly powerful tool for self-exploration. By engaging with the words of a book, we can gain a greater understanding of our own thoughts, and the world around us.