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The Tinkered Mind
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June 14th, 2018
It is easy to conclude that we are a product of our surroundings.
Whether we like it or not
We are the sole architect of our own experience.
From this statement it is easy to fall into this bad pseudo-logic trap: that your undesirable situation is a product of your own making.
But our situation and our experience of that situation are not the same thing.
Besides, such a negative conclusion is an unproductive dead-end.
Like many finer details in language, it is one side of the architect coin. The other side is this: no matter what the situation is, we have the potential and ability to change it.
We cannot remake it wholesale in a moment. Like anything it takes time, just like the current situation took much time to develop.
The place to start is our experience of our situation.
We may not be the sole architect of our situation – but we are the sole architect of how we experience that situation.
The first and most important rebuilding that must take place has nothing to do with the outside world (i.e. the world we see, touch, smell, hear – our situation). The first and most important rebuilding must be within our mind.
If we can change our idea about our surroundings. See our situation and our surroundings as mutable, then we can become again like the little kid with a box full of Legos, or a jar full of play-dough.
This is an idea that we may build in our mind to change our experience of our situation.
If we can change our experience of our situation.
We can respond to our situation differently.
We can see what affect our new response has on our situation.
We can fine-tune our response.
And in so doing. . .
fine-tune the changes of our situation.
There are many excuses paraded as iron-clad reasons that roll out on the tongue of certainty. But nothing is for certain. Any ‘reason’ is a concept that is produced, replicated and ‘believed’ by the brain. Many people point to the brain and claim some sort of certainty about it’s chemical or structural make-up. But this in itself is an idea – a concept. One that we only have a very hazy understanding of. Of all the things we have studied and learned as a species, our own brain still remains one of the most mysterious machines. To claim some sort of certainty about it is unwise.
To know any given subject requires the hard-won* ability to manipulate all possible parts. Like a chess master who can manipulate a game, or a mathematician who can manipulate formulas in order to discover something new. Or a master musician who can discover something never before heard but loved by many. Few such masters would claim certainty about their field in such a limiting way as people claim certainties about their own brains. Just as masters discover through the manipulation of parts they understand, might we borrow practice and manipulate what parts of our brain we can. . . even if we don’t fully understand such parts?
The very act of making a claim is building an experience of one’s situation.
If we can PAUSE. If we can doubt our own certainty. If we can entertain radical ideas that might aid us. What’s to lose? The only thing that can be lost is a conceptual certainty – a limiting one at that.
If we can commit to these simple steps: doubting our certainty, fostering curiosity, taking action. . .
We can embody our role as
*Just being alive does not mean we automatically learn how our own personal brain functions, simply because we think some and operate in the world in some capacity. That ‘hard-won ability to manipulate parts’ is difficult to achieve and requires constant prodding of our own personal brains in order to learn about it and change it.