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The Tinkered Mind
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March 31st, 2020
There are few ironclad aphorisms that don’t have an exception to the rule or some extenuating circumstance. One of the few statements that sheds all weight of exception is that
change is the only constant.
Everything that we lock down as a certainty seems to bend under the scrutiny of further investigation. Even Newton’s theories had to concede details when Einstein came along. But this statement, that change is the only constant, is too removed. It’s what we see going on “out there” in the world around us. Our inbuilt need to rationalize the past, to turn it into a sensible narrative, smears over the fact that change is the only constant, refers also to our own selves. Not just physically, but regarding too the mind. And yet we all have the frustrating experience of coming up against people who seem dead set in their ways.
dead set is perhaps a phrase all too appropriate. To settle one’s mind is to die in a sense: to be unmoving in perspective, opinion and belief.
This is what we can never let happen, and yet it is what our mind is always trying to accomplish. Despite the stir from daily life and new information, our minds are constantly trying to make themselves up with a particular understanding, with a theory or model, with an opinion or belief. Somehow, we manage to convey a lot of confidence to each other by making bold and solid claims. It is perhaps attractive in others because it is what our own mind is seeking, that is: less confusion and less uncertainty. We lead ourselves unwisely by leading to such a set and solid place. We are in some sense, seeking the eternal rest that otherwise terrifies us, as though an automatic undercurrent in our being lulls us towards the night.
Dylan Thomas once wrote “rage, against the dying of the light.”
We can easily reinterpret this in terms of our mind trying to settle on some certainty. We are better to withstand that mental cement.
The reason is simple. We live in a reality that is continuing on in it’s rapid dance, and it cannot dance with statues, cast in stone or metal. Reality needs a partner who is willing to abandon understanding as soon as it arrives just as we merely touch balance and throw ourselves off it in order to move through space, and dance.