Monday, July 30, 2012
The mind is a strange sleight of hand trick of the brain (to mix metaphors), without which it cannot exist. Damage the brain and the mind is impaired. Nevertheless, we differentiate them so that the mind becomes the subject and the brain becomes the object in their relationship. The mind represents the driver and the brain represents the vehicle which carries us through life. The most significant element of the mind is the will because (we are led to believe) it precipitates our brains to do things for us. Unless it fights the mindâ€™s battles for it, we become slaves to everything around us. It makes us a puppeteer rather than a puppet, autonomous rather than dependent.
I know this is a rather slanted and reductionist summary of a vast literature on mind and brain but it gets me to my main thrust, one I have approached in previous blogs. One that bears innumerable mentions, I feel, for any writer or thinker.
When you say that you want to stop trying to master something because your head hurts, that is the time to keep going. You have to exert your will (therefore your mind) to make your brain do the business for you. It is best to treat it as a tool that needs constant tempering. This is why I have said that only by writing every day do you begin to perceive real subtleties in the relationship between imagination and expression. Encapsulating as much information in as small a wordage as possible can only be achieved by practice and the brain actually learns how to do it by constant exercise. Thus your very wordy one thousand page book is reduced to 300 pages because you use metaphor and simile and concise phraseology.
I am intrigued by this process. Having produced a book of aphorisms called An A to Zen of Management I turned latterly to tweeting. The restrictions on length of tweets should be seen as a mind-muscle challenge. How much can you say in so little wordage? Most tweets say very little. They appear to be vomited on to the page rather than sculpted and placed there.
It does make your brain hurt but mastering the concise sharpens your brain tool fantastically!
Tweets at @profjacksanger