Daily Archives: September 24, 2008

Trusting the Mind

Okay, here’s a heady entry.  Let’s just say it’s needed at this moment.

Personally, the deepest injury postmodernism inflicts on the unsuspecting is the severing of the basic trust between the mind and the self.  What I mean is simple:  if we are locked inside our own perspective, our own  cultural influences, and we can’t shake it off to see the world in any “true” sense, one logical leap to make (it’s not the only one) is that we cannot trust the thoughts we think.  Who is to say that one thought of mine is any better than another?  Perhaps the process of logic itself is flawed, a silly Greek invention to be thrown off if reality is to be apprehended.   The process of thinking itself, bringing images and ideas before the mind for analysis (ahhh!-there it is again, cultural bias! Oh, no!) or experience…maybe the whole thing is bogus, a never-ending circle cycling back on itself until thankfully death releases us from the cruel illusion that humanity has even the slightest shred of dignity.  Perhaps we live in a madhouse, idiots every one, unable to do nothing close to what we have called independent thinking, little more than siphons sucking in whatever anyone says, helpless but to pretend that we are actually choosing, creating, making, inventing, contributing to something as mundane and impossible as the good of humanity, as if there was such a thing among asylum inmates.

Sorry for the rant.

But once you give up the notion that you can trust your thought life to any appreciable degree, you are lost.   Truly.

Some will accuse me of advocating that strange idea that we control things with our thought.  No, no, no.  But in the end, what do we have but the ability and responsibility to interact with experience with the totality of our thought-life, our mind, our felt experience of consciousness.  Every word that comes in, every sound, every nuance of color and light and touch, every image that embeds itself in memory and fantasy, every idea that hangs around in the gray matter looking for an antecedent to give it a place to anchor-this is our mind.  God help us, it’s all we’ve got, and history, scripture, and practical living tell us quite plainly that some ways of utilizing it are far better than others.  And constantly, constantly, streams of ideas, images, and emotions are coming at us, hoping to impact us, influence us, tempt us, encourage us, foisting any number of other energies, working, working to make us into this or that.

As an artist, I think of all the input of life as material.   We must pick and choose, shape and mold, think and rethink, and apply the heart of human energy as the potter applies pressure to the clay.  I know, you Bible folks, that that image belongs to God, and that we are the clay, but the image is no less applicable to the material that is life as we sit at our own mini potter’s wheel.   God throws us, and we throw the world…as least our part of it.

To sit at the wheel in hesitancy is to watch the clay spin in chaos and drop off the wheel in mere splats.  Just think, we could have been making vessels to hold living water.

For what it’s worth…


Filed under Faith and Art