Elevation 2 — Panta Rhei meditations
“The only way to make sense out of change is to plunge into it, move with it, and join the dance.”
Alan Wilson Watts
Unpacking the concept of Mind
In my previous essay, I have presented the Mind as a suitcase concept, this particular description (a descriptive metaphor really) is I believe a superior useful one, as it allows us to imagine the Mind not unlike a suitcase full of concepts.
In this second part we shall endeavor to unpack some of the most salient concepts contained in the meta concept Mind.
But first a short intro note:
You will notice that usually I refrain from using the ‘is’ approach- the reason being its rigidity. As I am of the mind that we must, if we are to be as clear as language allows, not fall into the trap of oversimplification for ease of read; Nor in its cousin trap of over complication, and so I shall endeavor to use terms that are fundamentally ambiguous and tolerating for a wide range of interpretations as the Mind allows.
“The river is everywhere.”
Herman Hesse, Siddhartha
The first and most important concept to unpack from Mind is the concept of Flow.
Flow is a very ancient concept in the Mind languages of all cultures, it is practically a precursor to Mind. The reason is that Mind itself is in a constant state of flux, motion and as a system pertains to hyper complex dynamics.
The Greek Pre-Socratic philosopher Heraclitus became famous for his most important aphorism: ‘Panta Rhei’ -“ Everything flows” , from which was derived the second , also famous statement: “ One cannot step in the same river twice”.
Irrespective to the different interpretations of the term flow, what is central and most critical is the realization that Flow is the fundamental state of affairs of the Mind (or the world). As the Buddhists state: all is impermanence! The very idea of Anatman stems from this simple observation, that all is in motion, everything is dynamics and all foundations are temporal and ultimately temporary.
The concept of Flow therefore is a multi dimensional concept that has at its core the motion of the universe and thus the mind.
Flow, has no value in itself (in this sense it is not autotelic ). The concept of flow as described in modern psychology, though using the same term is a completely different concept, for the flow concept in psychology please look at Flow Psychology as Named by Mihály Csíkszentmihályi in 1975.
The flow, as such, is a complex concept to grasp, it appears in all dimensions of mind and incorporates all and everything. Mind flows, the universe flows, emotions flow, thoughts flow, ideas stream, life is in motion, bodies in action, sensations drift, relations act, and finally, and most critically our selves flow.
Arranging and rearranging themselves into new configurations.
What is fundamental about the concept of flow, is the idea that change is the only constant, flux is the nature of reality, all is in motion.
As this is the second concept we are unpacking, it is the inter-relation between mind and flow that we should focus upon.
Since mind is the meta concept (the suitcase) and Flow is its nature, we can say that the full spectrum of the suitcase content (the whole gamut of concepts) is or are in constant motion and thus continuously change.
Which is of course the magic word: Change!
“That the soft overcomes the hard, and the yielding overcomes the resistant, is a fact known by all, but practiced by few.”
The flow, and change are interrelated concepts but they are not the same. Changes happen within a given contour of description while the flow is the actual nature of motion.
For changes to be classified as such a specific description need be given that discriminates between two or more points of reference, but that is always within the flow, a sub flow, as the flow.
There is nothing outside the flow, the mind and thus the world is in a continuous state of flow.
In fact given the interconnectedness of all phenomena, the continuous flow of all phenomena , any given point of stability is an arbitrary choice.
Some may claim that this is the only reason for the emergence of consciousness, to designate an arbitrary point as the actual point of reference.
Whether that is the case or not is beside the point at the moment but suffice it to say that given the continuous flow of all phenomena, the very nature of the mind cannot have neither a basis nor foundation.
That may appear to be a conundrum.
In actuality , it is not. (This particular issue I will elaborate in a different section dealing with the concept of Panpsychism).
A side note:
The flow correlates particularly with the binding problem in the philosophy of consciousness.
I have called this writing, Panta Rhei meditations, as a personal reminder of the criticality of flow.
Thank you for reading.
This is the second concept in the new series: Elevation - concepts that changed my mind.
Part one is here.