Thursday, February 4, 2010

The Roots Of Our Conscious Mind

A man is a bundle of relations; a knot of roots, whose flower and fruitage is the world. His faculties refer to natures out of him and predict the world he is to inhabit, as the fins of the fish foreshow that water exists, or the wings of the eagle in the egg presuppose air. He cannot live without a world.

Does not the eye of the human embryo predict the light? The ear of Handel predict the witchcraft of harmonic sound? Do not the lovely attributed of the maiden child predict the refinements and the decorations of civil society? A mind might ponder this thought for ages, and not gain so much self-knowledge as the passion of love shall teach in a day.

Who knows himself before he has been thrilled with indignation at an outrage, or has heard an eloquent tongue or has shared the throb of thousands in a national exultation or alarm? No man can antedate his experience or guess what faculty or feeling a new object shall unlock, any more than he can draw to-day the face of a person whom he shall see to-morrow for the first time.

Ralph Waldo Emerson, in his 1841 essay History, expresses some interesting thoughts about individual realities. Our conscious mind aligns with several specific areas of knowing as we travel through adulthood. Those areas are filled with physical manipulation and emotional activity. The conscious mind is trained to use its separating qualities before all others in order to feel those areas in the flesh. The roots of our conscious mind flower in the act of being human.

We see our flower grow and change as we add years to our individual mixture of reality, and during that process the mind connects to more of itself. It is free to use its inner abilities in unique ways. Our refined and focused mind adjusts to the contrasts of life, and moves into restricted channels of knowledge. In those vacillating channels of contrasting knowledge, the conscious mind assimilate as well as creates the decorations and refinements of a mass society.

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