The true men of old slept without dreams and waked up without worries. They ate with indifference to flavor, and drew deep breaths. For true men draw breath from their heels, the vulgar only from their throats.

(Chuang Tzu)

 

The Dead Chrysalis

Click image to enlarge

 

1] Man's necessity and longing for myths
2] Myth's use of psyche and psyche's use of myth
3] The Battle of the Titans
4] Do we need a mind?
5] How do we ?

 

4] Do we need a mind ?

We have seen that the psyche is a vast repository of archaic fragments - myths and symbols - of the mental life of man on the planet. A selected few will be mentioned following but the list could be expanded almost to infinity since each race or people has its own mythological theme and these themes span millennia deep within prehistoric times and, notwithstanding lack of contact due to geographical distribution they all reflect a similar pattern.

Within it - the psyche - we may find the great gods, the cosmic creators like Brahma, Javeh, Zeus, Unkunkulu, Ahura Mazda, Bumba, Awonawílono and so on.

Other, more specialized gods - more handy for common survival tasks - dwell in the psyche, to quote just a few of them: Hina, also Hine (Polynesia) Goddess of darkness, who brought death to humankind by slaying the god Maui. While sailing with her brother Ru, she drifted off to the moon, liked what she saw, and decided to stay, thereby becoming Hina the Watchwoman and a patroness of travelers.

Ame-no-Tokotachi-no-Mikoto (The Heavenly-Eternally-Standing-Deity).

Belobog, also Belbog, Belun The White God, the god of the day, the god of Heaven, the bringer of good luck, the god of heavenly light, the god of happiness and peace, the judge who rewards good and punishes evil. A wise old man with a long beard dressed in white, Belobog appears only during the day.

Agonua (Solomon Islands) Serpent god. All other gods are only an aspect of Agunua. The first coconut from each tree is sacred to Agunua.

Tawhaki (Polynesia) God of thunder and lightning. Noble and handsome. And so on.

Among all these great and minor gods we may add scores of those with which we are more familiar from Egyptian, Greek, Latin and more known mythologies.

A few symbols associated with the gods are Omumbo-Rombonga, the tree of life among the Herero Bushmen of South West Africa. (Believed to be the progenitor of men and cattle) and the tree of life, just like the Sacred Mountain is a universal symbol to be met with in all the religions of the world and to name some others we may point to the Simurgh, the Phoenix, the snake, a host of devils and angels and on a somewhat different psychical level other symbols are present which are "tools" for mythical - or psychical - voyages like the ladder, the rope, the tunnel or the cave, the cross and so on.

These symbols quite likely entered the psyche in the " Dream Time (Australian), the period of creation when the gods brought the world and all living creatures into being" and after which we have "the fall" where we find Adam and Eve, Izanagi and Izanami, Masi an Masani and so on.

We than have the great heroes of mythology, all the way down from Achilles and Rustem to more recent ones like Rambo and Bruce Lee, just to keep the list short.

What is important here is this: there is a almost perfect concordance between mythical gods, events and symbols irrespective of geographical areas: this is a universal drama where the substance, the actors, the scenery and the implements are the same: there is no remarkable difference - at the core - between the contents of an Australian Aboriginal, an Eskimo, a Chinese, a Zulu, or whomsoever you want, psychical's makeup. "Every primordial image is the bearer of a message of direct relevance to the condition of humanity, for the image unveils aspects of ultimate reality that are otherwise inaccessible" [1]

How do we cope with this universe hidden within our psyche? All these figures and symbols are constantly in motion, a restless ocean full of life of which we have little if any awareness but which is a molding force of our existence. Between our consciousness and this ocean there is a protective shield which cuts off our inner vision from this great mental universe and the consciousness has little if any access to it. Very little of the life hidden in this vast mental ocean comes to our notice mainly and mostly so in dreams, or by way of particular psychophysical disciplines and training, or in the religious man through faith or at times in distress. Altered states of mind are experienced, as well, through artificial means, notably drugs like LSD, DMT, cannabis, several species of mushrooms and more, but the experiences thus obtained are quite likely hallucinations with no real valuable content as they breed mostly untenable fancies although they do clearly point to the existence of this inner world, a world which may be experienced also in various degrees of intensity due to some kind of brain pathology, like in the schizophrenic's miserable life prey of voices and visions which alter implacably his world.

Had we free and unbounded access to this inner world we would most probably be headed for extinction so that the shield above mentioned is a necessary evolutionary addition to our being, without this sort of screening and protection we would be lost in the labyrinth of insanity. Which fact now raises another most important question, who or what is the door-keeper, that which allows us access to this display within a strict selective process? And here we come to that mysterious something which we call the human mind and which is the ultimate regulating factor of our destiny.

Wherein in chapter 2 the brain was spoken of as the interpreter of the mind, and that still holds so far as response to stimuli is concerned the mind as well was previously described as being a product of the brain in its early evolution (this is mostly reflected by the developing cortex in the temporal lobes), yet the mind in its maturity appears to be the ruler of the brain. So far as we can say none can exist without the other: a brain without mind is a useless lump of organic matter, a mind without brain simply cannot exist - leaving transcendental matters aside and remembering that the mind here is spoken of as the human mind. As for other minds beside the human mind, that is everyone's guess or the psyche's myths might come handy.
Leaving aside the usual analogy between mind and computer to try to explain the state of things we will take something more simple for the purpose, an incandescent fluorescent bulb which has also the advantage of looking like a head on its neck. And within it we have the tungsten filament which we may equate to the brain, its radiant heat which may be equated to the psyche and the luminous radiation which may be equated to the mind and is not confined within the surface of the bulb but reaches everywhere. Here we see the filament and the heat generated as a single unit confined within a restricted field while the light is unhindered in spreading its influence and dispelling the darkness in all directions, stopped by tangible obstacles and reflected by polished surfaces: the metaphor is clear. But for the fact of the electric current giving life to the electric bulb which, if transposed to the human living being, is likewise unanswerable but with recourse to the psyche's inhabitants. What is meant is that we may well know who actuates the switch lighting the lamp but not who or what actuates the switch of our lives. For the moment let us just call it what it is, life.

At the same time the mind is a "noise field" where the sum total of all perceptions has to be analyzed, properly sorted and elaborated, and the results properly directed to the specific and unique tasks they are intended to, tasks which are partly conscious and partly subconscious. It follows that what we have to deal with at every instant of our life whether or not aware of it is this noise-field nor can we easily dissociate ourselves from it as we well know from just trying to "think nothing" - or no thinking. Who has not tried it?

Let us revert to the initial picture, the pyramid with its hidden mysteries enshrouded in death within a sarcophagus - a mummy, or the dead chrysalis whose effort to spread its wings and fly into life is denied - and to our wonder and curiosity and the drive to reach the apex of the pyramid to the very point where the apex turns to a small circle or a tiny point and go beyond that as well. And this is where the following lines will try to take us. Where a tiny circle and a point were mentioned above, that was not at random but with a specific purpose, where the circle may be taken as the Zen's Master symbol in trying to express that typical concept of Taoism and Buddhism, the state of "no-mind" which we find expressed also in Hinduism and Tantricism by the "bindu", or point (this writing is not concerned with any specific religious doctrine but within the same we may pick up some pearls on our way). And we hinted at going beyond the circle or the small point, in other words beyond the state of no-mind to [2]

You will surely have taken notice that the sentence above is truncated - that is no mistake or omission - nor could have it been otherwise: you may ponder about it for a while, we shall meet it again and elucidate it.

If you have been reading this far you may easily realize that the writer's maundering could have been summarized in exactly seven words: "we are animated pictures and electronic noise!" Henceforth we shall try to remedy this with something more attractive and have it summarized in zero words - or utter silence.

Zero words and utter silence incidentally may bring to our mind another state of our life, deep sleep. Also in sleep our world is overcrowded, beautiful or ugly, serene or frightful and, overall fantastic - and with some practice we might even learn how to direct it to our best liking like a good orchestra conductor conducts his symphony. Besides this there is a state - deep sleep - which is very mysterious and we have no hint at all as to what happens there insofar as our mental faculties and perception are concerned, but for the electrical display [3] on a recording device which tells us that in deep sleep the brain waves are in a high voltage and slow waves pattern as a EEG record will show. Some sustain - at least because we must give a meaning to everything - that deep sleep is a return to the origin or to God. The fact is that nothing is known about this state and, while it appears to be the less hectic moment of our existence where deep serenity and profound rest and liberty are achieved the opposite may be true, in the mental realm. The switch might simply be off, by which the fact that the mechanism in the higher brain stem, whose action is indispensable to the very existence of consciousness is cut out from the circuitry. Might it not be that this is because the brain is overcrowded with life events and it needs to detach itself from reality and existence in order to elaborate and rearrange all its data so that we may properly meet the next day as life requires at its best? A wild supposition but incidentally the image below might hint at something like that since the event-related potential - ERP - may lend itself to such an interpretation. And since there is nothing to tell us what happens in the state of deep sleep but records of electrical activity nothing should hinder us to take also this possibility into consideration.

Let us consider this:

There was a time when there was no time,
To experience it you must loose your identity.
And having lost your identity no one is left to describe it.

When your identity returns there you are not anymore:
That time comes back to time,
Existence defeats description.

The experience of it, that is our lot.
And that comes,
At the end of our allotted time.

As for those who get a glimpse of it,
That is a glimpse of a timeless time
And no one was there to witness it.

These may seem just reveries of the mind,
But how does the mind get to it
If it is not there?
[4]

Here we try to describe a condition beyond human experience and we are not in the least herewith concerned whether this condition exists or does not exist, what we are concerned with is the fact that this few lines concerning "a time when there was no time" etc. are a product of the mind, in other words what was spoken of in the previous chapter as a "noise field" and, as we can see from the graph related to note [2] below, this "noise-field" is an electrical field and as well, in the previous chapter, we stated that an electrical field is made up of electrons in motion and that the electrons themselves have mass. What may we conclude from this fact? That whatever is expressed by the mind, no matter what depths it may reach, is some sort of "entity" and that the mind can conceive things or states utterly non-existing and not existence itself but these conceptions lay within a domain, just like whatever may be within the closed and empty circle which tries to express the Zen's master doctrine of no-mind or the Hindu's Bindu.

So now we will try to give a meaning to [2] and whatever will be said in this respect will be a noise-field unless we [2].

Now [2] must not be taken as a symbol to represent something as in such a case it will be conceptualized and brought down to earth. Just close your eyes and go blank, let yourself have a flat EEG just like in deep coma and when you will return to normal consciousness you will know that it lies not within the domain of mind, that it is not Unkunkulu or Bumba or God, neither it is hyper-dimension nor utter no-dimension, it lies beyond all these and is just [2].


NOTES

1] Mircea Eliade - Myths Dreams and Mysteries - p. 157 - Collins - The Fontana Library of Theology and Philosophy - 1997.

2] The gray rectangle stands for neither light nor darkness, nor existence nor un-existence, nor anything which can be conceived by mind and rationally expressed or conceptualized.

3] The image below is from: Psychophysiology of Sleep and Dreams - William C. Dement - American Handbook of Psychiatry - Volume Three - Silvano Arieti Editor - p. 301 - Basic Books, Inc., Publishers - 1966 - NY/London.


4] The Bidimensional Being - Introductory - "The Bididimensional Being", published on this site, may be taken as a precursor of the present writing and be valuable in this respect.


1] Man's necessity and longing for myths
2] Myth's use of psyche and psyche's use of myth
3] The Battle of the Titans
4] Do we need a mind?
5] How do we ?