The mental part of mind, the thinker, often feels utterly alone, sometimes desperately lonely.
That is inevitable. The mental me, which is the image I have of me, which is the conceptual me, is built upon my own concepts. My own concepts are unique. The way my conceptual world has been created is at first partly genetic and the rest is whatever we have stored in our memory: whatever experiences we have collected, interpreted and memorized in our entire past. This past is much more defined by our childhood experiences than by the more recent past.
We can talk.
We can exchange conceptual information. I can talk with you, and learn from you how your conceptual car looks like, and see that is is different from mine. I can have a discussion with you about Toyota. But it is obvious that the European, the American or the Japanese conceptual car is different. Talking about cars cross continents, is more difficult than in my local community. There is a cultural component in our conceptual world. Moreover, conceptual distances might not only be defined by culture, but also by our own personal development.
The thing is: I can’t possibly borrow your conceptual car, put it inside my brain and have a discussion based on equal concepts. (perhaps in such a world where 100% conceptual exchange is possible, discussions would be completely unnecessary). I cannot take your conceptual green, and put it in my brain. My concepts will always be different.
So communication through words is fatally flawed, because we are never talking about exactly the same thing. We are not robots. Like robots we have a need to exchange data about the current temperature too, but then we will talk about how the cold feels to us in person, not exchange only digits.
More often we are not talking about the same thing at all. Talking next to each other, we call that. We have a concept for our own separation.
The mental part of mind is always on its own. We have to realize that, we have to admit this.
This is the root of our separation.
This doesn’t mean we have to get rid of our mental capacities. We have to go beyond them. we have to live a life wherein our mental world has its right place, but where it is not all encompassing. We will need our mental capacities to remember people and landmarks, and to be able to navigate, or to make a map, or to use a computer, or to perform a mental task. But also we will be able to feel how relative everything that is done with mind really is. Mind is a relational database. All concepts are interrelated. Mind is that private ‘internet-in-my-head’
So what is the right place? How do we put this in perspective?
A primer is to realize how our mind works. Investigate in our own brain. This is meditation. Use feedback from others while doing so.
And then realize that I am not my thoughts. Realizing that you are not your thoughts can be a great relief. My thoughts are triggered by impulses from outside, or inside, and an interaction with memory, how has this been interpreted in the past. This realization will give us some freedom from ourselves. We have a different perspective on ‘ME’.
Next realize that I am not that image I have of myself. It is just an image. Not unlike the conceptual car in our brain. The image is not the real thing. The image might be very much distorted and different from reality. This realization should make us humble.
Next realize that nobody has the same conceptual images of anything: the root of our conflicts, and the root of feeling always alone. If every child in school is thought this truth worldwide, in two generations time, there will be less conflict. We will take the powder out of all guns.
Realizing that memory is always interpreted twice. The first time before we store an event. We do not store the event but our interpretation of it. The second time when we recall the memory, we will interpret again. This realization will make us think twice before we assert that we are sure about something, even if we do not lie.
Finally we should also realize that the mind is just a tool. A powerful tool but limited by its very nature. There are things that we are never going to know with this brain of ours. This realization will make us free from history, teachers, conventional thinking and metaphysics.