Chapter Nine - The Conscious Mind
Our Method of Thinking
I am 100% mentally blind. Even my dreams are devoid of imagery.
I’ll explain. We know that no two bodies are alike. Even identical twins, who share the same DNA, have different fingerprints, as well as unique patterns of freckles and moles. Not to mention scars and bruises accumulated over the course of a lifetime. Physically, we are indignantly unique. The mind, as it turns out, is no different.
We all have different cognitive strengths. Some are good at algebra, some in geometry. Some are fast thinkers, some slow. However, when we try to map the different mind types, it seems almost impossible to detect a pattern. Scientists still struggle to figure out the various types of “thinking”. For example, Temple Grandin claims, in her excellent book titled The Autistic Mind, that there are three types — visual thinkers, verbal thinkers and patterns thinkers. When further research is done, however, many other “types” of categorizations are found in literature— abstract thinkers, concrete thinkers, convergent vs. divergent thinkers, sequential vs. holistic thinkers and the list goes on.
Practical Metaphysics tell us that instead of focusing on the labels, which are often vague and subjective, we must focus on the two ways with which we interact with time and space. The puzzle then builds itself, and we can then determine how to label the pieces.
The main issue is the inability to experience the mind of another. Our conscious perception is infinitely unique, and it is impossible for us to walk, even temporarily, in someone else’s mental shoes. This truth runs deep; we are so accustomed to think that others experience their mental reality the same way we do, that only in the last few years’ scientists are discovering basic, fundamental differences in the manner with which we experience reality.
Take, for example, a phenomenon labeled aphantasia.
In 2014, a man underwent surgery to remove a tumor in his brain. To his surprise, his ability to “see” in his mind’s eye had vanished. It was apparent, however, that there were no side-effects as a result of his newly acquired mental blindness. His mind, it seems, instantly adjusted to the lack of mental imagery. It took him a little while, in fact, to even notice he was now thinking in words.
The man contacted his doctors, and the discovery led to extensive research led by Dr. Adam Zeman from the University of Exeter. The research discovered that there are, in fact, many people who do not see in their mind’s eye. The “condition” was named aphantasia. It is estimated that about 5% of the population are aphantasiacs. On the other end of the spectrum we find people who are hyperphantasiac. These people think only using pictures, and have hyper-vivid abilities when it comes to mental imagery. The level of “blindness” with Aphantasia varies, with some apahantasiacs seeing very blurry imagery and some seeing images only when they dream. The same goes for hyperphantasiacs who think in pictures; the level of vividness varies from one person to another.
We are now just a few years later, and aphantasia became one of the hottest areas of cognitive research. Studies are done everywhere to understand the phenomena. People who see in their minds eye, which constitute over 90% of the population, simply cannot grasp how others can function without seeing any mental imagery. The assumption we all see in our mind’s eye runs so deep, we don’t even have words to describe how the mentally blind think. We use expressions such as “use your imagination” or “visualize it,” without realizing that some people visualize without any visuals, and imagine without imagery. One of Temple Grandin’s earlier books was titled Thinking in Pictures; in it, she claimed that the autistic mind is visual in nature. To her horror, she discovered later that some autistics do not process reality using mental imagery whatsoever. Grandin, as evidenced by her books, is an expert academic researcher, and yet she realized this fundamental fact by reading an Amazon review for one of her books.
Simply put, academia is just starting to tap into the field of Practical Metaphysics.
The topic of aphantasia is a perfect example of how language creates consciousness. For thousands of years, humans assumed everyone can see in their mind’s eye, simply because they never asked the question — “How do you think”? Someone like me, who was mentally blind my whole life, simply assumed people used the words “visualizing” and “imagining” as a figure of speech. Sure, I can visualize. Sure, I can imagine. And yet I can’t even “imagine” what it is like to think in pictures (How can you drive a car? Wouldn’t the mental image block your view?). Words like “imagine” and “visualize” create a seemingly-objective collective perception when they are, in fact, purely subjective. We say the same words but mean different things.
This is where labels get tricky. The name aphantasia itself is problematic. As a person who is blind in his mind’s eye, I can tell you that I fantasize, visualize and use my imagination (besides, the mentally blind are highly auditory. Phantasia then equals fantasia, and who wants to be thought of as “afantastic”?).
The consequences of calling people by what they are not — versus by what they are — is easily demonstrated by the following example. I recently heard a podcast in which a doctor, an associate of Mr. Zeman, brought forth a hypothesis — if aphantasiacs can’t imagine things, would they be able to predict the consequences of an act such as pushing someone in front of a moving train? In other words, since this doctor thinks using imagery, he made an assumption as to the emotional nature of those who think differently. The reason was the assumptive connection between the word “imagination” and “image.” The label itself — aphantasia — created a collective conscious awareness, which as we just saw, can lead towards dangerous bigotry.
I first discovered I was mentally blind in 2012, two years before the research came out, naming my “condition.” I spent 38 years without realizing other people saw imagery in their minds, and thought nothing of it. My wife Diane and I were snuggled on the couch on a Friday night. Diane was laying back, her eyes closed, when she suddenly blurted –
“I see pink elephants. They are dancing.”
Something in the way she said it made me investigate more, and I suddenly realized that she was speaking literally. When I told her I couldn’t see any images, she looked at me in disbelief. To this day, she asks me every now and then in genuine disbelief — “So you want to tell me you can’t see any imagery? Not even when you are dreaming?”
This, mind you, is the person who knows me best. It doesn’t matter how close we get, we cannot “imagine” someone else’s mental perception.
The method with which we think, be it in imagery, words or sensations, is a key piece in the puzzle of the mind. It gave me a clue as to the puzzle I was building. As it turned out, I hit the jackpot. Not only had I had a first account of an aphantasiac, that is, my own mind, but I also had a hyperphantasiac under my roof. Diane, as it turns out, thinks only in imagery. Her visual sense is so vivid; she can match the specific shade of a scarf at the store to a dress back at home. No wonder I am an abstract thinker and she is an abstract painter. I say I hit the jackpot because as I explained in an earlier chapter, a metaphysicist induces, not deduces. This means that the metaphysicist does not need thousands of subjects to do research, since the blueprint of the mind is the same for all people. It would be the same as trying to learn the structure of the human skeleton. Once that is realized, all you need is a few skeletons to build the gamut of various physiques; sure, everyone’s bones are of different lengths or thicknesses, but the generic skeletal structure is the same for all. Having someone under my roof who, unlike me, was thinking in vivid pictures, allowed me to investigate the entire spectrum of mental experience. As you will soon see, the method with which we think, in images or in words, has direct implication on the way we perceive reality. Diane’s mind and my own were the cornerstone of my research for the past ten years, with other minds I explored being additional azimuths which assisted me in building the puzzle.
Blindly, so to speak.
When the research on aphantasia came out, I must admit I was frustrated. I felt labeled, tagged with a “condition”. As a researcher of the mind, I know that many “conditions” are mistakenly assumed to be a mental disorder (dyslexia, for example). In reality, these “disorders” are nothing but a different configuration of the mind, resulting from our quince perception of time and space. Of which order do they deviate? When you tell a person he is deficient in some way, a conscious perception of deficiency is created. We become attached to our wound, since our shortcomings are suddenly explained. It’s no longer my fault that I cannot remember faces; I am simply an aphantasiac. This perception focuses on the lack instead of on the gift; since the mind is polarized, every mental deficiency is mirrored by a unique mental efficiency. Like infinite locations on a planet, no spot is “better” than the other. It becomes purely contextual. Would dyslexia be a mental deficiency in a society that celebrates and compensates artists? The mentally blind is, in fact, a gifted abstract thinker. When you are devoid of imagery, you learn to think about what cannot be seen.
Alas — by now, the term aphantasia has taken root, and I have no choice but to adopt it myself. It is often the case that those who name the mental phenomena are those who never experienced it first-hand. This discrepancy is true in many areas of mental research, such as Alzheimer’s or Asperger’s, for example. An academic researcher of cannabis who never smoked a joint is like a writer who never attempted to publish. Wisdom is acquired only through experience.
Labels must always describe what is, not what isn’t. Words, we must remember, create consciousness. In reality, our method of thinking (with pictures or with a verbal inner dialogue) is a function of the direction of our conscious perception, being inward or outward. This direction is determined at birth, and rarely changes. Since all metaphysical templates, as we discussed in the first chapter, can be observed as a standard distribution, it makes perfect sense that 5% of the population is mentally blind. Equate it to the manner with which the light from the sun hits planet earth; at any given time, there is a small geographical area which is facing the sun directly (hyperphantasiacs), and a small one which is in complete darkness (aphantasiacs). Everyone in between is the mentally typical; together, we create a continuous spectrum of mental expression and capabilities.
I’ll keep demonstrating how our method of thinking impacts our behavior and interactions with our environment. But first, lets’ talk about how we perceive reality.
How We Process Reality
When we take a spoonful of a layered cake, we experience all flavors at once. The same goes for our conscious perception; it seems to be unified. We perceive reality as a chaotic, rapid amalgamation of various mental perceptions. In reality, however, our mental experience is layered.
When I first moved to the United States, I lived in New York City for a while. I remember experiencing something I will never forget. I was walking in the upper west side, when I saw a woman begging those passing by for money or food.
Since I have no pictorial memory (memory records our mental perception of reality, not reality itself), I remember none of the visual details. I do remember, however, the exact angle she stood from me. Not visually, but spatially. I somehow know she was short haired, almost shaved. I remember she was crying; tears were flowing down her face as she was begging people for money. “I’m hungry,” she sobbed. “Please help me.”
My heart felt as if it split open. I can still recall the painful sensation, writing about it over twenty-two years later. I remember being utterly shocked by the experience. People just kept walking by her, left and right, ignoring her completely. I couldn’t wrap my mind around it (so to speak). Can’t they see she is crying? Sure, New York City is full of beggars, homeless folks and opportunists of every kind. But this woman was obviously in distress. She was crying, almost wailing. She was hungry. Coming from Israel, a social-democratic state, a sight like this was uncommon. When I gave her some money, she looked at me with deep gratitude. That look, too, I will never forget. She knew she would be eating something that day.
The experience etched a groove in my heart. I remember the story, as a narrative; but I also remember the sensations. The “visual” details I do remember are factual; I only remember those details that for some reason were relevant to the narrative itself. For example, I remember the fact that she was a woman, because it took me a second to realize it; she had short hair and was fairly flat chested. I remember the fact her cloths were torn and revealed more skin than they covered, since it was a cold November day and I was worried she would freeze. I remember her hand stretched out, because I wondered what would happen if it would accidentally touch the people who walked by in a hurry, ignoring her altogether. My mind, however, also remembers the experience itself, the pieces which have no words, no narrative — simply sensations, perceptions, the side of the street it was on. Being blind, I remember the scene in complete darkness, with no visuals what so ever — just vibrational sensations, each uniquely related to this story and this story only. It is enough that one of these sensations will rise and the entire narrative will pop into my memory.
The instant we see a homeless person, a slew of sensations come up. It’s instantaneous. We don’t need to think about them; they are simply there, rising as fast as the speed of light. Only then the thoughts follow. Oh, shit, a homeless person. Will he want money? I better not make eye contact. I have no money, anyway. Or do I? Shall I give him something? He is looking at me, I am embarrased. I can’t give money to every person on the street. Oops, too late, he saw me looking at him. These thoughts create a sequential narrative, a rapid stream of labels that create a story we can later tell someone, reflect upon or completely forget. More sensations rise, like embarrassment, fear or compassion. Some we notice, some we don’t. The instant they come, we are fully present, immersed in them completely. We then might hear a voice calling our name, or maybe our cell phone will ring, and we instantly get distracted from the homeless man, thrown into yet another narrative. A few seconds later, we are no longer present with the experience; the event becomes a story that took place in the past.
One layer of our mental perception, then, tells us the inner narrative, the story itself. The other layer is simply experiencing what is happening. Most of us move from one to the other without paying attention. The two functions though, the thinking and the perceiving, are completely different. They are, in fact, separated.
But how? To answer this question, we must understand how the conscious mind works.
Until recently, scientists assumed the male brain is different than the female brain. Today, we know that the brain, may it be a man’s or a woman’s, is an interwoven mosaic of masculine and feminine functions. Since 2014, however, the realization that we all share the same brain is gaining popularity across researchers. Neuroplasticity tells us than the brain changes continuously. This, also, was a shift from the once prevalent belief that we are stuck with a specific set of cognitive abilities, like a hand dealt to us upon birth. Today we know that the brain is constantly shifting and changing. Not only to compensate for injury, such as in the case of a stroke, for example, but also throughout our lives. The brain, it seems, is constantly reinventing itself anew, like a reflection in a mirror, responding to our movement. But what does the brain reflect? Autistics who think in imagery, like Temple Grandin, have an unusually enlarged visual cortex. But what came first, the chicken or the egg? Could it be that this was not the way Dr. Grandin was born, but that the enlarged visual cortex developed over time, like a muscle enlarged through exercise? Can we learn to think in different ways that will evolve, or “exercise”, different parts of our brain? And if so, how?
The laws of metaphysics remind us that the physical body is simply a reflection of the metaphysical, and not the other way around. Our mental experience is not a product of the brain; instead, the brain is a reflection of the mind. It is not the brain which creates our state of consciousness; it is our state of consciousness which changes our brain. Neuroplasticity is merely a label describing the underlying function of the brain — to pave new neuropathways according to the will of the mind. It is the willful mind that decides which neuropathways will be paved. Like repetitive movements that train a muscle to act automatically. The thoughts themselves pave the pathways within the portion of the mind we wish to develop. We merely have to think about the manner with which we think so we can guide our thoughts to the area in need of development.
In this book, I will teach you how to do that.
Our cognitive experience is layered. It seems like an amalgamation of thoughts and sensations, all mixed together so fast we can barely catch up to it. In reality, there is a structure to the madness; it simply takes practice to notice it. Your conscious perception is, in fact, created by two different conscious minds, not one.
A masculine one and a feminine one.
The Structure of the Conscious Mind
In the story of creation described in Genesis, it is said, “male and female he created them.” The unsuspecting bible reader assumes that this verse speaks about Adam and Eve. This is not the case, however. Eve, you see, was not yet created.
So if Adam is the male, who is the female?
Jewish scholars struggled with this question for thousands of years. Jews believe that every letter, word and verse in the Hebrew bible was created with intention. As I shared with you in the chapter about the Hebrew language, the proof to this claim is mathematical; eliminate even one letter in the Hebrew bible and the intricate mathematical puzzle the letters weave together will dissolve. This is why Jews passed down the scriptures with such obsessive accuracy; they wanted to preserve the knowledge intact. Now we know that this knowledge is the key to the riddle of consciousness itself. And so if every letter was deliberate, why was Adam called “them?” Various solutions were proposed throughout the generations. Some even suggest that the first human, Adam, was two people connected together, back to back.
Practical Metaphysics, passed through Kabbalah, Occultism, Alchemy, and and other Western traditions, reveal the answer.
The entire story of creation in Genesis is a clever metaphor for the blueprint of consciousness itself. Adam is the conscious mind, which has free will. Eve is the subconscious mind, who creates desire, depicted in the story of the serpent. The garden of Eden is the body, with the four rivers being the four major fluid systems in our body. The Tree of Knowledge and the Tree of Life are two specific states of consciousness described in detail in various esoteric teachings (Daphna Moore provides an illuminating description of this metaphor in her excellent book The Rabbi’s Tarot).
As we said, “Adam” in Hebrew means human. Adam, your conscious perception, was the only one kicked out of the garden of Eden. Eve is still inside; she is the subconscious, which is still in the “garden”, hidden within the body. The fact that only Adam was kicked out is mentioned twice, not once. Adam, your conscious perception, controls only your voluntary organs. Eve manages your body by controlling the involuntary organs. Our thoughts are detached from the physical experience; they observe and analyze it as the story teller.
Like Russian Matryoshka dolls, every metaphysical and physical phenomenon can be split into two opposing parts, a masculine and a feminine one. Here, the conscious mind is the masculine and the subconscious mind is the feminine. As we unfold the puzzle, however, we must remember that everything is both masculine and feminine, and Adam, the conscious mind, is no different. This is why it was said “male and female he created them.” Our conscious perception, too, then, is made of two parts – a masculine conscious mind, which thinks about our reality, and a feminine conscious mind, which perceives it. We are all two beings, not one — one with a masculine conscious mind and a feminine body, and the other with a feminine conscious mind and a masculine body. The feminine conscious mind lives the story; the masculine conscious mind is the story teller.
As you will shortly see, the difference between them is rooted in the manner they manipulate our perception of time and space. One of them is dominating our body; it is doing so by controlling our perception of time.
Thinking vs. Perceiving
I mentioned that there are two main types of cognitive experiences – a masculine one, which thinks about reality and is never present, and a feminine one that experiences it, always present. Let’s give an example of how this is experienced in real time.
Say you are attending a conference, listening to someone speak about a topic you love. You are focused, present, and attuned. You listen to the words and take them in, trying to follow the thread as much as you can so you won’t miss a thing. Every once in a while, though, a thought penetrates your awareness. “Oh, this is interesting, it relates to my own research,” you think. “I better write this down.” You pick up a pen and attempt to write down a comment, while still listening. The pen is one of those cheap giveaway pens, and you are having a hard time writing with it. You try to remember if you have a pen with you. Yes! There is one in your briefcase. You reach and open the briefcase quietly, not to disturb the other participants. You are still listening, but noticing that throughout the experience, you missed a sentence or two, especially when you realized the pen was not writing. Your attention was elsewhere at that moment. Oh well. You get your good pen out and write down what you can remember, while still listening, trying to catch up with the speaker. Your back starts to hurt. The conference chair is hard and uncomfortable; after two hours of sitting, you are ready for a stretch. You take a deep breath and focus your mind on the words you hear.
This scenario demonstrates the mosaic of our conscious perception. Let’s distinguish between the thoughts (“I need a good pen,” “how long until the break,” “I missed what he just said”) and the conscious awareness of the sensations themselves (the hard surface of the chair, the words that are being heard, the cold air from the air-conditioning). All conscious awareness is mental; the body is merely a messenger, sending the sensations to the mind. Only when the mind registers the experience is when we have a conscious awareness of these sensations. I once watched a war movie where a commander of a platoon under heavy fire was on the radio, asking for backup. It was only when a fellow soldier pointed his awareness to the fact his left arm was missing, when he noticed it for the first time.
The masculine conscious mind is the thinking mind. The feminine conscious mind is the perceiving mind.
Labels are important. They create consciousness. Let’s name these two minds. We will call the masculine conscious mind – which thinks – the autistic mind. We will call the feminine conscious mind – which perceives – the artistic mind.
These labels were chosen carefully due to the manner with which each mind works and they way it impacts our perception of time and space. We are all, in fact, both autistic and artistic, regardless of the symptoms of unease we experience or the behavior we demonstrate.
Let’s understand how each one of these minds works.
The Autistic Mind
The autistic mind is the masculine part of Adam, the conscious mind. It is the mind that thinks about reality. It learns by cognition and relies on previously established labels to function properly.
It is called the autistic mind because auto means self, and ism means ideology. The masculine conscious mind is self-idiologized, because it constantly seeks and creates a story around itself. An ideology, by nature, is separate from he who uses it. It is always external to the self.
The autistic mind is the story teller. My name is Aerez, I was born in Jerusalem, Israel. I immigrated to America at the age of 23. I like coffee and cookies and hate touching oily creams. I am a High Functioning Autistic. I am married, and I love working in my wood shop. I have a story, an ideology, which was created by my mind about myself. It is made out of thousands of labels I accumulated throughout my lifetime, all stacked upon one another in an endless attempt to make sense of the reality around me.
Labels, as we previously discussed, create our conscious perception. Without language we can only interact with the world using our senses, as evident in the behavior of a new born baby, which has not yet acquired labels. The autistic mind is blank upon birth; it has left the garden and is searching for his way home. It starts learning, slowly and steadily, what everything around it means. Even a deaf baby learns a language by watching for consistent expressions, hand movements and behavioral patterns of the people around it. The autistic mind is like a robot; it searches for patterns and assigns them with meaning. Without meaning, there cannot be acknowledgement of reality.
The autistic mind is rational. It creates our perception of reality by algorithmically stacking a set of logical assumptions to weave the story of our lives. We learn about gravity as we grow up; we then throw something and see it landing on the floor. We fall and hurt ourselves, and thus know that jumping out of the window will be bad news. We then learn the word gravity, and air, and then learn that airplanes will carry us up in the air despite the gravitational force. We learn than two plus two is four, and always four. Like a quintessential man, the autistic mind is linear, structured, rigid. It strives to look for logic, to separate that which is rational from that which is not. It seeks accuracy and reasoning.
When we think about our thoughts long enough, we notice that there are in fact two types of thoughts. There are thoughts that appear as if from nowhere, intuitively, sometimes related to our thought stream only by context and sometimes completely unrelated. We’ll get to that type of thoughts later, when we discuss the artistic mind. There are thoughts, however, which are created as a natural sequence to other thoughts, that is, a link on a continuous chain of cerebral activity, guided by the one who thinks, which is the conscious “you”. Those are the thoughts created by the autistic mind. They are sequential in nature, since they create a narrative.
The autistic mind, as I mentioned, is the story teller. It creates a thesis. The story teller is always outside of the story. It observes reality and comments on it. It is the mind that thinks, not the mind that acts. The autistic mind, then, is the inner critic, like a factory manager who observes the work and tells everyone what to do. Without it, no operation is possible. He keeps the factory operational. He thinks, both abstractly and concretely, about what needs to be done, and how to solve problems. The factory manager uses logic to ensure that there is a plan in place and that the operational pieces are all there.
The autistic mind has one job and one job only — to choose. It processes reality in order to determine the next action. It is binary — there are only ones and zeros, yes or no, left or right. The autistic mind controls our free will. It is the mind which decides to look for a pen so we can write down a piece of information, or to sit through a chapter so we can finish editing it. To choose, the autistic mind uses past experience, weaving it into the story it wants to create in the future. If I won’t go to the store, I won’t have lettuce for salad, and my wife, who expects a Greek salad this evening, will be disappointed. My past experience tells me that this would color the mood of the entire evening, since she loves my Greek salad. The autistic mind is self-idiologized - it wants what is best for itself. If past actions were favorable and enjoyable, it moves towards them. If they were unpleasant, it moves always from them.
Since the autistic mind looks upon itself from the outside, it is always literal. It describes what it sees as accurately as possible. It does not understand metaphor, since this mind is already removed from the story. For a metaphor to make sense, it must be experienced, not observed. If I say to a child “you are walking on thin ice” and he has no experiential understanding that thin ice can break, he will not understand the metaphor. The autistic mind hearing a metaphor is like a child hearing an adult joke and has no idea why it is funny. He is lacking context. To the autistic mind, reality itself is already the metaphor, since this mind observes reality from the perspective of the story teller. A metaphor within a metaphor loses its potency. This is why autistics — who are heavily potentiated to the masculine conscious mind, as I will explain in chapter fourteen — cannot understand metaphors (as demonstrated in detail by Peter Vermeulen in Autism as Context Blindness).
The autistic mind lives in three dimensions of time and one dimension of space. When we say one dimension of space we mean that an object takes no space at all. A thought cannot be touched, quantified or measured; it takes no physical space. If something takes space, it can also move in space. A thought does not move in space, only in time. Thoughts are sequential, like sound. You cannot hear a three-minute song in one second. Similarly, you cannot think how to structure a book in one second. You need time, because thoughts construct a narrative through successive reasoning.
The autistic mind cannot do any work, for thoughts are metaphysical. They have no tangible presence in the physical reality. You can think about writing a book all you want; at the end of the day, you must sit down and write it, word after word. When it comes to time, however, the autistic mind can travel freely. It can go back to the past and analyze previous experiences, judging them as positive or negative. It can project to the future, imagining itself sitting at a book signing event, for example, creating possibility/probability permutations of favorable and unfavorable scenarios. As such, it always thinks of the big picture. It creates a story over time.
The autistic mind is never present, like a man who is searching for his pen to write something down and missing what is said in the meanwhile, or an autistic who is shaking someone’s hand and misses the person’s name because his mind is racing. The autistic mind thinks always thinks about something other than the experience, such as about the upcoming break, the shirt a person is wearing or the temperature of the hand being shaken. It thinks, and thinks, and then thinks some more. We cannot think and perceive at the same time, much like we cannot speak and listen at the same time.
Perceiving reality, then, is the job of the artistic mind.
The Artistic Mind
The artistic mind is the feminine part of the conscious mind. It is the mind that perceives reality. It learns by experience and relies on sensations and emotions to intuit response.
The artistic mind is self-involved. Art means to be, and ism, as we mentioned, is an ideology. The artistic mind perceives experiences by being present. It experiences only itself. Nothing is external to the self, since everything is experienced through the self. A self-involved individual is an individual who experiences all phenomena as a part of its personal story, like someone who is incapable of hearing a family story without cutting in and telling where she was when it happened. Unlike the autistic mind, which tells the story, the artistic mind simply lives the story. It is receptive; life happened to it. The story, then, is not just facts, as it is to the autistic mind; it is experiential history.
When a student struggles to describe how he or she thinks, I usually know that their artistic mind is the dominant one, since the self-involved cannot take itself out of the story. Those who are polarized to the feminine conscious mind have a hard time thinking about thinking because they are busy experiencing life. They are less likely to enjoy this book due to its abstract nature. For them, I am writing The Man Who Knew Too Much But Not Enough, which demonstrates the same concepts in this book without actually naming them, but by simply telling my story. The artistic mind learns only through metaphor; and all art is metaphoric by nature.
The autistic mind might be smart; it knows that two plus two is always four, and if we have two apples but four people, we must get two more apples. The artistic mind is wise; it knows that four is not always better than two and might simply ask who wants an apple.
The artistic mind is fully present. What exists exists only now, and it is always destined to change in the next moment. Being the feminine conscious mind, it is completely receptive, which means it is at the mercy of physical sensations and emotional turmoil. It is a slave to the body and the environment, its main source of input. The artistic mind thinks in metaphors. Since it is only focused on itself, it cannot relate to reality in any other way other than to sense it directly. Simply put, it only learns by contextually experiencing reality. Logic and rational are irrelevant to the feminine conscious mind; it learns only using metaphors, since metaphors are grasped through subjective experience.
The artistic mind is constantly offering the antithesis to the thesis developed by the autistic mind. Like a quintessential woman, it is chaotic, irrational, dramatic, wild and unbound. It is incapable of moving in a straight line, and therefore cannot logic its way forward. Instead, it intuits. It simply feels what needs to be done, drawing inspiration from an inner place of knowing that is completely unfounded, and yet, at times surprisingly on target in a manner that often cannot be explained logically.
I mentioned in the previous section that we have two types of thoughts — those that the autistic mind leads through sequential reasoning, and those which simply appear as if from nowhere. Those random thoughts are a product of the artistic mind. And yet, we don’t think them; we simply sense them. It is a knowing, an instantaneous awareness which has no permanent ties to the mental narrative we attempt to guide. They come from within, chaotic and wild, triggering the autistic mind and sending it constantly in new directions of thought.
The artistic mind lives in three dimensions of space and one dimension of time. Since it senses reality, it is reliant on our movement in space; we cannot learn Ping Pong without holding a racket. Art is always a product of experiential understanding. The artistic mind is fixed in time. My brother is in Israel, 8000 miles away from where I am; but he is there now, right this moment. Like a movie, the artistic mind experiences each moment as a frozen snapshot of time that describes a three-dimensional reality. This is true even for aphantasiacs such as myself. The felt sense of the feminine mind is instantaneous, not sequential; irrational, not logical; instinctive, not contrived. Since it is neither deducing nor inducing, only intuiting, it is not successive, but rather always immediate. As such, it is extremely myopic in its perception of reality. It can only remember what happens now (Dementia, for example, is a form of an extreme feminine polarity resulting in degradation of the autistic mind. Even the most basic story is forgotten. This is why it is more prevalent in women, who are more likely to be femininely polarized). As such, the artistic mind is the one that is responsible for our memory management. Memory is rooted in experience. If the information is detached from a contextual resonance of sort, that is, if it fails to evoke emotion, we will not remember it. That is why, to remember someone’s name, we must be truly present when we meet them. We must immerse ourselves in their story; be receptive. Otherwise, it takes no root in our story.
Let’s Digest This
Those of you dominated by the autistic mind can already see where we are going from here. I mentioned that we are all polarized to the autistic or the artistic mind, to various extents. It is this polarization that dictates the potentiation of the mind. The higher the potentiation, the more likely we are to experience autistic or artistic symptoms of unease.
This means that even before we speak of various personality structures, we can see that the world is divided into two high-level types of people - those who are more autistics and those more artistics. Autistics are analyzers. They view reality as the story teller; as such, they always think and narrate reality, talking about the experience rather being present in it. Artistics are present with what is. They live the story, not analyze it; analysis takes you away from the experience, and the artistic is already busy experiencing the next piece of the story.
Remember — in reality, we are all both to some extent, creating a vast spectrum of human experience. It is our ability to balance the two minds — as often and in as many situations as possible — that is the key to self-realization. The objective beauty of art is this balance between the masculine and feminine.
The dominant mind serves as the foundation of our personality. Because each mind perceives time and space differently, the dominant mind dictates our patterns of thought, what information is recorded into memory, how we interact with reality, how emotional or logical we are and even our likes and dislikes. The polarization of our mind impacts every thought, emotion and action we produce or experience.
Let’s see how all this can be practically used in real life.
END OF CHAPTER
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