Sunday, July 10, 2011

The Common Mind

The idle mind knows not what it wants

.Quintus Ennius
I used to proclaim that all the self help books I read began with chapter 2. Chaoter 2 states that with the system contained in the book you can achieve your goals in life and find success.. Chapter 1, which isn't in the book says that you can easily determine what it is you want in life what your goals are. In other words the books were written only for those who already had an objective in mind, who knew what they wanted out of life.

Things are a bit different now. There are books which encourage one to learn to understand himself well enough to have purpose, a goal, a thing to strive for, Monday morning self analysis. But does that mean there are no longer any idle minds? Hardly. The mind that does not know itself is as common as grass. I shall call it the Common Mind.

Boredom is one of the alarm bells of the Common Mind. To fill and justify an empty and idle mind perople will become sports fans to the point of extreme emotions and even violence. We can see it on the field and off. Others will spend hours in front of a TV soaking up sentimentality and thinking it's real feeling, or soaking up amused shock at some celebrities misbehavior, or soaking up false moral outrage delivered by some personality, or fancifully fearing the various illnesses provided by one drug company or another. Or else the bored one goes out looking for something to fill the void such as conflicts, the destruction of property, or worse.

The Common Mind may find much satisfaction in alcohol or drugs, and may sleep a lot. Those are very effective ways of avoiding the emptiness of an unfulfilled, unfulfilling life: bliss from a bottle, ecstacy from a pill, joy from endless day dreaming.

The Common Mind will spend hours playing games, around a table, at the keyboard or in the casino. Others will compensate for their lack of purpose by messing around with someone else's goals and desires.

Confusion is another warning signal of the Common Mind. If you don't know what you want how can you decide between this, that and the other thing. Nothing seems to relate to anything. Choices are arbitrary. The person with a clear objective in life will grasp the right object, or move in the right direction.

Laziness is another alarm bell. To the Common Mind all time is time off. Relaxation, unearned peace, delicious inactivity is the goal of the lazy mind. Even the most active and productive individual in the world will some day face the question "What have you done with your life?" That individual will probably think he hasn't done enough. Imagine what the man of the Common Mind will answer when his turn comes. On the other hand some people fill up their lives with busyness, a mound of unnecessary and unimportant tasks convincing themselves that they are all obligations, and thus can retire at night, exhausted, and fall asleep not having to face the fact that they have no purpose in life. As Ernest Hemingway said, "Never confuse motion with action."

We are all capable of more than we do. In spite of what some people may say, I believe the cure for the Common Mind begins with self-respect, an abibing sense of worthiness, a real expectation of accomplishment. Imagination and reason are mighty tools, but no matter what physical or mental limitation, no matter what lack of opportunities one may have, the race is on. You may run it, walk it or stand firmly in place but the only finish line is the one you are certain to be worthy enough to spend you life on reaching.
Never give up.
DB - Vagabond Journeys


There's a saying "Love is good. Love with noodles is better."

Your task, should you choose to accept it, is to supply a different word or words in the place of "noodles." Enter as often as you wish. As usual the decision of the ornery, highly critical judge is final. The winner will receive an autographed copy of the recipe for Armadillo Fettuccine.

[GEO's WARNING: "Armadillo Fettuccine was probably the most devious figure of the Renaissance --credited with picking Machiavelli's pocket as he bowed to royalty-- and the only one who left a recipe for his own recomposition. To whomever wins this document I suggest caution."]

Love with ______________ is better.

5 entries so far.

Good luck


It's a long, hot, sticky summer, so here's a hot, sticky question for you. Don't let the recent New York State decision rob you of your thunder.

Same sex marriage. Should it be legal or not? If so, why? If not, why not?

8 answers so far.

You have until the last day of summer, but don't dally.
I eagerly await your answer.


1 comment:

Big Mark 243 said...

Consider the phrase 'the common mind' appropriated!