Saturday, May 10, 2008

Double Tree: Another Metaphor

They say that the root system of a tree extends as far under the ground as its branches do above the ground. So the visible tree is really only half of a tree.

I've been contemplating a theory that the human mind is like that. The subconscious mind is a set of roots, extending into the dark, deeper than we can imagine. The conscious mind, however, is not the visible half of the tree. It's only a slender cross-section, at the point where the tree meets the ground, where the two halves of the tree become one. The conscious mind is a tiny part of the mind itself. I'm becoming more and more convinced of that.

What then is the visible half of the tree? I'm currently speculating that it is . . . the set of all actions and reactions that we perform in the waking world, our interactions with the world and its interactions with us. Every connection that we have with another living being, or with the world, forms a branch or a twig of the tree.

Yes, I'm starting to think that a person's mind, a person's self, exists in the world, as well as inside one's own head. I mean, we all have an inner self and an outer self, and often they are very different. Certainly they do very different things. The inner self spends a lot of time thinking about itself. (Very few of these thoughts, I suspect, are ever shared with another person.)

The outer self is "in charge of" interacting with the world. It takes in information from the world, and sends it to the inner self. And they say that we never really forget anything. All our memories are stored in the unconscious mind -- the mind duplicates our experience, the same way the root system of a tree duplicates the structure of the branches above.

I'm naturally an introverted person. That means that I feel much more interested in the subterranean half of the tree than the sky-inhabiting tree. The invisible world, what some people perhaps consider to be a nonexistent world. But for me it is real.

My previous metaphor was the ruined house.

No comments: