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a sense of one self musing
december 10, 2011 / may 26,2012


“mind” as reflective/recursive conception/sense of Self

“Mind” is normally a vague notion, so we think of it as we choose, but always in a moment of stepping back from a flow of activity to recognize a mental enactivity enacting as agency or intentionality (though one likely doesn’t put the matter that way at first).

It’s easy to see this as “reflective,” but recursive? That’s easy, too: Firstly, in being reflective, one stops to frame a flow of experience or activity, thereby having that “in mind” as a mind holding in attention that. One gains a perspective on having been in the flow of activity then-as-“now” now as some“thing” to mind (and, by analogy, one’s always in what’s not yet framed).

One can frame that: the earlier stopping-to-frame as a perspective on a flow of experience that might have been framed differently (thereby gaining a different perspective on the flow). Framing of framing is recursive, of course; and it always implies that gaining a perspective is specific to a gaining that might have gone differently (especially by someone else sharing a given event). The recursive aspect of reflection is also the basis for insight into there being multiple possibilities for framing, as any situation framed is also a situated framing.

Generally, this is purely-mental enactivity about mentalizing (where “mentalizing” could be a term for framing ordinary experience as something “in mind”).

Ultimately, this potentially-recursive reflectivity is self-referential, implicating oneself doing all this (the Cartesian cliché as proximal entrance into phenomenological interests—not to thereby endorse Cartesianism). Simple reflectivity is the basis for thinking of oneself generally: enacting purposes (i.e., purposiveness of enacting), actualizing desires (desires expressing agency), etc., being oneself as one self-to-oneself—and having been so, through all lived time: enacting purposes, actualizing desires, etc.

So, a sense of “mind” is at least a mentalization of one’s sense of oneself as enactive selfidentity (i.e., oneself “certified” by enactivity).

Then, why not say that ‘psyche’ is a synomym for ‘mind’? The psychality of oneself (a life-general, lifeworldly notion) just is the mindality of one’s life. Etymologically, ‘psyche’ has been a synonym for ‘soul’ and ‘self,’ as well as ‘mind’ ever since the classical Greeks coined the term. Oddly, though, we wouldn’t say “philosophy of psyche”; we’d say “philosophy of the psyche,” as if psyche is something specific and mind is a kind of being. Yet we commonly think of “mind” as somehow containable by our thinking or conceiving, as if mind is a part of one, along with one’s “body.” In or with “mind,” there’s a lived ambiguity between kind[ness] (“type”) and instance (“token”), be-ing and be-ing.

In fact, though, embodied attention is the representing itself as [merely] “having” a mind. Being embodied enactivity through so many developmental years of embodying time or taking experience to heart or learning or adapting or appropriating one’s world—that’s what truly minding the world is. All experience is of an embodied being of so much lived time that has composed one as the person—the selfidentity—“that” one is (actually: As one is). One is as one’s minded to keep what matters near to heart as oneself living on in light of having sought to live on well. Minding one’s life—minding the world—unwittingly becomes the legacy of oneself in mind as a life, increasingly intuitional and confident, of also so much mentality available for reflection.

‘Mind’ (noun) and ‘mind’ (verb) in an unabridged dictionary are so rich, so vague, as to be like a sense of breathing, as if filling the world with a “spirit” of oneself (which is the meaning of the Sanskrit origin of the Greek ‘psyche’). “Mind” is a wave of a mental hand toward all that may be mental, including conceptions of there being anything at all to mind.

So, such self-interestedness in any ordinary sense of “mind” shows why “the” mind is not wholly about brain activity (“whose” mentability—regulative and inaccessibly constitutive—may have little to do with any mindedness, a matter of self interest). “Mind” is at heart a phenomenological notion.

Happily emerging from a good night’s sleep this morning (eyes still closed)—out of a dream’s odd well-formedness—I’m in a reverie of “seeing” so much random neural firing (dispersed sparking, like a pointillism of stars blurred by an unsteady camera) in my visual cortex. It soon fades, residual neural excitements no longer drawn into a cohering dream still remembered, though fading, too, unlike a hypnagogic and hypnopompic resonance (what words!) that could become lucid dreaming (I’ve done it)....I’m still alive, so my thriving, a-conscious (i.e., pre-nonconscious) brain stem and cerebellum are in good health another day, no part of minding, no part of attentionality (except that I’m still myself alive another day), though aconscious mentability conditions any possible attention (be it emergent from non-attentionality [so-called “preconsciousness”] or from ordinary, external perception)....

“Mind” is relative to possible attentionality, though historically-naïve philosophical hopes for possible reflection idealized comprehension of all that’s relevant to brain activity—a fictionality of conceptual prospecting that had no idea how much of mentability is to remain non-attentional (e.g., a grammar as such) and a-attentional (e.g., a capability as such).

How extensively can a reverie live into its constitutivity? Of what comprehensive depth/bredth/height—of what sclarity—can attention be?

“Consciousness” is like “mind”: a reflective notion, more than simply there being a room of things when I open my eyes. Consciousness is attending as that there are things. We retrospectively presume its being already always ongoing for wakeful life. But wakeful attention—wakefulness, attentionality—is usually an ongoingness in terms of what we do with what’s there (not as there, but just doing stuff) without “thinking” about it, i.e., without a “consciousness” about doing something (i.e., attention given to attentionality itself—attentionality attending to itself).

Beyond that, one might have a sense of oneself in the room, ultimately a conception of oneself in all Time—so many possibilities for consciousness before coffee.

“mind” as reflectivity (frametiming) of inworldness

My sense of inworldness has not yet become comprehensively thematic across my sites (webpages, blogs). I would draw you into It All, if I had the chance—if I knew how. So far, though, there’s a good scale of cohering in what I’ve shared (which easily causes others to shy away).

To whom it may concern: I go on.

The True temporality of inworldness going on well—flourishing—is futural: “things” to do, places to explore, etc. Just as it always is for the child (life in Absolute Beginning), so it may remain for the Inner Child decades later: so much to experience!

I’m at least typical: We are the futural species, evolving to govern our own evolving.

Exemplary of mind is lucidity of focus—which seems lacking with broad-brush rhetoric, except inasmuch as terms gain well-formedness or express a well-formed understanding or conception: “our,” “own,” “evolving,” etc.

Minding some understanding, U, can be, at best, bringing U into mindality: making U belong to one’s wholeheartedness of mind or caring; and doing so constructively—for the potential that U may embody.

Constructiveness of focus is a hallmark of highly minding.

A scale of feeling might bring to exactly-conceived terms a depth, breadth, and height which transposes the sense of every simple expression—though lost to the life we likely can share with all our lovely, simple expressions comfortably presumed.

feeling appeals of ontogenic time in exhilarating horizons

I’m playing around my scheduled themes—which might be refreshing relative to earlier anticipating how (to my mind) a tenable philosophy of mind implies an ontogenically-temporal continuum from bio- to auto-mindality. One can feel lived time (biomindal) wholly in one’s sense of Self, yet a wholiness of Self is a conception, automindal in nature (I’ve merely begun to show). My interest in philosophy of mind implies a developmental-ontogenic approach to naturalized phenomenology of mentalities and mental events that I will detail in terms of others’ expert inquiry (few of which I’ve so far mentioned; even then, merely so).

I play, therefore I am, overflowing with anticipation because I’m confident of where I’m going. I, opening into easy weaving of post-biontogenic mindality (though ever a Child of human nature) as an autotelic formativity of Self—a selformativity—an aspiring Eros of flourishing, embody the developmental interest I theorize, yet to an upcoming degree whose theorization is the degree itself: a scalarity of minding that is to be philosophically well-formed, yet relative to evolving consiliences of chosen conceptuality.

love of individuation

I’m in love with a generative, creative virtue I live to embody fruitfully through enriching sensibility—appropriating others’ and originating what I can—in a marital weave of discursivities.

What conception of “Mind” can emerge from prospecting a synergy of self-enhancive curiosity, novel experience, and exploration; love of others’ uniqueness and singular backgrounds; love of mental play, love for another’s good, love of inquiry, love of cohering, love of being?

Time tells. My Project (as so far expressed through my web) has made a good beginning, I think. Yet, there’s so far to go.

Love (capped) becomes a wholeheartedness of loves going on as long and as well as one self can. Love of mind is mind in Love with time.

Next: section 2 of “philosophy of ‘mind’: a love story.”


  Be fair. © 2017, gary e. davis