Friday, December 2, 2016

What's On Your Mind

"What's on your mind?" has morphed for me from the robotic Facebook invitational gambit which greets each of us at the top of our timelines whenever we log on, to something more enigmatic, deeply if (as one suspects – Facebook is a robot after all) non-consciously coded. It’s the kind of daydream-enigma I used to feel as a kid looking up at my bedroom ceiling, from about age 2 up to when I left for college at 18, virtually every morning of sixteen formative years, tracing with my eye (and mind's eye) a young woman's heart-shaped face in the faint cracks thereon: pursed lips and starry eyes - features that seemed in some ways more familiar to me than any other face I knew, and yet with less 'meaning'. Who was she? Why was she? It's the kind of daydream-enigma, half mesmeric/half blank not-quite-there-ness, that probably almost always ensues from repetitive exposure to any unchanging mildness.

So, with all the above "in" mind ("in" used advisedly), the sole animating pulse for me in Facebook's eternally repeated question "What's on your mind?" has evolved to become the preposition "on." The strangeness of it!

What's ON my mind? For something to be "on" a mind you'd have to think of it as an object with a 'top' - like a kitchen table you put a bowl of oranges “on”. How could the mind know it had a bowl of oranges on it? How could it know what was on it at all? What would "on" even mean to it?

To know what was on top of it, it would have to be clairvoyant, able somehow to 'send out' or separate at least some part of its consciousness from its contained unity, to see beyond it – ergo to see what was 'on' it - and quite possibly surrounding it. So is Facebook asking us (however robotically non-consciously) – in fact, intending to ask - this literally meta-physical question? The consideration of which would have also to shove us into another one: Can Mind know itself? Or can a mind only describe what it perceives - i.e., what its perceptions offer up as 'outside' phenomena, like a Facebook timeline, or faint cracks in a ceiling suggesting a lady's face, and do its best (on what amounts to precious little evidence) to guess what's going on? Can it know its own m.o.?

What is a "mind" anyway?

These are only the first few in a tsunami of questions "What's on your mind?" insistently evokes. From which the most plausible conclusion I can think to draw is that Facebook is ever more completely eating us whole – and will suck our souls like lollipops until every and any Mind in us has dissolved and gone. Ah, but what a tasty treat we’ll have been!


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