Living Free; Free Your Mind

Living Free; Free Your Mind

The Mapping Courage mural makes a great background. This is the fourth photo I've posted with the mural. [No, I do not stand around and wait by the mural to "make" a photograph]

Philosopher and mathematician Edmund Husserl, postulated that although there is an "objective world" out there, we only experience it by bracketing, limiting, translating and defining it in the mind. The implication being, we rarely experience or understand reality as it really is, but as we perceive it to be; And perception is always, in a way, a reduction or simplification. The "mind" is under constant influence by biological needs, instincts, emotions, past knowledge, memory, and prejudice. Husserl called his philosophical approach, Phenomenology, the study of the impression of the observed which passes through the mind (or, the philosophical study of the structures of subjective experience and consciousness).

So how do we "free our minds"? Although psychologists, modern philosophers and scientists are barely beginning to understand the concept of "direct experience" - one that is not littered by memory, thought, emotion and instinct - mystics of all traditions have experienced and written about this for thousands of years. Mystics talk about an awakening, where a person, free from the thought and the thinker, becomes fully immersed in the "here and now", in full attention of whatever is being experienced. Only in that unison is the mind "free".

Much like many other mystic traditions, Taoism recognizes that the pursuit of knowledge through thoughts alone tends to complicate deep understanding: "In pursuit of knowledge, every day something is added. In the practice of the Tao, every day something is subtracted". "Freeing the mind" is the process of reaching simplicity (essence) by carefully eliminating the complicated - needless to say, without oversimplification.

Discordian author Robert Anton Wilson also summarized Edmund Husserl's philosopical approach: "All Perception Is Gamble". Meaning, what we perceive might or might not represent reality, [and we have no foolproof way of knowing whether it does].

Song of the Day: Free Your Mind - En Vogue (1992)
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