Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Minds And Mediums

What is it about alliteration?


I don't know either. But it sure is pleasant.


The writing I'm doing right now really has me stumped. The title of the essay of 'Relationships and Mediums: Habits, Historical Knowledge, And Human Self-Creation'. I am currently in the middle section where I am trying to write about the issue of mediums.


Mediums is a strange issue. I feel like I'm working primarily with Nicholas Carr's book The Shallows. But I really don't know what to do. I'm reaching all these plateaus, all these platitudes. I'm not saying much except that cities, economic systems, and language itself are mediums.


But the issue I am working towards is the issue of minds and of relationships. Relationships are always filtered through minds. It couldn't be any other way. So the question is, What is the mind?


And what the hell is a mind? How do we think of such a thing? What is a mind? How do I answer that question.


And I'm tempted to reduce it to the issue of mediums.


I'll take McLuhan's famous phrase, 'the medium is the message', and I'll modify it.


I'll say 'the mind is the medium', or 'the medium is the mind'.


I've just thought of this tonight and I don't know which one is better.


But there is something about minds and mediums.


Something about how we think, how we choose, how we live, and the mediums we use.


Because frankly it seems that our mediums set our choices. The mediums set out thoughts. The mind is the medium. The medium is the mind.


It reminds me of what Collingwood says. There is no such thing as a mind at rest. Mind is what mind does.


So the question becomes, 'well, what does mind do? and how does it do it?'


It does it through mediums. And thus it would seem that the mind is the medium, or vice versa.


I'm quite lost with my writing on this issue.


And I think it has to do with the confusion of parsing this distinction between medium and mind. I think it has to do with what it is that I am and what it is that has created me.


I'm really struggling with these issues. I think I don't have enough evidence for the issue of mediums. I simply haven't read enough. The same is true for the issue of minds.


But I'll try to write this essay. Unfortunately, I think it means that I won't be able to give the question of mediums a close enough look. I'm going to be short changing it. But that is okay.


Or I guess I should say that I won't be looking at it from the right angle.


Because I can certainly argue that mind is nothing but its mediums, and I can take a look at the medium. But the problem is larger than that.


The real problem is this: What is the inclination of the mediums through which our minds work?


Because a medium is never a passive recipient, never a mere tool. It is always a collaborator in our actions, it always contains an implicit message, an inclination. The medium itself encourages certain types of behavior.


And that is the issue that I am baffled by. I don't know how to explain what the inclinations of our mediums are. And thus I don't know what the inclinations of our minds are.


Mediums and minds.


Are they inseparable or am I crazy?


I feel crazy.


But I don't think I'm crazy.


I think this issue of mediums and minds is a crucial one.


Shall I flip out now?

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