Oh Great Metaphor

Traditionally, the psyche has been broken in to three main parts: the mind the will and the emotions.  I’m okay with that.  The interesting thing to me is how we try to tweak ourselves by strengthening or redirecting those parts without really understanding how they function.  So people try to change their lives by appealing to their emotions, or by increasing their willpower.

Well, here’s an image for you: The psyche is like a heating and air conditioning system.  The will, big and powerful, does all the work, so it’s the actual compressor, heat pump, what have you.  The emotions are the thermometer – not the thermostat!  They respond to internal and external inputs, and they change all the time, but they have no ability to communicate the way things ought to be – only what is.  The mind is what determines what ought to be, compares that with what is, and tells the will to get to work.  And that would be the actual thermostat.

Later, we can discuss what it would be like, psychologically speaking, to have a compressor that wasn’t powerful enough to overcome the environment, or a thermometer that was always 5 degrees to cold, or a thermostat that doesn’t automatically switch from hot to cold…

Opening Thoughts, Marred by Verse

This poem isn’t really finished, but it’s at least round the first bend, and since somehow I’ve already managed to post it once by accident, I’ll let you read what’s there while I work on the rest.

I have been reading Dante, so
Forgive me, if you may,
The way that I am strewing all
These iams on the page.

The mind adapts itself unto
The pattern that it’s fed
And replicates it endlessly
While pulling on its thread –
Unraveling, re-raveling
With endless permutation,
A master-house that has the goal
Of its own renovation.

Who has seen a created thing
That’s made quite like the mind?
Do fish, or birds, or arthropods,
Or beasts that feed on grass
Create themselves the path they follow
And set their lives to plans?
But such is man who’s made like God
The created who creates.
He picks a star and sets his course,
And rides in his own wake.

Yet, unlike God, who gets to choose,
Man also cannot choose.
The mirror shines, and so must he,
Reflecting what he sees.
He halts a bit, and modifies,
Changes meter, or the rhyme,
Opens up his aperture,
Adjusts his shutter speed.

But he cannot cease to worship.
He cannot cease to feed
On wisdom, honor, truth and beauty.
The numinous, the seed
Of glory ever lives inside him
and grows there like a weed.
It forces him to seek the holy
With a holy sort of greed.

And Lord, here is your gardener,
Standing in the field:
He has his seed; he has the soil,
He has a hoe to wield.
He has his purpose, and his duty,
And has the call to choose.
But still he cannot force himself
To ever choose the good.

And like a telescope deciding
Stars are without worth –
It twists itself to look for something,
Unhinging from it’s posts,
Then sways and tips, and holding… falls,
Its lens now mired in earth,
Its vision-shaft now soundly bent,
And lost to starry hosts.
Yet something still is working there,
Receiving what it sees,
Passing up exhumous visions,
Displaying rotten leaves.

So the human constitution,
Though broken by its fall,
Cannot help but seek its purpose,
Shaping self and all
The cosmos to the god it’s fashioned,
Cycling god and self
And cosmos, thralled with choosing, still
Desiring something else.