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…