24.11.18

What Is Mind Blowing?

Mind-blown states happen in various ways.
We will require a working concept of Mind, and then we can deal with what ‘blowing’ it means.

Mind

For our purposes, we can say mind is a personal collection of concepts, preferences, and comfort zones. It's precisely what is personally familiar – and what is most familiar becomes invisible in time.

The mind in this sense is what people associate with a box, and hence we have the meme of going outside the box, which is similar to blowing the mind, but only in a limited, specific sense.

So the contents of the box (all that is familiar, or thought to be known) is mind – along with the intense preoccupation with protecting that box, which is the psychological or egoistic aspect of mind.

(Note: Other philosophical traditions, like some forms of Buddhism, use the term Mind usually capitalized, to mean a mental-psychological faculty that has reached a state of order and self-control, a ‘peaceful mind’ – but, we could claim that this term is an oxymoron. I believe Buddhist usages of the term take account of its enigma.)

Blowing

Okay, having our tentative, simple, working concept of Mind, now we can think about blowing it – the most fun part. It's different from going outside the box, because usually the box metaphor only pertains to a certain situation or a goal that needs a fresh approach, or a fix.
You can go outside your box, so to speak, without blowing your mind.
So what we’re getting after here is mind-opening and intellectual expansion to the point of transcending the box, but by forgetting it altogether, either temporarily or permanently. One might argue (and well) that strong, deep realizations are permanent by definition. We might want to take the middle way by wondering if the experience of blowing one's mind does have permanent effects, which just may not be obvious at first.

How does it feel to blow a mind? It's mostly euphoric, as if ascending to a never before visited height, and enjoying the aerial view. In that comparison, there may be some who feel a fear of heights, and who freak out a bit, but it passes.

Moreover, the experience can be ecstatic, because one feels as though the normal location of oneself has shifted, and one can observe that subjectivity from a radically newer and freer point of view – outside oneself yet still aware of being. (This point should bring into sharp question the existential validity of normal, personal, identified points of view.)

Another good analogy in terms of sensation is:

blowing is to the mind,
what
rollercoastering is to the body.

Everybody has felt this mind modification (blown-ness) but one may not know how to think about it. Similarly, everyone has had conscious philosophical thoughts or moods (especially kids and the elderly), but most do not get encouragement to explore them. The broader question is how much attention goes into our deep experiences.

A Gateway

Why is blowing the mind an important experience to describe and better understand? I believe the best answer is that the experience tends to lead to great awakenings in people by giving them a taste, and the hunger, for sweet Understanding. And then, digging Philosophy gives some thinking tools that prime us, so that understandings can flourish.

Seeking out (even craving) blowing one's mind is a useful vernacular image for the much larger prerogative of leading an ‘examined’, well understood life. According to philosophers such as Socrates, the proto-philosopher, that is the good life – the best life, actually.

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