Tag Archives: mind

Shortcutting… New Year Resolutions

2 Jan

Happy New Year! I do apologise for the lack of posts recently but I have been wifi-less for the past week or so. In any case, this brings me on to my first resolution: blog at all costs! I must stop silly little things like lack of wifi get in the way of my imparting words of wisdom to you. (All this talk of wifi actually reminds me of an article I read about some hilarious wifi network names of angry neighbours: Thou Shalt Not Covet Thy Neighbour’s Wifi and Get Off My Lan were my favourites.)

Anyway, let’s return to resolutions. Before I go any further, I’d like to propose that resolution-wise, New Year does not start until the 2nd of January. Why? Well the vast majority of resolutions involve being healthy and whatnot, and this is nigh on impossible when suffering from the inevitable 1st of January hangover. One cannot be expected to go to the gym or shun carbohydrates when one is busy rolling around on the ground in pain feeling several glasses of champagne, a couple of cocktails and a shot or two rolling around within. I hereby declare that resolutions begin on the 2nd.

Right, so what resolutions to make? The aforementioned health kicks are generally a bad idea unless highly realistic, as they otherwise tend to last little more than a month or two, and just make you feel more depressed than you did before you tried going to the gym every day. I would suggest limiting yourself to one health-related resolution: mine’s going to be ‘drink 2 litres of water a day’ (incidentally not all that difficult to start on the 1st) – highly realistic, not particularly unpleasant, and not particularly time-consuming. Simples.

Next comes the personality one. My brother’s is to ‘keep being awesome’, but I realise that most of us are a little less self-confident, and New Year is a great time to try and improve ourselves. This can be anything like being more sociable or less shy or any little thing you wish you did differently. Mine’s going to be ‘care less what people think’, and if you don’t like it you can all sod off.

Okay, we’ve done body and soul, last up is the mind. The third essential resolution has to in some way expand your horizons and enrich your mind. This could be through reading more, learning a new language, or any kind of intellectual pursuit. I’ve already said I’m going to blog more, which is very mind-nourishing, but I’m also set this year on finishing writing the novel I’ve been planning since time began.

So there you go: mind, body and soul all dealt with. You will be healthier, more confident, and cleverer. And it’s all thanks to me. I’ll keep you updated on how mine are going, hope you don’t give up too soon!

Keep shortcutting,
Zoe

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Shortcutting… Philosophy of Mind

11 Jun

You might have gathered from my Shortcutting… Existentialism post that I’m rather into my Philosophy. Indeed, I am quite the enthusiast. With that in mind (hehe), I shall introduce you to my favourite part of the subject: Philosophy of Mind. Here are some mind boggling questions to blow your mind, if you don’t mind.

1) How do we know anything?
There are no doubt some things you know about the world around you: stuff’s made up of atoms, things fall because of gravity, all humans have brains. But what proof do you have for any of this? You can’t see atoms or gravity or other people’s brains can you? So let’s think about things we can see. I can see my writing here in front of me and so, I suppose, can you. But how do you know it’s really there? How do you know your eyes aren’t playing tricks? How do you know you’re not dreaming? How do you know the world around you isn’t some elaborate virtual reality? The truth is, YOU CAN’T KNOW!!! Scary right? You have zero evidence for anything outside your own head (before you say something about not being able to see brains, I’m referring to your mind!). For all you know, you’re dreaming right now… (Hey, at least it’s a good dream.)

2) How do we know other people experience what we experience?
Surely you’ve thought about the whole inverted spectrum thing before (what I see as blue you see as red), and this also applies to everything we perceive through our senses. Maybe when I eat chicken, it tastes to me how strawberries taste to you, or even it feels like what hearing a violin feels like to you! In fact, if you don’t know anything outside your mind, how do you know I even have a mind at all? The view no one else exists is called solipsism.) Maybe this whole blog is a figment of your imagination…

3) What is the mind?
If you believe in an immaterial mind (you’re a substance dualist dude) as many people do, then you’re faced with the question of how an immaterial mind can interact with a material mind. And if you think the mind is nothing more than processes in the brain, then riddle me this: If a scientist had a poke around in your brain while you were eating chocolate, would he be able to find the taste of chocolate? No, I don’t think so. But surely this implies that there is more to the mind than just physical processes; some kind of subjective experience (qualia) that isn’t quite the same as neutrons firing in your brain?

I hope these questions get you thinking, if you even exist at all…

Keep shortcutting,
Zoe