Copyright © Jan M. Cox, 1995

I have told you that the mind's primary job is to agitate and arouse other aspects of man into activities they would otherwise have never undertaken. A more distilled version of this would be to say that the struggle to be other than his true nature IS now man's true nature. I am using the term "true nature" more or less as it is used in the every day world--all the way from religious leaders believing man has lost his true nature through some sin or insult to the gods to the psychological view that it has to do with traumas suffered in childhood. I did not make up the phrase, I'm just using it as it has been used in common currency, which holds that man had some sort of true nature and has in some way strayed from it.

Beyond my rough quotations and references to the various and sundry origins of the idea of true nature, is this: Everyone is born being something. So let's just call that your "true nature" and not go any further for a second. You were born genetically what you are and were going to be--physically and instinctively speaking. Just take into account that you were born something--whatever it was--and consider that would be your true nature.

Suppose you're talking to an ordinary sane man with no particular interest in the idea of true nature as presented by any of the previously noted sources. If you told this man, "All right, everybody is born as they are, and none of us remember what we were at that moment." And then you asked him, "Would you say it's fair to assume that what you are right now is not what you were born as?" If I may be so bold as to speak for this ordinary sane person, I suggest that if he had even a small bent toward the philosophical, he might answer, "Well, yeah." Because this sounds right, if for no other reason than man is forever unfinished, so no one, no matter how successful, can ever completely fulfill himself. So if you said, "We are not what we started out as," an ordinary person would agree. It just sounds and feels right.

All of civilization's institutions--particularly in the several disciplines that would seem to be in line with This kind of activity--religion, psychology, even pseudo-mysticism--are continually pointing out that in some way man is not living as he should be living. If pressed, they will say he's not living in harmony with "mother earth," or "nature." The saner and more civilized the person, the more they will agree that "man is not living as he should." Behind this pointing is the unrecognized feeling that man should be involved in a struggle to regain his true nature, to realign his life more closely with the dictates that would have been manifest in his original nature, or in nature itself.

What the collective, ordinary mind cannot see is that the struggle to be something other than your true nature is now man's true nature. I don't mean it is humanity's true nature in the twenty-first century on this planet. I mean it is each person's true nature immediately after that person's intellect is fired up enough to become self aware. That is, when you have met the intellectual qualifications to be considered a human.

The development I'm describing amounts to one thing--your intellect, your mind, reaches the point where it is now trying to override your original instinctive nature. But it is at exactly this point that ordinary people try to shift the responsibility. They would take what I've just described and say, "This is the point where the child is becoming verbally coherent and is intellectually reacting to his parents, to the environment." So far so good. But then they'd say, "But what you've just described is how things get off on the wrong foot, and the beginnings of the child straying from his true nature, because the parents begin to demand too much of him too soon..." or whatever the story is.

All ordinary attempts to study man are attempts to study his pathology. Such attempts bring to mind the old joke about the first thing that happens to you in medical school. You get through years of pre-med, have dreams of healing the sick and preserving life, and the very first day in medical school, they roll out a dead body. Or a person begins to study psychiatry--you start doing your post-graduate work and where do they send you--to a mental hospital. Here's a person trying to study the nature of the human mind and he's sent to a place where the minds that are there are by definition flawed. Or say you apply for a job as big-time mechanic and they ask about your qualifications. You say, "I know everything about cars, I grew up in my Uncle's junkyard." "You mean, nothing but junkers?" "Yeah, but I know everything about them, I spent years in that place." And they ask you, "Well, have you ever fixed a car, gotten it running?" And you say, "Running...?"

Once you see this in a certain way, it looks absurd. But note--it doesn't make any difference. Life goes on. From a more expansive view, you begin to see why everyone is critical of everything and everyone else. At the first stage, you want jump up and say, "Now I see the basis for all this criticism!" You see that there is a basis for criticism in Life, and that it is not just in individual cases, but the whole world is not working correctly. God forbid you get stuck there. But shortly after that comes the next stage...

You begin to realize, "I don't have to pick on any one thing, I don't have to pick anything...EVERYTHING about human life is worthy of criticism, because none of it is succeeding by it's own definition!" Not by your definition--by its own. Religion doesn't succeed by its own definition; the government doesn't; the world of academia doesn't. Ask any of them, "Have you, ultimately, succeeded?" and they'd have to answer, "Well, no, but we've only had 2,000 years..." At this stage you might think, "That's what was troubling me, I knew something was wrong, but now I know I was wasting my time, everyone is wasting their time because the totality of human life, the whole game, doesn't work!"

Now the next stage that should occur within a short time is you realizing, "Yeah, it doesn't work, but it doesn't matter! Life is running along just a smoothly as can be." That is why it is impossible, from an ordinary view, to understand that man's true nature as a civilized, reasonable, modern, sane, routine person is to feel as though he is in conflict with his true nature.

Let's go back to what I said in the beginning. It is the mind's responsibility now to struggle to override and change what a man is--and the mind cannot do it. I'll put it to you very bluntly--the mind can't do anything. (But the more you are an ordinary civilized person, the less sense that makes, and the easier it is for you to just stop there and never pick up the question again.) The mind can do nothing. That doesn't sound as if it could be true, does it? By any reasonable view--even I have pointed out--without the mind, man would be nothing. Yet the mind can do nothing. It can tell the hands and the feet to do something, and if it's lucky, they may do it. You could have the greatest mind in the world--you could be Einstein, Planck, Copernicus, Goethe--it doesn't matter. Your mind can't do anything.

Consider it this way: People feel as if their mind is this whole completely different entity "up there." And the more you are a contemporary, intellectually sophisticated person, the more you feel that the mind is really you and the rest of the body is kind of like baggage--my body's too fat, too thin, too big, too small--but it's not the real me. The real me is up here in my head.

Now picture this: There you are, a person with a high IQ, a person with some intellectual wherewithall. You've got a mind that makes most of your contemporary's minds pale by comparison--no great criticism implied, no rancor, you're just aware of the fact that you're smarter than they are. There you sit with this great mind. Think about this--Tell it, "Go get 'em, mind!" Your mind can't do shit.

I'm not playing with words. You mind can't do anything. You can think of how you might actually be able to construct a certain apparatus and place it in a suitable vehicle that could transport you to other galaxies faster than the speed of light. Your mind might envision this--but it can't do shit about it. You mind can't do anything other than tell your hands, "Hey, why don't you dial a phone and see if somebody's interested in this idea," or, "Why don't you go get some pliers, some baling wire, and put the thing together."

Define the mind: The mind is the thing with which men fool themselves into believing that they are in control of themselves.