The everyday language of internal cohabitation
The experience of an ‘other mind’ speaking with its own ‘inner voice’ seems to be so universal and troublesome that it is not surprising that it has many representatives in aphorisms and saying in common speech. These sayings are worthy of study since they incorporate a wealth of common knowledge about these phenomena. For example the phrase "single minded dedication" includes both a recognition that the state of being single minded is unusual and that it can be useful if you want to get a single job done. On the other hand there is also a recognition that the state of being single minded includes a narrowing of the field of attention so that important phenomena or alternative approaches will not be seen and it is therefore a potential risk to have entered into the state of being "single minded". However, emancipation from the restricted state of being single minded is not straightforward since the phrase "being in two minds" indicates a state of irresolvable paralysis where two minds are opposing each other rather than siding with each other. These phrases indicate a clear recognition that one body does not mean one mind and that ownership of mind is a much more elusive and problematic matter than having a body. These phrases represent the daily grammar with which we try and keep track of which mind we are in and represents an acknowledgement that the body is cohabited by more than one mind, whatever it says on the birth certificate. There are further phrases illustrating that there can be problems associated with which mind adequately represents the named owner of the body. In connection with a future plan a person can say that they "have a mind" to implement it or that they have "half a mind" to implement it which in fact means that they are in trouble about it. Another example comes when something is said or done which is abusive or damaging and out of character with the persons usual approach to life and this is often acknowledged by saying that they were "not in their right mind" when they behaved that way. As an extension of this, if there has been some profoundly damaging violent action this is commonly referred to as "mindless violence" because I think that there is recognition that even if the person perpetrating the violence claims that it was their choice to do it, it is nevertheless known that this is a false claim and it is in fact a delusion of choice in an out of control mind.
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