Metaphors of the Mind

We think about the mind

With our minds. 

It’s very meta. 

Our metaphors of the mind

Morph across time. 

Is the mind a container? 

An aviary? 

A garden?

A clockwork? 

A machine?

We think metaphorically

Because that is what minds do. 

Perhaps the best metaphor

Is Mind as metaphor generator. 

Yet any single metaphor conceals 

At least as much as it reveals. 

Today we seem to reduce the mind 

To a computer: 

A fancier container, 

But still

A container. 

Instead of filling it we download 

Things onto it. 

We reduce learning to 

Transferring data onto the hard drive of the mind. 

Education = Data Transfer. 

But it is a mistake to 

To mistakenly identify

The human mind with any machine. 

The human mind grew out of nature

And natural metaphors have more to teach us 

Than machine metaphors. 

The human mind is more like a garden

Than an assembly line,

More like a river, 

Than an internal combustion engine

More like a tree 

Than a catapult, 

More like an aviary 

Than a drone,

More like a spider web,

Than a hard drive.

A hard drive can only receive data

And store it. 

But the human mind 

Can perceive

And feel 

And respond 

And view from different angles

And analyze through many lenses 

and imagined points of view

And grow curious

And long

And inquire

And investigate

And imitate

And transform 

And connect

And invent 

And imagine

And create.

All that and more.

But we treat it like a bucket, 

Pouring things in so we can measure what comes out. 

Even the word is more than one thing. 

And yet we wonder why 

These minds we measure, 

Don’t want to mind us, 

Yet they do mind.