You are now the proud owner of a mind. Before you get started using it to explore the knowable universe, there’s a few things you should know:
– that whole inside/outside thing isn’t a bug – it’s a feature. While your mind is a powerful tool, capable of delicious insight, stunning inspiration and profound moments of head-nodding comprehension, it does have its limits. So, in order to slow you down a little bit, when your mind is working properly there will always be at least a shadow of doubt lurking in the background somewhere. Remember, this is a safety feature, not a primary function – don’t over-use it, or you’ll end up a solipsist or nihilist; don’t turn it off, or you’ll become an egomaniac or, worse, a radical materialist.
– Your mind comes with a few pre-installed routines. Out of the box, you’ll be attracted to the Beautiful and the True, and repulsed by the Ugly and the False. You’ll experience sympathy for other human beings, and a fledgling sense of right and wrong. Cultivating these innate features will result in a lifetime of meaningful thought. You can turn these features off, but the manufacturer strongly discourages it.
– In a similar manner, your mind come equipped with a standard set of conundrums. For example, has the mind evolved or come about in some other way? If it has evolved, then the iron rules of natural selection insist it is a survival tool and nothing more – that whole love of truth, empathy for others, sense of morality stuff is no more meaningful than a fly’s choice of supper (see radical materialism above). However, if your mind came about in some other manner – what then? These and similar questions are meant for your rumination, to keep your mind in good working order.
– Finally, for best result, start out by following these simple steps:
1) collect sensory perceptions;
2) run them through the basic mental processes for clean-up, validation and organization;
3) compare the results with other sensory data and, where available and appropriate, other ideas your mind has grasped;
4) see what, if any, new ideas or refinement of old ideas result;
5) where new or refined ideas have resulted, engage the Will function (a standard feature of every mind) and give assent to whatever seems true in the results of the previous steps. (NOTE: Assent can be (and, in a well-functioning mind, usually is) conditional when assessing low-level inputs);
It is important to follow these steps before engaging your mind’s higher functions. Failure to do so, such as in cultivating ‘open-mindedness’ in lieu of engaging the Will function, will result in system instability when the Philosophy and Morality functions are engaged, resulting in what are referred to colloquially as ‘blithering like a fool’ and ‘acting like an ass’.