“Cogito ergo sum. (I think, therefore I am).”
– Rene Descartes
This is the way that most people who consider their thoughts tend to…think: I have created who I am because of the thoughts that I have.
If I am afraid of spiders or of heights it is because I allow myself to think of those things in a fearful manner, rather than looking at them from a different perspective. This is an easy concept to grasp as there are people who have spiders as pets, holding them in their hands regularly; there are people who jump from planes and bridges daily.
So, clearly, if another person can have a completely opposite view on something than myself, it must be because of the way that I perceive that specific thing.
An interesting article on Discover’s website focuses on how our bodies, our minds, and our environments work in tandem to affect our thoughts and how we perceive things.
This article doesn’t necessarily discount the idea that our brain alone controls many thoughts (as this line of thinking doesn’t really seem to take into account things like phobias or biased opinions), but instead suggests that certain thoughts are based on things like whether something is on our dominant side or whether we are carrying something up a hill.
The article uses an example with baseball, stating that an outfielder does not do complex calculations in his head when positioning himself under a ball, instead he positions himself based on where he’s at on the field, how fast he is able to run, and where he thinks the ball is going to land. So, the outfielder’s mind, body, and environment all come into play when trying to catch a ball.
A Different Way of Thinking Might Not Be So Different
This article isn’t actually saying that we are slaves to our bodies and our environments – rather view this new line of thinking as a commentary on how our minds perceive things.
Looking at it in this light allows us to understand that all thoughts, whether consciously or subconsciously do arise in the brain.
Sure, the argument is being made that if two people, one in shape and one not in shape, run the 100 meter dash, the less fit person will perceive the distance as much farther; yet, that is not a limitation of the mind, and more of an understanding the mind has with what it is working with. If that same unfit person were to get in shape and run every day, he or she would not find the 100 meter dash as intimidating.
The understanding that our minds subconsciously and consciously change our perception of things just goes to show how important it is to master our thoughts. Our minds may perceive things differently when different variables are thrown into the equation, yet our mind is still the one at the helm.