For the logical, practical, mathematical, or scientific thinker, studying an invisible quantity such as the mind, can seem an unfathomable and confusing task. In many ways, however, the mind can be analogised to a car. And not just any car, the James Bond Aston Martin, where precision fine-tuning by a master mechanic ensures that everything ticks over perfectly. As with a car, the human mind needs the same level of good user management. Water needs to be kept topped up to ensure hydration in the system. Healthy oils lubricate the neurological wiring and firing structure, enabling us to think straight, and process information efficiently. Fuel in the tank ensures the nutritional needs of the engine are met, enabling us to function optimally.
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As with every piece of iconic engineering, within the mind are some hidden gems of technical function. The hypothalamus, the temperature thermostat that automatically senses when and whether to cool the chemical system down. The amygdala, the emotional tension calculator that determines whether the stress of a situation can be managed by the weight-bearing on the rear axle. Under the bonnet is the frontal cortex housing consciousness. In the boot is all the baggage that is carried around in the unconscious, until of course, it is cleaned out.
Even a feat of classical engineering, however, can only perform to the efficiencies of the driver. In the seat of control is often where we find the powerhouse of the mind, the ego. The problem is that the ego was never meant to be at the helm of mission control. It was designed to be a co-pilot in the passenger seat, where its unique skill set makes it an excellent navigator. Mid-life is often where we realise the motor errors. Having gained control of the mind though, the ego has no intention of letting it go, especially not to a rookie self. The enormous internal war that takes us into chaos is fundamentally between one’s ego and one’s self, but it is a mistake to push the ego out of the car altogether. That’s a collision course that will require nothing less than the repair of a master mechanic of the mind. Or attendance to a college where one learns to master the art of intelligent, unflappable, Mr. Bond.