I’m out on the freeway. Cruise control is on, seat adjusted and I’m enjoying the ride. Listening to the Alan Watts-ness of it all, a wonderful talk on our basic assumptions about existence, I get an idea regarding cognition and the so called meta-cognition. You know, the thinking about thinking, just the way I was doing at the moment. I recall the tiersome and confusing experience of sitting in meditation and labelling “thoughts “. I usually end up in the game of “thinking about thinking about thinking about thinking about..” and so on. It’s like putting layer after layer upon the first thought until it gets completly buried in endless meta-meta-meta-meta-cognitions. It’s as boring as it’s pointless, but obviously not boring enough to not think of. Ah, paradox. Anyway, suppose there is no addition involved in the process. Maybe it’s not thought+thought about thought+thought about thought about thought = 6 thoughts in 3 layers of 1-2-3, but rather thought x thought x thought = 1 thought on 2 basic levels. How about that? There is no linear process where complexity builds. There’s just the optional roundabout of re-cognition where you can go round and round for as long as you like. You’re not going anywhere as far as complexity goes. Everytime you pass the entrance gate you read “Thinking about thinking” because that’s the ride. Thing is you don’t notice it’s same same because you want to believe that there’s some progress.
What if the coscious cognitions are all on the bottom floor? Everything below is unreflected perception as in the brains recieving and structuring sight, sound etc. and there is no second floor. From the little I know on Buddhist theory of mind, “mind” is regarded as one of the senses, and if so, sensing a thought differs not from sensing a sound or a sight. Then I paint a picture of my mind that is not so flattering. Instead of getting more and more complex as in the image of meta-cognition and “higher” reasoning, my mind is running up and down between basement and ground floor. Probably in search of a luxurious penthouse with a panoramic view. With time it folds and quit because it’s not getting anywere. Too bad, the mind then produces the “I’m stupid”-thought when in reality, it has only taken itself on a ride.
The Niklas-ness of it all smiles and gets back into what-is-gear.