This post is part of Linda G Hill’s “Stream of Consciousness Saturday” — Click and read, click and join in! Your Friday prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday is: “mind.” Use it any way you think to. Have fun!
“L’esprit percoit ce que les yeux ne peuvent voir.”
(“The mind perceives what the eyes cannot see.”)
Ahh…SoCS. Every week Linda puts forth a thought-provoking topic like this. And what better topic for “Stream of Consciousness?” By definition a stream of consciousness is (according to Wiki) a “a narrative mode, or device, that seeks “to depict the multitudinous thoughts and feelings which pass through the mind.” Today you get to follow my mind as I ponder Linda’s prompt. So first I thought, “What is a ‘mind’?” So, of course I typed “mind” into ye olde search engine. It thoughtfully directed me to WordReference, where I discovered that “mind” can be translated as “esprit” in French. (among other options, depending on usage and context, of course), but “esprit” was the first entry, which gave the sample sentence that I highlighted above. I like that, and I think it’s true. (I love the word “esprit”…it’s a beautiful word in French, with many nuances.)
These days, when I think “mind” I think of my dad, who is living with a serious form of dementia, and can no longer take care of himself. I am fortunate because he still recognizes us family members and some friends, too. It’s really hard to see him like this; he is a really smart man, a doctor, someone who has relied on his astounding memory for his whole life. And now he can’t remember what he had for breakfast, or even what he read in the newspaper 5 minutes ago. But despite all these difficulties, he is still him. Anyone who knows him would recognize him from his laugh, his “sense of humor”, his opinions, his gestures… I don’t know, but even this terrible disease cannot “erase” this inherent “him-ness.” In a strange way, that is a little bit comforting. I think, that even if he fails to remember who I am one day, he will still be “himself.” My mom calls him that. “Himself.” He is the “Himself” of the family 🙂
We perceive all kinds of things that our eyes can’t see, and it’s more than even just our other senses, I think. How can we perceive moods, or colors, or presences, or songs, or emotions? Our senses gather information, yes, but it is our minds that interpret that information for us. But “mind” is even more than that. I think it is one way to describe that thing that makes us uniquely “us.” That thing that, no matter what happens to our bodies or even to our brains, makes each of us recognizable to ourself and to others. Perhaps that is our “esprit”, n’est-ce pas ?