Monday, February 27, 2006

Four ways to cast your mind

I started a sentence today that read "cast your mind". . . and then stopped. And wondered.
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Cast your mind back to a time when life felt balanced to you. . . I might have said. As though there were feelings swimming in some metaphysical waters and you could catch the appropriate one with a cast of your mind. The results would be unpredictable - skill counts in fishing and yet does not guarantee results. You would move slowly, deliberately, gracefully. And your mind would arc out over the waters and sink and wait until a time when life felt balanced was enticed onto the sharp prong and you could reel your mind in again. Maybe what you took off the hook would be the time you were seeking, or maybe a similar time. . . or maybe a time with the right weight and nothing else in common with what you expected.

Cast your mind back to a time when life felt balanced.

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Cast your mind forward . . . that would be forecasting. You'll notice right away that to forecast - to predict the future, you have to start by going backwards. Just like casting your line. You have to analyze what has already happened, what conditions exist in order to guess what will happen in a time that has not yet arrived. The results would be subject to a margin of error - skill counts in forecasting and yet does not guarantee results. Your mind would probe, spider-like, over available data, weaving it into fine, dense patterns that would begin in the past and extend symmetrically into the future. Except that the pattern would be incomplete until the future was in the past. . . and then you would find that a variation here, and an anomaly there created difference between what you could analyze and what you might expect.

Cast your mind forward.
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Cast your mind in a mould so that the molten potential takes on a particular shape and character. Where will you get the mould? Will you commission it from a factory where they make precision parts or from an artist who captures energy and grace in bronze? Notice that choosing the shape of what is to come will require that you seek out models of what has been achieved in the past. Past achievements are not a guarantee of future results. Moulds degrade as they are used: a bubble or impurity might slip in with the stuff of your brain so that the mould is slightly imperfect. In all events, it is a negative to the positive it shapes, moving in where the brain will move out.

Cast your mind in a particular shape and character.
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Cast your mind as you would cast a play. Which actors will best fill the parts in the internal drama that fills your consciousness? Notice that before you cast the play, you must choose the play, know whether what unfolds is tragedy or comedy, theatre of the enlightenment or theatre of the absurd. Each actor will fill the part and shape it and change the way it plays out. Sometimes, actors get a better offer, or get sick, or get out of the business. You cannot merely pick great actors; you must find the ones with chemistry - the ones who will make one another better, the ones who will give the play a dimension no one has yet seen in it. And every performance will be different; minute differences in mood and movement and audience response will change the play as it unfolds.

Cast your mind with actors who make one another better.

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