Homer’s Odyssey begins with the word ‘Man’ [Andra, from the Attic-Greek Aner, as inthe English Anthropo]. Let’s go see if we can find the fella.
The word ‘Man’ derives from a root [as in the Sanskrit Manush, Manas] that says: ‘That which has Mind’ or more literally, ‘That which thinks’.
How is ‘Man’ different say, from a Mattress? Man is different because Man alone has Mind. This has been the traditional answer since antiquity.
The defining attribute of Man is his Mind. And with this Mind, Man constructs his World as Model. And its central character is his model of himself as ‘Man’.
I don’t know what Mind is. But I do know this. Every time I say: ‘Gotcha!’, every time I use Mind to hold forth on the Nature of Mind, I am back in the whirl of the Self-Loop.
Very wise-men have been trying to get a handle on this thing called ‘Mind’ for a few millennia and have gotten nowhere. Divine origin? The center of cognition, emotion and volition? The firing of synapse on brain tissue?
But this ‘Mind’ of mine [which of course I know exists] keeps giving me the slip. And to further confuse matters, knowing folks say that Mind is also the depository of ‘Thought’, the dodgy character we just met.
I can’t see it, hear it, smell it, taste it, touch it. And yet, darn it all, it feels awfully real and tangible to me. This ghost behind my nose and between my ears.
And anything I pick and label as ‘Mind’ using this Mind of mine cannot be Mind, can be anything but Mind.
So. ‘What is ‘Mind’? As I said, that’s about where the wise-men left it.