On mind


Perhaps the greatest faculty our minds possess is the ability to cope with pain. Classic thinking teaches us of the four doors of the mind, which everyone moves through according to their need.

First is the door of sleep. Sleep offers us a retreat from the world and all its pain. Sleep marks passing time, giving us distance from the things that have hurt us. When a person is wounded they will often fall unconscious. Similarly, someone who hears traumatic news will often swoon or faint. This is the mind’s way of protecting itself from pain by stepping through the first door.

Second is the door of forgetting. Some wounds are too deep to heal, or too deep to heal quickly. In addition, many memories are simply painful, and there is no healing to be done. The saying ‘time heals all wounds’ is false. Time heals most wounds. The rest are hidden behind this door.

Third is the door of madness. There are times when the mind is dealt such a blow it hides itself in insanity. While this may not seem beneficial, it is. There are times when reality is nothing but pain, and to escape that pain the mind must leave reality behind.

Last is the door of death. The final resort. Nothing can hurt us after we are dead, or so we have been told.

Patrick Rothfuss, The Name of the Wind

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About makagutu

As Onyango Makagutu I am Kenyan, as far as I am a man, I am a citizen of the world

15 thoughts on “On mind

  1. aguywithoutboxers says:

    So true. An important reminder that all of these reactions are normal and human. It’s a constant that makes us all the same. Thank you, my Nairobi brother!

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  2. violetwisp says:

    I really like that progression. But I’m left wondering if the ‘forgetting’ door is a real option. Is it the same as repression? Because it’s impossible to simply forget something that makes a big impression in our lives.

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    • makagutu says:

      Maybe it is same as repression. It ain’t very effective as we happen to mostly remember the sad things especially if we can meet those who were at the source of the problem in the first place.
      The other 3 I think work for me and especially 4.

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    • emmylgant says:

      It depends. Behind the forgetting door huge swath of painful times are just missing. There is no spontaneous recollection of what happened. It’s simply missing. It takes willful concentration and focus to bring the story up from the white canvas of forgetfulness. It’s like looking at a scar and not being sure you remember how it really happened. So yes it works. It allows you to move on as if it never occurred and you are just as fine as the next guy.

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  3. melouisef says:

    Very true.
    I have always comforted myself with the idea of and then there is death.

    PS I have this book but I have never considered reading it but now …..

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    • makagutu says:

      I haven’t read the book too. The passage was sent to me by a friend I had given the tyranny of god to read. That was their reaction to the book.

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  4. themodernidiot says:

    It’s a funny coincidence you posted this today. I had to debate euthanizing my dog, and the last line made it easier. He was in a lot of pain, and I was grateful for a way to ease it. Your post eased mine as well. Thank you sir.

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  5. lahacienda says:

    Seems like a very interesting book. I think I have managed to forget some painful memories, but not the most painful ones. I just try to analyse them to death and that seems to help. I have to admit I’d rather not have to face the third door.

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    • makagutu says:

      Luckily when one gets to the third door, am not sure one knows they are mad. I think it could feel like a state of bliss. I haven’t met a sad madman, and I have met many, though I have heard of a few violent ones.

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      • lahacienda says:

        To me, the worst thing about madness is not necessarily that you live in your own world. It’s how other people take advantage of you as soon as they become aware of your vulnerability. A man once came into to my father’s office and said they were spying on him through his TV set, “stealing his thoughts” and he wanted him to find out who they were. He then said he had gone to another guy to help him and that other guy asked him for 100 euros, which he paid. Can you believe it? What kind of creep takes advantage of a guy with schizophrenia? We live in a nasty world. You cannot afford to be mad…

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        • makagutu says:

          The guy who took the money needs help.
          I can’t believe some people can take advantage of a mad man! And definitely of that is how people are, one can’t afford to be mad!

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