This project aims to explore new ways of thinking about our minds by describing our thoughts as things that we can see, things that (kind of) have a life of their own.
This idea goes against many of our common sense understandings of what our minds are and how they work. Most of us are used to thinking about our thinking as something that is private, internal and authored only by ourselves. Early psychology settled on a description of mind as a singular and private stream of consciousness through which we experience sensory information and author an internal voice, but most of us know that our minds just aren’t that simple.
Descartes is credited as being the thinker that most paved the way for this modern psychological understandings of the mind. He claimed that the only thing we could be certain of was the experience of our own thoughts and drew a clear line between the physical body and the immaterial mind. The material realm made up of physical things that we can see and touch, like tables, people, cars and stars and the cognitive realm, made up of intangible invisible things, like thoughts, memories, emotions and the soul.
This distinction between mind and body became known as Cartesian dualism and paved the way for modern understandings of the mind as a private, immaterial, interior space and the self as a bounded, autonomous and sovereign. This way of thinking, which allowed us to think of thoughts as things, things that could be scrutinised and understood, led to the growth of the science of psychology.
This project takes the from the foundation of psychology, that thoughts are things, and exaggerates it, taking it to the n’th degree by claiming that they are also visible and have an agency of their own.
Descartes and psychologists that followed him agreed, until quite recently) that our thoughts are located inside our skulls. This Brainbound way of thinking goes against the experience that many of us have, of sensing that something unsaid has a presence in the room, or that a memory can linger around a place.