Rational Mind / by Jennifer Davey


This 9 part blog series BOUND explores the inspiration behind the stenciled words used in my paintings for the exhibition BOUND at Point Gallery, Denver August 2015. In the series, I will share my musings on these words, what they mean to me and why I selected them to be included in these paintings: SHADOW,RATIONAL MINDCOCOONDISCERNMENTSCREENHIDDENBODYLOVE, and BOUND.

"The world we have created is a product of our thinking. It cannot be changed without changing our thinking." Albert Einstein

Rational: Based on facts or reason and not on emotions or feelings. Having the ability to reason or think about things clearly

Ratio: from Latin "ratio" reckoning, numbering, calculation; business affair, proceedure.

Rational mind. As an American, with Western European ancestry, rational mind is the anchor, the trustworthy north star to truly decipher all situations and problems. I may use my intuition. I may trust my body here and there, but I assume that when faced with a major decision, it is the rational mind that I should rely upon to lead me on the correct path. It is the Western mind's default. And yet, I believe that the rational mind represents only the tip of the ice berg in terms of to understand the world and make decisions.  There is insight, intuition, dreams, gut instinct, pre-cognition, faith, compassion, biological and emotional history, and subconscious desires to name a few of the influences that guide my daily decisions. I was inspired to explore this rational world view as a counter balance to my painting  Shadow. What is the operating system I assume to be rational? What are the other ways of knowing? How do I really make decisions? Rational mind evokes a sense of clear-headedness and coolness. I imagine analyzing a situation based on its pros and cons and then making a wise and solid yes decision based on the list with the most positives.  Yet, is that actually a rational process? The strict rational mind cuts out the feeling, the heart of the matter, leaving us to analyze without feeling.

Rationalism encourages us to asses without valuing the effect on our body, the environment, or another person. We have separated ourselves from our bodies to such an extent that we are numb to the destruction and degradation of both our body and the environment. By separating the mind from the body, we have become detached from our direct experience and moreso, our focus on the rational mind has trained us to mistrust this direct experience of emotions, gut instincts or hunches that often lead us down an unkown but clear path. Compassion, relating to the heart of another, and understanding their suffering is also left out of rational decision making. Quantum physics and the energetic systems of the body calls into question that the mind is in fact in any one singular location-the brain. Each cell of our bodies holds its own mind and awareness, working in concert with the whole. As the Albert Einstein quote above points to, the world that we experience now is one we have collectively created with our thinking. If we want a different world, our thinking, what we perceive as thinking and knowing, has to change. Rational thinking is a gift but it is not meant to be the only kind of thinking, nor the master of how we lead our lives. 

My painting, Rational Mind, was an exploration of this tension or split between the rational mind and the body. When or how do you connect this divide between the rational mind and the body?