Calen 2003-7

Kinds of Mind

part of: Definitions

by Teresa Dunyati-Long

It may sound simplistic to say this, but I’ve noticed that human beings possess one of three kinds of mind: • Monocular • Binocular • Compound.

No value judgment of any sort is implied in the naming of these kinds of mind, nor are they related in any way to station or occupation in life. These
names are meant to be purely descriptive of the way each kind of mind functions within its setting.

It is important to realize the presence of all three kinds of mind are necessary for the optimum functioning of any social unit – be that a family, clan,
theatre group, corporation, government, nation, etc.

What are the ways these three kinds of mind function?

The Monocular Mind

This kind of mind excels at strong, deep focus on a singular objective, variable, investigation, idea, etc from a singular, very specific angle, to the
exclusion of all else. No other angles or foci are considered possible in general (at worst); at best other angles, foci or variables in life are of little interest.
This kind of mind can accomplish miracles and highly prizes accomplishments of all kinds, but is weak in analytical skills and needs help understanding
its place in the greater scheme of things – anything outside the area of its exclusive focus. This kind of mind relishes discipline, duty, status and
authority, learns and functions best in environments where these four variables are available. An example of this kind of mind might be the monks who
sat for forty years or more at places like Lindisfarne writing out and illustrating by hand some of the most beautiful books ever created.

The Binocular Mind

This kind of mind excels at analysis. It is acutely aware of dualities – two things arranged in opposition to each another – either/ors that allow all the
other variables present in life to be organized and evaluated. This kind of mind relishes investigation, cerebration, debate, and prizes understanding over
doing. Individuals possessing this kind of mind learn and function best in environments where these activities are enabled. An example of this kind of
mind might be William F. Buckley.

The Compound Mind

This kind of mind builds itself slowly over a long period of time, absorbing ideas, experiences, data, angles, and variables of all kinds – as often as not
from very disparate fields of endeavor, pieces itself together through careful observation of the relationships between the variables it absorbs. This kind
of mind is curious, fluid, adaptive, multi-faceted, often impatient, and relishes exploration, complete freedom, and strives for integration. Individuals
possessing this kind of mind learn and function best in environments where these variables are potent. An example of this kind of mind might be Jackson
Pollock.

I should stress that each of these kinds of mind utilizes creativity and self-expression as they fulfill their various societal functions.

And what are those societal functions?

To use a body-based analogy, in groups, Monocular minds function much like cells – carrying out very specific activities necessary to the basic
functioning of the group. Binocular minds act like hormones and neurotransmitters, transmitting information, stimulating activity. Compound minds are
like the intracellular matrix – they hold everyone else together by relating all present to each other and the environment, which consists of many
variables past and present.

If there is trust in a group between these three very different kinds of mind, and these kinds of mind are present in the right proportions with the right
skills and training, there is nothing the group cannot do. If the right proportions, skills, training, or trust breaks down, group processes leading to
accomplishment, understanding, and integration grind to a halt.

Right now in the world, we see an emphasis on the points of view of many different groups of Monocular minds – Islamic, Christian, and Jewish
fundamentalists, for example. The points of view of Binocular and Compound minds are not trusted. We refer to this condition as “the world being
polarized,” a Binocular assessment, but really, there aren’t two sides arrayed against each other so much as many different Monocular points of view
digging in and doing battle attempting to make the entire human race conform to their particular beliefs or endeavors – which makes about as much
sense as transforming every cell in your body into a heart cell.

Life isn’t possible that way and neither is a healthy society.

Fortunately, the lesson of history is that, like the normal body, society has mechanisms that work to create and maintain homeostasis.

Our current fragmentation has a half-life and it is ticking away even as we speak.

Here is how this may work:

Monocular minds are already at a point of coherence within themselves – they know what they think and want.

Binocular minds require time to make a thorough, reliable analysis of any situation. Compounds take even longer to achieve successful integration of all
elements present into a functional paradigm that will work reasonably well for the whole.

In times of stress, such as the terror after 9/11, it is easy for Monocular minds to come to the forefront, because they are already at a self-satisfying
point of understanding and integration within themselves and their own kind. The processes of analysis and integration undertaken by Binocular and
Compound minds take time, as does quelling the fear and pride of the various components of society which inevitably arise during times of stress.

That time always passes.

Binocular and Compound components always end up providing the requisite information, ways, and means to stabilize group fears and integrate
Monocular points of view into a group-wide, functional response to the crisis, even when what we are attempting to understand and integrate at the
moment are the points of view of over seven billion individuals – the massive benefits to the human race inherent in globalization can only come after
many years of hard work by us all!

Those efforts are well under way in spite of the fear and pride we are all experiencing in huge measure. In the end, I have faith the enormous task of
understanding and integrating all of humanity will be achieved as we come to deeper, more accurate assessments of our own capacities and natures, as
well as how they fit into the unfolding of the biosphere and the Universe at large.

c. 2004 TDHawkes