The Perspective by Edward Bwalya Phiri: ‘What consumes your mind, controls your life’

The discourse today will begin with my own philosophical statement, which states that, “The sound mind of a man is the mind of a sound man.” Kindly permit me to rephrase it this way, “The soundness of a man’s mind is the mind of a man’s soundness.”

Make no mistake, the foregoing statements may sound like they are tongue twisters, but they are far from being in the realm of the known instigators of the lapsus linguae. However, they are simply thoughtful proclamations whose objective is to create a standpoint for this important discussion. And the philosophy seems to resonate well with Mahatma Ghandi’s statement, which states that, “A man is but the product of his thoughts, what he thinks he becomes.”

On The Perspective today, focus is on the sound mind. From the religious point of view, the phrase sound mind interprets the Greek sophronismos, which according to the online Goursau.com, is the unique Greek word used to describe the spirit of a ‘sound mind’ that is given to us with our gift. From [the Strong’s Greek Lexicon] G4994, [it connotes] discipline, that is, self-control.

A clergyman, Mike Walsh, who was writing from a religious perspective had this to say, “This phrase, ‘sound mind’ is taken from the Greek work sophroneo, which is a compound word combining sodzo and phroneo. The Greek word sodzo means to be saved or delivered. It suggests something that is delivered, rescued, revived, salvaged, and protected and now is safe and secure. One expositor suggests that the word sodzo could actually depict a person who was on the verge of death but then was revived and resuscitated because new life was breathed in him.”

Walsh further wrote that, “The second part of the phrase ‘sound mind’ comes from the Greek word phroneo, which carries the idea of the person’s intelligence or total frame of thinking – including his rationale, logic, and emotions. The word phroneo refers to every part of the human mind, including all the processes that are engaged in making the mind function and come to conclusions. When the word sodzo and phroneo are combined into one word, they form the word sophroneo, which pictures a mind that has been delivered, rescued, revived, salvaged and protected and is now safe and secure.”

And from a legal perspective, John Bouvier’s Law Dictionary, defines the phrase sound mind as, “The state of a man’s mind which is adequate to reason and come to judgment upon ordinary subjects, like other rational men. The law presumes that any person who has acquired full age [adult status] is of sound mind, and consequently competent to make contracts and perform all his civic duties [or competent to make right decisions].”

A sound mind, therefore, signifies being sane or rational. A French Poet and Philosopher Ambroise Paul Valery could not agree more, when he penned that, “A man of sound mind is one who keeps the inner madman under lock and key.” Valery’s assertion gives an idea that in every man resides a fiend, and psychology calls it psychosis. An online medical compendium, the WebMD simply defines Psychosis as, “a condition that affects the way your brain processes information. It causes you to lose touch with reality.”

Renowned English Philosopher John Locke once said that, “A sound mind in a sound body is a short, but full description of a happy state in this world: he that has these two has little to wish for, and that he that wants either of them will be little the better for anything else.” A sound mind is not only the ability for self-restraint, but is also a force that can transform one’s life for good. It is an open secret that a sound mind is a prerequisite of true happiness. When soundness of mind is attained, it heralds virtue which will ultimately lead to a truly fulfilling and genuine bountiful life.

And former Egyptian president and 1978 Nobel Peace Prize Co-Laureate, Muhammad Anwar el-Sadat once posited that, “He who cannot change the very fabric of his thought will never change his reality.” Further, Canadian lawyer and author David Cuschieri once opined that, “The mind is a powerful force, it can enslave us. It can plunge us into the depths of misery or take us to the heights of ecstasy. Learn to use the power wisely.”

In one way or the other, we are all controlled by something, borrowing from the American author and motivational speaker, Mel Robbins who once said that, “What consumes your mind, controls your life.” We therefore need to take control of our lives, by liberating our minds and consequently acquiring a fortune. The starting point therefore, is knowing what controls our minds and how to liberate our minds.

Greek Philosopher Aristotle once said that, “The happiness of your life depends upon the quality of your thoughts: therefore, guard accordingly, and take care that you entertain no notions unsuitable to virtue and reasonable nature.” The implication of this quotation is that happiness is more of an intrinsic variable and as a denizen of the mind, it requires personal effort to attain.

American author and radio personality Earl Nightingale once proffered that, “Whatever we plant in our subconscious mind and nourish with repetition and emotion will one day become reality.” And Ellen Gould White wrote that, “Train and discipline the mind by study, by observation, by reflection…. A resolute purpose will accomplish wonders.” It is said in health and nutrition that you are what you eat. The quality of our thoughts and actions are legitimate offspring of our mental diet.

Indian Prince and founder of Buddhism, Buddha [563BC – 483BC] once said that, “Just as treasures are uncovered from the earth, so virtue appear from good deeds, and wisdom appears from pure and peaceful mind. To walk safely through the maze of human life, one needs the light of wisdom and the guidance of virtue.” Buddha identified virtue as a key ingredient to a fulfilled and selfless life. You cannot have virtue and afford to live a self-centred life.
Elaine S. Dalton defined Virtue, “as a pattern of thought and behaviour based on high moral standards. It encompasses chastity and moral purity. Virtue begins in the heart and mind. It is the accumulation of thousands of small decisions and actions.” And Gordon B. Hinckley said that, “Let virtue be the cornerstone on which to build your lives. There is nothing in all this world as magnificent as virtue. It glows without tarnish. It is precious and beautiful. It is above price. It cannot be bought or sold. It is the fruit of self-mastery.”

Philosophically speaking, there are two extremes to life; pain and pleasure [physical or psychological]. Your daily experience depends on the state of your mind. Aristotle opined that, ‘’We assume therefore that moral virtue is the quality of acting in the best way in relation to pleasure and pains, and the vice is the opposite.”

Roman Philosopher and statesman Marcus Tullius Cicero once said that, “Glory [success] follows virtue as if it were its shadow.” And Grecian Philosopher Socrates, “Virtue is a wealth, and all the other good things that a man can have come from virtue.” In a nutshell, a sound mind which ultimately gives virtue is indispensable in life.

Allow me to end with a quote from Aristotle, which states that, “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” Let us therefore jealously guard against any mental intrusion or intrusive thoughts.

For today I will end here; it’s Au revoir, from EBP.
For comments: elbardogma@yahoo.com

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