Cipher on a Wall: Of Mind, Memories, and Dreams


The mind is a stage. Does this sound familiar? Descartes continues: where ideas are illuminated by the inner light of reason. In 1973 a Mormon Apostle, Boyd K. Packer, ventured into the realm of mind with a riff on René:

The mind is like a stage [...] During every waking moment the curtain is up. There is always some act being performed on that stage. It may be a comedy, a tragedy, interesting or dull, good or bad; but always there is some act playing on the stage of your mind.

Descartes saw the mind as a focal point for enlightenment and Packer appears to have adapted the Descartes imagery for use in a more traditionally dualistic view — that of submitting mind to the higher nature of spirit. Certainly both men share a common ideal regardless the differences in worldview.

Welcome to Cipher on a Wall, a weekly column and forum on Doves & Serpents. My name is Matt and I’ll be your host and moderator as we explore the realm of mind, memories, and dreams.

Imagine this as a place to express and discuss anything related to these three topics: mind, memories, and dreams. You’ll detect a Mormon bent as this is coming largely from minds formed within Mormonism, but ultimately we’re discussing core human experiences so we’ll be as big as the topic suggests. You may have noticed in the title of this column an oblique reference to Saturday’s Warrior and the song Paper Dream. I connected with that song as a young man and still do, though in a different way — probably equally sappy and idealistic. Mind, memories (including personal histories), and dreams form a landscape that has possessed and fascinated us since the dawn of consciousness. It’s simultaneously a terrain of extreme human intimacy and awesome, mind-blowing (yes!) exploration.

Mind your step, remember your way, and dream a little dream.