Confessions of a Split Mind
by Paul Kiritsis

"SOLIM: I struggle to understand how random activations in functionally specialized regions of an input-deprived cortex could somehow translate into a meaningful, complex, and symbolically rich experience on the phenomenological level."

In the question of God versus the natural world, there are many ways to align yourself. Some strictly adhere to scientific thinking or religious beliefs, firmly convinced that the two can't coexist. Others manage to find a middle ground, straddling the two worlds with various degrees of success. In Confessions of a Split Mind, author, artist, and philosopher Paul Kiritsis explores where his own beliefs lie. Through two allegorical short stories and a series of dialogues, paired with a number of symbolic works of art, Kiritsis makes connections and asks probing questions about our brains, the nature of humanity, and our world.

The first story begins the author's journey and shows how he receives his "secret name," Olyn, after getting bitten by a venomous snake. It is with this name that the author carries on all his dialogue throughout the book. As Olyn, the author converses with two curious characters who represent the two sides of the author's consciousness: the male Unknown Pilot, who represents science and rational thinking, and the fairy female Solim, who represents abstract thinking and spiritualism. Between the three characters, the dialogues explore the multifaceted nature of topics such as precognition, hallucinations, reincarnation, and much more. Each dialogue consists of the characters debating the topic at hand from their perspective. The result is a thorough examination of abstract and concrete themes through the lens of neuroscience, culture, religion, and our society at large.

The dialogues draw inspiration from many sources and fields of study—most notably that of ancient Greek philosophers Socrates and Plato, whose works are similarly structured as explorative dialogues. Aside from this influence, Kiritsis' dialogues also delve into other philosophers, scientists, studies, religions, psychology, mythology, and many other sources. In many places, the author cites specific references; in other places, the reader is left to pick up on the reference by themselves.

Also notable is the artwork, which plays an active role in the book's conversations, often literally. The works use bold lines, bright colors, and abstract symbolism to illustrate concepts like the process of thinking and the mind and are often the topic of discussion in the conversation between characters. Although most illustrations contain blasts of color, there is a thoughtful and mysterious nature to them, as though through looking at them we may find hidden meaning.

Bookended by the two stories, the author's book is an internal symbolic journey which uses dialogue to move from ignorance towards enlightenment. Although most of the conversations don't reach any concrete conclusion, the act of discussion seems to bring the characters—and Olyn especially—a deeper understanding of the way things work. Kiritsis models a manner of inner exploration which many can benefit from—a way to think of things in a methodical and intelligent manner. The dense, word-heavy dialogue is not a light read; in fact, many may find its content inaccessible. But those who do break through the surface will find contained within this small tome new and different ways of seeing ourselves and the world around us.

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