"blow (one's own/someone else's) mind" (with implications for cognitive science)

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Tue Dec 21 17:29:36 UTC 2004

>Then there's the Fabs, or at least Lennon, in 'Day in the Life' (on Sgt.
>Pepper, 1967): 'He blew his mind out in a car....' which is essentially
>talking about Tara Browne's death in a car-crash, but the language (and
>the song) is deliberately ambivalent (Browne was an early LSD devotee).
>And the Small Faces 'Itchycoo Park' (1967) 'I feel inclined to blow my
>mind / Get hung up, feed the ducks with a bun'. This latter also offers
>'They all come out to groove about / Be nice and have fun in the sun' and
>the chorus declares 'It's all too beautiful...' And forgive me such
>coarseness, but I always had the feeling that we were meant to appreciate
>that what Mick's pickup blew was, however euphemistically he put it,
>perhaps something other than his mind. 'Their Satanic Majesties Request'
>notwithstanding, the Stones were never much on psychedelia.
>Jonathon Green

I've wondered about that.  The first conjunct ("she blew my nose")
I've always assumed is an obvious reference to coke, but I was never
sure about the mind--could be taken either way, or as a simple
metaphor (she caused me to blow my mind, in an unspecified way).  If
taken on what I presume to be Jonathon's "coarse" reading, we seem to
have "mind" as an earlier metonymic precursor of our more recent
"(give) brain/skull/dome" locutions, although I'm not sure there are
any "give mind" cites to turn up*--the closest I could find on google
was for an instructional video on "how to receive and give
mind-blowing head", which is, to be sure, an interesting concept.


*P.S.  Such occurrence to seem to exist.  I just did a search on
"give good mind", where a couple of relevant hits popped up,
including something I've even seen on a bumper sticker:


But its self-conscious use in this trope and in such other contexts as

'She said something about needing her partners to "give good mind"
before getting very far, physically.'

offers convincing evidence against any theory of mind = brain reductionism

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