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Reflective Mindreading: Theory of Mind and the Search for Self in Antonio Machados Soledades

Steven Mills Buena Vista University, USA

Abstract: In Antonio Machados collection Soledades, the poets search for identity guides an introspective quest where context, body, and mind form an intricate and inseparable connection. By extending cognitive capabilities to his natural environment, the poet, through embodied cognition and Theory of Mind, reads other peoples and natures minds to interpret their intentions, fears, and mental states. This mindreading, in turn, reflects Machados own interior states, allowing him to apprehend a clearer sense of his identity. Thus, in Soledades, Theory of Mind is a tool that utilizes personal memories, emotions, and thoughts as a part of the search for self. This pursuit is neither entirely physical nor purely cerebral, but rather, employs experiences from the past and present, all created through embodied cognition, to organize and understand the world. Therefore, identity is the construct of past and present mental and bodily experiences intricately intertwined with the natural and social contexts. The poet discovers that he is neither a solitary individual nor merely a dispensable element of a greater society; rather, he represents an essential part of his social and natural context. Keywords: Antonio Machado, contextualism, embodied cognition, memory, mindreading, search for

identity, Soledades, Theory of Mind

ntonio Machado is known for the metaphysical concerns in his poetry, incorporating self-conscious and existential thought into his work, and in particular in the search to discover and understand his personal identity, his sense of self. In his collection Soledades, Machado embarks on this search through Theory of Mind (ToM) as he personifies his environment and then, in the process, endows it with both intentionality and the ability to think. The lyric I contemplates his physical surroundings and discovers that his seclusion is breeched by nature, which ultimately participates in the construction of his sense of self. While his personal identity comprises his own thoughts, emotions, and desiresthat is, his mindwe also see that these aspects are intricately and of necessity united with his environment of nature and society because he constructs natures mind through the physical sensations that he believes he and it share. Such intrusions, as well as with his other human interactions, provide valuable insights into his quest. When conversing with another person, this poetic voice penetrates the others thoughts by creating a mental state for him or her, which allows the voice also to make sense of his own state. When it is nature or other inanimate objects, he first humanizes them into thinking organisms and then attributes mental states to them as well. The cognition he grants to his environment further facilitates interaction with the external worldan embodied cognition in which, beyond providing mindreading capabilities for nature, allows our bodies to be closely defined, and experienced, in terms of the specific actions we engage in as we move about the world (Gibbs 17). Therefore, as the speaker engages his natural world, its humanness stems from his coupling with it: The world becomes alive for us from being incorporated into our bodies, while at the same time, we experience ourselves being absorbed into the body of the world. This fusion of body and world makes it difficult, at times, to strictly distinguish between the two (18). The speakers fusion with the world is visible through ToM, which grants him
AATSP Copyright 2011. Hispania 94.4 (2011): 589602


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access to the intentions and conditions of the world in which he lives, in order to better comprehend his own memories, emotions, and thoughts and, ultimately, his self. Mindreading uses experiences created through embodied cognition and retrieved through memory first to organize and understand the world and then to look inward as a tool to interpret ones own mind. Beyond personification, the speakers search relies heavily on the coupling of body, mind, and context, to read his own mind and that of his environment, and his identity becomes a construct of this total context, at once social and individual, constructing his own self through a union between exterior forces and internal thoughts. The presence of an independent mind as the speaker in poetry facilitates, even requires, that we look at the lyric I as an embodied person. Scott Brewster, in his recent study on the lyric poem, argues that, in what has become the dominant model for the lyric, there is a shift toward an inward and meditative speaker, isolated and abstracted from specific historical conditions who can convey an immediacy of experience, personal thoughts and feelings (30). This transition would portray a speaker that seeks to better understand his own identity through an introspective and meditative tone within a fissured consciousness throughout Soledades. Nancy A. Newton, addressing Machados poetry, similarly argues that his poetry is not so much the expression of self as the structuring of possible selves (231), creating a meditative poetic voice with an attitude of unremitting doubt, uncertainty and questioning (232). This structuring of selves, the search for identity, occurs through negatives, an opposition within the personal psyche that we can relate to Brewsters removed, self-contemplative speaker, because the I requires a crucial distancing of self from itself in order to achieve self awareness (Newton 236; emphasis original).1 The effect of such binaries, the negative as a source of meaning in Machados works, leads to her conclusion that for Machado the mind must become its own object in which it finds itselfsubjectreflected: mind which knows itself to be mind. (. . . El gran ojo que todo lo ve al verse a s mismo) (236). In a similar vein, Antonio Carreo suggests that there is an internal (mental) and external (physical) world, and in order to apprehend each this plural self must shift de un yo intimista e introspectivo por otro exterior, en bsqueda del social e histrico: el otro (84). In these Cartesian images of self in Soledades, there are twoseparate, independent parts of a self, each performing an action to understand the world, but separate nonetheless (86).2 Cognitive psychology, however, allows us to reassess this claim because the internal search in Soledades, rather than occurring in isolation or as a fragmented ego, involves a knowing being that relies on, learns from, and couples with its exterior world. This duality only gives a partial glimpse into the speakers sense of self; therefore, as I will discuss in greater detail later, we must replace this Cartesian approach to identity with a perspective that incorporates embodied context. Brewster, for example, while laying out the concept of lyric also concedes the practicality of considering the context from which this speaker is isolated, because the reader must constantly ask: who is speaking / observing / remembering / reflecting / meditating/ exhorting / praising / imagining here? How is she/he (or sometimes it) addressing me now, at this time? (34). In a similar discussion, Jonathan Culler argues that deictics, or those elements of language that discuss the situation surrounding an utterance, force us to construct a fictional situation of utterance, to bring into being a voice and a force addressed, and this requires us to consider the relationship from which the qualities of the voice and the force could be drawn and to give it a central place within the poem (166).3 To remember who exactly the lyric I is, we must ground the lyric voice in a natural and social context, essentially recontextualizing that abstracted I, extending to him/her a mind, intentions, and embodiment to every degree that we do with others in our real-world interactions. Cognitive psychology demonstrates that we engage charactersreading their minds, sharing their fears, and anticipating their intentionsthe same way we do with real people.4 Therefore, we must begin an understanding of the lyric I with the premise that he/she, as Gibbs has described, is embodied in his or her world; he/she is a contextual being that must understand him or herself as a part of his or her context in

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order to discover an elusive identity. As the lyric I in Soledades listens to the narratives of his prodigal brother, observes the monotony of a childhood classroom, or walks through the hot and dusty twilight garden, he relies on both nature and his inner self in a search that requires a union between his own cognition and the greater physical context. Beyond pure introspection, these external elements form essential clues to his identity as the speaker engages the same mental tool that we all use to understand and give meaning to ourselves and our surroundings: ToM. Theory of Mind refers to our ability to mind read, our capacity to understand anothers emotions, thoughts, intentions, and desires. Alison Gopnik, in The MIT Encyclopedia of Cognitive Science, explains that ToM involves psychological theorizing about our ordinary, intuitive, folk understanding of the mind (838). ToM, used interchangeably with mindreading, refers to the way that we, as cognitive agents, routinely predict and explain the behavior of others by ascribing to them a cornucopia of mental states (Rigdon 379). Simon Baron-Cohen explains it in these straight-forward terms: Now, you and I are mindreaders. I dont mean that we have special telepathy; I just mean that we have the capacity to imagine or represent states of mind that we or others might hold (2). James Stiller and R. I. M. Dunbar discuss ToM or mentalizing as intentional states that we attribute to people whom we encounter, our understanding of states of mind, typically exemplified by the use of words like believe, intend, suppose, think, and so on (95). This attribution of intentionality allows us to function as social beings by providing, as Lisa Zunshine explains, the ability to explain peoples behavior in terms of their thoughts, feelings, beliefs, and desires (6). People attribute states of mind to others based on facial expressions, vocal tones, body language, and, as Marco Iacoboni suggests, mirror neurons. ToM is the default way by which we construct and navigate our social environment, incorrect though our attributions frequently are (Zunshine 6). Because it is fundamental to human interaction, in the collection Soledades, ToM emerges as an important tool for Machado as he portrays a cognitive agent in his poetry. The underlying requirement in ToM is that other people have independent and private thoughts and intentions; we just try to interpret what they are as we communicate. Trying to construct anothers mental state requires a lot of guesswork, but also a heavy reliance on the context as well as our own experiences and emotions, a fact that ultimately makes mindreading viable though not perfect. While we are often wrong, with ToM we nonetheless create a link between anothers mind and ours, and, as Robert M. Gordon explains, when simulating the others mind, we predict his or her behaviors and actions by calling on our own emotions, a process which permits us to extend to others the modes of attribution, explanation, and prediction that otherwise would be applicable only in our own case (730). This process applies tothe lyric I in Machados poetry because, as he struggles toward self-discovery, he attemptsto understand others minds, relying on his own experiences, emotions, and context as a foundation. Gordon sheds light on the voices actions, suggesting that ToM requires that you first recognize your own mental states, perhaps under certain imagined hypothetical conditions, and then infer that the other is in similar states (73031). We must recognize how ones situation resembles similar situations that we have either had or can imagine and then map our mental state onto the other. The poetic voice thus relies on his own emotions to interpret what his brother, God, or other people must be thinking. Eventually, he extends his ToM to nature where hidden thoughts are inherently absent, and this new direction, while revealing possible secrets in nature, also reflects his own concerns about his personal context. As he thus connects with nature on a cognitive and emotional level, his thinking is embodied, distancing the lyric I from a Cartesian sort of mind/body dualism that initially emerges in the text. The poetic voice relies on ToM to understand his fellow man as well as nature, but because he extends his own concerns and emotions onto the other person or object, it also becomes a mirror through which he can read his own mind and better grasp his own identity. This mirror effect is evidenced in the first poem of the collection, El viajero, when the lyric I relies on the brothers narrative combined with his own experience with his natural


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environment and his emotions to read his brothersand eventually his ownmind and desires. This sibling has returned from a life journey and recounts his experiences; meanwhile the speaker shares his personal thoughts through a meditation that resembles the trope ubi sunt where everything fades away when past and present meet in his memory: the image of the brother nowlas sienes plateadas, / un gris mechn sobre la angosta frente; / y la fra inquietud de sus miradascontrasts drastically with the young, idealistic youth who had departed to a distant land. The connection is purely mental, occurring through a memory juxtaposed with the present, and immediately precedes the poets speculation of the future through the simultaneous changes of the season: deshjanse las copas otoales / del parque mustio y viejo (87). The season turns, just as the brother, the poetic voice, and all humanity, through the tictac del reloj to remind us that time inexorably passes. From the very beginning of Soledades, we see the type of existential questioning that permeates Machados poetry in which se cuestiona el sentido de su existencia, cuya causa, y cuya finalidad, desconoce, y que se siente por tanto como algo precario y contingente (ngeles 28). This temporal passage carries the observer, in this case the poet, into a metaphysical anxiety resulting from la contemplacin de la marcha inexorable del tiempo (Predmore 70203), a passage of time that leads to the inability to tie down an identity that seems as elusive as the seasons.5 This anxiety plays out through the poem as a part of his reflection on his brother, his own past and his entire context. Faced with this dilemma, the speakers angst is evidence of his search for identity through his embodied experiences and through reading his brothers mind. Pertinent to this study of ToM is Bernard Sess suggestion that the key of the poem may lie in that which the poetic voice believes his brother is thinking: [L]a fra inquietud de los ojos del viajero contrasta, en efecto, de manera inslita, con la atmsfera familiar, clida e ntima. Ser preciso intentar leer en esa mirada inquieta el secreto de esta poesa? (130). The rhetorical question suggests that there is information in the look that we are to glean, requiring ToM in order to fully understand the brother. The lyric I interprets this ambulatory gaze as nostalgic, and sharing similar emotions, he looks to his environment, with the chilled winds and the decay of vegetation from the seasonal changes (87). Here, he understands the passage of time, his brothers exit and arrival, and his own aging in terms of the cyclical shifting of seasons. The mirror, a tool for reflection, juxtaposes his condition with the worlds state, and he can no longer cleanly distinguish where he ends (experientially and temporally) and where the world begins; they move together in a type of cyclical dance, each reaching the end of an era. As Raymond W. Gibbs Jr. relates, the speaker here is being absorbed into the body of the world where this fusion of body and world makes it difficult, at times, to strictly distinguish between the two (18). This embodied contemplation paves the way for the speakers ToM toward his brother because, by drawing on the scene outside, he guesses the brothers mental state: lamentar la juventud perdida?.../ La blanca juventud nunca vivida / teme, que ha de cantar ante su puerta? (87). While these are questions, they are not haphazard; the poetic voice, through ToM and nature, sees in this traveler a sharing of his anguish concerning fleeting time, thus inserting his own concerns into the others thoughts and attributing to him a state of mind that reflects his own. However, this attributed mental state is not based on the brothers words alone (which we as readers do not receive), but relies on a greater context, the seasonal progression within both nature and humans (though people arguably only experience one complete cycle, and nature repeats it). Thus, drawing on Vittoria Borss discussion, el paso del tiempo se graba en la percepcin fenomenolgica del mundo, or la temporalidad del ser-en-el-mundo (393).6 Here all elements are inseparable: the brothers mental state leads to nature, which causes the lyric I to question his own state, forcing him to consider his brothers thoughts, and finally ending in his own concerns regarding his existence. This journey is possible because both he and the traveler share similar experiences (at least in the poets perspective) of living with a body in the world of emotions and sensations that change as do the seasons. His mindreading becomes a form

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of contemplating his own existence, a look inward as a part of looking outward based on his embodied interaction with the world and understandable because of ToM. Theory of Mind as the construction of mental states also appears in poem XVIII, El poeta, in which the narrator constructs both the mind of a poet and of God. Machado presents two minds: the poet as character (poet) and the poet as voice, who reveal their dilemma through mindreading. As the work begins, the voice describes the poets condition: maldiciendo su destino/ ...mira, turbia la pupila / de llanto, el mar (100). Rather than divulge the poets thoughts, the voice depicts his mental anguish through images of the sea whose vastness inspires a curse on fate and reveals an internal existential angst recognizable through his actions and expressions. The mindreading is more explicit in the following lines:
l sabe que un Dios ms fuerte con la sustancia inmortal est jugando a la muerte, cual nio brbaro. l piensa que ha de caer como rama que sobre las aguas flota, antes de perderse, gota de mar, en la mar inmensa. (100)

The poets thoughts of unfair destiny lead the voice to these conclusions about Gods manipulation of life and death, and through ToM, the narrator enlightens us, the readers, to the poets frustration with Gods game. Thus aggravated, the poet sees God as an unruly child, who is amusing himself by consciously manipulating the poets life. In this example, we witness a complex ToM through the several mental states: one mind represents what another is thinking about another, etc. Stiller and Dunbar show that these mental states become embedded levels of intentionality, beginning with the first level (I believe), and then compounding throughout ToM. As they explain, intentionality . . . forms a naturally reflexive hierarchy that corresponds to increasingly embedded mindreading (I suppose that you intend that I believe that you want me to understand that . . .) (95). In terms of these mental states, ToM begins, as Zunshine explains, as a second-order intentionalityfor example, I believe that you desire X (28), or, in Machados work, when the poet believes that God understands that he is manipulating destiny and causing aggravation. Beyond these two levels, in the second part of this stanza the levels compound when the poet suspects that God will cause him to fall like a branch in the water. Assuming Gods omniscience and therefore his knowledge of the poets intentions and expectations, this leads to one more level: 1) the poet believes that 2) God recognizes that 3) the poet knows that he is manipulating his life, and, therefore, he expects to die, all of which is a game of pleasure for God, causing aggravation for the poet and providing the reader with three levels or orders of intentionality or mental states. Our knowledge is the fourth level, for now we know what they all are thinking, all of which is a game of pleasure for God. Theory of Mind is the main source of gathering information regarding the intentions of people, animals, and even elements in our surrounding environment. For example, the lyric I in poem XIII, Hacia un ocaso radiante, reads more than just other people; he gives nature cognitive abilities and then engages ToM to try to understand its secrets. Because the first twelve lines paint a nature devoid of human contact, the relationship between nature and cognition takes center stage from the beginning. The poem begins in a scene of Edenic beauty as the sun sets, the cicadas sing, and the mill spins in a shaded garden, a purely aesthetic backdrop until man shatters the undisturbed nature: Yo iba haciendo mi camino (97). The I implants cognition where moments before there was none, thus introducing human contemplation, analysis, and searching, and this trekker then extends to his natural environment the same mental abilities and intentionality that he himself possesses. He creates a mind for nature that reflects his own


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dilemma: as the water travels toward the sea and then on to inevitable absorption into nothingness, he connects with one little drop of water as it stands back from the rest of the river and grita al mar: soy el mar (98). Because nature now has a mind, he can read it and he therefore knows that the drop knows that it is important to the sea, discernable because of how it interacts with other elements. This understanding based on ToM, like with the traveler in the first poem, acts like a mirror in which the voice can better recognize its own condition and grasp its own thoughts and concerns, turning what nature speaks and thinks into a tool that helps the lyric I understand much more about himself. Both the poetic voices mindreading of the water droplet and our ToM regarding the voice lead to the conclusion that the speaker suffers from an identical underlying frustration, which has driven him away from the city and into nature in the first place: a loss of identity and a threat of social absorption. Watching the water, more than idleness, is an important indicator of his underlying concerns. As the poem reads:
Pasaba el agua rizada bajo los ojos del puente. Lejos la ciudad dorma, como cubierta de un mago fanal de oro trasparente. Bajo los arcos de piedra el agua clara corra. (97)

The speaker draws a comparison between the city, its people, and the water he hears: as the water flowing toward the sea, in the city the people travel toward a common assimilation and loss of identity. El agua en sombra pasaba tan melanclicamente, imitating his own emotions as he wanders amidst nature and looks back at the sleeping city, and hears it (both the water and the city it represents) lament: no somos nada. / Donde acaba el pobre ro la inmensa mar nos espera (97). As a man, he faces the nothingness of humanity, fading into a society and his own eventual loss of identity. Thus, the root of his trouble is psychological, as he depicts in este rincn vanidoso, oscuro rincn que piensa (97), making his mind dark with anguish because in melting into a mass and losing his identity, this dark thinking corner loses all sense of individuality. He will still exist, physically, just like the water, but his mind loses its power to distinguish his thoughts, desires, contemplation, etc., from those of anyone else around him; thus, his great concern for the water that apparently fights the same end. Through his interaction with the now sentient nature, the lyric I discovers and internalizes the solution to his concerns. The flowing water touches an internal cord in the poet: el alma ma!, causing him to realize that total assimilation does not occur at the cost of self. While the water disappears into the sea, the rebelliousness of the droplet[yo] soy el mar (97)reflects the truth that an individual immersed in society is not dissolved; he maintains an identity that combines with other individuals, whose sum distinctiveness, rather than disappearing, creates society (a relationship reiterated through the star in the sky). Jos ngeles explicitly links our heroic gota to the poet who struggles to define his dark corner; both the gota and the poet attempt to find themselves amid the fear of absorption: no es acaso la misma vanidad la de esta gota que la de este rincn vanidoso, obscuro rincn que piensa, de unos versos ms arriba? . . . l, el poeta, gota de mar, sabe que ha de perderse en la mar inmensa (3536). Unlike a Manriquean interpretation that ends in death, however, here la gota . . . es el individuo que se constituye a s mismo en centro del universo (36). The infinite sea of people, of society, with its history and traditions, threatens to devour the individual, which is the primary concern of the speaker at twilight. His new understanding reflects the aphorism in Juan de Mairena that Lindividualit enveloppe linfini. El individuo es todo. Y qu es, entonces, la sociedad? Una mera suma de individuos (7879). Instead of being dissolved in the infinite, he becomes the center, like the star, to continue giving off his own light among so many others. The solution to this metaphysical dilemma reveals itself in cognition that requires the union of mind, body, and environment, issuing serious challenges to the Cartesian understanding of

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mind in cogito ergo sum. The speakers search for a new sense of self within the conglomerate whole reflects a goal that moves away from the physiological origins of thought and consciousness (what constitutes I know that I know), and instead seeks a sense of individual identity, or who am I that knows? Back when the human aspect enters the poem, we could discuss a fissure between the mind and body, the former representing a separate precursor to being: y [yo] pensaba (97). This first person stands out among the descriptions of nature from which it emerges, contrasting the two sides starkly. Thinking distances him from the trees and sonorous insects; furthermore, the source of thought is also separate from the physical, walking man, originating from within an oscuro rincn que piensa (97). We could consider this poetic positioning as a binary relationship: man vs. nature, mind vs. body, or rather, the mental vs. the physical. He is exploring his dark corner, seemingly apart from the world where his investigation occurs, an introspective search that initially resembles Carreos and Newtons arguments discussed earlier, a perspective that resonates with the Cartesian philosophy of an independent, disembodied mind that claims I think therefore I am. The problem is that this perspective posits existence on the requirement of consciousness without a necessary bond between mental and physical entities which, as Antonio Damasio points out, ultimately separates the mind, the thinking thing . . . , from the non-thinking body, that which has extension and mechanical parts (248). Our speaker is not a construct of two separate and independent partsthe mind versus the bodybut the inextricable and indistinguishable welding of the two. We cannot talk of two parts because it is impossible to delineate where one stops and the other begins; mind is body and body is mind: a mind/body. He walks along, absorto en el crepsculo campesino, intimately connected with the symphonic afternoon before his thought emerges. Furthermore, his thought occurs as a part of that absorption, influencing, and influenced by, everything around him. His mind, body, and entire context are what give him purpose, what define his existence, and therefore the source of self, his identity, and the object of his investigation. Instead of an independent Cartesian mind, then, the lyric I draws on the speakers inseparability from both body and nature for his search. As he understands his true relationship of interconnectedness with the masses, he enters the realm of the individual mind/body amidst a greater shared, group, or joint thinking (Palmer 15). In fiction, particularly narrative,7 Alan Palmer, in what he calls intermental thinking, explains that the mind . . . is not isolated in individuals, but is social and contextual, and fictional texts are typically complex in their portrayal of the fictional mind acting in the context of other minds because fictional thought and real thought are like that (53). The mind exists in a context: a mind within a body within a physical and social world, a relationship that the lyric I renews through his newfound idol: the water droplet. Thus we see that reading natures intentions opens a better analysis of both his own mind and of the context in which it functions. Additionally, that he attributes mental states to inanimate objects further evidences his embodied cognition because we draw causal inferences from our direct embodied experience with other people and objects, and perceive causality, even when mistaken, by applying our own embodied experience of how we act upon objects (Gibbs 55). Drawing on his personal experience, the lyric I reads the droplets mind as it reflects his own, because the poet is deeply integrated into nature, like water in a sponge which is apparent but in no way separate, because the music, the lamentations of the river, and the drop of water are as much a part of his cognition outside of his body as his dark corner is inside. The waters fear reveals its ability to feel complex emotions, placing it well within the realm of human thought and completing the explicit link between poet and nature. The devastating fate that terrifies them both is the potential inability to maintain their individual thought and context, the source of uniqueness that is the greatest distinguishing feature that we as humans possess. No two people are alike because we all maintain our own personal contexts; even identical twins raised in the same home with the same parents, restrictions, etc., are drastically different in emotions, experiences, and thought. If absorbed, the droplet fears that it will lose these differentiating characteristics, which would mean the end of its identity and,


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for all intents and purposes, its existence. The similarities in their situations is what makes the water a sort of soul mate for the poetic voice, and this proximity, furthered by the fact that he creates its thoughts from his own concerns, provides him special ToM access to the droplets human-like mind that reveals a possible solution for his own condition. As he links his mind and context with that of the droplet, his understanding of both entities relies on embodied cognition, as does his search for his identity. His angst and meditation begin in his mind, reach beyond his body and then return, creating an embodied loop that incorporates all the activity of self and nature. In their work The Embodied Mind, Francisco J. Varela, Evan Thompson, and Eleanor Rosch argue that the self . . . is a process and not a thing, and this process, neither constant nor definite, permits that we only observe the end result, because when we subject this continuity to analysis, we seem able to find only discontinuous moments of feeling, perception, motivation, and awareness (7172). This process requires a give-and-take relationship with our environment: knower and known, mind and world, stand in relation to each other through mutual specification or dependent co-origination (150). With this in mind, both the poetic voice and his experienced world are inseparable from each other because
perception is not simply embedded within and constrained by the surrounding world; it also contributes to the enactment of this surrounding world. . . . The organism both initiates and is shaped by the environment . . . [and] we must see the organism and environment as bound together in reciprocal specification and selection. (174)

Because the sense of self that the voice seeks is a process or stream of experiences ossified through the union of body and context, we must see a reconciliation of these elements in the poem if he successfully completes his search. The final stanza of the poem brings all of these elements together: the poet and his natural and social contexts:
Yo en la tarde polvorienta, hacia la ciudad volva. Sonaban los cangilones de la noria soolienta. Bajo las ramas oscuras caer el agua se oa. (98)

The yo that intrudes on nature returns to the city and the poets source of anxiety while nature sings, portraying his new internal peace through external elements. Here, the thinking mind/ body, the city, and the symphonic nature are all together simultaneously testifying that the lyric I has a new direction in his journey: toward, not away from, civilization, with nature accompanying him along the way. Both are a part of him, and without either he is incomplete. This embodied nature of the speakers experiences and understanding demolishes any remnant of a Cartesian duality. The lyric I does not exist independent of his body; rather, he needs the body for thought because knowledge depends on being in a world that is inseparable from our bodies, our language, and our social historyin short, from our embodiment (Varela, Thompson, and Rosch 149). What makes up a person and his or her identity consists of not only what he or she sees, but the entire world, both natural and social.8 In short, we construct our identity from the physical, mental, and social capacities of understanding which are rooted in the structures of our biological embodiment but are lived and experienced within a domain of consensual action and cultural history (14950). The result is that one cannot isolate him or herself from either the natural environment or the social community. For Jos Luis Varela, nature is the logical locus for such embodied discovery in Machado, for, in general, su amor a la naturaleza supera infinitamente al del arte (128), providing the place where the artist, or voice in this case, can contemplate the surroundings as he creates. Machado thus argues for both nature and the mind in artistic creation: pintar de memoria? Desatino. Ningn pintor lo

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ha hecho. Pintar del natural? Menos an. El modelo es necesario. Para copiarlo? No; para pensar en l (qtd. in Jos Varela 129). Machados own personal union is the connection among the mind, body, and exterior, and it does not allow for independent cognition as the source of creation. Because the poetic voice is absorbed into nature and humanity, his identity, his existence, and his world are the amalgamation of everything around him. With the importance of embodied cognition and context to ToM, new emphasis must be placed on the actual past experiences whose sum provides a significant part of identity. These experiences connect the past with the present and even add a new emotional value to a current situation in the link between mind, body, and context. Traveling into ones past combines with the present and future which, cumulatively, forms identity. Daniel Schacter explains that our understanding of who we are and who we will become depends on memories that may fade, change, or even strengthen as time inexorably passes (73). We are our present and our past, a construct of our embodied experiences as we encounter the world through embodied cognition. Furthermore, because we store these experiences in memory, we can find embodiment in memory as well. Schacter explains that we recall the past, not as mere snapshots, but as images connected with emotions and sensations, for
we do not store judgment-free snapshots of our past experiences but rather hold on to the meaning, sense, and emotions these experiences provided us. . . . Memories are records of how we have experienced events, not replicas of the events themselves. Experiences are encoded by brain networks whose connections have already been shaped by previous encounters with the world. (56)

These previous experiences are committed to memory through an encoding process that contributes to constructing fragments of experiences. It is a procedure for transforming something a person sees, hears, thinks, or feels into a memory (42). Therefore, the mind and the body work together to encode memory, but beyond memories originating through embodied experiences, the retrieval process is also embodied in the present. Schacter speaks of two elements that construct memories: engrams (memory fragments) and retrieval cues. While the engrams combine to create the image, it is not an objective reproduction of the original event as it occurred; instead, the cueoccurring in the presentalters the memory in that it is partially recreated by the cue itself within the present context. Memories, which are in reality stored and retrieved neural networks, are not simply an activated engram but a unique pattern that emerges from the pooled contributions of the cue and the engram. A neural network combines information in the present environment with patterns that have been stored in the past, and the resulting mixture of the two is what the network remembers (71). A piece of ones environment not only triggers memory, the mental process involved in recovering the past, but affects that process, molding the images as they form within ones mind. Our current environmental coupling not only affects our present experiences, but how we recall and interpret our past, making memories an element of embodied cognition as we experience them both physically and mentally. Therefore, memories are not fossilized or static, but are ever changing according to the current environment. Machado presents memories in a similar light: they are not merely images, but interactions of the mind with the external world through the body. The search for self in Soledades reflects this phenomenon as the speakers memory and past experiences form an integral part of the journey inward. In poem IV, Fue una clara tarde, the poetic voice confronts embodied memory through an interaction with a physical representation of his past, where recovering the memory involves both emotion and ToM in a search for a hidden (or forgotten) message. Framed in nature much like Hacia un ocaso radiante, the speaker here approaches a gated garden, and:


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Rechin en la vieja cancela mi llave; con agrio ruido abrise la puerta de hierro mohoso y, al cerrarse, grave golpe el silencio de la tarde muerta. (91)

Even though foreboding, rusty gates resist his entrance, inside he discovers a flowing fountain of crystalline water, a locus amoenus in which he expects to find a valuable hidden memory. The lyric I breaches a closed portion of his mind and, similar to the speaker in Hacia un ocaso, metaphorically enters that oscuro rincn que piensa (97), though in this case it is a representation of his elusive past. Michael Predmore views in this dialogue an encounter between voice and objetivaciones de su propio yo (215), a split between the internal and external identity; though, as we look at their ToM, we see that we are witnessing a representation of the speakers mind and memory.9 If there is a split, it is due to the speakers inability to remember, thus severing his present from his past; the disconnect is actually between his present context and the past he does remember. As the poetic voice looks into this fountain, he gazes into his past experience and identity, where both water and poet rely on ToM to exchange thoughts. As they converse, the font believes that its song of running water will act as cue to bring a distant memory to the speakers mind, and as guardian of memories it addresses him, giving us insight into the poetic voice himself: Te recuerda, hermano, un sueo lejano mi canto presente? (91). He realizes that the fountain has a memory to sharehis memoryand concludes, based on the atmosphere, that it, as is the fountain, must be felicitous. Thus, they are reading each others mind, granting intentionality, as he responds:
No s qu me dice tu copla riente de ensueos lejanos, hermana la fuente. Yo s que tu claro cristal de alegra ya supo del rbol la fruta bermeja; yo s que es lejana la amargura ma que suea en la tarde de verano vieja Yo s que tus bellos espejos cantores copiaron antiguos delirios de amores: mas cuntame, fuente de lengua encantada, cuntame mi alegre leyenda olvidada. (91)

The poetic voice is unsure of the implications that the fountain makes, further attesting to the transitional nature of memory in context. Still, ToM allows each of them to make educated guesses about the others mental state. The font suspects that the poetic voice remembers something, and the poetic voice knows that the fountain has something to share, each mindreading but each slightly mistaken. The surrounding contextthe sonorous fountain, the beautiful vegetation, and the rhythmic streamprovides useful insights regarding the springs intentions and state of mind. As we retrieve memories, we connect present and past, and here the poetic voice assumes that the present context is representative of its forgotten memory, making it as pleasant and beautiful as the garden. The speaker believes that the garden context is reflecting his memory as he reconstructs the engrams. In spite of the elegant surroundings, however, the voice realizes that it has misinterpreted the implication of the Edenic garden when the fountain contradicts its hope for a pleasurable memory:
Yo no s leyendas de antigua alegra, sino historias viejas de melancola. Fue una clara tarde del lento verano T venas solo con tu pena, hermano; tus labios besaron mi linfa serena,

Mills / Reflective Mindreading

y en la clara tarde dijeron tu pena. Dijeron tu pena tus labios que ardan; la sed que ahora tienen, entonces tenan. (9192)


The lyric I does not mistake that the fountain holds a memory, only that it is happy, and, realizing his error, he leaves greatly frustrated (92). Entering the garden and interacting with the fountain is the beginning of the process of connecting cue with engram; he is reconstructing a memory, and, because of the lavish beauty, the garden cue alters the memory, at least initially, by creating hope for a past moment of pleasure.Yet, as he continues the reconstruction of the engrams, he realizes that this alteration has been false. This human/fountain interaction is a variation of traditional ToM, in which the speaker in reality reads his own flow of experiences in his memories, essentially his own mind. As the lyric I enters through the gates, he does not fragment his identity into interior/exterior, but he anthropomorphizes the water representation of his past and opens the way to read his own mind through this internal conversation and ToM. Here the oscuro rincn que piensa learns to speak, and as it does so, the imagery around it, particularly the water as the flow of consciousness and memories, assumes valuable roles in the poets embodied cognition. Varela, Thompson, and Rosch have used the metaphor of a stream of experience to describe ones course through life (72), and Schacter turns that flow backward, with a flow of memory from the present into the past: we carry in our minds the remains of distant experiences that tie us to the past in a special way (15). Therefore, we cannot separate our memories of the ongoing events of our lives from what has happened to us previously (5) because we shape the present with brain networks constructed in our past, and then we alter those networks as we recall them in the present. The lyric I reveals that he is still connected to his important, though hazy, past, which he now reads in order to begin to understand his own mind and his personal history. The dialogue with the fountain, as a mental construct representing his own mind, leads him to engage hisflow of experiences and memories. This technique provides a somewhat objective view of his self, which leads to greater understanding through introspective ToM. Alison Gopnik writes that ToM concerns our understanding of the minds of ourselves and others (838), turning the mindreading efforts back toward a first-person analysis. This idea is not inconsistent with theembodied cognition found in Soledades because he does not separate two selves, but only looks differently at his past. That the present affects his past, and the resulting emotion accompanies it, testifies that he has not severed his ego, or the past and present, but that they are still intimately connected. Accurate mindreading requires that the observer be aware of his surroundings so that he can draw enough clues from the other to support an attribution of mental states. The poetic voice in Fue una clara tarde constructs an environment into which he rarely ventures because of the painful nature of his melancholy past, and when he does, the unfamiliarity with his own mind and the distance of the past provides a misreading: expecting pleasantries but finding pain. While he fails to discover what he hopes for, the misreading is still useful because, as Ses argues, his conciencia ha progresado. . . . El dilogo imaginario contenido en ste ha permitidoa Machado avanzar en el conocimiento de s mismo, precisar algunos aspectos de esta identidad acuyo descubrimiento aspira (146). The poetic voice still steps forward, venturing into his dark corner and opening what was once closed off. If ToM helps us understand ourselves as Gopnik suggests, then the speaker has taken a valuable step toward this goal. He has experienced this interaction, and while he is incorrect, he knows himself a little better. While in general ToM is universal as a normal human characteristic, in Soledades it serves a specific purpose: to foster internal analysis and self-discovery. As with El viajero, or the speaker who bonds with the droplet of water, ToMs prominence in human interaction facilitates its presence in literature as a human product. In this collection, many poems display ToM, as


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the poetic voice presents or interacts with the elements in the poem. Among the numerous examples that I could not discuss here, in poem V, Recuerdo infantile, the speaker portrays the monotonous thoughts of the students and professor through the drab colors and rhythmic patter of the rain outside. In poem XIV, Cante Hondo, the lyric I describes his meditations, interrupted by sounds and music, but never provides a description or purpose for the meditations or the relevance to the sounds. However, we know that the lyric I is thinking, which he admits, and by capitalizing the names Amor and Muerte, he grants them human abilities, including thought and intentions, which become at least partially accessible through ToM. Also, in poem XVI, Siempre fugitiva, the poetic voice laments his inability to grasp his relationship with his beloved. Her actions are all he has to construct her mental states, yet they are not enough, and her thoughts remain dark and unknown. This is an example of how ToM may break down, for no matter how reliable it is, and how often we require it to better comprehend our physical and social contexts, it is not perfect. Any time there is a mind present in these poems, we can extract certain elements of ToM, because it is fundamental to how people interact: we engage each others thoughts and intentions as well as words and gestures. Theory of Mind is prevalent in human interaction because humanity relies on cognition, and the complications that any individual encounters will carry with them a cerebral aspect. In Antonio Machados Soledades, the speakers problems become cognitive as they look both inward and outward on the way to self-discovery. How one understands what another thinks, feels, or wants can lead to a discovery of self, an identity; it is a method for internal speculation. The mind functions as part of a body that feels, moves, and exists in a real and physical world. Embodied experiences form memories, and as the lyric I attempts to discern his own thoughtsread his own mindthis embodied cognition and memory necessarily reveals clues that he can read. Furthermore, in interactions with others, mindreading ultimately represents his own thoughts, reflecting his personal concerns and desiresin short, his mental statethrough that of others. NOTES
Nancy A. Newton argues that this process of self-unfolding, or potentiality converting itself into actuality, involves a necessary negation in order for (implicit) self to become itself (explicitly) (236), a duality that makes self-discovery possible. While the topic of my study is this search for self, I deviate from such a binary perspective of mind as a divisible identity. 2 Ezio Levi and Bernard Ses also address identity and self in Machado in more general terms. Elizabeth Scarlett discusses the fragmented feminine ego through Machados use of fountain imagery, an approach that resembles Newtons and Carreos arguments for a partitioned, separated, or independent (rather than embodied) mind. 3 However, Culler minimizes this tendency to create fictional scenarios; for him this is part of a more valuable process that reveals the conventions of reading: the poetic persona is a construct, a function of the language of the poem (170), which is representative of his approach to the lyric I. I diverge from this approach by emphasizing that this I, more than a linguistic tool, builds a subjective identity fromhis context through embodiment and ToM. 4 See Gerrig; Zunshine; Mar; and Oatley. 5 Jos Mara Rodrguez Garca describes time in Machado in conjunction with melancholy: [E]l rasgo machadiano principal es el traslado nostlgico del momento de felicidad de su hablante melanclico a un instante pasado irrecuperable incluido por el recuerdo (139). This explains the sadness and ubi sunt in the poem as nature, through pathetic fallacy, and not only reflects the speakers mental state, but also forms the natural context that leads him onward in his quest for self discovery. Antonio Barbagallo also discusses a connection between emotion and nature in Soledades, arguing that el paisaje descrito est reflejando el estado anmico del poeta, and that es ms lgico pensar que don Antonio haya imprimido y derramado su sello de tristeza personal sobre el paisaje real y no que el paisaje o el ambiente haya imprimido la tristeza y la melancola sobre el alma de Machado (12). I agree that nature reflects his mental state, but I do not make the distinction so clear; the poetic voice sees his concerns reflected in nature because its physical

Mills / Reflective Mindreading


condition already reflects his own: dreary, cold, rundown, etc. As I show later, speaker and nature couple, and mutually affect each other, as it is not an either/or relationship. 6 Bors discusses this perspective of time as an element of modernism toward which Machado is gravitating in his poetic creation. However, she points out that this image of time for modernism implica una ruptura con el pasado y la escisin entre sujeto e historia, which is contrary to my overarching argument that the speaker unites with his context as a part of his identity. The passage of time is just as pertinent to our identity, as I will show, because we construct our image of self as a flow of experiences, requiring both past and present. 7 This discussion of minds and narrative is applicable to Machados lyric poetry. Palmer is discussing the mental functions in narrative, functions that also form my discussion in this study, but in a more general way; whether in poetry or in fiction, the human mind relies on narrative elements to function. Mark Turner argues that the way we think inherently resembles narrative structure, which would then allow us to find structures of narrative in poetry. Therefore, it should be no surprise that, as Juan Alonso Bernal has found, no resulta difcil reconocer la narratividad y la dramatizacin presentes en . . . [los] poemas de Machado, arguing that the lyric I often functions as a narrator (272), or that Machado, as Miguel Garca Posada shows, sings and tells his poetry, incorporating a form of narration into the works (73). 8 Mark Johnson (The Body in the Mind ) points out this social element of context: [O]ur community helps us interpret and codify many of our felt patterns. They become shared cultural modes of experience and help to determine the nature of our meaningful, coherent understanding of our world (14). 9 Bernal also sees in this encounter several different possible relationships between the lyric voice and the fountain, seeing las polarizaciones de todos los modos de representacin del yo (273), where the fountain represents una personificacin . . . de diferentes niveles del yo (277). This could also incorporate Scarletts argument in which the fountain represents the feminine side of the poetic voice, though such a reading requires a split ego that I find inconsistent with my context-based study.

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