The “problem of the mind” is a major divide between analytic and continental philosophy. Right off, as an example of the divide, I have committed an insult to post-modern social justice theory based on continental philosophy by referring to this contemplation as a “problem”. It is not a problem for them, supposedly, instead it is a mystery to be enjoyed — or else be punished for not enjoying it.
For analytic philosophy, the mind is something one rationally and even logically contemplates. “I think, therefore I am” allows me to conclude I absolutely in all possible worlds in which I think, I also am. In such analysis, my mind or “I” or my subjective me Subject, whatever words one wants to use to give this concept meaning, is a rational conclusion to be rationally contemplated. It deductively follows the same is true of other minds; there are others out there who I experience as acting, talking, and behaving as I do so it is rational to conclude they and others have a mind also — the Other. From these basics, the nature of this concept mind for analytic philosophy generates libraries of analytical verbiage of the mind as a subject and object of reasoning, logic, and epistemology speaking of that for which they should be silent.
For continental philosophy, first perhaps with Kant but most definitely by Hegel, the mind is an a priori category; “I am, therefore I think”. For continental phislosophy including existentialism, I must exist and be conscious of my existence as a prerequisite for thought and not the other way around. It is my self-consciousness as a Subject that makes me an Object of my contemplation. It is my self-consciousness that makes me contemplate whether there are others — the Other — out there who are conscious of me in the same way I am or differently. This generates the question of whether these Other are self-conscious? Am I the Object of their Subject? So on and so forth into the convoluted aesthetics of phenomenological verbiage distinguishing between the “Self” and the “Other” of which I am already confused. In the hands of a Husserl, Sartre, Derrida, and many more speaking of that for which they should be silent, the potential of such verbiage reaches aesthetic perfection.
There should be no objection to the basic concept of the Other. All reasoning and logic begin with the recursive base case of “I am therefore I think” and then the recursive step “I want more than just thinking”. Analytic philosophy starts with the wrong base and misunderstands the significance of this a priori knowledge even to the point of denying it is a priori. However, continental philosophy is just as bad by getting the recursive step wrong and by misunderstanding the rational implications of these premises to the point of denying the very will to power of which they constantly pontificate. Both use the Other — just as they use the Self — as words with benign, neutral, or similar harmless meanings for their aesthetic use. For all academic philosophies including for ethics and morality, these are lifeless concepts not reflections of our Heart of Darkness.
The Self does not exist in a timeless, spaceless, or any type of vacuum awaiting the power of aesthetics to give it life. I exist in a meaningless universe trying to kill me — be it by disease, catastrophe, hunger, thirst, cold, heat, age, or whatever. If I want to exist and to continue existing, I must be ready to fight to exist and to kill or be killed when the situation warrants such acts. I must be ready to fight and to kill anything trying to kill me, including killing the Other, unless I am willing to die myself. Most of my life, I am willing to live and let live assuming I am lucky enough to live in a world prosperous and materially successful enough to allow for such an attitude. However, if luck runs out, the Self’s Heart of Darkness will destroy the Other or they will destroy me — I have no way of knowing which.
The Other is also not timeless, spaceless, or simply aesthetic verbiage allowing me to pretend I care and love others as I do myself. The Other if they want to exist and to continue existing must also be willing to fight and to kill or be killed when the situation warrants such acts. The Other must be ready to fight and to kill anything trying to kill the Other, including my Self, unless the Other is willing to die themselves. Most of the Other — not all but most — may be willing to live and let live assuming they are lucky enough to live in a world prosperous and materially successful enough to allow for such an attitude. However, if luck runs out, the Other’s Heart of Darkness will destroy me or it will destroy the Other — the Other also has no way of knowing which it will be.
We all share this Heart of Darkness known only by struggle not by reasoning, logic, or aesthetics. We can ignore it. Many do ignore it and live long and happy lives ignoring it. Some of the Other acknowledge it and use it as a means to assure their existence by using it as justification for their ethics and morality achieving or trying to achieve a monopoly on violence to protect their Self’s Heart of Darkness from the Darkness of the Other Heart — perfect exemplification of the truth of this Heart of Darkness. The true existential struggle is to acknowledge it and to live with it honestly as a nihilist demanding no ethics or morality nor their necessary need for a monopoly on violence but at best with only a leap to faith to the will to power of nihilism denying all ethics and morality.