In Dianetics, L. Ron Hubbard states that the purpose of the mind is to solve problems relating to survival.
The mind directs the individual in the effort of survival and bases its operations upon the information that it receives or records. The mind records data using what are called mental image pictures.
Such pictures are actually three-dimensional, containing color, sound and smell, as well as other perceptions. They also include the conclusions or speculations of the individual. Mental image pictures are continuously made by the mind, moment by moment. One can, for instance, examine the picture of what he had for breakfast this morning by recalling breakfast; and similarly recover a picture of an event which occurred last week by recalling it; or even recall something which happened a much longer time ago.
Mental image pictures are composed of energy. They have mass, they exist in space, and they follow some very, very definite routines of behavior, the most interesting of which is the fact that they appear when somebody thinks of something. If a person thinks of a certain dog, he gets a picture of that dog.
The consecutive record of mental image pictures which accumulates through an individual’s life is called the time track. The time track is a very accurate record of a person’s past. As a rough analogy, the time track could be likened to a motion-picture film—if that film were three-dimensional, had fifty-seven perceptions and could fully react upon the observer.
The mind uses these pictures to make decisions that promote survival. The mind’s basic motivation, even though a person might fail in an undertaking or make a mistake, is always survival.