Is mind a body part. The human mind is an essential, if not the key piece, in the puzzle of the Universe. The Explanation proposes to put all the pieces of the puzzle of the Universe together in a coherent complete way. That’s quite an undertaking. To do so, The Explanation started, in the book Inventory of the Universe, to define what the fundamental puzzle pieces are. Audit of the Universe explains more about how these pieces interlock and especially how humanity is affecting them.
Let’s discuss the human mind. Actually that is a tautology, two terms that mean the same thing. A human is defined by having a mind and a mind is only possessed by humans. A mind makes a human, human. Here’s a statement to think about. Everything humans do is only because they possess a mind. Everything humans do can only be explained based on mind.
How are the mind and brain related. Several different but overlapping kinds of relationship obtaining between mind and brain are evident in recent literature.
Straightforward causality – Brains cause minds. This relationship is disconcertingly unproblematic. It is very clear, especially from neuroscience, that brains are entirely capable of causing minds, and do.
Direct correspondence – Minds consist in or are the same as brain activity. With this option, the question doesn ’t really arise – what occur in brains, amongst other events, are minds. It seems at the moment that the kind of language we typically use to discuss minds will increasingly be supplanted by that which describes brain events – ultimately perhaps brain algorithms.
Neural correlation – Neural activity correlates with consciousness. This seems to be about hedging bets. Not prepared entirely to accept a direct equivalence of mind and brain (2), a comfortable position is correlation. Neural activity correlates with consciousness and its characteristic patterns generate mind. This means for every mind state there is also a brain state.
Overwhelming incompatibility. This can be the result of two diametrically opposed positions. The brain and the mind are different types of entities – physical and mental. The extraordinary complexity of brains succeeds in persuading us to believe that minds are metaphysical when they are not.
Proposition a is supported by the use of the word ‘the’ in the question, presupposing the independent existence of ‘the mind’. Cartesian dualism provides a root for this way of thinking: there is no way that a material thing – the brain, can be related to the mind – a metaphysical or non-material thing.
Concerning our evolutionary history is significantly characterised by increasing capacities for intense, vivid experiences, etc, which represent profound survival value. The advantage of sense-perception and other mental abilities unavoidably entails the increase in human cognitive ability until we are unwittingly beguiled by our brains, so that now we are compelled to believe in a metaphysical self and mind somehow independent of the principal organ that has undergone this process of improvement – the brain. It seems likely that many existing accounts may well appear somewhat excessive, and in need of revision.
The currently predominant philosophical view of mind is a physicalist one, which assumes that everything will eventually be covered by a neuroscientific explanation. Here the brain is a physical entity, but the mind is a common sense or ‘folk’ concept that refers to the collection of conscious mental events, states, and acts (hereafter just ‘events’) and to their causal influence on our actions. Physicalism is an assumption shared by eliminativists (or reductionists), so-called because of their somewhat implausible claim that folk concepts like ‘mind’ are irrelevant to this investigation. These reductionist philosophers have gone on to identify the folk ‘mind’ with neural events, claiming that each type of mental event is identical to a type of neural event. Others have been even more refined, and suggested that particular mental events are identical to particular neural events. However, both views fail to explain why the explanatory distinction between the mental and the physical has arisen.
Some non-reductionists have suggested that mental properties ‘supervene’ on neural properties, such that if two brain processes are indiscernible they will be indiscernible in their (supervenient) mental properties – but that although such mental properties depend on their bases, they are not reducible to them. Experience cannot be described in physical terms,
Functionalists have suggested that brain states interact with one another to effect behaviour, and that the kind of causal relationships involved in mental processing might also be active in computers for example. This ignores the phenomenal –the experiential or ‘felt’ aspect of mind. But the supervenience of mind to brain may seem merely like a re-statement of the basic relationship problem, as opposed to an solution of it.
Could awareness arise in computers? Much depends here on the nature of the properties upon which the supervenient experiences are said to depend, because such properties might not be confined to neural events, but might also emerge from other physical systems. Also consider: a particular piece of music or a particular scent may routinely evoke images of episodes in our personal history, and so it seems necessary to supplement neuroscientific explanations by contributions from the social sciences and the humanities to account for the contents of experience –as is now occurring. Brains, after all, are located in the bodies of human beings who find themselves in physical and cultural environments that provide content, activity, and phenomenal character to their developing minds.
So how do we reprogram our brains to produce better results
First, it’s important to differentiate between the brain and the mind. Your brain is a physical organ that stays in a fixed place in your body (unless maybe, you get a lobotomy). Your mind, however is a less tangible thing than the brain. It is the part of you that is aware, also referred to as your consciousness. Whether it’s spiritual (as some people believe) or a result of the firing of neurons in the brain (as other people believe) is immaterial to this discussion. What’s important for this conversation is that when we’re talking about the mind, we’re not talking about lobes of the brain or anything that is lodged in a specific physical area.
Yes, I’m trying to impress you. Impress on your ‘mind’ the realization that this huge diversity of emotions, sentiments, moods, psychological and medical attitudes has a specific and definite position in the billions-of-pieces puzzle that constitutes the Universe.
To understand humans and their role in the Universe you must be able to make sense out of these various attitudes. How about their opposition and intensity? In fact most of them are necessary and proper reactions at a given point in time, under particular circumstances. How do we explain that all human beings, worldwide, whether they’ve lived in tightly knit communities or isolated hinterlands are animated by exactly these same attitudes? What is the common denominator that has brought this ever-so basic observation about?
I know you’re not a doctor, psychologist or scientist–but you know where your arms are, your brain, your heart and your gut–which we talked about in the last chapter about the body. So, here’s something we hear all the time: Think! Where do these moods, sentiments and emotions reside in your body, if they’re in your body at all?
Yes, these are a lot of questions–and I will answer them but there is so much contradiction and misguided information out there, in spite of the fact, that if you come down to basics you can home in on the answer. I really would like you to come to the proper conclusion yourself. It’s there to be seen, so here are some clues to guide you.