History and Systems of Psychology
Mind, Brain, and Body
As human beings, we need a mind, a brain, and a body to function properly. The concept for each of these components varies depending on ones traditions and beliefs. My personal perspective is that the mind, brain, and body have different roles but ultimately work together to produce a healthy, functioning person.
I believe that the mind is made up by conscious experience and intelligent thought. For example, in one moment you may be focused on doing your homework while your consciousness may then shift to the memory of a conversation you had earlier with a friend. I also believe that the mind is responsible for our imagination and reason. Without the mind, we lack personality. While the mind is powerful, the brain is also a key essential to how we operate.
The brain is considered to be physical. We can see and touch the brain whereas it is not possible to see and touch the mind. The brain is an important organ in the human body. The brain, which is in the center of the nervous system, directs the movements of our body. The mind however, is located within the brain and does not have a definite shape like the brain does. I consider the brain to be the “conductor” of our body. It tells our body what to do and when to do it.
Our body is the shell that holds everything together. I believe that body is the house that protects the brain and other organs so that they can function properly. Technically, I believe that the body is not “us.” It just holds everything in place. It is where “us” lives. I was taught that when we die, “us” or our soul eventually leaves the body. The mind, brain, and body are completely three different things. However, they work together to configure who we essentially are.
Abstract: My basic theory of mind-brain relationship is presented here as five short ideas that have been jotted down within a period of about 4 years, the first being the latest one. The bottom line of my theory postulates mind as not having evolved from matter and not being an emergent product of the brain's complexity. The experience of consciousness and mind is so different from the functions of the brain that so far no scientific theory is capable of accounting for the missing subjectivity within the brain. Mind's features cannot be reduced to the brain's features. In my theory, Mind is the dominant factor, and not the brain. Mind uses the functions of the brain to express itself. That explains the correlations between our mind and the brain. There's no problem of interaction, however, since Mind and Matter are not two different Cartesian substances, but only two aspects of the same underlying reality, Hyponoesis that is.
Modern neuroscience postulates the equivalence of brain processes and thinking or consciousness. Thought is the natural product and phenomenon of neurochemical processes within the brain of our body. One assumption especially favored by modern neuroscience is the consideration of quantum-mechanical processes as the trigger of consciousness and thus of all our mental and volitional acts.
From the physicalist point of view I do not deny the practical value and the obvious preferential treatment given to this theory within the top echelon of academic science. There is one point, however, that I do find worth considering. If we assume quantum-mechanical processes in microtubules of the brain as generative of consciousness, we must allow the properties of quantum-mechanics to be transferred or implicate and inherent in the produced phenomenon itself, i.e., consciousness must itself have quantum-mechanical properties.
A physical cause always conveys its property to its produced effect. For example, consider the cause of a force, pushing a body into motion. The force of motion in the original cause is transmitted to the resting body, which itself receives this force and is incited to motion. Thus the kinetic energy of the muscle in my arm is transferred to the book, which I lift up from the table. Before I moved the book, it was resting in a fixed place. As soon as I raise the book, a new determinant is added, that of motion.
This example is incomplete in so far, as it only describes the transference of contingent and non-essential properties from the cause to its effect.
Our body is a complex organism, operating as a whole. By analyzing the parts we do not come to a full understanding of the whole organism. We say, that the organism is the product of biological processes, especially those inherent in the DNA. The properties of the DNA are also present within the whole organism. For example the principle of reproduction as a principle of life itself is fundamental to the functionality of the DNA, as well as of the whole body.
Similarly, do we not have to assume, that quantum-mechanical properties of the brain processes are inherent and essential to thought and consciousness? For example, take the property of non-locality in quantum mechanics. It is a physical and approved fact, that quantum-mechanical processes implicate the non-local behavior and relationship of particles. If we transfer this property to consciousness and assume non-locality to be a primary constituent in the mechanism of thought, we must inevitably end up with the self-contradictory conclusion, that consciousness and thought possess a non-local nature, although neuroscience tries to explain them in terms of locality, i.e., as a phenomenon of the brain.
Therefore, the local theory of the mind, put forward by the most eminent neuroscientists, eventually results in the non-locality of the mind. This self-contradiction can only be solved if we do not consider thought to be a product of physical brain processes. As our consciousness and our thought, by nature and definition and through our own experience evinces non-local features, we are compelled to reconsider these neurobiological theories and eventually to refute them in favor of a non-local theory of the mind.
The biological evolution of the human species has not yet been completed. Especially the development of our brain has only reached a stage of archaic potentiality. The fact that today most people live according to their biological and bodily drives and impulses than according to the capacity of reason that is said to distinguish humans from other living animals, obviously shows, that we are far from having attained the final stage of human evolution. The evolution of the body or most of nature may have reached a point of near completion, but, as the brain has developed later in the process of evolution than the other parts of the body, we have to assume, that the brain's evolution is far from being complete. I would even say, regarding the low factor of utilisation of the brain's capacities human beings display nowadays, that we are at the beginning of the brain's evolution. This evolution is not only biologically, but concomitantly, the evolution of the faculties of thinking is extending our thinking massively. This sustains my theory of Paranoesis or Transrational Thinking. Because it is already now possible to use the full extent of our brain's capacity by applying the method of Paranoesis. Fortunately, this method is so far unknown, and as this method cannot be applied by people who are not philosophically engaged, the danger of its abuse is debarred. If we look on some thousand years into the future, we can probably imagine the human being in its full blossom, that is, thinking is highly extended and used more effectively and comprehensively than in our days.
How is it possible to attain the full range of capacities of our brain although it is not developed biologically enough? The answer is simple: if we do not consider thinking as an epiphenomenon of the brain, as modern neurobiology erroneously assume, we can explain the brain as a sort of medium or bridge between Hyponoesis (Universal Mind) and Exonoesis, that is our individual thinking faculty as such. Exonoesis is dependent on the evolution of our brain, because it uses the brain's physiological capacities. Hyponoesis is independent of any material or corporeal medium. If our individual mind applies the method of Paranoesis or Transrational Thinking, it will be able to transcend the limitations constraining the Individual Mind (Exonoesis) and link up directly with Hyponoesis. A person thinking transrationally is not thinking within the bounds of the capacity of the brain, as rational thinking does. Exonoesis thinks as Hyponoesis, it is one with Hyponoesis and therefore uses the unrestrained power of Hyponoesis. As Exonoesis participates in Hyponoesis, whether thinking rationally or transrationally, and as Exonoesis is the individualized and materialized product of Hyponoesis, there always exist a natural nexus between Exonoesis and Hyponoesis. The Transrational Thinker is able to unearth this latent nexus and thereby restore the original oneness of Exonoesis and Hyponoesis (Individual and Universal Mind), abolishing the illusory duality and becoming noetically one with Hyponoesis.
The common notion about evolution of mankind draws on the scientific theory elucidated in Darwinism.
Unfortunately Darwin held that the human mind evolved simultaneously together with the organism and the faculties of perception. While our ancestors living in caves developed gradually the faculty of using the first tools, the Evolutionists believe, that their intellectual faculty also began to flourish and thus reason, the unique feature of the homo sapiens, slowly came into being.
Mind that makes up the human being in its wholeness, has never evolved. Only the intellectual faculties were refined over the centuries. Mind as such has always been, independent of the evolution, unchanged by the changes of time, indifferent to the upheavals of mankind and the struggling effort to grasp that which I call the One Mind.
Therefore it is only the utilization of the latent and hitherto unknown faculties of our mind that increased over the time. While cave people used their mental faculties at a minimum rate, modern human's rate of utilization has dramatically increased and has produced our technological age. Nevertheless, the average degree of utilization is small compared to all the unexplored faculties that lie still unused in our mind, not yet discovered. Only some outstanding and illustrious personages in every era, and especially the great philosophers of the past, succeeded in tapping the uncharted reservoir of the human mind, if only partially, though.
Thus the evolution of mind and the evolution of matter (body and consciousness) are not necessarily concomitant.
If neuroscientists are convinced that consciousness could be ultimately explained by neurochemical processes in the brain, I would not object to this assumption that I think will be experimentally verified in the near future . Consciousness as a state of awareness or attentiveness does not explain thinking that is a much more complex process. Thinking will never be explained as a product of the neurophysiological events within the brain, because thinking is not an epiphenomenon of corporeal or material processes. Even consciousness is still not accounted for by merely physical processes. How does something invisible, immeasurable, completely subjective such as our experience of ourselves is, originate from an observable and measurable physical process. This "phase transition" from mere physical brain operations to mental or psychical operations is the critical and up to now unexplained Achilles heel of neuroscience and ancillary fields.
Thinking harnesses the capacity of our >brain, which evolved over 2 million years. It is the medium that evolved, not thinking as such. Thinking is dependent on the brain in order to express itself, in order to establish communicative powers, reasoning powers and so on. Thinking is necessary for our survival as a species, for the individual being to be able to live. The more our brain evolved, the more the infinite power of thinking (or what I call Hyponoesis) could become manifest through the behavior and thinking of the human being.
Thinking as such (Hyponoesis) is independent of the body or the brain. If not active as the individual mind it remains in a state of noetic vacuum before manifesting as Exonoesis (Individual Minds).
The brain is therefore just a medium of expression for thinking. Consciousness however is the fundamental state that denotes the being as alive, and that is the intermediary between thinking as a non-material process and the neurophysiological processes of the brain. Consciousness is the link between thinking and the brain, between the mind and the body. I do not mean to emphasize a dualistic notion with this. On the contrary, dualism, as postulated by Descartes, means an assumption of two totally independent and different substances, although they are capable of interacting somehow. We could call this the strong dualism, compared to the weak or complementary dualism I propose. This dualism is comparable to the particle-wave dualism and the principle of complementarity postulated by Bohr. Both, particle and wave are an aspect of the same subatomic event. They complement each other and belong necessarily together. Mind and body, therefore, are not antagonistic or completely different. Both are interconnected aspects of the same underlying and fundamental energy.
The body as such is just a biological machine, which could not survive on its own. Consciousness gives the body the necessary information about the world outside it and about the body itself. Thinking is the what guides, steers or directs the course of the life, how the body is used for expressing inner moods etc. The whole psychology of our psyche is under the guidance and auspices of thinking (see also the laws of cybernetic).
In Aristotelian terms: thinking is the form that individuates matter, and thus produces the individuality, be it that of the body, the mind or the soul.
(cf. Thomas Aquinas on the unity of body and soul, Summa Theologica, Ia, 76.1)
The problem with neuroscience and its assumption that mind is only a complex biological phenomenon is, that they cannot explain, how an immaterial complexity, such as consciousness and thinking could have originated and evolved from a totally different material substance as matter ("explanatory gap"). Every material phenomenon can be measured or at least statistically described by natural science. Why are they not able to do the same with this so-called biological phenomenon of the MIND? Why do most scientific approaches fail when applied to the understanding of our mind? Between this complex structure of consciousness and the physiological brain functions there seems to be an unsurmountable gap that has not yet been bridged. The functions and structure of our mind do not, by analogy, resemble the function and structure of the material counterpart, the brain. Both functions are different. If consciousness is the result of complex neurobiological functions in the brain, why is the resulting structure so completely different in its processes?
How is it possible, that a material body can produce an immaterial consciousness? How is individuality in our mind explained, though our brains are basically the same? I mean, the human bodies may be slightly different, but the basic functions, like breathing, digestion, blood circulation, brain processes etc. are the same within the species of home sapiens, even within the genus of living beings. Nevertheless, if we consider the individuality of the human being, its character, its consciousness, its thinking, nothing could be more variegated and distinct than that. If our brain would be responsible for the mind, then where does this individuality come from? Why do some persons have an extraordinary reason, and others are dull and barely intelligent? Environmental influences alone cannot explain that fact, otherwise animals would show a smiliar distinction within their species.
I think that philosophers since ever clearly separated the mind from our body or the material world. We cannot simply reject their thoughts as dualism. Why shouldn't there be a dualism of some sort? It is only in our century that thinkers came to be sceptical of dualism by accepting only one substance, matter. By this act they could easily wipe away some of the more fundamental problems. This enterprise is Janus-faced, because on the other side they created a host of new problems, as mentioned above, and these problems are for some part really absurd.