Thinking about the mind
(Forgive my fragmented arguments. This is a work in-progress)
The brain is the mind?
THE brain is the seat of a person’s mind—if the mind is a separate entity from the physical body. To function, the brain must be fed and maintained like any machine. It is an engine to a car with many specialized parts designed to work as a single organ. The purpose of the brain is to control the conscious and unconscious parts of the body in order that the person’s mind (the entity) can interact with the World. When the brain dies, the mind dies. We’re excluding the possibility of a spirit or soul.
When the mind wants to touch the petal of a flower, the brain executes commands to muscles; which in turn move the torso, arm, and fingers toward the plant. Coordinating these muscles is a graceful dance of electrical activity in the nervous system, and when the dance is complete the desire of the mind is sated, or should be.
And this goes on and on.
The mind cannot survive without support
The brain is an engine that requires fuel. We have a stomach to process and convert fuel. Getting that fuel to the specialized cranial areas requires transport. We have pipes for that, and a pump. Conduits run everywhere. There is even a toxic waste program with the liver and kidneys. If these fail, then the brain fails.
As a side note, the more complicated the brain, the more complicated the supporting structures. A leech has a few million less neural cells comprising its brain structure, and consequently a much simpler body. Without the complicated brain, the complicated body has no purpose.
If the human brain’s ultimate purpose is to replicate itself, then the purpose of having a body is to gather the physical resources required to support the brain’s survival until it has made another brain.
Supernatural issues with the brain?
So, why has the human brain been designed/evolved to ask questions like, “Why don’t I kill myself?”, when in fact an affirmative answer to such a question results in the brain purposefully destroying itself, even if it has not succeeded reproducing.
It is that mind entity, separate from the physical domain of the brain that continues to fascinate me. It doesn’t make sense. Do leeches kill themselves because they desire to do so? I mean, what is a desire? Why even have desires if they lead to the destruction of the Self (suicide), and in many observable cases, the destruction of others who may be beneficial to the population’s survival?
Our mind produces fear for its survival
If the ideal world was an average of all the desires of humans, then we as a diverse population are doomed: the mind of a single human wants to survive unto itself.
The only worldly aspect that prevents this from happening is:
- The Law (government) and Punishment (negative reinforcement)
- Conditional morality (gross example: if you don’t kill me, I won’t kill you. You are fulfilling my desires, so I will not hurt you.)
If the mind makes its own morality—there is only internal Law reinforced by punishment (on the flip-side, reward could be the absence of punishment).
I believe an individual’s mind cannot be the source of understanding everything about itself.
Here’s another viewpoint – click here