Friday, April 21, 2006

The Mind-Brain Problem

A central point of the Scientific Materialism view
is that the Brain and the Mind are one and the same,
that the Mind is merely the emergent result of the
physical processes going on inside the Brain...

In the "reality" conversation between Morpheus and
Neo, in the first Matrix movie, Morpheus sums up
this view by telling Neo that what we can see or feel
or touch -- what we tend to call "Real" -- is merely
electrical signals being interpreted by our Brains...

"Interpreted..." by whom? The ACT of Interpretation
seems to indicate intention and purposefulness, things
typically associated with a Mind; but the things that
a Mind DOES cannot BE the Mind itself... Thoughts don't
"think" themselves, and eletrical connections in the
Brain don't "interpret" themselves... Something ELSE
must be doing the interpreting... So according to
Morpheus' statement, the Brain is doing one thing
(carrying on these electrical connections) and
something ELSE, the Mind, must be "interpreting" them,
assigning to them Meaning and Value and Context...

The reality of this "something else" seems
inescapable and immediate. Those who say that the
Mind vanishes when the Brain dies have absolutely
no proof that this is the case, and are assuming, a priori,
that the Brain is a necessary condition for the Mind;
it is just as possible that the Mind is "released" when
the Brain is dead, and indeed, many people have reported
what are called "Near Death Experiences" in which
their Minds have indeed seemed to be disconnected from
their clinically dead Brains...

The Scientific Materialist will staunchly refuse to
accept these cases, however, choosing instead to defer
to the "mysteries" of Mind that we "still do not
understand", which, of course, sounds much more like
a FAITH statement than a scientific conclusion;
and his refusal to even consider the possibility of a Mind
which may exist beyond the Brain just may well be a
non-scientific mixture of Fear and Rebellion...

But the real trouble with saying that the Mind and the
Brain are the same, and that the Mind vanishes when
the Brain dies, is that this position reduces all
Human Beings to mere animals; the only "reality" is

We may speculate about the SOURCE of the Perception,
but NOTHING can be said to be "real" beyond the
machinery that is my Brain; not Truth, not Beauty,
not Love, not Justice, not even YOU.

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