Body and mind–are they the same? May sound unimportant but therein lies the question: Is there a non-physical component in human beings? Or are we just totally physical flesh and bone?
Body and mind, what is the relationship between them? We use the word cognitive to refer to mental activities. Where does the mental take place? Is it solely in the brain, heart, and gut? Each has incredibly inter-connected neurons–is this vast network together body and mind?
(Audit of Humankind, chapter 2.4)
I have audited the way we do, or don’t, take care of our bodies. The pros and cons of how we treat what genetics has bequeathed to us for a certain number of years. Whether it’s our food and liquid intake or what we subject our bodies to, here’s the question for our audit. As a society progressing into the 21st century, are we subjecting our bodies to improved or detrimental treatment? It is not just an individual evaluation but a global overview of this audit as we are doing with the rest of the analyses we’re broaching throughout this book.
But these last eight chapters of Audit of the Universe (7-14) are more than just a state of affairs evaluation. Starting with the previous chapter, Human Life, I need to help us define more precisely what each component in the Universe is. Remember, our primary question is: How can we bring peace and prosperity to Earth?
To answer this, we need to zero in on who and what on Earth can contribute to not only answering this question but especially who can engender such a state of bliss.
In chapter 7 on Human Life, we saw that philosophers, performing an analysis, reached the following resume about what defines humankind: Civilization, language, abstract thought, morals, ethics, perfectability, technology, the ability to analyze.
I added this conclusion to this list of human characteristics: When considered together, they represent different facets of the same social gem: cognitive capacity beyond the physical mechanics of the brain. All animals have bodies and brains and are capable of phenomenal prowesses, but only humans have a mind. Only humankind–with body and mind–has civilization, language, abstract thought, morals, ethics, perfectability, technology, the ability to analyze.
I shall return to all these human characteristics during these eight chapters, starting with this discussion of the human body. We’ll see some aspects of each of our bodies. Why? Because all humans, no matter where we are or what our origins and beliefs are, without exception, have a human body, including a brain, a heart, a gut, and hands. You’ll see why I refer to a gut.
Now for a confession. I’m not an expert by any means in any of the areas I elaborated in Inventory or Audit. These are what I’d call ‘scientific’ explanations. I’ve synthesized subjects that I’ve studied, read, and received assistance. I’ve given you the references to verify the affirmations. Frankly, my intention is not to provide you with every last detail about space, atmosphere, water, land, flora, etc. So many other experts do excellent in-depth studies, let them give you the nuts-and-bolts, the macro, and micro of these essential domains.
The goal of The Explanation is to show you how ALL these subjects intermingle to form coherent completeness. To reveal how each aspect of the Universe is an essential, required, even obligatory, piece in a perfectly fitted puzzle.The goal of The Explanation is to show you how ALL subjects intermingle to form coherent completeness. To reveal how each aspect of the Universe is an essential, required, even obligatory, piece in a perfectly fitted puzzle. Click To Tweet
Body and Mind
For now, though, I feel I need to make you aware of a profound controversy which involves the body and the mind. Here’s a quote. ‘Cognitive neuroscience is the scientific field that is concerned with the study of the biological processes and aspects that underlie cognition, with a specific focus on the neural connections in the brain which are involved in mental processes.’
I don’t expect you to understand what this is all about. However, I have color-coded the quote because I want you to see the relationship between the body and the mind. This statement says that the body is involved in mental (mind) processes.
You need to know that today some believe and clearly state, with their proof that ALL mental activity is initiated by and remains solely within the BODY. The brain, neural system, as well as the ‘heart’ and ‘gut’ (feelings) participate in these mental processes. The body is the beginning and end of the mental process.
Here’s such a quote–including the conclusions this leads to:
‘But with the rise of affective neuroscience and embodied cognition we are now able to offer much more robust and compelling versions of the third story, At my most radical, I would now claim that, not only are the gods and spirits non-existent (even though they may still have their uses), but the unconscious is dead too. We may choose to continue using it as a metaphorical or poetic way of talking, but thar ain’t no such animal. There are myriad processes in the body that never lead to conscious experience, but there is no real, identifiable place or agent inside us that is a separate source of impetus from consciousness and reason. Like the mind, the unconscious is a place-saver, a dummy explanation. It is like a temporary filling in a tooth, put there till something better comes along. And now it has. (the emphasis is by Sam)
My understanding of what Guy Claxton is saying in his book, Intelligence in the Flesh is this. The body includes everything to do with the mind. Everything else is non-existent. Elements like mind, unconscious, gods, and spirits can be thrown out and considered hogwash. I will add God because if there are no gods, there is also no God. Claxton might also be referring to ghosts, extra-sensory phenomena, etc. and I must add the spirit in man and the Holy Spirit. Many of you are aware of these spirits which will be expounded on in Origin of the Universe.
With one paragraph at the outset of his book, Claxton has wiped the slate clean of all outside of the body phenomena having the slightest impact on cognition–mental activity. Not only do they not have any effect, but they are dummy explanations. To put it in my own words, he eliminates anything and everything spiritual.
Let me give you two more quotes, this first one from the Oxford dictionary:
Cognition is “the mental action or process of acquiring knowledge and understanding through thought, experience, and the senses”
And the second focusing in on ‘thought’ which is an essential part of the mental process. What is ‘thinking’?
‘Thought refers to ideas or arrangements of ideas that are the result of the process of thinking. Though thinking is an activity considered essential to humanity, there is no consensus as to how it is defined or understood.
Because thought underlies many human actions and interactions, understanding its physical and metaphysical origins, processes, and effects has been a longstanding goal of many academic disciplines including linguistics, psychology, neuroscience, philosophy, artificial intelligence, biology, sociology and cognitive science.
Cognition involves thinking, a study by various branches of cognitive science of which embodied cognition, embraced by Claxton, is one (see his quote above). All the above branches of science and I see they’ve added philosophy to the list have come to NO consensus. Not only is there no conclusion, but there is downright opposition, contradiction, and confusion among scientists and philosophers about what and where cognition is.There are outright opposition and contradiction among scientists and philosophers alike about what and where cognition is. There is confusion about what constitutes the mind and its activities. Click To Tweet
You need to be very careful with affirmative statements about the extent of the body, brain, heart, and gut when it comes to mental and mind activities. There’s an involvement with the body. But the study of the cognitive, which some say is the last, yet foremost, frontier of discovery goes far beyond scanners and electron microscopes–observation and measuring.
I want to leave this section about body and mind with a point for you to think about: Where, in humans, is imagination located? Can that be observed and quantified? That is the role of science. What about Eureka moments, ideas and solutions–can we show what part of the body stores and originates them?
We will get into a part of this piece of the puzzle in the next couple of chapters. However, the full explanation will be forthcoming in Origin of the Universe. There, I’ll explain why each of us human beings has the body and mind we do and what their origin is. You’ll learn why there is such a need for scientists to explain why ALL ASPECTS of a human being–mind and body–are wrapped up SOLELY IN THE PHYSICAL BODY. I guarantee you; this is quite a story in itself–however, you’re going to have to be patient.
I want to conclude this rather lengthy post by focusing on our hands. They serve our every need. They are the instruments of our actions–human tools. Hands allow us to manipulate the world so that we can fulfill our wishes. Hands, as part of human bodies, set us apart from animals.
Only humans can:
- Gently wipe away tears, your own and those of a loved one.
- Grab a hammer and pound a nail in straight.
- Pack your clothes in a suitcase and then stack them in the trunk on a car.
- Wrap a fragile gift and tie a decorative bow.
- Peel a fruit, pluck a chicken, cut it up and turn it into a mouth-watering recipe.
- And a million other coordinated, dexterous, manipulative movements.
This body part doesn’t get much thought; it’s often overlooked. If you want a deeper understanding of the effect of ‘hands’ on humans, especially nowadays with the switch of their use away from ‘manual’ activities to ‘key-punching’ activities, then I suggest you peruse Hands by Darian Leader. In Origin of the Universe, I’ll discuss the relationship between the human mind and human hands – body and mind. I’d even say they go hand-in-hand.
Here’s a treat for you, a video of Darci Lynn’s quarter-final performance on America’s Got Talent. For the sake of this blog post please focus on her left hand and see how she ‘manipulates’ Oscar. She transmits emotion to this chunk of tissue. She makes Oscar come alive by moving his hands adroitly in conjunction with his whole body, the music, and the performance. You can also watch her right hand and see how she choreographs Oscar’s head and body for a real-life singing act. In Darci’s first audition, Mel B said of the puppet Petunia, “I guess she’s just like you.” Well, yes, because Darci can transmit that inner part of herself to a rag doll and make it act humanlike with her hands.
I suggest you also watch the semi-finals and finals (which she won) and stay focused on her hands. I don’t know if she’s ambidextrous or not, but the emotions she transmits to Petunia and Oscar through the movement of her hands is nothing short of amazing. Hands and emotions – body and mind – in perfect sync. Hands set humankind apart from any and every other form of life.
This blog post is an excerpt from chapter 2.4 of the book Audit of Humankind.
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