Robert C. Priddy

Writings on diverse themes from philosophy, psychology to literature and criticism

  • Robert Priddy


    In this blog I post information and critical views concerning ideologies, belief systems and related scientific materials etc. I am a retired philosophy lecturer and researcher, born 1936.

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The mind in evolution, brain-dependent and temporary

Posted by robertpriddy on November 16, 2013

Modern neurological science has established that the human mind, including memory, is not permanently the same. It develops, changes and can lose many or all its functions due to diseases or brain injuries. No such thing as ‘mind atoms’ have every been discovered. Instead, the mind is a vastly complex network of neural connections between neurons (which are much larger and more composite than atoms) and interactions within an electro-magnetic field. These connections can either grow and become more secure through reinforcement through memorising and perceiving, or they can weaken and disappear. The mind is therefore no fixed entity but a complex of electro-magnetically induced connections between its neurons, which decompose after death. The self, as we conceive it daily and as an identifier inward of ones existential being or person, is inseparable from the mind, subject to a process of growth, development, change (and even splitting or dissolution) within the social and physical environment. No entity we can call a self – other than as a post facto mental construct – can be perceived inwardly as such (Sartre proved this most rigorously in ‘The Transcendence of the Ego’). Julian Baggini has developed the many consequences of this for philosophical psychology and religion.

Modern neurobiology supports the view that the mind is a manifestation of brain activity and is inseparable from it. This view is underpinned by extensive new knowledge which has been obtained from MRI and CAT scanning. We know the specific areas where various kinds of mental activity are processed. Whenever we have a damaged brain, thoughts or recognition which are normally found associated with the damaged area, cease to exist. There is no hard evidence anywhere of the existence of conscious mental activity except in relation to the living brain.” Dr. Peter T. Chopping. Chopping regards the human mind is the product of evolution is virtually indisputable (See A.G. Cairns-Smith – “Evolving the Mind.”) and it takes a real part in decision-making – it moves the limbs etc. and all that follows. That neural activity which activates begins before the decision to move enters consciousness can be due to an ‘editing process’ before making the decision final (a process as is shown in the much researched Phi phenomenon).

Of the four fields of force (strong and weak nuclear, gravity and electromagnetism, the only possible mover of the power of the mind is the electromagnetic force, which combines the electrostatic with the magnetic (including electromagnetic radiation). No other force is known to physics, and can therefore contribute any better understanding. Chopping also considers at length the problem of the ‘gap’ between classical physics and quantum theory, which may affect the issue, and he defends the contention that animals have consciousness, their evolutionary chain correspmding to levels of complexity of consciouness. He discusses the Hebbian properties in neurons and how the neural structure exhibited by the learning process appears to have developed from these properties. The brains of higher organism – especially homo sapiens – have several different orders of consciousness, which experimental evidence confirms and he considers “that the most significant consciousness is dependent on the magnetic fields generated by oscillating neural loops and that there are emergent properties associated with alternating magnetic fields the nature of which we do not yet know. The conscious mind presents a picture of the real world which describes it to some extent in a way which is useful to the animal. Perception of colours varies greatly with different species and humans creatively identify thousands of hues way beyond the seven colours of the spectrum. This picture is not entirely accurate.” The mind with its emergent properties has the nature of an almost infinitely complex and intangible ‘field’ and as such surely involves wave functions and interference phenomena. Understanding these through quantum research leads much further into solving the questions about the mind.

The human personality and the ego vs. the self

 

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