Nirvanam wrote:An emotion is in the realm of the mind, a change in the body is in the physical realm, the emotion has caused the change in the body - why does this not mean mind caused a change in the body? or mind influencing the body?
OK, I'll try again. Now, bear in mind I haven't read any up-to-date books on cognitive neuroscience (though I want to), and much of my understanding of the mind is based on two books I read ages ago that were published in 1997 (How the Mind Works
by Steven Pinker and The Human Brain: A Guided Tour
by Susan Greenfield). There have been great advances in the field since then, and even more since I studied psychology thirty years ago. But anyway, my understanding of the mind is that it is a collection of physical states and processes [---][/---] or rather, it's the sum total of all
cognitive states and processes, conscious and
unconscious. So I don't agree with you that mind = consciousness. Though I do agree with you that the mind is not the same as the brain. The mind is what the brain does
. And yes, emotions, like thoughts and memories and perceptions and imaginings, are part of the "realm" of the mind. But they are also part of the "realm" of the brain and the rest of the body. Because, as I see it, there aren't two separate realms. The distinction I would
make is that words like fear and disgust and love and lust and happiness describe the processes from our
point of view. We don't have any awareness of neurons firing or hormones being secreted or neurotransmitters being released into synaptic clefts or whatever. But all those things are part of the processes. The mind doesn't cause
them. They are ingredients of the mind. If anything, it is the physical changes that cause us to experience emotions precisely the way we do.
Emma Woolgatherer wrote:It isn't a simple matter of the emotion of fear causing the physical changes.
Is it because it sounds so simple?
Hell no. I like simplicity. All this complexity is quite exhausting. But that's life. It's complex.
Nirvanam wrote:Why would you consider it a coincidence instead of causation?
I don't consider it a coincidence, and perhaps the word "coincide" was misleading. I just think we're talking about different aspects of the same thing. However, I'm not saying that there are no causal links. But I think the causal links are between the different physical processes involved.
Nirvanam wrote:The use of the word trigger...are you meaning to say that the mind accidentally induced something? If it is not accidental then it is a deliberate influence the mind has had over the body.
Ooh, it's so difficult to express these things in words. Words are just so weighted. But OK, what I'm trying to say is that our beliefs, which themselves are associated with certain cognitive states and processes, and our personalities, which are themselves associated with certain cognitive states and processes, and our memories of past experiences, which ... etc., and our perceptions of current events, which .... etc., and our hopes and our expectations and our motivations, and all these other words that represent our own experiences of physical cognitive processes, just some of the many processes that constitute what we call "the mind", in particular combinations have an effect on other physical processes. So we have a lot of processes triggering other processes. But only a few of those processes are things that we experience consciously, and have everyday words for. Most happen at an unconscious level. But it's all "mind".
Emma Woolgatherer wrote:But I don't rule out the possibility that a person can deliberately create physiological changes in himself.
Yep...I actually believe the mind can and does influence the body in more ways than we can imagine
I hope I've explained myself well enough to make it clear why I'm reluctant to put it that way. Given my understanding of the mind, it doesn't make sense to talk about the mind influencing the body. It would be like saying something like: the burning influenced the fire, or the blowing influenced the wind, or the flowing influenced the river. Except that the mind isn't a single activity, but lots of them. I think that using the word "mind" in that way actually burdens it with quite a bit of psychological inertia.
Nirvanam wrote:Mental processes do not have physical basis, they manifest into physicality. The causer is the mind not the physical stuff in the body. Mind is directing the physical stuff like neurological communications (first level of physical manifestation) which then results in tangible changes in the body (second level of physical manifestation).
Well, unsurprisingly, I don't agree. And I didn't think that modern neuroscience supported that view.
Nirvanam wrote:For mental processes to have basis in physical things...well this means mind itself is a physical quantity which it is not at least as our understanding stands today. Look at it even in the physical universe...energy always influences matter, energy is the causer, and changes get manifested in matter.
Is part of our problem here the ambiguity of the word "physical"? We use it casually to talk about observable changes in and activities of the body. But in a more strictly scientific sense, the word physical relates to both matter and
energy. When you talked about the "physical universe" you weren't excluding energy. So talking about the mind in physical terms is not to say that it's made up only of matter, that it has mass and occupies volume, if that's what you meant by "physical quantity". As I've said, I think the word "mind" encompasses all cognitive states and processes, and those states and processes are physical, in that they relate to both matter and
energy. And I agree that energy influences matter, but that doesn't take us outside the physical realm.
Emma Woolgatherer wrote:If there are physical changes there are energy changes, yes ... But I don't think that's the same as saying that the energy changes cause the physical changes. Or if it is, it's true only in a very trivial way.
Why is it trivial..rather what do you mean by trivial way, maybe if you can give an example of what would be a 'significant' way then it'll help me understand what you mean by trivial.
I'm sorry. I expressed myself badly, but partly because I was adopting your own terminology. I shouldn't have continued to contrast energy changes with physical changes. Energy changes are
physical changes. And yes, they do cause material changes. And all those changes are going on constantly in the body, specifically as part of our various cognitive processes but also as part of our respiratory processes and cardiovascular processes and digestive processes and all the other biological processes. So I reject the dualism implied by your particular approach. I don't equate the mind with energy and the brain (and the rest of the body) with matter. Or make some other distinction of that type.
Nirvanam wrote:I think you are holding back your mental processes here (maybe there is some fear of free imagination...I dunno...you'd know best ...
I might not know best, but I don't think I am holding back my mental processes (although right now I might be holding back something). And I don't think I have any fear of free imagination, but perhaps I'd be more comfortable if I fed my imagination with a little more up-to-date and accurate information.
Nirvanam wrote:But anyway just allow your mind to use what you have 'allowed the possibility for over here' and connect it with similar contexts [energy-matter] and just notice what your mind comes up with ...
Well, I've now tried to put down in writing what my mind has come up with, so make of it what you will.
Nirvanam wrote:But I see this has amazing potential...if this is true then it basically shakes up the foundation of modern science (which already quantum science has done brilliantly).
I do think the placebo effect probably does have potential, but I'm cautious. It might have only limited application, in tackling things like pain, inflammation, stress and nausea, and speeding up wound healing and antibody production. Although that would still be pretty good, if we can find a way to use it ethically. But I don't see the foundations of modern science shaking. I don't see science as some kind of solid edifice. It's much more dynamic than that.
Nirvanam wrote:I'll present you some experiments that were done a little later but before that I want to ensure that the psychological inertia I am carrying is nullified as much as possible by looking at things from your viewpoint and hope the same for the opposite person as well, just in case you would like it too.
Right. OK. I'm always happy to try to look at things in a different way. I'm not sure that psychological inertia is so easily nullified, because it is embedded in so much of the language we use, and our choice of words is so limited. But we can try.