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Time magazine in a special issue [1] went into great detail about what it apparently considered to be cutting edge information on the connections between the mind and body -- what it called “Mind-Body Dualism”.  Unfortunately, the numerous articles did not come close to fully addressing the reality of the situation.  In fact, Time’s discussion was in fact limited to brain-body reactions, where it is assumed that the brain is a mechanical, computer-like thingamagig, which depends solely upon electrochemical reactions.  Not surprisingly, the brain and body, being made of the same stuff, communicated via physical interactions.  In effect, our brain waves (thoughts) influenced our bodies and vice versa.  

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The mind, on the other hand, must be considered to be something else entirely.  The mind is transcendental and beyond the mere physical attributes of electrochemistry.  Mind-Body considerations are thus the stuff of how a thing (mind), which is independent of the body, can control and be controlled by the physical body.  On a grander scale is the idea of Mind-Matter interactions, where the physical universe itself is the result (thus possibly a system of Illusions) of many, connected minds.  

According to Lothar Schäfer, Descartes propounded a mechanistic view which insisted that, for example, if a map of its genes is known, an organism could be constructed in every detail -- including its hopes, fears, and dreams.  In contrast, Vitalism taught that plants and animals are characterized by special agents -- life forces -- that acted only in the biosphere.  In one step beyond that, Finalists believed that some design was necessary in order for evolution to lead to self-conscious beings with unique individualities (i.e. natural selection was not accidental but guided toward a long-term goal).  A dualist-interactionist view is that “mind and brain are independent entities which interact across a hypothetical frontier which permits, in a way not (yet) explained by science, the flow of information but not of energy.” [2]  

Note that this is not matter creating mind, but mind creating matter -- “matter seemingly springing from mind-like states.”  “When physically energetic phenomena can be affected by the flow of information alone, it is not so unlikely to propose that the mind should be able to affect quantum systems in the same way, without the need for space-time energy sensible mechanisms.”  Furthermore, “The mechanistic view of the universe destroyed any basis for the existence of God -- “no need for that hypothesis”, as Laplace peremptorily put it.  In a mechanistic world, the feelings of freedom and responsibility are Illusions and irritants.” “There is no gene for self-awareness, or for consciousness, for ego, or for mind.”  [2]  Perhaps the mechanistic world is the illusion; genetics are just stray thoughts!  

The dualist-interactionist hypothesis proposed by Schafer implies a brain-mind interaction where neurons respond to the mind.  “This interaction is not a process of energy transfer in the ordinary sense but involves the flow, across the mind/brain frontier, of information.  In a similar way, in photon interference experiments, the mere flow of information can lead to a breakdown of the wave interference patterns, illustrating that direct intrusive interference (energy transfer) is not needed to achieve energetic changes in a physical system.  There is no way to overstate the significance of this discovery.” [2]  

Schäfer goes on to state that, “The self-conscious mind provides the certainty of identity or continued existence.  It is because we ourselves do not constantly vanish from the universe that we assume the same for the cat that gets out of sight behind the sofa.  Not only do we not constantly dissolve from reality; we are not able to.”  Furthermore, “Like the program of a computer that does not evolve from its hardware the mind is not the author of its system program, but for all we can see, it has external origins.”  Where does the program come from?”  As an extension of the mind-like part of physical reality -- partaking of a higher order and logic -- mind provides the basis of the certainty of knowledge and the foundation of science.  In this way, identity, permanence, factuality, reality, and Causality -- all those precious requisites for a reasonable life and for understanding reality, albeit uncertain in experience and reason, can be taken as valid, because they are principles given to us by the independent self-conscious mind.  They are not ad hoc hypotheses to make science possible.  Rather, they suggest that mind is the extension of a part of reality that transcends the world of mass-energy.” [2]  

Thus, the metaphysical foundations of science are the principles of the independent self-conscious mind.  It is this mind that makes scientific knowledge possible, not by investing [in] it, but by being part of a level of reality that, by its principles, is higher in hierarchy than the visible part of the world and alone affords true knowledge.  In this sense ultimate reality resides in ideas, as Plato said.  In this sense, the laws of nature are made by the mind, as Kant said -- (not fabricated by mind but derived from its connection to a higher reality).  This is why Bertrand Russel said, skepticism is logically impeccable, but psychologically impossible.” [2]  

The mind transcends the mass-energy physical reality, and thus provides for an open end to the mechanistic universe.  It counters the mechanistic clock as representative of all reality.  The quantum world has opened up the universe.  Elementary physical phenomena provides evidence for the final demise of the mechanical machine view.  In addition, as Schäfer [2] has noted, “The permanent order of the visible world is based on transitory and chaotic processes.”  Furthermore, “The overwhelmingly important faculty of the human mind: it can be inspired by unknown sources as though it were in contact with a part of reality that transcends the level of mass-energy.” 

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[1]  Time Magazine, January 20, 2003.

[2]  Lothar Schäfer, In Search of Divine Reality; Science as a Source of Inspiration, The University of Arkansas Press, Fayetteville, 1997.



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