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Is Mind A Result Of Evolution? Can Mind Evolve From No-Mind?


glintofpewter
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First let me refer you to the following thread in which Soul, Spirit, Mind and Self are discussed because altough I personally make a connections between these I think it would help keep this thread focused to only use the concept of mind. That is, as Rom observes, hard enough.

Dutch:Is the mind wholly and sufficiently caused by the biochemical events in the brain?

Rom: The short answer is no! But it it is not separate from the brain either.

Dutch: Is mind a result of evolution? Can mind evolve from no-mind?

Rom: You are pointing to the Hard Question. I don't have the answer(s), but I do have some questions.

 

I believe that the mind evolved. That perhaps everything has something we might call mind. That the reason we think the mind is ephemeral is that we had no sense of self before we were born and none after death. But maybe mind is like hydrogen. Everywhere but occassionally becomes part of an entity. When the entity ends its boundaried exisitence the hydrogen stills exists but as part of other entities.

 

Or maybe it is like an eye ball. When the body decays there is no universal eyeball into which it melds. There is just absence of that particular eyeball.

 

Dutch

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The mind has various nuances - for the purpose of my view I will treat them essentially as one.

 

Names the mind might have include:

consciousness

self

awareness

sentience

soul

spirit

 

This is ultimately hard. I think I know what my perception feels like. What does your perception feel like? I can only presume it is similar to mine. What is a brick's perception like? Either it is a nonsensical question or it is different to mine.

 

Here's a nice meditative essay that shows a different point of view. It is short and easy read.

 

I am not sure I agree with Susan's conclusions - but I do feel her "awakening", I think.

 

Was I conscious at conception, I don't think so? Will I be conscious after death? Am I conscious now?

Interesting question.

Edited by romansh
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This is something that comes up repeatedly in conversation with my spiritual partner. I guess it depends on what one is referring to by "mind". I think the human mind is very much a product of the brain and its myriad neurological connections. One only has to look at how personalities can change drastically (or even in odd ways) following brain injury/illness or use of certain drugs; and the kind of consciousness that develops as we grow into from infancy to adolescent to adult.

 

Having said that, however, I think there is a "Mind" that has nothing whatsoever to do with bio-chemical reactions of the brain. I'm not sure exactly what to call this. If our "self" can no longer be aware after the physical death of the brain, then death is complete anniliation. I doubt that happens. On what science do I base my ideas? Absolutely none. Its faith. I sometimes walk a very fine line between what science can tell me and what my "gut-belief" tells me.

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I think the human mind is very much a product of the brain and its myriad neurological connections.

Yvonne

I think we can draw a boundary anywhere. For the purposes of your message you were conveying the boundary you were drawing was around the brain, which is fair enough. In reality the brain is a product of the nerve impulses, which in turn the impulses are products of our environment, earth, solar system, galaxy, universe. If you catch my drift. Of course we can also include our genetics, our experiences, the foods and chemicals we eat and imbibe. We can include a societal interactions.Our mind is a product of all these things and more.

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What is a brick's perception like? Either it is a nonsensical question or it is different to mine.

Some say that a brick will not have a mental experiences because it is an aggregate of entities. The atoms and molecules in the brick are entities and have limited mental experiences. Bacteria and viruses, being entities not aggregates also have some mental experience. In these cases it is not a non-sensical question.

 

One only has to look at how personalities can change drastically (or even in odd ways) following brain injury/illness or use of certain drugs

I don't think this rules out the possibility that the mind is more than the brain. Since they are in a relation better described as one of influencing each other than cause and effect then deteriorization of the brain will affect the mind just as the mind's deteriorization can lead to defective functioning in the brain. I don't think reduced consciousness which correlates with pathological events in the brain is proof that the mind and brain have the same boundaries.

 

If all entities have some rather limited mental experience and then these entities arrange themselves in more complex ways, not as aggregates (the brick) but as organisms then this mental aspect becomes more complex in relationship but not as the result of cause and effect. As the brain and body deteriorates so too does then the mind deteriorates but it is not a direct correlation.

 

What was once our complex identified self is now part of the universe. In this scenario the mind does not come from no-mind but from an increased complexity of the mental aspect of simpler entities. When the body decays then the mental aspect is limited by the reduced complexity of the individual entities remaining: atoms, molecules, bacteria, carbon, water, etc.

 

Out of the universe the self 'coalesces' and in death returns to the universe, sense of self now lost.

 

Dutch

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Out of the universe the self 'coalesces' and in death returns to the universe, sense of self now lost.

 

Dutch

 

If you mean sense of "self" , my story of who i might think i am, i would agree. Yet the "Self", who I am in reality is never lost nor indeed can be.

 

Also I would say it may be more accurate to say that evolution is the result of Mind rather than Mind the result of evolution as you have questioned in the title this thread.

 

To me, Mind and No-Mind are one and the same. They can only be differentiated as long as one resides in "self" (the story).

 

Joseph

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If you mean sense of "self" , my story of who i might think i am, i would agree. Yet the "Self", who I am in reality is never lost nor indeed can be.

 

Also I would say it may be more accurate to say that evolution is the result of Mind rather than Mind the result of evolution as you have questioned in the title this thread.

 

To me, Mind and No-Mind are one and the same. They can only be differentiated as long as one resides in "self" (the story).

 

Joseph

 

Can you clarify your path to this point Joseph. In some ways I agree completely with what you say but I would be interested in your context - so to speak.

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Rom,

 

Perhaps it would be better if you asked a specific question so i would know exactly what you are looking for? If you are asking how i have come to these conclusions, i can only say by a number of subjective experiences.

 

The second statement of the three i made in your quote is actually not in my experience a completely accurate statement but if i were to put the point questioned in the title into words as i have done, it seems to me to be more accurate in its expression than the other way around.

 

Joseph

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Rom,

 

Perhaps it would be better if you asked a specific question so i would know exactly what you are looking for? If you are asking how i have come to these conclusions, i can only say by a number of subjective experiences.

 

Ok, when you say who I am in reality is never lost nor indeed can be. There are several ways of interpreting this. At one end we could have a traditional Christian soul and at the other more of an Eastern there never really a self in the first place. So in your own words what do you mean by this.

 

The second statement of the three i made in your quote is actually not in my experience a completely accurate statement but if i were to put the point questioned in the title into words as i have done, it seems to me to be more accurate in its expression than the other way around.

 

Joseph

That's OK - I was not sure either, but then it was not that it important either (to me).

 

 

Just curious did anyone read Susan Blacmore's essay? If so, any thoughts?

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Just curious did anyone read Susan Blacmore's essay? If so, any thoughts?

------------------

I thought the essay was about paying attention. Attending is perhaps necessary for the will to be free as much as it can be. Attending is one of those activities of the mind that influence the functioning of the brain.

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Just curious did anyone read Susan Blacmore's essay? If so, any thoughts?

------------------

I thought the essay was about paying attention. Attending is perhaps necessary for the will to be free as much as it can be. Attending is one of those activities of the mind that influence the functioning of the brain.

 

And her conclusion that she is not conscious?

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I think Susan believes that asking questions about now is somehow being in now. Now is tricky. One can prepare for it and attend to all those things which determine our experience. It is in this first attending that our will might be most free. In the now of continuing moments there are no words.

Words are abstractions and can not be the experience.

The words after now are not now and can be only part of the observations of the now-just-past. I think Susan considers those words and thoughts as part of the now. They are reflections on something that no longer exists.

 

One can prepare for experiencing now and one can reflect on the experience but neither is now. I can ask if my attending was of such quality that I had the greatest freedom.

Susan seems to use being conscious as an evalution of one's experience of now. Hers is a yes or no answer. I think the answer is less or more consciousness (paying attention)

 

Dutch

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First let me refer you to the following thread in which Soul, Spirit, Mind and Self are discussed because altough I personally make a connections between these I think it would help keep this thread focused to only use the concept of mind [...] I believe that the mind evolved.

 

These are, as you suggest, overlapping but somewhat different things. I think the soul is more a religious construct in that it has eternal life where the idea of the mind may or may not depending on the theology of the person. The mind, I think, as someone has already suggested, is related to sentience and self awareness. As a result, it feels like something separate and independent of the physical brain.

 

Did it evolve? I can think of no other plausible explanation for its existence. Is it still evolving? IMO, yes genetically as a species and individually as we mature and experience the world.

 

George

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Is the mind finite in the sense that, like an eyeball, it no longer exists, after my death?

Or is it like hydrogen and in an individual a sufficient quantity has coalesced to be useful and after death is continues to be present as the mental aspect of the atoms and molecules of the decaying body or ashes of cremation?

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Is the mind finite in the sense that, like an eyeball, it no longer exists, after my death?

 

I would like to think that the mind goes on indefinitely (i.e. the soul), but my inclination is the eyeball analogy. I think the mind is a function of the electrical impulses that go on in the brain. When the brain dies, I suspect the mind does as well. But, I wouldn't pretend to propose this as the answer.

 

George

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I would like to think that the mind goes on indefinitely (i.e. the soul), but my inclination is the eyeball analogy. I think the mind is a function of the electrical impulses that go on in the brain. When the brain dies, I suspect the mind does as well. But, I wouldn't pretend to propose this as the answer.

 

George

 

I like to think that matter has mind in the form of creative energy, whatever the form of matter takes. More complex biological systems allow more complex mind, and eventually language. With language came the self awareness discussed previously in this thread, which gives us the illusion that mind and brain are seperate - that is what it feels like. This Whiteheadian view (if that is what it is?) seems to be the best fit for the mind/brain problem that I have read so far.

 

With regard to what happens to the mind when the brain rots in the ground, who knows. I can only guess that "I" as we think of ourselves stops at that point but our energy goes on; it existed before we were born and after we die it will carry on with the rest of the universe. After all we are universe; we were all born in the heart of a star weren't we?

 

Paul

Edited by Inthedark
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With regard to what happens to the mind when the brain rots in the ground, who knows. I can only guess that "I" as we think of ourselves stops at that point but our energy goes on; it existed before we were born and after we die it will carry on with the rest of the universe. After all we are universe; we were all born in the heart of a star weren't we?

 

Paul

 

Paul,

This is a clear statement of what I think is the best explanation.

Thanks

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The only energy associated with the brain-mind is the same energy used to fuel all life. Matter and energy are two states of the same thing. Mind and matter are two states of the same thing. I have learned that it is difficult for some to think this way, but the problem is not universal.

 

If matter and energy are interchageable according to strict physical laws. Who set the original limit? Finite mass = finite energy. Is there no infinity?

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Rom,

Eastern, western. ? Its an experience, not a belief.

Joseph I am still no closer to you explaining as to what you meant.

If you do not want to give a clarification that is OK, just let me know.

 

Thanks

rom

Edited by romansh
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The only energy associated with the brain-mind is the same energy used to fuel all life. Matter and energy are two states of the same thing. Mind and matter are two states of the same thing. I have learned that it is difficult for some to think this way, but the problem is not universal.

 

If matter and energy are interchageable according to strict physical laws. Who set the original limit? Finite mass = finite energy. Is there no infinity?

The question I think we need to ask ourselves is whether the energy and matter fuels life is somehow different from that fuels the inanimate.

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Joseph I am still no closer to you explaining as to what you meant.

If you do not want to give a clarification that is OK, just let me know.

 

Thanks

rom

 

Sorry Rom,

 

Didn't mean to evade the question. Just don't know exactly what you are looking for. I think you asked " Ok, when you say who I am in reality is never lost nor indeed can be. There are several ways of interpreting this. At one end we could have a traditional Christian soul and at the other more of an Eastern there never really a self in the first place. So in your own words what do you mean by this."

 

In my mind there is no interpretation, it is an experience or state of being for lack of better words.. One cannot differentiate between the two (the self and who I am) because the two are in reality One. One can say the self is an illusion or one can say the self is real. It is of no use to argue as it makes no difference as the two can only exist as long as the ego exists. If one inheres in ones being where the ego is dead one loses all notions of oneself and the ego or of unity or duality for that matter.

 

Joseph

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The question I think we need to ask ourselves is whether the energy and matter fuels life is somehow different from that fuels the inanimate.

I think the distinction between "life" and inanimate is not a useful one. All entities in the universe are related.That is the unity. what is often missed is that there are external relations which are commonly the scientific observations and measurements and there are internal relations. There is a mental state, so to speak, of all atoms, molecules, cells which link all with each other. Rocks or chairs are not entities but aggregations and so are not seen as in their aggregate form as having relationships as rock or as chair. BUT the atoms and molecules and cells in those rocks and chairs do have relationship with all other entities.

 

When a human dies the cells and elements in the body change relationships both externally and internally with the rest of the universe. In this view the mind or self it might represent returns to the source or perhaps more accurately returns to the flow.

 

Dutch

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I think the distinction between "life" and inanimate is not a useful one. All entities in the universe are related.That is the unity. what is often missed is that there are external relations which are commonly the scientific observations and measurements and there are internal relations. There is a mental state, so to speak, of all atoms, molecules, cells which link all with each other. Rocks or chairs are not entities but aggregations and so are not seen as in their aggregate form as having relationships as rock or as chair. BUT the atoms and molecules and cells in those rocks and chairs do have relationship with all other entities.

 

When a human dies the cells and elements in the body change relationships both externally and internally with the rest of the universe. In this view the mind or self it might represent returns to the source or perhaps more accurately returns to the flow.

 

Dutch

Dutch

I find my perceptions agreeing with your point of view. (I think). Fools seldom differ?

The only thing I am unsure about is the "mental" states.

Either everything has a mental state (consciousness) to some degree. Or nothing does - hence the Blackmore essay.

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