Many terms, and if we were to draw a Venn diagram of all of them, where would the overlap be, and where would the separations show us distinct definitions for each term?
First thing we want to do is identify which parts we’re talking about, to reduce confusion and thus conflict. John Boghosian Arden suggests the mind is a bio-electro-magnetic “Field of Information” whose locus is the brain; it is rooted there, it is not contained therein, necessarily. Have you ever seen a van de Graff generator?
Boghosian Arden posits that the mind is a field of information generated by the bio-electro-magnetic energy generated by the neural activity in and through the corpus colossum. We know the energy generated by that continuous activity is enormous.
But we want to be careful about description and causation – the mechanist trend is to point to this neurological energy as the creator of consciousness, but I’m saying it’s the other way around; it is the activity that generates the field, not the field that creates that which generates it in the first place.
This idea of the mind being a “field” instead of an “object”, with a particular space in time, such as the brain, is a difficult one to grasp. Second to the idea that Consciousness is a form of energy, it’s probably the most difficult concept to grasp. The mind is real, it exists, just not in time and space. The body, and thus the brain, are limited by time and space, and their existence therein. Here’s a cute paradox for you: The mind is tied to the brain, like the electrical field is tied to the generator, but unlike the van de Graaf generator, the field is not generated by this activity, it is focused by this activity.
This connection of mind to brain is a very delicate ongoing flow of this animating energy; if the flow is stopped, in many cases it cannot be re-established, and the connection between mind and brain is broken. An example of this would be what we call “brain death”.
There is this ‘virtual’ aspect to discussing the mind and brain that materialists and “science”ists have great difficulty granting even theoretical existence to;the idea is that, if it’s in the physical world, it has to come from the physical world, which is not necessarily the case. “There are more things in Heaven and Earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.” ― William Shakespeare, Hamlet
This is the difficulty, and the solution is to accept the Freudian analogical method; materialists will act, where is this consciousness generator, then – and the point is, there is none because there is no need for one. Consciousness first, matter after. The proper question is where does matter come from, how was the intersection of time and space “brought about”. And here’s another level of “virtuality” – time itself is simply a construct the mind uses to frame experience.
And what is reality? Experience is reality; that truly is all we have to go by – that we are aware we have experiences; “in this body” and “at this time” are secondary, not primary elements of experience. We already have experiences that are not directly tied to sensory experience of the body – dreams and visions are first and foremost examples. I have an explanation of what dream activity is later in the development of these concepts.
LIFE OF THE MIND
The activities that go on in this field of information, according to a very competent analysis by Hannah Arendt, are Thinking, Willing, and Choosing; to which I would add Creating, the recombination of disparate elements in a unique and heretofore unseen way. Nowhere has science been able to locate a ‘thinking machine’ in the brain; it could be because it’s not ‘there’. The directions come from this ‘virtual’ field, the impulses and the drives, but the actions, the responses are of the body.
There is no “mind-stuff”, there is no physiological residue of the activities of mind that the materialists can point to as the “evidence” they need. There have been readings of mental activity – and the lack of it in inanimate bodies – to be the most practical kind of proof of its existence necessary. Science itself had to evolve to this point in order to be able to explain how this field-system works; without a common working understanding of how computers actually work, how electricity, magnetism can be harnessed to generate mechanical fields of information to carry out operations and mental processes that don’t involve these higher mental functions of will, purpose and intent. Personally, I believe there is a real and genuine limit to artificial intelligence, because while a programmable mechanical unit can mimic mental functions, and carry out a variety of calculations, it cannot be instilled with independent thought, intention the ability to make independent choice, that is the sole province of consciousness.
Thee will be these aspects of the discussion that there will not be ready answers for, like “Where does consciousness come from, that we can’t imbue our machines with it?” “What is the “real” story of ‘creation’?” And my answer is going to be simple – that is not our concern at this present juncture, our field of concern is here, and now. What exists beyond ‘here’ and ‘now’ is part of the explanation, but attributing causation is beyond the scope of the powers of mind – we can guess, but we cannot know, and the answer is actually immaterial to the discussion at hand. We ascribe no supernatural forces nor create any new concepts to fill gaps in the theory. Going forward, there will be times when I point to “likely suspects” for different functions within the brain, but I have no new abstractions to add to the discussion, just clarify usage and terms to re-define the discussion of what is Consciousness, Mind and Brain, each in turn and in relation to each other.