Is it Really Mind Over Matter? The Mind and Body Are One
You have probably heard the phrase mind over matter, which implies the mind and matter are separable. Or maybe you have heard it’s all in your head, or it’s mental. Both of these phrases imply the separation of mind and brain (or body).
So to explore this issue, I’d like to share some videos that discuss the unity of mind-body. They can help us better understand how inseparable the mind and brain (body) really are.
Mind vs. Brain: In the above video, Yale psychologist Paul Bloom says, “The mind is a product of the brain. The mind is what the brain does.”
Can we overload our brains?
Steven Pinker, a scientist at Harvard, discusses the mind-brain myth in the video above.
Substance Dualism *Mirror*
This is an excellent video (above) that discusses and refutes many of the ideas perpetuated by substance dualists — those who believe in the separation of mind and brain. From QualiaSoup, a science-focused project by a U.K. teacher, the video points out some fatal flaws in the substance dualism argument.
In the above video, the narrator (with the pseudonym ProfMTH) points out “Dualism’s two fatal flaws.”
Aborting Mind-Body Dualism
In the above video, a frequent YouTube poster who calls himself SisyphusRedeemed debunks the mind-body dualism myth. The second half of the video by SisyphusRedeemed applies his arguments to the abortion debate.
People with mental disabilities experience one of the most serious negative consequences of misunderstanding the mind.
“If a person in wheelchair comes our way, we’re eager to clear a passage or hold open a door; we [see] their incapacity to be a blameless one. When disabilities are less visible, hidden away in the wiring of the brain, we tend to show little sympathy or patience. Our dualistic heritage still convinces us that all things mental are securely lodged in the realm of spirit. Bad behavior can only be caused by poor choices and sinister character, an exercise of will” (McGraw, 2004, p.262).
There is absolutely no reason to be confident in the belief of a separable mind and body, mental and physical, while there are many reasons to not be confident in the mind and body dichotomy.
So let’s consider the following:
- What happens when individuals suffer brain damage, or experience the effects of mind-altering drugs, which correlate with changes in brain chemistry?
- If the mind is separable from the brain why do we only experience sensations and perceptions of the specific body where the brain is housed?
- Why doesn’t the mind ever project to other bodies?
The mind and body cannot be separated.
McGraw, JJ. (2004). Brain & Belief: An Exploration of The Human Soul. Del Mar, CA: Aegis Press.
Hale, J. (2011). Is it Really Mind Over Matter? The Mind and Body Are One. Psych Central. Retrieved on February 7, 2016, from http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2011/08/24/is-it-really-mind-over-matter-the-mind-and-body-are-one/