perjantai 23. tammikuuta 2009


What is mind?

The material world consists of entities like particles, waves,
forces, and fields. Biological materials, including our brains, belong to
this material world. According to a basic principle in physics all events
in the material world are caused by the four known interactions
(gravitation, electromagnetic, strong, and weak). As the brain activity
causes all my conscious muscle movements, in my speech my brain
communicates information from the neural network of my brain.
The brain has an exceptional, non-physical property: it can call
for conscious experiences: sensations, feelings, thoughts, will, and self-
consciousness. As such mental entities do not belong to the material
world, they do not situate anywhere in the material world, especially not
in the brain. While awake, the brain "transmits" the essential current
information into consciousness in the form of conscious experiences.
The concept mind seems to be a useful concept, as it is used in
practically all human cultures. However, the word has many meanings
and definitions. My definition:

Mind is all that brain information, which can be brought back to
consciousness. It consists of memories of previous conscious
and thoughts.

This definition is in agreement with the everyday use of that word:
1. Mind does not belong to the things of the physical world, but neither
is it just conscious experiences.
2. Mind is connected to the brain activity. Your mind is active only
when you are awake.
3. Your mind today is nearly the same as it was yesterday. The mind
exists during whole life. As it is the information of the previous and
presentconscious experiences, it "grows" with experiences from a
primitive mindof babyhood to full maturity, and deteriorates during
4. You are acting "out of your mind", if your behaviour is based on
strong unconscious motives.
5. Mind is not exclusively a private personal experience. Your speech
and your other behaviour tell about your mind.

When you tell what you see, your brain communicates to the listener
the image which it had produced on the basis of visual input. However,
you areconvinced that you describe your conscious sensations of that
moment. This dichotomy is possible, because the brain information
communicated in speechis exactly the same as the information content of the
conscious sensation ofspeaking. The dichotomy disappears, when we realize
that the consciousness is also brain information. It is at each moment
that information in the neuronal
network which is included in the
conscious experiences when the brain calls for
them. The conscious-
ness is that part of mind
(mind information) which is also present in the
conscious experience at that moment.

When you speak about your own consciousness, your speech refers both
to your brain information and to your present conscious experience. When you
speak about the consciousness of others, you speak about their brain
information, as their conscious experiences are strictly private.

My blog "Conscious Experiences and Mind" describes in more detail the
features of conscious experiences and the connections of brain activities and
conscious experiences.

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D. Techn. Docent in biophysics, retired