Friday, 20 December 2013
Brain, mind you!
For once in a blue moon I looked for Elf instead of avoiding his presence.
The reason was easy enough, I was preparing a job about the interaction of brain and mind. I was trying to test my ideas with another being, and I felt reluctant to talk about this pseudo-scientific subject with other human beings since it was probable that they considered me as a freak.
When I told all this to Elf, his expected answer was, of course:
- Which you are!
I let the remark go unanswered, I was asking advice not trying to start a skirmish.
Seeing I was serious about the topic, he hide a smile and asked with perfect composure:
- What have you in your mind?
-Not in my mind, mind you, I said trying to show him I am as good a punster as he is, - but in my brain
And I started to explain to him the theory that "the mind" is a kind of effluence of the active processes which start in the brain and are determined by many variables, such as experience, health, feelings, et al.
Where I envisioned a difficult task, it was not so. Elf posed as a royal guy, listened to my explanations with a look of attentive stance on him.
I explained the modern theory of mind from brain, developing a good defence of the ideas sustained by important scientific men as Robert J. Sternberg, Roger Penrose, Stuart Hameroff, and other eminent men in the study of this theme.
As I progressed in my lecture, and seeing the gnome was not interrupting me as is his whim, I grew in confidence and talked about the experiments that proved the way the ontological mind emerged from the brain (all with those spiky words as "ontological" which I was not too sure I understood its meaning, designed to impress the imp).
When I finished my serious speech, Elf turned on his heel, and without a word lost himself into the Archive.
I was stunned, I didn't know if he was showing his contempt for my work, or if he felt insulted, or what...!
I was just starting to walk out of my mind, and look for another audience when he came back from the Archive with a piece of paper in one hand, and a dark blue crayon in the other.
Still baffled, I asked him:
- Why a dark blue crayon? I was almost sure there was a dark reason to use that color
He looked at me with that expression of commiseration he uses for all my questions, and shaking his head answered slowly as if he were doubtful of my understanding capacity, he said:
- Because, as incredible as it may be, this was the ONLY crayon that I could find in the box!
Looking at me askance, he started to draw, after a while he looked his work putting the paper far from his head, added a point, or a line, here and there, and then show it to me asking:
-Do you know what is this? I looked at him first trying to find if he was ironic, but could not find any trace of irony in his voice.
Then I looked at the paper:
- Yes, I was laconic, not knowing where he was going.
The picture was of a human arm with a hammer in attitude of hitting an iron nail into a wooden block.
When he was satisfied I have seen the drawing fully, he asked:
- Where is, as per your understanding, the will to hit the nail? In the arm? or in the hammer? Just forget about the rest of the human body for a while.
Still confused, I tried to answer my best option:
- In the arm , it was a guess, of course, but the arm was at least human, while the hammer was not! So it stood to reason that he arm could handle a "will", and the hammer did not.
- Right, answered the sprite to my relief. And then added, destroying my relief, -Partially
- Now, which one is the brain, and which other is the mind? asked my Nemesis, adding bewilderment to trepidation.
- I... I... it seems as if the mind is the hammer, and the brain is the arm. I was so perplexed as an African camel in a fog! I tried to associate the arm to the brain since both are in the same body, so I was left with the discomfort to pair the mind to the hammer.
- Exactly wrong, Elf said this with a smile so it does not looked as an insult! But, I was not sure!
- Look, the idea came to the mind, the brain accepted it, and they both hit the nail... But, and mind this big, big BUT, if the brain is damaged, the mind will still want to hit the nail (you can see this in handicapped persons wanting to do something but prevented for the lack of instrumental body), so which one is the master and which one is the instrument?
- If... if you put it like that... I was so much flummoxed, I could not but speak hesitantly.
- There you are, now, where are those "brainy" ideas of so famous scientist about the mind being exuded by the brain? What they forget is René Descartes simple postulate: I think, then I exist.
This is a simple way to say I am the mind, then I can use my brain (the instrument, or the hammer in my drawing) to express my mind needs and desires in this reality.
Did you understand this little puzzle?
Before I could collect my scattered brain cell to express my mind ideas, he went again into the Archive, and I could hear him mumbling something about "this poor humans, always taking reality by the tail".
I promise I could not understand his whispers, but his voice was full of pity.
The music is a fragment of "Mindfulness" by Hans Enrik Bay.
© 2013 Od Liam.