Our Elusive Mind – View of the Mind

Our mind? Its specific location, construction, and workings remain points of conjecture. Even its purpose is not fully known. I imagine that it is like a multi-faceted optical illusion. Depending on your particular viewpoint at any moment it can seem to be like this, or that, or even something entirely different. Many confuse mind and brain. This video from the National Institute of Mental Health talks about brain basics including neurons and neural circuits, neurotransmitters and brain regions, yet all these neuroscience artifacts do not explains the phenomenon of human mind.

Your mind can be your friend, confidant, harshest critic, instructor, a liar, even a merry prankster in your life. With all this in its bag of tricks there is one more all-important attribute to keep in mind. It is a control freak. In this set of three articles examining the mind we will look at a list of the functions of the mind, examine the various views of the mind through the lens of four disciplines, and summarize ways of defining the mind.

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Our Elusive Mind – Regaining Control

I know you! Your reading this article tells me that you are a cut above the average person. You are curious, don’t mind having to think, and have a grasp on the importance of ideas. I admire these qualities in a person.

In part 1 of this three part series on the human mind, I summarized that the mind could be likened to a slippery slope. A mound of guck that appears innocent enough, but in reality sucks you in. The further you go in trying to grasp it, the more elusive it becomes.

Part 2 is one of those good news, bad news stories. The good news is that there is still much to learn about our mind. The bad news: there are few ”break through” thoughts about the workings of the mind. My intent in this article is to dig a little deeper and to personalize with you how we have lost our minds, the results of this, and how we can regain control of it.

It is somewhere in infancy that we first become aware that there is an internal self, separate from and independent of our understanding of our external self. Now I don’t have any memory of this, nor is there any empirical data to support it, but I am convinced that as infants we develop and play a game that gives us great pleasure. If I were to name it, the game might be called “Parent, come here!” It is a response to one of the developmental limitations of infancy. As infants our lives can become very boring, so we find things to do. You and I can’t tell our care givers what we want or need, but we can send a message.

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Our Elusive Mind – The Art of Metamorphosis

This is the third and final piece of “Elusive Mind” posts discussing the human mind. In part 2 I concluded with an important question: how does a person change their mind?  Realizing that there is more that needs to be said about how you can alter or change your mind, I decided to take another run at the subject. A kind of epilogue if you will. The resulting question is this: How can you affect the changing of your mind?

Dilemmas

In order to lay the proper foundation for my view I need for you to step back in time with me. Back to a time when the question of the day went something like this: “Why is my mind so weak that I can’t seem to do the right things with my body?” or its equivalent, the mind/body dilemma (dualism). This is an all important question for many of us. A question that infers that we are aware of our reactions and behaviors that many times those behaviors and reactions are at odds with our preferences.

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