From an ordinary person's point of view, the body and mind appear like distinct entities; however, they actively interact in ways that are beyond human comprehension. The character of the entities creates what is known as the mind-body problem. The issue has been in existence for several thousand years, dating to the era of Plato, Buddha and Aristotle. The problem is simple to state, and many people have contemplated it in their mundane ways. Ancient people have also discussed the issue even though the ideas in physics and psychology weren't well developed as they are today. Starting from the basics, an explanation will be made regarding body mind problems including the traditional and scientific approach to the body-mind problem; the conclusion will be created stating why it is impossible to solve the body-mind problem.
For long, the body and the mind have been viewed as entirely different entities that only interact to produce a person; the mind can create effects on the body while the body can create impulses to the mind. For instance, the will to perform an action may lead to the action being done where else the body can affect the mind such as pain experiences (Taylor, 2010). Even thought the issue seems simple, there is no fulfilling solution despite the time and thoughts spend over it in the previous millenniums. Getting the solution to the issue would be viable if an explanation accepted globally was found, such would create an answer to human existence.
Traditional Approach to Solving Body Mind Problems and Why It's Unsuccessful
Traditionally, the approach taken to understanding the body-mind problem is dualism, idealism and physicalism. Backed up with the standard varieties involving mixtures and modifications, the traditional understanding of the body-mind problem is understood. Dualism states that there are two distinct entities, the body and the mind, the distraction that occurs happens as a result of body and mind being made up of distinct substances, or, maybe from the same substance but performing different functions (Taylor, 2010). Traditionally, soul dualism states that the soul is part of the human experience and it continues after the death of the body. In ancient Egyptian and religions, the soul was viewed as being composed of different some of which died with the demise of the body while others went on even after death. Traditional African religion also had their beliefs on the same; the beliefs in the afterlife and the influence of spirits in daily life are a clear manifestation of the body-mind problem. To them, the demise of the body is just a part of life; one could continue existing in the form of spirits, bringing a new solution to the body-mind problem (Motofei & Rowland, 2018).
Another perspective is that of idealism; it states that it's only the mind that exists and the world is composed of the same. However, there are different explanations of idealism, some of which were created to help seal the loopholes in other versions. The idea that states all is mind is called subjective idealism. Where else objective idealist state that thought is the highest level of reality. Panpsychism argues that all objects of experience have minds, on the extreme, epistemological idealism claim that minds only perceive their ideas but not extreme objects (Taylor, 2010).
Physicalism as a traditional approach views the universe as being composed of physical objects. The mind itself is also composed of physical objects that are located on the brain. To explain the issue of the body-mind problem, there exist varying varieties of physicalism where each version tries to explain the body-mind problem in their form. The bottom line suggests that the mind is supposed to evolve from current physical activity in the matter.
Scientific Approach to Solving Body-Mind Problem
The scientific approach kicks off with a definition. From a scientific point of view, there is the immaterial also known as the non-physical that is defined as anything falling beyond perceptions or the biological sensory apparatus. To understand this, there exist magnetic waves, or ultra-high frequency sounds that we can't see, but they can be detected through technological apparatus that connect to human biological senses. With this, the human soul, personality and consciousness are also non-physical since it can't be seen or heard. The mind is beyond the human biological sensory apparatus; thus, the question is raised on whether the mind is similar to a radio wave or is it completely different.
The body five senses detect the reality that is outside the human's brain including the human body. It is however limited to what it can do, for instance, it cannot sense that the human body is a little radioactive. Moreover, the five senses cannot detect the human mind. However, humans feel that they have a mind, are self-aware and have active consciousness, bringing about the notion, "I think; therefore I am." (Havlik, Mlada, & Fajnerova, 2018)The argument brings the conclusion that there must be some sensory mechanisms in the brain. However, the scientific question remains what is the brains neural mechanism that detects the mind?
Taylor, (2010) states that, just like the five senses, the sixth sense that detects human consciousness that is located within the brain also ceases to work once humans are asleep. During sleep, the human brain has no awareness of the mind; there also exists no self-awareness or even self-identity. Similar to how one has no sense of smell or sound during sleep. Thus the question is the body and mind separate entities or if they just one entity. The scientific approach brings about the notion that they may be one.
Science questions on whether the mind is close to a wave phenomenon, just like wind or water waves, since the mindstream is something, it doesn't translate to mean that all waves can be detected by human biological senses. The waves that humans fail to recognize can't be labeled as immaterial, but the question is, they do exist (Motofei & Rowland, 2018). Since the mind cannot be detected with the five senses, it exists as an independent entity from the brain since the brain receives and gives out electrical impulses creating particle duality. From this, the brain can detect the mind but then, how can the brain feel the brain while it is also caring out other body activities, science may conclude that the brain has no awareness.
Rationalising on the Problem
Having explored various aspects to the problem including the traditional, scientific and the idealist approach, it is evident that no idealist has a convincing explanation giving details that can match the current scientific understanding of the problem. The protons or neutrons that make up the human body are more of the gluons that they are composed of; therefore, the explanation is especially remote from an idealist viewpoint.
On the other hand, dualism has no contenting explanation on the same, despite this, it reliefs idealist the burden of proof as it goes deeper into the construction of matter (Motofei & Rowland, 2018). However, there is little explanation on how the different worlds of mind and matter relate to each other. Despite the increasing understanding of matter in a better way, there exists little knowledge of how the mind is made and how it interacts with the brain components.
From the different approaches, the question on if the mind acts depending on every particle or if there is some element of a universal body to mind interaction is evident. What happens when there is an action that is acting in reverse of the matter and mind? Such issues continue to raise problems with philosopher and scientist; the issue remains to be a mystery since the brain has no solution to the problem.
The body-mind problem is one issue that has been in contention for long; various explanations have been brought forward to help raise more awareness on the issue, ranging from the traditional explanation, the African understanding and even the modern scientific approaches. In all this, it is clear that none gives an agreeable answer to the issue, but they have all contributed to bringing the solution at a close range. The question of why it is difficult to solve the body Mind Problem comes out like a Pandora box, the more we understand, the more we question.
Havlik, M., Mlada, K., & Fajnerova, I. (2018). Do Personality Features Influence Our Intuitions of the Mind-Body Problem? A Pilot Study. Frontiers in Psychology, 9. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2018.01219
Motofei, I., & Rowland, D. (2018). The mind-body problem; three equations and one solution represented by immaterial-material data. Journal of Mind and Medical Sciences, 5(1), 59-69. doi:10.22543/7674.51.p5969
Taylor, J. (2010). Mind-body problem: New approaches. Scholarpedia, 5(10), 1580. doi:10.4249/scholarpedia.1580
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