Author Box
Articles Categories
All Categories
Articles Resources

Do Our Minds Obey the Laws of Physics?

June 20, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 168

Some scientists, mainly biologists, believe that the thoughts and feelings within our minds are physical objects like the brain itself. Or even that they are a physical part of the brain. That cannot be true. The mind interacts with the brain but it has no physical properties and is therefore beyond the laws of physics. Objects such as apples, jet engines, brains or finger nails, have physical properties - weight, shape, length, surface texture, visibility - and must therefore obey those laws. In contrast, you cannot subject the mind of a person to laboratory experiments; you can only study their brain activity - not the same thing at all. Yet thoughts and feelings are very real: love, pain, jealousy, hunger, pleasure, pride, shame, what happened yesterday, what we are intending to do tomorrow, recollections of our past life - these are our very essence. They are the most important part of what constitutes you; and only you have the experience of them. The other big part of you, your brain and body, is part of the external physical world that can be observed by scientists.

Before the scientific age people talked about the 'soul' as the essence of a person. But the soul could not be pinned down within the body and the word is out of fashion. Today we talk about the 'self' or 'personal identity', words that are more scientifically acceptable than the word 'soul'; but the concept is not dissimilar. Those biologists who make no distinction between mind and matter have adopted the barren philosophy of materialism: everything in the universe, including human behaviour, can be reduced to atoms, electric currents, light waves and so on. They see people as robots. Clearly our minds are influenced by the physical state of the body, as when we feel hungry or are given an anaesthetic. But Mind is not Matter.

(No living person knows for sure what happens to the self or soul when the body dies. It may be like a deep sleep or the wakening from a dream. Only those who have died can possibly know.)

There is something uncomfortable about being human, something that does not trouble other animals. Sometimes it's called 'The Human Condition' but this is a phrase that is never properly defined. I prefer to call it 'The Human Dilemma' which is this: We are doomed to keep asking ourselves questions which seem to have meaning but which have no easy answers. Questions like: Who are we? Where are we going? Does it matter? What is the right thing to do? What is the point? Most of the time we follow our instincts and interests - work hard, make friends, fall in love, play games, look after the kids; in short we ignore the dilemma. But it can spring on us when we are unprepared and make us feel unhappy or disturbed.

A small child is not bothered by the Human Dilemma. He or she accepts everything he encounters as real - first its mother's breast, later its parents, its own body, siblings, the world at large. But after growing up, being educated, learning to think, an intelligent child will realise that there is a difference between the reality inside his head and everything else. The difference is something that philosophers have long argued about. My own conclusion is that my thoughts and experiences are real and that they are only things that I have direct knowledge of. And also that there is a physical world acting upon my senses which is also real. That physical world includes my own body and the world around me but not my weightless mind. Nor the minds of other people of which I can have no direct knowledge.

Biologists of all people should be capable of seeing humans in the context of Darwinian evolution. We have a greater ability than say chimpanzees to understand and control our environment, but like them we have our limitations. We have evolved by chance to the become the creatures that we are, possessing minds and five senses that connect us to the external world. There is no reason to suppose that these five senses are sufficient to enable us to perceive and understand everything that is happening in the universe and to discover all that there is to be known. People who experience the human dilemma may have a greater sense of their human limitations than do those biologists who mock them.

I hope that one day people who are prominent in public life (scientists, broadcasters, presenters, clerics, commentators) will see it as a duty to tell us clearly and briefly 'where they are coming from' - that is, to publish their fundamental beliefs or their 'My Credo in a Nutshell' (acronym 'mycian'.

My website will eventually provide space for such Credos. For the moment it carries those of Charles Darwin, Winston Churchill, Bertrand Russell, Albert Einstein and Pope John Paul II, written at critical points in their lives. To read them, please go to

Source: EzineArticles
Was this Helpful ?

Rate this Article

Article Tags:

Human Dilemma


Thoughts And Feelings


Mind And Matter And Laws Of Physics


Darwinian Evolution

It is true that a photo booth hire cannot actually replace a camera but you will never run short of photographs if you think of photo hire.It is true that a photo booth hire cannot actually replace a

By: Simon Liva l Arts & Entertainment > Photography l November 21, 2012 lViews: 268

Well-known director Pascal Laugier is once again all set to frighten his fans with another dreadful affair, The Tall Man. The spooky thriller has been produced by Clément Miserez, Kevin DeWalt,

By: rose jasmin l Arts & Entertainment > Movies TV l November 02, 2012 lViews: 262

The Good Wife is an American legal drama series. It was first broadcasted on CBS on 22nd September, 2009. It is the creation of Robert King and Michelle King. It is produced by the Kings, Ridley and

By: Monu Mani l Arts & Entertainment > Movies TV l November 01, 2012 lViews: 259

ICarly in an American teens show created by Dan Schneider who is also the executive producer of the show. this show is about a girl named Carly Shay who along with her best friends Sam and Freeddie

By: elvis l Arts & Entertainment > Movies TV l October 25, 2012 lViews: 265

Love stories are supposed to be full of romance, seduction and enduring love. As these funny love stories show, however, these stories can also be filled with laughter. Fortunately, shared laughter

By: Jasmine Montford l Arts & Entertainment > Humor l October 25, 2012 lViews: 312

Lost is an American television science fictional series that is full of mystery, adventure and supernatural drama. It was originally broadcasted on ABC from September 22, 2004 to May 23, 2010,

By: ramandeep l Arts & Entertainment > Movies TV l October 25, 2012 lViews: 337

To be sure there are cultural differences. Some eat with a spoon, some don't. Some practice arranged marriage; some believe that marriage is a personal choice. These are just a few examples; and

By: Jimmy Gl Arts & Entertainment > Philosophyl June 23, 2012 lViews: 205

Icons of the New Renaissance stories, under the auspices of the Science-Art Research Centre of Australia, are about the discoveries demonstrating that life-sciences can now be linked to fractal logic

By: Robert Popel Arts & Entertainment > Philosophyl June 19, 2012 lViews: 176

The Great Battle of the Archangels. An in-depth excursion into the realms of the astral. A unique journey and vision of the afterlife. An emotional revelation through parts of the Akashic records. An

By: Geoff Howardl Arts & Entertainment > Philosophyl June 18, 2012 lViews: 205

I would like to briefly consider the question of whether the cosmic bringing forth of humans was inevitable. This question, when fully elucidated, clearly has an answer (either yes or no); however,

By: Neil Paul Cumminsl Arts & Entertainment > Philosophyl June 16, 2012 lViews: 159

I believe that for the average individual art is often viewed as a "thing" you do after you get home from work or when there is nothing else to do because they are bored. Their understanding is that

By: John-Michael Korpall Arts & Entertainment > Philosophyl June 15, 2012 lViews: 176

Being a realist and a doer, it's extremely hard to get sucked into the philosophical conundrums and circular arguments enjoyed by academic philosophers and professors. If you study philosophy long

By: Lance Winslowl Arts & Entertainment > Philosophyl June 13, 2012 lViews: 163

Discuss this Article

comments powered by Disqus