Excerpt About Nervous System

Technical Use of “Mind”

So the more technical use of “mind” in this culture is that the mind is the content of experience as a whole. All impressions are taken to be the mind. A further distinction can be made between that content and the container or apparatus that is concerned with these things. Either the content itself, or the receptacle or the perceiver of the content is considered the mind. This distinction is not generally made in psychological literature. If there is a distinction made, it is between the physical nervous system and the thoughts themselves. If you take the mind to mean only the mental processes, then the apparatus is the physical nervous system, the brain. If you take the mind to mean all impressions and experiences, then the apparatus becomes the whole body with the emphasis on the entire nervous system including the spinal cord and ganglia as well as the brain. So now we have two concepts for the word “mind.” Of course, some philosophers talk about the mind beyond the brain or nervous system. They postulate the existence of a mind that operates through the brain if they are referring to the “small mind,” or of a mind that operates through the whole nervous system, the entire “soma” or human body, which they refer to as “big mind.” The mind is seen not as something definite, rather as a kind of force or agency. In these formulations it is not very clear what that force is. This leads to questions about the nature of the mind. what is the mind that is separate from the brain and the nervous system? Is there an agency of the processes? Is there a force?

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