Updated: Feb 4
Q. Do you distinguish between the mind and brain?
A. Yes, I do.
Q. What is the mind?
A. The mind is a meta-physical instrument for mediating with and relating with various environments. It helps us build thought and create reality by providing and coordinating various qualities such as abstractness/concreteness and sequentialness/randomness. We use these qualities to focus our attention, identify ourselves as existing beings and pay testimony to our Selves and our endowments. The mind also directs functions such as sensing, feeling, emoting, willing, extrapolating into the future, imagining, remembering and constructing forms for revelation.
Q. How are minds alike? Different?
A. All minds are made of the same "stuff" (noumenal qualities). This is why we can understand and relate to one another and the environs to some degree. There is, indeed, a "common sense" shared at a basic level. This fact is conveyed by the philosopher, Terrence, who wrote: "Nothing human is alien to me."
On the other hand, each mind is also inherently different because of a natural variance in the amount of "stuff" that is at our disposal. Some of us have more of the CS qualities. Others have more AS, etc. These quantitative differences account for our specialized abilities and our inability, beyond the basics, to understand and relate to all others equally well.
Q. Why do differences in mind qualities exist?
A. Differing amounts of CS/AS/AR/CR qualities are not by chance, nor are they haphazard endowments. They are perfectly matched to the personal blueprint (constitution or destiny map or life script) that is "housed" within our psyche. The mind is, therefore, an exquisite instrument designed to provide exactly what is needed to fulfill our raison d'etre.
Q. Since the mind and psyche are meta-physical or without physical substance, can you help me grasp them conceptually? Get a "picture" of them?
A. Conceptually, try this analogy: The mind is to the psyche as the roots, stems and leaves are to the seed. The mind emanates from and serves the psyche in the same way that the roots, stems and leaves emanate from and serve the seed.
Picture-wise, envision a white ball of fire or light. This is the psyche. Now envision channels or shafts of light radiating out like the points of a compass. One channel radiates northward. One eastward. Another radiates southward and another radiates westward. These rays of light, pictorially are channels of the mind. Each mental channel, including CS/AS/AR and CR qualities, is used for importing and exporting specific kinds of data, for helping us navigate and find our way in the world and for providing ways and means of bringing our seed's (psyche's) potential to fruition.
Please realize that there are many channels serving our souls (Selves). The Mind Styles Model focuses on only four of them.
Q. Who or what is the "boss" of the mind?
A. You ( ego and psyche).
Q. What is the brain?
A. It is a physical organ which serves as a vessel for concentrating much of the mind substances. Along with the spinal cord, nerves and individual cells, it comprises the "machinery of the mind" for receiving and transmitting data to various parts of the body. It is part of the essential hardware that permits the software of our spiritual forces to work through it and become operative in the world.
By way of analogy, the brain and the other organs are like the telephone and telecommunications network. They are tools for making communication possible. The brain does not create thought any more than the telephone creates the person's message and voice.
Q. Doesn't this view of the mind/brain relationship differ from that of most brain-based style and brain-compatible learning people?
A. Yes. Most do not distinguish between the mind and brain and few mention any relation to the psyche. In fact, they often attribute human and spiritual qualities to the bodily organs, structures and chemicals.
For example, some cite biochemical reasons for student behaviors. Some tell us how the brain procures information, decides what to remember, manipulates and changes data, perceives threats, protects itself, asks questions and mounts a defense. Others tell us that our brain simply makes sense out of nonsense, looks for patterns in life and then compares and contrasts those patterns with new events and situations. Still others tell us how our brain learns and how we should teach to and engage the brain.
Q. As a phenomenologist, don't these views and statements bother you?
A. Yes, they violate my sensibilities. My primary concerns are in four areas.
First, the cause/effect perspective is incompatible with my experiences and reasoning. To imply or state that the brain is the generator of thought and decision-making exalts this physical organ and diminishes our humaness. A material object (pheno) is not the cause or source of spirit (noumena and logos).
Second, the brain theory advocates do not provide answers to "why" questions such as, Why do brains exist? Why does it think? Why do individual differences in abilities appear? Why does the brain decide to learn and remember only certain things? Why does it get fearful? Why does it need compatible learning approaches? Why doesn't it automatically adapt to all kinds of teaching techniques and methods, media and appliances, and environmental conditions? Inquiring minds want to know.
Third, these views can abolish personal responsibility. If chemicals cause my behavior and my brain is learning and deciding what is relevant for me, what am "I" doing? If my brain chooses not to acknowledge and remember today's algebra lesson, how can "I" be held accountable? If my brain goes into protect mode and shuts down, how do "I" jump start it again? Am I at its mercy? If so, I can blame not myself for misfortunes, but structures. "My brain made me do it!"
Fourth, materialistic and mechanistic viewpoints preclude the moral imperative, "Above all, do no harm." The absence of Selfhood, Free Will, volition, universal laws, harmfulness, consciousness and conscience makes codes and moral statements irrelevant.
Q. With these perspectives, do you ever get invited to brain-based style conferences? If so, do you go?
A. Frankly, such invitations are few and far between. When I speak, I offer my views along side of those who see the world differently. In so doing, I adopt the attitude expressed in the spirit of the motto of The Fox News Channel: "We report. You decide."