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The Relations Of Mind And Brain








INTERACTION OF MIND AND BRAIN.--How, then, come these two widely
different facts, mind and brain, to be so related in our speech? Why are
the terms so commonly interchanged?--It is because mind and brain are so
vitally related in their processes and so inseparably connected in their
work. No movement of our thought, no bit of sensation, no memory, no
feeling, no act of decision but is accompanied by its own particular
activity in the cells of the brain. It is this that the psychologist has
in mind when he says, no psychosis without its corresponding neurosis.

So far as our present existence is concerned, then, no mind ever works
except through some brain, and a brain without a mind becomes but a mass
of dead matter, so much clay. Mind and brain are perfectly adapted to
each other. Nor is this mere accident. For through the ages of man's
past history each has grown up and developed into its present state of
efficiency by working in conjunction with the other. Each has helped
form the other and determine its qualities. Not only is this true for
the race in its evolution, but for every individual as he passes from
infancy to maturity.

THE BRAIN AS THE MIND'S MACHINE.--In the first chapter we saw that the
brain does not create the mind, but that the mind works through the
brain. No one can believe that the brain secretes mind as the liver
secretes bile, or that it grinds it out as a mill does flour. Indeed,
just what their exact relation is has not yet been settled. Yet it is
easy to see that if the mind must use the brain as a machine and work
through it, then the mind must be subject to the limitations of its
machine, or, in other words, the mind cannot be better than the brain
through which it operates. A brain and nervous system that are poorly
developed or insufficiently nourished mean low grade of efficiency in
our mental processes, just as a poorly constructed or wrongly adjusted
motor means loss of power in applying the electric current to its work.
We will, then, look upon the mind and the brain as counterparts of each
other, each performing activities which correspond to activities in the
other, both inextricably bound together at least so far as this life is
concerned, and each getting its significance by its union with the
other. This view will lend interest to a brief study of the brain and
nervous system.





Next: The Mind's Dependence On The External World

Previous: Problems In Observation And Introspection



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