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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

ctivity 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.