Reading an article by Kat McGowan in the April, 2014 edition of Discover magazine, I was pleased to note that I had anticipated the article’s premise in my February 18th, 2014 blog titled, Alienation. In my blog, I highlighted the difference between the brain and the mind. Apparently the neuropsychologist, Mark Solms, a neuroscientist, believes (as I do) that the brain and mind are significantly distinct.
The magazine article includes a graphic of two circles that partially overlap. Within one of the circles there is text listing several terms under the heading of Psychoanalysis; within the other, several terms are listed under the heading of Neuroscience. Within the area where the two circles overlap there is a single word: neuropsychoanalyis. The article posits the need for a combination of the two disciplines for treatment of mental disorders. Of course Mr. Solms, a scientist, focuses exclusively on the medical aspects of the distinction between brain and mind; in my February article I, a layman, focus on the role of free will in human thought and behavior.
Mr. Solms’ distinction between mind and brain is posited and maintained throughout the Discover article. I was especially pleased to read his words, so similar to those in my February blog cited above: “These patients’ minds didn’t need help because it was their brains [not their minds] that were broken.”
Neither a scientist nor bound to the discipline of science, my layman distinction between mind and brain is based on a long-held conviction–partially intuitive, partially experientially–that free will is the defining factor of human thought and behavior, not a deterministic universe.
[Uh-oh! I hear the voices of determinists citing “reasons” for a deterministic universe that include the automated source of this blog, i.e., that my thoughts and yours are merely an extension of dancing particles. Were that true, logic dictates that further “discussion” about thought and action would simply be an extension of automated babble of dancing dendrites.]
But, to continue:
Psychoanalysis does not exist in a vacuum. Neither does neuroscience or neuropsychoanalyis. A larger scope of scientific disciplines would require countless circles and overlays to illustrate the gradients of human thought and behavior. That potential illustration (necessarily limited) could not be depicted on paper. Instead, it would require a three-dimensional medium to accommodate the circles, nomenclature, and the virtually infinite gradients of human thought.
As a layman, I’m permitted the luxury of intuitive and intellectual prescience. We all are prescient if we keep our minds open to reasonable speculation. I was in my early teens when I visualized human thought and behavioral circles and their overlays. I still do. The chances are: so do you. The circles I visualize are like waves created in water by rocks and pebbles (facts and concepts). Unlike paper and like water, the mind is a limitless medium, every ripple simultaneously analyzed and synthesized if we exercise our free will.
It was and still is my practice to spot conceptual relationships, resolve contradictions (societal and personal), and never “square a circle.” By that I mean: I constantly avoid ‘rationalization’ even when a single fact (a ripple) requires modification of its larger related circle (a wave). I suppose this vital practice might be identified as keeping an open mind.
Most of us are familiar with the tantalizing pattern of answering a profound question only to find that the answer generates at least one other equally confounding question.
But when Mr. Solms posits the combined discipline of psychoanalysis and neuroscience for the study and possible treatments of mental disorders, he is closer to a partial understanding of the twin mysteries of the universe: existence itself and thought.
[My next blog, titled Missing Links (plural), will be a companion piece to Alienation and It’s About Time! I humbly submit that I often bite off more than I can chew in a single blog. For the sake of brevity, some issues are claustrophobic in the limited space of a single blog. Also, over time, the website ‘form’ of communication makes it next to impossible to avoid the overlapping of substantive issues.]