No-Brain and No-Mind


We are tangible human beings living in a tangible world within a tangible cosmos, and there is little doubt about this reality unless we look at it from the standpoint of pure nuclear physics or, perhaps, within the context of some great metaphysical system. Our brain is a complex, very complex indeed, piece of biological machinery which reacts both to its own and the surrounding environment within a given time frame and impinging or perceived events, according to sense perceptions. This reaction to the environment and it constraints sums up and create an individual personality which learns to cope and react with its own environment as it seems more fit to the same. This piece of machinery is not automatic and unconscious since within ample limits it has freedom of choice in this physical world, this apparent freedom of choice being dictated by some sort of analytical response that we call intelligence. These two, personality and intelligence (or better, intellect) together with the imprinted record of experience act in concert within a mental frame which makes - or sums up - what we call psyche. Hence the psyche - broadly - sums up as personality plus intellect plus experience. Personality, intellect and experience are to us as tangible as they are abstract: they are mental concepts, so much so as their summation - the psyche - is. We cannot commit spatiality and palpable properties to the psyche or any of its constituents, these all are by being not in terms of physical - or material - tangibility: to all extents we can sense or create them within a given mind's frame - the imagination - but in reality none of them exists. We have been able to detect, in the nuclear word, the antithesis of matter - or antimatter - but have not been able to detect a psyche's particle whatsoever while we see this entity's effect in molding, creating and destructing at will whatever is perceivable by the senses, the physical world and, aided by its creative science and related technological creations, the intra-physical world as well.

This 'nothingness', the psyche, is felt as something rigorously individual but since nothingness cannot have any individuality it is easier, and more logical, to think about it as a common substratum not just to a race, population, or species but to whatever falls within the province of material experience, possibly independently of its appearance, in other words, whether organic and inorganic.

The three abstracts, i.e., personality, intellect and analytical experience, which form the psyche - together with the psyche itself - are then associated to the human mind, i.e., the ultimate abstract to which we can attach all qualities and defects but which itself exists just as an additional concept within the psyche which it sustains and by which it is sustained. This masterwork about nothingness is brought about, tangibly, by that piece of biological machinery which functions by subtle chemical and electrical reactions, the brain, and which manifests a perceivable activity in the domains of electricity and electromagnetism, i.e. the physical and sensory enviroment.

• The brain is the painter • the mind is the canvas • the psyche is the observer •

If I stretch this argument a little bit more I reach three propositions. The logical one: I exist; the illogical one: I do not exist; the paradoxical, or absurd one: I exist because I don't or, conversely, I don't because I do. The last two lines however tell me something inescapable, they speak about the mind as an entity (this assumes existence!) extremely powerful, hard to tame, hard to master, hard to perceive and, yes, quite foxy with its excursions in imagination.

Apparently, we use our brain to try to explain the mind; as well and more manifestly, we use our mind to try to explain the brain. If I try to imagine myself as antimatter from this physical world of mine I get nowhere. If I try to imagine myself as antimatter from the world of antimatter I can only imagine antimatter (because in that world I would perceive myself as matter) and I would likewise get nowhere. And, from my standpoint in the tangible cosmos mind should not be so different from antimatter since, even if in particle physics we detected antimatter, i.e., the neutrino - however elusive it can be, no psyche-particle - apart from related electromagnetic effect related to its works - has ever been detected but that is obvious: I can imagine a neutrino speeding throughout the whole cosmos and not colliding with anything due to its no-mass. And, as a exercise in imagination - a psychic feat - I can imagine a psyche-particle, if not my psyche as a whole, going through a neutrino and not disturbing it in the least or even to have it rest in a neutrino's core without disturbing it. You see? The mind, as a canvas, can get incredible pictures to feed to the psyche, an active observer who will react properly to the image's perception but the most difficult problem arises concerning the painter - that is, the brain: how and why does it create incredible images? What is the source of its artistry? Yes, you do have an answer if you are religious but what if you stand nowhere like me?

The corollary would be that brain and mind are the two faces of a unique reality - reality as truth - whatever that suggests, therefore, since "For repairing something made of bamboo, bamboo must be used. If you want a hen to hatch chickens, they must come from eggs. No matter what you are doing, if it not based upon the classification of things by category (fei lei [1]) it is a complete waste of energy" [2] the only way to get to the core of the conundrum would be to transcend both brain and mind and look at the problem from the side of the unique reality behind both of them. This, of course brings us nowhere but to that search which is mankind's quest from the days of the emergence of reason; clearly such an achievement would put an end to the venerable debate concerning the unity or dualism of brain and mind. As well, although in one way or another we need these concepts, our mental tools defined as soul, spirit, psyche, mind belong to a fictitious kingdom which is not our kingdom: our kingdom, our true abode, would be that baffling unique reality behind mind and matter; apparently inaccessible in life and, we can say with some assurance since we only know for certain only our side of the coin, inaccessible also in death when our personality, as such [3] is lost beyond a decaying lump of meat and bones. Not really pollyannaish, is it? The next interrogative would be: is our identity, psychical or what you will, maintained when we are earth back to the earth? And so we sink in the timeless metaphysical realm of the mind's haunting: metempsychosis, reincarnation, heaven, limbo and hell to metion just afew.

If we try to explain the origin of life so as we perceive it in the sacred literature of the world, and likewise in its mythology, we see remarkable parallels, independently of the geographical origin of the sacred texts. This is not within the scope of this work and will be left to the faithful, but for the addition of a few remarks. One is that science is now explaining, with consistent proof, many of these narrations even in terms of different worlds and diverse - alien - forms of life. The other one concerns the archetypal contents of humanity, which, as already noted, has some gaps since many of these archetypes could not have entered humanity's infancy if such perception - or mind contents - must be explained as the experience of the species, therefore the archetypes's theory should be revisited even if it might upset many contemporary psychological notions. My tendency is to state that mind can perceive realms which do not lie within the normal standard of time as we perceive it or, else, that the mind - in its pristine nakedness beyond the material world - knows no time and in suitable conditions we can be transported to those strange kingdoms where it liberally roams to add to our delights or sorrows since we are simply ignorant of its scope.

I don't really know why I venture in such impossible interrogatives while to all effects brain and mind are my immediate perceptions, and manifestly if I were to trash them here and now it would make you happier: no more nonsense to cope with! Even so something more may tentatively be said. Obviously the next questions will be about life, about the origin of life, about the why of life.

The next step in reasoning concerns the origin of life and the why of life. We are well aware of ourselves, our surroundings and, above all, our individuality. And here we meet the great illusion, the paramount maya, and fall again in the vicious circle of speculation. The truth might very well be that we do not have an individuality, we do not even live a personal life even if all appearances assert the contrary. And this can be summed up in a few words: it is Life that lives us, not us that live a life. We are the experience of Life and not the other way around. Incidentally, this might explain the memory of the species and the vision of the mystic. But this, in this wise, does not concern just ourselves, but the whole cosmos, in terms of what the Hindus called "Brahman [4] Lila" , or the play of the cosmic creator, or Brahma. And this makes sense both as to the what and the why of life but only if we admit a creator.

Up to this point we can even survive without a (self-created?) creator in terms of religious thought whilst the next question is forbidden ground in terms of rational thinking: the purpose behind life, or, if any, the intelligence and scope behind life. If we can perceive and sense the infinite, expressed as life, there is no way to go beyond while we are wrapped in our individuality in a three-dimensional world. The moment that we will be divested of any shadow of materiality a better comprehension of life will arise - that will be Life's own comprehension, that of the Life living us which, itself, is possibly eternally striving to find its roots just like here we strive to find ours.

"I am the Deep. I will not let you hear about it." [5]


[1] What is meant by 'categories' is the partnership of Heaven and Earth, the complementarity of the moon and sun, the mutuality of female and male." Joseph Needham - Science an Civilization in China, Volume 5 - p. 319 - Cambridge University Press- 1980.
[2] Ibid.
[3] In this context personality is expressed as that which we are in the wholeness of our life experience: physical and psychical.
[4] "Brahman is the Supreme, the Eternal. Atman [soul] is his Spirit in man. Karma [action] is the force of creation, wherefrom all things have their life". The Bhagavad Gita, 8:3 - Translated by Juan Mascarς - Penguin Books Ltd., Harmondsworth, Middlesex, England - 1962.
[5] The Egyptian Book of the Dead – BD80 - Edited by Thomas George Allen – (Xerographic copy) - The University of Chicago Press – Chicago – Illinois – 1960.

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