The Mind in Nature
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Life becomes beautiful and fulfilling when the body, mind, and nature are in harmony.
The Human Brain
The balance between the mind and nature has a significant bearing on the health of the body. How we lead our lives is an extension of the mind. The mind uses the body in a way that may or may not be in tune with nature.
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Nature is not some distant phenomena. In the form of our body, we carry a drop of nature wherever we go. If nature is the macrocosm, the body is the microcosm. Nature is life oriented, while the mind is individual-oriented, and the mind takes life for granted. When there is a clash between the mind and nature, we try to shape the world following the mind, rather than living in harmony with higher existence. This is where the conflict begins.
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Nature ultimately wins by reclaiming the bodily form. A giant wave may batter the coast. But once the wave crashes into the shore, its energy is lost as water splashes onto land, and the wave disappears forever. In contrast, when very gentle waves touch the beach, they gracefully recede into the sea. Similarly, when the mind forcefully projects itself onto the world like a destructive wave, it cannot reclaim its original pure self. But if the mind is gentle and puts forth useful ideas, maintaining its centeredness within, its energy is returned.
Just as the soft sand of a beach bears the brunt of the destructive force of a wave, the body suffers under the mind which harbors negative energies.
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Unlike the mind which does not apply itself uniformly to all life, preferring some and destroying others, nature does not operate under set preferences. Change may appear to be slow in the world of nature compared to the mind, as they run on different time scales. The mind need not necessarily slow down its rate of turnover of thoughts. If we dial down our involvement with the mind, we will begin to move away from the mind's restless activity.
There is deep stillness in nature as evidenced by the mountains and trees which stand up to the test of time. The reduction of chemistry to physics, of biology to chemistry, of animal conscious or subconscious experience to biology, and of consciousness itself and the creativeness of the human mind to animal experience, are all problems that are unlikely if not impossible to succeed. The metaphysical background of process thought is far more germane to the evolutionary picture provided by biology than is the mechanistic philosophy. The only sort of universe in which evolution of organisms can occur is one in which the entities have subjective aim.
The transcendence of life and human mind were evolutionary from the non-living to living entities, but scientific knowledge is quite insufficient to give satisfactory accounts of these transitions. An explanation is intractable and unsolved thus far.
But the author proposes that in evolutionary development the higher-level order must have been contained in some sense in the lower-level constituent s. Thus when higher levels of order exhibit properties not belonging to their lower-level constituents, the correct inference is not that something has been added to the lower-level constituents but, rather, that they exhibit different properties when they organize the higher-level order. The most complex machine will not exhibit any purposiveness, yet the determinist and the teleological arguments are intertwined into the very roots of nature.
Self-conscience human purpose is found in the higher orders, thus the author opposes a reductionist interpretation of emergent novelties. The author uses an analyses of quantum theory and how it needs a fundamentally new notion of order to show a development that is capable of making full contact with modern science, yet assimilates common experience, to give a single, whole, unfragmented world view. Our instinctive tendency is to believe that the relations of succession can be adequately symbolized by geometrical relations. The persistence of this belief has had disastrous influence through the centuries on philosophical and theological thought, and upon physical theories as well.
The degrees of freedom in the hierarchy increase with ascending order, and each upward shift of attention to higher levels, each handing over of decision to higher echelons, is accompanied by the experience of free choice. But is it merely a subjective experience? The author thinks not, since freedom cannot be defined in absolute, only in relative, terms, as freedom from some specific constraint. Reductive determinism mistakenly holds the view that when prediction of behavior and thought is not possible, this is because of the complexity of the determining factors rather than because of indeterminacy or freedom.
All psychic phenomena sensations, mental images, feelings, thoughts and processes of volition are merged in our stream of consciousness. All psychic experience is therefore part of a process. Skip to main content. Subscribe Search My Account Login. Access through your institution. Buy or subscribe.
C. B. Martin, The Mind in Nature - PhilPapers
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