The Conundrum of Mind and Matter

Since the time humans started communicating, we have been developing various symbols and patterns to understand the world around us and as we got advanced we developed languages and new tools to examine the world with a different approach. This helped us to create new theories and find new patterns. Everyone of us think that we are observers of the whole cosmos and the events are happening in front of us. What if we change our approach towards the whole concept of externality?

Everything I know is in my mind and the feeling of externality between me and the other objects and people, is the content of consciousness and therefore it is all my consciousness. This leads to some weird thoughts like, are things there when I am not witnessing or is there somebody else there  or you all are in my personal dream? It might seem laughable but try to think in that way. There are many definitions which define what mind is and what matter is but none of the philosophers or scientists are able to give a certain answer as to how mind and matter have influenced each other. There are many people who preach techniques to get mind over matter. This theory has left me puzzled as to how without a clear distinction between mind and matter people have accepted methods to get mind over matter.  Whenever I think of matter as mindless and mind as immaterial, I get foggy on both sides. Thinking of mind and matter as two different things is like creating two words for a single thing. It is like having a binocular vision. To have a clear 3-dimensional vision we have two eyes ,but the thing we see is one and it cannot be divided, like the vision from the left eye and that from the right eye. Similarly, mind and matter are not two different things and since we are not able to cultivate the perception of interconnectedness, we have created two different entities.

If we look from the biological point of view, it clearly shows us that there is no way of definitively separating the human organism from its external environment. These two are a single field of behavior. The issue is with the way we observe. According to the physicists, by doing experiment or observation, one can alter what one is looking at and we cannot carry out an observation without interfering with what we observe. For example: When we observe a monkey it moves around freely, but as soon as he knows he is observed , he acts differently. So the way of observation always interferes with the thing getting observed. Now what we require is to observe ourselves without knowing that we are looking. Funny isn’t it? This is how we can catch ourselves and look at our best behavior and know ourselves who we truly are. But this can never be done. This issue is faced by the particle physicists as well, when they are trying to observe the nuclear forces , their way of observing changes the way nuclear forces work inside an electron. These statements clearly negate the myth of humans as the objective observer standing aside and watching the world as something external. They cannot be separated.

If we look from the neurological point of view, all the attributes or qualities of the external world, like its colour, texture, weight, sound  etc are all possessed by it(world) in relation to the perceiving organism. There is a famous example in the book Doubts and Certainty in Science by JZ Young , which says that when a tree falls in a forest and if no one is listening , does it make any noise? If we look at the science of the noise we know that the falling tree produces vibrations in air and these vibrations become noise, only if they can reach an eardrum connected to an auditory nervous system. Sound is not something that exists in the external world. Sound is the relationship of vibrating air and certain biological organisms. This vibration in an earless world will not make any noise. This logic is very simple to interpret. Similarly, when we talk about all other sensory organs, we can say that whatever we sense is the relationship or our inclusiveness or oneness with the whole cosmos.

The existence of the world is always according to the perceiving organism.The mountains, the sun, the moon and stars are strictly the inhabitants of the human world.  Animals with their different sense organs have a very different universe, that is animal universe. Every event in the external world is dependent on the observer for its happening. For example :  a rainbow; if the sun is shining and  there is a person standing, if there is moisture in the atmosphere there would be a rainbow. There is no rainbow if no one is watching it. Similarly this is applicable to the mountains, rocks, rivers, fire everything. All existence is a relationship. None of these things constitute existence until related with the neurological complex. Now we can say that the neurological complex belongs to the same world as the Sun, it’s a physical pattern, physical behavior, physical energy. It takes this much complexity of pattern to evoke the world. The world and oneself are the two phases of a single process. This whole existence is like a fabric which cannot be divided into different threads. There is no mind over matter or matter over mind, it is existence as a whole.

4 thoughts on “The Conundrum of Mind and Matter

  1. Naresh says:

    A roller coaster of thoughts. I would love to have a podcast available for your blogs so that I can hear while driving. Your words are very simple and calming.


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