Mind vs. Brain: Perceptual Illusions

by Lizzie (’14)

Do the mind and brain exist as one entity or two, or is there no separation whatsoever? If there is no separation then that would mean there is only the brain since the brain is physical and tangible and the mind is visceral.

However, if they coexist, believing in one or the other would not be wrong. Like looking at an optical illusion, seeing one thing rather than the other doesn’t make you wrong, it just limits your cognition. Sure, you can only really see one at a time, only the young lady when it’s not the old woman and vice versa, but if you can recognize that both exist then you have reached full understanding.

Knowing that the mind and brain exist simultaneously breaks down all facades that one surpasses the other. I can believe in the mind for the time being and then go back to believing in my brain, all its axons and dendrites, all its chemical reactions that enable my ability to perceive the mind. And once again back to the mind, thinking about the brain as an idea as a symbol and not the separation of lobes and the thalamus.

Under the brain or the mind, your perception changes. In the context of my brain, I will think about my brain much differently than I would think about it under the influence of my mind and vise-versa. Yet is one perception greater than the other? Well no, if you are thinking in terms of them existing together. If the mind and the brain act as one entity than each of their impressions present some truths. Believing wholly in one over the other will lead to lies.

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