I recently read an article by a blogger who began by saying very plainly that dualism is not a correct view of reality, that it leads to fragmentation in all aspects of life. With this proposition, I agree wholeheartedly. Then, in attempt to discount the reductionist materialist view, they began to explain why they believe the brain is different from the mind. With this, I must disagree, but not with the usual objections we hear from materialists. In my perspective, the mind and brain should not be dichotomized. When they are said to be fundamentally different, this amounts to falling headlong back into the dualist tiger-trap. Viewing the brain as “simply flesh” and the mind as “consciousness” is dualism. This view degrades matter in an attempt to elevate mind to a higher position in the scheme of reality. It is the classic exemplification of the so-called mind-body problem.
I am of the opinion that the brain and the mind are of the same “substance” (Not substance in the usual sense; I have explained my use of this word elsewhere). The brain and the mind need not be different because all matter is intertwined with Soul, which acts as the entelechy of the entity. The brain is no different. Soul is homogeneous with flesh, thus making it one reality, the animaterial brain. If this is the first time you have heard the word, animaterial, I invite you to search this blog and read all the pertinent articles concerning this topic.
To affirm the homogeneity of matter and Soul is not to say the brain will not age and become, at times, impaired by disease and various other maladies. The animaterial entity is not immune from pathologization. In fact, this is one of the hallmarks of Soul. It is one of the primary means for the expansion of Soul, as in Hillmanian “soul-making.” The entirety of Nature suffers, at times. John Keats referred to this world as the “vale of soul-making,” a place where animaterial entities encounter hardship and trouble in abundance, but that, without it, they cannot become what they are truly meant to be. Even the scriptures tell us, In your patience possess ye your souls (Luke 21:19). If one can endure with patience the troubles of this world, the Soul grows strong, forged in the fire of suffering. But, I digress.
The entire issue with thinking the brain and the mind are separate is due to a misunderstanding concerning the nature of matter. This question is paramount for the understanding of animaterialism. We know we possess a mind; we use it daily, at least most of us do. The direct experience of thinking thoughts and being conscious of everything around us points to the reality of a mind and consciousness. What we don’t understand so well is matter. We have been led to believe that it is dead, inert, possessing no animative qualities whatsoever. To the Greeks, Nature consisted of physis, or “natural things.” At some point in the history of philosophy, the word, “physical,” took on a totally new meaning that left us with a view of matter that was devoid of mind, Soul, consciousness, etc. This was a mistake that is in process of being corrected by philosophers such as Galen Strawson and David Chalmers. These thinkers propose a physicalism that includes consciousness, which is what I am saying, as well. I go further, however, and say that all entities are animaterial because all entities in the universe are synonymous with Soul. Matter and consciousness alone do not make up all of reality. We must account for all natural things, as the Greeks did. This would include unconsciousness, as well. We know that Soul is both consciousness and unconsciousness, not just consciousness alone. The archetypes of the collective unconscious are unconscious realities that, in my opinion, should be accounted for in any theory of reality.
So, physicalism, stripped of reductionist materialism, is a theory that should include all these natural things in the universe. This is what I call animaterialism. This is why the mind and the brain are one reality.
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