Controversy was unleashed when I re-created a conversation thread on Twitter The age-old debate over whether science agrees with brain-brain equality.
The tendency to make the two concepts comparable provokes conversations.
Jesus Ramirez Bermúdez, a neuropsychologist at the National Institute of Neurology and Neurosurgery, was the one whose tweets sparked dozens of comments from both sides of the spectrum: Tweeters leaning more towards the brain; Others towards the mind.
2/11 According to Cambridge scholar German Berius, mentality is difficult to define due to its figurative origin (Ψυχή, psychic) and its ontological instability. In classical Greece, #Soul She meant “same, breath”…
If the mind is not a thing, then what is?https://t.co/s7uBNJRyy
– Jesus Ramirez Bermúdez (@JRBneuropsiq) January 15 2021
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The debate that is still going on between the mind and the brain
“In short, the mind is a functional concept to refer to the functions of the brain that make the regulation of behavior and the emergence of consciousness possible,” this scientist says in an interview with Tec . Review.
The brain is the organ and the mind will not have a physical reference, but it will be the result of this brain activity.
“But in the end it cannot be said that the mind is at some point in the brain, rather it is a general process of brain activity,” he said in an interview, Maria de lord Allegria Peña, a psychiatrist trained at Fray Bernardino Alvarez Psychiatric Hospital in Mexico City.
for this specialist Tec . Review He asks what he thinks of the metaphor that the brain is like radio and the mind, like hertzian waves (AM and FM) tuned by said device. His answer is as follows:
This description indicates that the mind is that part that cannot be seen, just like radio waves. It is an imperceptible part, but its manifestations are in our thinking.”
However, Allegria Peña says the psychiatric view is more inclined to deny that the brain is dedicated to interpreting what the mind dictates.
“I would think of it in reverse, the mind as a product of brain activity, but they go hand in hand, the mind cannot exist without the brain and the mind uses the mind to perform many activities.”
Loose ends remain
But current science has not explained how neurons, when combined together, make the mind pop, just as it has not yet been possible to investigate in the laboratory that an expression of life arises from non-living chemicals.
“over there the difference It could not have been identified very clearly,” Allegria points out.
Because it is not yet understood how a group of neurons begins to talk to each other, to create the mind, which is no longer limited to just connecting brain cells.
The mind is not only electrical impulses, it is a third reality, beyond neurons and their connections, It is the philosopher’s stone in psychiatry He would see himself tangible, tangible, on a physical substrate: the brain.
“It is kind of an activity, but it has not yet been explained step by step. There is always a part that needs to be clarified,” adds Allegria.
The dialectic between mind and mind is the heir of the ancient dilemma between body and soul. In the course of history, the first concept has been defended by materialist philosophy and the second by idealist philosophy.
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The importance of building bridges
Psychiatry has chosen neither side, simply because it remains at a mid-point where it tries to reconcile the two viewpoints, as a bridge, just as chemistry tries to do the same between physics and biology.
“Psychiatry does not define the concept of mind well. In a general way, psychiatrists use the term to refer to the set of abilities that include the processes of perception, thought, memory, awareness, and motivation,” he explains. Maybe Mariana AzkaragaD., a psychiatrist in the Clinical Psychology Unit at Pan American University (UP).
This is the result of the word mind unstable over the years. The modern interpretation of it is relatively new, from the last two centuries, influenced by the method of empirical sciences.
“Previously, the concept of the mind was closely related to the concept of the soul, and it was believed that the mind and the soul were one and the same. At that time, it was considered that the body was separate from the mind, authors such as Plato said,” details this UP psychiatrist.
The defense of the hypothesis that there is no mind as such, but only reason, began, since the nineteenth century, with great force. Both designations refer to the same physical reality.
“Currently, as a result of neuroscience, it is said that the mind probably springs from brain function. But if the psychiatrist sees only changes in the brain, it is likely that he will shorten, because there are also other interactions, on the social side, for example; all other interactions play a role essential in disorders and their treatment,” Azkaraga Kwiza speaks.
which is that modern psychiatry also deals with behavior and emotions; Neuroscience, on the other hand, studies only changes in the brain in certain areas.
For all of the above, it was not possible to achieve equality between mind and reason. Even according to Azcárraga, many psychiatrists do not even get into the discussion, preferring to avoid it.
From the exchange of ideas comes the light
The three psychiatrists consulted Tec . Review They do not flip the debate, but are open to different viewpoints in order to arrive at the most balanced viewpoint possible. Finally, this is the way of science.
Ramirez-Bermúdez, who revived the controversy in the tweetosphere, settled the current status of this situation with the following statement:
“Mind is not synonymous with brain, because mind refers to function and brain refers to organ. But they are two closely related terms.”
According to Azcárraga, this contradiction is leading to the emergence of psychiatry and neurosciences to talk more with philosophy and other disciplines.
“But nothing has been reached yet and more dialogue is needed,” he adds.
This specialist finally points out that, sometimes, for therapeutic purposes, it is more convenient to tell psychopaths that their problem is like any other disease of the body, liver, lungs or bones, for example.
Although this explanation overlooks the complexity of the mind, it is useful so as not to generate the impression that if they have mental illness, they are insane, as is said with contempt in large sections of society.
So I tell them that they are sick like all of them, but not in a reductive sense, but so that they can be properly cared for. I do this to reduce social stigmas.”
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