Sunday, July 5, 2015

Mind Over Matter

"If you believe it, you can do it!" New age illogical crap the way most people talk about mind over matter.

What does that phrase actually represent? How could one explore the logic of such a statement to determine a scientific basis, if any, for that hypothesis?

Allow for a simple thought experiment. You are feeling lazy, or lethargic. In my post about emotions, I discussed the fact that all these "feelings" are just different interpretations of chemicals in our body. So there are some chemicals in your body or brain which are causing you to interpret the feeling of lethargy. Apathy. Laziness. Lack of motivation. Some combination of neurotransmitters is giving you that subjective feeling.

Now let's take the phrase "mind over matter" and see if we can apply it. Or rather, let's discuss is as "willpower over the external physical universe." So your goal is to use "mind over matter" to simply remove the physical chemicals present in your body which are causing you distress. Impossible, right? Spiritual mumbo jumbo?

Not exactly. Let's say that your self-awareness, that your mind, recognizes that when you have taken a walk in the past, or have gone to the gym, you remember feeling better. You remember feeling energized afterwards and more motivated for the rest of the day.

You then go about implementing the actions that you remember. You converge on the probabilities in your neurons which will allow your body to implement the steps for your choice. Your pattern recognition allowed you to see a possible future that you liked, and take a step towards it in the fifth dimension of choice.

You come back from the gym and feel less lazy. You have endorphines running through your body. You have none of the chemicals or neurotransmitters associated with the feeling of lethargy.

Your willpower, your decisions, over a period of 100 minutes, for example, was the mechanism your free will used to remove those "lethargy" chemicals from your body. To change the neurotransmitter configuration when you came back from the gym.

You use your willpower to remove the chemicals associated with pangs of hunger, every day.

If you will yourself enough, you can overcome the physical limits of your body. But it takes time. And that change in the physical universe over a period of time based on your willpower is what we colloquially define as "goals".

But not by simply wishing things would change. Rather by making choices of what to do with your body for a period of time (100 minutes, a day, a week, a year) to change the neurochemicals you experience. 

You work hard in your career to experience seeing a beautiful house you own. You choose to act a certain way on a first date so that you can potentially experience the neurochemicals associated with the experience of marriage.

You used your willpower to choose which photons would be hitting your eyes at a future date. You want to see the photons coming from a a child, and so you use your willpower now to change the photons you see in the future.

You were able to change your life by making choices, and therefore change the physical universe your body occupies, by your willpower.

Mind over matter has a logical basis, in that we can change the physics in front of us, the objects occupying the physical universe in the space in front of our eyes, through achieving our goals.

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