The Mind-Body Problem: Mankind’s Elusive Enigma

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The Mind-Body Problem: Mankind’s Elusive Enigma

What is the universe? Where did it come from? Does it still exist when we die? Do we create the universe, or does it create us? These questions all pertain to what has become known as the mind-body problem - a term describing ancient philosophical meanderings to any relationship which might exist between consciousness and the mechanics of the physical body. In order to understand the relationship between man’s thoughts and actions, and how mankind’s forebears approached these timeworn questions, one may consult the early 20th-century esotericists and ceremonial magicians and their attempts to answer the questions.

Relationship Between Mind and Body

A 2001-paper published by the Department of Psychology, University of California, Santa Barbara, titled Evolutionary Psychology and the brain revealed that although the mind-body problem has ancient origins, the lines of questioning it brings forth have been influential in the modern sciences of sociobiology, computer science, evolutionary psychology and in neurosciences. Any scientific theory of consciousness has to explain how the brain’s varying states can electrochemically generate subjective consciousness, and this has become known as the ‘hard problem' of consciousness. Neurobiologists, neuropsychologists, neuropsychiatrists and neurophilosophers all study neuroscience and philosophy of mind for signs that consciousness is generated by our complex biological systems, but these empirical approaches implies a presupposition that mind and body ‘do’ affect each other; but the mind–body problem holds that the mind and the body might be fundamentally different in nature.

Representation of consciousness by the 17th century by Robert Fludd, an English Paracelsian physician. (Public Domain)

Representation of consciousness by the 17th century by Robert Fludd, an English Paracelsian physician. (Public Domain)

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