Matter Ouevre Mind

Never let it be said that a hackneyed, millennia-old, done to death topic is something I will refuse to give my opinion on. Especially a topic that, despite being a venerable philosophical ‘problem’, is also one that nearly everyone has, at the very least, a tacit take on. My people call it the mind-body problem.

I am not going to bother with the classic arguments for or against the idea that mind is simply a function of body, primarily the brain. Mainly because the arguments against tend to betray more the lack of a certain virtue, or an ulterior belief set, than a coherent position on mind-body itself. Further, I don’t see why I should have to bother with the typical arguments for.

The brain, most agree, and would express it this way, is a wet meatball (or, given the sponginess, possibly a ball of fungus-derived meat-substitute). Our conceit, as humans, is to regard the functions of that meatball as miraculous, rather than merely astounding. Certainly a Black and Decker Workmate is more impressive than a chimp using a twig to ‘fish’ for ants, but to the extent that we need apotheose the meatball and demand our minds be recognised as something non(interpret as ‘supra’)-physical?

I know we all want to be special. I know that, despite being unable to count past ten without hideous dactyl mutations, or occasionally putting on jumpers and getting our head stuck in an arm section, we want to believe there is some genuine magic in us that isn’t in the chimp, or could even be possible in AI. But do we really, really, want to contend that this spongy meatball represents the absolute pinnacle of cognition now and possibly always? I, for one, am not defeatist enough to imagine there is anything non-physical. Especially. In. A. Meatball.


2 responses to “Matter Ouevre Mind

  1. I agree (I think? Philosophy not being my strong point).
    I have been having a similar discussion recently with regards to Art. Each time a new movement came along (Post-Impressionism, Modernism, etc) it was a completely new thing that took the established processes by surprise. Before it, there was no concept of it. Why would people want to look at, create, or imagine a painting should be made up of large rectangles in bold, basic colours? Or pay money to own a pickled cow? The leaps of imagination were inconceivable before they happened.
    It is, I am sure, the same process of experimentation and consideration that means all of a sudden monkeys start salting their sweet potato. We are both made of the same stuff as monkeys/sweet potatoes, and a part of the interaction and change. This monkey prefers her sweet potato heated through.

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