Wednesday, December 28, 2011

The relationship between mind and body

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Once upon a time, on an Island long ago forgotten, there were two tribes of people which had existed together- the Ingenium and the Corporis. The Ingeniumians occupied the knoll of the island around the volcano surrounded by the Coporisian tribe which spanned the rest of this island. Although there appears to be no physical differences between the people of these two tribes, it is often said that the Ingeniumians are always aloof and preoccupied, as if they were elsewhere whereas the earthly people of Corporis are hardy and occupied, labouring all day in the fields without thought.

To outsiders a strange relationship existed between these two tribes. The Coporisians were tithed by the Ingeniumians and in return the Ingeniumians provided leadership and guidance for the Coporisians. To the many Coporisians who laboured in the fields all day, they eventually grew frustrated by this apparently unfair exchange. The Corporisians couldn’t see why they can’t set up a ruling party themselves since they thought there were no differences between the Ingeniumians and themselves that would warrant their continued tributes towards the tribe of Ingenium.

nd day of Hibernation, 1605

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To the respected tribe of Ingenium,

Following much debate and unrest amongst our tribe recently, the grand council of Corporis have decided to end our tributes to the tribe of Ingenious. We think this outdated and unfounded tradition is not in the fair interests of our tribe and we deem ourselves capable of leading our own people to our destiny.

With much Sincerity, Corporis

48th day of Hibernation, 1606

To the newly independent people of Corporis,

The Grand council of Ingenium expresses their deepest concern at the separation of our tribes. Since the beginning, our tribes have operated with this tithe, and without it our people can’t survive. Furthermore, your tribe is merely an extension of us, and without our direction, you will have no destiny.

We know this because we are blessed with the ability to create miracles. And we make use of this ability everyday. Every time we think and a new and fresh thought springs up- it is a miracle. Every time we feel and experience- it is a miracle. Our curiosity, our hatred, our avarice are all miracles.

You might question our origin and our linage, no one knows how we are blessed with miracles and we are intensely researching this question ourselves, but the answer, we believe, lies beyond this world. Put simply, the people of Ingenium don’t fit into this world through the natural course of evolution. Superficially, we might look the same as you, and structurally we are composed of millions of cells and different chemicals just like you, but ingenium, unlike Corporis isn’t the result of evolution. Our thought process is unique, different to you. It is recognised that we retain some of your mental properties, such as your primal instincts but overall we are so different, so radical and so alien. A great and wise elder of our council known as the Dalai Lama, once stated that our mind is the product of “another plane” (Gaffney & Harvey, 1). Just think of all the unique concepts which we possess- wealth and ownership, ego and emotion, all of which no other organism on the world possess. We can hate each other with so much passion that we scheme to subsequently commit genocide, or we can love each other so that we choose to give up our own survival for another. Do you really think you can seek to explain our behaviour with chains of chemical reactions?

Hence we propose that the people of Corporis end this nonsense immediately and resume our traditional tithe so that order maybe restored within our tribes.

With much concern, Ingenium

1st day of Wake, 1606

Note Ingeniumians,

We may be simple people, but we are not stupid. Don’t try to intimidate or confuse us with your incredible talks of miracles and aliens. Such talk has only made you seem more foolish as everybody understands the principle of evolution. You are perhaps wiser and more intelligent, but this doesn’t make you special, only more evolved. It is clear for all to see that our mind is merely a result of a large network of neurons, and thought is propagated by chemical reactions from outside stimuli. Without connection to the physical world outside, then your minds will never be able to have any basis of thought. Hence our “minds” are our own self-conscious representations of our brain, and since our brain is physically linked to our body, the mind is merely an extension of our body. This you taught to us yourselves many cycles ago.

We warn you that any further threats directed at our republic we not be tolerated.

Republic of Corporis

rd day of Blossom, 161


Our supplies are scarce but our minds are strong in our beliefs. The mind is not a tangible substance, not like the air we breathe or the water we drink. It is ethereal. Our bodies on the other hand are physical and tangible. Our minds and our bodies are incongruous due to this disparity. Rather than thinking of the connection between the two entities a physical one, the mind is separate from the body yet undeniably linked. Perhaps a metaphor is easier to understand. Picture the tomato crops in your farms. For it to fruit, you have to support the vine with struts, without the struts the vines would collapse under its own weight and bearing no fruits. However without the plant, the struts would serve no purpose. Just like this example, our minds and bodies are locked in a similar situation- without our bodies our minds can’t survive and without our minds our bodies would serve no purpose in existing. The concept of mind and body is complex and intertwined, passing through and ravelled around each other but they not fused or connected.

We hope that you will heed our warning and not meddle with forces we can’t begin to understand. By not supplying us you are killing off your mind and hence destroying your purpose.

15th day of Harvest, 16

To all the citizens on the isle of Humanus

The republic of Corporis hath here by declared war upon the councils of Ingenium for subversion and heresy also of bring established principles of science into disrepute. In addition no peace treaty will be signed until the councils of Ingenium return all previously tithed goods dating to the year 1500 and denounces its heretical thinking on the subject of a mind that is separate from the physical body.

We don’t accept this notion of a mind that could possibly be so complicated it is alien to this world. Mother Nature-the creator of our minds through evolution, is perfect in everyway, even in ways which we can’t comprehend. We see the perfection she has created everyday around us. How can you question nature with your mind? It is as ridiculous as a tomato asking why it is a tomato. We should simply feel blessed that our enhanced ability to think through our vast neural networks has accidentally given us “self-representation” or self consciousness. Indeed we have networks of neurons organised for basic tasks such as bodily needs, but other networks are able to integrate and operate on these basic networks, effectively yielding meta-representations (Siegfried, 00). These then contribute towards our self awareness.

We are at the forefront of our research and we believe we have leading technical expertise in this area. During a time when technology was primitive, perhaps your explanation was valid; accepted because there was no proof otherwise from scientists.

Pax Republica Corporis

A long and terrible war was waged by the two sides. Armies of stout troops poured out from Corporis towards the mountain peak where the palaces of the council of Ingenium lay enclosed in a solid shell of granite. The people of Ingenium, having long been deprived of supplies from Corporis were frail and weak. However from plans drawn up by grand engineers they built gigantic contraptions which were as imaginative as they were deadly in their application. Some spat huge bouts of slime whilst others would make the earth shake.

Eventually, without the leadership of the Ingeniumians, the Corporis war effort grinded to a halt as their organization collapsed from the inside. The republic was in turmoil due to the lack of a central government and coherent regulation. What started as liberation soon turned into a nightmare as supplies were being misdirected, armies sent to attack the wrong targets and everything descended into chaos.

Things weren’t any better for the Ingeniumians as their stockpile gradually dwindled. The massive war machines grinded to a halt and citizens sat within their fortifications watching malnutrition and starvation kill more people than the Coporisian army.

0th day of Harvest, 1658


Nearly twenty years have passed since your nation declared war upon our innocent Ingenium. Our kingdom is ruined beyond repair and our subjects are nearly all claimed by malnourishment. Long ago have we given up the hope that this terrible war might end in a fair resolution. However we still stand firm by our believe that mind and body is intimately intertwined yet not “connected”. We have not a scientific explanation that would satisfy your requirements, and in lieu of evidence we can only offer our experiences.

Our minds are much like blank canvas, born onto nothing but ready to absorb all that the world has to offer. We call this to “Learn”. Overtime as the permeability of the canvas increases and it is able to hold on to more and more paint we can begin to analyse the ingredients which has been absorbed. Hence we gain the ability to “Think”. Then we are able to break down and recombine these ingredients or create new ingredients similar to those which we have absorbed. This we call to “Act”. All of these processes are agreed to be chemical reactions void of any magical properties. However, the mind is capable of much more than learning, thinking and acting. Our minds have imagination, creativity, passion, humour, empathy, depravity and many more properties which are not explainable by chemical reactions or synapses of neurons. This is the miracle.

Sincerely, the last of the Ingenium

Around the year 1700

Soon after their last correspondence, the Ingeniums became extinct. The surviving Corporisians became feral and lived the lives of beasts thereafter, hunting and gathering in small groups. What once were their civilisation lie now in ruins and the stronghold of the Ingeniums were never entered, lying in hollow and eerie silence.

Curiously at the grand entrance of the stronghold there stands a massive bronze statue of a tomato vines climbing around supporting struts. And all throughout the stronghold grows tomato plants, their vines limp on the ground and bearing nasty green or yellow fruit. Tomatoes were considered poisonous and cursed by the feral people on the island and were never collected.

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