The Mind of Man There are many of us here at the Physics Forums who seem to think that the mind of man is nothing more than an emergent property of the electrochemical processes that go on in the physical brain; that any computer of sufficient size and complexity would develop consciousness, self awareness and a mind; that there is not something more to the mind and that it solely resided in the physical brain and has no real existence of its own. I have thought about this, read about this for some time now and at first did not really know what I thought of this topic. I have reached an opinion if not a conclusion that all of the above is wrong. It does not reflect reality as I see it and makes no sense in light of what I do know, have experienced, read, heard and seen. The following, in part, is what has led me to the belief that I now hold. The mammalian brain has been around for some 130 million years, the physical brain of lesser animals for much longer. All of these brains work on the same principle of electrochemical interconnections and interactions. Mammals have emotions and some can at least recognize themselves in mirrors and pictures . They can reason to a degree and solve problems. They make and use tools. They change their immediate environment by building and digging houses, nests, dens, dams, hives, mounds etc. and have been doing so for millions of years. Yet none but one has ever advanced beyond these relatively simple capabilities. Homo Sapiens have been around for what 40-50 thousand years? I was told by an anthropology instructor at collage that humans are the only animals that have no instincts, innate complex behavior patterns, when they are born. Ants and bees, who live in complex societies also, behaviors are almost all instinct. Humans are therefore forced to think from the moment of birth, if not before. We have to learn everything including learning how to learn as well as think and reason. We have no instincts to fall back on. We have yet to decide exactly what it is about humans that make them different from the other animals. What is it that makes us humans? I say it is our mind. Our mind is that something else that is different, something else or more that is the difference between humans and the rest of the animals. Our mind along with our spirit and soul is what makes us different, human. I don’t necessarily mean supernatural, mystical or metaphysical spirit and soul, but, the spirit or soul of man that makes us creative and inventive, that makes us builders and explorers, that make us searchers and wonderers. Most animals are curious, but none are driven like Man to discover the Universe, how and why it works as it does, how and why we work. I think that this is far more than just an emergent property or reaching a threshold of complexity. There is a quantum leap between Man and animal that cannot be explained by simply adding more of the same until some magical unexplained plateau is reached and Walla we suddenly have Mankind withal of his abilities, talents and creativeness. It is possible that a thousand monkeys with a thousand typewriters would within a thousand year type out Hamlet but how long would it take one chimpanzee to intentionally sit down and write by hand just one Shakespearean sonnet. None of the above proves nothing nor does it make our minds different from our brain processes. I was at a loss to understand why I believed that our minds were something more than just the electrochemical processes of our brains until I came across two verifiable documented case of out of body experiences. I know that this is controversial and a number of you will dismiss it as so much hog wash. I also know that I have written of this before. One case I saw on TV, the Discovery Channel, I think. 1. A little girl was hurt in an accident and was being prepared for surgery in the emergency room of a hospital. She had already been anesthetized and was unconscious. A surgical nurse came down to check on her to see if see was ready to go to surgery and what needed to be done. The surgical teams wore red hats and were the only one in the hospital who did so. The little girls got through the surgery fine and was recovering well. The surgical nurse in her street clothes stopped by do see how she was doing and say hi. The little girls said; “I know you. You’re the woman in the red hat.” 2. This was told to me by a friend and coworker that I had know for years. He had injured his knee in high school and it would go out on him occasionally. A few years after graduating from high school he had another accident and injured his knee again this time very badly. He was being prepared for surgery in the emergency room and had been knocked out with drugs as he was in severe pain. After surgery and he had become conscious again his parents began to tell him what the doctor had said what they were going to do and how long it would take to heal along with the prognosis. My friend interrupted them and told them everything that the doctor had said as well as what questions they had asked and what they had said. He told me that it was as if he were floating above the scene in the corner of the room looking down on his parents, the doctor and his body below. He was conscious and aware and knew that he was seeing his own body. He could hear and see everything going on it the room and remember everything after waking up. While the above are controversial, I know, and are not scientific evidence as such, it shows that the mind is more then just the physical brain and it’s processes and that the mind and brain, while they are interactive and both effect the other, they are capable of separating and the mind can still function, retain consciousness, identity and awareness even while the brain is unconscious. I know that the two examples above are not isolated incidences that have never been duplicated elsewhere. While uncommon it is not rare. I can only accept these as true and real and therefore conclude that there is indeed something more to the Mind of Man than just a bunch of chemical doing the same thing that they have been doing for millions of years in every animals brain since the physical brain came into being.