The mind is one of the most complex features of the human nature. The mind enables human beings to communicate with each other, to become better people and to innovate, to think and to sustain life. Owing to the mind, humans have been able to accomplish great feats of creativity. The mind facilitates the creation of useful endeavors such as music, art, philosophies, and advanced technologies. Unfortunately, others have misused the power of their mind to harm other people thus making it a dangerous tool given its power. What exactly is this thing called ‘the mind’? What is the mind?
Defining the Mind
Mentioning the mind brings the idea of the body because the human being as understood by many cultures and scientists is a being with a mind and body. The mind is intangible and abstract while the body is tangible and exists physically. The body itself is also complex, but easier to define because it is something you can see and touch, something that occupies space. The body is matter.
The mind and body are closely connected. Together they enable the human being to function properly and to enjoy existence. The mind and body are two different structures that are fundamentally coexistent and inseparable. Thus, to understand the mind, the body has to be brought into the picture because they influence each other. What the mind wills the body will execute. Your arms, legs, eyes, ears, tongue, mouth and other parts of your body are controlled by your mind. Hence, the functioning of the mind will affect the body and the health of the body will affect the mind.
The mind is the psycho- and the body the physio-, hence your physiology affects your psychology, and your psychology affects your physiology. The mind is the force that drives human behavior and actions that are carried out by the body. The mind is behind every invention, plan, decision, and activity that you carry out as a live being. The mind is the store of emotions, pleasures, desires, passions, intellect, and imagination.
The mind is a great part of ‘the self’ and its potential is greatly underestimated by many who take it for granted. Just as the body, everyone has their own, unique mind. Understanding the crucial importance of the mind should make you take greater care of it. Only you, as the individual can know how your mind is working because it is private. Overt behavior is the manifestations of how the mind works. Otherwise, as an individual, you can take cognizance of the state of your mind and its processes.
Examining the key terms associated with the mind will greatly increase the understanding of the overall concept of the mind. It is necessary to develop Cognizance of the mind because then we will understand ourselves and fellow human beings deeply.
Terms Associated with the Mind
The terms associated with the mind include the following: mentality, mental, psychology, consciousness, thinking, thought perception, intelligence, language, cognition, brain, metaphysical, memory, and reasoning.
The brain is an organ found inside the head or skull. It is a complex structure that makes up part of the central nervous system. Scientists who study the brain have found out that the human brain controls all other parts of the body through cell-to-cell communication. The two major cells that control the brain are the glial cells and neurons. The brain and the mind are two separate features. The brain is part of the physical body. However, sometimes people use the two terms interchangeably because it is widely believed that the mind is powered by the brain. Well, for obvious and clear reasons, the mention of the brain elicits the idea of mind.
Consciousness is normally used to describe a situation of awareness of something. You are conscious as long as you are awake and able to You are said to be self-conscious when you are aware of what you desire, what interests you. You know yourself and you are aware of your strengths and limitations. In another case, self-consciousness could mean being aware of what other people might think of you. In a state of consciousness, you know what is going on around you. Thus the contrary state is unconsciousness during which you do not know or you are unaware. For instance, when someone faints they are in a state of unconsciousness because they cannot perceive the reality of what is happening around them. Psychology suggests three levels of consciousness of the mind, the unconscious, conscious and the subconscious. All of these affect human behavior.
Perception is what makes us recognize what exists and what happens. It is how you interpret information by the senses – sight, smell, taste, touch, and hearing. The perception made by the mind will determine whether you see the glass as half full, half empty or refillable. Perception differs from person to person depending on personal or social factors thus people perceive things or situations differently.
Cognition entails all the processes that the mind can do. Cognitive functions are the actual operations of the mind and they are very diverse. These are what you are able to do with your mind. Cognitive functions include the processes of subtracting, adding, multiplying and dividing. Other cognitive acts include the processes of knowing, making judgments, inferring, language use and learning through thought processes, remembering, and reasoning. Your memory, ability to make decisions or come up with solutions to certain problems involves all these cognitive processes that have been mentioned.
The American Psychological Association defines intelligence as “The global capacity to profit from experience and to go beyond given information about the environment.” In other words, it is the ability of your mind to acquire knowledge from the environment and to apply it. Cognitive sciences have come up with the Intelligence Quotient (IQ) which measures the level of intelligence basing on various standardized tests.
Behavior encompasses the actions carried out by individuals. Generally, after the inner cognitive processing, individuals carry out actions outwardly. Behaviorists who study how people behave under different circumstances can make analyses which enable them to understand the workings of the mind. Before you engage in specific behavior patterns, you are motivated by underlying factors based on the cognitive processes that go on in your mind.
Metaphysical has roots in Aristotle’s philosophy of metaphysics. It involves analyzing abstract concepts that are beyond what can be perceived by the senses. The metaphysical is theoretical and not based on practical things. The mind can be said to be part of the metaphysical since it has no material form and it is not physical.
The definition of psychology is the study of the mind and human behavior. It includes studying the brain, cognition, intelligence, thoughts, perceptions, memory, reasoning and consciousness. Psychology is therefore continuously splitting into many fields of specialization because of its wide scope, given that wherever there are humans, mental processes and behavior have to exist.
You have without a doubt heard the term mental being used in many instances; mental health, mental wellbeing, mental status, mental case, mental calculations, mental illness, mental awareness among others. The term mental refers to everything related to the mind. You know like the way dental refers to teeth, anatomical refers to the body, in the same way, any mention of mental refers to the mind.
The mind is indeed a complex part of any human being. It is powerful and capable of accomplishing great things. The mind is more complex and bigger and limitless. As much as it cannot be seen and touched its effect can be seen and felt. This invisible mind is as real as the visible body. Do you think such a complex phenomenon could have existed by accident or there was a Higher Mind that designed it?
Your mind is complex and powerful. You can always reset it rather than kill it.
Life is for living. Keep living. Don’t give up.