Fundamentals of Mind and Brain – Part 1 of 4
How Mind Emerges From the Brain

What is the function of mind in the brain? How does it become conscious? How can it handle multiple tasks when it can attend to only one? Why does the brain have two hemispheres?

Treasure Hunt

The simplest way to understand the basics of how mind functions in the brain is through “Treasure Hunt” analogy.

Treasure hunt is a game where each person or team attempts to be first in finding something that has been hidden using a trail of clues.

The Treasure Hunt Analogy

Treasure Hunt

A father and his son are participating in the game of treasure hunt with the son at the driving seat of the car.

The son is good at thinking logically and executing efficiently, as he is young and physically fit. He avoids cars, people crossing roads, etc. and follows traffic lights, diversions, etc. on his own, but consults his old father, who is not as physically capable and as strong in logical processing as his son, but possesses wisdom derived from decades of experience of city roads, locations, their histories, dangers, shortcuts, etc., which he uses to decode clues for different destinations to guide his son on which path to take in the game of treasure hunt.

How Mind Emerges From the Brain

In the way they work as a team to reach common goals, both hemispheres of the brain work as a team to reach common goals.

  • In the way the son avoids cars, people crossing roads, etc. and follows traffic lights, diversions, etc. on his own, the left hemisphere1 executes preset and repetitive tasks on its own, which do not generate consciousness in the brain (i.e. they are all non-conscious processes)

  • In the way father guides his son on which path to take in order to reach different destinations in the game, the right hemisphere2 guides left hemisphere on how to interact further by decoding and processing the contents (i.e. generating perceptions3 of the ongoing interaction with past data stored in its database, which are assigned consciousness (i.e. they are all conscious processes)

  • In the way information displayed on a computer monitor needs intervention to achieve a certain outcome, which is made possible by user input, while the rest of information processing is done automatically by the computer based on such intervention, the right hemisphere needs intervention to decide on the future course of it’s ongoing interaction, which is made possible by consciousness, while the rest of information processing in the brain is done automatically (i.e. unconsciously) by the left hemisphere based on such intervention4

Technically, the above points demonstrate that son’s capabilities involve ‘direct logic processing’, as he is good at logical processing, while father’s capabilities involve ‘contextual logic processing’, as he has contextual skills based on decades of experience.

In a nutshell:

  • Left Hemisphere = Non-Conscious Processing = Direct Logic Processing

  • Right Hemisphere = Conscious Processing = Contextual Logic Processing

An example for the direct and contextual logic processing is when you are on a weight reduction diet and you see a delicious looking pastry, your craving for it is processed by your left hemisphere, it being the direct logic processor, against which, warning that if you eat the pastry, you will gain weight is processed by your right hemisphere, it being a contextual logic processor. Even when such contradictory thoughts are coming from different hemispheres, you do not know their origins, in the way voices of two singers are mixed and routed through a single audio channel in a Monaural Radio – see illustration.

Monaural Radio Analogy
Monaural Radio Analogy

As the left hemisphere is capable of parallel processing, it can process multiple tasks at a time, but the right hemisphere can only process one task at a time, as it is a serial processor, which makes it more significant than the left hemisphere when it comes to executing interactions. Because of such significance, all functions of the brain are designed to save as much right hemisphere utilization5 time as possible.

For the same reason, based on the optimizing aspect of the evolutionary process6, any task that becomes sufficiently repetitive in the consciousness generating right hemisphere moves to the left hemisphere, which does not generate consciousness, thereby freeing up the right hemisphere to attend to other tasks, which we call multitasking7 (e.g. executing multiple tasks while driving a car).

Repetitively transferring processing of conscious data of an interaction to the non-conscious part of the brain plays a major role in habit formation. It is also the reason why we are not consciously aware of many tasks that we do repetitively, e.g., balancing the bicycle while riding it.

This way, the human brain is designed to optimize processing of interactions by distributing them (or parts of them) between left and right hemispheres (called lateralization of brain functions), which is one of the core reasons why it has two hemispheres8.

Notes:

  • The left and right hemispheres mentioned in the explanation are actually interaction processing areas of left or right hemispheres respectively9. I call them left and right hemispheres to make it sound non-technical for the general population

  • The idea that left hemisphere processes information using direct logic and the right hemisphere processes information using contextual logic is limited to most of the right-handed population (approx. 90% of the entire population)



References

(Source – Mechanisms of the Mind by Parag Jasani)

1 Virtual Person (VP) – ‘Contextual Logical Processor’ – page 20

2 Logical Brain (LB) – ‘Direct Logical Processor’ – page 19

3 Perception – Page 77

4 Computer Analogy – Page 210

5 VP Utilization Time – Page 67

6 Optimizing Aspect of the Evolutionary Process – Page 3

7 Multitasking – Page 184

8 Location and Architecture – Page 21

9 Interaction Processing System – Page 27

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