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. …more

Introduction: How Your Mind Drives Your Daily Life

Human brain is the most complex object in the observable universe. Its complex functionality is contributed by interactions of many interconnected mechanisms that form what we call ‘mind’. Such mechanisms by themselves are very simple. It is their interactions with each other that result into complex behaviour.

Technology has advanced to such levels in recent years that it has helped science learn more about the human brain in the last two decades than in the entire human history.

Even with such advancing technologies, science has not been successful in finding out how the brain works as a single system, making it difficult to discover such mechanisms. The closest it has achieved is to study it as two systems.

Not considering such mechanisms makes it difficult to understand fundamental phenomena like memory, emotions, consciousness, multitasking, etc. It also gives an impression that complexity of the brain is proportional to billions of neurons and trillions of connections it possesses. In other words, it gives an impression that the brain is “infinitely complex”, and thus it is not possible to study it in a simplified manner. Such impression helps scientists justify why they are unable to fully explain most of the mind and brain phenomena, but is a false impression.

Why is it a false impression? It is true that structurally, the brain is highly complex, but functionally, it is a system that drives it, the complexity of which need not be proportional to the complexity of its structure.

As an analogy, let’s compare countries by their population. Even when United States’ population is four times that of Hong Kong and India’s population is four times that of United States, there is not much difference in the complexity of the system that drives these countries, i.e. the system of government.

Thus, the general impression that brain functions in an infinitely complex manner is wrong.

Enter – the ‘Systems Thinking‘ approach…

Anything that has multiple parts which work collectively to reach common goals has to be driven by a system. Such multiple parts cannot work independently and still reach common goals. This simple and fundamental fact is not taken into consideration by scientists, who study various aspects of brain in greatest of details, but do not see it as one integrated system.

Many functional components of the brain are interdependent and do not work in a linear fashion. To study how the brain works, a holistic approach of a goal driven system is required, which studies how its components interrelate and interact with each other, while interacting with other external systems and their components. Such an approach is aptly called the ‘Systems Thinking’ approach.

Image courtesy kindling.xyz

Image courtesy kindling.xyz

With the systems thinking approach, one studies relationships, connectedness and contexts of the elements of a system. Shifting focus from parts to the whole results in better understanding of the system and its emergent phenomena by understanding functional roles of its elements.

For the last 8 years, I have been working full-time studying the human brain as a single system using the systems thinking approach. As a result, I have developed Dichotomized Operating System Model (DOS Model), which is a functional model that reveals a single system consisting of more than 50 hierarchically interconnected goal-driven mechanisms and processes running in the brain that work together and form what we collectively call “mind”, including the mechanism of the “self”.

It is the only existing causal account of the human mind and is based on the mechanism of Natural Selection proposed by Charles Darwin in the year 1859 in his book “On the Origins of Species – By Means of Natural Selection”.

The purpose of this blog is to reveal such mechanisms that explain what goes on in your mind when you think, make decisions, set goals, etc. and how subconscious and unconscious thoughts and processes influence you in your daily life using simple logic in a jargon-free language.

It will help you understand how your mind works at levels not possible before.

More about Systems Thinking

Systems thinking involves shifting attention…

  • from the parts to the whole
  • from objects to relationships
  • from structures to processes
  • from hierarchies to networks
  • from the rational to the intuitive
  • from analysis to synthesis
  • from linear to non-linear thinking

The ideas set forth by organismic biologists during the first half of the twentieth century helped to give birth to a new way of thinking — “systems thinking” — in terms of connectedness, relationships, context. According to the systems view, the essential properties of an organism, or living system, are properties of the whole, which none of the parts have. They arise from the interactions and relationships among the parts. These properties are destroyed when the system is dissected, either physically or theoretically, into isolated elements. Although we can discern individual parts in any system, these parts are not isolated, and the nature of the whole is always different from the mere sum of its parts.

Video on Systems Thinking

Links for 2 systems approach (dual process theory):

Dual Process Theory

William James

Roger Sperry

Daniel Kahneman

How Does Meditation Work?

Does meditation make the brain stronger? How does it control the wandering mind? Why does one concentrate on breathing while meditating?

Meditation

Because of its engagement with ever changing environments & conditions coupled with unreliability of perceptions, the human brain is designed by the optimizing aspect of the evolutionary process to deal with a large amount of information for its ongoing interactions in order to fulfil its goals of survival and reproduction.

Most of such information processing involves communication …more

How does alcohol affect the mind? What makes it addictive?

The first ever fully causal explanation of effects of alcohol on the human mind and what makes it addictive.

Alcohol and the Human Mind

In this post, I have revealed the first ever fully causal explanation of effects of alcohol on the human mind and what makes it addictive.

To make it easy to understand, I have explained mechanisms related to alcohol consumption and addiction without using any technical jargon:

Alcohol is a depressant. Depressants are drugs that slow down the function of the central nervous system, which delay …more