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Is the mind real?

Dr. Sérgio Spritzer

A game I play with my students is to challenge them to move a nearby object with “mind power”. They laugh and challenge me to demonstrate. I simply take the object and put it elsewhere. They dispute: that's easy; I want to see only with the mind. Then I dispute: the power of the mind is to guide the body to act. And it worked. Now I provoked: I'm going to lift this closet with the strength of my mind! It's too heavy, professor, you won't make it! I asked four people to help me and they pushed the closet from one place to another. I'm just watching. The students complained: “You just stared, you didn't do anything with the strength of your mind” and laughed.

I argued: Didn't you notice?


I asked four people here to move the locker around....they agreed. My mind that did this, with the collaboration of their mind and the language that offers the possibility for our minds to communicate.

Students stop to think, after all what is the “power of the mind”. The next question is where the mind is. They think, think and think without getting a final answer. It doesn't seem easy to locate where the mind is as if it were a physical object.

Even today many scientists are looking for the location of a causal event of physical change, illness or the reason for health and well-being. It is increasingly evident that local cause-and-effect relationships are only circumstantial and context-dependent. Climatic and organic (biological) events are “complex” as they are networks of implications that vary according to the mode of approach. Could mental events be different?

Linear thinking, how to go from A to B or from A causing B, is only valid for simple situations in reality. Going from bedroom to bathroom seems simple. Getting from the bedroom to the other side of the planet is complex. The greater the breadth and depth of our relationships with the physical, biological and social environment, the greater the complexity we need in our ways of thinking, perceiving and acting.

We need to learn to think systemically, as realities composed of each other, taking into account different causes in different spaces and times, composed of each other.

None of them need to be the cause or have in themselves, taken in isolation, the responsibility in a reality in which they are implicated as other factors, components, people and things.

Dissociating, instead of composing the physical, biological and mental planes, brings serious consequences in our lives, fragmenting knowledge and experiences in very restricted areas that do not articulate with each other, forming an understandable whole. With this stressing us and blocking our personal, interpersonal and collective flow. Both health, disease and the physical and social climate need to be thought of as ecology or balance between different systems. The imbalance between the way we live in society, the order of physical and biological nature has made our lives better think. Climate change implies social, physical, biological and personal changes in a composite way.


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