Mind Over Brain?
A compass needle moves because it’s responding to the Earth’s magnetic field. What if the same thing is true for brain activity? What if the mind field is sending signals, and billions of brain cells arrange patterns in response to what the field is saying?
There are many flaws to the usual scientific explanation that “mind is what the brain does.” Some scientists propose that exactly the opposite is true. Mind is the controller of the brain. In their view, the mind is like an electron cloud surrounding the nucleus of an atom. Until an observer appears, electrons have no physical identity in the world; there is only the amorphous cloud.
When the mind gives a signal, one of many possibilities (consisting of words, memories, ideas, and images it could choose from) coalesces from the cloud and becomes a thought in the brain, just as an energy wave collapses into an electron. Like the quantum field generating real particles from virtual ones, the mind generates real brain activity from virtual activity.
What makes this reversal important is that it fits the facts. Neurologists have verified that a mere intention or purposeful act of will alters the brain.
Putting mind before brain may have many far-reaching consequences in medical therapies. The process of reflection and insight through therapy changes patients’ brain cells. This is exactly what was predicted by the new theory of quantum mind. But the answer was there all along. The mind has always been able to change the brain.
If mind comes before brain, then what if mind belongs to all of us? The brain belongs to “me,” but if ideas belong to “us,” then we are participating together in a field, sometimes quite mysteriously.
Adapted from Life After Death: The Burden of Proof, by Deepak Chopra (Harmony Books, 2006).