I show concerned parents who want to give their children the best start to life how to better understand their children.

26 Aug 2013

What is the mind? Part 1

Much of what I talk about has something to do with the mind (such as this article I wrote What is parenting? and a guest blog I did on ramblingsofabookaholic's blog Protest writing – about the mind). But what is it really? Contrary to what some people believe, it’s not our brain: that grey thing that lives within our skulls. It’s a little more abstract than that, but it certainly is real.

I think the biggest problem with defining the mind is it’s not tangible. One cannot see it. Isn’t it time that as human being we stopped that kind of thinking though? If we only defined what we could see and touch, then there would be no wind... However, there definitely is wind. We can feel and see its effects. If I look outside the window now, it’s rather windy and rainy (not very Durban like at all). No one questions that. And we can say the same about the mind as we can certainly see its effects.

So, I guess we need a definition for the mind. Well, here goes: "The human mind is a relational and embodied process that regulates the flow of energy and information." No, I didn’t come up with that. I got it from Daniel Siegel’s book Mindsight (see how all Daniels are smart).

I was going to type out the few pages of his book where he elaborates on his definition, but that would just be dirty, stinky plagiarism. Therefore, I decided against it. Rather, I’ll share some of the important bits and elaborate in my own words.

Energy is the capacity of a physical system to perform work. (from http://physics.about.com/od/glossary/g/energy.htm) For example, you would need energy to wave your arm.

Information is knowledge communicated or received concerning a particular fact or circumstance (from www.dictionary.com).

With those two definitions in mind, we can take a crack at "the process that regulates the flow."

Due to the mind being a process, it is not a tangible object. Rather the mind is the system that transfers energy and information. Our mind transfers thoughts and information into actions and energy. I think about touching each key as I type, and my fingers glide along my keyboard, typing out this definition.

Well that’s the end of Siegel’s definition. Look out tomorrow for a little more from me on this subject.

Ciao ciao

(Link to What is the Mind? – Part 2 and What is the Mind? – Part 3).

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