Reimagining the Mind


“We but mirror the world. All the tendencies present in the outer world are to be found in the world of our body. If we could change ourselves, the tendencies in the world would also change.”

— Mahatma Gandhi, The Collected Works of Mahatma Gandhi



How we understand the world influences how we try to change it. Our understanding of the world is informed by our beliefs about how and why individuals, groups, and societies do what they do. And the ways we understand people reflect the ways we think about the human mind.

But maybe the nature of the world can help us cultivate a better understanding of the nature of the mind.

The physical emergence of life involves subatomic, atomic, molecular, and cellular levels of interaction. Subatomic particles give rise to atoms, atoms give rise to molecules, molecules give rise to cells. What if the cognitive emergence of mind follows a similar pattern?

The basic functions of cognition involve perceiving the world, making associations, and conceptualizing ideas. It’s possible these functions represent perceptual, associative, and conceptual levels of the cognitive emergence of mind.

Using a framework to outline emergent processes, we can describe how our physical awareness of the world (perceptions) gives rise to our emotional awareness of relationships (associations), which gives rise to our mental awareness of ideas (conceptions). That is, we can describe how the mind emerges from physical, emotional, and mental levels of cognitive processing.

This perspective of cognition reframes the mind-body question and provides a framework for understanding the integral relationships of body, heart, mind, and perhaps even spirit.

With new ways of looking at ourselves, we have new ways of looking at, being in, and possibly even changing the world…