Phenomenon of Consciousness (12)

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Whatever the mind may be, it is not the brain, and cognitions are undoubtedly either the acts or phenomena resulting from acts of the brain, or of the brain in conjunction with other parts of the living body. There is no doubt that cognitions depend entirely upon the operations of the living body and that they have never been found outside of or apart from the living body. They have never been found except in connection with the activities of a living brain or nervous system.

Cognitions are, therefore, as far as we have any evidence in relation to the subject, the result of brain and nervous activity and of nothing else. They are merely physiological phenomena accompanying certain states and conditions of the brain and nervous system of a living body. The writer confesses that he does not know the meaning of the words, mind, soul, spirit and faculty, as commonly used in connection with the phenomenon of cognition, knowledge or consciousness.

We quote the following definitions, which have been given by recognized and celebrated “mental” experts: Mind. The intellectual or rational faculty in man: the understanding; the power that conceives, judges or reasons; also the entire spiritual nature; the soul; that in man which thinks, remembers, reasons, wills, perceives, feels, desires; also memory, remembrance, recollection.

These definitions are both material and immaterial, especially immaterial.

Faculty. Ability to act or perform; capacity; especially, an original mental power or capacity for the well-known classes of mental activity; psychical or soul capacity; capacity for any of the leading kinds of soul capacity, as knowledge, feeling, volition; intellectual endowment or gift.

Soul. The spiritual, rational and immortal part of man which enables him to think, and which renders him a subject of moral government; the seat of life, the sensitive affections and phantasy, exclusive of the voluntary and rational powers; in distinction from mind, the moral and intellectual part of man’s nature-; the seat of feeling in distinction from intellect; the intellect only; the under Standing; the seat of knowledge, as distinguished from feeling; a pure or disembodied spirit.

Spirit. A disembodied soul; the intellectual, immaterial and immortal part of man; the soul, in distinction from the body in which it resides; the human soul after it has left the body; life, or living substance, considered independently of corporeal existence; an intelligence conceived of apart from any physical organization or embodiment; vital essence, force or energy, as distinct from matter.

***Excerpt from Charles John Reed: The Law of Vital Infusion and the Phenomenon of Consciousness