THE MIND AND COMPLEXITY
Conceiving of mental process leads us toward thinking with, about, and at a higher level of complexity than either matter or energy or matter and energy.
An example of a higher level of complexity is 2015 Ford F-150 Truck. which is built by ever so many generations of curious and motivated people with much imagination, many material parts as well as much labor feeding into the process, like roots into a tree.
The auto as a whole cannot be grasped as a function of its parts without the parts being imagined or actually viewed as assembled. The parts are ideally imagined as belonging to subsystems, such as the ignition system, the transmission system, the energy system, the emission system, the safety system, the executive system (driver) and so on.
All of of these subsystems connect to become progressively higher systems, up to the level of automobile itself.
My sharing these ideas with you constitutes an even higher level of mental system, one that includes both you and me—about the automobile—as another perspective of what I understand is a complex system.
The auto can, moreover, be understood as only a tiny part of a system of assembled elements of a system of transportation. The latter includes not only a number of cars, trucks, buses, airplanes, all manner of watercraft, bicycles, motorcycles, rickshaws, wheelbarrows, pushcarts and carriages, horses, donkeys, roller skates and other vehicles, but also the aggregate of human beings who were and are bringing them into existence.
This complex system—of assembled vehicles, fuel, people, tracks, dirt roads, canals and highways, baggage, rules, transportation safety agents, supply and demand (and you can probably list countless more variables)—moves along on a yet higher level of complexity.
That level is mind. Not an individual human mind, of course, but the complex mind of minds that have been occurring and operating across generations processing information having its particular focus on how best to move.
From this you can see that parts tell us much that is useful, as we learn that they are connected in sensible, useful ways. The same holds true about how minds come about and how they are connected.
If we focus on the automobile’s engine and spend all our attention attempting to discover how it is constructed, we will be remiss.
We don’t find any more of our mind in our brains than we find of the automobile in its engine; moreover, I find “the rest” of my mind in my brain’s connecting with my eyes and ears and skin and nose and the body, but also with my ever-changing world outside. Sometimes my world changes because I change it; nevertheless, it is obviously always changing without any prompting from me.
So what is a healthy mind? One way of looking at would be that it is an information processing system. Another way would be that it is a set of ideas. Could it be both? An information processing system based on a set of progressively clever premises?
At any rate, healthy ideas are evolving within individuals and within cultures, toward the hopeful end of being ever more useful.
A marriage or other social relationship cannot be grasped as simply an arrangement of matter and energy. It is a relationship that we are able to grasp of many elements if we know how they are connected: If we know nature’s rules. The laws of physics are just the tip of the iceberg.
A basic rule is that mind, mental process, is transported on encoded patterns of matter and energy. Unwittingly, we creatures are transported into a living system through the latter’s ability to make sense of the codes of warnings, instructions, and advice that impinge on sensors that the system has taken millions of years to evolve. Mental process can be understood as depending on matter and energy, but it doesn’t occupy space. The code and its transformations across interfaces do travel across space.
The levels of complexity that result from healthy connecting of communities, and aggregates of communities, contain the potential for healthy affiliating at even higher levels of social organization than we currently experience. We are descendants of primal cells that by the fact of their continuing lineage signify a fundamentally wholesome and respectful interacting of their organelles.
At many levels, there is fragility and disaster, creating setbacks and obstacles to be overcome. Although matter can’t be created or destroyed, it is possible that we might seek, discover, and create popular avenues for experiencing increasingly successful and rewarding approaches to closeness and reverence for this primal intelligence.