101 Philosophy Questions

101 Philosophy Questions #1

This is the start of 101 Philosophy Questions Project. An attempt to answer all of 101 philosophy questions found on this link: http://philosophy.hku.hk/think/phil/101q.php. Join in the discussion and help out answer the biggest questions in philosophy.

Question #1 -Is the mind same as the brain? or do we have souls?

This a great question to kick off this series and a difficult one to give a definitive answer. I’m sure readers would form opposing camps on this topic. Here is my take on this conundrum.

When I saw someone important to me died, my mind was expecting a scenario. An event influenced by religious upbringing. That after his passing, his soul will go to heaven in the bosom of God continuing through eternity. It is a very reassuring sentiment for me and my family. To know that after experiencing death, your consciousness, the essence of you can transcend beyond your mortal body. In a world that’s already full of hardships and uncertainty, knowing that you can get out of this wretched existence into a better one certainly gives us a spark of hope.

Days had gone by, months turned years. I was hoping that somehow i would “feel” that he was still not far from me. His soul was still somehow felt beyond the grave but alas all i have of him are memories. Memories that in all honesty are now fading. His essence only felt in fading memories. Every time remember that image all I can see are blurred reminders. Not an ever living soul alive and impervious to misery. My hope turned to facing the harsh reality that the soul is a result of humanity’s hope beyond the present existence. It wasn’t an easy one to accept but it is something that I had to thought through.

With that I believe that soul is humanity’s clench for hope. A hope that we have a better chance of existence beyond this one that we have. I think it is difficult for us humans to accept death. Many of us say that we do not fear death but when we are facing it, I’m sure we are trembling. It is the fact that we humans are capable of higher thoughts that makes us think that we have souls. That our mind is able to make ourselves distinct from other people, we have our own personalities and traits, makes us think we can live in eternity. With hope comes illusions, it can help us cope but it can also blind us. The mind is a powerful thing indeed. I believe that when I draw my last breath it would be my inevitable ending. I guess it’s better to end a book than continue treading through chapter after chapter with no end. Having an ending gives my life meaning.

With the question is the mind same as the brain, i can give a simple answer. The brain is the organ while the mind is the product of the brain and how we interact with the environment. it is the mind that produces “me”. The brain is the one responsible for synapses and chemical processes. The question of soul will only be answered after we cross the Rubicon: the point of no return. Will it be eternal nothingness or a new chance of existence? I’m sure we’ll have that answer. Though I’m afraid no one has returned to proclaim it.

What’s your take on this question? I’m sure we all have our own interpretations. Eastern religions have an interesting take on this matter and people who remembers past lives. The answers I gave are not conclusive. I’m always open to new perspectives on this topic.

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