Can The Mind Exist Without The Body?

Philosophers across the world have long pondered the thought of the human mind being a separate entity from the physical vehicle, the body. Rene Descartes was one great thinker whose theory of Dualism argued that this was indeed the case. Although Descartes’ theory came under fire from many of the world’s greatest philosophers, there is no disputing the fact that without the initial existence of the Mind, the idea of the body would not have been perceived, and therefore could not come into existence. It is true then, that the Mind, must exist independently of the physical body.

The idea of an independent Mind, or Soul, as it shall also be referred to, can be easily conceived if one considers it from a religious point of view. Using no religious beliefs in particular, an example of such confirmation can be found through commonly held knowledge that God created Man in his likeness. If God is immaterial, and exists within us all, then it is logical to say that God exists in our Minds, therefore God is also a Mind, a Higher Mind, but one who has perceived us in that Mind before creating humanity in any form, or the lack of one. Furthermore, once the Mind is conceived by God, is shall exist forevermore, even after the death of any physical form it inhabits during its time spent in the mortal realm we know as Earth.

When God, the Highest Mind conceived of mankind in His form, mankind was created initially as immaterial. When the physical body it has been assigned has ceased to exist, the Mind remains in existence, although not in the mortal world as we know it to be.  Studies of the paranormal continue to provide evidence of the existence of activity attributed to the Minds, or Souls, of human beings long after they have passed away from the mortal world; this presence is the essence of the Mind; the Spirit. A lingering remnant of the entity of Mind after it has traversed into another dimension. But how, one might wonder, can humans travel to another dimension? After all, physicists tell us that to pass through a black hole to another dimension, would mean certain death. That is, of course, if we attempted the journey in the human form.

The nature of the Mind is to progress as far toward perfection, or Godliness, as possible during the human life span. After one’s death, it is presumed that we journey home to the Kingdom of God, or the Heavens, as some would refer to it. Heaven then, must exist on another plane; in another dimension where we are closer to God in the afterlife.  However, it is possible for God, and our Minds to see, to be aware, or even to travel back into the mortal world, in the immaterial form. Anyone who has experienced the presence or guidance of God, or a departed loved one will know this to be true. For those who have not had such an experience, it is obvious that the quest for knowledge that is the true natural progression toward Higher Consciousness has not yet been achieved.

One may argue that the existence of anything which has not been seen, touched, smelled, tasted, or heard is an unlikely proposition. Consider for a moment then, that knowledge can be obtained, used for one’s benefit, and improved on for the betterment of one’s existence. Alternately, it can be ignored, but in either case, it exists. Knowledge itself has no visible form, no aroma, no flavor, nor can it be seen or touched, and it makes no sound whatsoever, yet it does exist. Thoughts have always existed; they originate in the Mind, but do not need physicality to be. The body however, cannot exist without the presence of Mind.

Plato’s theory of Forms is a concept that entails belief in the existence of things which do not require physical form to be. The Highest Form, according to Plato, is Good, something that can be conceived of, acquired, and practiced, yet knowledge of its existence and the ability to possess it does not rely on perceiving it with any of the senses. A similar philosophy to Plato’s Forms, were the thoughts of Aristotle. The famous Greek proclaimed that “the soul is pure and immortal. It does not share the mortality of the body, but is much more akin to the gods” (Moore & Bruder, p.71).

Other philosophers, of course, had similar, although more complicated views about the existence and capabilities of the Mind. John Locke’s theory was that we have ideas and perceptions about things, based on our experience of the thing. How can this be? If something exists at all, then it does so because the idea of it was conceived in the Mind in the first place, then the idea was acted upon to produce the object. If we have no ideas or perception of the object, it would not come into being, and therefore could not be seen and experienced! George Berkley had an objection to Locke’s theory too, saying that the experiences we have about anything are our ideas about them, not the objects themselves. But, said Berkley, if we have not perceived the object, then how can we experience an idea about it? It simply does not exist yet!

 One comment that Berkley made seems contradictory if it is not pondered fully. George Berkley insisted things could exist without them first being perceived by the human mind (Moore & Bruder, p.128). Because they were conceived by a Mind, the Mind of God, who has bought everything into existence, therefore, his logic, as odd as it may seem on the surface, lends further credence to the idea that the Mind exists, without the necessity of an accompanying physical body. In addition, if God created everything that humans did not bring into being, then our experiences and perceptions of the thing is the same as the perceptions that God had before us. This makes our Minds, God-like, a definite offshoot of the Higher Mind, and further evidence that we were indeed, created independently of physical form, and in the likeness of Him.

 By living a life of virtue, and continuously seeking knowledge, our Minds will always be One with God. Plato had an interesting insight about how to live life to our fullest potential. He said that we must not only learn about, and understand what truth is, we must also live according to those truths; that is, as we acquire knowledge and understand these things, we should also practice what we have learned. This is one step toward the ultimate existence. Plato maintained that our desire for love is what motivates us to seek more knowledge and understanding of the truth and what is, and only when we succeed, can we truly experience an ideal and loving existence. Spiritual love, according to Plato, is a higher Form of love than physical love as most understand it to be. It is this kind of intellectual love that leads to immortality and the realization of what is. One should not be surprised that when Plato speaks of the necessities for a fulfilled life, he makes no mention of material possessions. After all, when the fulfilled Mind moves on to the next realm, the material items will be rendered useless and can serve no purpose.

Like the Mind, all things in nature exist to evolve. Consider the seed which emerges from the soil, and knowing what is vital for its existence, it sprouts from the ground and proceeds to strive upward in search of light and warmth to sustain its growth. If the seedling matures and bears fruit, only the strongest fruit will endure, and all the weakness contained in the diseased fruit is dropped to the ground. Similarly, animals are born with knowledge of how to survive in the elements. If a Higher Mind did not instill this knowledge into wild creatures, where did it come from? In as little as five minutes, a foal finds nourishment for his survival, and instinctively knows how to walk, run, and tell his mother apart from other horses. Ironically, as humans, we continually seek to obtain more and more material possessions in the hope of finding happiness, when we should be furnishing our Minds with knowledge we will ultimately use for this, and many lifetimes to come.

Despite being unable to conceive of a Mind that exists without its physical, mortal vehicle, evidence to the contrary is overwhelming. If one considers that everything in existence first comes into being as a thought; a thought harbored by the Mind, then it is an absurdity to argue that anything else could be fact.

 Reference

Moore, B. N. & Bruder, K. (2007). Philosophy: The Power of Ideas. McGraw –Hill.

Written by Kerry Mulherin

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