Monday, 27 February 2012

Symbiotic Mind and Body

Example of symbiosis - Cladonia - a lichen symbiont between fungus and alga

From Rational Buddhism

If Buddhist philosophy wishes to be worthy of rational consideration, it needs to be compatible with evolution.

In particular, it needs to explain 'The Hard Problem' of how non-physical minds have become associated with physical bodies over the course of evolution.

It seems likely that animals above a certain level of development require more than automatic reflexes in order to survive. Advanced organisms need motivation and intention in order to function in complex environments. Motivation and intention are chiefly driven by dukkha - the need to avoid suffering or unsatisfactoriness, and the restless but futile search for lasting happiness.  Dukkha and suffering, unpleasant though they may be for the individual, have survival and evolutionary advantages for the species.  

Mental states such as suffering, unsatisfactoriness and pleasure are qualia. These subjective experiences, which carry strong immediate meanings, do not exist in automata - mechanistic systems such as relay networks or computers.

It is for this reason that complex animals have evolved neural structures which attract and capture minds. Fundamentally, it is the suffering and grasping of their minds - the need to avoid pain and seek pleasure - that provides the driving force for survival and reproduction of complex animals. The physical body enters into a symbiotic relationship with a non-physical mind.

In Buddhist philosophy, the mind of a sentient being is not a product of biological processes, but something primordial which has existed since beginningless time, and which will be drawn into another body once the present one has died...

Full article here 

- Sean Robsville



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