Neuroscientists cannot avoid addressing the human mind and its consciousness. To create a complete theory and model of human brain structure and its cognitive functions will ultimately challenge brain researchers to move towards a broader person-level framework that includes subjective (first person) experience.
For a scientist to deny the existence of “person-level” realities is to deny something that everyone experiences firsthand. To accept it is a further cause for headaches.
The problem for brain scientists is the mind/brain connection. How do you integrate physical brain processes with more intimate and personal human experience? This challenge is further complicated by the fact that the human mind may well operate beyond time and space. Natural science comes to a dead end if it cannot find solutions within a materialistic ideology and framework.
If the human mind operates outside of spacetime constraints, you run smack dab into religion, which supports the idea of personal existence beyond the physical earth. Therefore, scientists will have to come to grips with the possibility that human bio-complexity can be extended to include non-physical structure!
The human mind (volition and discernment) definitely has structure. This is easily verified by the fact that human memory is not just a random collection of data. This data is arranged into a coherent system, which becomes a person’s worldview and belief system. A person’s level of understanding is based on how well one’s thoughts are arranged and organized. This arrangement of mental ideas into coherent structure is not unlike the process we see in nature to self-organize and grow structure spontaneously (like galaxies).
The mind, however, is alive and therefore its structure is organic!
According to scientist/theologian Emanuel Swedenborg, the human mind and human spirit is the same thing. Therefore, the organic arrangement of a person’s ideas becomes the non-physical bio-complexity (spiritual body) of the soul.
Swedenborg had discovered that the causal link between body and spirit was through correspondence. The mind could do everything the body could do but from a higher reality. The mind can grasp ideas in a similar way that a hand can grasp physical objects and digest information in the same way the body digests terrestrial food. This is why all parts of the physical body have reference to some part of the brain and every part of the brain has reference to some volition and thought of the non-material mind. (By the way, human volition and thought are finite images and likenesses of God’s Infinite Love and Wisdom.)
Since the physical body has a corresponding representation in the human brain, and the human brain has a corresponding representation in various human feelings and thoughts, the mind or spirit has a perfect human form (otherwise there would be no top-down symmetry and communication between these distinct levels of existence).
Swedenborg was the first scientist to formulate a neuron theory (brain cell with its connections). Even more impressive, he developed a multi-level cognitive theory, which included deeper levels of structure in the brain cell (neuron) itself to account for the higher functions of human thought and abstraction. And he put it all into a person-level framework because it included our life-choices and values.
Modern neuroscience has only recently begun to think of brain structure beyond the substrate of neural synaptic connections. Emanuel Swedenborg extended the idea of neural substrates within the human cognitive architecture to the non-physical bio-complexity of the human soul in the spiritual world 250 years ago!
My upcoming book Proving God will go into this important topic in much greater detail. It will be available to the public this March. For more information please visit http://www.provinggod.com