The Unity Of The Mind – Or Not?


Ayad Gharbawi

July, 2009

Let us take an Observer (Ob) who is sitting on a chair and in front of him is a table, upon which sits an apple. Now, if (Ob) decides to pick up the people, we can say that his ‘Mind’, his ‘Self’, his ‘Consciousness or his ‘I’ decided to pick up the apple and he acted upon his desire.

Next, let us say that Observer picked up the apple without thinking about it. In other words, he did not think about it or visualize the act in any way. What happened, was that his hand simply moved and picked up the apple. What can we say here? Well, the first question to ask here is this: ‘who’ exactly ‘decided’ to pick up the apple? It was certainly not the conscious Observer; he did not even realize that his hand had picked up the apple. So, we can therefrom say this: an Unconscious part of (Ob)’s mind/consciousness/Self ‘decided’ to pick up the apple. Let us say, for the sake of speed and convenience, that the ‘act of picking up the apple’ unconsciously was ‘Event 2’, or (E2), while when (Ob) consciously ‘picked up the apple’ is (E1).

Asking ‘who’ exactly is the unconscious part of Observer’s mind that did (E2), is not yet relevant (at this stage of our discussions), as asking ‘who’ exactly is the Observer himself? Therefore, at this stage in our discussion, let us say that (Ob) acted on (E1), whilst the Unconscious (Ob) acted on (E2). And, furthermore, let us say, that there existed a part in Observer’s brain that decided to act on (E1) and (E2).

Let us take this to another level. Suppose (Ob) now moved his right hand slightly towards the left (E3) – and he does so without there being any physical reason (such as, for example, the to move the position of his hand because he was uncomfortable in that position) or any psychological reason (for example, he felt a need to move his hand leftward in order to make a gesture to underscore a phrase he was saying). The hand moves for absolutely no reason whatsoever.

Fine, but the question remains: why does Observer moves his right hand? Here again, we must go into the Unconscious part of (Ob)’s mind, since he was not aware that he did in fact move his right hand.

Why would the Unconscious Mind do an (E3) when there is no ‘reason’ for the action in the first place?

Can it be an example of Randomness taking place in the Mind? Can randomness play a role in the Mind? Isn’t randomness, by definition, chaos?

If we were to accept that chaos/randomness can create orders in our minds, then we would have to accept the argument that: within our own minds, there exists entities that have independence from our conscious control, and who do and act as they so desire, and that, furthermore, they do and act and order in a chaotic and chaotic manner.

And, if were to argue that the above proposition is wrong, then what alternative answer can we produce? Can we say that (E3) does have a function? No, we cannot, because, as we have seen, the Observer moved his hand towards the right for absolutely no reason whatsoever. Therefore, the event had no reason and no function. Was the Observer conscious of (E3)? No, he was not. Therefore, we have (E3) that has no function, relative to (Ob), and that it was an Unconscious event.

We are forced, by now, to ask ‘who’ and ‘why’ was (E3) ordered in the first place? As for the ‘who’, we cannot answer, since (E3) had no function. So, for example, if (Ob) had an itch and was uncomfortable with the position of his right arm, then we can say, that (E3) was ordered by that part of his mind which responded to the physical discomfort that emanated from his right arm. If, (Ob) wanted to make a point while talking, and felt that by gesturing with his right arm, he would make his point heard, and that is why there occurred (E3), then we would say that we have found the reason for (E3). But, as we have seen, (Ob) did not need or feel a need to move his right arm.

In other words: There is simply no ‘reason’ why (E3) occurred.

So we can we say that there is ‘no’ part of the mind of (Ob) that ordered (E3)?

But, it did occur, and that presumably means that ‘some part’ of the Observer’s mind did order (E3)?

We have two options here.

Either the Unconscious mind ordered (E3) for absolutely no reason, and in that case, we can say, that it is the Unconscious who ordered (E3).

Or, we can take a page from Quantum Physics, and say that randomness and chance ordered (E3) – just as the individual trajectory path of an electron is random and unknowable. In other words, we can state, that no ‘one’, and ‘nothing’ ordered the arm to move towards the right – it just happened. Clearly, the latter proposition is somewhat difficult to accept, given its seemingly illogical nature.

However, both ‘answers’, for me, can co-exist: since, in both cases, all we are really saying is: that an unknown, undefined entity in the Mind ‘ordered’ the action we called (E3).

How do we define that ‘unknown, undefined entity’? That is an absurd question, since the answer lies within the question itself: we cannot ‘define’ or ‘know’ that which is ‘indefinable’ and ‘unknowable’ in the first place, and so the question makes no sense. In other words, there is no answer to that question, except to say, that the indefinable and the unknowable ‘ordered’ (E3).
Therefore, if we say that the concept that the Mind is ‘united’, then, that statement cannot be totally correct, since, in the case of (E3), another part of the Mind acted without the knowledge of the (Ob), and so, we can say, that the so-called ‘unity’ of the Mind is not a totally accurate statement to make.

It is a fact, that most people are not comfortable with the idea of their minds not being a one whole, indivisible and united entity. The reasons for this discomfort are clear: for, if we were to accept that our minds are not an indivisible whole, then that means that we are not wholly ‘in control of our minds’, and that proposition is, not surprisingly, not a popular one at all! Obviously, no one likes to think of him or herself as not being ‘totally in control of their minds’, because that implies some form of instability of one’s mind.

But, as we have seen, the Mind is not a unified entity; we have seen that there exists other mental entities that act, order and function, without the knowledge of the aware, cognizant Mind of the individual in question.

Notice, that I am talking about the Mind when it is Conscious here – remembering our (E3) takes place while (Ob) was Conscious. Thus, even when we are Conscious, our minds produce thoughts, feelings, language, behaviour, movement that we did not think of in the first place.

Ayad Gharbawi

Substack subscription form sign up
The material in this press release comes from the originating research organization. Content may be edited for style and length. Want more? Sign up for our daily email.

Comments are closed.