There has, for a long time, been a question about the difference between the mind and the brain. To some, the answer to this ongoing debate might seem simple, but it opens up a big discussion about who we are and how we function as human beings. Terms such as mindfulness are being used more and more often. Their meaning really depends on what we are referring to when we speak of the mind. What then is the brain, the mind, and the true control center of the human body?
Differences Between the Brain and the Mind
The brain is much easier to understand than the mind. This is because it is a physical organ that we can visualize and study. This organ as a whole, and its various parts and tissues, have been studied and dissected physically. Animal brains, as well as human brains, have been used in numerous research studies. Much is known about how the brain is structured, how it works, and its importance in the human body.
The physical inputs and outputs that flow in and out of the body are also known. There are blood vessels that bring oxygen and nutrient-rich blood to the brain. In the opposite direction, veins remove the depleted blood from the brain and carry it back to the heart. These aortas and veins form part of the circulatory system.
The brain is also an important part of the nervous system. Nerves flowing to and from the brain deliver vital messages through nerve impulses. These flow via the spinal cord. This rapid transmission of signals allows the brain to initiate responses to pain, discomfort, and other stimuli almost instantly.
Although there is still a lot more about the brain to be discovered, studied, and tested out, the knowledge already available is very significant. The mind, however, is an important yet very different animal altogether. Although most people generally know what the mind is and speak of it often, explaining where it is, how it works, and how it relates to the brain is a little more complicated.
The mind is not an organ and neither it is something physical. Instead, it encompasses thought, reasoning, memory, emotions, and the imagination. The mind deals with mental processes and consciousness. One analogy describes the brain as the hardware and the mind as the software, and while this offers a good approximate, the mind-brain relationship is far more intricate and complex.
Is the Brain or the Body in Control?
Any study of biology or anatomy is bound to go into the dynamic work and functions of the brain. This important organ is often referred to as the control center of the body because of the vital role that it plays. All movements, hormone levels, and many other body functions and processes are controlled and regulated by the different regions of the brain. The pituitary gland in the brain, for example, controls metabolic processes in the body using different hormones. It does this with the help of another gland, the hypothalamus.
Some have asked whether it is the brain controlling the body or the body controlling the brain. Where does the mind fit into this, and is it the one controlling the other two? A more balanced view considers how the brain regulates the body, rather than controls it. What the body does and experiences triggers the brain to respond a certain way/ The brain’s responses trigger the body to also act accordingly. The subject of mind over body is also an interesting discussion because it shows the mind’s power to affect the way a body acts.