Part 1: The Duality of Mind

“Normal science, the activity in which most scientists inevitably spend almost all their time, is predicated on the assumption that the scientific community knows what the world is like”
― Thomas S. Kuhn, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions

The mind exists to control the body from the top level. Control is the use of feedback to regulate a device. Historically, science was not directly concerned with control and left its development to engineers. The first feedback control device is thought to be the water clock of Ctesibius in Alexandria, Egypt around the third century B.C. It kept time by regulating the water level in a vessel and, therefore, the water flow from that vessel.1

All living organisms are perfectly tuned feedback control systems, but brains, in particular, are organs that specialize in top-level control. The mind is a part of the brain of which we have first-hand knowledge that consists of the following properties of consciousness: awareness, attention, feelings, and thoughts. The body, brain, and mind work together harmoniously to keep us alive, but how do they do it? As a software engineer; I’ve spent my whole life devising algorithms to help people control things better with computers. Developing a comprehensive theory of the mind based on existing scientific information is a lot like writing a big program — I develop different ideas that look promising, then step back and see if everything still works, which leads to multiple revisions across the whole program until everything seems to be running smoothly. It is more a job for an engineer than a scientist because it is mostly about generalizing functionality to work together rather than specializing in underlying problems. Generalizing from specifics to functions that solve general cases is most of what computer programmers do. Perhaps it is temperamental, but I think engineers are driven more by a top-down perspective to get things done than a bottom-up perspective to discover details.

In this section, I am going to develop the idea that science has overlooked the fundamental role control plays in life and the mind and has consequently failed to devise an adequate control-based orientation to study them. By reframing our scientific perspective, we can develop the explanatory power we need to understand how life and the mind work.

  1. BRIEF HISTORY OF CONTROL, IEEE Control Systems Society

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