thoughts by Jordan Munroe
The awareness we have of ourselves, our actions, and the implications of those actions is a rather astonishing property. It separates the individual from normal matter. Matter is dead. It completely causal. It does nothing other than the laws of nature tell it to do. Even though the human brain is composed entirely of matter it has the aspect of self which, not being causal, transends the chemicles and tissue into what we call the mind.
Consider that though our brain is completely causal, our minds (or biblically our soul) is entirely outside of causality. The brain is a "cog", the mind is an intellect directing the actions of the "cog". The brain is, however, capable of performing actions without the direction of the mind. These include autonomic, reactive, and carnal functions. Autonomic functions govern the actions of the heart and lungs as well as other systems involved in keeping the body running. These actions are obviously completely amoral. The reactive functions are direct responses to stimuli such as when one jumps when startled. These too are amoral. The third functions, the carnal functions, are completely moral (or immoral as the case may be). They are an artifact of our awareness. They are partially controlled both by the mind which is not causal, and the brain which are causal. The carnal brain seeks to fulfill various pleasure drives. Without the mind to get in the way the system works rather simply. The carnal brain simply moves toward the strongest drive it has. Drives can be sex, hunger, pride, or anything that potentially provides pleasure.
There is a dichotomy between these drives and the mind which is at the heart of Christian doctrine. The Christian mind seeks to control the carnal autonomous self in order to follow the law of God. The carnal brain simple seeks after the strongest drive present. When they are in conflict war breaks out. Fulfilling the drives is the purpose of the carnal autonomous self, just as the purpose of a plant is to grow. But an unwanted plant growing in your garden is a weed and even though it is following its purpose, it is disobeying the law of the garden. In the same way our drives can be fulfilled in the wrong way by disobeying the laws of God or in the right way by enjoying the things he intends for us to enjoy.
The best analogy of the mind over the carnal atonomous self is a parent over a child. A young child is a perfect representation of the carnal self because their minds cannot yet contend with their carnal proclivities. They need their parents to govern them until they are old enough to govern themselves. Our mind parents our carnal self in much the same way.
The archetype of this is God the creator, who is always effecting and never effected upon. God is the ultimate cause of all causes, fundamental, from the beginning. As He is abstract from causality, so are our minds. The universe is not an infinately branching tree but a meandering stream that is guided by the minds wading in it, both ours and God's. Like Lewis's dance, our roll and God's are poetically intertwined through out creation. We are little creators creating our small peices of a much greater creation. We are created in His image; mind, body, and spirit; Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.
View entire "Causal Mind" article