Sleepwalking

For many hundreds of years we have considered the mind to be separate from the body. In other words, the mind elects an action and directs the body (muscles, tendons, etc.) to carry it out.

However, we may find it interesting to consider the case of walking. If one were to say the mind directs the action of walking, most people could easily be convinced otherwise, because obviously with the hundreds of body parts involved in the act of walking, a symphony of coordinated muscle movements, it is clear the mind is not directing each movement in a beautiful timed sequence. If it were so, adults attempting to walk would look like babies just learning.

So, let us accept that the body walks, vaults, spins and hurdles by itself without the mind’s involvement. Ah, you might say, I will accept that but obviously the mind is involved to tell the body where to go. In refutation, I offer the example of a sleepwalker, arising in the night and walking to the refrigerator. You might say, okay, but the walking was in response to the brain recognizing hunger. I would ask where the hunger originates. Does it represent a theoretical decision by the mind that it has been so and so hours since the last repast, which comprised 734 calories and refueling is therefore necessary. How ridiculous, especially for a mind that is otherwise involved in the dreamstate pursuit of a desirable partner.

No, the hunger arises clearly in the body and non-thinking parts of the brain as the stomach rumbles and muscles demand an infusion of energy.

Thus, we have an action, sleepwalking, that is entirely directed by the body and non-thinking brain parts, rather than by the mind. I submit the only function the conscious mind performs is remembering the past and planning future activity, while other portions of the brain carry out the tasks demanded by the body at large. It is clear that the model of the body as servant of a higher-order mind is flat-out wrong and attempts by philosophy to separate mind from body/brain and soul are fruitless and counter-productive to human happiness as they interfere with our natural existence and experiential pursuit of happiness.

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