Are you a body with a mind or a mind with a body? – Maryam Alimardani


Look at your hand. How do you know it’s really yours? It seems obvious, unless you’ve
experienced the rubber hand illusion. In this experiment, a dummy hand is placed
in front of you and your real hand is hidden
behind a screen. Both are simultaneously stroked
with a paint brush. No matter how much you remind yourself
the dummy hand isn’t yours, you eventually start to feel like it is, and inevitably flinch
when it’s threatened with a knife. That may just be a temporary trick,
but it speaks to a larger truth: our bodies, the physical,
biological parts of us, and our minds, the thinking,
conscious aspects, have a complicated, tangled relationship. Which one primarily defines you
or your self? Are you a physical body that only
experiences thoughts and emotions as a result of biochemical interactions
in the brain? That would be a body with a mind. Or is there some non-physical part of you
that’s pulling the strings but could live outside
of your biological body? That would be a mind with a body. That takes us to an old question of whether the body
and mind are two separate things. In a famous thought experiment, 16th-century philosopher
René Descartes pointed out that even if all our physical sensations
were just a hallucinatory dream, our mind and thoughts
would still be there. That, for him, was the ultimate proof
of our existence. And it led him to conclude that the conscious mind is something separate
from the material body that forms the core of our identity. The notion of a non-physical consciousness echoes the belief of many religions
in an immaterial soul for which the body is only
a temporary shell. If we accept this,
another problem emerges. How can a non-physical mind have
any interaction with the physical body? If the mind has no shape,
weight, or motion, how can it move your muscles? Or if we assume it can, why can your mind
only move your body and not others? Some thinkers have found creative ways
to get around this dilemma. For example, the French priest
and philosopher Nicolas Malebranche claimed that when we think about
reaching for a fork, it’s actually god who moves our hand. Another priest philosopher
named George Berkeley concluded that the material world
is an illusion, existing only as mental perceptions. This question of mind versus body
isn’t just the domain of philosophers. With the development of psychology
and neuroscience, scientists have weighed in, as well. Many modern scientists reject the idea that there’s any distinction
between the mind and body. Neuroscience suggests that our bodies,
along with their physical senses, are deeply integrated
with the activity in our brains to form what we call consciousness. From the day we’re born, our mental development is formed
through our body’s interaction with the external world. Every sight, sound, and touch create
new maps and representations in the brain that eventually become responsible
for regulating our experience of self. And we have other senses,
besides the typical five, such as the sense of balance and a sense of the relative location
of our body parts. The rubber hand illusion,
and similar virtual reality experiments, show that our senses can easily
mislead us in our judgment of self. They also suggest that our bodies
and external sensations are inseparable from
our subjective consciousness. If this is true, then perhaps Descartes’
experiment was mistaken from the start. After all, if we close our eyes
in a silent room, the feeling of having a body
isn’t something we can just imagine away. This question of mind and body
becomes particularly interesting at a time when we’re considering
future technologies, such as neural prosthetics
and wearable robots that could become extended parts
of our bodies. Or the slightly more radical idea
of mind uploading, which dangles the possibility
of immortal life without a body by transferring a human consciousness
into a computer. If the body is deeply mapped
in the brain, then by extending our sense of self
to new wearable devices, our brains may eventually adapt
to a restructured version with new sensory representations. Or perhaps uploading our consciousness
into a computer might not even be possible unless we can also simulate a body
capable of delivering physical sensations. The idea that our bodies are part
of our consciousness and vice versa also isn’t new. It’s found extensively
in Buddhist thought, as well as the writings of philosophers
from Heidegger to Aristotle. But for now, we’re still left
with the open question of what exactly our self is. Are we a mind equipped with
a physical body as Descartes suggested? Or a complex organism
that’s gained consciousness over millions of years of evolution thanks to a bigger brain and
more neurons than our distant ancestors? Or something else entirely that
no one’s yet dreamt up?

100 thoughts on “Are you a body with a mind or a mind with a body? – Maryam Alimardani

  1. What do you think? Are you a body with a mind or a mind with a body? Also, we hope you noticed the book rec at the end of the vid. You can download an audio version of the book for free at http://www.audible.com/teded. And for even more book recs from our team, visit http://ed.ted.com/books.

  2. Well I think if you separate the soul from the body, your body just becomes a corpse and your soulmbecome nothing. Your soul is your personality. It's YOU. If a soul dosent have a body, it cannot hear, smell, feel, or move.

  3. When I was a kid I wondered about this a lot. I felt like if I questioned in my head repeatedly who I am that I was slowly separating from my body and felt like it didn’t belong to me, I’m just inside of it somehow having control over it. It really felt like i could exit my body to some extend because I was just a mind with a body and not the body. Sadly it doesn’t feel like that anymore now in the sense that I can’t feel myself exiting anymore.

  4. "Everything is created twice, first in the mind and then in reality" Of course, we are a mind with a body, spiritual beings having a phisycal experience.

  5. You can search it in Hindu scriptures
    Thousands of years old but they sure give us a good knowledge about our body soul and eternity

  6. …… Welp… EVERYONE WILL BE IMMORTAL IN THE FUTURE… YAY(not)…………

    Hi anxiety, nice to see you again, oh wait, you never left

  7. "Scientists reject the notion that the mind is separate from the body" and that it is so deeply integrated that that is how consciousness forms, but can't give any explanation as to where the consciousness is located in the brain where they claim it must come from. Rejected a branch of centuries old philosophical thinking after failing to disprove it; gotcha.

  8. The reason we pull away are own hand when the fake hand is poked with a knife in the first experiment is because in the previous cases what ever was done to the fake hand was also done to our hand ,so we might be scared that next our hand is going to be poked with knife

  9. Sometimes i even wonder if… We even exist in this world…

    Edit: 2:32 OMYGOSH! IMMA SHARE THIS TO YAH BAT PROMISE ME IT'LL BE A SECRET😜

    SOMETIMES I THINK THAT WE DON'T REALLY EXIST HERE. THAT WE ARE JUST LITTLE PUPPETS THAT IS BEING MOVED BY… SOMEONE… AND HE'S/SHE'S MAKING ME THINK LIKE THIS…

    what? Don't blame me i'm just a 12 year d kid here…

  10. "I got your mind on my body and my body on your mind"
    What I started singing when I thought about this question haha

  11. Yo, if I were to do the rubber hand test, I'd be flinching away from the knife not because I believe the rubber hand is my hand but because I came to associate that what happens to that rubber hand might happen to my real hand, which I do not see

  12. Fell asleep and woke up when the narrator stopped…. guess I'm a sleepy body with a blank mind
    Complex stuff to complicate life…lol

  13. When you have existential crisis during your sad emo hours which usually happen in 2 am in the morning

  14. I thought that our mind and body are one due to genes. Genes not only decide whether some have natural physical strength more than the other, it also affect some were born talented, genius. Genes is connect our mind with our body, so there is no way can it be seperated

  15. maybe…
    everything around us is a manifestation of our universe's will (including us)

    everything around us has or have had a portion of that will at one time or another (example, wood had it when it was part of a tree; now it's dead)

    someone becomes dead when he loses the universe's will

    universe's will is the reason for every creation in the universe; maybe it cannot be destroyed and in the end it will return to somewhere
    OR, it was exhausted to create things in our universe and when someone is dead, then that means it is the end of that portion of the will which he was carrying; in this way, in the end, everything in our universe will wither away

    just like us, every other thing that is not dead, has the universe' will (maybe earth is alive, while some other planets are dead; this could mean that earth could one day die too)

    so, maybe, life is possible because of the universe's will.
    this could also mean that life in our universe is very short (like unimaginably short), and after the life has ended, only dead things will remain, and eventually they too will wither away.

    brain is a part of our bodies, and maybe it was manifested because of the universe's will; maybe it was given to us, to play our small, but important part (just like everything elses) in our universe.

    maybe, 'we' can think because of our brain, 'we,i,me,you,etc..' are created by our brain, which in turn is a manifestation of the universe's will; everything that has ever happened to everything, has happened because of the universe's will, because that is how it was supposed to happen.

    our consciousness is created by our brain. we can even think about this because of our brain. we can talk, write, think, be ourselves, because of our brain.
    if our brain is down, we are down since it manages and keeps our bodies alive.
    BUT, we can also die due to some other reasons, like liver failure. in this case, our brain is fine, but we can't survive without our liver, so we eventually die.
    this means that brain is just an organ like our other organs.

    the reason why our brain has evolved the way it has, was so that we could exist the way we are existing. so that we could think and create what we have created. so that we could connect with the universe, like we have connected.
    all this… because it was supposed to happen.

    a part of me doubts that any of us have free will in the sense that any of us can do or achieve anything he/she/it wants.
    for we will only do what we are supposed to do, just like everything has happened because it was supposed to happen, the way it has happened.

    maybe, everything you think is what you are supposed to think, to do what you are supposed to do.

    but, it is okay… if the things are like this… i am okay.
    it's just that i want a better world for everyone… and i think it is possible.
    i think it is possible to create a world where nothing has to suffer (maybe not now… but one day; though the foundations must be laid when there is time, maybe… in a way, i mean)

    now, comes the question of what is the universe's will; how it came into existence; whether it created our universe too, or just the life;etc…

    ofcourse… this is all just a way of looking at things, i guess.

  16. The body is the mind. People who are fit are generally smarter and more sucessful in life. If you dont exercise for a few days, you are not doing what the body was designed to do… move.

  17. ولا منزالي اتقال صح … العقل او الوعي زي ما يقصدوا ف الفيديو هو الروح الي عمرنا ما هنقدر نختبره ابدا

  18. LEMME explain to simpletons:
    minds without body = you can still be like Stephen Hawking
    body without mind = you can stay useless

  19. So what initiates the ideas, thoughts, actions or imaginations about the world in brain?! might be soul which we still do not know its true nature? I think.

  20. When you put a question in the title, I assume you would give your answer, not just recite the question as the conclusion.

  21. Just when I was having an existential crisis it was recommended to me, YouTube sure knows what's going on with me.

  22. I believe something bigger something bigger that’s not logical at all to the point where human mind can’t receive it that creates our soul and mind which is the body that’s the only logical way of explaining existing

  23. It's very simple when you look at your body parts you know clearly
    That there are two kind of things look at that's part the brain and the mind or the heart or the power your feel in chest area so it's really hard the approve not physical energy or power to those who don't believe in it

  24. i think it's the more depressing answer: body with a mind. no body = no mind -> you dead af and feel/experinece nothing and will never do so again

  25. Mind , body and soul. You people don’t get confused with mind and soul. Mind/brain is physical with neurons and bio chemical reactions but soul is our true self.

  26. I think.. this may have been overthought lol.. one isn't anything without the other. Besides, we're brought into this world with both. I think it's both

  27. 2:00 I found that you asked how that nonphysical thing will deal with physical things and by physical rules, so maybe this fact ,that all of these can't be integradted, is the problem why there's no answer, maybe these nonphysical things which we aren't aware of them need a special treating without restricting them to our physical rules and things, the only thing that we know that our souls are exist ,we can feel them.

  28. Stupidity….mind cant exist without body just like calculations cant be done without comp. or colculator.
    That's it. No other speculations and pseudo-philosophy needed.

  29. im still not sure, but my body is always telling my mind, dude, the rest of us are all working so hard, DO YOUR JOB! (the body's mad that IT doesn't have the luxury to be depressed and not do things cause theyre hard)

  30. They ask you concerning the soul; proclaim “The soul is an entity by the command of my Lord, and you have not received knowledge except a little.”
    Quran 17:85

    وَيَسْأَلُونَكَ عَنِ الرُّوحِ ۖ قُلِ الرُّوحُ مِنْ أَمْرِ رَبِّي وَمَا أُوتِيتُمْ مِنَ الْعِلْمِ إِلَّا قَلِيلًا.

    القرآن الكريم 17:85

  31. Either both we are not…we are just created by God you just complicate your life by your thought as well as your body…
    We are not what we think or so the body….The real us is "the inner" or simply can't put into words or Just read "The power of now" by Echkart Tolle you will know the answer

  32. Our bodies are only a mechanism to keep our brains alive. We are really just our brain. And this is it, there is no afterlife. We all only get this one life. IF YOU CAN TRULY COMPREHEND THIS, YOU WILL BE AS KIND AND COMPASSIONATE TO ALL LIVING THINGS (NOT JUST HUMANS) BECAUSE WE’VE GOT TO MAKE THIS LIFE AS GOOD AS POSSIBLE FOR AS MANY AS POSSIBLE. BECAUSE THIS IS ALL THERE IS. Unless you were born with the unfortunate genetics/brain of a selfish narcissist or psycho/sociopath, then I just feel sorry for you.

  33. we are just a colony of one-celled organism.. -the mind is just a operateing system for the colony.. research for "split brain"! personality is just a illusion for us to do our job..^^

  34. Or the soul is a 4d higher dimensional structure that manipulates DNA on the sub atomic level. Since we know higher dimensional membranes exist and their effects can be observed in other areas of science, it's not a far stretch to hypothesize that given the multiplicity of the multiverse, higher dimensional trinary systems could evolve and be attached to lower dimensional energetic systems through branic wave function systems. If a fluctuation in an energetic systems delta field could alter the systems spatial vector adjusting the sub-quantums tensor values, then the infinite sum of delta vectors could change the vector of the atomic particle, thus changing the vector of a given molecule, which then causes the activation of a DNA program. DNA program activation would then fire larger systems I.E. "speak this" or "select this as a destination to walk." This would mean a wave function in a higher field membrane could in fact be the causation of "free will".

    This also leaves open the possibility of why psychic phenomenon is reported universally among humans, and why it's sometimes hard to distinguish dreams from reality. A higher dimensional "computer" would be able to "be aware of" external dimensional wavelengths such as alternate parallel universes. Dreaming about alternate universes might be the "souls" way of using simulations to process problems while also giving alternative realities to move to when the connections with your current body is severed.

    Dualism is not dead as a theory. Theres endless possibilities that can be explored as we delve deeper into such physics theories like string theory.

  35. We are not the mind..we are not the body even..we are a soul whivh transfers from one body to another and it is immortal..as per we hindu believe.. 🙏

  36. Things like this make me wonder stuff like where does the universe end? If the universe is never ending, how? If the universe does have an end (like size-wise) then what is beyond the universe? What is life? What is the meaning of life? Why are we alive? How are we alive? How does everything exist? How did everything start? How is God real? If god is real, how? If god created everyone, who created him? How did life magically form from a freaking collision that would kill all living things? How far does the universe go? Are we really alive or is this all just an illusion in our minds? When we dream and see things in our dreams, what are we seeing if we only see darkness when our eyes are closed? How can we still think while we sleep? Why does sleeping feel like 10 minutes even if it is 8 hours that we sleep? What happens when we die? If we stay dead forever after we are gone, what would it be like with never-ending darkness? If there is never ending darkness when we die, wouldnt our brains start going insane?If heaven is real, we wouldn't enjoy it when we die because, although it is everything we could ever want, there would be no end, therefore making it unenjoyable. When we die, do we just forget our loved ones and everything about ourselves and everyone and everything else? Thinking about life and what happens after we all die is scary. One time I started crying in the car on the way back from an amusement park because I was thinking of these questions and how much I would miss my family even though we argue and say we hate eachother all the time. I have been a lot nicer to my family since then because we need to treasure our loved ones while we are still here on this earth. I have billions more questions to think about when I think of life. Anyone else think about these a lot?

  37. The human body is much more then a "shell". When humans start viewing themselves as something that is much more than protein and calcium things will get much better.

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