In “A Call to Arms: The Future of Psychiatry is at Stake – Mad In America:”
I find the explosion of neuroscience a wonderful thing. To discover how the brain works is illuminating and fascinating. Any theory of mind has to be consonant with the way the brain actually works. However, a superficial understanding of neuroscience often mistakenly seems to support the neurotransmitter-based theories of the mind. What many neuroscientists don’t understand is that an understanding of the brain also has to be consonant with the way human nature actually operates.
Human nature operates through our consciousness. The more we understand the workings of the mind, the more we come to understand that consciousness is organized in the brain as a play; as stories, with characters, feeling relationships between them, scenarios, plots, landscapes and set designs. We evolve our characters over the course of twenty or so years of child raising. The biology of the brain creates and informs our character as a whole. Parts of the brain — such as neurotransmitters and the various brain modules — do not operate independently. They operate as a whole to simply create the play of consciousness itself. (See – “The Secrets of Consciousness, the limbic-cortex is organized as a drama in the brain.”)
Psychiatric problems reflect how the traumas of deprivation and abuse, in concert with our temperament, create our character. Psychotherapy is the best way to heal from the pain and “symptoms” of being human. In the context of a safe therapeutic relationship, we can mourn the problematic pains of our lives, and write a new play that is more consonant with loving and authenticity.
In lay terms, perhaps, few want to die, suffer, fade, lose, or be alone, but we all fear or experience those things. An attempt to make it all about neurons may mean glitzier treatment for neurons, not better treatment for the patient.
While we are here, see also: What great physicists have said about immateriality and consciousness
Neuroscience tried wholly embracing naturalism, but then the brain got away
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Hat tip: Stephanie West Allen at Brains on Purpose