The Mind: Explaining ‘The Inner You’

‘You’ is the physical or physiological you. ‘The Inner You’ is the nebulous (apparently non-physical) psychological parts of you. That is, those bits not considered physiological and which you can not hold in your hand or see with a microscope – for lack of a better word, your mind or your personality. For example, things like free will, creativity/ideas, likes and dislikes, a sense of humor, memory, emotions, the thought process, understanding/comprehension, dreaming, morality/ethics, the state of being conscious, consciousness, sense of self, beliefs/faith, personal philosophy and knowledge.

If any of these attributes can generate a physiological reaction, then that attribute of mind, or of ‘The Inner You’ must also be physiologically based – or, vice versa. Can anything physiological, or biochemical influence ‘The Inner You’ attributes given above? In both cases, I suggest the answer is ‘yes’. Translated, there is no actual separation between the physical you and ‘The Inner You’ components.

You exist in time and space in a self contained physical body comprised of various biological systems, in turn composed of various body organs, hence cells, complex organic molecules, not so complex organic (and inorganic) molecules, atoms, and those fundamental particles (and forces) from which all else flows.

Of course ‘The Inner You’ within the physical you also consists of more nebulous things like your awareness, comprehension or understanding, creativity, consciousness, dreams and nightmares, emotions, hallucinations or visions, knowledge, instinct, intellect or IQ, interests, logic, memory, mind, morality, perception, personality, reasoning, sense of self, spirituality, etc., etc.

‘The Inner You’ still remains even if some of the physical you is removed or altered like losing a tooth, or having your appendix or tonsils removed or having an artificial hip replacement. All of the above (mind, etc.) however somehow do reside in a physical structure called the brain, which, being a bodily organ, is ultimately composed of a combination of biochemical substances, in turn composed of simpler molecules, hence atoms and those fundamental particles and associated forces (in this case mainly the electromagnetic force). ‘The Inner You’ in other words exists as a subpart of the physical you – the brain. In fact, if I understand correctly, some of the specific aspects of ‘The Inner You’ have been found to be associated with specific locations within the brain complex. If the brain is removed or altered, then aspects of ‘The Inner You’ will cease to exist or (probably) be altered. This also suggests that all those aspects associated with ‘The Inner You’ are internal to the physical you and don’t have any sort of separate and apart existence outside of the physical you. Since ‘The Inner You’ vanishes if your brain is removed or dies, let’s concentrate on alterations instead that show that the electro-chemical brain is the be-all-and-end-all of ‘The Inner You’.

Changes to the brain (temporary or permanent), whether induced by physical injury, physical medical procedures, or via exposure to various chemicals (say drugs of any nature, legal or illegal) can result in changes to those ‘The Inner You’ attributes listed above. Blows to the head can affect memory. Surgery can cure or modify various personality disorders. Drugs ditto – but sometimes for the worse. The upshot is that for ‘The Inner You’ to be subject to natural physics and chemistry, strongly suggests that those nebulous qualities that are ‘The Inner You’ are grounded in physics and chemistry and therefore can’t really be all that nebulous.

For example, take the commonly used recreational drug alcohol. Alcohol can alter your sense of morality or moral conduct, as in having too much to drink at the office Christmas party – conduct unbecoming! There’s no disputing that it is the alcohol that is the cause of the (temporary) personality change. There’s no disputing that alcohol is matter – organic molecules comprised in turn of atoms and those fundamental particles. To be physically or chemically acted on, or physically affected by, your morality or personality must also have a physical or chemical basis. Matter such as alcohol can’t influence things that have no nuts-and-bolts physical reality, like the nebulous concept of Wednesday or citizenship.

Turning things around, from personal experience, some of ‘The Inner You’ attributes can cause physical (physiological) changes in other parts of the physical you. Emotions, dreams, etc. can cause accelerated heart beats or sweating or abnormal secreting of digestive juices. ‘The Inner You’ can cause the physical you to become unwell – ulcers perhaps. Again, how can something intangible cause something tangible? Therefore, I must conclude that these apparently nebulous ‘The Inner You’ attributes must be based on physics and the laws, relationships and principles of physics (and chemistry).

Because all of ‘The Inner You’ resides in the brain, and because the brain can be observed, measured and experimented on, and because the main force operating within the brain (as a result of observation, measurement and experimentation) is electromagnetic, and because all of this is on a micro level, then quantum effects could rule. So, to understand the workings of your inner self ‘The Inner You’ or your mind as it were, you need to understand quantum physics. The relationship(s) between quantum physics and ‘The Inner You’ aren’t readily understood. If they were, ‘The Inner You’ attributes wouldn’t be as nebulous as they currently appear to be. Nevertheless, that’s where the ultimate explanations lie. One interesting bit, a connection perhaps, is that at the very heart; the fundamental property or nature of quantum physics is uncertainty or unpredictability or indeterminism. If quantum events rule ‘The Inner You’ then perhaps it’s not surprising that most aspects of ‘The Inner You’ (personality, emotions, creativity, etc.) are also fundamentally uncertain or unpredictable or are indeterminate. ‘The Inner You’ is not consistent. Seemingly identical situations can (and probably will) produce differences in ‘The Inner You’, which is why humans can be so unpredictably exasperating to other humans.

I kind of wonder whether the physical you (or in this case the specific part of you called the brain or brain structures) can be equated to hardware, whereas ‘The Inner You’ is akin to software. Unlike a strict analogy with computers however, in that computers have their software installed in one go (with periodic updates perhaps), ‘The Inner You’ software has evolved over time, just as the physical you has, only in the case of the physical you, it’s called aging! The aging process in turn can have rather dramatic impacts on several of ‘The Inner You’ attributes – memory or creativity for example. That’s just further evidence that there is a physical (physiological) relationship that is probably quantum in nature between the physical you and ‘The Inner You’.

Of course the physical you has many types of software ‘installed’ within you, of which one happens to be collectively ‘The Inner You’. Another type of software in the physical you, for example, controls the involuntary nervous system; another is responsible for the aging process.

One (of many) interesting evolutions of ‘The Inner You’ could be considered a form of immortality. While nearly everyone wishes for immortality, whether they realize it or not, this is a case of be wary of what you wish for, least you get it. Immortality (which doesn’t preclude death by accident or design – just natural [aging] death), if achieved, would be a very boring existence as you’d end up spending trillions of years in a dark, intensely cold, lifeless Universe that keeps expanding, and accelerating expansion at that, ever cooling and dying as stars exhaust their fuel and galaxies pass out of sight of one another. Such is the predicted fate of our cosmos. The Universe ‘ends’ as it were, not with a bang but with a ‘heat death’ whimper.

Anyway, that aside, how could you (actually ‘The Inner You’) achieve if not infinite immortality, at least near quasi-immortality? After all, you really don’t want to achieve immortality if the only part of you that achieves immortality is your nose or thumb or liver; what you want to be immortal is ‘The Inner You’ – the rest of your physical body is pretty much irrelevant.

Let’s say you have an intense personal desire to have a career exploring the planet Jupiter – not via telescope, but in person. Today, for various reasons, your prospects are bugger-all. There’s no way to get you there at the moment, and you couldn’t survive the hostile environment even if you did. There’s no part of your organic body that would survive the Jovian environment. And if you wanted to explore, in person, extra-solar ‘Jupiters’, in addition to hostile environments, you wouldn’t survive the time frames necessary to get you to them which would be measured in tens to hundreds of thousands of years at projected relatively near future interstellar spacecraft velocities.

So, even a combination of your biology coupled with machine technology (you’re say becoming a cybernetic bio-mechanical hybrid for example) wouldn’t ultimately help your goal. What would work would be an entirely technological or mechanical ‘organism’ – a robot with artificial intelligence – one that could survive the lengthy journey times and the hostile environments. But that doesn’t do the physical you (or more to the point ‘The Inner You’ within the physical you) any good – unless you became that robot! But then one needs to get the organic ‘The Inner You’ into an inorganic form.

Just as it’s currently possible for one to transfer or download the contents of one computer into another computer, and just as your brain (which contains ‘The Inner You’ is an advanced type of computer – it’s ‘The Inner You’ software (or wetware) that controls the physical you, so too might it be eventually possible for the organic ‘The Inner You’ to be downloaded into a nuts-and-bolts computer which could then be merged with an appropriate mechanical body or other technology specifically designed to achieve a particular goal unachievable by actual flesh-and-blood. Examples are exploring Jupiter, interstellar space travel to distant stars and solar systems, or even deep sea exploration here on Planet Earth. You can’t currently walk around the ocean bottom exploring the wreck of the Titanic in your birthday suit! But a robot could.

The upshot is that if ‘The Inner You’ were part and parcel of, and inside inorganic (silicone and steel) bodies, given that inorganic materials last a hell of a lot longer than organic bodies, then you’ve achieved quasi-immortality! That’s ditto the case in that when ‘The Inner You’ becomes software in an inorganic computer, that ‘The Inner You’ software can be later transferred to another computer and then another and then another – on down the line. This can also lead to lots of copies of ‘The Inner You’ around. Not only quasi-immortality, but non-biological cloning as well!

Apart from transferring the organic ‘The Inner You’ into an inorganic ‘The Inner You’, in your organic state, well, as they say, ‘life’s a bitch, and then you die!’ However, there’s immortality, the hard way, because there could be a resurrection, the hard way.

It’s a principal of physics that information can not be destroyed – scrambled, yes; lost from view, yes; but ever destroyed to the point where it can’t be reconstructed even in theory. Since you are but a packet of information encoded in flesh-and-blood form, you, as a packet of information, can not be entirely destroyed.

Now your squishy wetware brain-thingy contains a lot of information. It seems however pretty obvious that when you die, your brain will be attacked, fed upon, will decay and ultimately be consumed and destroyed by those ultimate scavengers, bacteria. The information in your brain packet has been lost to all and sundry still in the land of the living. Or has it?

If information can not be destroyed then in theory you can not die – the information that is ‘you’ forever exists. It may be next to impossible to recreate or reconstruct, but in theory not impossible. How is it so? One could take your blueprint, highly complex but in theory knowable, and rebuild you up, via nanotechnology, subatomic particle by elementary particle by fundamental particle back into ‘you’.

The implications are that you are one with universal physics – energy and matter; forces and particles. There is nothing nebulous about you, your mind, “The Inner You”, whatever. Your most basic bits, your emotions, your memories, your sense of self, your morals and ethics, your ‘soul’ if you will, can all be boiled down into the relationships between elementary particles and the four fundamental forces of nature.

Conclusions: All of the various personal attributes you acknowledge as being ‘The Inner You’ all started to accumulate and evolve from the moment of your conception onwards. You had no memory, no personality, no ‘The Inner You’, no nothing prior to that event. As you grew and matured and aged, your inner self further developed and matured. Alas, when your physical body kicks the bucket, the vase that houses ‘The Inner You’ dies as well. Dust to dust; ashes to ashes, or in this case the complex bio-molecules that make up your physical body including ‘The Inner You’ break down into simple molecules, atoms and elementary particles that get recycled onto their next destination or port of call, which may or may not include becoming part of another living organism; perhaps part of that organism’s ‘The Inner You’. Regardless, ‘The Inner You’ has now been lost, but not destroyed. Normal biological cloning can’t restore the original ‘The Inner You’; that cloned brain would be virgin and an empty vase ready for new inputs. But high technology, many years down the track might be able to duplicate or transfer ‘The Inner You’ prior to your biological death; maybe, albeit far-fetched, reconstruct ‘The Inner You’ after that fact.