Symphony of Matter and Mind


Stanislav Tregub

Independent researcher

Research areas: physics, biophysics, neuroscience, psychology, psychiatry

Science enhances the moral value of life, because it furthers a love of truth and reverence — love of truth displaying itself in the constant endeavor to arrive at a more exact knowledge of the world of mind and matter around us, and reverence, because every advance in knowledge brings us face to face with the mystery of our own being.

                                                                                                                                                                                 Max Planck

Book series

Symphony of Matter and Mind


What distinguishes living matter from non-living? The answer to this challenging question usually boiled down to the idea of the Soul (Mind). The simplicity of the solution is deceptive because it leads to the next question: what is the Soul? This question can be called the fundamental ontological question of all times and cultures.

Some attempts to answer proceed from the notion that Soul is a transcendent entity that stays temporarily in a body. The idea about the intangible nature removes any further questions, but the trouble is that it does not answer the initial question. Some take a materialistic approach and search for the Mind within bodily organs. Here the problem is that they are looking for something without defining it. It is like trying to find a black cat in a dark room without understanding what a cat is. Thus, the cat seems to be everywhere and nowhere.

The author of the International Dictionary of Psychology wrote: “Consciousness is a fascinating but elusive phenomenon: it is impossible to specify what it is, what it does, or why it has evolved. Nothing worth reading has been written on it.”

Amazingly, the science about the Mind cannot define its object of study. Thus, all theories of consciousness miss the point as it is impossible to hit an indefinite target. On the other hand, they enjoy the privilege of being irrefutable for the same reason of the object’s elusiveness. Everyone seems to be right, but overall, we fail.

Modern philosophers correctly point that any theory that lacks a solution in physical terms has an explanatory gap. Some get back to the old idea of the nonphysical nature of the Mind and state that uncovering a physical basis is the ‘hard problem of consciousness’ that cannot be solved in principle.

Many models try to reformulate the problem in one way or another ignoring the keyword ‘physical.’ They substitute it for physiology and discuss what part of the brain is the source of consciousness. This category error goes largely unnoticed. We can study biological details from cortex to brainstem, from neuronal populations to subcellular level. But physiology is the embodiment of a physical process, and without understanding the physical mechanism that produces the Mind, we are stuck in the same explanatory gap.

There is another side of the question: are there special laws for life or living systems form and exist using universal physical mechanism? The search for specific biophysical laws has been going on for a long time, and it may have been in vain. But if the mechanism is universal, what kind of mechanism is it? Here life sciences turn to physical sciences for help. To their dismay, they find that theoretical physics is also in a disoriented state. With all the advances in practical technologies for mastering matter, physics has not created a unified model that answers how the structures of matter form and interact. But we cannot study the Soul from a materialistic point of view without solving the mystery of Matter.

The author of the series takes the matter into his hands. In the first two volumes, he develops a theory describing the universal physical mechanism that creates structures and ensures energy interactions in all types and levels of matter. On this foundation, he builds a unified physical model of non-living and living matter. The rest of the volumes are devoted to the Mind. The author makes, probably, the first attempt in the history of science to give a clear physical definition of the Mind followed by a detailed description of how it works. Thus, he elucidates four aspects of the Mind: physical (what is it), functional (what it does), teleological (why it does), and technological (how it does).

It sounds like an overwhelming task, but ‘the path is made by walking.’ The author invites the curious-minded readers to the journey and hopes that his books are worth reading.

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