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Archives 2002:
Vol. 1, Numbers 1-12

Read past articles including:
Hope for the Future
Six Part Series on Science and Religion
First Three Parts of the Series on Leadership
Archives 2003:
Vol. 2, Numbers 1-12

Read past articles including:
Series on Leadership continued
Avoiding Dictatorship in a Free Society

Art and Politics
Living the Good Life
Teaching Teens
World Peace in Less Than a Month?
Archives 2004:
Vol. 3, Numbers 1-12

Read past articles including:
Seven Part Series on Global Consciousness
Is "Liberal" a Dirty Word?
Can Idealism Solve Problems?
Peace on Earth, Goodwill to All

Archives 2005:
Vol. 4, Numbers 1-12

Read past articles including:
Standing up for Humanity
Unity in Diversity

Thought and Imagination
Imagination and Healing
Lessons of Katrina
Intelligent Design or Evolution

Archives 2006:
Vol. 5, Numbers 1-12

Read past articles including:
Human Programming and Conflict
Non-Violent Political Change
Sustainable Development
Legalizing Torture
Living Without an Enemy
"Fast Food" is really "Slow Food"


Featured Articles about Responsibility, the Future and Consciousness:

Hope for the Future
Series on Leadership
Series on Global Consciousness
World Peace in Less Than a Month?
Can Idealism Solve Problems?
Conflict, Harmony and Integrity
Human Programming and Conflict
Non-violent Political Change
Living Without an Enemy
Protecting Children: Words and Deeds

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August, 2007
Vol. 6, Number

This Month's Article

Exploring the Mind—part 1

In a recent conversation a friend of mine observed, “Medical science has succeeded in transplanting almost all the organs except the brain. I wonder why they haven’t attempted to transplant the brain.” I presume that a brain donor would have to be dead before being able to part with the brain, and the definition of “dead” usually indicates that the brain has stopped working. Dr. Paul Pearsall contends in his book, The Heart’s Code, that the brain’s job is mostly concerned with the bodily functions while spiritual “thinking” originates from the heart. According to Pearsall, the heart even has memory on a cellular level that contributes to the notion one has of one’s Self.

When we talk about the “mind” we are talking about a consciousness that is beyond the brain and body. The mind is that aspect of an individual that is able to translate both the concrete and ephemeral world of thought in all its aspects from rational to non-rational perceptions and communications. Often the ease and accuracy with which one is able to “think” is called the measure of one’s “intelligence.” The concept of “intelligences” consists of the different ways people interpret and adapt to information and then mold it in order to understand and apply it.

Renowned Harvard University psychologist Howard Gardner explains the five “minds” everyone will need to succeed in the years ahead in his book, "Five Minds for the Future" (Harvard Business School Press). They are:

The disciplined mind
The synthesizing mind
The creating mind
The respectful mind
The ethical mind

These different kinds of  “minds” are really descriptions of the different ways people meet their needs and the needs of others—how they solve problems and deal with their environment. They also call into play the different kinds of intelligences used in thinking and survival. His important work is really revealing that area crucial to human psychology that may be called the “interaction of character and thought.” This could well become the foundation for a future psychology of human motivation. What Freud’s psychology was to relating automatic biological instincts to human behavior, Gardner’s five minds will be to the psychology of the conscious human being. The latter recognizes implicitly the burden of human choice and responsibility, while Freud’s person was a product of blind urges and drives.

Gardner shows how the next step after cognitive and scholarly education can only be achieved by cultivating the five different qualities of “mind.” He states, “the five minds…are the kinds of minds that are particularly at a premium in the world today and will be even more so tomorrow. They span both the cognitive spectrum and the human enterprise—in that sense they are comprehensive, global.” The implication of his thesis is really a redefinition of consciousness and human purpose. As humans develop the different minds they will become the agents of constructive and progressive human and social activities. They will become the co-creators of human destiny.

The current problems humanity is experiencing are largely the products of outmoded human mental development. Much perception, learning and the resulting knowledge and behavior have been governed by adaptive mechanisms of a primitive nature— fear, prejudice, fanaticism, ideology, aggression and greed. Consequently, the subconscious forces of instinct and habit have dominated the mind while emotional turmoil has acted as a filter blocking clear and unbiased observation and understanding.

In the future, mind and heart must act in unison in order for people to develop the “minds” that lead to a strong sense of purpose and the skills that enable them to reach their goals while serving the greater good. Gardner recognizes that there are other “minds,” but that those he writes about are the most important for success in the practical world today and in the future.

I tend to place more spiritual importance than Gardner does on his discussion of the “minds.” Indeed, he views the “spiritual mind” as a separate mind. When I contemplate the different minds, I take their development to the ultimate psychological conclusion— knowledge of Self. When these five minds are highly developed, integrated, and used for beneficial purposes, then they become spiritual. Spirit is the life force in the universe that is the basis for all natural laws. When an individual acts consciously, knowledgably and skillfully in accordance with natural laws he or she is acting spiritually.

In stating that the “heart thinks,” Pearsall is acknowledging that the heart is sensitive to the life force in the individual and in the universe. “Mental activity” is not simply a function of the brain. It is not a bodily function; rather it is sensitivity to the energies of thought, of imagination, and of all interpersonal, physical and non-physical causes of perception and understanding, and to the requirements of life itself.

The discussion of “five minds” opens a door to understanding human potential for creative, just and responsible behavior. This is the basis for solving problems that threaten peace and survival, and the basis of spiritual development.

Read: Exploring the Mind—part 2: The Poetic Mind

© 2007 Richard V. Sidy

Read Related Articles

Thought and Imagination—Part 1

Thought and Imagination—Part 2

Imagination and Healing

Series on Global Consciousness


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Archives 2005
Volumn 4
January: "Standing up for Humanity"
February: "The Wake of Disaster" – a poem
March: "Unity in Diversity
April: "Life is Calling"
May: "Entertainment" – a poem
June: "Thought and Imagination" part 1
July: "Thought and Imagination" part 2
August: "Imagination and Healing"
September: "Malice or Neglect? – Lessons of Katrina"
October: "Protecting Children"
November: "Intelligent Design or Evolution?"
December: "Building with one hand, destroying with the other"
Archives 2006
Volumn 5

January: "Conflict, Harmony, and Integrity"
February: "Satyagraha or Soul-force and Political Change"
March: "I Know I'm Not Alone - Wisdom of Michael Franti"
April: "Human Programming and Conflict Part I"
May: "Human Programming and Conflict Part II"
June: "Soccer Diplomacy"
July: "Sustainable Development is Nature's Way
August: "Parallel Universes"
September: "The News is not New"
October: "Legalizing Torture"
November: "Living Without an Enemy"
December: "Fast Food is really Slow Food"

Archives 2007
Volumn 6

January: "State of Fear"
February: Criminal Justice - "The Powerful Over the Weak"
March: "Culture Shock: The Good Life and Survival"
April: "March Madness"
May: "No Child Left Behind" Leaves Many Teachers Behind
June: "Personal Ecology"
July: Criminal Justice - "The Ethic of Custodianship"
August: "Exploring the Mind - part 1"
September: "Exploring the Mind - part 2: The Poetic Mind
October: "How Much Pain Can We Stand?"
November: "When Languages Disappear"
December: "Is it Enough to be Tolerant?"

Archives 2008
Volumn 7

January: "Beyond Ideology: Politics of the Future "
February: "Beyond the Bush Years"
March: "The Imaginary Economy - Part I
April: "The Imaginary Economy - Part II
May: Questions from Prison
June: "iGods and Connectivity"
July: "Energy Independence"
August: "Tribalism and the 2008 Elections
September: "Guilt, Shame and U.S. Justice"
October: "Have We Been Willing Slaves?"
November: "Are We Ready for the Future?"
December: "Are we done learning from pain?"

Archives 2009
Volumn 8

January: "Awakening"
February: "When Sacrifice is no Sacrifice"
March: "The Good New Days"
April: "The Power of Metaphor"
May: "The Conflict of Mythologies"
June: "The Time is Right"
July: "The New Anarchy"
August: "The Art of Living"
September: "Outrage"
October: "Are Women Becoming More Unhappy?

November: "Effect of the manufacturing culture on the American Psyche"
December: Who are the Real Game Changers?

Archives 2010
Volumn 9

January: The Music of Place
February: Earthquakes and Other Awakenings
March: Sense of Place, Sense of Self, Sense of Humanity
April: Why Do People Serve?
May: Decentralizing Food and Energy
June: Beyond Reading and Writing — Ecological literacy
July: Organization or Organism?
August: Fear and Cynicism = “Inter-fear-ance”
September: Are we afraid of our "Better Angels?"
October: Choosing Our Battles
November: Meeting the Need
December: A Living Canvas

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