The mind and the mental

tapa_revistaThe theoretical approaches that Alan Turing made in 1950 seem no longer shock anyone. The progress of cognitive science (artificial intelligence, neuroscience, cognitive psychology, etc.) has allowed asseverating ideas such as the brain functioning as an information processor.

In first place, we can accept that proposal, but before that it would be convenient to know how an information processor works (what is known as a computer). It would be even more interesting to interrogate how it is expected to work. The answers and debates are rapidly multiplying: there are some who pretend, for instance, that it works with transparent and simple definitions, with the objective to reach the absolute logic precision; others, however, prefer it to be by knitted, or knots, where each one, contrasting with the others to acquire different perspectives, give meaning to the rest. This is not a minor difference, it can be played in it two different human conceptions.

Anyway, it seems to be consented that, however it works, the brain is the cause of the mind; that is to say: the mind, without any doubt, they say, is a biological phenomenon. However, do not rush and just assume that an agreement is reached, so easily, about what biological is. What is at stake here concerns, of course, on how life is conceptualized.

It is necessary to clarify that, in that field, there are no longer talks about what life is, but, rather than that, on how living systems works. Apparently, to consider, there, a unitary formal value is inescapable.

In that direction, the brain working as a computer indicates that, before hand, its gait is tied to a system of numbers and rules. Just like in biology. Which leads, of course, to pay a cost: not knowing what life itself is.

The poses mentioned seem to reduce the human nature to the level of an artifact. And provably it is like that, but those artifacts are tied to (are stressed with) the discussions about evolution, biology, logic, etc.

A difficulty is added: the new developments in the symptomatology are compelling to frequently redefine biology to sustain its operability. In these matters the time dimension is appreciated, the emergence of the new re-signifys the previous status. Needless to say that this doesn’t happen without a purpose. Maybe it is convenient to reflect on the fact that there is (are) biology (biologies), on one hand, but there are, also, policies on that (these) biology (biologies), on the other. Usually, this fact is not noticed.

However, there is something that  doesn’t fit: if the mind shows itself, therefore, as the result of computable products, that are measurable, biological, that’s not what we find working with the mental. And this is where we establish the difference: the psychoanalytical experience shows us that the mental, refers to affections, even products, not computable, more than a way to use adjectivally the mind. The non computable only indicates that the obtained result (found) has no value, it cannot be taken into account, to be used as a response model. That’s the cause of the subjective indetermination.

If it is expected from the mind a determined logic relation between elements (because these, par excellence, it is understood, tend to uniqueness), it can perfectly, and it is necessary, to be conceive as a faculty to-be-interpreted. That is the task that the mental performs (as an exercise) because, this one, turns up only as a temporal interpretation of the mind. The difficult is, justly, that it isn’t possible to measure (or regulate) in that sense.

It is stated that the mind is determined by the brain, but the mental, on the other hand, need, also (in addition), the symbolic order. It is even structured by the occurrence of this. That’s the reason that the difficulty that we find in our practice refers, principally, to the fact that it is not known exactly what to do, each time, with the Other (neither with the others, of course). It is not known what to do with what happens and cannot be prevented.

Therefore, it is definitively possible to conceive a health of the mind, but is it possible a mental health?


Javier Bolaños

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