It is important to emphasize that what is being attempted here amounts to little more than a ‘cook’s tour’, incorporating only, where essential, the occasional rudimentary reference to brain neurobiology. In the first place, any detailed reference to the latter would fall well beyond the writer’s competence and expertise. Moreover – and in any event – many key aspects of such questions and issues still remain to challenge and indeed,confront modern science.
The nub of the issue here then is that in my earlier blogs and postings describing and discussing life-threatening illnesses and the use, further development and adaptation of coping styles and responses; only occasional reference was made to and about each individual’s incredible on-board capacity and capability for recognition, adjustment and adaptation to the myriad scenes and circumstances that one encounters over the course of a lifetime. Moreover – and without doubt – some insight into that capacity and capability is essential, if we are ever to move beyond our everyday awareness of the physical and the immediate, into the realms of mind and spirit; both of which equally are our heritage and birth right. Such questions and issues – extending as they undeniably do from the very dawn of human self-awareness to the summit of concerns about who we are and what we, i.e. man, is and will become – must surely begin with at least some recognition and account of the biological basis for the conscious mind, since this is where it is believed to originate and be housed, i.e. in living matter.
Throughout all of my years of contact with people in a wide variety of arenas of life – and especially in my personal contact with quite literally many thousands of patients, their relatives and multidisciplinary contributors to healthcare – I have been struck again and again by their interest in and yes, in many instances eagerness to learn more about the role of brain and of the mind in the face of physical illness. And we begin with brain because taken from a purely objective standpoint, the brain is relatively speaking, the more approachable. Furthermore, if we avail ourselves of an informed perception of what brain appears to amounts to, we shall be all the better prepared when we come (as we must) to a subjective view of self-awareness, entailing our much more opaque perception and interpretation of mind and spirit. So let us warm to our task with the interest and enthusiasm of those who – as we shall come more and more to behold – we each and every one of us are, i.e. both object and subject under review. ©SB.