Is the mind and the brain the same thing? This has been a question I have pondered for years ever since I began working in the field of Alzheimer's. Medical science claims the mind is what the brain does. However that never rang right with me. That would mean the brain-mind action is equivalent to the eyes seeing or ears hearing. I felt thinking is more likely what the brain does, however to me the mind has to be so much more than just the chatter, rationalizations and intellect we use on a conscious level. I have always considered the conscious mind to be a liar. We are wired to rationalize our actions, thoughts, emotions and this three dimensional world we exist in. Getting to underlying motivations, and understandings is a different matter.
I believe the brain is simply a vehicle that gets us through this reality and the mind the driver. Like a car whose body and engine are designed to get us through our world. Imagine you are in your car and turn the key and it doesn't start. The car is broken. Does that mean you, the driver is also broken? Or can there be another way that as the driver you can get to where you are going? If the brain is broken through disease or injury does that mean the mind is too?
My work with Alzheimer's has been about teaching family and professional caregivers to communicate with individuals even in the non verbal later stages when everyone believes they are no longer there. After ten years in this field I have found them to be wrong in their assumptions. Mind awareness is never gone no matter how broken the brain is. The brain sorts sensory input and helps us to "make sense" of our world. Injury or disease in the brain changes how we perceive this input. Whether it is Alzheimer's, cerebral palsy, traumatic brain injury or developmental disorders, depression, anxiety, obsessive compulsion it's all about wiring and altered perceptions.
I have been a collage artist since 1970. Totally obsessed with the fact that images and their related symbolism is the actual mechanism for how we communicate on subliminal levels. As infants mental picturing was our first language. Throughout our lives we think in mini movies run through our minds. Words are limited and culturally based. The brain always has to convert the word to a picture in our minds. A picture is worth a thousand words. Logically pictures are a universal language. Using pictures to achieve communication and access to our true mind is very effective. I have developed dozens of processes using personal photos and magazine imagery to help disabled individuals and the general public access true mind and hidden emotional states through what I call collage communication. You can use just magazine images or combine them with personal photos. The collage construction helps the brain to retrieve memory, safely work out issues, access emotional states and gives us a metaphoric picture of our lives. It's not rocket science, it's so simple a child can do it.