"I find brain study - and its first cousin, mind study - fascinating... Indeed, in an age of continuing scientific advances, it would be delinquent not to attend to these sources of information..." Psychology Professor Howard Gardner of Harvard University, The Disciplines of the Mind
ECRIT Shows You How to Optimize Your Mind
Many people, leaders, and corporations are understandably confused between terms like "mental" and "cognitive." Either term can refer to "The Mind" or "The Brain." But is there a difference between the two?
Indeed there is. In fact, both scientists and politicians make a distinction between "The Mind" and "The Brain." With a Congressional law and a presidential mandate, both U.S. Representative Silvio Conte and President H.W. Bush had initiated The Decade of the Brain (1990-2000). That collaborative effort helped produce significant research in neural plasticity among other subjects. While the funding for neuroscience research was less that The Human Genome Project (1990-2015) ushered started by Dr. James Watson and Senator Pete Domenici around the same time, it was followed by a boost in further research ushered in by President Barack Obama's support for The Decade of the Mind (2012-2022).
The brain is a physical organ that consists of highly active neurons and neuroglial cells that perform a myriad of regulating functions (i.e. heart beat, breath rate, sleep cycles, metabolism, etc.) and "cognitive functions." The mind consists of the parts of the brain that analyzes, learns, memorizes, emotes, feels, experiences, makes decisions, and determines behavior. Neuroscientists study brain function, Neurologists study brain pathology. Some Psychiatrists and Psychologists study the brain and its pathologies as well, but most are focused upon the pathology of the mind. The difference is that the Psychiatrists have education and research experience regarding biology, whereas Psychologists rarely do.
One analogy that we typically use at ECRIT follows like this: "The Brain" is like a vehicle. The vehicle cannot decide what to carry, where to go, and how to drive along the way. For that, "The Mind" is like a driver. The driver sits inside the vehicle, decides what to carry, where to go, and how to drive.
"One day, I was sitting in my study surrounded by many books of different kinds, for it has long been my habit to engage in the pursuit of knowledge... As I mulled these ideas over in my mind again and again, I began to examine myself and my own behavior." Lady Christine de Pizan, The Book of the City of Ladies (1405)
People certainly have different brains. They are born with certain genetic talents that may or may not be used. We've seen that the human brain is an incredibly efficient supercomputer. However, our brains are not optimized and our minds are not very efficient because of how we use them. What matters most for any vehicle is how the driver maintains the vehicles, develops aspirations, sets goals to learn, drives the vehicle in the best direction, and collects what it is needed for success and well-being along the way. Thus, improving the use of your mind is crucial for success and sustainability.
The analogy derives from the analogy Rene Descartes made 500 years ago. He depicted the brain as a ship and the mind as the captain of that ship. However, there is another analogy dating back 2,500 years ago. In Plato's Phaedrus, Socrates depicts the brain as a chariot and the mind as a charioteer who must steer the way. The significant difference is that the Socratic model includes the interesting and helpful perspective of depicting the charioteer's struggle between one pegasus who wants to fly up toward enlightenment versus one pegasus who wants to fly down to. To develop success, the charioteer must learn how to guide the chariot despite the conflicting inclination of the two pegasi.
Professors like Martin Seligman, Mihalyi Csikszentmihalyi, Howard Gardner, George Vaillant, Barbara Frederickson, Carol Dweck, and Heidi Grant Halvorson are just some of the researchers who have been discovering better ways to use our minds. Thus, ECRIT keeps up with their research and initiatives. Unfortunately, people generally do not know how to examine themselves, change themselves, and apply good research findings to their lives. Therefore, most of us need someone with training and insight to guide us through new skills, knowledge, and change. We do not naturally develop "meta-cognition," the practice of thinking carefully about how we think.
ECRIT can guide you to optimize your brain and your mind so that you can use them for success and well-being.
How is their future together?
ECRIT Shows How to Optimize Families, Friends, and Teams
More importance than individual optimization and development is the joint teamwork between people. If one child has enormous potential brain power, imagine how they will be when they combine with another in a constructive way. Imagine them combining their strengths together.
ECRIT can guide you and others to develop good effective work together.
"People generally complain about their memory, but never about their judgment." Francois Rouchefourt, Maxims (circa 1685)