The differences between the mind and brain is an intriguing distinction.> There is important because each part seems almost to embody a different set of functions we seem to embody the physical parts of being into the brain, wherein are regulated breathing, heartbeat, regulation of hormones, all things that our body subconsciously does for us. The so called "conscious" functions, are in our mind. The author/neurobiologist Damasio seems to be trying to find a reason for being - the reasons for how we behave and an explanation for our actions. In his portrayal there is the unknown factor, the search for understanding of the ever fluctuating mind. His "mind" is most definitely determined by reason and emotion, emotions are scientifically explained as the basis for reasoning. His depiction contains a certain dualism - the world as we see it and the world as we interpret it. Reasons and emotion are one of the most influential factors in our behaviour. Reasoning, long believed to be the calm, cold logical part of the brain, does in fact need emotions to temper reactions. Damasio states an interesting case in explaining that emotive sensation is one of the most vital inputs into our world view. We need emotions to help evaluate a case, emotions call to mind everything that is linked to a certain situation. Reasoning helps us to analyse and deal with a situation, but as in all things it must be tempered by emotion. Behaviour is a reflection of this duality, we must have both in order to be able to interact socially with the rest of the world. Man cannot live be reasoning nor emotions alone. The wholly reasonable man, is lacking a very serious part of his world, he cannot respond with emotion, thus he has no measurement against which to judge. The same way that a wholly emotive person cannot survive. Emotion is very flighty capable of drastic, variable changes without rhyme or reason. This is where the action potential becomes very important, because these two parts of the mind seem to be interlinked according to the research of Damasio, the neurons are capable of self stimulus, and thus reasoning through completely imaginary situations or feeling emotion at figments of the imagination. Because action potential can be self starting there is always the possibility of imagination, and thus we are better prepared to deal with unknown situations when they face us. Thus emotion, reasoning, and action potential are a way of protecting us from future dangers. We prepare ourselves, emotion can cause reactions in the body which signal warning colors, such as a blush. The action potential translates an emotive pathway into a physical expression.
Reasoning is mostly contained in the mind. It is a very important part of our behaviour interaction, because it is usually a response to exterior inputs or else interior thoughts. These have caused us to cogitate - the neural circuitry is set into action causing other parts of the brain and body to function, either protecting us or causing further trouble. Behaviour can sometimes be seriously affected by emotion, it seems that sometimes emotions are the over ride "button". Emotions will cause us to act in a certain way regardless of the opposing reasons against something which may be foolish. This seems to be the body's way of reacting to certain seemingly important stimuli, regardless of how the "higher" sense may feel. Emotion, reasoning, and the action potential are an integral and vital part of behaviour.
Intriguing, provocative linking of several sets of readings (know there is a multiple book review of Damasio on Serendip, done by an earlier class? at http://serendipstudio.org/bb/damasio/descartes.html). Very interesting thought, that one can see the action potential as the intermediary between the emotive and the physical. Too pursue the thing a bit further, though: presumably emotion and reasoning are themselves simply patterns of action potentials, no? So action potential not so much a bridge between emotive and physical but the ingredient out of which the emotive (as well as the rational) is made? PG