A Matter of the Mind
Beechcroft explains that he doesn't drink, stay out late, or eat poorly. He's simply tired of being pushed around and wants to eliminate all the people of the world.
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- Examine the interactions between matter and mind.
Later, in the cafeteria, Henry saves Beechcroft a seat, because he's still feeling guilty about spilling the coffee. He also presents Beechcroft a book titled "The Mind and the Matter", which deals with the ultimate in concentration.
The Matter of the Mind: Philosophical Essays on Psychology, Neuroscience and Reduction
The book intrigues Beechcroft as he starts to reads through it in the cafeteria, and he continues to read it on the subway ride home. In his apartment, he reads the last page, and then concludes that the authors are indeed correct that concentration is the most underrated power in the universe. It then occurs to him that he can use concentration to realize his dream of eliminating people.
He tests his theory out on his landlady, whom he successfully makes disappear. The next day, now that Beechcroft knows he can do it, he concentrates while in the subway and suddenly all the other commuters disappear. Beechcroft walks into usually overcrowded office to find it totally empty.
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Despite the paradise, he soon grows extremely bored; "bored to tears", with being the last person on Earth. After trying to create diversions such as an earthquake or electrical storm, Beechcroft goes home for the night, where he gets a visit from his conscience.
Instead of learning from his mistake, Beechcroft comes away with the idea of repopulating the world in his image. The height of a person is more or less constant, but we see his height is growing as he approaches toward us.
- The Mind and the Matter!
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A table feels absolutely dense and solid, but science teaches us that most of the space a table occupies is empty. Of course this does not prove once and for all that there are only matter in the universe, and mind is just some complicated form of matter. But then again according to our best scientific theory of matter, there are little room for mind to causally influence matter.
After all this is the question of the universe, question of mind and matter, that is of everything. Most FutureLearn courses run multiple times.
A Matter of the Mind
Every run of a course has a set start date but you can join it and work through it after it starts. Find out more.
This course is aimed at anyone who wants to know more about our current scientific and philosophical investigation of the relationship between matter and mind. I am a philosopher of science and technology at Hanyang University, Seoul. I teach the courses covering various aspects of contemporary science and technology, and I enjoy teaching very much! You can use the hashtag FLMatterMind to talk about this course on social media.
Mind and Matter | The Scientist Magazine®
I started with the placebo effect, where someone feels better after receiving a treatment that contains no active ingredient. These changes are dependent on individual attitudes and beliefs and can be surprisingly effective, particularly for relieving chronic conditions such as pain and depression, where trials show that placebos work almost as well as the most effective drugs. The human aspects of medical care also have potent therapeutic effects.
Another trial of 24 patients with acid reflux disease found no difference between placebo and an over-the-counter homeopathic supplement, but those given a minute consultation improved significantly more than those who received a standard minute appointment. The role of the mind may go beyond improving how patients feel.
More research is needed to work out exactly how such changes influence health, but clinical trials are finding that factors such as mood and social support can be crucial for physiological outcomes. For example, a meta-analysis of trials involving more than 15, women in 16 countries found that those who received continuous one-on-one care during childbirth were significantly less likely to need an instrumental delivery or caesarean section—making this one of the only interventions known to reduce the risk of surgery during childbirth.