The first law of thermodynamics professes: Energy cannot be created nor destroyed, but only converted from one form to another.

There exists a colossal debate pertaining to the exact entity of the mind; questioning whether mental phenomena are physical or non-physical. Mental states, such as thinking, is one pronounced facet of the mind. So is thinking a physical or a mental process? let us first direct our attention to the following question, is thinking a form of energy? Since energy exists as a physical matter, if the answer is ‘YES‘, then It appears that the first law of thermodynamics perfectly establishes the mind to be a physical entity.

If the ontological relation between the upper-level properties of the mind can be explained by their lower physical level properties, then the mind may be deemed to be a physical object.


Let us take a closer look at the molecular level, the act of thinking requires communication between neurons. Neurons communicate via chemical messengers; namely, neurotransmitters. neuronal communication is mediated by the mechanism ‘action potential propagation’ which itself requires the utilization of a high energy molecule, i.e. Adenosine triphosphate (ATP). Energy molecules like ATP are merely chemical entities. Thus, mental processes hing on the utilization of energy within a physical molecule. If the presence of ATP in the body ceases, the act of thinking would evidently disappear!

HOWEVER, If brain surgeons would observe a human brain during an instance where the brain is consumed by multiple thoughts; they will remain naive as to what the individual is thinking about. Hence, could there be a third dimension in addition to the two dimensions we traditionally attribute as “physical” or “mental”?

There may be an answer to the above exclamation! A single heart cell (myocardium), or one atria, or one ventricle alone (group of myocardium) are incapable of functioning as a heart. By the same token, one brain cell, or one lobe of the brain is incapable of functioning as a brain. Hence, the new dimension may be elucidated as: The whole gives rise to an entity that is bigger than the sum of its parts. 

17 thoughts on “Is The Mind Physical? 

  1. In a way it is good that there still so much we do not know about our brain and how it really functions. Keeps us a bit humble… Humans are such big know-it-alls, but here is something we cannot really grasp (yet?).

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  2. The work of theoretical physicists adds another dimension altogether, whether from quantum entanglement to a current theory regarding multiple forms of yet an undiscovered particle (of which Higgs-Bosom is possibly being just one form of many it could take, such as dark matter (and then the connectedness of all particles)) ~ all of which is exciting but absolutely unresolvable for the short/medium term 🙂

    Still, quite fun to contemplate 🙂

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  3. Loved tjis article!! Very interesting…..Our thoughts are basically ‘energy’ that are bring transmitted amongst neurons in electrical impulses. According to Einstein’s theory, e=mc^2 anything that has energy has mass… thoughts might just be a physical thing!☺

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