Mind and Brain - Mind and Brain The Genius of Fortune Jesus...

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Mind and Brain: The Genius of Fortune Jesus, according to the Bible 1 , tells his followers a parable about a man who, before embarking on a long journey, called together his three servants and entrusted them with the greater part of his wealth. To the first servant, he gave five talents 2 of gold, to the second, two talents, and to the third, one talent. Upon his return several years later, he called upon his servants to deliver up the wealth which he had left to them. The first servant reported that he had made productive use ofthe five talents entrusted to him and thereupon returned ten talents to his master, who was so delighted with this good and faithful servant, he rewarded him. The second servant made a similar report and returned not only his original two talents, but an additional two which he had earned during his master's absence. The man was as delighted with this servant as he was with the first, and the second servant was similarly rewarded. The third servant reported that, because he had dug a hole in the ground and hid the one talent entrusted to him, he was only able to offer back to his master his one original talent.This report angered the man, who took the one talent from the servant, gave it to the first servant, and cast the slothful servant out of doors, where, according to Matthew, there was much gnashing of teeth. The Parable of the Talents is intended to warn even those with the meanest ability to use to the best advantage his or herGod-given or natural "talents." We do commonly observe that some people appear to exercise more or less talent than others, and these differing degrees of talent among individuals vary from field to field -- for example, some have a higher degree of talent in artistic creation, others in their power to solve problems in mathematics. Why is this so? Are these talents, as the parable may suggest, God-given, or is there some material explanation for varying degrees of artistic and intellectual abilities? Our inquiry builds upon the moderate immaterialistic view of the relationship between the mind and body, a view articulated by Mortimer J. Adler in his book, Intellect, 3 and which may be summarized as follows: The brain is a necessary, but not a sufficient condition of conceptual thought. In other words, some immaterial substance (e.g.,human soul, spirit, or intellect) is required for conceptual thought, but conceptual thought depends upon the operation of the material brain, without which we could not think conceptually. 4 Upon that, it is submitted that the difference in degree among humans in intellectual talent -- a difference, when evident in one extreme, we call gifted talent or genius -- has its basis in the dependence of conceptual thought upon the structure and operation of the material brain. Specifically, an intellectual talent springs from physical conditions in the brain that are disposed toward the exercise of that talent -- the better those conditions, the better the talent is likely to be. The causes of these bodily dispositions are, paradoxically, both material and, in a sense, divine.
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