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Ask Mark – Week 1 responses

Prof Mark Solms responds to four questions posed by participants in Week 1 of What is a mind?
© University of Cape Town CC-BY-NC

Thank you to everyone who posted questions last week. I have recorded a response to four of the many interesting questions you had posed in Step 1.12 of Week 1. My video responses are on YouTube with links below.

Question 1: My question is around your claim that ‘first we have feelings’. Whilst this makes absolute sense, it would also strike me as being incompatible with one of the central principles of cognitive behavioural therapy, that is, Albert Ellis’ ABC model (i.e. that A. we experience an event, B. we interpret the event, and C. we feel an emotional response in line with our interpretation). In Ellis’ sequence, feelings would appear to be a secondary phenomenon, which are largely directed by thoughts. However, in the schema you describe, it would seem as though thought can be regarded as secondary to feeling. Do you regard your views as being compatible with Ellis’ line of reasoning in any respect or would you hold an altogether different perspective?

Question 2: How do you view the role of imagination – the ability to understand or explain someone else’s thoughts or actions even though you’ve never experienced anything like that yourself, or in the case of scientists to predict some wholly new insight into the nature of matter or forces?
Question 3: When you read some of the psychoanalytic texts (especially Freud), it seems that our unconscious is somehow working for itself! I think some of our unconscious actions are so much separated from us. Unconscious somehow thinks for itself, has feelings for itself. All the things that exist in our unconscious have come from our conscious feelings and thoughts but when they’re in unconscious, they don’t seem to be ours anymore…at least not exclusively belonging to us. So the questions are: Is our mind, the only mind that exists in our brain? And is our unconscious a part of our mind or it is another mind?
Question 4: Does the mind control us or do we control the mind?

I look forward to your questions for this week – you can post them in Step 2.12 of Week 2

© University of Cape Town CC-BY-NC
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What is a Mind?

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