Dr Caroline Leaf and the Maligned Master Mind Meme

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On Facebook today, Dr Leaf published a menagerie of memes, a full house of five of her favourite little nuggets of wisdom that comprise the pillars of her teaching.  For example, “Everything you first do and say is first a thought.” And, “You alone are responsible and can be held responsible for how you react to what happens in your life: your future is open, filled with an eternity of possible situations and choices.”  Too bad that our genes, which are not the result of our choices, are the biggest influence of our personality and our capacity to cope with our external environment (Vinkhuyzen et al, 2012), and that we often do and sometimes say things without thinking (https://cedwardpitt.com/2014/11/08/dr-caroline-leaf-putting-thought-in-the-right-place/).

But the most interesting meme in today’s trick is “The mind controls the brain … the brain influences but does not control the mind.”

For years, Dr Leaf has taught that the mind is separate from and controls the brain through social media and through her books.  Take a meme she posted to social media in May 2016.  It said, “As triune beings made in God’s image, we are spirit, mind (soul) and body – and our brain being part of the body does the bidding of the mind …”, and “God has designed the mind as separate from the brain. The brain simply stores the information from the mind and your mind controls your brain.”

With the weight of scientific evidence bearing down on her, Dr Leaf has finally given a little and made a concession.  Now the brain influences, but is still controlled by, the mind.

While it’s a step in the right direction, Dr Leaf’s meme is still wrong.  It doesn’t matter what small changes Dr Leaf makes to the window dressing of her teaching, her ministry is so structurally unsound that it’s derelict.

This is because the mind is a product of the brain.  Yes, the brain influences the mind, because the brain creates the mind.  Actual neuroscientists like Professor Bernard Baars in collaboration with mathematician and computer scientist Professor Stan Franklin have shown that the mind is simply a small projection of a much greater stream of unconscious brain activity (Baars and Franklin, 2003; Franklin, 2013; Baars, 2005)

The relationship of the brain to the mind is a little like the relationship of our cars dashboard to the engine.  We don’t see all of the actions of the engine under the hood of our car, but it powers our car nonetheless.  What we do see is the dashboard.  We can see our speed, and depending on the make and model of the car you drive, the dashboard also shows the engine temperature, revs, fuel and the warning lights for our engine and our electrics.

In the same way, our brain powers us.  It’s the engine purring along under the surface.  Our mind is the dashboard, giving us a tiny glimpse at a much greater process underneath the surface.  Suggesting that our mind is in control of our brain is like suggesting that our dashboard is in control of our engine.  The mind is a product of our brain designed to give us conscious awareness of a small portion of a much deeper stream of activity that senses our environment, alters our moods, plans our actions and then executes them.

By basing her entire ministry on such science fiction, Dr Leaf makes a mockery out of every church that hosts her, of everyone that buys her books, and of everyone who subscribes to her programs.  She also makes a mockery of herself, which is the saddest part of this whole story.  I hope that she stops making changes to the window dressings of her ministry, and starts to make the necessary changes to her foundations before it’s too late and the whole thing comes crashing down.

References

Baars, B.J., Global workspace theory of consciousness: toward a cognitive neuroscience of human experience. Progress in brain research, 2005. 150: 45-53

Baars, B.J. and Franklin, S., How conscious experience and working memory interact. Trends Cogn Sci, 2003. 7(4): 166-72  http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12691765 ; http://bit.ly/1a3ytQT

Franklin, S., et al., Conceptual Commitments of the LIDA Model of Cognition. Journal of Artificial General Intelligence, 2013. 4(2): 1-22

Vinkhuyzen, A.A., et al., Common SNPs explain some of the variation in the personality dimensions of neuroticism and extraversion. Transl Psychiatry, 2012. 2: e102 doi: 10.1038/tp.2012.27

2 thoughts on “Dr Caroline Leaf and the Maligned Master Mind Meme

  1. “Peculiar” is the medical world, based on drugs (and big pharma which is mprinted very early on the minds of wanna be doctors who study medicine). Doctors CANNOT cure, I say that because it is the truth. Western medicine does not cure, that is the truth. Doctors of medicine adhere to Big Pharma and medical institutes of education, further testing and fellowships/memberships. Doctors are all about money, NOT the Hypocraticl Oath.
    There are many people who have no faith in conventional medicine. Does this mean they don’t believe in The Trinity? Through media, we now have access to all that is wrong with Big Pharma. I personally, have seen the “incentives” doctors receive from pharmaceutical companies. I have worked in both pharmaceutical companies, pharmacies and garnered much information from a very dear friend/now deceased, who was a medical doctor & later became head of Obs in a large hospital.
    I know the dangers of medication. In recent years I have worked with geriatrics. I have seen the effect of Risperdal on the mind and behaviour, it’s sickening! The long-term effects of sleeping pills, I could go on. All patients in frailcare are on extreme medication, they have to be, as they are more “controllable” But, we are brainwashed from young: the doctor will make you better. That is utter tripe! There are many alternative remedies to treating health issues, but so many people have brain fog.
    Seriously, hang up your white coat and remove your doctor label, take a look at how food affects the body, this is ANCIENT information. Look at fasting, the amazing impact it has on the mind,body and “soul”
    Wrt food: feed carbs to one group, especially children, and feed another group on fresh vegetables and fruit – NO carbs-the behaviour of these two groups is very obvious, with the carb kids “as if on a fix” But most conventional doctors only know the white paper, prescriptions!
    I have weaned geriatrics off sleeping pills(some of these patients were on the same sleeping pill for 10 years!) I have used massage, soothing music and touch, used Biblical principles and helped them with breathing techniques and affirmations/renewed thought process ie: “I am needed in society, I might be frail, I am loved” etc. Love is the backbone, love is the foundation and love is the key. You are what you think, if you think and say you are useless, so you become. If you love yourself and care for yourself, you flourish. Thought patterns are healing or damaging, go into homes, prisons’ even the workplace and hospitals to find out.
    Each one of us has been given, by God, not a spirit of fear; but of power and of love, and a sound mind.
    Wrt to food- you are what you eat. Use food sensibly, food can prevent illnesses. (Just like healthy, clean, loving thinking/thought patterns). What you think, can heal or cause illness. Don’t believe that? Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the RENEWING of your mind……R 12:2, Phill.4:8; T 1:7; Jer. 33:3; Prov. 28:26; Prov. 4:23 Coll.3:2-5; Eph.4:23, (29-32 is helpful to all) I leave you: Trust in The Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.
    May we open our hearts and our minds, remembering: Jesus healed them all, without medication.

    • I appreciate your opinion, but your fundamental premise is skewed. I don’t know any doctor that believes that medicine ‘cures’ all diseases, and no self-respecting person with medical training promotes that notion. Some conditions require treatment, and some treatment works better than others. I recommend the evidence-based treatments that have been shown to be the most effective for that person’s condition. Sometimes that’s prescription medications, sometimes that’s counselling, sometimes it’s exercise. Sometimes it’s just time and patience. It’s simplistic to suggest that doctors only know how to write prescriptions, and it’s equally simplistic to suggest that simply restricting carbs or engaging in positive thinking is a better alternative. You’re welcome to your opinion, but I do not agree with the validity of your premises or the soundness of you ultimate conclusions. All the best to you.

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