Mind over matter  

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Mind over matter is a phrase popularized during the 1960s and 1970s that was originally used in reference to paranormal phenomena, especially psychokinesis. However, it has also been used in reference to mind-centric spiritual and philosophic doctrines such as responsibility assumption. It is the belief that the mind is more powerful than the body. Specifically, mind over matter refers to controlling pain that one may or may not be experiencing, such as holding one's hand under extremely hot water and feeling no pain. Also, "self-help" personalities such as Tony Robbins claim that, through the power of concentration and "positive thinking", people can walk on hot coals without getting burned. This claim is made despite the fact that there are solid, scientific explanations for firewalking. The phrase is present in the 2000s as well, usually used as slogan by hackers and hacker sites.

A scientific study (http://psiphen.colorado.edu/Pubs/ModdelSSE07.pdf), referenced in the May 2009 edition of Wired and performed by Professor Garret Moddel of the University of Colorado at Boulder, performed an experiment that supports the concept of 'mind over matter': in 2007, Professor Moddel aimed a beam of light at a glass slide and asked his test-subjects to mentally increase the amount of reflected light. With a baseline of 8 percent, the subjects were able to successfully increase the reflection of the beam by .05 percent, and showed a similar success when asked to mentally decrease the amount of reflected light. Started in 2007, the Dutch artist Iebele Abel used scientific methods to create artworks and music related to mind-matter correspondence.

"Mind over matter" was also Mao Zedong's idea that rural peasants could be "proletarianized" so they could lead the revolution and China could move from feudalism to socialism. It departs from Leninism in that the revolutionaries are peasants, instead of the urban proletariat.


The exact phrase "mind over matter" first appeared in 1863 in The Geological Evidence of the Antiquity of Man by Sir Charles Lyell (1797–1875) and refers to the increasing status and evolutionary growth of the minds of animals and man throughout Earth history.

It may be said that, so far from having a materialistic tendency, the supposed introduction into the earth at successive geological periods of life — sensation, instinct, the intelligence of the higher mammalia bordering on reason, and lastly, the improvable reason of Man himself — presents us with a picture of the ever-increasing dominion of mind over matter.| Sir Charles Lyell, 1863}}

Another related saying was coined centuries earlier (19 B.C.) "the mind moves matter" by the poet Virgil in his work Aeneid, book 6, line 727. The latter saying in Latin, mens agitat molem, is the official motto of the University of Warwick, Eindhoven University of Technology in The Netherlands and Newcastle University Union Society in the UK (amongst others).

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Mind over matter" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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