Larry Dossey’s One Mind has been without a doubt my favorite literature thus far in the course because of the seamless integration of scientific concepts, logic and reasoning, counter arguments, and real life relatable evidence. Rather than trying to jam a bold and radical concept down readers’ throats like a superstitious individual who believes he has experienced something out of this world that the vast majority of the population has not, he uses concrete examples that are too clear to ignore. Furthermore, the premise of Dossey’s argument is based off of careful observations from his early life as a teen accidentally picking up the writings of Walden to his first hand experiences as a doctor with countless patients. Lastly, the point that touched me the most was the larger context to which Dossey was speaking to. Dossey strongly believes that the world as we know it is headed towards a destructive downward spiral filled with discrimination, war, hunger, poverty, disease, conflict, etc. past the point of no return. However, when thinking of Dossey’s mission to restore humanity and make the world a better place by opening people’s minds to the concept that we are all of the same mind is very inspiring. I also believe that if everyone truly saw and believed that we share the same mind, there will no longer be conflict because we will all be looking out for each other’s well-being just as we look out for our own.
One particular story that I would like to explore is the example of “saving others” that Dossey uses to prove the existence of a larger collective mind. He shows that through selfless acts by strangers such as the 50 year old construction worker who had two daughters with him jumping onto the tracks, risking his own life, in order to save the random stranger in trouble. While Dossey’s reasoning for this was that in that moment, the barrier between individual minds ceased to exist and the construction worker was able to see the stranger in need as part of himself and therefore jumped to aid without hesitation. This thought process implies that everyone is connected in this way even if we don’t realize it on a daily basis. However, I would like to offer an alternate explanation from a purely philosophical perspective.
Whenever I hear about these types of stories, ones of extremely heroic or selfless acts that happen anywhere from a warzone to a public park, part of me writes it off as something not that phenomenal due to the craziness and impulsiveness of the act. Following the assumption that every decision a human being makes is always the most favorable one in their mind at that time, I do not believe that there really is anything special about these heroic acts. To elaborate, even when someone is giving to charity or helping somebody else out, somewhere in the back of their head, they know that it is the best decision at that time to make because it will either make them feel better about themselves in that moment or potentially reward them later on. Similarly, even though someone impulsively acting out to save another random person might not seem like a logical decision in that moment, there is reason to believe that the person makes that knowing in the back of their head that it could pay off in recognition by peers, acceptance and appraisal by society, or just self-satisfaction. This assumption seems to hold true just as much as Dossey’s assumptions and would debunk his theory of one-mindedness in the context of people saving others when there are no clear biological/genetic/survival benefits at play.