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Mind and brain correlation

 
 
Reply Sat 22 Aug, 2009 07:19 am
The mystery of consciousness is the biggest one today in my opinion, and when (or if) we discover how it works, we will get a whole new look on existence and maybe create artificial intelligence.

Most people will agree that there is a correlation between your brain and your mind, as can be easily demonstrated with tons of examples. However, I can't understand how some people think that consciousness is a mere product of the brain, that disappears when we die, it just doesn't make sense to me. We aren't just machines, we have a subjective consciousness, how can subjectivity suddenly emerge if objects are set in special patterns? (Atoms forming as a brain)

Now, you can still say the same thing even if the consciousness is eternal and separate, why do we have a consciousness and not a rock? Some people will say that rocks have consciousness too, because everything in the universe has, but what is it that separates us then? Some people will argue that we are all One, as Eastern religions say, but if that's true, it can be explained if the one consciousness will be reborn as everyone one by one, so we are future and past lives of each other.

Because you can't argue against the fact that we are separate consciousness right now, we are different subjectivities so to say. Unless I am the only one really alive and everyone else are just illusions that seem to be alive like me, but I really doubt that. Razz

So how are mind and brain connected? Can electricity be a part of the puzzle? Our thoughts are said to be electrons moving, just like electricity, right? Ghosts are often reported switching on lights and televisions on and off, which also work with electricity, maybe there's a correlation there...

I do believe in reincarnation rather we ceasing to exist when we die, but I don't think our memories remain with us to our next lives like some people do. To make an analogy, let's say our senses is like a window on a wall, and our memories are like pictures on the wall, emotions, motivations, thoughts and reasonings can be thought of as entities whispering to us (this is like I said only an analogy of course, a theory of how the brain works), and when our body dies, the wall disappears, and we "turn around" (our consciousness continues it's journey). I don't know if you people think the analogy is stupid, or maybe someone else has thought the same thing? Because there is an almost indisputable connection between the brain and mind in some way.

Even if some people would disagree, I read in another thread here a theory that there is really no connection at all, and that everything that happens to our bodies and brains affect us like placebo effects. It really is an interesting theory, I've never thought of that before...

Now, what about the astral plane, just a mental phenomenon, or maybe there actually is an astral plane? Hell, maybe even deeper planes than that that we also function on, I've read some Theosophy stuff, which claims there are not just one or two dimensions that we exist in simultaneously, but seven!! It got really confusing, reading about it. It said alot about how one plane affects the one beneath, but it was a bit confusing as well, fancy stuff.

And what about quantum mechanics? Do we perhaps have free will after all, we can't recognize the patterns in subatomic particles... Or maybe it really IS random? Maybe there is no predetermination or free will, only random will.

This grew into a very long post apparently, but if someone has opinions, please let me hear them, let's try to find a possible solution to this mystery. :detective:
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richrf
 
  1  
Reply Sat 22 Aug, 2009 09:46 am
@Stormalv,
Stormalv;84908 wrote:
This grew into a very long post apparently, but if someone has opinions, please let me hear them, let's try to find a possible solution to this mystery. :detective:


Hi there Stormalv,

There appears to be many different views of consciousness, mind and its correlation to the brain.

My own sense is that the brain/spine are the primary instruments of the human nervous system that are used to receive and transmit information as might a transmitting/receiver network. Rupert Sheldrake provides a very good analogy to a TV. Sheldrake suggests that the picture itself does not come from the TV set itself but is received from the outside.

As for myself, I believe that Consciousness is using the human body, the evolved nervous system, the motor system, etc. in order to explore, learn, create, and share, and the physical body is Consciousness in a physical form. In other words, the physical body manifests from Consciousness, and they are one and the same.

Rich
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RDanneskjld
 
  1  
Reply Sat 22 Aug, 2009 10:22 am
@Stormalv,
I dont think there is anymore to the Mind than processes in the brain and there is not any reason to think otherwise. Numerous arguements exist in order to try show that physicalism is false, but I do not believe that they hold up to any serious scrutiny. One very popular arguement that attempts to show that Physicalism is false is the now infamous 'Mary's Room' which goes like this

Mary is a brilliant scientist who is, for whatever reason, forced to investigate the world from a black and white room via a black and white television monitor. She specializes in the Neurophysiology" of vision and acquires, let us suppose, all the physical information there is to obtain about what goes on when we see ripe tomatoes, or the sky, and use terms like 'red', 'blue', and so on. She discovers, for example, just which wavelength combinations from the sky stimulate the retina, and exactly how this produces via the Central nervous system the contraction of the vocal cords and expulsion of air from the lungs that results in the uttering of the sentence 'The sky is blue'.... What will happen when Mary is released from her black and white room or is given a Color television monitor? Will she learn anything or not?

I dont think this arguement is or any other that argues for Consciousness being anymore than a product of the Brain is any real problem for physicalism, with both thick and thin materialism, providing a good response. With Dennetts heterophenomenology approach which he both supports and outlines, I think we are getting very close to a science of Consciousness.
KaseiJin
 
  1  
Reply Mon 24 Aug, 2009 08:16 pm
@Stormalv,
Stormalv;84908 wrote:
Our thoughts are said to be electrons moving, just like electricity, right?


No, wrong. (unless, of course, you are simply pointing out that it is right that someone has said that that was the case. . . which it is not) It is not by free moving electrons that the neurons (or even muscle cells) work (although free moving electrons can affect those membranes) but by ions, that they work. Of course, there are positively and negatively charged ions, and that extra charge (an extra + or - atom) makes an electrostatic difference, but electrons are not moving about, just like electricity, making the brain work.

There are some other things which need correcting in your post, and if you are interested I'l be happy to direct you to some posts in other threads which deal with that; and will prove to be educational.


R.Danneskjöld;84944 wrote:
. . . I think we are getting very close to a science of Consciousness.


Interestingly enough, David Chalmers, who (if my memory serves me well) had come up with that Mary the super scientist thought experiment about qualia (I think he said he was a non-substance dualist?), was one of the speakers at this year's 'Towards a science of consciousness' congress in Hong Kong. That group is working towards making it a science.

Professor Ramachandran has well pointed out and argued, nevertheless, that this 'qualia' thing is a brain thing, and is thus (in the practical sense) is no big mystery. Sure, there is going to be some ever so slight range of difference between brains, in sensory processing, but it is otherwise very, very much the same--most all of us experience the color red naturally. Most of us (especially males) experience an orgasim for the first time without (often enough, I'd guess) information in advance on what it's supposed to 'feel like.' Additionally, most brains fill in the missing sense (or 'feel' we could say, in a way) of what our blind spots on the back of the retina do not recieve any information on. . . it's the way brain works.

Other points, would be for other, already in place threads, I'd argue.
Stormalv
 
  1  
Reply Mon 31 Aug, 2009 11:19 am
@KaseiJin,
Cool! I've also heard someone claim that there are some people in London who have figured out exactly how consciousness and the brain works, and is working on a way to present it to the world in an understandable fashion, which they will do at the end of 2012, and THAT is what will happen in 2012.

KaseiJin, could you post links to these posts? =)
0 Replies
 
RDanneskjld
 
  1  
Reply Mon 31 Aug, 2009 12:15 pm
@KaseiJin,
KaseiJin;85466 wrote:

Interestingly enough, David Chalmers, who (if my memory serves me well) had come up with that Mary the super scientist thought experiment about qualia (I think he said he was a non-substance dualist?), was one of the speakers at this year's 'Towards a science of consciousness' congress in Hong Kong. That group is working towards making it a science.

Professor Ramachandran has well pointed out and argued, nevertheless, that this 'qualia' thing is a brain thing, and is thus (in the practical sense) is no big mystery. Sure, there is going to be some ever so slight range of difference between brains, in sensory processing, but it is otherwise very, very much the same--most all of us experience the color red naturally. Most of us (especially males) experience an orgasim for the first time without (often enough, I'd guess) information in advance on what it's supposed to 'feel like.' Additionally, most brains fill in the missing sense (or 'feel' we could say, in a way) of what our blind spots on the back of the retina do not recieve any information on. . . it's the way brain works.

Other points, would be for other, already in place threads, I'd argue.

The Mary thought experience was actually thought up by Frank Jackson and was orginally outlined in his 1982 article Epiphenomenal Qualia, but David Chalmers has become a big fan of using this arguement alongside his other favourite which is the logical possibility of Zombie's, which again doesnt do anything to impress me.

Qualia if the term can be used productively, is certainly a product of Brain processes, though the concept of Qualia has come under fire from all sorts of angles and I agree with Dennett that when we try and make a pratical application of the concept of Qualia that it plays no role in the situation in question or that the questions posed are simply unanwserable because Qualia is defined with these very special properties. Also btw I think Ramachandran response to the Mary's Room thought experiment is a very good one and with the right research we can be well on our way to understanding all the workings of the human brain.
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jeeprs
 
  1  
Reply Wed 2 Sep, 2009 05:02 am
@RDanneskjld,
R.Danneskjöld;84944 wrote:
I dont think there is anymore to the Mind than processes in the brain and there is not any reason to think otherwise.


That is interesting. Various philosophies througout history have proposed reasons for accepting their premises and following their disciplines. For example, the Stoics wished to reach a state of impeturability called apathia

Quote:
The idea was to be free of suffering through apatheia (Greek: ἀπάθεια) or peace of mind (literally,'without passion'),[24] where peace of mind was understood in the ancient sense - being objective or having "clear judgment" and the maintenance of equanimity in the face of life's highs and lows Source


The Sceptics practised a discipline called epoche which was aimed at reaching a similar state, called by them ataraxia 'iability to be perturbed', or athambia 'inability to be astonished or alarmed' [McEvilly, The Shape of Ancient Thought, p 420.]

Turning to Eastern philosophy, Buddhists train themselves in meditation (dhyana) and higher states of concentration (samadhi) in order to reach the state of 'nibbana' which is known as the 'extinction of suffering'. Similar states are referred to in other schools of eastern philosophy.

So what is the philosophical aim of physicalism? If I were to take up this viewpoint, how would it benefit me?
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