The Most Fertile Path of Human Evolution: Intellect or Feeling?

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  • #26
hypnagogue
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Royce said:
As to the right/left issue, I don't know, I only know what I read and see. I do think it rather difficult to believe that a "simple brain scan" can tell whats actually going on, activity yes, linear analysis or conceptual thinking, I don't think so.
If you're so skeptical of this result, why did you accept the old view?

Did you read the article? We deduce what the brain does not by simply scanning it, but by scanning it while subjects perform some cognitive tasks. So we can see what portions of the brain are more active for detail oriented tasks and which are more active for broader conceptual tasks. The pattern that appears to be emerging is that local, detailed tasks are handled more by the left hemisphere and broader, global tasks are handled more by the right hemisphere. However, this division of labor is more about processing styles than actual tasks. For instance, language is processed in both the left and right hemispheres, but the left specializes with low-level details like grammar and word choice, while the right analyzes things like intonation and emphasis of words.
 
  • #27
Les Sleeth
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Royce said:
I said that my information may be dated however the wiring of the two halves being differently wired is only a couple of years old and I saw it on either CPT, Nova or the Discovery Channel.
As to the right/left issue, I don't know, I only know what I read and see. I do think it rather difficult to believe that a "simple brain scan" can tell whats actually going on, activity yes, linear analysis or conceptual thinking, I don't think so. I simply quote the last line; "intriguingly complex and tough to prove."

I think I understand your point, that the brain tends to split detail jobs and generalist jobs.

I don't want to seem overly exact, but I have to say that I don't think the deepest experience of meditation has anything to do with the brain since that experience seems to separate one from one's body somewhat. Because of that, I have come to see the differentiation the brain does (aside from linking consciousness and body) as entirely dedicated to teaching consciousness how to think. Good thinking requires both receptivity to the whole and focus on the particulars, so it shouldn't be a surprise that the brain is generally organized that way.

If we are to contemplate that consciousness might be something not created by the brain, but inhabiting the brain to help consciousness develop as an individual and learn how to reason, then it isn't a wild theory that disassociating from the brain (as in meditation) reveals one's more basic nature.
 
  • #28
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hypnagogue said:
If you're so skeptical of this result, why did you accept the old view?
The "old view" has been around for a while and was widely accepted at one time.

Did you read the article?
I hadn't read the article at the time that I posted my reply. I have since read it and also did a quick google search for the interconnecting issue but was unable to find anything in the sort time that I had to look.

We deduce what the brain does not by simply scanning it, but by scanning it while subjects perform some cognitive tasks. So we can see what portions of the brain are more active for detail oriented tasks and which are more active for broader conceptual tasks. The pattern that appears to be emerging is that local, detailed tasks are handled more by the left hemisphere and broader, global tasks are handled more by the right hemisphere.
Isn't this saying about the same thing in different words?

However, this division of labor is more about processing styles than actual tasks.
Serial vs parallel, sequential, linear reasoning vs conceptual thinking maybe?

For instance, language is processed in both the left and right hemispheres, but the left specializes with low-level details like grammar and word choice, while the right analyzes things like intonation and emphasis of words.
Grammar and word choice is logical and mechanical while intonation and emphasis is more the art of writing or orating.

I don't disagree or dispute what you're saying only that it is proof that the old view is entirely wrong. I simply used the view to try to help explain why they are "feelings" on the edge of consciousness rather than complete conscious thoughts easily put into words and analyzed. I may be entirely wrong, way off base, but it is really moot anyway as it is not really on subject.
You post and article was interesting and informative and I thank you for it.
You obviously are much more informed and knowledgeable on the subject than I and I bow to your expertise
 
  • #29
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Les Sleeth said:
I think I understand your point, that the brain tends to split detail jobs and generalist jobs.

I don't want to seem overly exact, but I have to say that I don't think the deepest experience of meditation has anything to do with the brain since that experience seems to separate one from one's body somewhat. Because of that, I have come to see the differentiation the brain does (aside from linking consciousness and body) as entirely dedicated to teaching consciousness how to think. Good thinking requires both receptivity to the whole and focus on the particulars, so it shouldn't be a surprise that the brain is generally organized that way.
I agree that meditation has little or nothing to do with the organization of the brain. As I said above in my reply to hypnagogue, I am merely trying to explain why we have these "feelings" rather than them being complete conscious reasoning thought easily put into words and analyzed.

If we are to contemplate that consciousness might be something not created by the brain, but inhabiting the brain to help consciousness develop as an individual and learn how to reason, then it isn't a wild theory that disassociating from the brain (as in meditation) reveals one's more basic nature.
Agreed. As I have said before in other post, I think of the brain as the hardware and consciousness as the software. Neither can function without the other and the brain it the interactive interface between our mind and consciousness and our bodies or the physical world.
 
  • #30
loseyourname
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Royce said:
Grammar and word choice is logical and mechanical while intonation and emphasis is more the art of writing or orating.
Are you sure of this? First off, just a tiny little detail problem: writing doesn't involved intonation and emphasis. Those are purely aural qualities. They can be expressed through descriptive writing attached to the speech itself, as in "'That sunset sure is gorgeous,' he said reverently," but it is still a description of tonal quality, not of the word itself.

More importantly, though, there are plent of examples where intonation and emphasis (more precisely, accent) actually has an effect on word choice. In many languages, there are abundant examples of words that are grammatically and syntactical identical, but take on different meanings depending on how they are voiced. Basically, what looks like exactly the same two words on a page can actually be several different words. The other thing to bring up is that accent and pitch can change in many languages across different inflected forms of the same word root. That is, the way a word sounds is actually part of the grammatical and syntactical value of the word.

All in all, I don't think it's quite so simple as saying that one is purely a logical construct and the other is an artistic quality of language. If you look at the early dialects of classical Greek, especially the Homeric dialect, the grammar and syntax rules themselves contribute to the artistry of the language. Words almost always end in vowel sounds, and syntax does not depend upon word order, but rather entirely upon inflection, in order to facilitate the composition of oral poetry. The rules of the language almost seem custom designed to enable one to express any thought, or any sentence, through song as easily as through exposition or prose.
 
  • #31
Les Sleeth
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Royce said:
I agree that meditation has little or nothing to do with the organization of the brain.
Since I wrote this to you, "I don't think the deepest experience of meditation has anything to do with the brain since that experience seems to separate one from one's body somewhat," I have been thinking about it a lot. This is a little off topic :redface:, but I thought you might find it interesting.

As you know I've talked extensively about union in the past, where consciousness seems to unify into a single integrated experience. After I wrote that above, it occurred to me that if the brain really does compartmentalize an area of consciousness in order to teach it to think, as well as connect it to the body, then full union would have to separate one from the body (i.e., brain) a bit.

Coincidently, his morning I had such an experience in meditation, and then went for a walk in vineyard where I live. The Pacific Ocean is just a few miles away, and had deposited fog in the valleys that roll off in the distance. Whew! My mind really went still suddenly, lifted up, and I felt like I and that whole beautiful landscape had become one huge experience. It was so consuming, all I could do was stand there and be part of it.

When that happens, it is hard to conclude that such a large experience is just one's own consciousness, it's too big! Personally I think that kind of experience is why people begin feeling like there is a much larger consciousness present everywhere they occasionally get to join with.
 
  • #32
Rade
Les Sleeth said:
If we are to contemplate that consciousness might be something not created by the brain, but inhabiting the brain to help consciousness develop as an individual and learn how to reason, then it isn't a wild theory that disassociating from the brain (as in meditation) reveals one's more basic nature.
I think you need a new word for what you call "consciousness not created by the brain". It is confusing to call the non-brain created entity "consciousness" that then helps another entity that you also call consciousness develop. Clearly, your second-consciousness is the well known brain faculty, which is a realistic entity possessed by living organisms, that acts to process the material provided external to it (whether from the senses, or other parts of the brain not part of second-consciousness). But now you include in the equation a helper to second-consciousness, perhaps what can be called first-consciousness (unless you know another name already applied), and these two entangle to form a union. I think this possible, because duality is just so common in existence, and helpers are well known (e.g., the co-enzyme helps the enzyme which helps the protein, glouns help hold together the quarks, etc.). But, do you then hold that second-consciousness can never function without first-consciousness helper ? or that the two always form a union of action ? -- this is not clear to me, seems like it could go both ways.

FYI, your theory of the first-consciousness is similar to the view in physics that there are hidden variables within real entities. In the typical hidden variable model, that which exists is described in the same manner whether observed or not. Thus, your first-consciousness concept if viewed as a quantum wavefunction of a hidden variable, must have very unique properties, e.g., it must connect with every other particle in the universe, be entirely invisible, and travel faster than the speed of light. And, there is some experimental evidence from what is called Bell's theorem that all efforts to eliminate faster than speed of light character of hidden variable waves must fail. I take this from the book Quantum Reality, 1985, Nick Herbert.

Also, could you please help me understand your argument by giving an example of where this potential hidden variable entity (non-brain created first-consciousness) comes from (since not from the brain)--(1) is it external to the body initially then built bit-by-bit over time (but then it seems we would have a problem that it is in fact brain created), or did it come to be put in the brain as a whole by some external creator, or perhaps not put directly into the brain, but into the fertilized egg and it just hangs out until second-consciousness is formed during development of fetus ?--(2) or, perhaps it is initially created internally in some other organ of the body, perhaps within the kidney, or the liver, but I find this hard to accept ?

Finally, are you aware of any papers that document the mental process of meditation as occurring in a realistic form "disassociated from the brain"--this is a new concept for me--if meditation is not within the organ called the brain, where exactly does it occur ? Or are you just saying that meditation (as a form of first-consciousness) is a hidden variable type mental process (that then connects all existence) that occurs in a different area of the brain than the mental actions of second consciousness ? -- which is very clear to understand biologically if not philosophically.
 
  • #33
Les Sleeth
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Rade said:
I think you need a new word for what you call "consciousness not created by the brain". It is confusing to call the non-brain created entity "consciousness" that then helps another entity that you also call consciousness develop. Clearly, your second-consciousness is the well known brain faculty, which is a realistic entity possessed by living organisms, that acts to process the material provided external to it (whether from the senses, or other parts of the brain not part of second-consciousness). But now you include in the equation a helper to second-consciousness, perhaps what can be called first-consciousness (unless you know another name already applied), and these two entangle to form a union.
Imagine the Pacific Ocean is conscious. It is conscious as a whole, but also each "point" you might touch on the ocean is conscious but only generally so because it has always been part of the whole thing.

Let's say the whole consciousness wanted individuate a "point" within itself, and to do that the whole decides that created the appearance of separation is the best route. So the whole freezes some of itself, creates little compartments inside the frozen part, and then inserts that "point" of itself it wants individuate into the frozen part. Once inside, the generally conscious point is made "self-aware," because it experiences separateness from the whole where it originated. It isn't really separate, it is just unawareness of the whole situation.

Similarly, let's say there is some vast plane of consciousness that has helped bring about biology so it could emerge through the nervous system. Some humans learn a technique for disassociating from the nervous system and thereby experience the whole situation they originated from, and that they have been part of all along. In this model there aren't two types of consciousness, there are simply whole consciousness and point consciousnesses. "Union" would be described as the conscious experience of this singularity.


Rade said:
Thus, your first-consciousness concept if viewed as a quantum wavefunction of a hidden variable, must have very unique properties, e.g., it must connect with every other particle in the universe, be entirely invisible, and travel faster than the speed of light. And, there is some experimental evidence from what is called Bell's theorem that all efforts to eliminate faster than speed of light character of hidden variable waves must fail. I take this from the book Quantum Reality, 1985, Nick Herbert.
I can't see how base consciousness has anything to do with physics other than it is housed by the physical system temporarily, and apparently organized and individuated by it (i.e., via brain functions).


Rade said:
Also, could you please help me understand your argument by giving an example of where this potential hidden variable entity (non-brain created first-consciousness) comes from (since not from the brain)--(1) is it external to the body initially then built bit-by-bit over time (but then it seems we would have a problem that it is in fact brain created), or did it come to be put in the brain as a whole by some external creator, or perhaps not put directly into the brain, but into the fertilized egg and it just hangs out until second-consciousness is formed during development of fetus ?--(2) or, perhaps it is initially created internally in some other organ of the body, perhaps within the kidney, or the liver, but I find this hard to accept ?
I would rather not model the "whole" thing again. If you look at my profile, you can find some threads I've done in the past modeling it. I can't say I know anything about it for sure. All I really have to go on is the experience I described to Royce. Like you, I am a curious fellow and enjoy trying to figure out how the universe works. I don't dispute physics, and I don't believe in anything supernatural. However creation works, it seems to all be fully natural (in the sense of developing according to laws). But one "not" my inner experience has convinced me of is that I am not essentially a product of physicalness even if I have been given considerable structure by it.


Rade said:
Finally, are you aware of any papers that document the mental process of meditation as occurring in a realistic form "disassociated from the brain"--this is a new concept for me--if meditation is not within the organ called the brain, where exactly does it occur ? Or are you just saying that meditation (as a form of first-consciousness) is a hidden variable type mental process (that then connects all existence) that occurs in a different area of the brain than the mental actions of second consciousness ? -- which is very clear to understand biologically if not philosophically.
There are papers on types of meditation, but no papers I know of documenting the kind of "union" meditation I am talking about. I believe there are plenty of reports of consciousness disassociating from the body, but there is no consensus about what really occurs. Hypnagogue was just arguing to me that such first-person beliefs are unreliable, and in the case of trauma, sickness, mental instability, drugs, etc. causing a sense of body separation, I agree. But if you practice a natural method that results in a certain experience over a 30 year period, and there is a 3000 year old history of others achieving the same thing, then that adds more credibility IMO.
 
  • #34
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loseyourname said:
Are you sure of this? First off, just a tiny little detail problem: writing doesn't involved intonation and emphasis.
Yes I'm sure of it. Grammar and word choice are normally mechanical and logical. It can't be any other way or we couldn't communicate with each other. Grammar and word choice can be artistic but that is not normal. The fact that it is different gives it special meaning and emphasis. Writing and speaking is an art and is also mundane everyday boring stuff. A good speaker or story teller is a delight to listen to just as a good book is a delight to read while a text book or a financial report can be torture to endure.

It, they can be both and probably often are which is one reason that activity can be seen in both hemispheres at the same time. We have to be able to understand what is being said as well as appreciate the beauty of the art.
 
  • #35
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Les Sleeth said:
it occurred to me that if the brain really does compartmentalize an area of consciousness in order to teach it to think, as well as connect it to the body, then full union would have to separate one from the body (i.e., brain) a bit.
I agree. While I never lost my identity or consciousness I often have felt disconnected or free (beyond) from my body.

It was so consuming, all I could do was stand there and be part of it.

When that happens, it is hard to conclude that such a large experience is just one's own consciousness, it's too big! Personally I think that kind of experience is why people begin feeling like there is a much larger consciousness present everywhere they occasionally get to join with.
I wonder if this was the same kind of experiences that I have had when I felt, sensed, the presence a high power or order of being that I took to be God or god head. I know that I wrote of this long ago to you soon after we first joined PF. Anyway I am happy for you and delighted to here of your having such an experience. It is overwhelming and will never leave you as you know. It will take weeks for you to fully realize and understand better what has happened (At least it did and does for me). It can be life changing.
If the experience that you described is the same kind as I have had you can see where most of my sense of wonder and awe of the World and Universe comes from.
 
  • #36
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Rade said:
I think you need a new word for what you call "consciousness not created by the brain". It is confusing to call the non-brain created entity "consciousness" that then helps another entity that you also call consciousness develop. Clearly, your second-consciousness is the well known brain faculty, which is a realistic entity possessed by living organisms, that acts to process the material provided external to it (whether from the senses, or other parts of the brain not part of second-consciousness). But now you include in the equation a helper to second-consciousness, perhaps what can be called first-consciousness (unless you know another name already applied), and these two entangle to form a union.
Not to disagree with Les but to attempt to add to his reply. Freud termed our identity as ego and our self awareness as our conscious mind. He also named a super ego which over looked and supervised things and subconscious mind which was our mental activities and emotions below our level of awareness. I think all of these are related to this discussion but none of it directly only as alternate ways of thinking of it.

There is one consciousness whether it be God, a god head, the Universe or whatever. We are individual consciousnesses of our own identity but ultimately part of and one with the one universal consciousness. Normally we dwell within our bodies and are attached via our brain to our body. Under certain circumstances we, our consciousness can become detached and independent from our bodies, retain our identity, awareness and consciousness even though the body may be unconscious.

At other times such as during meditation our consciousness can become disassociated with our body and become consciously one with the universal consciousness and become aware of all the other individual interconnected consciousnesses. There are other occurrences such as going to and becoming one with the void, ultimate awareness of being with no physical body or universe. There are others of which I have heard but never experienced nor personally know of.

I am completely aware that there is no scientific basis or evidence for any of this and there are always alternate, logical, scientific explanations. All of this is disputed and denied, even scoffed at by some scientist; however, none of this changes the reality of these events or experiences nor the historical records of thousands of such events over thousands of years. It ain't science but it is. I guess this mean science isn't all that there is.
 
  • #37
loseyourname
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Royce said:
Yes I'm sure of it. Grammar and word choice are normally mechanical and logical. It can't be any other way or we couldn't communicate with each other. Grammar and word choice can be artistic but that is not normal. The fact that it is different gives it special meaning and emphasis. Writing and speaking is an art and is also mundane everyday boring stuff. A good speaker or story teller is a delight to listen to just as a good book is a delight to read while a text book or a financial report can be torture to endure.

It, they can be both and probably often are which is one reason that activity can be seen in both hemispheres at the same time. We have to be able to understand what is being said as well as appreciate the beauty of the art.
I think you missed my point, Royce. It is that the aural quality of the spoken word often has an affect on the word's meaning, not just its artistry. The fact that one part of the brain is used to process the aural quality of spoken words doesn't mean that that section is being used to appreciate artistry. Take the words "route" and "wound," for instance. Better yet, consider the statement "Thanks for showing me that, it sure was a good route." Am I referring to a highway shortcut my friend showed me, or a basketball game that ended with my favorite team winning by over thirty points? There is no way to know unless you here me say it.
 
  • #38
Rade
Royce said:
I am completely aware that there is no scientific basis or evidence for any of this and there are always alternate, logical, scientific explanations. All of this is disputed and denied, even scoffed at by some scientist; however, none of this changes the reality of these events or experiences nor the historical records of thousands of such events over thousands of years. It ain't science but it is. I guess this mean science isn't all that there is.
I do not wish to argue about personal matters and experiences, so this will be my last post on this thread. But all of these experiences you talk about are well known to science--so I see no reason to seek unscientific explanations. I dusted off a book I have not looked at in years, "Altered States of Awareness", 1972, Scientific American. What you and Les Sleeth have experienced is VERY REAL and well studied even 50 years ago. The "all is one" experience you talk about is directly related (but different in cause) to the mental state known as paranoia. Paranoia is the most vivid example of a breakdown in the ability of the brain to distinguish the borders of the "self" and the "other", a basic human psycological constancy that allows one to discriminate between the subject and the object. Here is what was published on this topic by Barron, Jarvik, and Bunnell in 1964: "Mystical and transcendental experiences are marked by the loss of this same basic constancy...In the mystical state the distinction between the subject and the object disappears; the subject is seen to be one with the object. The experience is usually one of rapture or ecstacy...when the subject thus achieves complete identification with the object, the experience seems beyond words". This state can be entered using hallucinogenic drugs, or not. Finally, I can now understand your anger with Rand, clearly she was not talking about this type of mysticism experience where there is a neural breakdown of basic human mental function.
 
  • #39
Les Sleeth
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Tonight I watched the Eagle’s farewell concert for the 4th time in the last month. I did so over the objections of my wife, although after the first 30 minutes she stopped resisting and got into it once again.

Hey, does anybody else long for more 3,4,5 part harmony music? When they did “Hole in the World” and “Love will Keep us Alive,” I blissed out. Geez I miss it. Okay, sorry, my brain went off there.

Anyway, I thought between songs, what would this music be like if a computer composed and performed it? Eagle band members often sing with eyes closed, bodies swaying with feeling . . . If we took out the feeling part, would the music suffer, would listeners enjoy it as much? Would any human lover of music consent to removing the feeling aspect from all the songs in their music collection?

Would a computer consen t? Sure, why not, it wouldn’t notice anyway. In case it isn’t obvious, I am still trying to suggest that feeling is more basic to being human than the brain’s thinking/computing power.
 
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  • #40
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Rade said:
But all of these experiences you talk about are well known to science--so I see no reason to seek unscientific explanations. I dusted off a book I have not looked at in years, "Altered States of Awareness", 1972, Scientific American. What you and Les Sleeth have experienced is VERY REAL and well studied even 50 years ago. The "all is one" experience you talk about is directly related (but different in cause) to the mental state known as paranoia. Paranoia is the most vivid example of a breakdown in the ability of the brain to distinguish the borders of the "self" and the "other", a basic human psychological constancy that allows one to discriminate between the subject and the object. Here is what was published on this topic by Barron, Jarvik, and Bunnell in 1964: "Mystical and transcendental experiences are marked by the loss of this same basic constancy...In the mystical state the distinction between the subject and the object disappears; the subject is seen to be one with the object. The experience is usually one of rapture or ecstacy...when the subject thus achieves complete identification with the object, the experience seems beyond words". This state can be entered using hallucinogenic drugs, or not. Finally, I can now understand your anger with Rand, clearly she was not talking about this type of mysticism experience where there is a neural breakdown of basic human mental function.
I have not, of course, read the articles that you site; but, from the quotes and remarks that you posted, it does not seem like science to me but more like dismissal as insanity and/or delusion. Isn't that what I said in my previous post? It may well be, as I have said here in the past. However, I cannot accept anyone's opinion, whether passed off as scientific or not, who has not experienced true, deep meditation and experienced the events that not just Les and I have have had but a number of others including some members and past members of PF.

The personal insight, understanding and verifiable personal revelations that I have experienced over the years while meditating gives credence to these episodes whether paranoid schizophrenic delusions or not.

Of course it isn't science and I'm crazy so belay, delete and ignore everything after "Duh?"
 
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  • #41
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loseyourname said:
I think you missed my point, Royce. It is that the aural quality of the spoken word often has an affect on the word's meaning, not just its artistry. The fact that one part of the brain is used to process the aural quality of spoken words doesn't mean that that section is being used to appreciate artistry. Take the words "route" and "wound," for instance. Better yet, consider the statement "Thanks for showing me that, it sure was a good route." Am I referring to a highway shortcut my friend showed me, or a basketball game that ended with my favorite team winning by over thirty points? There is no way to know unless you here me say it.
I don't think that I missed your point but concurred with it as a given. The meaning of words are understood by their usage in a given sentence whether spoken or written. It is often used as license or devise to lend humor or emphasis. It is often in the form of a pun, intentional or not. It is part of the artistry of writing and speaking. I concede to your point; but wonder how it pertains to the discussion at hand.
 
  • #42
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If you felt happy all the time you would eventually become sad.
 

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