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Location of the mind remains a mystery

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#1    questionmark

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    Cinicus Magnus

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Posted 23 August 2012 - 12:18 PM

New Scientist said:


Where does the mind reside? It's a question that's occupied the best brains for thousands of years. Now, a patient who is self-aware – despite lacking three regions of the brain thought to be essential for self-awareness – demonstrates that the mind remains as elusive as ever.

The finding suggests that mental functions might not be tied to fixed brain regions. Instead, the mind might be more like a virtual machine running on distributed computers, with brain resources allocated in a flexible manner, says David Rudrauf at the University of Iowa in Iowa City, who led the study of the patient.

Recent advances in functional neuroimaging – a technique that measures brain activity in the hope of finding correlations between mental functions and specific regions of the brain – have led to a wealth of studies that map particular functions onto regions.

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#2    StarMountainKid

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Posted 23 August 2012 - 01:04 PM

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Self-awareness and other high-level cognitive functions probably do not relate to the brain in a simple way, says Rudrauf. "They involve layers of abstraction and mechanisms that cannot be explained by standard functional-neuroanatomy."
From the link.

I still think the brain creates its own consciousness. I don't buy into theories that mind/consciousness is separate from brain function. Nice OP.

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#3    Render

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Posted 23 August 2012 - 08:42 PM

View PostStarMountainKid, on 23 August 2012 - 01:04 PM, said:

From the link.

I still think the brain creates its own consciousness. I don't buy into theories that mind/consciousness is separate from brain function. Nice OP.

Do you mean that it creates an illusion of psyche/consciousness, and that they are actually just chemical processes in the brain?  Similar to creating aconsciousness which creates a "reality" in dreams or even a coma, though this may be more choatic due to lack of input in the senses.


#4    StarMountainKid

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Posted 24 August 2012 - 05:24 PM

Render said:

Do you mean that it creates an illusion of psyche/consciousness, and that they are actually just chemical processes in the brain?

I think the mind is a result of the neural structure and processes of the brain, but is not part of the physical structure of the brain.  Sort of as an electric current in a wire creates a magnetic field around it.

Because mind/consciousness is not a physical structure, but yet is a result of a physical structure, its location and nature is illusive. Mind/consciousness does not reside in physical space, it resides in its own virtual-like arena consisting of itself, so to say. It hovers throughout the brain, but as it is not a physical entity, it is not in physical contact with the brain, but it is still somehow a creation of the brain.

I'm not satisfied with this clumsy description I'm trying to type, and it's only my sense of what's going on, I could be wrong.  I just don't believe in "universal mind/consciousness" and all that. Without a brain, there is no mind.

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#5    Render

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Posted 27 August 2012 - 11:30 AM

View PostStarMountainKid, on 24 August 2012 - 05:24 PM, said:

I think the mind is a result of the neural structure and processes of the brain, but is not part of the physical structure of the brain.  Sort of as an electric current in a wire creates a magnetic field around it.

Because mind/consciousness is not a physical structure, but yet is a result of a physical structure, its location and nature is illusive. Mind/consciousness does not reside in physical space, it resides in its own virtual-like arena consisting of itself, so to say. It hovers throughout the brain, but as it is not a physical entity, it is not in physical contact with the brain, but it is still somehow a creation of the brain.

I'm not satisfied with this clumsy description I'm trying to type, and it's only my sense of what's going on, I could be wrong.  I just don't believe in "universal mind/consciousness" and all that. Without a brain, there is no mind.

Yes yes, i see what you're saying there. I agree with this line of thought. Except that i do believe there are possible "superlinks" between psyches. But i think they are possibily dormant or not noticable in most cases.
Kind of like a neural network, but on a higher level.


#6    StarMountainKid

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Posted 27 August 2012 - 06:22 PM

Render said:

Yes yes, i see what you're saying there. I agree with this line of thought. Except that i do believe there are possible "superlinks" between psyches. But i think they are possibily dormant or not noticable in most cases.
Kind of like a neural network, but on a higher level.

Even though I believe the mind is a product of the brain, I think we all have experienced instances of "superlinks" between psyches. I'm not sure if this is psychological inferences between people (body language, facial expressions, recognizing human behavior), or is actual mind to mind communication. Either way, this would still put the mind in the brain.

Now, I did have an experience about a few days after my mother had died. I was at a gas station getting gas, and suddenly I felt this immense feeling of total love. It washed powerfully throughout my body, and even made me feel a little weak for a moment. This loving feeling absolutely felt as if it came from outside myself and entered me. It lasted maybe 30 seconds.

When this feeling was over, I thought it must have been my mother saying goodbye to me, communicating her love for me.
This experience may have been a psychological creation of my mind, but as I say, it felt as if its origin were external to me. I wasn't even thinking of my mother at the time.

I don't know what to make of this experience, and it has made me consider that mind or personality or spirit or soul or something possibly exists external to the brain. So, as I still think mind is a function of the brain, some kind of a link from a higher level "meta-mind" may exist somehow, as well as a link between psyches, as you say.

It's a fascinating subject to think about.

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A mind untouched by thought...the end of knowledge.
To see reality loose your opinions.

#7    questionmark

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    Cinicus Magnus

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Posted 27 August 2012 - 07:11 PM

View PostStarMountainKid, on 23 August 2012 - 01:04 PM, said:

From the link.

I still think the brain creates its own consciousness. I don't buy into theories that mind/consciousness is separate from brain function. Nice OP.

Thanks

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#8    Render

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Posted 28 August 2012 - 09:18 PM

View PostStarMountainKid, on 27 August 2012 - 06:22 PM, said:

Even though I believe the mind is a product of the brain, I think we all have experienced instances of "superlinks" between psyches. I'm not sure if this is psychological inferences between people (body language, facial expressions, recognizing human behavior), or is actual mind to mind communication. Either way, this would still put the mind in the brain.

Now, I did have an experience about a few days after my mother had died. I was at a gas station getting gas, and suddenly I felt this immense feeling of total love. It washed powerfully throughout my body, and even made me feel a little weak for a moment. This loving feeling absolutely felt as if it came from outside myself and entered me. It lasted maybe 30 seconds.

When this feeling was over, I thought it must have been my mother saying goodbye to me, communicating her love for me.
This experience may have been a psychological creation of my mind, but as I say, it felt as if its origin were external to me. I wasn't even thinking of my mother at the time.

I don't know what to make of this experience, and it has made me consider that mind or personality or spirit or soul or something possibly exists external to the brain. So, as I still think mind is a function of the brain, some kind of a link from a higher level "meta-mind" may exist somehow, as well as a link between psyches, as you say.

It's a fascinating subject to think about.

Very fascinating indeed. It's cases like yours that make the mind wonder. No pun intended.
I don't know if you know this, but decades ago some scientists researched these "links" and came up with the term "psions". Which were responsible for the interaction of the mind/psyche with the external world. Or mind to mind interaction. It may be kinda like that, a network of psions/neurons.


#9    StarMountainKid

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Posted 29 August 2012 - 04:42 PM

Another interesting point may be that mind is separate from the self. When we identify the mind as "I" or  "Me", our feeling of our own personal identity, this may not be mind. The personal "I" that we feel may only be the result of our senses.  

"I feel pain", or "I see a tree", or "I hear a sound". The "I" part is a construct of the brain for self-reference.  Is self-reference mind? Is our consciousness of this moment and our self within this moment the mind? Are our thoughts the mind?

Maybe the mind is separate from the ego, the feeling of self, the "I" and the "Me".  The real mind may not contain this construct of self-reference. The real or pure mind may lie "underneath" all this.

I say this because we can function without this ego, this feeling of self. Sometimes we have the feeling that "I" am doing something, and sometimes there is just doing, without the "I" being involved. In these instances, who or what is in control?

In Zen there is something called "Zen-mind", in which there is no personal identity, no ego, no memory, no thought, no motive. The "I", the "Me" is shut down.  The ego is no longer experiencing.  There is just "is-ness".  What is then in operation is true, fundamental mind.

I think this may be what mind actually is, without all the "extras" the brain creates as a convenience for itself.

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#10    Render

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Posted 30 August 2012 - 08:54 AM

the mind being a confirmation of the processes of the brain. Kind of a "rationalization" of the brain in a way.
So Zen-mind being the true fundamental mind , seems to be equal to the mind just before going to sleep, like meditation or hypnosis. So the mind would be nothing more than an alpha brainwave. But since you can teach yourself things during alpha brainwaves, and come to epiphanies about the self, this would suggest that the mind is the driving force behind the brain and body. Instead of the brain being the driving force and creating the mind. Or once the mind is created it becomes a catalyst of the self. And could either confirm or confuse the self.


#11    StarMountainKid

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Posted 30 August 2012 - 05:56 PM

Render, you bring up an interesting point. Is the mind or the brain in charge? What's going on when I think that I need to do something, but at the same time another part of me doesn't want to do it? As in, I know I need to clean the kitchen floor, but I don't really want to. I usually end up not doing it, but sometimes I do do it. Who makes the decision?

(the mind)"could either confirm or confuse the self." lol  The Buddha said, "You are what you think." Whatever the origin of thought is, I think we think too much. Better to rely on pre-linguistic consciousness. This helps alleviate contention within the mind. When we just let go and put ourselves on automatic pilot, so to speak, we become our true selves, and we either clean the kitchen floor or not, but there is no inner conflict about it. In Zen, this may be called living with no effort.

I don't want to get off-subject here, though, as I usually do.  My mind itself doesn't seem to know its own location, even when I ask it where it is. My mind never answers this question, it just remains silent. I'm thinking maybe this silence-as-answer is meaningful. Maybe a silent mind is more wise than we are. It may sit there, amused at all our preposterous behaviors, wondering when we will wake up to its quiet wisdom.

On the other hand, maybe the mind does know where it is, it is us who do not know where we are.

The acceptance of authority does not lead to intelligence.
A mind untouched by thought...the end of knowledge.
To see reality loose your opinions.





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