Author Topic: Why Consciousness is Not the Brain By Larry Dossey  (Read 1269 times)

ramana_maharshi

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Why Consciousness is Not the Brain By Larry Dossey
« on: February 22, 2013, 08:34:04 PM »
http://www.superconsciousness.com/topics/science/why-consciousness-not-brain

As Rutgers University philosopher Jerry A. Fodo flatly states, “Nobody has the slightest idea how anything material could be conscious. So much for our philosophy of consciousness.”

Others suggest that there are no mental states at all, such as love, courage, or patriotism, but only electrochemical brain fluxes that should not be described with such inflated language.

Some of the oddest experiences I recall are attending conferences where one speaker after another employs his consciousness to denounce the existence of consciousness, ignoring the fact that he consciously chose to register for the meeting, make travel plans, prepare his talks, and so on.

Many scientists concede that there are huge gaps in their knowledge of how the brain makes consciousness, but they are certain they will be filled in as science progresses.

psi researchers Charles Honorton and Diane Ferrari examined 309 precognition experiments carried out by sixty-two investigators involving 50,000 participants in more than two million trials. Thirty percent of these studies were significant in showing that people can describe future events, when only five percent would be expected to demonstrate such results by chance. The odds that these results were not due to chance was greater than 10 to the twentieth power to one.

One of the first modern thinkers to endorse an outside-the-brain view of consciousness was William James, who is considered the father of American psychology. In his 1898 Ingersoll Lecture at Harvard University, James took a courageous stand against what he called “the fangs of cerebralism and the idea that consciousness is produced by the brain. He acknowledged that arrested brain development in childhood can lead to mental retardation, that strokes or blows to the head can abolish memory or consciousness, and that certain chemicals can change the quality of thought. But to consider this as proof that the brain actually makes consciousness, James said, is irrational.

Why irrational? Consider a radio, an invention that was introduced during James’s lifetime, and which he used to illustrate the mind-brain relationship. If one bangs a radio with a hammer, it ceases to function. But that does not mean that the origin of the sounds was the radio itself; the sound originated from outside it in the form of an electromagnetic signal. The radio received, modified, and amplified the external signal into something recognizable as sound. Just so, the brain can be damaged in various ways that distort the quality of consciousness – trauma, stroke, nutritional deficiencies, dementia, etc. But this does not necessarily mean the brain “made” the consciousness that is now disturbed, or that consciousness is identical to the brain.

To update the analogy, consider a television set. We can damage a television set so severely that we lose the image on the screen, but this doesn’t prove that the TV actually produced the image. We know that David Letterman does not live behind the TV screen on which he appears; yet the contention that brain equals consciousness is as absurd as if he did.

The radio and TV analogies can be misleading, however, because consciousness does not behave like an electromagnetic signal. Electromagnetic (EM) signals display certain characteristics. The farther away they get from their source, the weaker they become. Not so with consciousness; its effects do not attenuate with increasing distance. For example, in the hundreds of healing experiments that have been done in both humans and animals, healing intentions work equally well from the other side of the earth as at the bedside of the sick individual. Moreover, EM signals can be blocked partially or completely, but the effects of conscious intention cannot be blocked by any known substance. For instance, sea water is known to block EM signals completely at certain depths, yet experiments in remote viewing have been successfully carried out beyond such depths, demonstrating that the long-distance communication between the involved individuals cannot depend on EM-type signals. In addition, EM signals require travel time from their source to a receiver, yet thoughts can be perceived simultaneously between individuals across global distances. Thoughts can be displaced in time, operating into both past and future. In precognitive remoteviewing experiments – for example, the hundreds of such experiments by the PEAR Lab at Princeton University – the receiver gets a future thought before it is ever sent. Furthermore, consciousness can operate into the past, as in the experiments involving retroactive intentions. Electromagnetic signals are not capable of these feats. From these differences, we can conclude that consciousness is not an electric signal.

As physicist Chris Clarke, of the University of Southampton, says, “On one hand, Mind is inherently non-local. On the other, the world is governed by a quantum physics that is inherently non-local. This is no accident, but a precise correspondence ...[Mind and the world are] aspects of the same thing...The way ahead, I believe, has to place mind first as the key aspect of the universe...We have to start exploring how we can talk about mind in terms of a quantum picture...Only then will we be able to make a genuine bridge between physics and physiology.”

when scientists muster the courage to face this evidence unflinchingly, the greatest superstition of our age – the notion that the brain generates consciousness or is identical with it – will topple. In its place will arise a nonlocal picture of the mind. This view will affirm that consciousness is fundamental, omnipresent and eternal – a model that is as cordial to premonitions as the materialistic, brain-based view is hostile.

Ritter

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Re: Why Consciousness is Not the Brain By Larry Dossey
« Reply #1 on: May 01, 2014, 09:50:23 AM »
This was very interesting topic! :) According to modern neuroscience and psychology, there are not many facts known about this issue, but what may be said till now... "reticular spider-like" formations of upper parts of brain stem (in latin medulla oblongata) are responsible for maintenance of conscioussness and some very vital physical body's functons like breathing and the work of heart (hard proofs for these points are hemorrhagic strokes (bleeds) in the place of pons (or "bridge" in english) that happen to be very fatal almost always). But in the whole field of medicine, there is no such an organ system like neurology (or neuroscience) that was so much researched, but with so little results, still there are not many facts known. In the medical field, neurology is one of the hardest specialization, not like for example dermatology.

Also, one buddhist point is to my own humble opinion truth indeed. A dead matter can't simply make "live matter", or how we call it living beings, because it is illogical even, or absurd. Vice-versa it can happen, when life force abandons the body at the end of life. Simply even in that just outside looking dead matter, there must be already some, although to the eye invisible, potential ("seed") for all this man finally has at the end of the evolution process... Spirit is that one who guides the evolution in fact...

Have a nice day, it is 1st May today HOLIDAY! :) Please don't do anything today, BE LAZY AS YOU WASN'T IN YOUR WHOLE LIFE! :) Today is the Day celebrating the (Non)Work so we should forgive and allow ourselves to be so honest in our laziness! :)

P. S. Something about this reticular spider-like formation of the upper part of the brain stem: :)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reticular_formation
« Last Edit: May 01, 2014, 09:59:30 AM by Ritter »

ramana_maharshi

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Re: Why Consciousness is Not the Brain By Larry Dossey
« Reply #2 on: May 01, 2014, 11:02:13 AM »
thanks for the explanation Ritter. It was interesting to know about Reticular formation.