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Thread: Mind, Consciousness, and Unconsciousnes

  1. #1 Mind, Consciousness, and Unconsciousnes 
    Forum Junior DrmDoc's Avatar
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    Hello All,

    While researching how our brain evolved to dream for a book I wrote a couple of years ago (Neuropsychology of the Dreaming Brain), I learned much more about the nature of mind, consciousness, and unconsciousness than I could find in any one specific text. It amazes me how much we speculate about our mental nature and construct without a cogent perspective of brain evolution. To speculate about the nature of the mind or investigate the nature of brain function without the slightest understanding of how our brain evolved is like, in my opinion, constructing a building without considering its foundation. For example, what is the mind? We speculate the mind to be a mixture of id, ego, and complexes when we have empirical evidence which defines the mind as the environment of cognitive activity within the brain that arises from brain function. If the mind is indeed a product of brain function, we can further quantify the nature of the mind by how and when the brain evolved that function. If the modern brain evolved from some primitive form, we should be able to find and follow the footprints of that form back to its beginning. Should you like to join me in further discussion, I welcome your thoughts.

    DrmDoc


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    I recently read the theory by Carl Jung of the collective unconscious. To those who may not know, it is the part of the mind containing ideas and images(archetypes) shared among human kind that have been transmitted genetically from our ancestors. I think this definetly relates to what your saying Doc, in that, as the brain evolves, the mind evolves with it. It really makes perfect sense. We inherit other characteristics such as, skin color, certain mental disorders, etc.
    As far as your thesis on whether or not we could follow our brain back to the beginning of its evolutionary process, to further examine the nature of the mind, what in particular do you wish to find out about the nature of the mind ?


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    You know all this recent global talk and worry of wasting resources and stuff make me laugh when the human brain is the most wasted resource on the planet.
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    Hello AeDeAeMn0886,

    I welcome your interest:

    Quote Originally Posted by AeDeAeMn0886
    I recently read the theory by Carl Jung of the collective unconscious. To those who may not know, it is the part of the mind containing ideas and images(archetypes) shared among human kind that have been transmitted genetically from our ancestors. I think this definetly relates to what your saying Doc, in that, as the brain evolves, the mind evolves with it. It really makes perfect sense. We inherit other characteristics such as, skin color, certain mental disorders, etc.
    Although Carl Jung was indeed a most remarkable and insigthful man, I have often disagreed with some of his ideas. In my book, I wrote about the way Jung's religious upbringing and spiritual inclinations may have colored his perspective of our mental nature. Neither Jung nor Freud, unfortunately, had benefit of the neuroscience and evolutional evidence we enjoy today.

    When we examine functional studies and brain trauma evidence, we find that the mind is truly a product of brain function; we cannot mentally formulate aspects of the collective unconscious Jung theorized without the neurological structures we have evolved to support such a process. Jung formulated his theories through years of behavioral observations; however, such observations do not provide us with an accurate foundation for our behaviors--in my opinion.

    Our behaviors are products of influences upon our brain functions. Jung did not have the resources or, as it seems, the inclination to evaluate the relevance of brain function and its evolution to our mental design. For example, if brain function produces an unconscious mind (collective or otherwise), how does such a mind differs from that which is conscious? When I began to study how our brain evolved to dream, I learned that our brain does indeed produce a neurologically distinct conscious and unconscious mind.

    Think of the mind as a two story house, where we engage daily/wakeful activity on the first level and sleep/bedroom activity on the second level. When we are awake (conscious mind), the lights and power to this house remain switched-on throughout as we traverse or engage activities that involve both levels. If we accept dreams as manifestations of our unconscious mind, dreaming only engages activity on the second level of this imagined house while the power to its first level is switched-off. Something like this seems to occur neurologically whenever we dream.

    Quote Originally Posted by AeDeAeMn0886
    As far as your thesis on whether or not we could follow our brain back to the beginning of its evolutionary process, to further examine the nature of the mind, what in particular do you wish to find out about the nature of the mind ?
    Much! From the neurological and paleontological evidence I've studied, I've postulated the evolutional stage at which our brain began to produce a mind and how the brain arrived at that stage. I've also theorized the neurological nature of mind, consciousness, and unconsciousness from such evidence. My goal is to expand my understanding of the unconscious or, as referred by me in dream, the other side of consciousness. If you'll pardon my bluster, the ideas postulated by Jung, Freud, and other notables of mindscience seem to me to be convoluted and somewhat archaic. It is my hope to reach some overall cohesive and cogent perspective of this other side of consciousness. I welcome your thoughts.[/u]
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    Quote Originally Posted by DrmDoc
    From the neurological and paleontological evidence I've studied, I've postulated the evolutional stage at which our brain began to produce a mind and how the brain arrived at that stage.
    What stage would that be? Did you have a particular hominin species in mind?
    Man can will nothing unless he has first understood that he must count on no one but himself; that he is alone, abandoned on earth in the midst of his infinite responsibilities, without help, with no other aim than the one he sets himself, with no other destiny than the one he forges for himself on this earth.
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    What I would like to know about my unconscious mind is how can I bring that info, knowledge, feeling, whatever, into consciousness, so it can be used instead of repressed
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    Quote Originally Posted by paralith
    "From the neurological and paleontological evidence I've studied, I've postulated the evolutional stage at which our brain began to produce a mind and how the brain arrived at that stage." --DrmDoc


    What stage would that be? Did you have a particular hominin species in mind?
    Your reference to a hominid species marks, in my view, where mainstream anthropologist erred in their investigation of brain evolution: they didn't go back far enough in species evolution. The contemporary human brain did not begin its journey to its present state with any species of hominid. Our brain originated from the very first animals to adapt some form of neural structure.

    If our brain evolved from some primitive neural form, the nature of that form should be evident somewhere in the intricacies of our neural structure. There is general agreement that our central nervous system (CNS) comprises both recent (cortex) and primitive (brainstem) structures. When we dissect that primitive aspect of our CNS, which most consider to be the brainstem, we find that it comprises increasingly less complex structures as we traverse from the diencephalon to the spinal cord. At the spinal cord, we find the first footprint of our brain's evolution.

    In the fetal stage of human development, our brain arises from a notochord stage akin to what we find in the most primitive of animal species. This suggests the emergence of a sensory system as the very first evolutional step towards a brain capable of producing a mind. Therefore, the attributes of our sensory system as it arises from the spinal cord to the diencephalon should chart the evolutional path of the most primitive aspects of our CNS. When we evaluated the emergence of the afferent sensory systems of our brainstem from the spinal brain (myelencephalon) to the between-brain (diencephalon), we do indeed find the emergence of sensory systems that provide more complex sensory data than the former.

    In the spinal brain we have the emergence of taste and touch sensory. As we travel upwards in our CNS, we find more refine taste and tactile sensory and the addition of auditory sensory. From an evolutional perspective, sound sensory systems (like taste and touch) are merely a sophisticated form of tactile sensory. As we approach the diencephalon in our evolutional journey to the thinking brain, we do not find any dramatic growth in our CNS until the emergence of sight sensory systems. When we evaluate how the evolution of visual perception may have influenced ancestral animals, we understand more clearly the emergence and function of the thalamus.

    The thalamus evolved in brain structure before the cortex. In ancestral animals, it was the final destination for all sensory data that entered their burgeoning CNS. Evolution of the thalamus likely gave our animal ancestors the capacity to integrate data from multiple and divergent sensory systems in a way that probably allowed them to engage behaviors independent of instinct. Rather reacting to sensory influences, the thalamus gave primitive animals the ability to combine what they felt with what they saw to engage behaviors that became increasingly proactive: the thalamus gave our ancestral animals the rudiments of thought.

    In short, I’ve postulated that our brain began to function as a mind when it reached the thalamus stage of development. All sensory data, except olfactory, must enter the thalamus first before entering our brain's upper regions. When one visually evaluates the contemporary thalamus, its structure (left and right hemisphere with its hemispheric adhesion) is remarkably similar to contemporary cortical structure. In my view, the thalamus produces thought integration while the cortex is little more than a sophisticated memory storage device which our thalamus uses to attenuate its sensory experiences to produce the behaviors necessary to our objectives or appropriate to our experiences. The plasticity of cortical function when the brain is damaged can be explained through this model of brain function as the thalamus's ability to chart a new path through undamaged tissue of the brain to attenuate its thoughts processes. I welcome your comments.
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    Hello AeDeAeMn0886,

    The unconscious mind, as suggested by my investigation of the dreaming brain, doesn't house repressed thoughts, experiences, and feelings. Repression appears to be an act of the conscious mind. Essentially, in my opinion, repression results from a fear of some consequence of facing or not facing a thought, experience, or feeling. Assessment of consequence appears to be the evolved function of the prefrontal cortex. When we dream, prefrontal function is subdued. If dreams are manifestations of our unconsciousness, then repression may not be--in my opinion.
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    Quote Originally Posted by DrmDoc
    Quote Originally Posted by paralith
    "From the neurological and paleontological evidence I've studied, I've postulated the evolutional stage at which our brain began to produce a mind and how the brain arrived at that stage." --DrmDoc


    What stage would that be? Did you have a particular hominin species in mind?
    Your reference to a hominid species marks, in my view, where mainstream anthropologist erred in their investigation of brain evolution: they didn't go back far enough in species evolution.
    After reading your post, I see that the error you are referring to is from my assumption, and not one that applies to anthropologists in general. I assumed you were speaking of a human form of consciousness, but I was wrong - it seems you are speaking of consciousness in animals in general. Though perhaps you could define for me exactly what you mean be "mind"? I imagine that if you had meant consciousness, you would have said so.

    As I said, i do not think anthropology is erring. Their goal does not appear to be the same as yours - the general emergence of consciousness probably did begin before the hominin line split from the Pan line, but most anthropologists aim to understand the sudden increase in relative brain size and, presumably, intelligence, in the hominin line. Not the origin, but the increase.
    Man can will nothing unless he has first understood that he must count on no one but himself; that he is alone, abandoned on earth in the midst of his infinite responsibilities, without help, with no other aim than the one he sets himself, with no other destiny than the one he forges for himself on this earth.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paralith
    After reading your post, I see that the error you are referring to is from my assumption, and not one that applies to anthropologists in general. I assumed you were speaking of a human form of consciousness, …most anthropologists aim to understand the sudden increase in relative brain size and, presumably, intelligence, in the hominin line. Not the origin, but the increase.
    How does one understand “the sudden increase in relative brain size and, presumably, intelligence, in the hominin line” without a clear understanding of the factors at the foundation of all brain development? Shouldn’t those factors that gave rise to brain evolution form the basis for all future brain development regardless of species? How does one study hominid brain increase without studying the pre-hominid influences and conditions leading to the hominid brain? We know from child neglect studies and from brain comparison studies between wild and domesticated animals that brain development is highly dependent on sensory experience—Why?

    From my perspective of brain evolution, brain size does not determine intelligence in any animal species; our measure of sensory dependency and how our thalamus attenuates its sensory experiences through cortical structure determines intelligence. The sensory systems of most animals are superior to our own, which may have been the circumstance of our apelike ancestors. Yet, humanity has arisen as this planet’s dominant species. The key to our dominance and brain development, in my view, rests in our inferior sensory systems. To survive, our hominid ancestors had to attenuate more data from their limited sensory systems than those systems could provide: they had to learn how to perceive or reason beyond what they could see, taste, touch, or smell. As their life experiences evolved, so did their experience dependent brain and their capacity to reason beyond sensory experience. While other animals became even more dependent on their superior sensory systems, our animal ancestors became more dependent on their increasingly superior ability to reason beyond the senses.

    Quote Originally Posted by Paralith
    … it seems you are speaking of consciousness in animals in general. Though perhaps you could define for me exactly what you mean be "mind"? I imagine that if you had meant consciousness, you would have said so.
    In my view, mind and consciousness are indeed distinct. Mind, as I perceive, is the environment of cognitive activity (thought and perception processes), arising from brain function, that envelops consciousness. Consciousness, again in from my perspective, is the awareness our brain function creates from the thoughts and perception processes it engages. Consciousness is a construct of brain function and is secondary to the mentation processes our brain engages. I welcome your continued interest.
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    Quote Originally Posted by DrmDoc
    Quote Originally Posted by Paralith
    After reading your post, I see that the error you are referring to is from my assumption, and not one that applies to anthropologists in general. I assumed you were speaking of a human form of consciousness, …most anthropologists aim to understand the sudden increase in relative brain size and, presumably, intelligence, in the hominin line. Not the origin, but the increase.
    How does one understand “the sudden increase in relative brain size and, presumably, intelligence, in the hominin line” without a clear understanding of the factors at the foundation of all brain development? Shouldn’t those factors that gave rise to brain evolution form the basis for all future brain development regardless of species? How does one study hominid brain increase without studying the pre-hominid influences and conditions leading to the hominid brain? We know from child neglect studies and from brain comparison studies between wild and domesticated animals that brain development is highly dependent on sensory experience—Why?

    From my perspective of brain evolution, brain size does not determine intelligence in any animal species; our measure of sensory dependency and how our thalamus attenuates its sensory experiences through cortical structure determines intelligence. The sensory systems of most animals are superior to our own, which may have been the circumstance of our apelike ancestors. Yet, humanity has arisen as this planet’s dominant species. The key to our dominance and brain development, in my view, rests in our inferior sensory systems. To survive, our hominid ancestors had to attenuate more data from their limited sensory systems than those systems could provide: they had to learn how to perceive or reason beyond what they could see, taste, touch, or smell. As their life experiences evolved, so did their sensory dependent brain and their capacity to reason beyond sensory experience. While other animals became even more dependent on their superior sensory systems, our animal ancestors became more dependent on their increasingly superior ability to reason beyond the senses.
    I think you might have contradicted yourself a little bit. In your first paragraph, you ask, "Shouldn’t those factors that gave rise to brain evolution form the basis for all future brain development regardless of species?" My answer to that would be no. There are some very basic factors of neuron function and structure that may be common in the brains of all animals, but as far as what factors effect brain evolution, it will of course be different for different animals, depending on the constraints of their environment. Thus a scrub jay's brain is affected by its need to store and remember the location of thousands of nut caches, while a baboon's brain is affected by its need to recognize every member of its group and remember their placement in the group hierarchy. You yourself in your second paragraph describe a difference in the development of non-human and human animal brains.

    I'm not trying to say that it's not necessary to have a general understanding of brain function, structure, and evolution when examining a specific evolutionary change in a specific lineage. Of course it is. However, anthropologists are mainly looking for a specific ecological pressure that favored a significant increase in relative brain size.

    You say that you do not think brain size determines intelligence in any animal; how then do you account for the general trend of increasing general cognitive capacity (and I do mean general, as I am well aware that certain species have specific cognitive specialities that far exceed our own, but we do have a very high level of generalizable intelligence) with increasing relative brain size? The relationship is by no means perfect and brain volume may well be a proxy correlative measure for the real mechanism behind leaps in intelligence, but it does exist, at least between species.

    I would also challenge your theory on our diminished sensory capacities. Our visual systems, and indeed the visual systems of primates in general, are among the better developed visual systems of animal species. From what little I know of neurobiology, so much of our brain is devoted to visual processing that we often use that same processing center to conceptualize technically abstract concepts. There's a reason why we humans have a tendency to put up symbols and signs and art - we are a visually oriented species, and use it in a large part of our communication with each other.

    Quote Originally Posted by DrmDoc
    Quote Originally Posted by Paralith
    … it seems you are speaking of consciousness in animals in general. Though perhaps you could define for me exactly what you mean be "mind"? I imagine that if you had meant consciousness, you would have said so.
    In my view, mind and consciousness are indeed distinct. Mind, as I perceive, is the environment of cognitive activity (thought and perception processes), arising from brain function, that envelops consciousness. Consciousness, again in from my perspective, is the awareness our brain function creates from the thoughts and perception processes it engages. Consciousness is a construct of brain function and is secondary to the mentation processes our brain engages. I welcome your continued interest.
    I'm still having trouble understanding the distinction, so correct me if I'm wrong - essentially, a mind allows you to have thoughts, but a conscious mind allows you to be aware that you are having thoughts?
    Man can will nothing unless he has first understood that he must count on no one but himself; that he is alone, abandoned on earth in the midst of his infinite responsibilities, without help, with no other aim than the one he sets himself, with no other destiny than the one he forges for himself on this earth.
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    Quote Originally Posted by DrmDoc
    our measure of sensory dependency and how our thalamus attenuates its sensory experiences through cortical structure determines intelligence.
    I was saying in another thread that we open/shut this gate at whim, not only by clockwork. So we have intelligence on demand. Surely you're familiar with the "blank stare" of humans lost in thought.

    Now what kind of environment would prompt such flexibility? The Land of the Midnight Sun, perhaps. Ask a polar bear. The bear must structure its activity without cue, so it either develops a strong circadian schedule or a "smart" system. And guess what - polar bears spend most of their time napping and resting, and are most alert at night to hunt seals, but not as a rule.

    Just for fun, see the reasoning jedi Qui-Gon Jinn vs. the visceral sith Darth Maul. At 2:00 it's clear which side of the force each draws strength from.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paralith
    I think you might have contradicted yourself a little bit. In your first paragraph, you ask, "Shouldn’t those factors that gave rise to brain evolution form the basis for all future brain development regardless of species?" My answer to that would be no. There are some very basic factors of neuron function and structure that may be common in the brains of all animals, but as far as what factors effect brain evolution, it will of course be different for different animals, depending on the constraints of their environment. Thus a scrub jay's brain is affected by its need to store and remember the location of thousands of nut caches, while a baboon's brain is affected by its need to recognize every member of its group and remember their placement in the group hierarchy.
    Isn’t this a contradiction as well? Aren’t the “very basic factors…common in the brains of all animals” effects of evolution? Don’t these shared factors suggest shared environmental constraint leading to a commonality in brain function and structure? Thus the common basis for the scrub jay and baboon’s memory requirements is not how they use their separate memory function but how they evolve memory in the beginning. Memory for the scrub jay didn’t begin with the need to remember the location of stored nuts and the baboon’s memory didn’t start with a need for face recognition, these were requirements evolved further along in their species line. Before the memory requirements among species diverged, there was likely some common factor in evolution that led to the emergence of memory in brain structure for all species. It is likely that such a common factor governs brain growth.

    Memory probably gave preexisting animals a survival advantage over those without this capacity of brain function. The emergence of memory increased the brain size and structure of ancestral animals. What common factors, across species evolution and development, forged the need for memory thus forging growth in brain size and structure? Across all animal species, experience appears to be a shared determining factor.

    Through the emergence of the thalamus, ancestral animals gain the ability to mediate their behaviors based on the integration of what they saw with what the felt or heard. With this kind of sensory integration early animal did not have to engage in energy expending survival behaviors unnecessarily. As early animals became increasingly mobile, their experiences also increased. The thalamus does not increase or diminish in size through sensory experience as does the cortex. Couple this with decorticate experiments that show no activity in the isolated cortex without a neural connection to its subcortical structure, there is evidence which suggests that memory arose with the cortex and that cortical growth is indeed dependent on the sensory data it receives from subcortical structure. If there was a distinction between growth in the hominid brain and other animals, that distinction was influenced by the common factor (experience) that seems to govern brain growth across all species.

    Quote Originally Posted by Paralith
    I'm not trying to say that it's not necessary to have a general understanding of brain function, structure, and evolution when examining a specific evolutionary change in a specific lineage. Of course it is. However, anthropologists are mainly looking for a specific ecological pressure that favored a significant increase in relative brain size.
    And that is what I am suggesting by the sensory inferiority of our hominid ancestors.

    Quote Originally Posted by Paralith
    You say that you do not think brain size determines intelligence in any animal; how then do you account for the general trend of increasing general cognitive capacity (and I do mean general, as I am well aware that certain species have specific cognitive specialities that far exceed our own, but we do have a very high level of generalizable intelligence) with increasing relative brain size? The relationship is by no means perfect and brain volume may well be a proxy correlative measure for the real mechanism behind leaps in intelligence, but it does exist, at least between species.
    If sensory experience (auditory, olfactory, visual, tactile, and taste) is a determinant of brain size, then how do the likely sensory experiences between divergent animal groups contribute to their cognitive capacity? Animal that traverses the globe would have a brain more developed and larger than an animal of comparable physique that remains in the area of its birth. The more an animal’s life experiences expose it to diverse sensory experiences, the greater its cognitive capacity will be.

    Quote Originally Posted by Paralith
    I would also challenge your theory on our diminished sensory capacities. Our visual systems, and indeed the visual systems of primates in general, are among the better developed visual systems of animal species. From what little I know of neurobiology, so much of our brain is devoted to visual processing that we often use that same processing center to conceptualize technically abstract concepts. There's a reason why we humans have a tendency to put up symbols and signs and art - we are a visually oriented species, and use it in a large part of our communication with each other.
    Our hominid ancestors, living on the savannahs of Africa, probably did not (as we contemporarily) have eyesight, hearing, or olfactory abilities as acute as the predators of their era. They had to journey through predator territory using more than what their sensory probably allowed. Our superiority above the animals of the world today resided in our hominid ancestors’ ability to perceive or reason beyond the superior sensory ability of predators. The more they experienced, the more they had to rely on their capacity to reason and the larger their brains grew.

    Quote Originally Posted by Paralith
    I'm still having trouble understanding the distinction, so correct me if I'm wrong - essentially, a mind allows you to have thoughts, but a conscious mind allows you to be aware that you are having thoughts?
    In my view, the mind is the environment of thought processes and perceptions with the brain. A conscious mind is the environment of thought processes and perceptions that brain function creates during its wakeful state. In other words, the conscious mind is the wakeful state of brain function. Consciousness is the awareness, understanding, or personal perspective that arises from our thought and perception processes. For example, our dreaming brain does not generally receive sensory information that allows it to distinguish the dream state from true reality. Consequently, our consciousness or awareness within the dream state does not include the perception of being in a dream. The thought and perception processes that lead to dreaming does not include information that makes us aware within a dream that we are indeed experiencing the dreaming state.
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    DrmDoc what are your methods of research, and experiment going to be ?
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    Quote Originally Posted by AeDeAeMn0886
    DrmDoc what are your methods of research, and experiment going to be?
    Much of the groundbreaking research has been done but has been poorly understood by researchers. For example, Dr. Michel Jouvet performed a series of animal experiments in the late 1950's through the ‘60's that involved varying degrees of decerebration. Through a particular type of low-decerebration experiment separating a portion of the brainstem (mesencephalon/metencephalon) from the upper regions of the brain, Jouvet believed he had localized the mechanism for the rapid eye movements (REM) common to dream sleep. Jouvet observed weak eye movements at the onset of atonia (the lack of muscle elasticity common to dream sleep) in low-decerebrate cats and perceive this as evidence of REM’s origin in the mesencephalon/metencephalon brainstem region. Jouvet didn’t understand that the weak eye movements he observed were merely the breakthrough effect to the eye musculature of sympathetic signals from the severed oculomotor nerves embedded in the lower brainstem region. These nerve signals—thus eye movement—emerge at the onset of decerebrate-atonia as evidence of some neural deactivation in the lower brainstem. The eye movement we observe as true or normal REM sleep originate through the intact neural connection between the musculature of the eye and the upper regions of our central nervous system (CNS) rather than the lower regions as Jouvet perceived.

    The physical research on the activation of the unconscious mind, as suggested by dream sleep, is complete in my view. What remains a puzzle to me is the mechanism for the content of our dream and thus how the experience of the unconscious mind defers from the conscious. For example, I have recorded numerous examples of odd dream visitations by persons known to the dreamer who apparently died while the dreamer believes the dream was occurring. It is not until after the dreamer learns of the person’s death in reality that a connection is made. These after-death-contacts or goodbye dream experiences are puzzling because they suggest some sympathetic mechanism of the unconscious mind and brain function not yet identified. I have yet to form an approach to studying this phenomena.
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    To me, changes happen in the brain first before they occur in the mind. Contrary to this however, or in addition, if free will is to exist, then various changes that occur in the mind may in turn, affect the brain. In another thread, I suggested that if indetirministic properties are to exist in life, then free will may also exist and may be the result of these properties; if they do exist, then there's nothing to hinder the ability for neurology to evolve to a state in which free will had arisen. As a result, both, physiology and metaphysical existences affect each other (Yes, metaphysical; if something is purely random, then nothing caused the effect; I believe awareness caused the effect, and that we don't exist physically but rather, interact physically - but that is a different subject and probably off-topic). The idea of this also supports brain function; although the mind in this perspective, is both physical and metaphysical, it is ultimately a product of the brain and ceasion of brain function effaces interaction of the self (you) with the physical reality.

    The former is more likely however, with little evidence supporting the latter; although, quantum mechanics and the uncertainty principle to shed some form of light on this.
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  18. #17 Re: Mind, Consciousness, and Unconsciousnes 
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    Quote Originally Posted by DrmDoc
    If the mind is indeed a product of brain function, we can further quantify the nature of the mind by how and when the brain evolved that function.
    What else could the mind be, other than a product of brain function? Your "If" seems to me to be unnecessary. John Searle compares mind with digestion, both being evolved physical processes.

    If the modern brain evolved from some primitive form, we should be able to find and follow the footprints of that form back to its beginning. Should you like to join me in further discussion, I welcome your thoughts.
    Can we not already follow the evolution of the brain back to its beginnings? The question of incipient mind surely is a different one that can only be answered speculatively.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bunbury
    What else could the mind be, other than a product of brain function? Your "If" seems to me to be unnecessary. John Searle compares mind with digestion, both being evolved physical processes.
    "If" was posited to those reader who may not accept this minimalistic view of the mind. With respect to Mr. Searle, mind and digestion is not an accurate assessment of its nature. Mind is the environment of cognitive activity within the brain that arises from brain function. A mind is quantified by the capacity to integrate sensory data, from multiple sensory source, through a process that produces behaviors independent of instinct. Essentially, a mind enables proactive behaviors.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bunbury
    Can we not already follow the evolution of the brain back to its beginnings?
    If you are refering to the predominate Triune theory of brain evolution, we can not. From my study, evolution of the brain began with the very first complex animals, millions of years before the reptillian brain.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bunbury
    The question of incipient mind surely is a different one that can only be answered speculatively.
    "If" you agree that brain function produces the mind, then we are aready beyond speculation.
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  20. #19  
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    In Ayurveda they say that the skin the outermost layer of the brain and the brain the inner most layer of the skin. Though this is not meant to be taken literally it is used to understand the effects of acupuncture and reflexology, meridians and the movement of chi. It is the basis of holistic, body-mind philosophy and healing.

    How much do our peripheral nerves effect our mind? Could something as simple as walking differently trigger a change in the brain to begin?

    What about dietary changes?

    Or climate changes?
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    Quote Originally Posted by DrmDoc
    When we examine functional studies and brain trauma evidence, we find that the mind is truly a product of brain function; we cannot mentally formulate aspects of the collective unconscious Jung theorized without the neurological structures we have evolved to support such a process. Jung formulated his theories through years of behavioral observations; however, such observations do not provide us with an accurate foundation for our behaviors--in my opinion.
    Personally, I believe there is a distinction between Psychology and Neuropsychology; neuropsychology pertains to the basis of behaviour, whilst psychology implicates observational evidence on a macro level of behaviour - in my opinion. Although they lacked neurological evidence, they may have still provided evidence (I have read a few of Freuds, but have yet to read anything relating "Jung" - I haven't heard of him before either) in the form of Psychology. Personally, I believe we should respect both perspectives; given psychological evidence, we should then search for a basis in neurology, thus becoming neuropsychology. Contrary to this, given the neurological basis, a psychological macro-level can be formed, and thus again in turn, neuropsychology is formed; in other words, behavioral observations can motivate neurological research, and neurological observations can motivate the latter.
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    Quote Originally Posted by marcusclayman
    How much do our peripheral nerves effect our mind? Could something as simple as walking differently trigger a change in the brain to begin?

    What about dietary changes?

    Or climate changes?
    Our SNS (Somatic nervous system) within the PNS (Peripheral nervous system) affects our mind via the interaction between instintual and cognitive systems; the senses first reach our instinctive systems, and then later reach our cognitive systems. In other words, the sensory impulses from our SNS travel to the lower regions of the brain, and then into its cognitive centers; as a result, we soon percieve the data interpreted by our cognitive brain, and thus it is then percieved by the conscious mind.

    Dietary changes occur within our instinctive systems; these systems monitor and pertain balance from within our body, responding to the requirements of these components and interacting with them in every detail.

    I'm uncertain of climate changes, although I do know that with seasonal changes, our pineal gland modulates the secretion of melatonin in variation with the season.
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    Quote Originally Posted by AeDeAeMn0886
    What I would like to know about my unconscious mind is how can I bring that info, knowledge, feeling, whatever, into consciousness, so it can be used instead of repressed
    Yes, this. For me, I desire and demand to achieve total recall for conscious assesment (Well, it wouldn't be conscious if I was unconscious, but to access this memory whilst conscious would be incredible).
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  24. #23  
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    I heard on the radio yesterday a talk about loneliness in America.

    They are trying to sell a book, so I don't know how credible the information is.

    She talked about the part of our brain, or mind, I forgot, which effects our ability to make social decisions. She said that it receives information from ALL our nervous system.

    I gathered from this that: the social health is a measure of over all nervous health.
    So as humans evolved, we developed stronger nervous systems from eating more fats, electrolytes and B vitamins, this nervous health allowed us to become more social, less anxious and less aggressive.

    Society, in a way, is a means of protecting our highly evolved, yet weakened nerves. Weakened, not in the sense that we are any weaker than an ape, but weakened in the sense that we are very impressionable. Just look at the variations amongst humans and compare to the variations amongst apes. We are far more diverse physically and mentally, and both those attributes reflect in our cultures. Whereas animal culture tends to be static, ours is more dynamic, though there are still static generalities in human cultures, and there are also some dynamic peculiarities amongst animal cultures.

    AS for what this has to do with the subconscious and repression. I believe you are right, that repression begins as a conscious decision: fear of a curtain action, thought, feeling or experience. BUT the act of repression is repressed, and that act is repressed, to infinity in some cases. This is circular repression, much like circular logic. It is the "Ring of the Nibelung", the "one ring to rule them all", or the "downward spiral."

    There are a lot of symbols in myth and self help teachings about it, because it effects everyone to some degree, those who struggle with it the most understand it the most. It seems as though it offers power, but as you follow it, it only offers you more power, without every giving you any. You sell yourself more and more and more, for more and more promises, but nothing real. It is self deception, Satan, fear of life, fear of the vagina, fear of the unknown, fear of love, fear of authentic expression, fear of knowing oneself. It can be one or all of those things, but the subject, life, the unknown, these are just the experiential focus points of the fear, it is the fear of fear itself that we repress, everything else is flavor and colorful toppings. We repress, repress that, and try to distract ourselves from the very act of repression.

    At least that is my experiences with it. I know that probably doesn't help with any scientific understanding. I think raw subjective experience is the only way to understand things like this.
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  25. #24  
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    I heard on the radio yesterday a talk about loneliness in America.

    They are trying to sell a book, so I don't know how credible the information is.

    She talked about the part of our brain, or mind, I forgot, which effects our ability to make social decisions. She said that it receives information from ALL our nervous system.

    I gathered from this that: Social health can be a measure of over-all nervous health. My understanding of reflexology is that nervous health can be used to measure over all health of body and mind.

    As humans evolved, we developed stronger nervous systems from eating more fats, electrolytes and B vitamins, this nervous health allowed us to become more social, less anxious and less aggressive.

    Society, in a way, is a means of protecting our highly evolved, yet weakened nerves. Weakened, not in the sense that we are any weaker than an ape, but weakened in the sense that we are very impressionable. Just look at the variations amongst humans and compare to the variations amongst apes. We are far more diverse physically and mentally, and both those attributes reflect in our cultures. Whereas animal culture tends to be static, ours is more dynamic, though there are still static generalities in human cultures, and there are also some dynamic peculiarities amongst animal cultures.

    AS for what this has to do with the subconscious and repression. I believe you are right, that repression begins as a conscious decision: fear of a curtain action, thought, feeling or experience. BUT the act of repression is repressed, and that act is repressed, to infinity in some cases. This is circular repression, much like circular logic. It is the "Ring of the Nibelung", the "one ring to rule them all", or the "downward spiral."

    There are a lot of symbols in myth and self help teachings about it, because it effects everyone to some degree, those who struggle with it the most understand it the most. It seems as though it offers power, but as you follow it, it only offers you more power, without every giving you any. You sell yourself more and more and more, for more and more promises, but nothing real. It is self deception, Satan, fear of life, fear of the vagina, fear of the unknown, fear of love, fear of authentic expression, fear of knowing oneself. It can be one or all of those things, but the subject, life, the unknown, these are just the experiential focus points of the fear, it is the fear of fear itself that we repress, everything else is flavor and colorful toppings. We repress, repress that, and try to distract ourselves from the very act of repression.

    Where this "fear of fear" all came from, how did it evolve, is the subject of this discussion right? Sorry for going off the subject, but I think it is all related. I do not know much about evolution, so I'll leave that up to you, hopefully this experiential description will help in some way.

    The ring of the Nibelung, a musical based on Norse mythology is said to be based on this lust for power. The ring gives infinite power to it's wearer, but it's wearer will surely die. It is synonymous with the tree of knowledge of good and evil, which fruits bestow the consumer with infinity knowledge, but they will surely die.

    I think it is synonymous with empirical sciences which ignore personal experience, also synonymous with selling your soul. Then again death is also seen as a symbol of rebirth in a symbolic sense, and in those "secret" teachings death and flaming swords, might just be threats to keep those uninitiated from delving into the real meaning of it all. One must, in a way, die in order to transcend their own perspective before seeing objectively. You need to transcend your fear of death before living fully, you need to transcend your fear of rejection before being accepted, etc, etc. These are all small psychological deaths of thoughts and illusions of self.

    Where did these illusions come from? Not from external sources, but from inside. External sources are used as mediums to express the illusion, but the desire to deceive came from an internal change.

    So many possibilities are on the tip of my tongue but I have a hard time explaining them. I will need to do some research on that point in evolution to understand the circumstances.
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  26. #25  
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    Quote Originally Posted by DrmDoc
    "If" was posited to those reader who may not accept this minimalistic view of the mind.
    OK, I had read it as your own uncertainty. Unless one invokes the supernatural then there is no alternative to what you are calling a minimalistic view, and it puzzles me why this is even controversial. Why for instance did Francis Crick call it the astonishing hypothesis? It isn’t astonishing; it’s just the rational conclusion.

    With respect to Mr. Searle, mind and digestion is not an accurate assessment of its nature. Mind is the environment of cognitive activity within the brain that arises from brain function. A mind is quantified by the capacity to integrate sensory data, from multiple sensory source, through a process that produces behaviors independent of instinct. Essentially, a mind enables proactive behaviors.
    While I think your definition of mind seems reasonable, that doesn’t negate Searle’s analogy. He was trying to demystify the concept of mind, and treat it as the biological function that it is. The fact that mind has a different function from digestion does not mean that both are not biological in nature.

    "If" you agree that brain function produces the mind, then we are aready beyond speculation.
    Yes, possibly beyond speculation about what mind is, but not beyond speculation about when and in which animal mind first existed, which is what I understood your intent to be.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bunbury
    While I think your definition of mind seems reasonable, that doesn’t negate Searle’s analogy. He was trying to demystify the concept of mind, and treat it as the biological function that it is. The fact that mind has a different function from digestion does not mean that both are not biological in nature.
    If as an effect of our physiological nature, then I somewhat agree with Searle's analogy; If as an example of the mind's genesis and clockwork, I disagree.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bunbury
    Yes, possibly beyond speculation about what mind is, but not beyond speculation about when and in which animal mind first existed, which is what I understood your intent to be.
    To precisely know when and in which animals the mind first appeared is indeed an impossibility; however, determining at which stage, in its early evolution, the brain developed the capacity to produce the mind is not impossible to know. This is knowing the structural stages of brain evolution rather than knowing the specific antecedent animals contributing to that evolution. Brain structure comprises primitive to recent elements that contiguously chart its path through evolution. There is enough functional evidence in contemporary brain study and comparative anatomy data, in conjunction with the fossil record, to chart the structual stages at which the brain evolved the various neural components enabling its production of a mind. The structure of our brain charts a well defined path to the emergence of those structures that began to function as a mind. Most would be surprised to learn that mind production began before cortical development and that the emergent mind's need for more sophistocated memory capacity kindled cortical evolution.
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  28. #27  
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    There is enough functional evidence in contemporary brain study and comparative anatomy data, in conjunction with the fossil record, to chart the structual stages at which the brain evolved the various neural components enabling its production of a mind.
    What are the minimum structural requirements for the existence of mind? How do you know?
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  29. #28  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bunbury
    What are the minimum structural requirements for the existence of mind? How do you know?
    In numerous previous posts, I said, "a mind is quantified by the brain's capacity to integrate sensory data, from multiple sensory sources, through a process that produces behaviors independent of instinct. Essentially, a mind enables proactive behaviors." So your question is, at what stage in the brain's structural evolution did it become capable of integrating sensory data, from multiple sensory sources, to produce proactive behaviors? That structural stage can be considered the pinnacle of diencephalic development, which was the thalamus. How do we know?

    We know from the contiguous primitive to recent nature of brain structure that the thalamus didn’t appear until after structural elements associated with visual perception. Until the emergence of sight, the predominant sources of sensory ancestral animals experienced are suggested by the aural and tactile afferent innervations of the brainstem with tactile being the more primitive of the two. Aural sensory (sound detection) is a slightly more sophisticated form of tactile sensory that evolved as early animals became more mobile and responsive to their sensory environment. In the brainstem, the neural cluster associated with sound detection arises contiguously in the metencephalon, after the myelencephalon (spinal brain), which is the portion of the brainstem most suggestive of primitive notochord development.

    Until the emergence of sight, the tactile forms of sensory (sound, touch, & taste) development at the metencephalic stage of brain evolution suggest ancestral animals that were more reactive in behaviors. The earliest elements of our sensory system suggest our animal ancestors’ preoccupation with feeding. In the absence of nutrient sources, energy expenditure would have come at a premium for these early animals. We know these early metencephalic animals experienced periods of food privation because the most primitive neural elements of sleep are produced at the metencephalic level of our central nervous system.

    Without the visual ability to distinguish between prey, predator, or innocuous stimuli, the behaviors of these sightless animals were a reflexive response to tactile stimuli that could have caused their expenditure of energy unnecessarily. With the emergence of sight, early animals could combine their tactile sensory with their visual observations to enhance the mediation of their energy expenditure. The earliest element of brain structure where such integration of sensory occurs is the thalamus. In early animals, the thalamus gave them the mental ability to mediate their instinctive, reflexive responses to stimuli; i.e., the thalamus gave early animals the rudiments of thought.

    When we strip away the cortex in test animals, leaving the basal ganglia and thalamus intact, we find much of their behaviors remain; they ambulate well, feed, build nests, and engage in sexual behaviors. In the human brain, the thalamus is a striking miniature replica of the cortex; it has a right and left hemisphere with a similar hemispheric adhesion. Concisely, the thalamus emerged as early animals began to integrate what they felt and heard with what they saw. All sensory data, except olfactory, must enter the thalamus before reaching the cortex. Olfactory data subsequently enters the thalamus via the periform cortex. No other brain structure serves such a vital role in the collection and integration of sensory information, which quantifies mind; therefore, mind emerges from thalamic function.

    One other note; cortical activity is non-existent in the absence of its substructual neural connections to the thalamus in test animals. This further suggests the non-existence of mind without the thalamus.
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  30. #29 Re: Mind, Consciousness, and Unconsciousnes 
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    Quote Originally Posted by DrmDoc
    Hello All,

    While researching how our brain evolved to dream for a book I wrote a couple of years ago (Neuropsychology of the Dreaming Brain), I learned much more about the nature of mind, consciousness, and unconsciousness than I could find in any one specific text. It amazes me how much we speculate about our mental nature and construct without a cogent perspective of brain evolution. To speculate about the nature of the mind or investigate the nature of brain function without the slightest understanding of how our brain evolved is like, in my opinion, constructing a building without considering its foundation.
    But would that really be something we can call a foundation or would that be a tower of speculation in its own right? Which is not to say that this is not an avenue of scientific inquiry that should be explored, of course. I think it is quite clear from the study of the Benobos, for example, that much of the function of the human brain must have a very long evolutionary history.


    Quote Originally Posted by DrmDoc
    For example, what is the mind? We speculate the mind to be a mixture of id, ego, and complexes when we have empirical evidence which defines the mind as the environment of cognitive activity within the brain that arises from brain function. If the mind is indeed a product of brain function
    Well I believe that the mind is self-organized entity much in the same way that life is and that it is a product of brain function in the same way that life is a product of natural physical laws, which is too say that its existence certainly requires the pre-existing conditions but that its process of development is one that cannot be derived from those conditions because it involves many non-deterministic bifurcations. I think the "evolution" of the human mind has very little to do with DNA and much more to do with an inheritance of information transmitted via human communication.


    Quote Originally Posted by DrmDoc
    If the mind is indeed a product of brain function, we can further quantify the nature of the mind by how and when the brain evolved that function.
    If the mind is not simply a product of brain function but a self organized entity, all this means is that your approach must focus on those things which are a matter of brain function rather than the content of the mind. Those things which we have in common for the Benobos would for example would be a rough filter in that respect.

    Quote Originally Posted by DrmDoc
    If the modern brain evolved from some primitive form, we should be able to find and follow the footprints of that form back to its beginning. Should you like to join me in further discussion, I welcome your thoughts.
    I cannot imagine a more difficult "reverse engineering sort of task". Most of the information that survives is in the DNA of living organisms, so I imagine that would largely be a genetic archeology project. But I wonder how much of the information is still there in some form and how much is lost or simply irretrable because the interpretive context of the living organism which gave that information meaning, do not exist anymore? Certainly the fossil record is a pretty poor sourc for information on either behavior or brain development.
    See my physics of spaceflight simulator at http://www.relspace.astahost.com

    I now have a blog too: http://astahost.blogspot.com/
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  31. #30  
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    Interesting post
    Quote Originally Posted by marcusclayman
    AS for what this has to do with the subconscious and repression. I believe you are right, that repression begins as a conscious decision: fear of a curtain action, thought, feeling or experience. BUT the act of repression is repressed, and that act is repressed, to infinity in some cases. This is circular repression, much like circular logic. It is the "Ring of the Nibelung", the "one ring to rule them all", or the "downward spiral."
    I kinda agree with you here. Initially, whilst I was young, I would see things that didn't exist; I wouldn't hallucinate fully, but would see parts of a film, or areas within a videogame that had never existed. I presume this is the lack of repression, or the slightest of hyperfrontality; as I grew up, I became more and more critical, analyzing the environment and then later lacking in imagination and memory (Well, when comparing to when I was younger). I guess, if you just do it, you bypass the effects of repression; overcoming fears usually requires the individual to contront them and therefore, breaching fear itself. I'm not entirely sure as to why memory is repressed, even those we wish to view in full clarity, although many negative memories appear to be repressed more easily, and are much harder to "think" upon in contrast to positive memories.

    Quote Originally Posted by marcusclayman
    There are a lot of symbols in myth and self help teachings about it, because it effects everyone to some degree, those who struggle with it the most understand it the most. It seems as though it offers power, but as you follow it, it only offers you more power, without every giving you any. You sell yourself more and more and more, for more and more promises, but nothing real. It is self deception, Satan, fear of life, fear of the vagina, fear of the unknown, fear of love, fear of authentic expression, fear of knowing oneself. It can be one or all of those things, but the subject, life, the unknown, these are just the experiential focus points of the fear, it is the fear of fear itself that we repress, everything else is flavor and colorful toppings. We repress, repress that, and try to distract ourselves from the very act of repression.
    Although Science often dismisses individual experience, what it doesn't consider is that there will always be a physical basis for the experience itself; in other words, there will be fundamentals in neurology consistent with psychological experiences (Whether it be literal, mystical or spirtual).

    Quote Originally Posted by marcusclayman
    Where this "fear of fear" all came from, how did it evolve, is the subject of this discussion right? Sorry for going off the subject, but I think it is all related. I do not know much about evolution, so I'll leave that up to you, hopefully this experiential description will help in some way.
    I suppose fear probably evolved consequent to analytical thought; as the prefrontal evolved, and as a result of it's analyse of the literal - conscious - perception, it probably supressed negative outputs from a given analyse (Or critical thought).

    Quote Originally Posted by marcusclayman
    I think it is synonymous with empirical sciences which ignore personal experience, also synonymous with selling your soul. Then again death is also seen as a symbol of rebirth in a symbolic sense, and in those "secret" teachings death and flaming swords, might just be threats to keep those uninitiated from delving into the real meaning of it all. One must, in a way, die in order to transcend their own perspective before seeing objectively. You need to transcend your fear of death before living fully, you need to transcend your fear of rejection before being accepted, etc, etc. These are all small psychological deaths of thoughts and illusions of self.
    To me, it appears that the process of death consequent to old age, is indeed the reversal of life; although inconsistent with empircal science, to me it appears young-age is correlated to old-age. Repression may be less active in individuals of old age, therefore they're more likely to be susceptible to hallucigenic perceptions. Behaviour of old-aged individuals is similar to child-like behaviour; an old person may demand for their wants, as with a child. As strange as it may seem, but it appears as if it's 0101010 - to infinite - 0 being death, and 1 being birth. In my opinion, death as opposed to being the traditional perception of being non-existent, is rather a transition; a transition that occurs slowly from the present life, to the next; and from the past.

    Quote Originally Posted by marcusclayman
    Where did these illusions come from? Not from external sources, but from inside. External sources are used as mediums to express the illusion, but the desire to deceive came from an internal change.
    Personally, I would say illusions are the result of interaction internal and externally; the lack of repression may lead to delusional perception; external suggetions may affect internal perception if literal analyse is not present - in my opinion.

    Quote Originally Posted by marcusclayman
    So many possibilities are on the tip of my tongue
    So much we have yet to understand, and so much we have speculated of what is ahead of our world, whilst definined it all as fact. Sadly however, we haven't even got off this giant rock (Excluding the Moon), and have yet to move to another, and all of what we've speculated may appear complete distinct to the literal perception when we adapt to the cosmos.
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  32. #31  
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    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    I think it is quite clear from the study of the Benobos, for example, that much of the function of the human brain must have a very long evolutionary history.
    The perspective we gain from evaluating the primal past of brain evolution beyond the Benobos tells us much more about how we arrived at the distinction between humanity, ape, and other species similar to humanity that did not survive.

    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    Well I believe that the mind is self-organized entity much in the same way that life is and that it is a product of brain function in the same way that life is a product of natural physical laws, which is too say that its existence certainly requires the pre-existing conditions but that its process of development is one that cannot be derived from those conditions because it involves many non-deterministic bifurcations. I think the "evolution" of the human mind has very little to do with DNA and much more to do with an inheritance of information transmitted via human communication.
    Although we may begin our investigation of the mind with a belief, we may not arrive at some immutable truth without applications of science and logic. Empirically, the mind cannot exist without a neurological structure as its progenitor. This perspective is supported by the only testable model of mind production we are capable of understanding, which is the human brain. Our ability to understand the human brain model is indeed rooted in our ability to communicate our experiences and understanding among ourselves much better than with other species. With this empirical model of mind production, the human brain, we have a basis from which to test our theories about the nature of mind. DNA suggests the minutia of brain development, while the evolution of brain structure is more about the major steps in brain development that likely led to the production of those mental functions suggestive of a mind.

    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    If the mind is not simply a product of brain function but a self organized entity, all this means is that your approach must focus on those things which are a matter of brain function rather than the content of the mind. Those things which we have in common for the Benobos would for example would be a rough filter in that respect.
    The mind is a product of brain function; therefore, mind cannot exist without that function. How the brain functions—how it collects, assesses, and responds to sensory information both internal and external—comprises the nature of the mind. With a normal brain, we all receive the same sensory information (scent, sight, sound, taste, & touch) through the same brain structures with the same functions, which is only distinguished by our individual life experiences. We may not be able to determine one’s individuality or life experiences from a dissection of the brain, but we can determine the function of those structures in the brain that constitute the processes essential to one’s individuality and life experience. Our observations of the dramatic changes in personality and behaviors after traumatic brain injuries supports this perspective of the mind as produced by brain function.

    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    I cannot imagine a more difficult "reverse engineering sort of task". Most of the information that survives is in the DNA of living organisms, so I imagine that would largely be a genetic archeology project. But I wonder how much of the information is still there in some form and how much is lost or simply irretrable because the interpretive context of the living organism which gave that information meaning, do not exist anymore? Certainly the fossil record is a pretty poor sourc for information on either behavior or brain development.
    Far from an analysis of DNA, this is a study of the structural and functional footprints in the contemporary brain leading back to its primal origin. For example, neural clusters for the human tongue emerge in separate parts of our brainstem, which is the most primitive part of our central nervous system. The neural cluster associated with taste receptors in the rear of the tongue rises in the first stage of our brainstem, while the cluster associated with the front or anterior of the tongue rises in the second stage along with other nerves associated with facial perception. What we see in this development is an evolutionary step forward in our primal past when taste diversified as our animal ancestors became more energetic (as suggested by facial nerves). The receptors in the forward part of our tongue are more refined than those in its rear. This is just one example of how the human brain evinces its evolutional path towards its current state.
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