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A Momentary Flow

Evolving Worldviews

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174 posts tagged Mind

For Darwin, the ability to modulate responses indicated “the presence of a mind of some kind.” He also wrote of the “mental qualities” of worms in relation to their plugging up their burrows, noting that “if worms are able to judge…having drawn an object close to the mouths of their burrows, how best to drag it in, they must acquire some notion of its general shape.” This moved him to argue that worms “deserve to be called intelligent, for they then act in nearly the same manner as a man under similar circumstances.”

The Mental Life of Plants and Worms, Among Others by Oliver Sacks | The New York Review of Books
At the quantum level of analysis, the brain is made up of 99.999 etc% empty space, plus a system of molecules, atoms and so on. But these atomic constituents, as Stapp points out, do not exist as independent self-contained material entities. Ultimately they emerge out of the quantum field of potentiality; and their emergence in some way depends upon consciousness. When we know all this (and all this is known), then the materialists’ picture of mind-independent jiggling molecules in a materially substantial brain dissolves. As Stapp says, “no such brain exists; no brain, body, or anything else in the real world is composed of those tiny bits of matter that Newton imagined the universe to be made of” (Mindful Universe, 2007, p.139). Rather, the physical grounds in the brain of the experience of the seeing of a yellow wall reduces to a jiggling of an insubstantial quantum field, as the illustration illustrates.
via:
On ‘Known-To-Be-False’ Materialist Philosophies of Mind
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At the quantum level of analysis, the brain is made up of 99.999 etc% empty space, plus a system of molecules, atoms and so on. But these atomic constituents, as Stapp points out, do not exist as independent self-contained material entities. Ultimately they emerge out of the quantum field of potentiality; and their emergence in some way depends upon consciousness. When we know all this (and all this is known), then the materialists’ picture of mind-independent jiggling molecules in a materially substantial brain dissolves. As Stapp says, “no such brain exists; no brain, body, or anything else in the real world is composed of those tiny bits of matter that Newton imagined the universe to be made of” (Mindful Universe, 2007, p.139). Rather, the physical grounds in the brain of the experience of the seeing of a yellow wall reduces to a jiggling of an insubstantial quantum field, as the illustration illustrates.

via:

On ‘Known-To-Be-False’ Materialist Philosophies of Mind

 (subscription required)

As a species, humans manifest a quality called neoteny, the retention of juvenile characteristics into adulthood. Neoteny has physical ramifications—scarce body hair and a flat face are two examples—but it also has neurological ones. Namely, we have an extraordinary capacity to continue learning throughout life. If neoteny helps to explain our ability to learn, researchers are now figuring out what drives us to take advantage of it. In 2008, a group of scientists set up a novel fMRI study. When a sub­ject’s curiosity was piqued by a question (“What is the only country in the world that has a bill of rights for cows?” for instance), certain regions of the brain lit up. Those areas, known collectively as the basal ganglia, correspond to the brain’s reward centers—the same ones that govern our desire for sex or chocolate or total domination in Call of Duty 4. When people say they have an itch to figure something out, they’re not speaking metaphorically. They’re looking to get high on information. Curiosity, then, is not some romantic quality. It is an adaptive response. Humans may not be the fastest or strongest creatures, but through the blind luck of evolution, we developed the desire and capacity to continually update our understanding of the world. And that has allowed us to master it—or get darn close. Call it the biological basis for being a nerd.

The Editor’s Letter From The April 2014 Issue Of Popular Science Magazine | Popular Science

In a contemporary, and often unacknowledged, rebooting of Freud, many psychologists have concluded from such findings that unconscious associations and attitudes hold powerful sway over our lives—and that conscious choice is largely superfluous. “It is not clear,” the Baylor College neuroscientist David Eagleman writes, “how much the conscious you—as opposed to the genetic and neural you—gets to do any deciding at all.” The New York University psychologist Jonathan Haidt suggests we should reject the notion that we are in control of our decisions and instead think of the conscious self as a lawyer who, when called upon to defend the actions of a client, mainly provides after-the-fact justifications for decisions that have already been made.

The War on Reason - Paul Bloom - The Atlantic
Dim the lights if you need to make a big decision - The next time you want to turn down the emotional intensity before making an important decision, you may want to dim the lights first. A new study shows that human emotions, whether they are positive or negative, are felt more intensely under bright lights. “Other evidence shows that on sunny days people are more optimistic about the stock market, report higher wellbeing, and are more helpful while extended exposure to dark, gloomy days can result in seasonal affective disorder,” says Alison Jing Xu, assistant professor of management at the University of Toronto Scarborough. “Contrary to these results, we found that on sunny days depression-prone people actually become more depressed,” she says, pointing to peaks in suicide rates during late spring and summer when sunshine is abundant. (via Dim the lights if you need to make a big decision | Futurity)

Dim the lights if you need to make a big decision
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The next time you want to turn down the emotional intensity before making an important decision, you may want to dim the lights first. A new study shows that human emotions, whether they are positive or negative, are felt more intensely under bright lights. “Other evidence shows that on sunny days people are more optimistic about the stock market, report higher wellbeing, and are more helpful while extended exposure to dark, gloomy days can result in seasonal affective disorder,” says Alison Jing Xu, assistant professor of management at the University of Toronto Scarborough.
“Contrary to these results, we found that on sunny days depression-prone people actually become more depressed,” she says, pointing to peaks in suicide rates during late spring and summer when sunshine is abundant. (via Dim the lights if you need to make a big decision | Futurity)

Monkey uses its mind to control another primate, in tests scientists hope could help paralysed people  - Scientists have developed a way for monkeys to control “avatars” that could be used to help paralysed people move their bodies. In the tests scientists found that brain signals from the master monkey’s mind could be used to stimulate an avatar’s spinal cord to control its movements. The findings published in the Natural Communications journal have been called a “key step forward” and could help people who have damaged their spinal cord to the extent that its stops information flowing from the brain to the body. People with such damage are often left unable to walk or feed themselves, and researchers say that even the smallest amount of movement could dramatically improve a person’s life, the BBC reported. The scientists from Harvard Medical School in the US envisage their findings could go towards creating machinery to help patients. As researchers said they could not justify paralysing a monkey for the study, they used a conscious monkey with an implanted brain chip, and an unconscious avatar to be controlled. During the experiment, the conscious monkey’s movements were mapped according to patterns of electrical activity in its neurons. The scientists then hooked the avatar’s spinal cord up to 36 electrodes to measure how it moved according to different combinations of stimulation. In a different test, as the sedated monkey held a joystick, the master thought about moving a cursor up and down. In 98 per cent of tests, the master could correctly control the avatar’s arm. (via Monkey uses its mind to control another primate, in tests scientists hope could help paralysed people - Science - News - The Independent)

Monkey uses its mind to control another primate, in tests scientists hope could help paralysed people
-
Scientists have developed a way for monkeys to control “avatars” that could be used to help paralysed people move their bodies. In the tests scientists found that brain signals from the master monkey’s mind could be used to stimulate an avatar’s spinal cord to control its movements. The findings published in the Natural Communications journal have been called a “key step forward” and could help people who have damaged their spinal cord to the extent that its stops information flowing from the brain to the body. People with such damage are often left unable to walk or feed themselves, and researchers say that even the smallest amount of movement could dramatically improve a person’s life, the BBC reported. The scientists from Harvard Medical School in the US envisage their findings could go towards creating machinery to help patients. As researchers said they could not justify paralysing a monkey for the study, they used a conscious monkey with an implanted brain chip, and an unconscious avatar to be controlled. During the experiment, the conscious monkey’s movements were mapped according to patterns of electrical activity in its neurons. The scientists then hooked the avatar’s spinal cord up to 36 electrodes to measure how it moved according to different combinations of stimulation. In a different test, as the sedated monkey held a joystick, the master thought about moving a cursor up and down. In 98 per cent of tests, the master could correctly control the avatar’s arm. (via Monkey uses its mind to control another primate, in tests scientists hope could help paralysed people - Science - News - The Independent)