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Author Topic: One mind, many brains?  (Read 4654 times)
JimS
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« on: July 12, 2011, 10:31:15 PM »


After reading an xkcd cartoon a couple of days ago that I didn't "get", I found my way to the Wikipedia article on Douglas Hofstadter. Some heady stuff there (no pun intended), but this statement really set me back in my chair:

Quote
Hofstadter's 2007 book I Am a Strange Loop carries his vision of consciousness considerably further, including the idea that each human "I" is distributed over numerous brains, rather than being limited to precisely one brain.

Whoa....

"OK, this could explain a lot if things", I thought to myself. But then, the implications of this theory on the Paranormal started to sink in. I'm still trying to wrap my (one) brain around the idea, but what if, for example, many paranormal experiences can be explained by bleed-though or overlap from other brains in the one particular "I" that you are a part of? Are we connected, and can we communicate with the "others"? If one brain dies, does it's part in the "I" cease to exist or does it continue as a part of the whole?

I would be interested in hearing any thoughts and ideas that others have in this theory. I hope to find some time to do some more research into this in the future.

And I still don't get the cartoon.... Huh?

-Jim




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Desmodromic
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« Reply #1 on: July 27, 2011, 06:22:04 PM »

I think it kind of falls into the same category as Deja Vu.  For those that may not know this Deja Vu is believed to be caused by a misfire of the brains neurons that "programs" what we are currently seeing into the "memory" area of our brains instead of the "what I'm seeing right now" portion, which is why we can remember seeing it, even if we are seeing it for the first time.

I think you are on the right track, as the grey gooey mass in our heads is FULL of mystery and unknown.  There may be a part of the brain that is SUPPOSED to be seeing things we cant see, and we only get to glimpse of them when one of these "Misfires" happens.  Which may explain why there are Mediums and psychics out there, as they can use that part more actively. 

...just a theory though.
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JimS
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« Reply #2 on: September 21, 2011, 10:21:12 PM »


I have acquired a copy of Douglas Hofstadter's book I Am a Strange Loop, and am in the process of working my way through it. So far it has been interesting and understandable, but I have yet to get to the "good stuff".

http://www.amazon.com/Am-Strange-Loop-Douglas-Hofstadter/dp/0465030785/ref=si_aps_sup?ie=UTF8&qid=1316665050&sr=8-1

-Jim
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JimS
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« Reply #3 on: January 28, 2012, 02:45:47 PM »


I'll have to admit that I was somewhat disappointed in this book. It is Hofstadter's belief that the human mind, spirit, Id, whatever you want to call it, is an organic evolutionary result of the complexity of the human brain, which he calls a "universal extensible computer"; a complex feedback loop of sorts called a "strange loop" that has the ability to look back upon itself, and to represent the complexities of existence in symbols that interact with each other, grow, and change. Everything we are is a product of "dancing symbols" operating in a complex matrix of neurons. After death, we only exist further as poor resolution copies of ourselves in the dancing symbols in other people's brains. He almost completely ignores or debunks any notion of mysticism or spirituality, and there is no discussion of some of the possibilities in quantum physics. What a grim and dreary prospect.

Still, I found the book to be an interesting read, in that it may offer a small part of the big picture after all. He manages to explain complex ideas in ways that most people can understand, and presents reasonable arguments for his ideas. A recommended read if you have the time, and are interested in the nature of existence; you don't HAVE to believe it all.

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Roger
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« Reply #4 on: January 28, 2012, 04:16:46 PM »

Hmm.... Dancing symbols??  Without having read the author's book perhaps I am at a disadvantage here.  Here is what we do know, "Energy neither can be created nor destroyed, only transformed".  Our brains are a physical mass of nerves, brain cells, and neural networks arranged in such manner as to enable thought to be produced by a combination of electrochemical actions acting upon and being produced by these networks within our brains.  One of the KEY ingredients here is the "electrical" component, in short, energy.  Our minds and bodies produce electrical energy as a result of nerve action in the form of signals.  These signals form patterns (especially within the brain) and as a result of these patterns thought and action are both produced.  One question I would like to raise here is, "What is the significance of long term memory?"  It is a complex process that combines aspects of all of our known senses (sight, sound, smell, touch, taste,) and emotional responses.  These are the basis of memory, but why is it necessarily so complex?  What happens to all of these patterns when the physical body ceases to function (dies)?  Remember, energy can neither be created nor destroyed, therefore it can only be transformed into some other state of existence.  Are the patterns lost when the brain dies or are they somehow preserved by a means as yet unknown?  As for the possibility of a multi-brain concept, I don't feel qualified to remark on that.  What I have wondered about though is how our brains do work?  It is well known that the brain generates electrical waves (at very low frequencies) These waves (Alpha, Beta, Delta, Gamma, Theta, Mu) are all present within our minds and can be detected through an EEG machine that can record these waves.
It may be said that in some form our brains are a kind of biological transceiver both capable of transmitting and receiving signals at these low frequencies.  Is it possible that we may be communicating with others at these extremely low frequencies without being aware of it?  This could be the basis of ESP and other phenomena associated with paranormal research.  Who knows?
Roger
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JimS
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« Reply #5 on: January 29, 2012, 11:22:57 PM »


Hofstadter explains how in high level mathematics, a complex formulas or concept can be represented by symbol that is further used in other formulas. His belief is that the brain processes and stores information in a similar manner, using a vast and ever-changing network of intertwined, interacting symbols to produce what we are. There is nothing at all metaphysical or mystical about his construct, it's just simple chemical-based biology at the root level which ultimately produces this. Just one badass computer. And like a silicon computer, when you shut it off, it's gone. And we don't even have a hard drive to retain the data. The only thing left is a very low resolution copy of you in the symbol sets in the brains of people who knew you.

Like I said, grim and dreary.

I still don't completely buy into the notion that the brain operates at a frequency in the low Hertz. When you consider the volume of information processing that happens every second, that just doesn't seem possible. What is the speed of thought? What is the bandwidth of consciousness? Think about it in terms of data transfer and information theory. Let's look at just vision for a moment. It takes a 6 MegaHertz bandwidth to transmit a 2-D full-motion analog video scene electronically - at a lower resolution than our eyes can provide. It takes a computer operating in the hundreds of MegaHertz to GigaHertz range to process this sort of video signal well, and that's leaving out image analysis, object recognition, and all that other fancy sci-fi stuff that computer can do in the movies. If you go with strictly hardware video processing, you are still looking at devices that need to operate in the low hundreds of MegaHertz. And yet, the human brain processes realtime, full motion, wide "screen" high-definition visual imagery continuously, with ease, and we still have time to think about it while it is happening. How can this be done at low frequency?

Yippee-Ki-Yo!

-Jim
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Roger
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« Reply #6 on: January 30, 2012, 02:00:47 PM »

Jim, I hear what you're saying and yes that does seem to not make a great deal of sense.  How can a brain operating at a maximum of less than 200 HZ be able to accomplish what a very high frequency computer processor is hard pressed to accomplish?  Ok, what role does the chemical process play?  Remember the brain operates as a result of electrochemical activity, is this the great secret of how we work?  It seems to me that if there was some kind of very high frequency component to our brain activity it would have been discovered a long time ago, yet there is no proof there is such frequencies at work in our brains.  Therefore, the most striking difference between our machine friends and ourselves is chemicals.   The mystery deepens.
Roger
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« Reply #7 on: September 15, 2012, 08:39:48 PM »

Maybe this is all part of the Collective Unconscious or Akashic Records that Edgar Cayce talked about?  Also, are you talking about symbols like Jungian Archetypes?  Or some other type of symbol?  I haven't read the book and I don't pretend to understand high level mathematics (I barely get low level mathematics, LOL), but what are the connections then between psychology, chemistry, spirituality, and mathematics?  Is that something Quantam Physics could potentially answer?
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JimS
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« Reply #8 on: September 16, 2012, 12:20:17 PM »


More like pictograms or hieroglyphs, where a symbol or simple drawing can be used to represent a complex subject. As you chain symbol sets together and use yet more symbols to represent symbol sets, the whole thing gets massively complex, and a feedback loop of sorts (the "strange loop") arises. Hofstadter compares it to a video camera pointed at it's own monitor, in a way. When the loop becomes complex enough to look back upon itself and be aware of itself, consciousness arises. That's it. There's no spirit, no soul, nothing metaphysical happening there at all. Just physics inside a very complex computer.

How terribly dreary is that?

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RBM
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« Reply #9 on: December 30, 2012, 03:35:56 PM »

I haven't read the Hofstadter book. I am thoroughly informed about the philosophical positions possible and his position seems to be that of a Scientific materialist. Note this is just a refined position of the base position of Materialism.

This is a common position in all Western/Westernized cultures.

Without putting a real fine point on it, this position implies a worldview that states firstly and without exception that Science can explain all.

If it can't:
1. It doesn't exist
1. It will explain in the future - when Science has more information.

This is a science that also posits that matter is fundamental and consciousness is derived from it as the position 'I Am A Strange Loop', does.

My view, adapted from a formal TOE (Theory of Everything; titled,'My Big TOE') is that Consciousness is fundamental and matter is derived from it.

As a result each individual has a little 'c' consciousness which is part and parcel of the system of big 'C' Consciousness instead of the 'mind/brain' structure per the book.

That is a distilled simple statement of the 800+ page work, so there are lots of component parts I'm not mentioning but are included in this TOE. The work is a unification of metaphysics, physics and philosophy. It can however trace is core message all the way back to the same message of The Buddha and The Void, Śūnyatā.

I'll close this comment  with some clarification about terms, in general.

The term Consciousness is fairly conflated with the term of 'Spirit'. The term, Soul', which is attached to dogma's of Religion, has more attached to it, conceptually speaking, which undermines understanding, when it comes to the actual mechanics of the system of Consciousness of which Campbell calls the Larger Consciousness System(LCS).
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JimS
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« Reply #10 on: December 30, 2012, 10:31:50 PM »


As I mentioned, I found Hofstadter's outlook to be rather grim and dreary, much the same as what I see atheism. Religions, of course, don't have the answers either - but I can understand why people flock to them when the alternative POV is oblivion. I rather like your "Big TOE" outlook, it seems more congruent with some of my ponderings strictly from a lay perspective.

"Any sufficiently analyzed magic will be indistinguishable from science". I have no doubt that, given enough time, science will eventually figure it all out. And it will seem like magic to us if we could see it now, much as our rocket ships and televisions would seem like magic to someone from 5000 years ago.

The apparent continuing convergence of science and religion (or, magick) has been noted by more mystics than scientists, it seems.

Cheers,

-Jim
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RBM
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« Reply #11 on: January 10, 2013, 05:44:08 PM »

I see Religion as just one learning path to the same ultimate destination. I had a heavy curriculum in 2 years at Doane College in Philosophy and Religion in the early 70's and I was already seeing cracks in that model.

Then in '74 I, with two associates, experienced a UFO Close Encounter of The Second Kind. That irretrievably broke the Religion model for me. From that time forward I have been keeping my ear to the ground for a new model. Campbell's passes every test I have thrown at it, but I've only got a couple years of knowledge under my belt.
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