Mind

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OK, here’s the ultimate reference and review of this whole mind-body thing, or rather consciousness, from a Quantum mechanical point of view. It includes within it Henry Stapp’s theory just as one approach out of many. I’m really going to try to read the whole thing, I think. Just want an overview. It was written by Dr. Harald Atmanspacher.

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I came across the following on Henry Stapp’s Wiki:

Stapp favours the idea that quantum waves collapse only when they interact with consciousness. He argues that quantum waves collapse when intelligent brains select one among the alternative quantum possibilities as a basis for future action.

This seems crazy at first glance, but here’s a further sentence from his Wiki:

Stapp postulates more global collapse via his ‘mind like’ wave-function collapse that exploits certain aspects of the quantum Zeno effect within the synapses to explain attention.

If you check out the above link to the quantum Zeno effect, you find something strange indeed. Say no more! Except the effect is related to the Turing paradox!

Over and out for now.

Oh, before I go, here’s another link: Physics and Whitehead Workshop.

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Almost invariably when I check Psybertron I find something that fascinates me. Today his reference to the book Mindful Universe by Henry Stapp, started me on a search for explanations. There are several Youtubes of Henry Stapp trying to explain his theory, and a fascinating but very hard for me to follow, debate between Stapp and Matthew J. Donald. So, what is he basically trying to say? He’s making a connection between quantum theory, eastern mysticism, and the mind-body problem, if I have that right and not oversimplified it too much. Another related link I found is a long talk by Carlo Rovelli,”Science is not About Certainty: A Philosophy of Physics”.

My work is cut out if I want to understand any of this.

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The problem of where our mind is — it’s in the brain, but how, where? — is tackled in these abstracts from the Philosophy Workshop on the Embodied Mind, July 9-10, 2007, University of Hull.

Here’s a typical abstract:


“The Apparent Truth of Dualism and the Uncanny Body”

Stephen Burwood
University of Hull

It has been suggested that our experiences of embodiment in general appear to constitute an experiential ground for dualist philosophy and that this is particularly so with experiences of dissociation, in which one feels estranged from one’s body. Thus, Drew Leder argues that these play “a crucial role in encouraging and supporting Cartesian dualism” as they “seem to support the doctrine of an immaterial mind trapped inside an alien body”. In this paper I argue that as dualism does not capture the character of such experiences there is not even an apparent separation of self and body revealed here and that one’s body is experienced as uncanny rather than alien. The general relationship between our philosophical theorizing and the phenomenology of lived experience is also considered.

Neuroscience in general does not concern itself with these philosophical meanderings, but I’m strangely, in fact strongly attracted to them.

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I’ve had time to read a few books in the past several months in spite of all the effort I’ve been putting in trying to develop a new church website for our Norway UU church using Joomla. OK, while I’m at it, why not mention loose bowels? I seem to have not diarrhea exactly but a pronounced looseness bowelwise and also perpetual sleep problems, not unrelated perhaps. Good God! I didn’t intend to get off on this subject!

A few weeks back I finished “My Stroke of Insight” by Jill Bolte Taylor, Ph.D., a neuroscientist. Her stroke deactivated a significant part of her left brain making it possible for her to function only through her right brain. The experience of this was what was amazing to her, and to the reader as well, I’m sure. The world, the universe, becomes something totally different. A feeling of oneness with the world and remarkable insight, a certain kind of spirituality where there exists no pressure to do anything, just to exist in the lap of the profoundest of feelings of wonder and, yes, joy. Of course, this was dangerous for her as the bleeding in her left brain was not stopping. With great effort she managed to save herself.

So, the mind has resources and perceptual abilities we never imagined.

Speaking of mind, I’m now working my way through “Absence of Mind: The Dispelling of Inwardness from the Modern Myth of the Self” by Marilynne Robinson. She really takes on the Richard Dawkinses of the world! She’s saying that there is a place for subjectivity and indeed religion, although so far she hasn’t said much about the latter. Some of it is hard for me to follow, but other parts ring bells. She goes after memes in a big way and tries to show how memes theory contradicts gene theories. I haven’t read the rejoinders by the rationalists yet, but I’m sure they’re tearing into her unmercifully because she really goes after them in this book.

Incidentally, Jon Stewart even gave her a favorable interview recently.

This quote from her has been highlighted by several reviewers: “Our religious traditions give us as the name of God two deeply mysterious words, one deeply mysterious utterance: I AM.” In other words, why the Hell am I here, who am I, why is anything here, and what does it all mean?

OK, that’s it for now.

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