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Old 07-17-2009, 02:41 PM   #46
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I dont think you can separate the two. The brain and the mind are one and the same. but then you have to get into the whole 'what is a mind?' 'what is consciousness?' business
Probably we are getting into what is the mind and all, but I really doubt the brain and mind are the same. If the mind is where one person could think up negative thoughts, and the unconscious brain then brings up something more rational, then the two are not the same.
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Old 07-17-2009, 02:44 PM   #47
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I dont think you can separate the two. The brain and the mind are one and the same. but then you have to get into the whole 'what is a mind?' 'what is consciousness?' business
Gah, those philosophy-heavy courses that focussed on brain vs consciousness were the bane of my existence.

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Or wikipedia



Or wikipedia



Like wikipedia?
I think it's sort of like Wikipedia. But without the impartial editing.
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Old 07-17-2009, 02:48 PM   #48
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As I said in my reply to VintagePunk's post, sometimes a deep depression can really mess up a person's mind and they can't think rationally. When something - either God or the unconscious part of the brain - breaks through, that to me is a spiritual experience.

For the record, if you are thinking I see God as some old man in the toga living the clouds, that is not true. I believe God is a formless, genderless energy force.

As for waking up in the morning with answers you've been looking for, I've been there. But the reason why I attribute that to a higher being is because, I believe the brain is a tool of God. How could an organ operate as though it is looking out for us? As if, it cares about us and wants us to be stronger, happier, etc? That to me says something else wants us to better human beings.

ETA: I guess my response is leading to the question, "what is the mind, consciousness, etc?"
Very quickly (I have things I need to do...), being in a "deep depression" does not preclude episodes of clarity where one is actually capable of fairly rational thought.

The "organ operates as though it is looking out for us" because of self-preservation. Our species wouldn't have survived, otherwise.

Okay, I really am out for now.
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Old 07-17-2009, 02:48 PM   #49
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How could an organ operate as though it is looking out for us? As if, it cares about us and wants us to be stronger, happier, etc?
Well, because the brain isnt a 'mindless' organ like a heart pumping blood, or a kidney filtering pee. Its just self preservation. Only instead of the brain acting on physical self preservation (ie, dont dive into the shallow end), its working on mental processes


edit: BAH! VintagePunk, get out of my head
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Old 07-17-2009, 02:49 PM   #50
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That doesn't make it holy though, just meaningful to them.


this is exactly what i was trying to get at.

and if it creates the change one desires and needs, then who cares where it came from?
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Old 07-17-2009, 02:52 PM   #51
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and if it creates the change one desires and needs, then who cares where it came from?
Well, the people asking these questions care about where it's coming from. Science cares. Probably theology cares, too, although they'd prefer a different answer.

Subnet - lol.

Really out.
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Old 07-17-2009, 02:58 PM   #52
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Probably we are getting into what is the mind and all, but I really doubt the brain and mind are the same. If the mind is where one person could think up negative thoughts, and the unconscious brain then brings up something more rational, then the two are not the same.
I guess what I was getting at is that the mind may not even be a real thing, but rather a byproduct of perception. As a living being, being perceptive of the outside world, rather than bumping around aimlessly, increases the chance of survival. Perhaps our 'minds' are just a byproduct of turning our outward perception in? It would be impossible to say why we're only conscious of certain brain processes and not others. Clearly if we were conscious of involuntary processes like heart beat, organ functions, etc we would become overwhelmed, but who knows why the line was drawn between conscious and unconscious thought
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Old 07-17-2009, 02:59 PM   #53
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Well, because the brain isnt a 'mindless' organ like a heart pumping blood, or a kidney filtering pee. Its just self preservation. Only instead of the brain acting on physical self preservation (ie, dont dive into the shallow end), its working on mental processes
Like VP, I also have got to get going, so I'll try to give my best response to this.

Where did those mental processes come from? Evolution?
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Old 07-17-2009, 03:00 PM   #54
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I guess what I was getting at is that the mind may not even be a real thing, but rather a byproduct of perception. As a living being, being perceptive of the outside world, rather than bumping around aimlessly, increases the chance of survival. Perhaps our 'minds' are just a byproduct of turning our outward perception in? It would be impossible to say why we're only conscious of certain brain processes and not others. Clearly if we were conscious of involuntary processes like heart beat, organ functions, etc we would become overwhelmed, but who knows why the line was drawn between conscious and unconscious thought
This is what I believe - the mind may be our creation, while something else is more real. The soul? The unconscious brain? Who knows?
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Old 07-17-2009, 03:08 PM   #55
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Where did those mental processes come from? Evolution?
That seems to be the answer

For the record, I'm not atheist. I'd probably say I'm more agnostic. I just believe that if something else did start the ball rolling for life of the planet, thats where 'its' involvement ceased. I think theres much more beauty in setting up the rules and having everything unfold as it has than to continually meddle with the creation.

Talk to you guys later then
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Old 07-17-2009, 03:50 PM   #56
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Pope Fractures His Wrist in a Fall

WHERE IS YOUR GOD NOW?
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Old 07-17-2009, 04:06 PM   #57
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Subnet - lol.
What the hell? I meant Jive Turkey, of course. That's what typing in a hurry gets you, you mix up Canadian boys.
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Old 07-17-2009, 05:19 PM   #58
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the more i learn about Buddhism -- at least as it's practiced in the west -- the more it appears to be able to exist happily alongside many, many different belief systems.
It's my favorite along with Stoicism. Of course there are more liberal and conservative Buddhists and many who are financially successful and others who renounce almost everything. There are contradictions and scandals as well. Because of the non-dual nature it's hard to bash other religions unless you can point to some actual harm so co-existing is part of the instruction.

I still haven't gotten to the point of agreeing with pacifism (many Buddhists disagree with the Dalai Lama) and simplistic explanations of karma. Though I do like dependent origination which is important to understand when you want to deal with your mental self-image. I still think updating it with psychology is important and to realise it's limitations but their description of concentration and the present moment to me is excellent. It's like Buddhism has to be practiced to the point of habit more than just talking about it because when you concentrate you aren't necessarily thinking "oohh I'm concentrating" you are just experiencing what you are concentrating on no more, no less. That's the trick. You don't need the Virgin Mary speaking to you or visions of the after-life. How things are in reality is enough.
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Old 07-17-2009, 05:33 PM   #59
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So we have the power to create our spiritual experiences?
From the Buddhist perspective it would be mental projections. It's like when you look at someone attractive and imagine being in love with that person without knowing anything about them. Humans do that naturally because we are pattern recognition filters and we often project patterns and simplified abstract thought onto objects based on aversion and desire. I guess you could call a person like that a dreamer vs. a realist. Mental projections are important in that you can't possibly think without that ability, but the need to control your attention span leads to philosophy and religion. Meditating and prayer are scientifically known to reduce stress so there is still a purpose if one follows a religion without going to extremes. No one with honesty can say scientifically why we are here so humans like to fill in the blanks and that comfort gives people peace and equanimity which then reduces stress. For many people this success can lead to devotion to the religion that created the precepts or commandments to follow a better life.

As long as your belief system doesn't go into constant superstition in all your activities everyday it should be a benefit instead of a detriment.
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Old 07-17-2009, 06:22 PM   #60
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Since her brain injury 18 months ago, my mother no longer seems to have anything resembling a spiritual life, apprehensions of the existence of God, independent desires to pray, or what have you. I doubt her case would be considered particularly useful or illuminating from a 'neurotheology' standpoint, because she's clearly profoundly lacking in higher cognitive functions, period--she does observe, ponder and comment on her surroundings, but it's largely confabulatory nonsense; she can still read aloud any passage you show her in any of the 6 languages she knows with easy, perfect acuity, but evinces little to no comprehension or feeling for what she's just read; she shows considerable personality change--she's among the 'fortunate' minority of TBI patients who actually become more cheerful, smiley and friendly--but there's no apparent explanation beyond the injury for this; etc. But it's of interest to me as perhaps the most prominent indication that she no longer has what we might call an 'inner life.'

Is the man whose case is described in the OP article still otherwise a 'normal' person mentally, psychologically--would a mental health professional evaluating him find him free of clinical abnormalities? Does it make a difference for how useful his case might be for generalizing about brains and spirituality if he isn't?

I cannot believe our brain is a God-designed 'receiver,' at least not in any sense beyond which our entire material existence might be said to be the same.
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