Mind Is Brain!! Is Mind Is Brain??

Whether you're exploring Buddhism for the first time or you're already on the path, feel free to ask questions of any kind here.

Mind Is Brain!! Is Mind Is Brain??

Postby Parasamgate » Mon Mar 11, 2013 6:26 pm

One of the more difficult concepts in Buddhism for me is the formal dichotomy of mind vs brain. It is posited that the two are substantively different and that they have a different basis and are composed of different 'substances'. I remember hearing the Dalai Lama say something like the mind and brain are related, but that they are nevertheless different 'substances' and should not be conflated.

I have a hard time squaring this with split brain research and alien hand syndrome.

For those who are not aware of this research it involves the severing (either because of disease or on purpose to treat disease) of the communication pathway between the two hemispheres of the brain. Reportedly, the symptoms are profound in some patients. What occurs in some patients is reportedly nothing less than the splitting of the mind into two separate entities with each mind controlling distinct portions of the body and its resources. The two minds can reportedly be at cross purposes.

Problems of an even more severe nature have plagued patients following complete (surgical) destruction of the corpus callosum and thus the neural pathways linking the two medial motor areas of the frontal lobes (Joseph, 1988ab). These independent "alien" behaviors usually involve the left hand and the half of the body, and were purposeful, intentional, complex and obviously directed by an awareness maintained by the disconnected right hemisphere (which controls the left hand). These alien actions were often completely against the "will" of the consciousness maintained in the left hemisphere.

These "alien" disturbances were so purposeful, and often so well thought out, it was as if these "split-brain" patients had developed two independent "free wills" maintained by independent minds housed in the right and left half of the brain (Joseph, 1986b, 1988a,b); two free wills and two minds which were unable to communicate, and each of which had a "mind of its own."

As originally described by Nobel Lauriate Roger Sperry (1966, p. 299), "Everything we have seen indicates that the surgery has left these people with two separate minds, that is, two separate spheres of consciousness. What is experienced in the right hemisphere seems to lie entirely outside the realm of awareness of the left hemisphere. This mental division has been demonstrated in regard to perception, cognition, volition, learning and memory."

For example, one patient's left hand would not allow him to smoke and would pluck lit cigarrettes from his mouth. He reported that he had been trying to quit, unsuccessfully, for years, but it was only after the surgery that he found he couldn't smoke, because the left hand wouldn't let him (Joseph, 1988a).


Link for the above.

Reading more from the link above and you'll see that other examples include a patient who could not get dressed because, "she would be putting on clothes with her right and pulling them off with her left." Another divorced man literally had one half of his body pulling him to reunite with his ex and the other half refusing. The examples go on and on and are quite compelling. For instance, there is even reports of one person with two minds of a different persuasion when it comes to the question of faith in god:

Two minds in the same body... one is atheist and the other theist

I find these accounts, if true and valid, to be a clear challenge to the idea that the mind and brain are substantively different. If physically splitting one necessarily splits the other, isn't this evidence that the two are of the same 'substance'?

Moreover, in Buddhism we are taught that the mind is one continuous stream. I've never heard that this stream can be divided into two. Which stream would inherit which karma? It seems to me that split brain research, if true and valid, presents a real challenge to the Buddhist conception of the mind and brain and the differences between the two.

You'll probably note that I've qualified this research a few times and I do so because I am aware that there is some contention about whether this research really is true and valid. However, while I am certainly interested to hear more about this contention and think it worthwhile to discuss whether this research is valid I am hoping that this thread will assume for the sake of argument that it is valid and that the examples above are true. Given this assumption, are my questions and qualms a necessary reaction or is there any way to square this research with the Buddhist conception of mind and brain?

I'd love to hear opinions. Thanks!
Parasamgate
 
Posts: 43
Joined: Fri Jun 03, 2011 3:53 pm

Re: Mind Is Brain!! Is Mind Is Brain??

Postby Sherab Dorje » Mon Mar 11, 2013 6:34 pm

Mind is mind, brain is form, human identity is based on mind AND form.
"When one is not in accord with the true view
Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
Naropa - Summary of the View from The Eight Doha Treasures
User avatar
Sherab Dorje
Global Moderator
 
Posts: 7940
Joined: Fri May 14, 2010 9:27 pm
Location: Greece

Re: Mind Is Brain!! Is Mind Is Brain??

Postby Andrew108 » Mon Mar 11, 2013 6:41 pm

This has been discussed many times before and everyone has their own take on it. My own view is that ordinary mind and the brain are so deeply connected that we may as well call them the same thing. But then that is ordinary mind. What about enlightenment or realization? Is reality more than the brain? Most would say that it is. They would say that reality is pervasive and not just located in our perceptions or within our brain. So as buddhists we are trying to get into pervasive reality not just a personalized/localized reality in our brains. So lets say that the brain too is part of the larger reality of the present moment. So as buddhists we look at that pervasive reality and not at mind as such. We identify with reality as a pervasive fact of what we really are or are part of.
This is one way to look at it anyway.
Andrew108
 
Posts: 1058
Joined: Sun Sep 11, 2011 7:41 pm

Re: Mind Is Brain!! Is Mind Is Brain??

Postby Indrajala » Mon Mar 11, 2013 6:43 pm

There is not really so much a mind in the singular.

Four of the five aggregates are mental: sensation (vedanā), discernment (saṃjñā), saṃskāra and consciousness (vijñāna). "Mind" is the sum of these mental components.

The research you're citing here also isn't making declarations. Note the "seems to" statement: "What is experienced in the right hemisphere seems to lie entirely outside the realm of awareness of the left hemisphere."

It seems like there are two different awarenesses present, but this is not proven. Even if there is, it does not prove the brain constitutes the entirety of "mind" and/or produces consciousness. Correlation is not causation.

I believe the brain functions as the physical faculty upon which some aspects of consciousness depend upon for interaction within the coarse physical world. The brain, like any other organ, is comprised of the four elements, all of which dissolve into mental properties or qualia (fire = warmth, water = moistness, earth = solidity, wind = movement). In other words, physical organs dissolve under analysis as anything else does. Anything perceived as physical boils down to qualia, which means physical phenomena ultimately depend upon and basically are mental events.

Essentially, the brain is just mind.
Last edited by Indrajala on Mon Mar 11, 2013 6:50 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Flower Ornament Depository (Blog)
Indrajāla's Contemplations (Blog)
Exploring Classical Chinese (Blog)
Dharma Depository (Site)

"Hui gives me no assistance. There is nothing that I say in which he does not delight." -Confucius
User avatar
Indrajala
Former staff member
 
Posts: 5570
Joined: Fri Feb 12, 2010 3:19 pm
Location: India

Re: Mind Is Brain!! Is Mind Is Brain??

Postby Parasamgate » Mon Mar 11, 2013 6:50 pm

Andrew108 wrote:This has been discussed many times before and everyone has their own take on it. My own view is that ordinary mind and the brain are so deeply connected that we may as well call them the same thing. But then that is ordinary mind. What about enlightenment or realization? Is reality more than the brain? Most would say that it is. They would say that reality is pervasive and not just located in our perceptions or within our brain. So as buddhists we are trying to get into pervasive reality not just a personalized/localized reality in our brains. So lets say that the brain too is part of the larger reality of the present moment. So as buddhists we look at that pervasive reality and not at mind as such. We identify with reality as a pervasive fact of what we really are or are part of.
This is one way to look at it anyway.


Hi Andrew, I am aware that 'Mind vs Brain' has been discussed many times on this forum, but I'm unaware that the specific qualms having to do with the research cited above has been discussed in any way with the assumption that the research is correct. From what I understand of your response, you do not think this research poses an issue because you have a further dichotomy between 'ordinary mind' and presumably 'unordinary mind??' where 'ordinary mind' is for all intents and purposes equal to the brain?

If ordinary mind is nothing but the brain, then what is the difference between ordinary mind and unordinary mind? Can most humans in samsara experience unordinary mind in regular everyday experience or is this confined to the yogis or highly realized beings? I would like to check...
Parasamgate
 
Posts: 43
Joined: Fri Jun 03, 2011 3:53 pm

Re: Mind Is Brain!! Is Mind Is Brain??

Postby Parasamgate » Mon Mar 11, 2013 7:02 pm

Huseng wrote:There is not really so much a mind in the singular.

Four of the five aggregates are mental: sensation (vedanā), discernment (saṃjñā), saṃskāra and consciousness (vijñāna). "Mind" is the sum of these mental components.


When you say that the mind is not singular you mean in terms of the primary minds and associated mental factors, right? Yes, I have been taught in lorig that the 'mind' is composed of these different primary minds and mental factors, yet my mind is different from your mind. In this way our two minds are distinct in that I do not experience your mind. For me, this research is indicating that by splitting the brain the 'mind' is also split. So before splitting the brain you'd have one mind that is composed of the various primary minds and mental factors whereas after you'd have two minds each separately composed by various primary minds and mental factors. That is how I read this research. In the same way that I do not know your mind ... the two minds after the split do not know each other.

Huseng wrote:The research you're citing here also isn't making declarations. Note the "seems to" statement: "What is experienced in the right hemisphere seems to lie entirely outside the realm of awareness of the left hemisphere."

It seems like there are two different awarenesses present, but this is not proven. Even if there is, it does not prove the brain constitutes the entirety of "mind" and/or produces consciousness. Correlation is not causation.


I think different researchers would likely have different qualifiers. The sentence you quoted indeed uses the qualifier 'seems', but I'm sure other researchers would not have felt necessary to include this qualifier. Nevertheless, you say that, 'it does not prove the brain constitutes the entirety of "mind"'. Indeed it is not proven. However, to me it does raise qualms. If the brain splitting necessarily results in the mind splitting isn't that evidence that they are of the same substance? And again, what about the question about which mind receives which karma?

Huseng wrote:I believe the brain functions as the physical faculty upon which some aspects of consciousness depend upon for interaction within the coarse physical world. The brain, like any other organ, is comprised of the four elements, all of which dissolve into mental properties or qualia (fire = warmth, water = moistness, earth = solidity, wind = movement). In other words, physical organs dissolve under analysis as anything else does. Anything perceived as physical boils down to qualia, which means physical phenomena ultimately depend upon and basically are mental events.

Essentially, the brain is just mind.


When I read this it conjures up an image of the body/brain as just a physical medium through which the mind interacts with the world. But if this is so, then why is it that splitting this physical medium also results in the splitting of the thing which uses this physical medium to interact with the world?
Last edited by Parasamgate on Mon Mar 11, 2013 7:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Parasamgate
 
Posts: 43
Joined: Fri Jun 03, 2011 3:53 pm

Re: Mind Is Brain!! Is Mind Is Brain??

Postby Yudron » Mon Mar 11, 2013 7:03 pm

I heard an intriguing presentation by the scientists are the HeartMath Institute about how the heart can be said to be a brain of sorts on it's own, that really started to explain for me my experience in meditation.

http://www.heartmath.org/research/scien ... ction.html

The brain is not always the boss in human physiology, since it's energetic field not only regulates heart rhythm, but also affect one's brain, and also people in close proximity to one. Not only that, but there are some studies showing that the heart "brain" is effected by the earth's magnetic field.

The heart is also a hormonal gland. So, there is a lot more going on with us that our brain-mind.

In the Tibetan system of practice--both Vajrayana countless visualization practices focus on the heart center, and one can only imagine the many neurological and hormonal systems that are affected by this. In addition, there are Zhitro (100 peaceful and wrathful deity) practices, that focus primarily both the brain area and the heart area. The dzogchen system also has a physiology largely focused on the heart.
Yudron
 
Posts: 1052
Joined: Fri Jun 15, 2012 8:55 pm
Location: Sunny California

Re: Mind Is Brain!! Is Mind Is Brain??

Postby Parasamgate » Mon Mar 11, 2013 7:06 pm

gregkavarnos wrote:Mind is mind, brain is form, human identity is based on mind AND form.


Hello Greg, I just wanted to say that I am very interested to hear why you think this research is dubious. If you are interested I would be very happy if you could either PM me or open up another topic if you are so inclined. I just wanted this thread to help me resolve the necessary consequences if this research is assumed to be correct. Thanks!
Parasamgate
 
Posts: 43
Joined: Fri Jun 03, 2011 3:53 pm

Re: Mind Is Brain!! Is Mind Is Brain??

Postby Andrew108 » Mon Mar 11, 2013 7:32 pm

Parasamgate wrote:Hi Andrew, I am aware that 'Mind vs Brain' has been discussed many times on this forum, but I'm unaware that the specific qualms having to do with the research cited above has been discussed in any way with the assumption that the research is correct. From what I understand of your response, you do not think this research poses an issue because you have a further dichotomy between 'ordinary mind' and presumably 'unordinary mind??' where 'ordinary mind' is for all intents and purposes equal to the brain?

If ordinary mind is nothing but the brain, then what is the difference between ordinary mind and unordinary mind? Can most humans in samsara experience unordinary mind in regular everyday experience or is this confined to the yogis or highly realized beings? I would like to check...

O.k so I think the research you mentioned is valid. I have no issue with it at all. I agree with it. Who we are is brain-based. Our consciousness is brain-based. No brain then no consciousness. Pretty simple. I have no problem with ordinary subjective dualistic consciousness being brain-based. It makes little sense to deny it.
But then when we study Madhyamaka and Mahamudra and Dzogchen we get presented with a picture of a more pervasive all-inclusive reality. These views describe how genuine reality is ....as an objective fact. So we get a glimpse of reality beyond what is usually subjectively formed.
In the end, there isn't really a difference between small brain-based reality and big pervasive genuine reality since brain-based reality is an expression of the larger reality we are part of.
Andrew108
 
Posts: 1058
Joined: Sun Sep 11, 2011 7:41 pm

Re: Mind Is Brain!! Is Mind Is Brain??

Postby Nosta » Mon Mar 11, 2013 9:26 pm

As a quick reply, some scientific studys, give us the evidence that mind may survive without brain. I mean: people die, then, after some hours in that state, they get back to life and report experiences (lights, beings, places, conversations they had, etc). Such experience would be impossible if mind was completly build upon brain.
User avatar
Nosta
 
Posts: 671
Joined: Tue Apr 13, 2010 10:28 pm

Re: Mind Is Brain!! Is Mind Is Brain??

Postby Andrew108 » Mon Mar 11, 2013 9:39 pm

Nosta wrote:As a quick reply, some scientific studys, give us the evidence that mind may survive without brain. I mean: people die, then, after some hours in that state, they get back to life and report experiences (lights, beings, places, conversations they had, etc). Such experience would be impossible if mind was completly build upon brain.

Death is brain death and is when the brain dies. Nobody comes back from that.
Andrew108
 
Posts: 1058
Joined: Sun Sep 11, 2011 7:41 pm

Re: Mind Is Brain!! Is Mind Is Brain??

Postby Sherab Dorje » Mon Mar 11, 2013 10:03 pm

"When one is not in accord with the true view
Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
Naropa - Summary of the View from The Eight Doha Treasures
User avatar
Sherab Dorje
Global Moderator
 
Posts: 7940
Joined: Fri May 14, 2010 9:27 pm
Location: Greece

Re: Mind Is Brain!! Is Mind Is Brain??

Postby undefineable » Mon Mar 11, 2013 11:54 pm

Parasamgate wrote:Moreover, in Buddhism we are taught that the mind is one continuous stream. I've never heard that this stream can be divided into two.

Bodhisattvas are said to have up to ~100 bodies at one stage. The first question raised by split-brain studies, though, is whether surgery has really split minds into two separate and equal parts, so. What this parallel split may or may not demonstrate is secondary, as long as there's no sufficient evidence -such as one hemispheric personality taking over while the other one 'sleeps'- for that split. Even if there were, splitting a mind by splitting a brain would be insufficient proof of mind-brain identity, which has in all honesty been done to death on Dharmawheel :rolleye: {A good-summing up would be that the theory is as self-evidently nonsensical as it is scientifically demonstrable :shrug: }

Your sources use expressions like 'obviously' and 'it was as if', as well as more respectably tentative conclusions such as 'this indicates' - If scientists besides yourself present your conclusion as self-evident:
Parasamgate wrote:The sentence you quoted indeed uses the qualifier 'seems', but I'm sure other researchers would not have felt necessary to include this qualifier.
, then that conclusion is a philosophical conclusion rather than a scientific one, and an amateur one at that. Having already studied patient reports for a first-hand account (as well as one study which helpfully reminded everyone that the brainstem still links the two brain hemispheres in the case of corpus callosum removal :roll: ), I noted that the outcomes of all relevant mental processes were still apparently experienced by a conscious awareness, while the 'conflicting' actions were often apparently unconscious, and only a little more 'final' than many actions performed unconsciously or semi-consciously in states of daydreaming or distraction. Besides this, isn't the 'battle of head and heart' a cliche of literary fiction - taken to an extreme in these cases? In short, assuming, as you do, that there's no difference between the honesty of the research findings and the splitting of the minds involved is to 'jump' two 'guns' :guns: .

The idea of one conscious awareness splitting into two certainly shakes our ordinary sense of how things are, but it makes sense to remain open-minded about what's actually going on on a subjective level, as well as about what that really means.

Parasamgate wrote:It is posited that the two are substantively different and that they have a different basis and are composed of different 'substances
By whom? ;)
Last edited by undefineable on Tue Mar 12, 2013 12:08 am, edited 1 time in total.
"Removing the barrier between this and that is the only solution" {Chogyam Trungpa - "The Lion's Roar"}
undefineable
 
Posts: 489
Joined: Fri Feb 03, 2012 1:34 am

Re: Mind Is Brain!! Is Mind Is Brain??

Postby Nosta » Tue Mar 12, 2013 12:01 am

Andrew108 wrote:
Nosta wrote:As a quick reply, some scientific studys, give us the evidence that mind may survive without brain. I mean: people die, then, after some hours in that state, they get back to life and report experiences (lights, beings, places, conversations they had, etc). Such experience would be impossible if mind was completly build upon brain.

Death is brain death and is when the brain dies. Nobody comes back from that.



I was talking about some rare and well documented medical cases of patients that were dead, with no brain activity at all, and then they come back to life.

Besides, as a Buddhist, when I say that I believe in rebirth, I must take such belief to the limits: I dont believe when Science and scientists say that there is no life after death. My spiritual practice and core beliefs must go beyond science.
User avatar
Nosta
 
Posts: 671
Joined: Tue Apr 13, 2010 10:28 pm

Re: Mind Is Brain!! Is Mind Is Brain??

Postby jeeprs » Tue Mar 12, 2013 12:40 am

It is posited that the two are substantively different and that they have a different basis and are composed of different 'substances'.


Significant use of quotation marks there. What is a 'substance'? In post-enlightenment thinking, it is almost impossible to conceive of it in any sense other than the material - some kind of 'stuff' out of which things are 'made'. However the meaning of the word 'substance' in philosophy is quite different to that. A 'substance' is something which can exist in its own right, which is not dependent upon other things for its existence.

Now of course that should ring a bell for any student of Buddhism, because in the ultimate analysis, everything is said to be 'substance-less' or 'lacking in intrinsic existence' in Buddhist philosophy. Even so, however, the notion of substance still has relative meaning within the context of the discussion of conventional reality. It is within this context that a differentiation can be made between mind and matter (even if the distinction has no ultimate validity). With this qualification in mind, there is a Buddhist argument along the lines that 'like gives rise to like', that is, that something that is caused, must have a substantial relationship to its cause.

An example of this is given in HH The Dalai Lama's statement on the question of the re-incarnation of the Dalai Lama, in which he says

There are many different logical arguments given in the words of the Buddha and subsequent commentaries to prove the existence of past and future lives. In brief, they come down to four points: the logic that things are preceded by things of a similar type, the logic that things are preceded by a substantial cause, the logic that the mind has gained familiarity with things in the past, and the logic of having gained experience of things in the past.

Ultimately all these arguments are based on the idea that the nature of the mind, its clarity and awareness, must have clarity and awareness as its substantial cause. It cannot have any other entity such as an inanimate object as its substantial cause. This is self-evident.


I interpret this as meaning that the nature of mind is fundamentally different to the nature of inanimate matter. There is no way to derive mind from matter. You might have beliefs about the brain 'producing' the mind, however, this is the subject of what philosopher David Chalmer's calls 'the hard problem of consciousness', which is that it is impossible to describe or explain the nature of experience as such, on the basis of knowledge about objective processes such as neuro-chemistry and the like.

Personally, I believe that the ultimate constituents of reality are more like the nature of mind or consciousness, than material entities. After all physics itself has not been able to establish the existence of any ultimate material entity, without invoking fields, and also without depicting such objects in purely mathematical terms. And mathematical ideas are assuredly not material entities, they only exist in a perceiving rational intelligence.

So - my advice is, if you have this idea that brain is mind, get over it. It is simply one of the delusions of Mara, but one which has virtually the entire western culture in its vice-like grip.
He that knows it, knows it not.
User avatar
jeeprs
 
Posts: 1430
Joined: Sun May 27, 2012 8:31 am
Location: Sydney AU

Re: Mind Is Brain!! Is Mind Is Brain??

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Tue Mar 12, 2013 1:47 am

This is a really fascinating topic. Thanks for bringing it up.
Parasamgate wrote: Moreover, in Buddhism we are taught that the mind is one continuous stream.

I am not sure that "One continuous stream" is entirely accurate.
My understanding is that the 'stream' is a bit more like a chain of falling dominoes,
but with each domino giving rise to the next.
So, in some ways, one continuous line, in other ways. more of a dotted line
or you might say a dotted line that appears as continuous from a distance.

Split brain research has been going on for many years.
There are also very interesting examples such as recounting of
The man Who Mistook His Wife For a hat
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Man_Wh ... _for_a_Hat.

I don't think this contradicts the Buddhist idea of brain/mind.
I think it confirms the notion that
awareness manifests as mind when "reflected" in the physical activity of the brain.
I have used the analogy of a mirror before,
and if you drop a mirror and it breaks in half,
you get two different reflections instead of one.
Split brain activity, I think, is somewhat like that.

The brain merely provides the physical environment,
but does not produce thoughts.
in other words, the physical composites of the brain
cannot cognitively witness their own activity,
just as a car needs a driver,
no activity called 'driving' occurs without a driver
and no activity called 'driving' occurs without the car.
Driving is the result of the two coming together,
likewise, mind is not a thing, but an activity as well,
an event happening second by second,
occurring when awareness and brain activity meet.
.
.
.
Profile Picture: "The Foaming Monk"
The Chinese characters are Fo (buddha) and Ming (bright). The image is of a student of Buddhism, who, imagining himself to be a monk, and not understanding the true meaning of the words takes the sound of the words literally. Likewise, People on web forums sometime seem to be foaming at the mouth.
Original painting by P.Volker /used by permission.
User avatar
PadmaVonSamba
 
Posts: 2800
Joined: Sat May 14, 2011 1:41 am

Re: Mind Is Brain!! Is Mind Is Brain??

Postby Adamantine » Tue Mar 12, 2013 4:36 am

Well, I believe this area of inquiry is far more mysterious than your few examples. It may do you good to look into and contemplate neuroplasticity, the way that behavior and action changes the pathways and thus the very shape and material of the brain. For instance, specifically studies on meditators who have clocked 1000's of hours of meditation have shown significant shifts in brain function and shape. Likewise, a trained pianist will have an exceptionally functional and enlarged area of the brain related to their cultivated art. If actions and behaviors change the brain, then the brain simply can-not be the "source" or the substance of our mind.. there is clearly a reciprocal relationship, a give and take.. the brain changes according to our will as much as our perception can be affected by injury to the brain or a lack of nourishment to the brain.

And another thing to explore is that there are a handful of examples of Hydrocephalus (fluid displacing the brain) where people have had virtually no brain tissue left and been normally functioning adults. This example is quickly excerpted from wiki:

One interesting case involving a person with past hydrocephalus was a 44-year-old French man, whose brain had been reduced to little more than a thin sheet of actual brain tissue, due to the buildup of cerebrospinal fluid in his head. The man, who had had a shunt inserted into his head to drain away fluid (which was removed when he was 14), went to a hospital after he had been experiencing mild weakness in his left leg.

In July 2007, Fox News quoted Dr. Lionel Feuillet of Hôpital de la Timone in Marseille as saying: "The images were most unusual... the brain was virtually absent."[11] When doctors learned of the man's medical history, they performed a computed tomography (CT) scan and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan, and were astonished to see "massive enlargement" of the lateral ventricles in the skull. Intelligence tests showed the man had an IQ of 75, below the average score of 100. This would be considered "borderline intellectual functioning"- which is just next to the level of being officially considered mentally challenged.

Remarkably, the man was a married father of two children, and worked as a civil servant, leading an at least superficially normal life, despite having enlarged ventricles with a decreased volume of brain tissue. "What I find amazing to this day is how the brain can deal with something which you think should not be compatible with life," commented Dr. Max Muenke, a pediatric brain defect specialist at the National Human Genome Research Institute. "If something happens very slowly over quite some time, maybe over decades, the different parts of the brain take up functions that would normally be done by the part that is pushed to the side.



EDIT: I almost forgot to mention, -you may see it as valid or not- but it is the truth that many accomplished Buddhist yogis at the time of death remain in tukdam (post-death meditation) when all signs of brain function and vitals have completely ceased. However, there is a warmth still at the heart, and no signs of decomposition. You can choose to accommodate this info into your exploration, or not. However, many of us have good reason to accept this, due to personal experience, etc.
Contentment is the ultimate wealth;
Detachment is the final happiness. ~Sri Saraha
User avatar
Adamantine
Global Moderator
 
Posts: 2680
Joined: Tue Feb 08, 2011 7:09 am

Re: Mind Is Brain!! Is Mind Is Brain??

Postby Indrajala » Tue Mar 12, 2013 4:46 am

jeeprs wrote:Personally, I believe that the ultimate constituents of reality are more like the nature of mind or consciousness, than material entities. After all physics itself has not been able to establish the existence of any ultimate material entity, without invoking fields, and also without depicting such objects in purely mathematical terms. And mathematical ideas are assuredly not material entities, they only exist in a perceiving rational intelligence.


That's a very interesting point I never considered.

If their model is reduced to mathematical terms, then they have to admit such terms are not material and are actually mental events, otherwise they surrender their initial position, but if they accept it then likewise their theory of physicalism is finished. If the foundation of matter is comprised of mental events, then matter arises from mind.
Flower Ornament Depository (Blog)
Indrajāla's Contemplations (Blog)
Exploring Classical Chinese (Blog)
Dharma Depository (Site)

"Hui gives me no assistance. There is nothing that I say in which he does not delight." -Confucius
User avatar
Indrajala
Former staff member
 
Posts: 5570
Joined: Fri Feb 12, 2010 3:19 pm
Location: India

Re: Mind Is Brain!! Is Mind Is Brain??

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Tue Mar 12, 2013 4:51 am

You may find this interesting, especially the photographs:
Meditation Alters Perceptual Rivalry in Tibetan Buddhist Monks
http://visionlab.harvard.edu/Members/Ol ... talk06.pdf

Perceptual rivalry involves looking at two separate things, one with each eye, at the same time.
What happens, generally, is that your mind focuses on what one eye sees, then on what the other eye sees, alternately, jumping back and forth (hence the term, "rivalry") rather than on focusing on two separate, visually introduced objects at the same time. Testing on monks resulted in findings that suggest meditation slows or stops this.

more on this experiment:
http://eprints.usq.edu.au/2552/1/Carter ... n11_PV.pdf
.
.
.
Profile Picture: "The Foaming Monk"
The Chinese characters are Fo (buddha) and Ming (bright). The image is of a student of Buddhism, who, imagining himself to be a monk, and not understanding the true meaning of the words takes the sound of the words literally. Likewise, People on web forums sometime seem to be foaming at the mouth.
Original painting by P.Volker /used by permission.
User avatar
PadmaVonSamba
 
Posts: 2800
Joined: Sat May 14, 2011 1:41 am

Re: Mind Is Brain!! Is Mind Is Brain??

Postby jeeprs » Tue Mar 12, 2013 5:08 am

Huseng wrote:
jeeprs wrote:Personally, I believe that the ultimate constituents of reality are more like the nature of mind or consciousness, than material entities. After all physics itself has not been able to establish the existence of any ultimate material entity, without invoking fields, and also without depicting such objects in purely mathematical terms. And mathematical ideas are assuredly not material entities, they only exist in a perceiving rational intelligence.


That's a very interesting point I never considered.

If their model is reduced to mathematical terms, then they have to admit such terms are not material and are actually mental events, otherwise they surrender their initial position, but if they accept it then likewise their theory of physicalism is finished. If the foundation of matter is comprised of mental events, then matter arises from mind.


This has actually been acknowledged by many leading physicists, but it is highly contentious, as you can imagine.

Sir James Jeans wrote:I incline to the idealistic theory that consciousness is fundamental, and that the material universe is derivative from consciousness, not consciousness from the material universe... In general the universe seems to me to be nearer to a great thought than to a great machine.


Werner Heisenberg wrote:I think that modern physics has definitely decided in favor of Plato (over Democritus, the materialist). In fact the smallest units of matter are not physical objects in the ordinary sense; they are forms, ideas which can be expressed unambiguously only in mathematical language.


There are many such quotations and examples all attesting to the observation that physics itself has undermined materialism. Interesting historical piece on the topic here.
He that knows it, knows it not.
User avatar
jeeprs
 
Posts: 1430
Joined: Sun May 27, 2012 8:31 am
Location: Sydney AU

Next

Return to Exploring Buddhism

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 24 guests

>