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Gregory Lent
Norman Doidge, MD | The Brain That Changes Itself official website -
Norman Doidge, MD | The Brain That Changes Itself official website
The discovery of neuroplasticity, that our thoughts can change the structure and function of our brains, even into old age, is the most important breakthrough in our understanding of the brain in four hundred years. Dr. Norman Doidge introduces principles we can all use to overcome brain limitations and explores the profound brain implications of the changing brain in an immensely moving book that will permanently alter the way we look at human possibility and human nature. - Gregory Lent from Bookmarklet
How has this not been obvious all along? Where was the evidence that the brain was somehow 'fixed'? - Robin Barooah
what is fixed is the insistence of neuroscience that consciousness is produced by meat ... by the brain ... and neuroplasticity is going to be the crack in their model that will flip it, or at least allow a wider hypothesis .. - Gregory Lent
Gregory: Neuroplasticity is in no way inconsistent with a "naturalistic" worldview. - Meryn Stol
I can also highly recommend "The Neuroscience of Psychotherapy" and "The Neuroscience of Human Relationships", both by Louis Cozolino. - Meryn Stol
what does "naturalistic" mean? and does that relate to the current neuroscience model that consciousness is the creation of the brain? - Gregory Lent
Gregory: sorry, I don't know if "naturalistic" is the correct term for saying non-dualistic. (just looked it up...) I think that I mean something like "emergent materialism" as opposed to Dualism: . - Meryn Stol
My point is that we don't need a dualistic worldview to allow for neuroplasticity. If you just take a systems view, there are an insane number of interconnected pieces (for example: neurons), and some of these pieces can be rearranged or connected to each other differently in "response" to an earlier system state. I probably don't explain it well, but you probably know what I'm saying. :) - Meryn Stol
But then, you probably also believe in free will... And that doesn't really fit with materialism either. I also like to believe in free will in daily affairs, though I don't believe in it in the strict sense. - Meryn Stol
no free will, none at all .. but that is a hard swallow for the masters of the universe ... the thing about neuroplasticity, and its implications, is that if a non-physical action like meditation can change physical structure, how can that be explained from the viewpoint that the physical structure creates the consciousness? my view, consciousness is primary, matter is a distillation or condensation of consciousness .. - Gregory Lent
and none of these questions, or the ones on the great wiki page, are needed to be asked by yogis, not (just) because of their direct experience, but because they use a much much much more subtle language (sanskrit, in essence) for mind, awareness, consciousness, things that in english are so clunky in meaning, so the philosophical discussions, and the science, are so clunky, and asking the wrong questions .. - Gregory Lent
"non-physical action like meditation" Meditation has a physical correlate: See "The Mindful Brain" by Daniel Siegel: - Meryn Stol
BTW Gregory, I'm very open to alternative interpretations of reality, but I do think it's important to understand the full extend what current scientific thinking can explain, or find reasonable hypotheses for, *including* the benefits of meditation, or more general - the practice of mindfulness. - Meryn Stol
but that physical correlate is effect, not cause, that is my point, actually .. no doubt about correlation - Gregory Lent
Gregory: How do you know that's an effect? And an effect of what? The idea of neuroscientists is that a brain simply can get in such a state... It doesn't need an external (i.e. non-physical) cause. It happens. People do it. People meditate... just like they pray, or talk, or laugh, or cry. - Meryn Stol
It could very well be - as you state - that eastern traditions have much better vocabulary to describe mental states... Which would give neuroscientists many more subtilities to research. I'm far from an expert on these matters... I might be able to benefit from meditation (or prayer) myself. I just haven't come around to it. I've got my own "homegrown" "spiritual" practice. - Meryn Stol
Uh, meditation is physical - just like any other action. - Tim Tyler
tim tyler, do you mean it has a physical correlate in the brain that is measurable? yes .... but so far experiences and thoughts have not been called physical ..... except by "law of attraction" proponents ... not disagreeing, trying to understand what your laconic comment means - Gregory Lent
As far as I understand it, the whole point of non-dualism is that there is no distinction between the physical and non-physical. The term 'correlate' is misleading (to say the least). Everything that can be experienced has a physical 'correlate' because the experience IS the physical manifestation, however subtle. The thoughts don't cause the physical consequences, and the brain doesn't 'cause' the thoughts. They are the same thing looked at from two different (and only partial) perspectives. - Robin Barooah
It seems to me that confusion arises because of the issue of qualia: . Personally, I have a simplistic understanding of this: either the whole universe is an automaton without qualia, or qualia is a basic property of the universe. Since I experience the universe, and so it would be absurd for me to personally deny Qualia, I conclude that the whole universe 'has' Qualia - i.e., is actually experiencing itself. The upanishads seem to be saying this, at the very least. - Robin Barooah
do you think the brain creates, makes, consciousness? - Gregory Lent
Assuming you are asking me: No, certainly not. I thought I just said that :-) - Robin Barooah
neuroscientists do .. my mission is to expand their thinking, but they resist mightily - Gregory Lent
Hmm.. I personally know a few who don't. However you have picked a tough mission. In order to understand non-duality in a way that is compatible with science, you have to expand your science to include the realm of private experience. Your challenge then, is to find a way to expand the operational definition of scientific method in this way without simultaneously enabling charlatanism. - Robin Barooah
wonder how your friends are perceived by their colleagues .. - Gregory Lent
agree with your expand the paradigm approach, but that does not go down lightly with the scientists-types i encountered on friendfeed, so many of them blocked me, called me a woo-meister, insisted there is no there there, etc ... i quit trying - Gregory Lent
Well, a couple of those friends probably don't discuss it with their colleagues. Another already has a reputation for speaking from thee edges of science, but doesn't focus on this in particular. - Robin Barooah
Well, the challenge is to find a way of expanding the paradigm just enough to answer this one question rather than enabling a whole class of other untestable explanations - otherwise it ceases to be science whether or not it's true. - Robin Barooah
science ... good for the material universe only .. and even then, the future will show a lot of distortion, about on par with the way we look at medieval dentists - Gregory Lent