A question I have about the mind.

Adroit
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A question I have about the mind.

   Hello, I've been a content atheist for quite a few years now, partially thanks to this website.

While i try to be rational i'm not very knowledgeable. I tend to avoid complicated debates because i might not have answers if put on the spot.

So don't take this the wrong way, i'm not trying to make a point, and i'm not asking a question i think is unanswerable. Just something i don't get.

   I'm going to school to be a Software Engineer, and being a programmer effects how i understand things. I don't know how a brain works but i see it like a very complicated program. Which makes me wonder why/how I am experiencing my life. I'm not saying our mind is separate from our body, i'm asking why our mind feels separate from our body, or why we feel like we are inside our body. While i see it completely possible for a physical brain to make decisions and control the body, it seems impossible to me, for a physical brain to experience the world around it.

 


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Adroit wrote:While i see it

Adroit wrote:

While i see it completely possible for a physical brain to make decisions and control the body, it seems impossible to me, for a physical brain to experience the world around it.

 

I don't know that the brain experiences it directly, but it does so through senses that receive stimuli from the outside world: ears that receive concussive waves of air molecules, eyes that receive photons, a nose that is sensitive to airborne chemicals, a tongue that is sensitive to other chemicals, and skin that is sensitive to textures and heat radiation.

If you want it to be analogous to programming, think of it is as hardware that triggers events in the program. That is, when the user moves the mouse, an event fires (if it has been programmed to do so) when you move the mouse.

 

“Hokey religions and ancient weapons are no match for a good blaster at your side, kid.”


cj
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The degree to which you feel

The degree to which you feel your mind is separate from your body depends on your kinesthetic sense.  This sense varies genetically.  Those people with more body awareness are generally better at athletics than those without.  If you combine it with good physical control of their body, you get athletic super stars.  I have a pretty good kinesthetic sense so I feel very grounded in my body and my mind feels like it is firmly in my physical brain.  I have so-so physical coordination so I was never anything other than a so-so athlete.

Your brain communicates with your body through electrochemical reactions.  Hormone production influences state of mind which influences hormone production which influences state of mind which.....  It is a positive feedback loop that never ends.  I agree with Ubuntu that it is similar to hardware triggers, but it is not discrete.  It is an analog system.  Neural networks are an attempt to mimic how our brains process our environment and make decisions based on that information.

Your brain perceives the world, your mind interprets the input.  Perception starts in the back of your brain, in the evolutionarily oldest parts.  Every creature with a brain has the portion of the brain that can receive data from the environment.  Even insects have it.  (I was remotely involved with a summer research project on bumblebees and how they know when to gather nectar and when to knock off for the day.  Bumblebees have three neurons in what very little brain they possess.  I thought their brains could be envisioned as an AND gate.)

As your brain analyzes the information, the neurons fire in a continuous pattern from the back of your brain to the front of your brain.  The frontal cortex is where all the analyzing and interpreting take place.

I have a bachelor's degree in Systems Engineering.  We were required to take Psych 101a, which was a semester of an overview of brain anatomy and some detail on perception.  If you are really interested, you might want to at least audit a class on the same subject your university offers.  (I have worked for the last 20+ years as IT systems administration.  Only vaguely related to the degree.)

Also, for real detail about a small portion of the many tasks our brains are capable of, Reading in the Brain by Stanislas Dehaene.  http://www.amazon.com/Reading-Brain-Science-Evolution-Invention/dp/0670021105/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1283103315&sr=1-1

This one was kind of tough sledding for me and I am glad I had the psych class before attempting to read the book.

Does knowing how the physical brain works contribute to understanding our sense of mind?  I think so.  Though you will see the mystics and philosophers on this forum mostly don't agree with me.

-- I feel so much better since I stopped trying to believe.

"We are entitled to our own opinions. We're not entitled to our own facts"- Al Franken

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Adroit wrote:   Hello,

Adroit wrote:

   Hello, I've been a content atheist for quite a few years now, partially thanks to this website.

While i try to be rational i'm not very knowledgeable. I tend to avoid complicated debates because i might not have answers if put on the spot.

So don't take this the wrong way, i'm not trying to make a point, and i'm not asking a question i think is unanswerable. Just something i don't get.

   I'm going to school to be a Software Engineer, and being a programmer effects how i understand things. I don't know how a brain works but i see it like a very complicated program. Which makes me wonder why/how I am experiencing my life. I'm not saying our mind is separate from our body, i'm asking why our mind feels separate from our body, or why we feel like we are inside our body. While i see it completely possible for a physical brain to make decisions and control the body, it seems impossible to me, for a physical brain to experience the world around it.

 

You are falling for the same trap theists fall for. Our "minds" can be sponges and are sponges to popular myth. People "feel" that their minds are separate because they want to feel that way. If someone wants to believe something badly enough, they will believe it.

Our "brains" incure, the emergant property of thought and feeling, which are NOT physical things, but discriptions(words that discribe) the result of REAL physical processes. Just like jogging is an action not a thing.

Our brains are not a program anymore than a hurricain is a program, or programmed. Our brains evolved. Elvolution is NOT a program, but a process.

Our thoughts reside nowhere but in our brains and when we die, we die. Our thoughts only outlive us in the memories of those who knew us, and the things we recorded in media.

"We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus -- and nonbelievers."Obama
Check out my poetry here on Rational Responders Like my poetry thread on Facebook under BrianJames Rational Poet also on twitter under Brianrrs37


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Adroit wrote:   Hello,

Adroit wrote:

   Hello, I've been a content atheist for quite a few years now, partially thanks to this website.

While i try to be rational i'm not very knowledgeable. I tend to avoid complicated debates because i might not have answers if put on the spot.

So don't take this the wrong way, i'm not trying to make a point, and i'm not asking a question i think is unanswerable. Just something i don't get.

   I'm going to school to be a Software Engineer, and being a programmer effects how i understand things. I don't know how a brain works but i see it like a very complicated program. Which makes me wonder why/how I am experiencing my life. I'm not saying our mind is separate from our body, i'm asking why our mind feels separate from our body, or why we feel like we are inside our body. While i see it completely possible for a physical brain to make decisions and control the body, it seems impossible to me, for a physical brain to experience the world around it.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cortical_homunculus
Basically, brain has a map of the body to which the nerves are connected.

cj wrote:

The degree to which you feel your mind is separate from your body depends on your kinesthetic sense.  This sense varies genetically.  Those people with more body awareness are generally better at athletics than those without.  If you combine it with good physical control of their body, you get athletic super stars.  I have a pretty good kinesthetic sense so I feel very grounded in my body and my mind feels like it is firmly in my physical brain.  I have so-so physical coordination so I was never anything other than a so-so athlete.

Oh, that's how it's called. Sweet. As you can guess, my kinesthetic sense is very poor. I can find my nose with closed eyes perfectly, but anything besides hands almost like wouldn't be there. I'm very badly grounded, I feel almost like on drugs. Genetical, you say? Can it be improved somehow? I have tried hard manual work, but the disembodied state only got worse as a defensive reaction.
Does sex help, seriously?

cj wrote:
Does knowing how the physical brain works contribute to understanding our sense of mind?  I think so.  Though you will see the mystics and philosophers on this forum mostly don't agree with me.
Most of people's daily activity does not require any supernatural explanation. It's usually the time of crisis, creativity and extraordinary effort that usually taps into these mysterious reserves within us and beond us.

Brian37 wrote:

You are falling for the same trap theists fall for. Our "minds" can be sponges and are sponges to popular myth. People "feel" that their minds are separate because they want to feel that way. If someone wants to believe something badly enough, they will believe it.

It's not just about belief. I distinctly feel residing more on the outside of my body than inside. It's not something I want, it's something that gives me trouble. I have a foreboding of how I shall die one day, because my attention span at driving is about 20 seconds.

 

 

Beings who deserve worship don't demand it. Beings who demand worship don't deserve it.


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My favorite interest-piquing

My favorite interest-piquing thread concerning the brain on our website.

http://www.rationalresponders.com/forum/sapient/philosophy_and_psychology_with_chaoslord_and_todangst/2274

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cj
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Luminon wrote: Oh, that's

Luminon wrote:

Oh, that's how it's called. Sweet. As you can guess, my kinesthetic sense is very poor. I can find my nose with closed eyes perfectly, but anything besides hands almost like wouldn't be there. I'm very badly grounded, I feel almost like on drugs. Genetical, you say? Can it be improved somehow? I have tried hard manual work, but the disembodied state only got worse as a defensive reaction.

Does sex help, seriously?

 

Well it does for me.  If I am feeling at all disconnected, sex will slam me right back into my body.  I think it is all the physical sensations plus the load of endorphins your brain kicks out. 

I was reading a lot of learning theory and child development when my youngest was diagnosed with learning disabilities.  I continued to read as my son grew up, hoping to find something to help me understand how to help him.  One Mind at a Time by Mel Levine had the best descriptions and assistance.  Though by the time the book came out, my son was grown and living on his own.  I wish I had known a lot of what is in this book when he was a child.  In the book, Dr. Levine talks about kinesthetic learners and other learning styles.  These are innate - the child is born with the preferred learning pathways, which is why I said it is genetic.

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_i_1_10?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=one+mind+at+a+time+by+mel+levine&x=0&y=0&...

Dr. Levine talks about working with your child's preferred learning style, not about changing it.  And I don't believe I have ever read about how to increase your body awareness, your kinesthetic sense. 

Here in the US, Tellington Touch is a therapy for companion animals.  I have not learned it, have never used it, have not had someone else use it on my companions, but it claims to raise body awareness and release tensions.  It is a kind of massage technique.  Which is seldom harmful even if it doesn't do all the wonderful things it claims it does.  Perhaps if you experimented with different massage techniques, you may find one that seems to help you.

-- I feel so much better since I stopped trying to believe.

"We are entitled to our own opinions. We're not entitled to our own facts"- Al Franken

"If death isn't sweet oblivion, I will be severely disappointed" - Ruth M.


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cj wrote:Luminon wrote: Oh,

cj wrote:

Luminon wrote:

Oh, that's how it's called. Sweet. As you can guess, my kinesthetic sense is very poor. I can find my nose with closed eyes perfectly, but anything besides hands almost like wouldn't be there. I'm very badly grounded, I feel almost like on drugs. Genetical, you say? Can it be improved somehow? I have tried hard manual work, but the disembodied state only got worse as a defensive reaction.

Does sex help, seriously?

 

Well it does for me.  If I am feeling at all disconnected, sex will slam me right back into my body.  I think it is all the physical sensations plus the load of endorphins your brain kicks out. 

I was reading a lot of learning theory and child development when my youngest was diagnosed with learning disabilities.  I continued to read as my son grew up, hoping to find something to help me understand how to help him.  One Mind at a Time by Mel Levine had the best descriptions and assistance.  Though by the time the book came out, my son was grown and living on his own.  I wish I had known a lot of what is in this book when he was a child.  In the book, Dr. Levine talks about kinesthetic learners and other learning styles.  These are innate - the child is born with the preferred learning pathways, which is why I said it is genetic.

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_i_1_10?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=one+mind+at+a+time+by+mel+levine&x=0&y=0&...

Dr. Levine talks about working with your child's preferred learning style, not about changing it.  And I don't believe I have ever read about how to increase your body awareness, your kinesthetic sense. 

Here in the US, Tellington Touch is a therapy for companion animals.  I have not learned it, have never used it, have not had someone else use it on my companions, but it claims to raise body awareness and release tensions.  It is a kind of massage technique.  Which is seldom harmful even if it doesn't do all the wonderful things it claims it does.  Perhaps if you experimented with different massage techniques, you may find one that seems to help you.

What? You're getting some? I thought once boobs got to the fried egg status and the guys nads were used for Hacky Sack, you had to move to Florida.

Well CJ, Kudos to you. I haven't seen a bearded clam in 10 years. The only dates I have are with Rosy Palm.

"We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus -- and nonbelievers."Obama
Check out my poetry here on Rational Responders Like my poetry thread on Facebook under BrianJames Rational Poet also on twitter under Brianrrs37


Atheistextremist
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I think battling with the mind

Adroit wrote:

Hello, I've been a content atheist for quite a few years now, partially thanks to this website.

While i try to be rational i'm not very knowledgeable. I tend to avoid complicated debates because i might not have answers if put on the spot.

So don't take this the wrong way, i'm not trying to make a point, and i'm not asking a question i think is unanswerable. Just something i don't get.

I'm going to school to be a Software Engineer, and being a programmer effects how i understand things. I don't know how a brain works but i see it like a very complicated program. Which makes me wonder why/how I am experiencing my life. I'm not saying our mind is separate from our body, i'm asking why our mind feels separate from our body, or why we feel like we are inside our body. While i see it completely possible for a physical brain to make decisions and control the body, it seems impossible to me, for a physical brain to experience the world around it.

 

body delineation is a healthy position to find yourself in. There are many fundamental things we don't know about the brain and the manner in which the mind delivers a stream of consciousness is unclear. I think you lose me a bit with the thought it's impossible for a physical brain to experience the world around it. How do you think a physical brain makes decisions without weighing up stored data from sensory inputs - some of it decades old? I think we humans consistently underrate the complexity of the molecular physical.

One of the curious things about the human body is how little of it is actually controlled by the brain and the fact virtually none of its operations depend on the conscious mind. Consciousness is a tool. During a typical day I often pop in and out of consciousness - including while working on something that demands focus. After a whole day of not really being there I was recently wondering about intense emotions and considering whether or not these mental 'pains' had evolved to jar us into a conscious state in order to address issues in a place of higher reasoning. 

There is a possible argument we experience the world by projecting ourselves into it - just as we project ourselves into the minds of other people in moments of empathy. Polished by the pressure of group evolution our hair trigger mirror neurons give us a dangerous propensity to identify with environments, animals, inanimate objects and even concepts, as though they were other people. Our anthropomorphism is overwhelming. There's also a school of thought that suggests we experience parts of ourselves in the same way - a process of projection. 

It's hairy stuff, I know. But next time you hear some famous sports person doing a third person Jimmy routine, you'll wonder about the power of self projection yourself.

 

"Experiments are the only means of knowledge at our disposal. The rest is poetry, imagination." Max Planck


cj
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Brian37 wrote:cj

Brian37 wrote:

cj wrote:

Luminon wrote:

Oh, that's how it's called. Sweet. As you can guess, my kinesthetic sense is very poor. I can find my nose with closed eyes perfectly, but anything besides hands almost like wouldn't be there. I'm very badly grounded, I feel almost like on drugs. Genetical, you say? Can it be improved somehow? I have tried hard manual work, but the disembodied state only got worse as a defensive reaction.

Does sex help, seriously?

Well it does for me.  If I am feeling at all disconnected, sex will slam me right back into my body.  I think it is all the physical sensations plus the load of endorphins your brain kicks out.

What? You're getting some? I thought once boobs got to the fried egg status and the guys nads were used for Hacky Sack, you had to move to Florida.

Well CJ, Kudos to you. I haven't seen a bearded clam in 10 years. The only dates I have are with Rosy Palm.

 

Where's the icon for green eyes?    Nope, that's not it.    Not that one either.  Oh well.  

And you would have to pay me to live in Florida.  I've visited there and would prefer to live where mountains are mountains and not bumps in the road.

-- I feel so much better since I stopped trying to believe.

"We are entitled to our own opinions. We're not entitled to our own facts"- Al Franken

"If death isn't sweet oblivion, I will be severely disappointed" - Ruth M.