Consciousness
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Consciousness
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The Santiago Theory of Cognition

In this new view, cognition involves the entire process of life - including perception, emotion, and behaviour - and does not necessarily require a brain and a nervous system. At the human level, however, cognition includes language, conceptual thought, and all the other attributes of human consciousness.

 

The Santiago theory of cognition, in my view, is the first scientific theory that really overcomes the Cartesian division of mind and matter, and will thus have the most far-reaching implications. Mind and matter no longer appear to belong to two separate categories but are seen as representing two complementary aspects of the phenomenon of life - the process aspect and the structure aspect. At all levels of life, beginning with the simplest cell, mind and matter, process and structure are inseparably connected. Thus, for the first time, we have a scientific theory that unifies mind, matter and life.

 

--  Fritjof Capra

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The Master and His Emissary: The Divided Brain and the Making of the Western World

The Master and His Emissary: The Divided Brain and the Making of the Western World | Consciousness | Scoop.it

Why is the brain divided? Despite much research and speculation, neurologists have struggled to make sense of hemisphere differences, or of their impact on human thought and experience.


In this remarkable and absorbing book, Iain McGilchrist argues that the two hemispheres have not merely different skills, but wholly different perspectives on the world. Drawing on a vast body of recent brain research, illustrated with fascinating case material, he suggests that the left hemisphere is designed to exploit the world effectively, but is narrow in focus and prizes theory over experience. It prefers mechanisms to living things, ignores whatever is not explicit, lacks empathy, and is unreasonably certain of itself. By contrast, the right hemisphere has a much broader, more generous understanding of the world, but lacks the certainty to counter this onslaught, because what it knows is more subtle and many-faceted.


It is vital that the two hemispheres work together, but in Western culture there is evidence of a power struggle, with the left hemisphere becoming increasingly dominant. The result is a dehumanized society, where a rigid and bureaucratic mentality, obsessed with structure and mechanism, holds sway, at huge cost to human happiness and the world around us.


Iain McGilchrist's book on Amazon.com



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Soul Spelunker: A Critique of Rugged Individualism

Soul Spelunker: A Critique of Rugged Individualism | Consciousness | Scoop.it

We carry multiple Beings in our Souls because we carry each other and the world. The archetypes are all of us, all the myriad types and styles of Beings that compose our world, human and non-human. We really are the world and the world is us. The idea that we must integrate into a central and strictly human Self seems to be a desire to retain the Western sense of individuality and Ego, and the attitude of superiority of human over non-human.


The sense of individuality we possess makes us susceptible to denying the sense of self to non-human beings:


For individuals in industrialized society, the sense of self is felt to be and understood to exist within the confines of that person. Further, the only beings that are assumed to possess this sort of subjectivity are humans; other beings, lacking this subjectivity, become an other and as such, are of lesser value. Moreover, any point of view which does understand nonhuman beings as possessing an individual self charged with spirit, soul and intelligence is dismissively accused of animism or of anthropomorphizing the outer world. Animism is defined by Freud as nothing but the projection of primitive man’s emotional impulses. As a result of that sweeping assumption, the whole of the highly complex, sensuous and intelligent natural world is reduced to mindless things, blank screens. But by declaring ourselves the only beings with intelligence and a sense of self, we have, in many ways, placed ourselves in a vulnerable position (Rocky Greene, What does the Individuation Process have to do with the Earth?).

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The Science of Sleep: Dreaming, Depression, and How REM Sleep Regulates Negative Emotions

The Science of Sleep: Dreaming, Depression, and How REM Sleep Regulates Negative Emotions | Consciousness | Scoop.it

"Dreams are not without sense, nor are they best understood to be expressions of infantile wishes. They are the result of the interconnectedness of new experience with that already stored in memory networks. But memory is never a precise duplicate of the original; instead, it is a continuing act of creation. Dream images are the product of that creation. They are formed by pattern recognition between some current emotionally valued experience matching the condensed representation of similarly toned memories. Networks of these become our familiar style of thinking, which gives our behavior continuity and us a coherent sense of who we are. Thus, dream dimensions are elements of the schemas, and both represent accumulated experience and serve to filter and evaluate the new day’s input."

 

Rosalind D. Cartwright's The Twenty-four Hour Mind: The Role of Sleep and Dreaming in Our Emotional Lives


http://amzn.to/SchDtZ

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What is Heart Intelligence?

What is Heart Intelligence? | Consciousness | Scoop.it

During the 1960s and ’70s physiologists John and Beatrice Lacey conducted research that showed the heart actually communicates with the brain in ways that greatly affect how we perceive and react to the world around us. Today, more than a half century after the Laceys began their research, we know a great deal more about the intelligent heart:

 

- The heart sends us emotional and intuitive signals to help govern our lives.


- The heart directs and aligns many systems in the body so that they can function in harmony with one another.


- The heart has its own independent complex nervous system known as “the brain in the heart.”


- The heart’s independent brain and nervous system relay information to the brain in the cranium, creating a two-way communication system between heart and brain.

 
- The heart makes many of its own decisions.


- The heart starts beating in the unborn fetus before the brain has been formed, a process that scientists call autorhythmic.


- Human beings form an emotional brain long before a rational one, and a beating heart before either.


Researchers at various institutions began showing in the 1980s and ’90s that success in life depends more on an individual’s ability to effectively manage emotions than on the intellectual ability of the brain in the head. These findings naturally resulted in people wanting to know how to infuse emotions with intelligence.

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How to Trick Your Brain for Happiness

How to Trick Your Brain for Happiness | Consciousness | Scoop.it

There’s this great line by Ani Tenzin Palmo, an English woman who spent 12 years in a cave in Tibet: “We do not know what a thought is, yet we’re thinking them all the time.”

 

It’s true. The amount of knowledge we have about the brain has doubled in the last 20 years. Yet there’s still a lot we don’t know.

 

In recent years, though, we have started to better understand the neural bases of states like happiness, gratitude, resilience, love, compassion, and so forth. And better understanding them means we can skillfully stimulate the neural substrates of those states—which, in turn, means we can strengthen them. Because as the famous saying by the Canadian scientist Donald Hebb goes, “Neurons that fire together, wire together.” ...

 

In this article Rick Hanson goes on to explain how you can intentionally change your brain to create lasting happiness and well-being.

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How to Misuse Your Power of Thought

How to Misuse Your Power of Thought | Consciousness | Scoop.it

“Thinking about sense-objects will attach you to sense-objects; grow attached, and you become addicted; thwart your addiction, it turns to anger; be angry, and you confuse your mind; confuse your mind, you forget the lesson of experience; forget experience, you lose discrimination; lose discrimination, and you miss life’s only purpose.”
–Bhagavad Gita 2:62, 63

 

you may find value in reading Swami Nirmalananda Giri's lesson in its entirety. - @Ddrrnt

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The Heart Has Its Own “Brain” and Consciousness

The Heart Has Its Own “Brain” and Consciousness | Consciousness | Scoop.it

The heart generates a continuous series of electromagnetic pulses in which the time interval between each beat varies in a dynamic and complex manner. The heart’s ever-present rhythmic field has a powerful influence on processes throughout the body. We have demonstrated, for example, that brain rhythms naturally synchronize to the heart’s rhythmic activity, and also that during sustained feelings of love or appreciation, the blood pressure and respiratory rhythms, among other oscillatory systems, entrain to the heart’s rhythm.

 

via Mindful Muscle Blog

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Talking To Your Mind

Talking To Your Mind | Consciousness | Scoop.it

The thoughts our brain/mind produces include situations we have yet to experience, yet are fearful of, angry or worried about. We’re pretty much creatures of habit, after all, and our habits go back thousands of years. Much of our behavior is reactionary, initiated when we’re faced with situations that cause us to be fearful or angry. Our primitive brains – specifically the amygdala, take us into fight-or-flight mode in order to survive. Within seconds our brains are flooded with chemicals, our heart-rate changes, our blood rushes from our extremities to our body’s core to guard our important organs, and we’re prepared to run or stand our ground and fight the saber-toothed tiger.

 

Problem is, we’re not fighting saber-toothed tigers anymore.

 

via Intent Blog

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When robots have feelings

When robots have feelings | Consciousness | Scoop.it

"If machines can and do become conscious, will we take their feelings into account? The history of our relations with the only nonhuman sentient beings we have encountered so far – animals – gives no ground for confidence that we would recognise sentient robots as beings with moral standing and interests that deserve consideration."

 

Peter Singer and Agata Sagan

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Memes, minds and selves: competing for consciousness

Memes, minds and selves: competing for consciousness | Consciousness | Scoop.it

"... the theory is similar to Dennett’s but there are two fundamental differences. First Dennett calls the self a "benign user illusion". I suggest it is far from benign, and is the root source of human suffering and delusion. The creation of a selfplex means we live our lives as a lie; constantly falling into dualism, and prey to all the emotions concerned with protecting our false self from harm or dissolution. Second, for Dennett consciousness "is itself a huge complex of memes", which implies that if all the memes were dropped consciousness would cease. An alternative is that the memes of the selfplex obscure and distort consciousness rather than constituting it."

 

"This is a an empirical question, well suited to first-person research with available methods. Meditation and mindfulness can be seen as techniques for dropping memes (or meme-weeding), their ultimate effect being to dismantle the selfplex. We may ask those who have completed this path what happens. I believe their answer is that dualism falls away but consciousness (though it may be transformed) does not."

 

- Susan Blackmore

 

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The Nature of Consciousness: How the Internet Could Learn to Feel

The Nature of Consciousness: How the Internet Could Learn to Feel | Consciousness | Scoop.it

The Internet now already has a couple of billion nodes. Each node is a computer. Each one of these computers contains a couple of billion transistors, so it is in principle possible that the complexity of the Internet is such that it feels like something to be conscious. I mean, that’s what it would be if the Internet as a whole has consciousness. Depending on the exact state of the transistors in the Internet, it might feel sad one day and happy another day, or whatever the equivalent is in Internet space.

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Feeling Our Emotions

Feeling Our Emotions | Consciousness | Scoop.it

According to noted neurologist Antonio R. Damasio, joy or sorrow can emerge only after the brain registers physical changes in the body


MIND: You differentiate between feelings and emotions. How so?


Damasio: In everyday language we often use the terms interchangeably. This shows how closely connected emotions are with feelings. But for neuroscience, emotions are more or less the complex reactions the body has to certain stimuli. When we are afraid of something, our hearts begin to race, our mouths become dry, our skin turns pale and our muscles contract. This emotional reaction occurs automatically and unconsciously. Feelings occur after we become aware in our brain of such physical changes; only then do we experience the feeling of fear.


MIND: So, then, feelings are formed by emotions?


Damasio: Yes. The brain is constantly receiving signals from the body, registering what is going on inside of us. It then processes the signals in neural maps, which it then compiles in the so-called somatosensory centers. Feelings occur when the maps are read and it becomes apparent that emotional changes have been recorded--as snapshots of our physical state, so to speak.


Scientific American

24 Mar 2005


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Octopuses Gain Consciousness (According to Scientists’ Declaration)

Octopuses Gain Consciousness (According to Scientists’ Declaration) | Consciousness | Scoop.it

Elephants cooperate to solve problems. Chimpanzees teach youngsters to make tools. Even octopuses seem to be able to plan. So should we humans really be surprised that “consciousness” probably does not only exist in us?


Via Wildcat2030
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Depression

Depression | Consciousness | Scoop.it

As a soul-centred psychiatric therapist, I am disturbed that so many people are being seduced into viewing the often valuable and necessary sufferings of soul, which include most experiences of depression, as 'mental illness'. In other words, sufferers of depression are often forced to endure, in addition to their pain and energy loss, the stigma of being told that they're 'ill', hence that their depression is a problem to be eliminated, or that it has no value, meaning, or purpose.


Via Zeteticus
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What Is Love? - Amit Goswami

Dr. Amit Goswami, Ph.D, Theoretical Quantum Physicist, talks about the emotion of "love" in humanity in the documentary "The Quantum Activist". http://www.am...
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Healing through the dark emotions

Healing through the dark emotions | Consciousness | Scoop.it

….When I say we are “intervulnerable,” I mean we suffer together, whether consciously or unconsciously. Albert Einstein called the idea of a separate self an “optical delusion of consciousness.” Martin Luther King Jr. said that we are all connected in an “inescapable web of mutuality.” There’s no way out, though we try to escape by armoring ourselves against pain and in the process diminishing our lives and our consciousness. But in our intervulnerability is our salvation, because awareness of the mutuality of suffering impels us to search for ways to heal the whole, rather than encase ourselves in a bubble of denial and impossible individualism. At this point in history, it seems that we will either destroy ourselves or find a way to build a sustainable life together.

 

Miriam Greenspan - excerpts from a Sun Magazine

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Recognizing the Significance of Consciousness

Recognizing the Significance of Consciousness | Consciousness | Scoop.it

The startling amazingness of consciousness self-evident to people who recognize it vividly — they can see that they are conscious and they can see that consciousness is something really special — something formless, empty, unfathomable, and even transcendental or mystical in nature. It transcends the body and the mind, it transcends the physical material world, it transcends thoughts and emotions. It is more fundamental than anything. It seems to be the ultimate fabric of reality itself.

 

When consciousness is directly recognized to this extent, it is obvious that consciousness is not a process or a substance or anything material or reducible for that matter – and it takes place in a completely different dimension from everything else — it’s not mediated by one particular sense or even by the cognitive faculty that thinks thoughts. It is a necessary condition for all of the senses and the mind, but it’s not identical to any of them. It’s something else altogether.

 

by Nova Spivack - Minding the Planet

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Gratitude Affects Heart and Genetics, Study Says

Gratitude Affects Heart and Genetics, Study Says | Consciousness | Scoop.it

Biologist Glen Rein at the popular Institute of HeartMath, in Boulder Creek, California, conducted a study of people who entered a state of heartfelt appreciation or unconditional love, what he referred to as “heart consciousness.” He found that these people could actually alter the winding and unwinding of DNA (genetic material) in solution.

 

It did not matter whether the participants were holding the DNA in a test tube or not. By allowing their hearts to be full of positive and loving emotions, the participants in this study were able to affect DNA in a test tube!

 

What’s more: when the same people held loving feelings in their hearts, their heart rhythms became extremely coherent. Their electrocardiograms (ECGs) were analyzed by sophisticated frequency-analysis software. Whenever they held the loving, appreciative thoughts, their heart rhythms followed a more coherent rhythmic pattern.

 

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Virtual Ego

"Alan Watts. If ego = control, then the formula for enlightenment is:

 

Develop and grasp at self-control until you reach complete frustration and then realize the contradictions and true nature of self-control, or self-guidance.

 

Striving for a type of self-control that is subtlely, inherently impossible builds up into complete frustration, until out of this mud, the lotus of re-conceptualization blooms.

 

This is the true heart of ego transcendence.

After ego death and ego transcendence, how big and powerful is the ego? Bigger and more powerful than ever, the ghost who remains after ego death."

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Think On These Things Too…

"When you leave emotions out of your “rational map,” when the display of this map is not privy to the emotions, or vice verca, then you are not properly conscious."

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Daniel Dennett » Conscious Entities

Daniel Dennett » Conscious Entities | Consciousness | Scoop.it

Dennett is the great demystifier of consciousness. According to him there is, in the final analysis, nothing fundamentally inexplicable about the way we attribute intentions and conscious feelings to people. We often attribute feelings or intentions metaphorically to non-human things, after all. We might say our car is a bit tired today, or that our pot plant is thirsty. At the end of the day, our attitude to other human beings is just a version – a much more sophisticated version – of the same strategy. Attributing intentions to human animals makes it much easier to work out what their behaviour is likely to be. It pays us, in short, to adopt the intentional stance when trying to understand human beings.

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