Consciousness
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Consciousness
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Human consciousness is much more than mere brain activity

Human consciousness is much more than mere brain activity | Consciousness | Scoop.it

In Raymond Tallis' book, Aping Mankind – about which he was talking this week at the British Academy – he describes the cultural disease that afflicts us when we assume that we are nothing but a bunch of neurons.


Neuromania arises from the doctrine that consciousness is the same as brain activity or, to be slightly more sophisticated, that consciousness is just the way that we experience brain activity.


If you think the brain is a machine then you are committed to saying that composing a sublime poem is as involuntary an activity as having an epileptic fit. You will issue press releases announcing “the discovery of love” or “the seat of creativity”, stapled to images of the brain with blobs helpfully highlighted in red or blue, that journalists reproduce like medieval acolytes parroting the missives of popes. You will start to assume that the humanities are really branches of biology in an immature form.


Tallis doesn’t claim to know. He described himself as an “ontological agnostic”, the nature of consciousness being a tremendous mystery. “We just don’t know how we should think about being and how mind fits into nature. But we’ll never learn if we start out taking all the wrong paths.”

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Biological Basis For Creativity Linked To Mental Illness

Psychologists from the University of Toronto and Harvard University have identified one of the biological bases of creativity.


... the brains of creative people appear to be more open to incoming stimuli from the surrounding environment.


Other people’s brains might shut out this same information through a process called “latent inhibition” – defined as an animal’s unconscious capacity to ignore stimuli that experience has shown are irrelevant to its needs.


“This means that creative individuals remain in contact with the extra information constantly streaming in from the environment,”


“If you are open to new information, new ideas, you better be able to intelligently and carefully edit and choose. If you have 50 ideas, only two or three are likely to be good. You have to be able to discriminate or you’ll get swamped.”


... during the early stages of diseases such as schizophrenia, which are often accompanied by feelings of deep insight, mystical knowledge and religious experience, chemical changes take place in which latent inhibition disappears.


“We are very excited by the results of these studies,” says Peterson. “It appears that we have not only identified one of the biological bases of creativity but have moved towards cracking an age-old mystery: the relationship between genius, madness and the doors of perception.” 


01 Oct 2003

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Meditate Your Way To A More Creative Mind

Meditate Your Way To A More Creative Mind | Consciousness | Scoop.it

Re: the research of therapist and meditation teacher named Ron Alexander.


"Mindfulness helps you to build what I call 'mind strength,' " Alexander says. "Your awareness and consciousness become really toned. This is an excellent strategy for becoming successful in your profession, as well as the bigger game of transforming yourself and the people who work with and for you."


Alexander's metaphor is grounded in science. In a move partly spurred by recent improvements in the resolution of computer-generated brain images as well as advances in stem-cell research, neuroscientists have been learning that our brains are more malleable than was once presumed. "A decade ago, we thought you got what you were given at birth and that was pretty much it," says Joshua Aronson, a psychologist at New York University who studies intellectual performance. "But now we know the number of brain cells can increase throughout your life through neurogenesis. There's great evidence that shows if you really work on a skill, the part of the brain associated with that skill grows. The mind is like a muscle. If you don't keep exercising it, it will atrophy."


When adults practice juggling, for example, gray-matter volume in motor areas increases after just two weeks. A classic series of experiments showed that London taxi drivers, who go through detailed training to memorize their city's layout, emerge with enlarged hippocampal regions, which are associated with memory.


But can intelligence and creativity really be as "neuroplastic" as memory and motor skills? Intelligence, much less creativity, has not been conclusively linked with any one area in the brain. The closest analogues are the so-called executive functions, brain systems involved in planning, integrating of sensory information, and abstract thinking, that are thought to be concentrated in the prefrontal cortex. There is, says Aronson, a way to improve executive functioning, and it's the very same practice prescribed by Alexander: mindfulness meditation. In fact, Aronson is currently planning a meditation study with undergrads at NYU. "Some studies show that people who do mindfulness meditation gain as much as 10 IQ points," he says. "What that seems to indicate is that it works on the ability to screen out irrelevant information, to clear out the mind of distractions, and to focus intently on relevant stimuli, which frees up resources to solve problems."


Fast Company

Anya Kamenetz

18 May 2011

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Dibyendu De's comment, December 5, 2012 11:09 PM
Thanks for sharing.. Some quantification as justification for obsessively Left Brained ones.
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Imagination, Imaginal Cells, and Evolutionary Leaps | The Rabbit Hole

Imaginal cell lie dormant inside a caterpillar's body, becoming activated within the chrysalis to allow a butterfly to ultimately emerge. Like seeds of pure potential encoded into the caterpillar's DNA, imaginal cells are the ingredients of metamorphosis.*


Deepak Chopra discusses the metaphor of the butterfly to suggest worlds of possibility inherent in our consciousness that can facilitate our own transformation. What future have you imagined for yourself?




Are we Living in a Dream?

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Using Pattern Recognition to Enhance Memory and Creativity

Using Pattern Recognition to Enhance Memory and Creativity | Consciousness | Scoop.it

It seems to be the season for fascinating meditations on consciousness, exploring such questions as what happens while we sleep, how complex cognition evolved, and why the world exists. Joining them and prior explorations of what it means to be human is The Ravenous Brain: How the New Science of Consciousness Explains Our Insatiable Search for Meaning (public library) by Cambridge neuroscientist Daniel Bor in which, among other things, he sheds light on how our species' penchant for pattern-recognition is essential to consciousness and our entire experience of life.


The process of combining more primitive pieces of information to create something more meaningful is a crucial aspect both of learning and of consciousness and is one of the defining features of human experience. Once we have reached adulthood, we have decades of intensive learning behind us, where the discovery of thousands of useful combinations of features, as well as combinations of combinations and so on, has collectively generated an amazingly rich, hierarchical model of the world. Inside us is also written a multitude of mini strategies about how to direct our attention in order to maximize further learning. We can allow our attention to roam anywhere around us and glean interesting new clues about any facet of our local environment, to compare and potentially add to our extensive internal model.

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Mindprints

Mindprints | Consciousness | Scoop.it
Featureteaser: The evolution of consciousness isn't something that "happens to us," or at least it needn't be. Simply becoming aware of the creative power of our own minds can achieve remarkable results.

 

As consciousness is immaterial -- it doesn’t weigh anything, nor does it occupy space, and so on -- it is through human artefacts that the history of consciousness can be traced.


... Owen Barfield traced the history of consciousness through language [History in English Words].

 

It is only through a consciousness -- yours, mine, a bird’s, possibly a sunflower’s -- that what is “really there” begins to take on features.

 

Consciousness shapes what is “really there,” but we, I think, can never see what is “really there” when we are not looking at it.

 

I think we need to focus on how we can “surf” these changes and not be swamped by them, and through this we will, I believe, be intimately and immediately involved in helping the next shift in the secret history of consciousness take placein a positive way.

 

... the next shift in consciousness will involve a radical alteration in our experience of time.

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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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The Most Creative Brains are Slow

The Most Creative Brains are Slow | Consciousness | Scoop.it

"...One study of 65 subjects suggests that creativity prefers to take a slower, more meandering path than intelligence. 'The brain appears to be an efficient superhighway that gets you from Point A to Point B” when it comes to intelligence, Dr. (Rex) Jung explained. “But in the regions of the brain related to creativity, there appears to be lots of little side roads with interesting detours, and meandering little byways.'"


Eide Neurolearning Blog

13 Sep 2010

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Spanda!

Spanda! | Consciousness | Scoop.it

Spanda is a Sanskrit term – derived from the root spadi: “to move a little” (kimcit calana) – for the subtle creative pulse of the universe as it manifests into the dynamism of living form. (...)


It might be described as the essence of a wave in the ocean of consciousness. An impulse or desire to create and enjoy, likened to an eternal spring, joyfully overflowing its inner essence into manifestation and inspiration, yet ever full, complete and unchanging. (...)


"Spanda is the pulsation of the ecstasy of the divine consciousness", as Abinahavagupta (975-1025 c.e.) defines it. When we sense this pulsation inside us, we are sensing our own personal spark of that huge, primordial life force. It is the energy behind the breath, the heartbeat, and the movement of our thoughts and feelings. It is also the source of all our inner experiences. When we get deep into ourselves, we realize that this throb, this subtle pulsation, is actually ‘meditating’ us.


http://www.spanda.org/SPANDAJOURNAL_C&D2.0_L.pdf


Image via @SpandaNetwork

HT @cyber_shaman


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danijel drnić's curator insight, March 19, 2013 7:29 PM

..i stvarno je tako.

danijel drnić's comment, March 19, 2013 7:31 PM
..there is circle I like to take for good example..and it goes something like this : TOUGH-WORD-LETTER-DEED. How can't this be real. I love this article. It say the true.
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Creativity, evolution of mind and the "vertigo of freedom"

Creativity, evolution of mind and the "vertigo of freedom" | Consciousness | Scoop.it

Darwin’s Pharmacy suggests that psychedelics were precisely a mutation in information technology that increased sexually selective fitness, through the capacity to process greater amounts of information, and that they are “extraordinarily sensitive to initial rhetorical traditions.” What this means is that because ecodelic experiences are so sensitive to the context in which we experience them, they can help make us aware of the effect of language and music, etc, on our consciousness, and thereby offer an awareness of our ability to effect our own consciousness through our linguistic and creative choices.

 

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