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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 | Creatively Aging | 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 | Creatively Aging | 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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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 | Creatively Aging | 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 | Creatively Aging | 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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