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Buddhism and the Brain

Buddhism and the Brain | soul rebels | Scoop.it

Neuroscience tells us the thing we take as our unified mind is an illusion, that our mind is not unified and can barely be said to “exist” at all. Our feeling of unity and control is a post-hoc confabulation and is easily fractured into separate parts. As revealed by scientific inquiry, what we call a mind (or a self, or a soul) is actually something that changes so much and is so uncertain that our pre-scientific language struggles to find meaning.

Buddhists say pretty much the same thing. They believe in an impermanent and illusory self made of shifting parts. They’ve even come up with language to address the problem between perception and belief. Their word for self is anatta, which is usually translated as ‘non self.’ One might try to refer to the self, but the word cleverly reminds one’s self that there is no such thing.

David Weisman
SEEDMAGAZINE.COM


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ddrrnt's curator insight, December 14, 2012 10:50 PM

The anatta is in a state of impermanence, called anicca.  Consciousness is envisioned as a wave of momentary mental states. 


Weisman asks, "Why have the dominant Western religious traditions gotten their permanent, independent souls so wrong?"



Nur Svsc 's curator insight, March 16, 2013 12:19 AM

A good book on the subject is 'The Dalai Lama at MIT' -- a  2008 collection of the papers and research discussed at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2003, a unique dialogue between Buddhist practioners and neurosecientists on the issues of perception, subjectivity, concentration, emotion and perspectivism. 

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The brain runs its show incognito

The brain runs its show incognito | soul rebels | Scoop.it

Eagleman’s new book, Incognito, examines the unconscious part of our brains — the complex neural networks that are constantly fighting one another and influencing how we act, the things we’re attracted to, and the thoughts that we have.

 

Eagleman refers to consciousness as “a tiny stowaway on a transatlantic steamship, taking credit for the journey without acknowledging the massive engineering underfoot.” His book investigates this fact and its implications in decision making. He explains how the mind does enormous amount of work to reach the moment when you can gleefully say, “I just thought of something!” He emphasizes how we often take credit for our ideas without considering the “the vast, hidden machinery behind the scenes.”


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Mariana Soffer's comment, August 3, 2012 6:08 AM
This rocks
gregorylent's comment, August 3, 2012 9:55 AM
yet still, rooted in phrenology 2.0, thinking meat makes consciousness ... tell me mr. eagleman, what is the magic that drives the brain?