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thinkahol *

I am the 100% - 0 views

thinkahol *

On "Consciousness: The Black Hole of Neuroscience" aka the "hard" problem | Thinkahol's... - 0 views

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    What had been lacking until relatively recently was an overarching framework or theory through which to grasp the nature of consciousness. The lack of a general theory of consciousness, of how it comes to be that there is something that it is like to be, was really the last rational bastion of opposition to the scientific assertion that consciousness emerges from the brain.
thinkahol *

TEDxRheinMain - Prof. Dr. Thomas Metzinger - The Ego Tunnel - YouTube - 2 views

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    Brain, bodily awareness, and the emergence of a conscious self: these entities and their relations are explored by Germanphilosopher and cognitive scientist Metzinger. Extensively working with neuroscientists he has come to the conclusion that, in fact, there is no such thing as a "self" -- that a "self" is simply the content of a model created by our brain - part of a virtual reality we create for ourselves.

    But if the self is not "real," he asks, why and how did it evolve? How does the brain construct the self? In a series of fascinating virtual reality experiments, Metzinger and his colleagues have attempted to create so-called "out-of-body experiences" in the lab, in order to explore these questions. As a philosopher, he offers a discussion of many of the latest results in robotics, neuroscience, dream and meditation research, and argues that the brain is much more powerful than we have ever imagined. He shows us, for example, that we now have the first machines that have developed an inner image of their own body -- and actually use this model to create intelligent behavior. In addition, studies exploring the connections between phantom limbs and the brain have shown us that even people born without arms or legs sometimes experience a sensation that they do in fact have limbs that are not there. Experiments like the "rubber-hand illusion" demonstrate how we can experience a fake hand as part of our self and even feel a sensation of touch on the phantom hand form the basis and testing ground for the idea that what we have called the "self" in the past is just the content of a transparent self-model in our brains. Now, as new ways of manipulating the conscious mind-brain appear on the scene, it will soon become possible to alter our subjective reality in an unprecedented manner. The cultural consequences of this, Metzinger claims, may be immense: we will need a new approach to ethics, and we will be forced to think about ourselves in a fundamentally new way. At
thinkahol *

Divine Inspiration From the Masses - Los Angeles Times - 0 views

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    Open-source programming's organizing principle has been embraced in medical research, engineering -- even religion
thinkahol *

The Blog : Drugs and the Meaning of Life : Sam Harris - 0 views

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    Everything we do is for the purpose of altering consciousness. We form friendships so that we can feel certain emotions, like love, and avoid others, like loneliness. We eat specific foods to enjoy their fleeting presence on our tongues. We read for the pleasure of thinking another person's thoughts. Every waking moment-and even in our dreams-we struggle to direct the flow of sensation, emotion, and cognition toward states of consciousness that we value.Drugs are another means toward this end. Some are illegal; some are stigmatized; some are dangerous-though, perversely, these sets only partially intersect. There are drugs of extraordinary power and utility, like psilocybin (the active compound in "magic mushrooms") and lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), which pose no apparent risk of addiction and are physically well-tolerated, and yet one can still be sent to prison for their use-while drugs like tobacco and alcohol, which have ruined countless lives, are enjoyed ad libitum in almost every society on earth. There are other points on this continuum-3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA or "Ecstasy") has remarkable therapeutic potential, but it is also susceptible to abuse, and it appears to be neurotoxic.[1]One of the great responsibilities we have as a society is to educate ourselves, along with the next generation, about which substances are worth ingesting, and for what purpose, and which are not. The problem, however, is that we refer to all biologically active compounds by a single term-"drugs"-and this makes it nearly impossible to have an intelligent discussion about the psychological, medical, ethical, and legal issues surrounding their use. The poverty of our language has been only slightly eased by the introduction of terms like "psychedelics" to differentiate certain visionary compounds, which can produce extraordinary states of ecstasy and insight, from "narcotics" and other classic agents of stupefaction and abuse.
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    You say "Everything we do is for the purpose of altering consciousness. " I would say that everything we do is for the purpose of expanding our consciousness. That being said, altering our conscious perception of matter is a significant step toward expanding our consciousness of "Spirit" or heartfelt emotions. As I've said elsewhere, I believe matter is a virtual reality, a model of heartfelt emotion which is the true reality. Matter's purpose, as a model, is to guide and inform us about the present state of Spiritual reality. Any model however has limitations as it is only a simplification of the thing being modeled. I liken matter to the training wheels on a bicycle. While they guide and support the learner at first they eventually become a hindrance and can start holding the person back. Matter, particularly if it is perceived to be real, can start to limit a person's expanding consciousness. For example, the atheist's materialist belief system leads him to believe that we come into existence at birth and go out of existence after death.

    I agree with you completely that the purpose of life is to experience emotion. That being said I would go further and say, and I'm sure you would agree, that it is also to expand our emotional "repertoire". The purpose is not only to experience emotion but to learn to project harmonious emotion. Its one thing to listen to music but it's another thing to learn to create and play music.

    With regards to your comments about drugs…
    First, I'm a through and through libertarian and believe all drugs should be legal for adults to consume at their own discretion. To make them illegal is to treat ones fellow citizens as children.
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    Continued..
    The fact of the matter is that we all "taking drugs" when we purposely cause the brain to secrete endorphins and the like. Runners are "taking drugs" when they achieve the "runners high", thrill seekers are doing it when they take their risks and movie goers are doing it when they watch their scary movies. The potential problem with directly consuming drugs is that one is messing with the chemistry of the brain. Again in my view matter serves as a guide and matter includes our physical bodies and our brain chemistry. Taking drugs, in some respects, is like reaching inside your computer system and changing some of the circuitry or maybe altering some of the code of one of your computer programs. It's a precarious thing to do.
    The closest "psychedelic" that I've taken is marijuana. At the time though it was giving me insights and maybe it was, but again messing with the brain's chemistry in such a way is very "problematic". I don't regret doing it as I believe everything happens for the best, but when I came across a large stash of it once and smoked it over a short period of time it definitely distorted my understanding of what was "socially" happening around me for some period of time, even after I ran out. I don't smoke it anymore as it makes me paranoid. Paranoia is a common experience of some who smoke it and this attests to how it can erroneously distort ones perceptions. That being said the experience, in all likeliness, played a role in my present understanding of the true nature of matter. Much in the same way that directly altering the code of a computer program might give you a better understanding of the origin of the images you see on the computer screen, taking drugs can give you a better understanding of the true nature of matter.
thinkahol *

The Blog : What's the Point of Transcendence? : Sam Harris - 0 views

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    I certainly didn't mean to suggest that transcendent experiences are "beyond the purview of science." On the contrary, I think they should be studied scientifically. And I don't believe that these experiences tell us anything about the cosmos (I called Deepak Chopra a "charlatan" for making unfounded claims of this sort). Nor do they tell us anything about history, or about the veracity of scripture. However, these experiences do have a lot to say about the nature of the human mind-not about its neurobiology, per se, but about its qualitative character (both actual and potential).
    So, to answer Jerry's question: yes, many things follow from these transcendent experiences. Here's a short list:
thinkahol *

A science related view of rebirth within Buddhist philosophy | Metta Physics - The Scie... - 0 views

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    The notions of rebirth and reincarnation are crucial to the Buddhist worldview : 'rebirth' can be considered as a crude English translation of 'Punarbhava' ( re-emergence of self, Sanskrit). Those amongst us who seek scientific explanations for non-scientific concepts might find it difficult to frame any testable or falsifiable hypothesis in the support or the denial of the notion of the Buddhist philosophical self and its re-emergence. However if a concept cannot be framed in scientific terms it does not imply that we cannot employ scientific reasoning to it.

    Although we can define concepts like life and death with degrees of scientific objectivity, such definitions are essentially useless in a spiritual context that combines philosophical and rational understanding. It is when we apply these concepts to our own existence that its philosophical significance emerges, and to a large extent the same applies to the concept of rebirth. This perhaps explains why nearly a quarter of all Western Europeans stated that they believe in reincarnation in the oft quoted European values survey(1) in 2006. Despite the fact that reincarnation does not exist in either Christianity or science, the two traditional sources that have generated philosophical viewpoints in western Europe. Figures are higher in the Nordic countries and eastern Europe, and in addition, another 20 to 25% or so indicated that they did not know and maintained an open mind on the issue.

    Despite scientific debates on the significance of findings suggestive of evidence of reincarnation (e,g, Dr Ian Stevenson and that Jim Tucker both for the division of perceptual studies, University of Virginia medical school being two notable examples ) (2), alternative possibilities for holding completely non-supernatural views can emerge from the sociological point of view. For instance viewing life on Earth as an interconnected web can also produce significant insights into the life-and-death of individual entities
thinkahol *

The Nietzsche Family Circus - 0 views

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    The higher we soar the smaller we appear to those who cannot fly.
Oreanda Web

Forecast Earth's surface - 0 views

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    Earthquake in Japan shocked the entire mir.Zemletryasenie magnitude 8.9 which occurred today, March 11, in Japan, led to a shift of Earth's rotation axis is greater than ten centimeters. What are the prospects for the future of the Earth's surface
thinkahol *

Through The Wormhole - Is There A Creator? | Watch Free Documentary Online - 0 views

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    It's perhaps the biggest, most controversial mystery in the cosmos. Did our Universe just come into being by random chance, or was it created by a God who nurtures and sustains all life?
    The latest science is showing that the four forces governing our universe are phenomenally finely tuned. So finely that it had led many to the conclusion that someone, or something, must have calibrated them; a belief further backed up by evidence that everything in our universe may emanate from one extraordinarily elegant and beautiful design known as the E8 Lie Group.
    While skeptics hold that these findings are neither conclusive nor evidence of a divine creator, some cutting edge physicists are already positing who this God is: an alien gamester who's created our world as the ultimate SIM game for his own amusement. It's an answer as compelling as it is disconcerting.
thinkahol *

All In The Mind - 10 October 2009 - You are not a self! Bodies, brains and the nature o... - 0 views

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    German philosopher of mind Thomas Metzinger is one of the world's top researchers on consciousness, instrumental in its renaissance as a respectable problem for scientific enquiry. From out-of-body experiences to lucid dreaming, anarchic hand syndrome to phantom limbs, his investigations have taken him to places few dare to go. Be spooked, bewildered and amazed.
Oreanda Web

The complexity and pain of the Holy Transfiguration - 0 views

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    "Revelation of the people of the new century" (dictation from 18/02/2011) On a simple advise to skeptical readers to set aside skepticism and wonder: "What if the truth?"
Oreanda Web

Fiction or worth considering? - 0 views

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    We have moved into the fifth dimension. Fourth, slipped, and many did not even notice and did not feel it. The fourth dimension was for all of you a kind of purgatory. That space and time, which surfaced all of your subconscious fears and blocks. But we are not cleansed until the end. Still ahead of many mysterious transformation, and the mysteries within our true Self What is a fifth dimension?
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