The divided brain and the problem of the self.
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18-04-2012, 12:25 AM
The divided brain and the problem of the self.
Have you watched this one yet? One of my favorites.





It seems we always want to see the mind/self/will as unitary. Suggest that the nature of the self is like the interaction of disparate parts and you will quickly be warned against homunculi. This video suggests that the brain's division into separate hemispheres serves the function of allowing us -and many other animals as well - to attend to a particular task while maintaining a care for what is happening around you. If true, it would certainly have survival value.

In a sense, this phenomena provides a kind of inner otherness which might provide a context for understanding the such things as prayer, intuition and creativity. I'd be interested in your take on it and what other philosophical questions it might be relevant to.

I'm 100% atheist since I harbor no belief in gods whatsoever.

I'm 100% agnostic since I know I have no objective basis for my lack of belief.

I'm for peaceful coexistence between atheists and theists of all stripes.
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18-04-2012, 03:10 AM
RE: The divided brain and the problem of the self.
(18-04-2012 12:25 AM)whateverist Wrote:  Have you watched this one yet? One of my favorites.





It seems we always want to see the mind/self/will as unitary. Suggest that the nature of the self is like the interaction of disparate parts and you will quickly be warned against homunculi. This video suggests that the brain's division into separate hemispheres serves the function of allowing us -and many other animals as well - to attend to a particular task while maintaining a care for what is happening around you. If true, it would certainly have survival value.

In a sense, this phenomena provides a kind of inner otherness which might provide a context for understanding the such things as prayer, intuition and creativity. I'd be interested in your take on it and what other philosophical questions it might be relevant to.


I don't see how it relates to prayer. The other two, yes. People "pray", (self-talk, self-affirmations), because it raises the levels if circulating beta-endorpins, just like meditating, running, chanting, singing, reciting poetry does. It's addicting, just like Morphine-Sulfate, (chemically very similar). Or are you suggesting the hemispheres are talking to each other in the process of prayer ?

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Yeah, for verily I say unto thee, and this we know : Jebus no likey that which doth tickle thee unto thy nether regions.

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18-04-2012, 07:58 AM
RE: The divided brain and the problem of the self.
(18-04-2012 03:10 AM)Bucky Ball Wrote:  I don't see how it relates to prayer. The other two, yes. People "pray", (self-talk, self-affirmations), because it raises the levels if circulating beta-endorpins, just like meditating, running, chanting, singing, reciting poetry does. It's addicting, just like Morphine-Sulfate, (chemically very similar). Or are you suggesting the hemispheres are talking to each other in the process of prayer ?
Sort of. Of all the attributes of the Christian god the one that most boggles my mind is His being intimately aware of every person's every thought and action, His willingness to advise and/or help, and that somehow all of this is recorded for future reference come 'judgement day'. This not only seems to stretch the limits logistically but also makes you wonder just how bored God must be to spend His time on such activities.

The divided brain offers a way of understanding how we work which provides an explanation for why Christians might believe that they are being watched over by something with the capacity to advise and help. Apparently the left brain does the talking so it isn't that they talk to one another but there is a meaningful exchange possible between them. So prayer taps into something useful, it just isn't God. Or, if you prefer, perhaps this internal otherness that 'gets' the big picture and is the source of our insight is what has been mistaken for God all along.

I'm 100% atheist since I harbor no belief in gods whatsoever.

I'm 100% agnostic since I know I have no objective basis for my lack of belief.

I'm for peaceful coexistence between atheists and theists of all stripes.
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18-04-2012, 03:43 PM (This post was last modified: 18-04-2012 03:54 PM by GirlyMan.)
RE: The divided brain and the problem of the self.
Saw this a while ago. It's very good. (Think it might even be buried here in the basement of our archives somewhere.) On the one hand it further deprives dualism of any metaphysical rational support. On the other hand it also starts to try to explain why we are inclined to dualism and its bastard child religion in the first place. Thumbsup

I am us and we is me. ... bitches.
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20-04-2012, 01:35 PM
RE: The divided brain and the problem of the self.
(18-04-2012 03:43 PM)GirlyMan Wrote:  Saw this a while ago. It's very good. (Think it might even be buried here in the basement of our archives somewhere.) On the one hand it further deprives dualism of any metaphysical rational support. On the other hand it also starts to try to explain why we are inclined to dualism and its bastard child religion in the first place. Thumbsup
Exactly. There is intrinsic dualism, it just isn't anything metaphysically exotic. The inner otherness needed to explain some of our subjective experience is neither a god nor a homunculus either. It's structural. The physiology of the brain allows for two arenas of consciousness, only one of which we are directly aware of. The other isn't as wordy but it does have its own steering wheel, brakes and gas pedal. When an action can't wait for left brain activation, that hemisphere's awareness, seems fully capable of acting autonomously. Interesting stuff, hey?

I'm 100% atheist since I harbor no belief in gods whatsoever.

I'm 100% agnostic since I know I have no objective basis for my lack of belief.

I'm for peaceful coexistence between atheists and theists of all stripes.
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20-04-2012, 01:59 PM
RE: The divided brain and the problem of the self.
(20-04-2012 01:35 PM)whateverist Wrote:  
(18-04-2012 03:43 PM)GirlyMan Wrote:  Saw this a while ago. It's very good. (Think it might even be buried here in the basement of our archives somewhere.) On the one hand it further deprives dualism of any metaphysical rational support. On the other hand it also starts to try to explain why we are inclined to dualism and its bastard child religion in the first place. Thumbsup
Exactly. There is intrinsic dualism, it just isn't anything metaphysically exotic. The inner otherness needed to explain some of our subjective experience is neither a god nor a homunculus either. It's structural. The physiology of the brain allows for two arenas of consciousness, only one of which we are directly aware of. The other isn't as wordy but it does have its own steering wheel, brakes and gas pedal. When an action can't wait for left brain activation, that hemisphere's awareness, seems fully capable of acting autonomously. Interesting stuff, hey?

Yup. And shit gets even more interesting when the corpus collosum is severed. We are one fucking fascinating machine. Bowing

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I am us and we is me. ... bitches.
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