Consciousness & the Brain

No holds barred discussion on the Buddhadharma. Argue about rebirth, karma, commentarial interpretations etc. Be nice to each other.

Re: Consciousness & the Brain

Postby Andrew108 » Wed Aug 15, 2012 7:09 am

Consciousness can be the brain or have the brain as it's/their support, but the brain needs a support as well. So practice is looking at what supports the brain. What allows the brain to be. I don't think of this as a hidden reality or revelation, but the brain needs energy and space to do it's thing. After we die will energy and space die? What's the dependency here? Is it that energy and space need the brain or is it that the brain needs energy and space. I would say that energy/space or appearance/emptiness is both what the brain is and where the brain is.
Andrew108
 
Posts: 1056
Joined: Sun Sep 11, 2011 7:41 pm

Re: Consciousness & the Brain

Postby DarwidHalim » Wed Aug 15, 2012 8:42 am

I just wonder, it this brain and consciousness issue is just the recent topic in 19th century or it has been discussed long time back like 8th century in India.

Any idea?
I am not here nor there.
I am not right nor wrong.
I do not exist neither non-exist.
I am not I nor non-I.
I am not in samsara nor nirvana.
To All Buddhas, I bow down for the teaching of emptiness. Thank You!
User avatar
DarwidHalim
 
Posts: 418
Joined: Thu Sep 22, 2011 6:04 pm

Re: Consciousness & the Brain

Postby Andrew108 » Wed Aug 15, 2012 8:58 am

It's been discussed before, but now we have MRI scanners.
Andrew108
 
Posts: 1056
Joined: Sun Sep 11, 2011 7:41 pm

Re: Consciousness & the Brain

Postby DarwidHalim » Wed Aug 15, 2012 9:09 am

With MRI Scanner, they can check that when we think in this or that way, the MRI scanner can show different pattern.

Because of that, some people think consciousness is the product of brain or vise versa.

However, if we see for example the blood pressure and the way we see the world, the way we think, blood pressure may also been affected by consciousness.

In this way, why no one will think that consciousness is the product of blood or vise versa?
I am not here nor there.
I am not right nor wrong.
I do not exist neither non-exist.
I am not I nor non-I.
I am not in samsara nor nirvana.
To All Buddhas, I bow down for the teaching of emptiness. Thank You!
User avatar
DarwidHalim
 
Posts: 418
Joined: Thu Sep 22, 2011 6:04 pm

Re: Consciousness & the Brain

Postby Andrew108 » Wed Aug 15, 2012 9:16 am

I guess the point is that it doesn't matter if consciousness is brain-based.
Andrew108
 
Posts: 1056
Joined: Sun Sep 11, 2011 7:41 pm

Re: Consciousness & the Brain

Postby dharmagoat » Wed Aug 15, 2012 12:32 pm

DarwidHalim wrote:With MRI Scanner, they can check that when we think in this or that way, the MRI scanner can show different pattern.

Because of that, some people think consciousness is the product of brain or vise versa.

However, if we see for example the blood pressure and the way we see the world, the way we think, blood pressure may also been affected by consciousness.

In this way, why no one will think that consciousness is the product of blood or vise versa?

The state of various parts of the brain is directly correlated to specific aspects of the mind. Evidence for this has always existed, and although it was relatively scant in the past, now it is overwhelming. The same cannot be said for any other organ of the body.

Matt J wrote:Imagine a dream in which a tree falls on you. Your dream brain is injured, and as a result, your mental activity is reduced. It is not dissimilar from dream drugs or alcohol that can impact your dream functioning (albeit in a different way).

An accident resulting in brain damage can impair the mind, but can it really be claimed that the mind creates the accident that impairs it?

Matt J wrote:But having said so, there is some evidence that mental activity rewires the brain (neuroplasticity).

Neuroplasticity takes place whenever we learn. Meditation also transforms the brain, usually subtly but sometimes quite dramatically. But try as we might, we can't manifest gross physical brain injury by mental activity alone.

Now even if one were to take the view that the entire universe is an illusion of consciousness, one is still left with the relative truth that the brain affects the mind more completely than the mind affects the brain.
User avatar
dharmagoat
 
Posts: 993
Joined: Mon Oct 19, 2009 8:39 pm

Re: Consciousness & the Brain

Postby dharmagoat » Wed Aug 15, 2012 1:02 pm

Andrew108 wrote:I guess the point is that it doesn't matter if consciousness is brain-based.

It doesn't really matter. But to insist that consciousness is not brain-based, is as naïve as to insist that it is.
User avatar
dharmagoat
 
Posts: 993
Joined: Mon Oct 19, 2009 8:39 pm

Re: Consciousness & the Brain

Postby undefineable » Wed Aug 15, 2012 6:24 pm

dharmagoat wrote:we can't manifest gross physical brain injury by mental activity alone.


What about brain tumours? Even though they seem a likely candidate for such an exception, for reasons of small numbers, inaccessibility and 'patient sensitivity' -besides difficulties in evidence-gathering- it seems unlikely that brain tumours will be proven to be typically caused by mis-handled stress, just as heart attacks typically are, and just as lung tumours/cancers are typically caused by smoking.

Back on topic,

dharmagoat wrote:to insist that consciousness is not brain-based, is as naïve as to insist that it is.


The Tibetan/Vajrayana Bardo teachings imply that our consciousness can't survive for long without the support of a brain (just as our bodies cannot survive for long without water); even then there's the question of whether the 'mental'/'form'/'subtle'/'astral' body with which one traverses the bardo has some kind of basic 'brain' (in the sense of a physical mind-channelling device) of its own. It seems that in our current condition we need a brain to (quite literally) crystallise an experience of consciousness (which ego insists on), so if consciousness gives rise to the brain, it is in the sense of tired old people building homes for themselves - i.e. consciousness is likely to be completely dependent on its own 'creation' from the start.
"Removing the barrier between this and that is the only solution" {Chogyam Trungpa - "The Lion's Roar"}
undefineable
 
Posts: 489
Joined: Fri Feb 03, 2012 1:34 am

Re: Consciousness & the Brain

Postby viniketa » Wed Aug 15, 2012 6:47 pm

dharmagoat wrote:
Andrew108 wrote:I guess the point is that it doesn't matter if consciousness is brain-based.

It doesn't really matter. But to insist that consciousness is not brain-based, is as naïve as to insist that it is.


:jumping:

:namaste:
If they can sever like and dislike, along with greed, anger, and delusion, regardless of their difference in nature, they will all accomplish the Buddha Path.. ~ Sutra of Complete Enlightenment
User avatar
viniketa
 
Posts: 819
Joined: Tue Jul 03, 2012 2:39 am
Location: USA

Re: Consciousness & the Brain

Postby catmoon » Wed Aug 15, 2012 7:18 pm

Suppose you go to the phone company and start measuring the currents running through their equipment. One might find that there is an electrical signal that correlates roughly with each english word, that activity there rose and fell with the amount of speech, and that destruction of specific bits of equipment led to specific impairments of communication. One might then conclude, because of all these tight correlations, the the phone equipment itself was the source of the conversations. But it's not. It's just a pipeline. The brain might be the same - an unconscious mechanism.
Sergeant Schultz knew everything there was to know.
User avatar
catmoon
Former staff member
 
Posts: 2916
Joined: Thu Nov 19, 2009 3:20 am
Location: British Columbia

Re: Consciousness & the Brain

Postby steveb1 » Thu Aug 16, 2012 6:22 am

Also, just a passing speculation, we are looking at an apparent and a perceived dualism when we look at brain-mind. The mind has brain correlates, but the brain is a three-pound skull organ, while the mind and the self are no such material objects. So the basic dualism seems to be matter vs. mind/consciousness. Have these terms ever been sufficiently defined toward finding a satisfying solution?

For example, we think we know our own minds and our own bodies. But even seeing the body as a living organism - seen from inside - can we really define what the body is? What the matter is of which the body is composed?
Does science define matter?
Does science, or the philosophy of science, have various definitions of matter?

Do scientific definitions of matter assist or relate in any way to philosophical and/or religious definitions of matter? It seems to me that the brain-mind "Hard Problem" is, at base, founded on really huge definitional issues ...

Again, not making a profound point, but just a passing thought about the Hard Problem's deepest roots ...
steveb1
 
Posts: 243
Joined: Thu Oct 13, 2011 9:37 am

Re: Consciousness & the Brain

Postby undefineable » Thu Aug 16, 2012 6:10 pm

steveb1 wrote:Does science, or the philosophy of science, have various definitions of matter?


Well there's always 'we can define it by the properties of how it relates with other things', but obviously if this is used to explain everything away, we end up with a massive circular argument. Many scientists would say it doesn't matter what matter actually is, but this leaves science with less scope to explain everything, and sounds the same as saying 'God is unknowable'.

I had an interesting discussion with a scientist on the other forum I use recently, his view being that awareness is fundamental to the organisation of matter :jawdrop:
"Removing the barrier between this and that is the only solution" {Chogyam Trungpa - "The Lion's Roar"}
undefineable
 
Posts: 489
Joined: Fri Feb 03, 2012 1:34 am

Re: Consciousness & the Brain

Postby steveb1 » Thu Aug 16, 2012 7:56 pm

undefineable wrote:
steveb1 wrote:Does science, or the philosophy of science, have various definitions of matter?


Well there's always 'we can define it by the properties of how it relates with other things', but obviously if this is used to explain everything away, we end up with a massive circular argument. Many scientists would say it doesn't matter what matter actually is, but this leaves science with less scope to explain everything, and sounds the same as saying 'God is unknowable'.

I had an interesting discussion with a scientist on the other forum I use recently, his view being that awareness is fundamental to the organisation of matter :jawdrop:


Thank you, undefineable, for your interesting post. Your scientist correspondent seems savvy on this issue. In some ways his statement reminds me of the writings and lectures of B. Alan Wallace, who is a former Tibetan monk, and works in the consciousness-question area with an emphasis on Shamatha meditation at

http://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/spring-2012-shamatha-retreat/id518461388
steveb1
 
Posts: 243
Joined: Thu Oct 13, 2011 9:37 am

Re: Consciousness & the Brain

Postby viniketa » Thu Aug 16, 2012 9:27 pm

undefineable wrote:I had an interesting discussion with a scientist on the other forum I use recently, his view being that awareness is fundamental to the organisation of matter :jawdrop:


There is an Indian physicist, Amit Goswami, who posits that awareness is the cause of the fundamental organization of the universe. He has a book on the subject that could be found by a search on his name.

As for the definitional problem regarding 'matter', it's not much of a problem. Most physicists today agree that matter is specific configuration(s) of energy.

Interesting discussion.

:namaste:
If they can sever like and dislike, along with greed, anger, and delusion, regardless of their difference in nature, they will all accomplish the Buddha Path.. ~ Sutra of Complete Enlightenment
User avatar
viniketa
 
Posts: 819
Joined: Tue Jul 03, 2012 2:39 am
Location: USA

Re: Consciousness & the Brain

Postby undefineable » Thu Aug 16, 2012 10:03 pm

viniketa wrote:As for the definitional problem regarding 'matter', it's not much of a problem. Most physicists today agree that matter is specific configuration(s) of energy.


I almost forgot that. What's energy, then?
"Removing the barrier between this and that is the only solution" {Chogyam Trungpa - "The Lion's Roar"}
undefineable
 
Posts: 489
Joined: Fri Feb 03, 2012 1:34 am

Re: Consciousness & the Brain

Postby viniketa » Thu Aug 16, 2012 10:08 pm

undefineable wrote:What's energy, then?


Ha! Physics still defines it mathematically as the 'ability to perform work'... When it comes to energy in the universe, it is like the concept of 'to be' in language, difficult to define. :juggling:

:namaste:
If they can sever like and dislike, along with greed, anger, and delusion, regardless of their difference in nature, they will all accomplish the Buddha Path.. ~ Sutra of Complete Enlightenment
User avatar
viniketa
 
Posts: 819
Joined: Tue Jul 03, 2012 2:39 am
Location: USA

Re: Consciousness & the Brain

Postby steveb1 » Thu Aug 16, 2012 10:38 pm

viniketa wrote:
undefineable wrote:I had an interesting discussion with a scientist on the other forum I use recently, his view being that awareness is fundamental to the organisation of matter :jawdrop:


There is an Indian physicist, Amit Goswami, who posits that awareness is the cause of the fundamental organization of the universe. He has a book on the subject that could be found by a search on his name.

As for the definitional problem regarding 'matter', it's not much of a problem. Most physicists today agree that matter is specific configuration(s) of energy.

Interesting discussion.

:namaste:


Thanks, viniketa, for the reference to Goswami, sounds interesting :)
steveb1
 
Posts: 243
Joined: Thu Oct 13, 2011 9:37 am

Re: Consciousness & the Brain

Postby undefineable » Thu Aug 16, 2012 11:10 pm

viniketa wrote:Physics still defines it mathematically as the 'ability to perform work'


The question of what it is that's 'performing' the 'work' ofcourse. If we hold to the view of shunyata, we reply 'nothing', but in that case we're 'incorrigible'/'incurable' in any case :lol: {See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/%C5%9A%C5%ABnyat%C4%81 @ the bottom of the 'Nihilism and eternalism' section }
"Removing the barrier between this and that is the only solution" {Chogyam Trungpa - "The Lion's Roar"}
undefineable
 
Posts: 489
Joined: Fri Feb 03, 2012 1:34 am

Re: Consciousness & the Brain

Postby Music » Sat Aug 18, 2012 4:04 pm

I believe that consciousness is an emergent property of the brain. But since I also believe in dialectics, I feel consciousness shapes matter as well.
Music
 
Posts: 65
Joined: Wed Aug 15, 2012 6:43 pm
Location: India

Re: Consciousness & the Brain

Postby muni » Mon Dec 16, 2013 1:48 pm

Ha! No idea this article hasn't been already posted or not.

I remain aware that description and choice of words cannot always fit with own apprehended words. Consciousness which exist without being locked in percieved body is something difficult to accept for materialistic views. The all embracing in which there is no suffering like slaying dragons and protecting oneself. Consciousness is what we are, not a so mispercieved impermanent thing, which we take as mine, me.
We don't need a NDE in order to recognize that the consciousness is not merely locked in the impermanent phenomena brain. Buddhists talk about the fullness of emptiness, the all embracing, endless-beginningless...

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/ingrid-pe ... 51093.html
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QOSb3G53HsA
muni
 
Posts: 2735
Joined: Fri Apr 17, 2009 6:59 am

PreviousNext

Return to Open Dharma

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Dan74, smcj and 15 guests

>