Contemplating the consequences of split brain theory

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Re: Contemplating the consequences of split brain theory

Postby dharmagoat » Wed May 21, 2014 9:44 am

Sherab Dorje wrote:
dharmagoat wrote:I am waiting for Sherab Dorje and Simon E. to stop behaving like schoolboys...

??? I specifically split off this topic from the original one to give oushi the opportunity to express his opinion (without dragging the previous thread off-topic) and ask him in a friendly manner to explain his view, and I am acting like a school boy :shrug: ??? Anyway. Does anybody have anything intelligent to say or are we just going to be trotting out personal attacks all day (something which I personally consider "behaving like a schoolboy").

Oops. Sorry Sherab Dorje, I retract the accusation in your case.

You did seem to be badgering Oushi for a specific response though.
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Re: Contemplating the consequences of split brain theory

Postby dharmagoat » Wed May 21, 2014 9:55 am

I understand split-brain research to be completely valid, especially as I was taught about Sperry's work while studying psychology at university.

The video that was posted by Oushi does definitely raise an issue:

If one's brain was to be divided, and each hemisphere was to continue to function independently, what becomes of the Buddhist claim that a person has only one mind-stream?
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Re: Contemplating the consequences of split brain theory

Postby Sherab Dorje » Wed May 21, 2014 10:09 am

dharmagoat wrote:You did seem to be badgering Oushi for a specific response though.
Not badgering, just trying to move the thread forward.
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Re: Contemplating the consequences of split brain theory

Postby Simon E. » Wed May 21, 2014 10:10 am

I divide my working week, and my brain ( joke ) into three areas of engagement.

One of them is working alongside colleagues in an Oxford setting where the precise workings of the physical brain are being mapped.
The subjects include those with brain lesions. Some genetic. Some resulting from trauma.
The results are fascinating, and very interesting in terms of the way that consciousness functions in both pathological and normative modes.

At some time in the future , on another thread free from emoting and prapanca I might post some of the findings.

In fact it will be an update on a thread which I contributed to three or four years ago which was started by a colleague who works in the same sphere.
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Re: Contemplating the consequences of split brain theory

Postby Sherab Dorje » Wed May 21, 2014 10:16 am

dharmagoat wrote:I understand split-brain research to be completely valid, especially as I was taught about Sperry's work while studying psychology at university.
Same. I considered it bunk then, I still have my issues now. I was offered an opportunity to do post-grad studies by a professor researching the topic but refused.
The video that was posted by Oushi does definitely raise an issue:

If one's brain was to be divided, and each hemisphere was to continue to function independently, what becomes of the Buddhist claim that a person has only one mind-stream?
Nothing happens. As far as I am concerned all it highlights is that the ego is even less stable and concrete than we imagined. Believing that one has two separate stable personalities, is just as ridiculous as believing they have one.

If one places the grand emphasis, that western science and culture does, on the centrality of the ego then, yes, it may come as a shock that suddenly an individual has two personalities, otherwise...
"When one is not in accord with the true view
Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
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Re: Contemplating the consequences of split brain theory

Postby oushi » Wed May 21, 2014 10:24 am

dharmagoat wrote:If one's brain was to be divided, and each hemisphere was to continue to function independently, what becomes of the Buddhist claim that a person has only one mind-stream?

The simplest answer would be to say that there are two personalities which should be approached accordingly. If we look at the characteristics of each hemisphere, they differ a lot. In normal situation they communicate through corpus collosum, which makes it even more complicated, since we don't know to what extend, and how fruitful this communication is when it comes to understanding. Right brain cannot understand complicated semantics, so how does it react to thinking? Even if we understand sunjata, how do we share it with the other half? It will still cling to phenomena. We may end up with an individual perfectly educated in Buddhadharma, who is still suffering. I think that proper practice depends on the ability to transform knowledge into wisdom, that is, to share left brain knowledge with right brain.
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Re: Contemplating the consequences of split brain theory

Postby LastLegend » Wed May 21, 2014 10:38 am

If it has only one mind stream, why split brain have two independent streams? If there are two mind streams, then why does it feel like one in a non-split brain?
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Re: Contemplating the consequences of split brain theory

Postby Sherab Dorje » Wed May 21, 2014 10:45 am

LastLegend wrote:If it has only one mind stream, why split brain have two independent streams?
Disorientation as a consequence of the two hemispheres not being able to communicate with one another. They are not actually independent, it just FEELS LIKE they are.
If there are two mind streams, then why does it feel like one in a non-split brain?
I don't know about you, but I sometimes argue with myself. Sometimes it FEELS LIKE there is more than one person in here.
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Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
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Re: Contemplating the consequences of split brain theory

Postby oushi » Wed May 21, 2014 10:47 am

LastLegend wrote:If it has only one mind stream, why split brain have two independent streams? If there are two mind streams, then why does it feel like one in a non-split brain?

Have you ever been talking to someone while driving a car? When we think about it, it's a brilliant solution that enables you to do two things at the same time.
Looking at meditation, in many cases it is bringing those two into one point.
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Re: Contemplating the consequences of split brain theory

Postby Sherab Dorje » Wed May 21, 2014 10:56 am

oushi wrote:I think that proper practice depends on the ability to transform knowledge into wisdom, that is, to share left brain knowledge with right brain.
This may be depicted by taming the bull, or elephant.
You are misinterpreting the meaning and message of the images.
"When one is not in accord with the true view
Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
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Re: Contemplating the consequences of split brain theory

Postby oushi » Wed May 21, 2014 11:00 am

Sherab Dorje wrote:
oushi wrote:I think that proper practice depends on the ability to transform knowledge into wisdom, that is, to share left brain knowledge with right brain.
This may be depicted by taming the bull, or elephant.
You are misinterpreting the meaning and message of the images.

Obviously those who created those concepts had no idea about the right and left hemisphere characteristics, but "May be", as I wrote, their concepts are the result of this "split".
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Re: Contemplating the consequences of split brain theory

Postby Sherab Dorje » Wed May 21, 2014 11:15 am

oushi wrote:Obviously those who created those concepts had no idea about the right and left hemisphere characteristics...
Even if they did, the images themselves are not describing what you are saying.
...but "May be", as I wrote, they concepts are the result of this "split".
Maybe. The problem is that you cannot really extrapolate in this manner. You see, it may just be the case that the lesion causes the feeling of two personalities rather than exacerbating an existing phenomenon.

For example: if you expose people to high doses of radiation and they get cancer, you cannot then assume that the cancer was already there and was just waiting for the radiation in order to manifest. It is obviously wrong. Well, split brain theory is based on the same premise: there are already two personalities inherent in the human brain, one in each hemisphere, but they require a lesion of the corpus callosum to manifest.
"When one is not in accord with the true view
Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
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Re: Contemplating the consequences of split brain theory

Postby oushi » Wed May 21, 2014 11:22 am

Sherab Dorje wrote:You see, it may just be the case that the lesion causes the feeling of two personalities rather than exacerbating an existing phenomenon.

You should familiarize yourself with the study cases performed on patients. When you cut the corpus connecting hemispheres, they have no effective way of communicating. It is not the subjects feeling that is the factor here, because those patients don't feel the difference. It is their behavior that reveals the division, which is surprising even to those patients, when they reach for a cup of tea with both hands.

Well, split brain theory is based on the same premise: there are already two personalities inherent in the human brain, one in each hemisphere, but they require a lesion of the corpus callosum to manifest.

There are also people born without corpus callosum, for whom hemispheres work independently from the start. Kim Peek was a fascinating person (or two).
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Re: Contemplating the consequences of split brain theory

Postby Sherab Dorje » Wed May 21, 2014 11:40 am

oushi wrote:You should familiarize yourself with the study cases performed on patients. When you cut the corpus connecting hemispheres, they have no effective way of communicating. It is not the subjects feeling that is the factor here, because those patients don't feel the difference. It is their behavior that reveals the division, which is surprising even to those patients, when they reach for a cup of tea with both hands.
I may be unaware of the fact that I am violently slapping my hand on the table when I am arguing with somebody, does that mean somebody else is doing the hand slapping?
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Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
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Re: Contemplating the consequences of split brain theory

Postby oushi » Wed May 21, 2014 11:51 am

Sherab Dorje wrote:I may be unaware of the fact that I am violently slapping my hand on the table when I am arguing with somebody, does that mean somebody else is doing the hand slapping?

It may be, hard to tell. It's easier with the split-brain patients:
“He was buttoning his shirt with his right hand and the left hand was coming along just behind it undoing the buttons just as quickly as he could fasten them.”
It is revealed when the other half is doing something against the first ones intention. I assume that if we have the hemispheres separated, then this conflict will manifest outside, in the activity of the body. If corpus callosum is intact, then it is done inside, through suppression. It was show by the studies that the right hemisphere cannot talk, although is has a potential to learn the language.
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Re: Contemplating the consequences of split brain theory

Postby Sherab Dorje » Wed May 21, 2014 12:06 pm

oushi wrote:It may be, hard to tell.
It may also be hard to tell if it is pink unicorns that are doing it as they are invisible unless you are wearing pink unicorn spotting glasses,
but... It's easier with the split-brain patients:
“He was buttoning his shirt with his right hand and the left hand was coming along just behind it undoing the buttons just as quickly as he could fasten them.”
It is revealed when the other half is doing something against the first ones intention. I assume that if we have the hemispheres separated, then this conflict will manifest outside, in the activity of the body. If corpus callosum is intact, then it is done inside, through suppression. It was show by the studies that the right hemisphere cannot talk, although is has a potential to learn the language.
Or it may just prove that lesions of the corpus callosum CAUSES this behaviour to manifest. Since people with "normal" brain structure do not exhibit this sort of behaviour (except due to lack of mindfulness of their actions) then...
"When one is not in accord with the true view
Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
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Re: Contemplating the consequences of split brain theory

Postby oushi » Wed May 21, 2014 12:17 pm

Sherab Dorje wrote:It may also be hard to tell if it is pink unicorns...

It may be hard to discuss it further if we introduce trivialization into the matter.
Sherab Dorje wrote:Or it may just prove that lesions of the corpus callosum CAUSES this behaviour to manifest. Since people with "normal" brain structure do not exhibit this sort of behaviour (except due to lack of mindfulness of their actions) then...

Because there is a suppression mechanism involved, which I've mentioned before. Hemispheres take ownership of specific actions, letting the other one know. "Let me handle this" kind of mechanism. If there is no way of sharing this message, there is no way of telling the other one that it will be taken care of (unless there is a visual input). Quite simple mechanism, and we don't have to involve pink unicorns in it.
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Re: Contemplating the consequences of split brain theory

Postby Sherab Dorje » Wed May 21, 2014 12:29 pm

oushi wrote:It may be hard to discuss it further if we introduce trivialization into the matter.
I am not trivialising, I am just trying to point out the baselessness of the claim via metaphor.
Because there is a suppression mechanism involved, which I've mentioned before. Hemispheres take ownership of specific actions, letting the other one know. "Let me handle this" kind of mechanism. If there is no way of sharing this message, there is no way of telling the other one that it will be taken care of (unless there is a visual input). Quite simple mechanism, and we don't have to involve pink unicorns in it.
Again this hypothesis is extrapolated from the results of brain damage towards normal brain functioning. So we are back at step one again.

Well, you are. I have had enough of this discussion as you are not willing to see a basic flaw in the reasoning and scientific procedure of split brain theorists.
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Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
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Re: Contemplating the consequences of split brain theory

Postby oushi » Wed May 21, 2014 12:46 pm

Sherab Dorje wrote:Again this hypothesis is extrapolated from the results of brain damage towards normal brain functioning. So we are back at step one again.

Well, you are. I have had enough of this discussion as you are not willing to see a basic flaw in the reasoning and scientific procedure of split brain theorists.

Actually, analyzing the results of brain damage is one of the main ways of exploring the functionality of the brain. In other words, when we damage a certain brain part, we can conclude what it was responsible for. This is exactly what VS Ramachandran is using in his research. You may not agree with those methods, but they benefit many, and increase the understanding of the subject.

I am glad that you have had enough of this discussion, because it appears to me, that your intention was to pull it down.
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Re: Contemplating the consequences of split brain theory

Postby Sherab Dorje » Wed May 21, 2014 12:50 pm

oushi wrote:I am glad that you have had enough of this discussion, because it appears to me, that your intention was to pull it down.
You are very wrong in your analysis. I was trying to spark debate and discussion, but if you believe that valid debate and discussion only includes views which concur with your own...
"When one is not in accord with the true view
Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
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