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Re: philosophical thoughting

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  • Mary
    Our body s chemistry influences our brain chemistry; that is outside the brain. The thoughts of other brains influence our brains; a physical space is created
    Message 1 of 8 , Jan 2, 2013
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      Our body's chemistry influences our brain chemistry; that is outside the brain. The thoughts of other brains influence our brains; a physical space is created by the interaction of other brains. So yes, an individual brain seems the primary organ or mechanical part producing thoughts, but this is an illusion. Our entire environment (body and other natural phenomena) is part of thinking, not just the brain. David Bohm's "Thought As A System" doesn't pose some outside force influencing thought, rather that a system of thought unfolds from an implicate physical order but tends to think it is in charge of the unfolding. His work in theoretical physics led him to a holistic perspective in which parts of the whole (in this case neuro-chemical processes) are also themselves part of the order and not solely order producing.

      Eduard, we are at an impasse in which we each choose (or feel good about) our own perspectives. A theory is constructed with complex interrelated ideas and categories not simply a fantasy based in the personal need to feel certain or happy. A personal philosophy demands less vigor, because we tend to inertia when satisfied.

      Mary

      --- In existlist@yahoogroups.com, eduardathome <yeoman@...> wrote:
      >
      > Mary,
      >
      > I am not advocating that somehow science has some privilege or control over
      > philosophy. My point is that philosophical thinking occurs entirely in the
      > brain by means of neural scripts or whatever one might term mental
      > programming. Philosophical thinking does not occur "partially" in the
      > brain. It's entirely produced in the brain ... no exceptions.
      >
      > This is important, since we cannot move forward as long as we think that
      > part of our thinking comes from somewhere else. There is no outside power
      > or whatever that inputs thoughts into our brain so that we can simply repeat
      > them in writing or speech. When Sartre wrote Being and Nothingness he was
      > using his own brain. He may have borrowed some thoughts from others, but
      > these thoughts themselves were brain [of others] derived, so it is
      > essentially the same thing. Camus used his brain when writing The Plague.
      > Kierkegaard used his brain.
      >
      > This is supposedly the century of the brain. Yet what is astonishing is
      > that we still want to have our thinking occur somewhere else. There is a
      > fundamental reluctance to accept that fact that we actually think using our
      > brains. And by this I mean any thinking ... observation, measurement,
      > philosophical, religious, spiritual, mystic, whatever.
      >
      > In fact, I would suggest that an understanding of Existentialism is
      > dependent upon an awareness that we individually think with our brains.
      > Some Existential elements such as Angst are more easily understood in terms
      > of brain action. The role of the brain is to give us answers. That is what
      > it does. It takes available inputs which are related to our questioning
      > about life and outputs some conclusion. We have "angst" because the brain
      > is not able to provide a viable answer. Or the possible answer is in
      > contradiction to some other brain knowledge. In such an instance the brain
      > may break down leading to such as suicide, or the brain invents an answer
      > with which it is comfortable regardless of the contradictions. This is
      > where gods and mystics come into play.
      >
      > eduardathome
      >
      > -----Original Message-----
      > From: Mary
      > Sent: Wednesday, January 02, 2013 12:52 PM
      > To: existlist@yahoogroups.com
      > Subject: [existlist] philosophical thoughting
      >
      > I don't privilege philosophical thinking or challenge that it occurs at
      > least partially in our brains. Here we are free to further determine what
      > existentialism means as a body of thought and what its relevance is, but to
      > privilege science over thought is oxymoronic. Philosophy directs science
      > because it shapes and fosters a perspective as it promotes facts and
      > theories. Science directs philosophy when it changes previously shaped
      > perspectives.
      >
      > Mary
      >
      >
      >
      > ------------------------------------
      >
      > Please support the Existential Primer... dedicated to explaining nothing!
      >
      > Home Page: http://www.tameri.com/csw/existYahoo! Groups Links
      >
    • eduardathome
      The body s chemistry is only another input to the brain. If we change the chemistry of the body ... say by a burn ... then this condition is reported to the
      Message 2 of 8 , Jan 2, 2013
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        The body's chemistry is only another input to the brain. If we change the
        chemistry of the body ... say by a burn ... then this condition is reported
        to the brain. It is the same as the sensation of touch or the sensation
        that our stomach is empty and you should search for food. In any case the
        chemistry does not of itself produce thought. This then is not an
        exception.

        The thoughts of other brains do indeed influence our brains. If Sartre
        thinks of something, then he writes a book: we read the book and our brain
        acquires the thought. Physical space has never been created by interaction
        of other brains. The only thing they can do is to conclude that the persons
        having these brains should stand further apart. This is not an exception to
        the principle that we think with our brains.

        Your statement ... "Our entire environment (body and other natural
        phenomena) is part of thinking, not just the brain" ... makes no sense.
        How does say a tree involve itself in my thinking?? I can think of a tree,
        and a tree my inspire my thinking, but a tree cannot think for me in place
        of my brain. Please give me an example of a thought that was produced by a
        tree that is separate from my [or your] brain.

        I have not read David Bohm, but I should think that he did not came right
        out and say that some of his thoughts were not produced by his brain.

        Yes, we are at an impasse. As I said at the beginning, there is a huge
        reluctance to accept that we actually think with our brains. Which, in a
        way, I find very surprising considering all the science that has gone into
        the subject in the past few years. The brain does our thinking. It's not a
        theory but a basic fact. And yes, the brain does for the most part seek out
        answers that are based on personal need to feel certain or happy. That is
        precisely what it does. A scientist uses his/her brain to conclude a
        solution for which there is an assumed certainty. Everyone ultimately tries
        to find answers that will result in happiness. But beyond this, the general
        public refuses to accept that they think with their brains.

        And yet the functioning of our brains gives explanation for all of our
        behaviour and philosophies and whatever else is the product of thinking. If
        you look up "Existentialism" on Wikipedia you get statements like ...

        "Authenticity, in the context of existentialism, is being true to one's own
        personality, spirit, or character." Personality, spirit and character are
        products of the brain. We all know that. It's a fact.

        Or ... "Søren Kierkegaard, generally considered to be the first
        existentialist philosopher, posited that it is the individual who is solely
        responsible for giving meaning to life and for living life passionately and
        sincerely. " An understanding of the meaning to life is a product of our
        thinking which is of the brain. It does not arise anywhere else.

        Or in regard to "Existence precedes essence" .... "Thus, human beings,
        through their own consciousness, create their own values and determine a
        meaning to their life." Again, this is the workings of the brain. The
        environment in which we live cannot produce a thought. It might be able to
        do so if it had a brain, but it doesn't.

        Anyway I guess I have talked myself out. I see this subject as highly
        important, but it has been my experience that very few people want to
        recognize that they think with their brains.

        eduardathome


        -----Original Message-----
        From: Mary
        Sent: Wednesday, January 02, 2013 2:39 PM
        To: existlist@yahoogroups.com
        Subject: [existlist] Re: philosophical thoughting

        Our body's chemistry influences our brain chemistry; that is outside the
        brain. The thoughts of other brains influence our brains; a physical space
        is created by the interaction of other brains. So yes, an individual brain
        seems the primary organ or mechanical part producing thoughts, but this is
        an illusion. Our entire environment (body and other natural phenomena) is
        part of thinking, not just the brain. David Bohm's "Thought As A System"
        doesn't pose some outside force influencing thought, rather that a system of
        thought unfolds from an implicate physical order but tends to think it is in
        charge of the unfolding. His work in theoretical physics led him to a
        holistic perspective in which parts of the whole (in this case
        neuro-chemical processes) are also themselves part of the order and not
        solely order producing.

        Eduard, we are at an impasse in which we each choose (or feel good about)
        our own perspectives. A theory is constructed with complex interrelated
        ideas and categories not simply a fantasy based in the personal need to feel
        certain or happy. A personal philosophy demands less vigor, because we tend
        to inertia when satisfied.

        Mary
      • Mary
        ... Ask any person who is subject to anxiety or panic triggers whether specific chemicals produce anxious and/or paranoid thoughts and feelings. ... What is
        Message 3 of 8 , Jan 2, 2013
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          --- In existlist@yahoogroups.com, eduardathome <yeoman@...> wrote:
          >
          > The body's chemistry is only another input to the brain. If we change the
          > chemistry of the body ... say by a burn ... then this condition is reported
          > to the brain. It is the same as the sensation of touch or the sensation
          > that our stomach is empty and you should search for food. In any case the
          > chemistry does not of itself produce thought. This then is not an
          > exception.

          Ask any person who is subject to anxiety or panic triggers whether specific chemicals produce anxious and/or paranoid thoughts and feelings.

          > The thoughts of other brains do indeed influence our brains. If Sartre
          > thinks of something, then he writes a book: we read the book and our brain
          > acquires the thought. Physical space has never been created by interaction
          > of other brains. The only thing they can do is to conclude that the persons
          > having these brains should stand further apart. This is not an exception to
          > the principle that we think with our brains.

          What is the acquisition of a thought but the building/connecting of neurons? A thought occupies a physical space in the brain? Why do intensely active brains become more wrinkled if nothing physical happens during thought. Don't parts of the brain contain memory, stored images and emotions which can be stimulated externally?

          > Your statement ... "Our entire environment (body and other natural
          > phenomena) is part of thinking, not just the brain" ... makes no sense.
          > How does say a tree involve itself in my thinking?? I can think of a tree,
          > and a tree my inspire my thinking, but a tree cannot think for me in place
          > of my brain. Please give me an example of a thought that was produced by a
          > tree that is separate from my [or your] brain.

          I'm not saying the tree is thinking; chemicals found in nature, and in our bodies can adversely affect the brain, and the beauty and terror found in nature (including other people) affects mood which affects thought.

          > I have not read David Bohm, but I should think that he did not came right
          > out and say that some of his thoughts were not produced by his brain.

          What he said was thought is contagious and that we don't necessarily think only our own thoughts. The system of thought, of which our own brains partake and influence, leads us to believe whatever we think is true because we are thinking it. Naturally, the machinery of the brain is doing the work, but what we perceive and what we are subjected to environmentally and pathologically are part of the system. This is a holistic approach.

          > Yes, we are at an impasse. As I said at the beginning, there is a huge
          > reluctance to accept that we actually think with our brains. Which, in a
          > way, I find very surprising considering all the science that has gone into
          > the subject in the past few years. The brain does our thinking. It's not a
          > theory but a basic fact. And yes, the brain does for the most part seek out
          > answers that are based on personal need to feel certain or happy. That is
          > precisely what it does. A scientist uses his/her brain to conclude a
          > solution for which there is an assumed certainty. Everyone ultimately tries
          > to find answers that will result in happiness. But beyond this, the general
          > public refuses to accept that they think with their brains.

          I disagree with you that people reject the brain as the source of thought. They simply realize that the content of their thought is more important than the machinery.

          > And yet the functioning of our brains gives explanation for all of our
          > behaviour and philosophies and whatever else is the product of thinking. If
          > you look up "Existentialism" on Wikipedia you get statements like ...
          >
          > "Authenticity, in the context of existentialism, is being true to one's own
          > personality, spirit, or character." Personality, spirit and character are
          > products of the brain. We all know that. It's a fact.
          >
          > Or ... "Søren Kierkegaard, generally considered to be the first
          > existentialist philosopher, posited that it is the individual who is solely
          > responsible for giving meaning to life and for living life passionately and
          > sincerely. " An understanding of the meaning to life is a product of our
          > thinking which is of the brain. It does not arise anywhere else.
          >
          > Or in regard to "Existence precedes essence" .... "Thus, human beings,
          > through their own consciousness, create their own values and determine a
          > meaning to their life." Again, this is the workings of the brain. The
          > environment in which we live cannot produce a thought. It might be able to
          > do so if it had a brain, but it doesn't.
          >
          > Anyway I guess I have talked myself out. I see this subject as highly
          > important, but it has been my experience that very few people want to
          > recognize that they think with their brains.

          I suppose part of authenticity is intentionally becoming more aware of and learning to change thinking habits which are destructive. Bohm was highly motivated in this regard, though he didn't overtly credit psychological techniques as you have. He advocated formal dialogues in order to observe how thought moves between participants, how it threatens and creates disagreement or makes thought makes us happy and creates consensus. He was a holistic thinker, in his physics as well, and suggested we suffer from too much cognitive dissonance. We hold too many conflicting, incoherent thoughts which only dialogue can tease out and make us face. I not interested in the mechanics of the brain, since I take them for granted; thoughts themselves are the problem.

          > eduardathome

          Mary

          >
          >
          > -----Original Message-----
          > From: Mary
          > Sent: Wednesday, January 02, 2013 2:39 PM
          > To: existlist@yahoogroups.com
          > Subject: [existlist] Re: philosophical thoughting
          >
          > Our body's chemistry influences our brain chemistry; that is outside the
          > brain. The thoughts of other brains influence our brains; a physical space
          > is created by the interaction of other brains. So yes, an individual brain
          > seems the primary organ or mechanical part producing thoughts, but this is
          > an illusion. Our entire environment (body and other natural phenomena) is
          > part of thinking, not just the brain. David Bohm's "Thought As A System"
          > doesn't pose some outside force influencing thought, rather that a system of
          > thought unfolds from an implicate physical order but tends to think it is in
          > charge of the unfolding. His work in theoretical physics led him to a
          > holistic perspective in which parts of the whole (in this case
          > neuro-chemical processes) are also themselves part of the order and not
          > solely order producing.
          >
          > Eduard, we are at an impasse in which we each choose (or feel good about)
          > our own perspectives. A theory is constructed with complex interrelated
          > ideas and categories not simply a fantasy based in the personal need to feel
          > certain or happy. A personal philosophy demands less vigor, because we tend
          > to inertia when satisfied.
          >
          > Mary
          >
        • eduardathome
          (1) Ask any person who is subject to anxiety or panic triggers whether specific chemicals produce anxious and/or paranoid thoughts and feelings. I don t
          Message 4 of 8 , Jan 3, 2013
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            (1) "Ask any person who is subject to anxiety or panic triggers whether
            specific chemicals produce anxious and/or paranoid thoughts and feelings."

            I don't dispute this. However, what you are saying is that these chemicals
            produce "thoughts and feelings". Where are these thoughts?? They are
            obviously in your brain. They are not in the chemicals or anywhere else.
            This is not an exception to the point that we think with our brains, even
            though its thinking can be triggered by something outside of itself.

            (2) "What is the acquisition of a thought but the building/connecting of
            neurons? A thought occupies a physical space in the brain? Why do intensely
            active brains become more wrinkled if nothing physical happens during
            thought. Don't parts of the brain contain memory, stored images and emotions
            which can be stimulated externally?"

            Active brains do not become more wrinkled. The wrinkles are there from the
            start. You simply use the existing neurons and create new connections.
            Nothing physical happens during thought. Thought is the processing of
            neurons. If anything you could say that the ion exchange at synapses is
            physical, but I doubt that this is what you mean. I agree that that the
            brain can be stimulated externally. Wilder Penfield of McGill University
            showed that back in the early 1950s, by probing a live brain. Of course
            that isn't exactly the same as say reacting to an external noise but the
            point is made. But if the brain is stimulated externally to release memory,
            stored images [actually the elements of images ... the brain does store
            images] and emotions, then this simply says that the external stimulus
            causes thinking and this occurs in the brain. This is not an exception to
            the point that we think with our brains.

            (3) "I'm not saying the tree is thinking; chemicals found in nature, and in
            our bodies can adversely affect the brain, and the beauty and terror found
            in nature (including other people) affects mood which affects thought."

            It seemed you were saying that. But if nature affects thought, then it is
            thought which occurs in the brain. This is not an exception.

            (4) "What he said was thought is contagious and that we don't necessarily
            think only our own thoughts. The system of thought, of which our own brains
            partake and influence, leads us to believe whatever we think is true because
            we are thinking it. Naturally, the machinery of the brain is doing the work,
            but what we perceive and what we are subjected to environmentally and
            pathologically are part of the system. This is a holistic approach."

            The issue is whether the brain is doing any thinking. My sole point is that
            this thinking occurs in the brain. As you put it, I fully accept that
            thought is contagious, but we do not think someone else's thoughts. We
            think our own thoughts which may adopt what others are thinking. That's a
            huge difference. We may well be subject to environment or to pathology, but
            this does not mean that we do not think with our brains. What we perceive
            is our brain's interpretation of things out there.

            (5) "I disagree with you that people reject the brain as the source of
            thought. They simply realize that the content of their thought is more
            important than the machinery."

            And there in is the difficulty and the stumbling block. People want to
            separate out the content of their thought from the means by which this
            thought is produced. They advocate that the content is more important than
            the machinery, but what they are really saying is that the content is too
            important to be produced by machinery. How can a piece of machinery ever
            produce a book on philosophy such as that by Sartre. But the reality is
            that the machinery does exactly that. We are born with a brain which is
            full of neurons. Over time, those neurons learn mental scripts that are
            capable of producing thoughts with a wide range of content. Granted, to say
            that there is a neural script is very simplistic. A thought may require the
            use of millions of neurons and thousands if not tens of thousands of
            scripts. That is why the brain is wrinkled ... the neurons are on the
            surface and wrinkling increases the surface area and thus the number of
            available neurons.

            (6) "I suppose part of authenticity is intentionally becoming more aware of
            and learning to change thinking habits which are destructive. Bohm was
            highly motivated in this regard, though he didn't overtly credit
            psychological techniques as you have. He advocated formal dialogues in order
            to observe how thought moves between participants, how it threatens and
            creates disagreement or makes thought makes us happy and creates consensus.
            He was a holistic thinker, in his physics as well, and suggested we suffer
            from too much cognitive dissonance. We hold too many conflicting, incoherent
            thoughts which only dialogue can tease out and make us face. I not
            interested in the mechanics of the brain, since I take them for granted;
            thoughts themselves are the problem."

            As much as I have now read about David Bohm's ideas, it doesn't appear that
            he is saying that the brain can't think or produce thoughts. What he is
            saying that the human brain [my brain, your brain, everyone's brain] is part
            of a system. As much as a company may have different departments which must
            work in unison and exchange information. I completely agree.

            But when we started out on this subject, my point was that it is the brain
            which thinks and produces our thoughts. Your counterpoint was that the
            brain can only observe and measure. I object to that, as my position is
            that the brain is capable of producing all our thoughts, whether this be to
            express appreciation for a chocolate or to write a philosophical text or
            compose a symphony. I would suggest that the faults supposed by Bohm in the
            "system" cannot be found as long as we deny the fact that it is the brain
            that thinks. Similarly we can't know how the system itself works without
            being aware of how the brains of individuals function.

            eduardathome


            -----Original Message-----
            From: Mary
            Sent: Wednesday, January 02, 2013 10:10 PM
            To: existlist@yahoogroups.com
            Subject: [existlist] Re: philosophical thoughting

            --- In existlist@yahoogroups.com, eduardathome <yeoman@...> wrote:
            >
            > The body's chemistry is only another input to the brain. If we change the
            > chemistry of the body ... say by a burn ... then this condition is
            > reported
            > to the brain. It is the same as the sensation of touch or the sensation
            > that our stomach is empty and you should search for food. In any case the
            > chemistry does not of itself produce thought. This then is not an
            > exception.

            Ask any person who is subject to anxiety or panic triggers whether specific
            chemicals produce anxious and/or paranoid thoughts and feelings.

            > The thoughts of other brains do indeed influence our brains. If Sartre
            > thinks of something, then he writes a book: we read the book and our brain
            > acquires the thought. Physical space has never been created by
            > interaction
            > of other brains. The only thing they can do is to conclude that the
            > persons
            > having these brains should stand further apart. This is not an exception
            > to
            > the principle that we think with our brains.

            What is the acquisition of a thought but the building/connecting of neurons?
            A thought occupies a physical space in the brain? Why do intensely active
            brains become more wrinkled if nothing physical happens during thought.
            Don't parts of the brain contain memory, stored images and emotions which
            can be stimulated externally?

            > Your statement ... "Our entire environment (body and other natural
            > phenomena) is part of thinking, not just the brain" ... makes no sense.
            > How does say a tree involve itself in my thinking?? I can think of a
            > tree,
            > and a tree my inspire my thinking, but a tree cannot think for me in place
            > of my brain. Please give me an example of a thought that was produced by
            > a
            > tree that is separate from my [or your] brain.

            I'm not saying the tree is thinking; chemicals found in nature, and in our
            bodies can adversely affect the brain, and the beauty and terror found in
            nature (including other people) affects mood which affects thought.

            > I have not read David Bohm, but I should think that he did not came right
            > out and say that some of his thoughts were not produced by his brain.

            What he said was thought is contagious and that we don't necessarily think
            only our own thoughts. The system of thought, of which our own brains
            partake and influence, leads us to believe whatever we think is true because
            we are thinking it. Naturally, the machinery of the brain is doing the work,
            but what we perceive and what we are subjected to environmentally and
            pathologically are part of the system. This is a holistic approach.

            > Yes, we are at an impasse. As I said at the beginning, there is a huge
            > reluctance to accept that we actually think with our brains. Which, in a
            > way, I find very surprising considering all the science that has gone into
            > the subject in the past few years. The brain does our thinking. It's not
            > a
            > theory but a basic fact. And yes, the brain does for the most part seek
            > out
            > answers that are based on personal need to feel certain or happy. That is
            > precisely what it does. A scientist uses his/her brain to conclude a
            > solution for which there is an assumed certainty. Everyone ultimately
            > tries
            > to find answers that will result in happiness. But beyond this, the
            > general
            > public refuses to accept that they think with their brains.

            I disagree with you that people reject the brain as the source of thought.
            They simply realize that the content of their thought is more important than
            the machinery.

            > And yet the functioning of our brains gives explanation for all of our
            > behaviour and philosophies and whatever else is the product of thinking.
            > If
            > you look up "Existentialism" on Wikipedia you get statements like ...
            >
            > "Authenticity, in the context of existentialism, is being true to one's
            > own
            > personality, spirit, or character." Personality, spirit and character are
            > products of the brain. We all know that. It's a fact.
            >
            > Or ... "Søren Kierkegaard, generally considered to be the first
            > existentialist philosopher, posited that it is the individual who is
            > solely
            > responsible for giving meaning to life and for living life passionately
            > and
            > sincerely. " An understanding of the meaning to life is a product of our
            > thinking which is of the brain. It does not arise anywhere else.
            >
            > Or in regard to "Existence precedes essence" .... "Thus, human beings,
            > through their own consciousness, create their own values and determine a
            > meaning to their life." Again, this is the workings of the brain. The
            > environment in which we live cannot produce a thought. It might be able
            > to
            > do so if it had a brain, but it doesn't.
            >
            > Anyway I guess I have talked myself out. I see this subject as highly
            > important, but it has been my experience that very few people want to
            > recognize that they think with their brains.

            I suppose part of authenticity is intentionally becoming more aware of and
            learning to change thinking habits which are destructive. Bohm was highly
            motivated in this regard, though he didn't overtly credit psychological
            techniques as you have. He advocated formal dialogues in order to observe
            how thought moves between participants, how it threatens and creates
            disagreement or makes thought makes us happy and creates consensus. He was a
            holistic thinker, in his physics as well, and suggested we suffer from too
            much cognitive dissonance. We hold too many conflicting, incoherent thoughts
            which only dialogue can tease out and make us face. I not interested in the
            mechanics of the brain, since I take them for granted; thoughts themselves
            are the problem.

            > eduardathome

            Mary

            >
            >
            > -----Original Message-----
            > From: Mary
            > Sent: Wednesday, January 02, 2013 2:39 PM
            > To: existlist@yahoogroups.com
            > Subject: [existlist] Re: philosophical thoughting
            >
            > Our body's chemistry influences our brain chemistry; that is outside the
            > brain. The thoughts of other brains influence our brains; a physical space
            > is created by the interaction of other brains. So yes, an individual brain
            > seems the primary organ or mechanical part producing thoughts, but this is
            > an illusion. Our entire environment (body and other natural phenomena) is
            > part of thinking, not just the brain. David Bohm's "Thought As A System"
            > doesn't pose some outside force influencing thought, rather that a system
            > of
            > thought unfolds from an implicate physical order but tends to think it is
            > in
            > charge of the unfolding. His work in theoretical physics led him to a
            > holistic perspective in which parts of the whole (in this case
            > neuro-chemical processes) are also themselves part of the order and not
            > solely order producing.
            >
            > Eduard, we are at an impasse in which we each choose (or feel good about)
            > our own perspectives. A theory is constructed with complex interrelated
            > ideas and categories not simply a fantasy based in the personal need to
            > feel
            > certain or happy. A personal philosophy demands less vigor, because we
            > tend
            > to inertia when satisfied.
            >
            > Mary
            >




            ------------------------------------

            Please support the Existential Primer... dedicated to explaining nothing!

            Home Page: http://www.tameri.com/csw/existYahoo! Groups Links
          • Mary
            eduard, Well argued and presented. You emphasize the brain (science) and I the larger system of thought (philosophy) or how to apply what we think we know
            Message 5 of 8 , Jan 3, 2013
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              eduard,

              Well argued and presented. You emphasize the brain (science) and I the larger system of thought (philosophy) or how to apply what we think we know about the brain, which falls in the domain of ethics.

              Mary

              --- In existlist@yahoogroups.com, eduardathome wrote:
              >
              > (1) "Ask any person who is subject to anxiety or panic triggers whether
              > specific chemicals produce anxious and/or paranoid thoughts and feelings."
              >
              > I don't dispute this. However, what you are saying is that these chemicals
              > produce "thoughts and feelings". Where are these thoughts?? They are
              > obviously in your brain. They are not in the chemicals or anywhere else.
              > This is not an exception to the point that we think with our brains, even
              > though its thinking can be triggered by something outside of itself.
              >
              > (2) "What is the acquisition of a thought but the building/connecting of
              > neurons? A thought occupies a physical space in the brain? Why do intensely
              > active brains become more wrinkled if nothing physical happens during
              > thought. Don't parts of the brain contain memory, stored images and emotions
              > which can be stimulated externally?"
              >
              > Active brains do not become more wrinkled. The wrinkles are there from the
              > start. You simply use the existing neurons and create new connections.
              > Nothing physical happens during thought. Thought is the processing of
              > neurons. If anything you could say that the ion exchange at synapses is
              > physical, but I doubt that this is what you mean. I agree that that the
              > brain can be stimulated externally. Wilder Penfield of McGill University
              > showed that back in the early 1950s, by probing a live brain. Of course
              > that isn't exactly the same as say reacting to an external noise but the
              > point is made. But if the brain is stimulated externally to release memory,
              > stored images [actually the elements of images ... the brain does store
              > images] and emotions, then this simply says that the external stimulus
              > causes thinking and this occurs in the brain. This is not an exception to
              > the point that we think with our brains.
              >
              > (3) "I'm not saying the tree is thinking; chemicals found in nature, and in
              > our bodies can adversely affect the brain, and the beauty and terror found
              > in nature (including other people) affects mood which affects thought."
              >
              > It seemed you were saying that. But if nature affects thought, then it is
              > thought which occurs in the brain. This is not an exception.
              >
              > (4) "What he said was thought is contagious and that we don't necessarily
              > think only our own thoughts. The system of thought, of which our own brains
              > partake and influence, leads us to believe whatever we think is true because
              > we are thinking it. Naturally, the machinery of the brain is doing the work,
              > but what we perceive and what we are subjected to environmentally and
              > pathologically are part of the system. This is a holistic approach."
              >
              > The issue is whether the brain is doing any thinking. My sole point is that
              > this thinking occurs in the brain. As you put it, I fully accept that
              > thought is contagious, but we do not think someone else's thoughts. We
              > think our own thoughts which may adopt what others are thinking. That's a
              > huge difference. We may well be subject to environment or to pathology, but
              > this does not mean that we do not think with our brains. What we perceive
              > is our brain's interpretation of things out there.
              >
              > (5) "I disagree with you that people reject the brain as the source of
              > thought. They simply realize that the content of their thought is more
              > important than the machinery."
              >
              > And there in is the difficulty and the stumbling block. People want to
              > separate out the content of their thought from the means by which this
              > thought is produced. They advocate that the content is more important than
              > the machinery, but what they are really saying is that the content is too
              > important to be produced by machinery. How can a piece of machinery ever
              > produce a book on philosophy such as that by Sartre. But the reality is
              > that the machinery does exactly that. We are born with a brain which is
              > full of neurons. Over time, those neurons learn mental scripts that are
              > capable of producing thoughts with a wide range of content. Granted, to say
              > that there is a neural script is very simplistic. A thought may require the
              > use of millions of neurons and thousands if not tens of thousands of
              > scripts. That is why the brain is wrinkled ... the neurons are on the
              > surface and wrinkling increases the surface area and thus the number of
              > available neurons.
              >
              > (6) "I suppose part of authenticity is intentionally becoming more aware of
              > and learning to change thinking habits which are destructive. Bohm was
              > highly motivated in this regard, though he didn't overtly credit
              > psychological techniques as you have. He advocated formal dialogues in order
              > to observe how thought moves between participants, how it threatens and
              > creates disagreement or makes thought makes us happy and creates consensus.
              > He was a holistic thinker, in his physics as well, and suggested we suffer
              > from too much cognitive dissonance. We hold too many conflicting, incoherent
              > thoughts which only dialogue can tease out and make us face. I not
              > interested in the mechanics of the brain, since I take them for granted;
              > thoughts themselves are the problem."
              >
              > As much as I have now read about David Bohm's ideas, it doesn't appear that
              > he is saying that the brain can't think or produce thoughts. What he is
              > saying that the human brain [my brain, your brain, everyone's brain] is part
              > of a system. As much as a company may have different departments which must
              > work in unison and exchange information. I completely agree.
              >
              > But when we started out on this subject, my point was that it is the brain
              > which thinks and produces our thoughts. Your counterpoint was that the
              > brain can only observe and measure. I object to that, as my position is
              > that the brain is capable of producing all our thoughts, whether this be to
              > express appreciation for a chocolate or to write a philosophical text or
              > compose a symphony. I would suggest that the faults supposed by Bohm in the
              > "system" cannot be found as long as we deny the fact that it is the brain
              > that thinks. Similarly we can't know how the system itself works without
              > being aware of how the brains of individuals function.
              >
              > eduardathome
              >
              >
              > -----Original Message-----
              > From: Mary
              > Sent: Wednesday, January 02, 2013 10:10 PM
              > To: existlist@yahoogroups.com
              > Subject: [existlist] Re: philosophical thoughting
              >
              > --- In existlist@yahoogroups.com, eduardathome wrote:
              > >
              > > The body's chemistry is only another input to the brain. If we change the
              > > chemistry of the body ... say by a burn ... then this condition is
              > > reported
              > > to the brain. It is the same as the sensation of touch or the sensation
              > > that our stomach is empty and you should search for food. In any case the
              > > chemistry does not of itself produce thought. This then is not an
              > > exception.
              >
              > Ask any person who is subject to anxiety or panic triggers whether specific
              > chemicals produce anxious and/or paranoid thoughts and feelings.
              >
              > > The thoughts of other brains do indeed influence our brains. If Sartre
              > > thinks of something, then he writes a book: we read the book and our brain
              > > acquires the thought. Physical space has never been created by
              > > interaction
              > > of other brains. The only thing they can do is to conclude that the
              > > persons
              > > having these brains should stand further apart. This is not an exception
              > > to
              > > the principle that we think with our brains.
              >
              > What is the acquisition of a thought but the building/connecting of neurons?
              > A thought occupies a physical space in the brain? Why do intensely active
              > brains become more wrinkled if nothing physical happens during thought.
              > Don't parts of the brain contain memory, stored images and emotions which
              > can be stimulated externally?
              >
              > > Your statement ... "Our entire environment (body and other natural
              > > phenomena) is part of thinking, not just the brain" ... makes no sense.
              > > How does say a tree involve itself in my thinking?? I can think of a
              > > tree,
              > > and a tree my inspire my thinking, but a tree cannot think for me in place
              > > of my brain. Please give me an example of a thought that was produced by
              > > a
              > > tree that is separate from my [or your] brain.
              >
              > I'm not saying the tree is thinking; chemicals found in nature, and in our
              > bodies can adversely affect the brain, and the beauty and terror found in
              > nature (including other people) affects mood which affects thought.
              >
              > > I have not read David Bohm, but I should think that he did not came right
              > > out and say that some of his thoughts were not produced by his brain.
              >
              > What he said was thought is contagious and that we don't necessarily think
              > only our own thoughts. The system of thought, of which our own brains
              > partake and influence, leads us to believe whatever we think is true because
              > we are thinking it. Naturally, the machinery of the brain is doing the work,
              > but what we perceive and what we are subjected to environmentally and
              > pathologically are part of the system. This is a holistic approach.
              >
              > > Yes, we are at an impasse. As I said at the beginning, there is a huge
              > > reluctance to accept that we actually think with our brains. Which, in a
              > > way, I find very surprising considering all the science that has gone into
              > > the subject in the past few years. The brain does our thinking. It's not
              > > a
              > > theory but a basic fact. And yes, the brain does for the most part seek
              > > out
              > > answers that are based on personal need to feel certain or happy. That is
              > > precisely what it does. A scientist uses his/her brain to conclude a
              > > solution for which there is an assumed certainty. Everyone ultimately
              > > tries
              > > to find answers that will result in happiness. But beyond this, the
              > > general
              > > public refuses to accept that they think with their brains.
              >
              > I disagree with you that people reject the brain as the source of thought.
              > They simply realize that the content of their thought is more important than
              > the machinery.
              >
              > > And yet the functioning of our brains gives explanation for all of our
              > > behaviour and philosophies and whatever else is the product of thinking.
              > > If
              > > you look up "Existentialism" on Wikipedia you get statements like ...
              > >
              > > "Authenticity, in the context of existentialism, is being true to one's
              > > own
              > > personality, spirit, or character." Personality, spirit and character are
              > > products of the brain. We all know that. It's a fact.
              > >
              > > Or ... "Søren Kierkegaard, generally considered to be the first
              > > existentialist philosopher, posited that it is the individual who is
              > > solely
              > > responsible for giving meaning to life and for living life passionately
              > > and
              > > sincerely. " An understanding of the meaning to life is a product of our
              > > thinking which is of the brain. It does not arise anywhere else.
              > >
              > > Or in regard to "Existence precedes essence" .... "Thus, human beings,
              > > through their own consciousness, create their own values and determine a
              > > meaning to their life." Again, this is the workings of the brain. The
              > > environment in which we live cannot produce a thought. It might be able
              > > to
              > > do so if it had a brain, but it doesn't.
              > >
              > > Anyway I guess I have talked myself out. I see this subject as highly
              > > important, but it has been my experience that very few people want to
              > > recognize that they think with their brains.
              >
              > I suppose part of authenticity is intentionally becoming more aware of and
              > learning to change thinking habits which are destructive. Bohm was highly
              > motivated in this regard, though he didn't overtly credit psychological
              > techniques as you have. He advocated formal dialogues in order to observe
              > how thought moves between participants, how it threatens and creates
              > disagreement or makes thought makes us happy and creates consensus. He was a
              > holistic thinker, in his physics as well, and suggested we suffer from too
              > much cognitive dissonance. We hold too many conflicting, incoherent thoughts
              > which only dialogue can tease out and make us face. I not interested in the
              > mechanics of the brain, since I take them for granted; thoughts themselves
              > are the problem.
              >
              > > eduardathome
              >
              > Mary
              >
              > >
              > >
              > > -----Original Message-----
              > > From: Mary
              > > Sent: Wednesday, January 02, 2013 2:39 PM
              > > To: existlist@yahoogroups.com
              > > Subject: [existlist] Re: philosophical thoughting
              > >
              > > Our body's chemistry influences our brain chemistry; that is outside the
              > > brain. The thoughts of other brains influence our brains; a physical space
              > > is created by the interaction of other brains. So yes, an individual brain
              > > seems the primary organ or mechanical part producing thoughts, but this is
              > > an illusion. Our entire environment (body and other natural phenomena) is
              > > part of thinking, not just the brain. David Bohm's "Thought As A System"
              > > doesn't pose some outside force influencing thought, rather that a system
              > > of
              > > thought unfolds from an implicate physical order but tends to think it is
              > > in
              > > charge of the unfolding. His work in theoretical physics led him to a
              > > holistic perspective in which parts of the whole (in this case
              > > neuro-chemical processes) are also themselves part of the order and not
              > > solely order producing.
              > >
              > > Eduard, we are at an impasse in which we each choose (or feel good about)
              > > our own perspectives. A theory is constructed with complex interrelated
              > > ideas and categories not simply a fantasy based in the personal need to
              > > feel
              > > certain or happy. A personal philosophy demands less vigor, because we
              > > tend
              > > to inertia when satisfied.
              > >
              > > Mary
              > >
              >
              >
              >
              >
              > ------------------------------------
              >
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              >
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              >
            • eduardathome
              But I don t limit the domain of the brain. It s everything. I find myself asking of someone ... what script is he/she running? And in a way the corollary of
              Message 6 of 8 , Jan 3, 2013
              • 0 Attachment
                But I don't limit the domain of the brain. It's everything. I find myself
                asking of someone ... what script is he/she running? And in a way the
                corollary of where or how did they get that script? For example, I ask the
                question of politicians [of course not directly as they would not know what
                I was talking about]. It is like some say when querying why people do
                whatever ... "follow the money". That assumes a particular motive, but it
                is similar. Or we might ask ... "what's in it for them".

                The "what's in it for him" is really to ask what is the conclusion of the
                script he/she is running.

                Try it. It will give you a completely different perspective on people.

                The one I am presently working on is to ask what script was Saint Paul
                running when he choose to promote Christianity instead of persecuting the
                Christians? What did he expect to get out of it?? Of course some might say
                that one shouldn't ask such questions of a saint. The standard answer is
                that Christ chose him on the way to Damascus. But my view is that people
                are people and they do things in their own interest, even if it is running a
                charity or a religion.

                Although perhaps arguable otherwise, I don't think that the brain is
                inclined to run a script that would have a negative impact upon the person.
                Yes, there are scripts that are negative [for example, suicide] but there
                has to be a side benefit that is more positive. "I kill myself [negative]
                because this will end my suffering [positive].

                I think that Jesus prior to being arrested by the Jewish priests and praying
                in earnest, in the Gospel of Luke, is an example of someone who is trying
                to maintain their mental script against second thoughts.

                eduardathome

                -----Original Message-----
                From: Mary
                Sent: Thursday, January 03, 2013 2:49 PM
                To: existlist@yahoogroups.com
                Subject: [existlist] Re: philosophical thoughting

                eduard,

                Well argued and presented. You emphasize the brain (science) and I the
                larger system of thought (philosophy) or how to apply what we think we know
                about the brain, which falls in the domain of ethics.

                Mary
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