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Re: [steiner] Thinking and the I-Consciousness

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  • Carol
    Yes, this analog of the mirror has been so very helpful to me over the three years I ve studied Steiner. I remember the first time it struck me that just as
    Message 1 of 3 , Jan 1, 2002
      Yes, this analog of the mirror has been so very helpful to me
      over the three years I've studied Steiner. I remember the
      first time it struck me that just as we can not hope to find
      the reflected image in an microscopic analysis of the mirror,
      we shall not find thinking or consciousness by delving into
      brain matter...

      Carol
      >
      > *******Steiner put this all in another way in lectures,
      > where he described
      > the body as providing a 'backing' like the silvered backing
      > of a mirror,
      > enabling the "I" to reflect its activity back to itself. We
      > do not THINK with
      > the body, he's saying, but because we have a body our
      > thinking becomes
      > individually aware, develops an I-consciousness... and
      > keeps this because
      > it's then taken up into the self-conscious human spirit we
      > think with.
      >
      > Starman
      >


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    • DRStarman2001@aol.com
      In a message dated 1/2/2002 1:03:40 AM, softabyss@yahoo.com writes:
      Message 2 of 3 , Jan 2, 2002
        In a message dated 1/2/2002 1:03:40 AM, softabyss@... writes:

        << Yes, this analog of the mirror has been so very helpful to me
        over the three years I've studied Steiner. I remember the
        first time it struck me that just as we can not hope to find
        the reflected image in an microscopic analysis of the mirror,
        we shall not find thinking or consciousness by delving into
        brain matter...

        Carol

        *******Great way to put it. And speaking of that, here's a recent study
        showing consciousness is not in the brain any more than a TV program is in
        your TV set.

        <<<http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A52232-2001Dec16.html

        Near Proof for Near-Death?

        By Shankar Vedantam
        Washington Post Staff Writer
        Monday, December 17, 2001; Page A11

        The 44-year-old man who had collapsed in a meadow was brought to a
        hospital, unconscious and with no pulse or brain activity. Doctors began
        artificial respiration, heart massage and defibrillation.

        A nurse trying to feed a tube down the man's throat saw that he was
        wearing dentures. The nurse removed them and placed them on a stand
        called a "crash car." The patient was moved to the intensive care unit.

        A week later, after the patient had recovered, the nurse saw the man
        again. The man immediately recognized the nurse as the person who had
        removed his dentures and also remembered other details of what had
        happened while he was in a deep coma. He said he had perceived the
        events from above the hospital bed and watched doctors' efforts to save
        his life.

        This account would be standard fare in a supermarket tabloid, but last
        week it was published in the Lancet, a British medical journal. It is
        the latest in a long series of efforts to either document or debunk the
        existence of "near-death" experiences, something that for the most part
        has remained in the realm of the paranormal.

        The new study, conducted in the Netherlands, is one of the first
        so-called prospective scientific studies. Instead of interviewing people
        who reported near-death experiences after the fact, the researchers
        simply followed hundreds of patients who were resuscitated after
        suffering clinical death as their hearts stopped. The idea was that this
        approach might provide more accurate accounts by documenting the
        experiences as they happened, rather than basing them on recollections
        of the distant past.

        About 18 percent of the patients in the study reported some recollection
        of the period when they were clinically dead, and 8 percent to 12
        percent reported going through "near-death" experiences, such as seeing
        lights at the end of tunnels or "crossing over" and speaking with dead
        relatives and friends.

        The researchers say the evidence supports the validity of "near-death"
        experiences and suggests that scientists should rethink theories on one
        of the ultimate medical mysteries: the nature of human consciousness.

        Skeptics, however, maintain that the Dutch researchers had not provided
        evidence to buttress any extraordinary claims; certainly nothing as
        dramatic as proof that there is an afterlife.

        Most neuroscientists believe that consciousness is a byproduct of the
        physical brain, that mind arises from matter. But if near-death
        experiences are really what those who experience them say they are, does
        that mean that people can be conscious of events around them even when
        they are physically unconscious, when their brains do not show signs of
        electrical activity?

        How can consciousness be independent of brain function?

        "Compare it with a TV" program, said Pim van Lommel, a cardiologist at
        the Hospital Rijnstate in the Netherlands and the lead investigator of
        the research. "If you open the TV set you will not find the program. The
        TV set is a receiver. When you turn off your TV set, the program is
        still there but you can't see it. When you put off your brain, your
        consciousness is there but you can't feel it in your body."

        The study, he said in a telephone interview, suggested that researchers
        investigating consciousness "should not look in the cells and molecules
        alone."

        Although the Dutch scientist said the research did not address whether
        there was such a thing as the soul or God or the afterlife, many
        remained skeptical. In an accompanying article, Christopher French,
        director of the Anomalistic Psychology Research unit at Britain's
        Goldsmiths College, said that multiple questions persisted.

        "We have understandable and natural urges to believe we will survive
        bodily death and we will be reunited with our departed loved ones," he
        said. "So anything that would support that idea -- reincarnation,
        mediums, ghosts -- present evidence of the survival of the soul. It's
        something that we would all desperately like to believe is true."

        French pointed out that some of those in the study who reported they had
        near-death experiences said in follow-up interviews that they had not
        had them, while a few who had said they had experienced nothing later
        said they now remembered them. He said that this could suggest that
        false memories were at play.

        "I don't think the study suggests anything beyond the dying process,"
        agreed Paul Kurtz, a former professor of philosophy at the State
        University of New York in Buffalo and the chairman for the Committee for
        the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal.

        "The out-of-body experience and light and traveling down a tunnel and
        meeting people on the other side -- in my view these are the
        psychological states that people go through as they are dying," he said.

        Both pointed out that hearing is the last sense to shut down in the
        dying brain and that victims such as the 44-year-old man may have heard
        some of the events around them and subconsciously reconstructed the
        events as visual.

        The Dutch researchers tracked 344 patients who had been resuscitated.
        They ranged in age from 26 to 92. Three-quarters were men. Most were
        interviewed within five days of being resuscitated, and the researchers
        followed up with interviews two and eight years later to test the
        reliability of the patients' memories.

        Patients' demographics, religious beliefs, psychological makeup and
        medical treatment were also documented to see who was more likely to
        report such experiences.

        The researchers found that the experiences did not correlate with any of
        the measured psychological, physiological or medical parameters, which
        Lommel said meant the experiences were unrelated to processes in the
        dying brain. Most patients had excellent recall of the events, he added,
        which undermined the theory that the memories were false.

        Finally, the people who had such experiences reported marked changes in
        their personalities, compared with those who had come near death but not
        had the experiences. They seemed to lose fear of death, and they became
        more compassionate, altruistic and loving.

        Bruce Greyson, a professor of psychiatry at the University of Virginia
        in Charlottesville who has also done research in the area, said that
        science had neither good explanations nor good rebuttals of the
        conclusions of the Dutch researchers.

        In experiments underway, he said, tiny signs were placed on the ceilings
        of hospital rooms, so that if people were genuinely having out-of-body
        experiences and hovering over their beds, they would be able to see the
        signs and provide "proof" of the phenomenon.

        While it may take a long time for such experiments to uncover a case, he
        and others said, because not all patients will be resuscitated in that
        room and not all cardiac arrest cases result in near-death experiences,
        it could provide evidence to buttress patients' reports.

        "Brain chemistry does not explain these phenomena," Greyson said. "I
        don't know what the explanation is, but our current understanding of
        brain chemistry falls short."

        © 2001 The Washington Post Company

        >
        > *******Steiner put this all in another way in lectures, where he described
        > the body as providing a 'backing' like the silvered backing of a mirror,
        > enabling the "I" to reflect its activity back to itself. We do not THINK
        with
        > the body, he's saying, but because we have a body our thinking becomes
        individually aware, develops an I-consciousness... and keeps this because
        > it's then taken up into the self-conscious human spirit we think with.
        > Starman >>
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