What is "Mind?"

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Jan

Mountain climber
Colorado, Nepal & Okinawa
Aug 13, 2014 - 04:45pm PT
Details of why you think we're using it differently? You object to the meditation or the tantra analogies or both?
Tvash

climber
Seattle
Aug 13, 2014 - 05:31pm PT
That's not quite accurate. Graziano posits that awareness and attention are locked in a strange feedback loop; awareness feeds back and therefore affects attention, which in turn is modeled as awareness, which feeds back...

Part of attention, and the resulting awareness, is therefore intentional.
jgill

Boulder climber
Colorado
Aug 13, 2014 - 07:49pm PT
JGill.... I asked about "topology" because one of the papers cited by Graziano included the following: "Possible origins of the complex topographic organization of motor cortex: reduction of a multidimensional space onto a two-dimensional array." (FM)

Topology and topography are different subjects, FM. Topology concerns spaces that are inhabited by "open sets" and also concerns "continuous transformations." In a simple topology of the real line, open intervals, {x:a<x<b} are open sets, and for a delightful analogue of continuous transformation, there is the old saw that "A topologist is someone who can't tell the difference between a doughnut and a coffee cup.": think of a moldable, plastic doughnut that you can squeeze into a coffee cup with your hands. They are the same "genus", and thus equivalent.

For a simple analogue of dimensional reduction, think of a long thin country oriented north/south like Chile. Three dimensions (x,y,z) describe any location or point in the country. However, the z-coordinate (altitude) is probably not needed as latitude and longitude will adequately describe most any spot. Even the x-coordinate (longitude) might not be necessary to come close to the location, so one is left with a single dimension (y-coordinate) that will probably give a good approximation to the desired location. (I read this example somewhere)


;>)
MikeL

Social climber
Seattle, WA
Aug 13, 2014 - 07:58pm PT
Tvash: "If I wanted to know what does what in a car, I'd go to the factory and leave one component out at a time, then see what deficit results"

Thats all fine and good (useful) for cars, but not so much for people who can undergo transformations. This calls questions as to what you (or others) think things are. To the extent that you believe that you know what a "thing" is, then that stipulates what it can do, how it works, what its purpose is. To the extent that you do not know what anything is, it becomes far less limited and open. A chair can fulfill many different functions, unless you only see it as a chair.

An empiricist view is a fine view, but it is limited when applied to an unlimited world. As soon as you say what things are, then you live in a limited world. Empiricism cannot help much to figure out what is possible for anything.

Break out from your mind. Set yourself free. Be and see nothing in particular.


Thanks, MH2.

Tvash

climber
Seattle
Aug 13, 2014 - 08:53pm PT
Please stop preaching to me. You're really not in any position to do so. Seriously, drop the ego trip. It's boring.
Jan

Mountain climber
Colorado, Nepal & Okinawa
Aug 13, 2014 - 10:11pm PT
I thought the meditation form of "awareness" was the complete lack of distraction, or things that may call your attention or focus.

This is certainly the Zen version but there are many others. Some forms just sit and wait to see what bubbles up. If it has a lot of emotion attached to it, then it is attended to. Less emotional thoughts are just allowed to come and float away with no attachment and no aversion. Other forms of meditation concentrate on a particular object. It is said that if one could understand a single flower, one would understand the universe. Other forms deliberately direct a particular attention outward to the world in general, such as peace or love.

However, I think that even the Zen version is a form of intense attention. While it's true it does away with outward distractions, it is deeply concentrated on the inner workings of the mind, including the resting or still mind which has no verbal thoughts. It takes a great deal of attention to not be distracted back to the world or at least the monkey mind. My experience is that I feel my awareness going from being cloudless and clear to kind of bubbling toward a thought or set of words and I have to gently bring it back without forming the verbal thought, that I must bring it back. It is not easy to think without words and it is definitely not a process lacking in either attention or awareness.
MikeL

Social climber
Seattle, WA
Aug 14, 2014 - 10:45am PT
The topic thread is what is mind, not what is brain. The issues revolve around subjectivity, not so much objectivity. This has been Largo's most important message in three threads. The wont to talk about brain functions ignores the subjectivity of mind. There is almost no empirical justification to believe that mind is matter. Again, saying that there is no external evidence of mind when the brain is destroyed doesn't prove or say what the mind is. Responding to the question "what things aren't" provides an infinite number of answers. Saying what a thing is and proving it, that's the unresolvable and indescribable challenge each and every time. Careful researchers know this. Please show me the (any) research study that accounts for 100% of the variance.

What is boring, ego trips, and preaching are all entirely subjective assessments, and they are more indicative of what mind is than any discussion of neurons, dimensional reductions, lateral connectivity, or feature maps. Those personal subjective assessments is exactly what makes this a forum.
Tvash

climber
Seattle
Aug 14, 2014 - 10:56am PT
I suppose I could add IMO in front of every sentence and segue to a discussion of unicorn sex. That would be more mindful, I suppose.

It probably wouldn't' be very productive in terms of figuring out the nature of consciousness, though.

Object v instantiation and all that.
High Fructose Corn Spirit

Gym climber
Aug 14, 2014 - 11:17am PT
There is almost no empirical justification to believe that mind is matter.

This is bogus. Only because this is the internet do you get away with it.

Mind is mental function. Mental function is part of what the nervous system of the body does. To date, there is overwhelming circumstantial evidence from all corners of science that mental function results from nervous system processing. We just don't know the critical details of the underlying mechanisms to this so-called Hard Problem. Maybe we never will given our finite intelligence, limits to knowledge, potential ending of advanced civilization, etc.. But it's pretty clear, at least to those savvy enough and armed with the right life experience and edu, that those 100 trillion plus parts, connections and interactions at the microstructure level are doing something more than cooling the body, lol!

MikeL and Largo, two peas in a pod.
Tvash

climber
Seattle
Aug 14, 2014 - 11:36am PT
Mind isn't matter.

It's matter + energy.
High Fructose Corn Spirit

Gym climber
Aug 14, 2014 - 11:39am PT
And what's matter but localized energy.

No matter, I'm convinced: My nervous system and how it interacts with the environ is the "seat" of my consciousness. It's a good mind-brain, all things considered, no complaints. ;)
MH2

climber
Aug 14, 2014 - 11:51am PT
The topic thread is what is mind, not what is brain. (MikeL)


Not true. The thread topic is What is "Mind?"


The subjective aspects of mind have been explored, pondered, and philosophized for ages. Not a lot new has been turned up recently. In contrast, understanding of how the brain works is making steady progress. Unless you claim that mind has no connection with brain you should not object to talk about brain function. It may have relevance to statements made about "mind."

And remember that JL was once a student of EEGs.
Dingus Milktoast

Gym climber
Maestro, Ecosystem Ministry, Fatcrackistan
Aug 14, 2014 - 12:22pm PT
No brain no thought no mind no life.

DMT
PSP also PP

Trad climber
Berkeley
Aug 14, 2014 - 12:23pm PT
Jgill said “First we narrow focus on a thing. This prompts automatic word and symbol generation from brain, a whole bunch of data streams rushing at us about "that" out there, or "this" (like a feeling or memory etc.) in here (JL)

To test this hypothesis, I just spent five minutes staring at the stapler on my desk. At first, the word "stapler" came, then . . . nothing. No data stream rushing at me, no sense of "out there" as opposed to "in here", or anything else. Just a stapler that didn't even seem separate from its surroundings. Just a stapler. No busy thoughts or conjectures. Just a stapler. No analysis of what it does or deliberations on its mechanics. Just a stapler. No thoughts at all. So I guess "narrow focus" needs to be refined a bit.

Maybe it's just my age.”


What is a Stapler?

This question is a very classic beginners Koan used at the Kwan Um School of Zen. It can be used with almost any object. Usually the question is what is this? As the teacher points to the object.

If you say it is a stapler the teacher points out you are attached to name and form and if you say nothing you are attached to emptiness. So what is it?



High Fructose Corn Spirit

Gym climber
Aug 14, 2014 - 03:13pm PT
If more evidence is needed animals have minds, here you go...



http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EWemgBG5llc

But hold on...

"Sorry to burst your bubble but.. the Dog isn't trying to save the fish. He think's he is burying it. He's using the water to bury it but doesn't realize that water is not dirt, and hence he cannot successfully do the job properly.... Canines are not intellectual enough to know that a fish needs water to "breathe" or survive."

Seems to have validity as well. Oh what an amazing mystery it is!

What is like to be... a dog? lol!!
Tvash

climber
Seattle
Aug 14, 2014 - 03:20pm PT
Grab it and staple the teacher's forehead.

No words.

No thing.

Pure sentience.

MikeL

Social climber
Seattle, WA
Aug 14, 2014 - 03:55pm PT
http://www.nytimes.com/2014/08/17/magazine/should-you-fear-the-pizzly-bear.html

At the time, scientists thought that because genetic diversity came from spontaneous mutations and because useful variants arose only after thousands of generations, evolution had to proceed slowly. But as the Grants watched the finches’ beaks change over a few generations, they realized that the process of hybridization could speed up evolution. The birds were exchanging genetic traits that had been, in effect, already field-tested.

. . . .

As Brendan Kelly, the chief scientist at the Monterey Bay Aquarium, told me: “The dirty secret of biology is that the fundamental unit of science — i.e., species — in fact can’t be adequately defined.”

. . . . .

Fusion . . . [is a] realization [that] is more than one of scientific clarity; it goes to the heart of conservation efforts, offering new ways to think about what we’re trying to conserve.

. . . .

“Biodiversity has developed in a web of life rather than a tree of life,” Arnold told me. That interconnectedness lends strength. “It’s sort of cool that evolution is really messy.”
-----------------------------



All reality appears to be this way. Every time you think you finally really know something, something comes along and pulls the ground from underneath your feet. Reality is just too fluid, too infinite, ever-changing, too much of a mirage to sit still for categorizations of any kind.

Every peer-reviewed paper should start with something like, "Here's what we think is sort of happening . . . ."
MikeL

Social climber
Seattle, WA
Aug 14, 2014 - 04:00pm PT
HFCS: We just don't know the critical details of the underlying mechanisms to this so-called Hard Problem.


:-)

Then how do you think that you know anything? By the weight of the paper of the journals that have been published on the topic?
MikeL

Social climber
Seattle, WA
Aug 14, 2014 - 04:04pm PT
The walls of knowledge are constantly crumbling before our eyes. Like frantic bricklayers, people are constantly trying to erect new ones. But every one of them finally seems to crumble as well. Nothing lasts. Not one thing.

Energy?
Tvash

climber
Seattle
Aug 14, 2014 - 04:09pm PT
The dog video illustrates our propensity to assign human-like consciousness to the world around us.

As for what the dog's really up to? Maybe he just likes the smell of that water. Dog's love to rub stinky stuff all over themselves.
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