philosophy of mind
miike at erols.com
Tue Dec 25 05:27:57 EST 2001
They say that NewGroups are dead. There is nothing of any real content in
NewsGroups. Most of it
is just SPAM. I very rarely visit NewsGroups. I hope sending this to
bionet.neuroscience is how to reply?
I am sure this is the wrong place to talk about free will and metaphysics as
I consider neuroscience under bionet a place for discussing physical brain
stuff but I have some very definite positions on free will. My understanding
based on Eastern philosophy. That does not imply for a moment that I do not
understand the history of free will in
the West at all. In fact in the East "free will" is basically not even an
issue. There is nothing to discuss or debate
or wonder about. In the west I consider it a comic cosmic tradegy of a
series of blundering philosophers
that not only did not take the time to understand their contemporaries in
history - they never understood the 'problem'
Depending on who you believe you are and the perspective you take is what
determines the existence of free will.
In the East it is uniformly believed that we are souls (although different
schools expound different emphasis on
the meaning of the word soul). As such we are immortal. We were never born
and can not die. We are of the same
'substance' as God. (created in His image). In Vedanta - "All is Brahman" -
meaning all is God (sort of).
God is omniscient/all knowing which means he knows everything at all times.
Meaning everything everyone does
or ever will do He already knows. Do WE have free will? The answer is NO -
WE do not have free will.
Because "we" in Vedanta refers to our soul. Our soul to God is like a
raindrop to the ocean. Our soul also
is omniscient. Specifically soul as Atman or Purusha is all knowing. The
soul incarnated into a physical body
(Jiva) is deluded/deceived by Maya - the veil of illusion. So in the East
this basically never even became an
issue. It was not an issue in Ancient Greece either. It actually first
became an issue in Scholasticism I believe.
At any rate Thomas Aquinas dealt with it. It became a serious issue for 300
years during the period of history
when witches were burned at the stake. The big thing at that time was if
there was no free will how could the
Church hold anyone accountable for for their actions if there was no free
will? If the devil could force you to
do something how could anyone be held accountable for having done it? This
would result in chaos because
anyone that ever did anything wrong could simply say 'the devil made me do
it.' The church held that powers came
form one of 2 places - God or the devil. It was decided decisively at that
time that yes indeed we do have free will.
(Meaning a person had to voluntarilly have made a 'pact with the devil' to
gain powers/become a witch) And it is
still that way today. The Catholic Church I believe only recently made a
formal apology in 1997 for the atrocious
activities of the Church during that period of history. When I say it is
still that way today I mean this is still the
Church's position on the matter and as a completely separate affair the
Government(s) always did. The governments
couldn't care less about the question of free will it is taken for granted
that free will exists and anyone that commits
a crime and found guilty of that crime is penalized. The important point
being that whether you or anyone else
or whatever group you care to name that believes there is no free will is in
a minority and always has been and
most likely always will be. If society believed there was no free will it
might attempt to abolish all law. This again
would result in chaos. But society/people in general DO believe there is
free will. The reason that people believe
in free will is that they mistake the notion of themselves as being their
minds or associating their minds with their
souls. Because the mind is NOT omniscient and it does not know what we will
do next/in the future we mistake
the notion of the mind not knowing the future with the real identity - the
soul not being free. These are 2 totally
Western philosophers being mere intellectuals generally speaking were
basically suckered into believing that
we are our mind (Descartes 'I think therefore I am'). This notion did start
with the ancient Greeks that basically
'worshipped' logic and reason. (the dialectic) They believe(d) we are our
minds. Thomas Aquinas mission was
to 'prove' the existence of God. Which he did a very nice job of. (you can
prove almost anything using logic
and reason) But Saint Thomas Aquinas admitted that one could not use logic
and reason to 'Know' God.
For this he said took 'revelation'. Immanuel Kant also showed the limits of
logic and reason.
The question of free will is really just another twist on the age old
question 'Who am I?'. Yoga is the oldest
known 'science' of dealing with that question. (Sanatana Dharma/Hinduism is
claimed to be the oldest religion
on the earth - the 'root religion of the world'.) I shall attempt to 'prove'
we are not our minds. Before I do this
however I would like to point out again this is bionet.neuroscience. There
are a whole ton of 'scientists' that
will have nothing to do with anyone that wants to talk about the mind. Brain
yes. Mind no. I am not particularly
impressed by 'science'. Science has backed itself into a corner in a lot of
ways and only in recent years has
it even begun to realize its predicament. I have accumulated ton of
knowledge on how science has arrived
at its current state of affairs - and it ain't pretty. (contrary to all the
noise and clutter of science congratulating
itself. All I can say is some people are easily impressed.) But then neither
was the role of the Catholic Church
Here we go. All our lives we are conditioned to believe that the physical
material world is the only thing
that is real. Our very language itself is constructed to make us believe
this is so.
We say "I am hungry." Meaning our physical body is hungry. We say "I am
angry". Meaning I am aware of
the emotion of anger. We are not the emotion called anger. We say I think 2
+ 2 = 4. Meaning, my mind has
determined that 2 + 2 = 4. We are not our minds. Our minds are not the
recepients of experience. The following
discussion is taken from a famous yoga instructor - Richard Hittleman. If I
ask you who you are you may
answer - "My name is such and such." Then I would say no no I don't want to
know your name. I want to
know who you are. Then you may say "I am such and such. I live at such and
such. I drive a such and such.
I am married to such and such and I work at such and such." In which case I
would say no no - you misunderstood
the question - I don't want to know about you. I want to know who you are.
Now this may give you pause. If you
think about it you may get frustrated and say - "Well I may not be able to
tell you who I am - but I certainly know
who I am." In which case I would say - Who is the "you" that knows who "you"
are? Are there 2 "you's" - the
original you and the you who knows who you are? Who is the you that can
think there are 2 you's? Then there must really be 3 yous. The original you.
The you that is thinking about you. The you that is thinking about you that
thinking about you. "Once we start chain gets started it extends into
infinity. It is like placing 2 mirrors face to face and trying to figure out
which mirror is reflecting how many images of itself and how many images of
the other mirror."
Richard Hittlemans Guide to Yoga meditation copyright 1969 p114.
By taking a closer look at this "you" will discover that "you" have no
independent existence apart form
the external things of the world. What I call the Relative Universe. No
object in the universe has any sort
of objective existence apart from some other external thing or condition. Up
does not exist without down.
Left can not exist without right. Red can not exist except in relation to
another color. The sun can not
exist without comparing it to some other external thing or condition. That
is why "you" can not exist
without "me" or "me" without you or some other thing for "me" to compare
It gets worse. Not only can something not exist apart from something else to
compare it to - "we" will
differ on our interpretations of experience. If it is 80 degrees you may say
it is too warm. I might say
it is perfect. Our interpretations of experience are Subjective. This is
because our subconscious minds
have different programming in them because we have different memories in our
from each of us having different experiences.
It gets worse. Even if some miracle happened where both of us saw the exact
same thing at the exact same
time (our opinions/subjective interpretations change from moment to
moment) - and we both had identical
experiences and therefore memories/subconsious programming was the same - it
is impossible to cast
out into words the actual experience. We would have a communication problem.
It gets worse. On top of all of this going on. Nature has blessed us with
bestowing order on the world
for survival purposes to make heads or tails of experiences by interpreting
them in a certain way.
This enables us to quickly size up situations and take action.
If there are 2 towers with lights on the top that are fairly close to each
other and one light goes off on
tower A and a second later the light on tower B comes on. Then Tower B light
goes off and Tower A light
comes on and so forth - I have described the physics of the situation.
However we perceive this
as a single light moving back and forth in pendulum fashion.
Our mind has 'added order' to the physics of the situation. The pendulum
motion of our perception can
not be taken from the physics of the situation.
Makes you wonder how we can "know" anything. (But I am not doing
Yoga calls the phenomenal world Maya which means illusion. We have come to
believe from our ego
that it and the mind are "us". The ego is a reflection of the soul. Like a
mirror reflects the sunlight
the ego appears to have the qualities of the soul. But the mirror is clearly
not the sun. The mirror is not
even hot while the sun is millions of degrees hot. When the ego attempts to
operate in the capacity of
the soul it fails. The soul is all-knowing and immortal and perfect at all
times. It is our false identification
of ourselves as ego and mind that leads us to believe there is some sort of
reality to the physical world.
Over and over again we listen to our ego. We want this house. That car. This
education. That boat.
When we do get these things ego tells us that things have changed. Now we
must pursue something
else to be happy. The desire mind is never never satisfied. No matter how
much we get we want more.
But this is the game the ego plays with us all our lives and like the donkey
and the carrot it always
has a carrot dangling in front of our nose. We will never get that carrot.
The ego convinces us to
listen to it even though time and time again it fails to bring us happiness.
We may experience it
for a short time until the ego convinces us we are no longer happy because
we now need a bigger
house to go with our new car.
The mind is not equipped to function in an infinite dimension. It can not
grasp an infinite entity.
Infinity does not have qualities. Infinity contains all qualities. So what
is it that is intelligent that the
mind can say about infinity? It can not. The soul and God are infinite. The
mind can never understand
either the soul or God. The physical world exists in spacetime. However,
mind, time and space are
like 3 sides of a triangle. If you take away one of them you have nothing.
False identification with
the mind and ego are the cause of all "human" suffering and ignorance. The
soul knows all things at
all times. It is omniscient. It knows all actions we will ever perform in
this and any future lives.
So if one identifies with the soul and remembers their true identity they
come to know what God
knows. While we identify with the ego and mind we appear to have free will
but in truth do not.
So as someone that is not familiar with meditation might ask - how can you
not identify with your
mind. Thats all there is. Yoga does not require faith except in the
beginning. Unlike religions of the
west - Easterners require more of their religions than Westerners. They
basically do not participate
in religions that do not offer direct experience of God in them. Furthermore
they require proof
of the things that the philosophy/religion have to say. The proof however is
not the logical proof
of reason. It is proof based on certain experiences at different stages of
development. In other words
if you perform the actions given correctly you will arrive at certain
experiences (such as ESP) that will
convince you of the validity of Yoga. These experiences in turn give the
practicioner confidence to
push on with further training. Faith as I said is not required.
God is an experience. If I never tasted an orange there would be no amount
of words that you or anyone
else could use to convey the experience of the taste of an orange to me. A
picture says a thousand words.
(therfore it is illogical to assume that the experience of God can be
understood by the mind).
Experiences come to us normally from the external world to our senses. These
experiences can be sorted
and analyzed by the mind but the mind can not understand the actual
experience. All the mind can do
is stick a label on the experience called a word and stick the word in a
category. Only the soul can understand
experience. The soul is the actual experiencer. God is an experience that
does not come to us through
the senses much less the mind. God is a 'transcendental experience' - as in
We can control our minds with our will. This is further proof we are not our
minds. Will/energy and our
individual awareness are all one and the same thing.
Some will say that neuroscience has identified 'consciousness' as that
portion of the cortex in the
brain known neocortex which acts in concert with the Reticular Activation
System to give us consciousness.
This is most likely true. But this is simply the physical manifestation of
the subtle matter of which the
mind is made. Activities in the brain are the result of activities in the
mind. Similarly I believe Robert
Sapalsky when he says neuroscience has discovered how our neurotranmitter
chemicals alter our
moods and explain our personalities. They also are the result of the mind.
The mind and the intellect (they are 2 separate/distinct entities) are both
made of matter just like the ego.
Only the soul is beyond 'nature' (Prakriti). The soul has a mind also. This
is a funny way to talk however
because there is only one mind that operates at different vibratory rates.
The mind of the soul so to speak
is intuition. Intuition does not operate in time and space. It is far
faster an much more accurate. Knowledge
from intuition does not contradict logic and reason but for logic and
reason to arrive at what intuition does
takes time and may never happen.
>From concentration and meditation alone comes Self-Realization. In order to
come to the awareness of
who we really are the mind must be made to be quiet. The texts compare the
mind as a lake and the
Self as being at the bottom of the lake. Only when the thought waves are
stilled is there any chance of
seeing the bottom/Self. In ordinary people their individual awareness is
like a flashlight. when it is
shined in the distance the beam fans out and you can see for a limited
distance. By practicing
concentration a yoga student is able to focus this beam like a laser
allowing him to 'see' things that
can not be seen by others with a smaller attention span. By this means also
all psychic powers come
to the yogi. ESP and so forth come withing his grasp. They are always at all
times available to everyone
but before someone can use them they must practice. It is like walking.
Before being able to walk you
must be able to 'see' where you are going. Then it takes practice. But this
is only something along the
way. For more information on this subject refer to Patanjali's Yoga Sutras
on 'Powers'. I reccommend
Swami Vivekanandas interpretation.
Psychic powers are powers that come from the soul and these
powers/psychic experiences are verification of having achieved certain
goals. Once Self-Realized
a person never sees the world the same again. It loses it ability to be
taken very seriously at all because
at that time a person knows who they really are and by default knows exactly
who they are NOT.
At that time all knowledge becomes available to the person. A great mistake
is made however that
people assume that just because a person has had a samadhi (of one sort or
another) that they are
'enlightened'. This is not true at all. They can easily fall back into the
exact same state of ignorance
from which they came. Still chase after desires of the ego etc. The
difference is that that person
will never see the world the same again. Their perspective will completely
or Liberation comes only after asamprajnata samadhi which is a separate
affair than the intitial
Self-Realization. At that time the person is liberated from the cycle of
births and deaths and know
only bliss and joy. They command all of nature. The laws of the physical
universe no longer apply
to them. But this happens very rarely and you can count the number of times
it happened on your
fingers and your toes.
The only proof of the things I have said are the experiences that result
from the practice. That is why
intellectuals and philosophers and scientists and psychologists and scholars
never will 'get it'.
I have deviated from free will but the pieces sort of go together. A
discourse on Free Will can not be
complete without addressing the 'Who am I question.' Besides I did not touch
either the physical or spiritual sense/or the purpose of existence or WHY
the physical universe
came into being/the 'science problem' or a ton of other mysteries and their
historical accounts. (many
of which can not be had except through direct experience/is not of
I am looking for information on voluntary manipulation of Cerebro-spinal
fluid. I can manipulate
it and am looking for the implications of being able to do that. How exactly
can one know if they
are able to consciously influence the the brain in such a way as to produce
more of a certain type
of neurotransmitter? What tools are used to determine hormonal levels. I am
doing this now and
want to prove it. I know how to move energy in the body to heal it. I want
to know exactly what
is going on physically when I do. I also believe that the mantra AUM somehow
cranial cavity in such a way so as to build power in brain waves that can be
focused. Problem is
how to do a study of the acoustic properties of the cranium. How does power
build in waves
is on the agenda.
"Glen M. Sizemore" <gmsizemore at triad.rr.com> wrote in message
news:WSIV7.99570$RE3.16673306 at typhoon.southeast.rr.com...
> > If the processes of the brain are governed by
> > universal, temporally static laws of physics, would
> this not throw free
> > out the window?
> > Any feedback is appreciated.
> > db
> Peter: I wish that people that hinge their
> philosophical questions on "free will"
> could make sure they define what kind of freedom
> they are referring to, and
> what level of expressed "will" (endogenously
> generated specific drives,
> motivations, and intellectual inclinations) that they
> imply are "free".
> But since you, who do pose such questions,
> obviously can't.... I shall
> continue to have plenty of opportunity to be pissed
> off at seeing them here
> and elsewhere. :-\
> GS: Curiously, the ways in which many
> neuroscientists talk about behavior is not
> incompatible with free-will. Perhaps the most
> obvious examples of this involves "executive
> functions" and so forth. But most of behavioral
> neurobiology is similarly afflicted. Indeed, anytime
> we hear the brain or parts of the brain discussed in
> terms that refer to the behavior of whole organisms
> (like when the brain - or mind for that matter - is
> said to "know" to "see" to "decide" "read maps"
> etc. etc. etc.) we know that we are not far from the
> miraculous. Most behavioral neuroscientists want
> the prestige of science all while talking about
> behavior/brain relations in ways that avoid important
> philosophical questions and, thereby, foster
> adherence to a useless, largely pre-scientific view.
> "Peter F" <fell_spamtrap_in at dingoblue.net.au> wrote in message
> news:3c26cff5$0$12982$afc38c87 at news.optusnet.com.au...
> > "db" <no at email.com> wrote in message
> > news:01HW.B84AFD3C00022CF015A25AF0 at news...
> > > If the processes of the brain are governed by
> > > universal, temporally static laws of physics, would this not throw
> > will
> > > out the window?
> > >
> > > Any feedback is appreciated.
> > >
> > > db
> > I wish that people that hinge their philosophical questions on "free
> > could make sure they define what kind of freedom they are referring to,
> > what level of expressed "will" (endogenously generated specific drives,
> > motivations, and intellectual inclinations) that they imply are "free".
> > But since you, who do pose such questions, obviously can't.... I shall
> > continue to have plenty of opportunity to be pissed off at seeing them
> > and elsewhere. :-\
> > Peter
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