Consciousness, New Thinking About

DJ DJ at
Sun Jun 9 23:23:03 EST 2002

DJ <DJ at> wrote in message
news:newscache$ik4dxg$7k$1 at
> Matt Jones <jonesmat at> wrote in message
> news:b86268d4.0206070953.26fed345 at
> > "DJ" <DJ at> wrote in message
> news:<newscache$r8abxg$j34$1 at>...
> >
> > > You have gone to great lengths to point out that seizure
> > > disorders can accentuate memory problems - which I agree with - and
> seem
> > > to have adopted the conventional view that the reverse isn't even
> of
> > > consideration - which I disagree with.
> >
> > I simply didn't mention it because I've never seen any  experimental
> > or clinical evidence for the idea that specific "thought patterns"
> > cause seizures. Do you know of any research supporting this idea?
> >
> No Matt, I haven't seen such evidence.  But I haven't seen evidence to the
> contrary (that thought patterns and memory problems do *not* contribute to
> seizure disorders) either.  If you know of any of that I would be
> in seeing it.  There are many different types of epilepsy and in many
> diagnostic equipment (EEG's, MRI's etc) cannot identify any irregularities
> at all.  BTW I didn't mean to imply that you were ignorant or whatever,
> that there are possibly two sides to the coin and I'm interested in
> discussing the unconventional view.  If someone has hard evidence to prove
> it incorrect I'll begrudgingly shrug my shoulders and walk off with my
> bowed.

Interestingly I have just learned that psychogenic seizures can in many
cases be self-induced.  It's also interesting that the condition is thought
to (often) result from traumatic psychological experiences, including
forgotten episodes from the past (such as rape and incest).

> >
> > > It's my impression
> > > that certain thought patterns can over time, make a person more
> susceptible
> > > to seizure disorders than others.  For example, if a child develops a
> habit
> > > of obsessively thinking and reflecting on past events (and thoughts),
> > > time it could theoretically make the brain's juggling act of
> long
> > > term memories, short term memories and memories of "reflective"
> activity -
> > > in a meaningful way - more difficult than it needs to be.  Which could
> in
> > > turn lead to seizure activity, which could in turn worsen the ability
> > > retrieve memories, which could in turn lead to seizure activity, and
> on.
> >
> >
> > All this is possible. But do you actually know of any documented and
> > verifiable cases of people "thinking themselves into a seizure"?
> >
> I don't know of any documented cases Matt, but that might be because I've
> never looked for them.  I would say that it would be difficult for
> to think themselves into a seizure under clinical conditions because under
> those conditions people tend to be more interested in what is going on
> around them.  They would be much more likely to have one after getting
> that night, when it is easier to think introspectively.
> I don't think that a person who is feeling well one moment could think
> themselves into a seizure 10 minutes later for example.  I think that it
> would require certain types of thoughts (eg those that cause stress, which
> might include thinking about having a seizure) to predominate for several
> hours.
> When a person is experiencing the aura that so often precedes a grand mal
> seizure, are they thinking themselves into a seizure?  Many people claim
> be able to think themselves out of an aura.  Of special interest to me is
> whether thinking those introspective thoughts puts pressure on the memory
> and if so, is that because there are existing memory problems.  People who
> have an excellent memory, are in my opinion, much less likely to think
> introspectively, because their thoughts are being driven by real
> (memories of which rise to the level of consciousness) to a much greater
> extent.  Note that thinking introspectively is (by my definition at least)
> different to thinking about nothing.

With the benefit of hindsight the answer is clearly "Yes".  I should add
though that I was trying to emphasize the possibility of an individual
thinking itself into the disorder/condition (possibly over several years)
rather than thinking itself into an actual seizure.

I'll try to summarize some of my thoughts on this whole matter.  Please
don't get carried away with your criticism.  I'm just floating a few ideas
that may encourage others to investigate things that they wouldn't have
otherwise thought of.

1. C = M

Consciousness is proportional to the flow of memories.  Without memories
being stored or retrieved there is *no* consciousness. e.g. grand mal
seizure, general anaesthetic.

2. Memory irregularities can lead to seizure disorders.

The disorder can develop over a long time when memory is "used" improperly
(#), and over a short time in the case of trauma, infection etc.  Once the
disorder is established, actual seizures can occur at any time, largely
independent of conscious control.

# This may be a condition experienced only by humans.  Have you ever said to
somebody "I was thinking about that yesterday"?  Your ability to store
thoughts into long-term memory might be an advanced feature (in the
evolutionary sense) only available to human beings, and may create problems
when it is abused (as in the case of habitual introspective thought).

4. When a seizure occurs, the level of consciousness retained depends on
which memory processing areas of the brain continue to function normally.

5. Seizures further contribute to memory problems (nothing new here)

6. The consciousness of a living being is a "window" into a global, or
collective consciousness

7. Memories (except perhaps for memories of thoughts) aren't necessarily
stored wholly within the brain of each individual.  They may be fetched,
when needed, from the collective consciousness.

8. This stuff might be far-fetched, but at least it's not the type of
metaphorical garbage that is so often seen around here and means nothing to
anyone except the person who posted it!


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