I Am Exploring My Brain.

I like to participate as much as possible in how I function, neurologically speaking.  Most of the time, we spend our lives witnessing and responding, rarely initiating brain processes or altering them.  That is because - throughout history - people have been obsessed with always seeking outside of their abilities and potential and rarely exploring themselves, from a functional perspective.  I wish to change that.  Not because of some noble sense of a mission in life, not because I feel "chosen" to do that, but simply because the flatness of human interpretation of reality bores me, and, because once we learn something new and different we add that knowledge to our gene pool.  I like to trigger happiness. 

I like to trigger calmness.  I like to control stress.  This is not being a control freak, but taking advantage of my natural abilities and explore them.  I wish to share.  In spite of the inertia continuously generated by our conditioning, we can - at any time - explore and pursue our potential, IF WE CHOOSE TO. 

Join me if you feel the same.

Danjya Danjya
41-45, M
39 Responses Feb 28, 2010

@Danjya: I have no interest in "pulling your leg". Even if I could, why would I want to spend my limited time that way? I would be happy to respond to or to try out & report back on any practical exercises you suggest. So far you have written on a general or philosophical level so that's what you've gotten back from me. Give us some "concrete, real, pragmatic, and applicable research of individual use of the brain" to experience & talk about. I've already told you some of the approaches & equipment & exercises I use.

@MtnMig: Regarding 'exergy': I'm an exhibitionist so sometimes I cannot resist showing off. :-) I don't get to drop that word into a conversation very often. I'm sorry -- if I do it again you can spank me.<br />
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Who said anything about mystical? :-) But I probably include more things "in the realm of science" (such a funny way to put it!) than you do. I have lived by several different mottoes during various times in my life (and I'm looking for a new one now if you have any suggestions for me to consider). One of them is "Test/try everything, believe in what works." That has led me to discover some surprising "things that work" along the way. So much for your "testable" requirement, just about everything is testable. Maybe you're not trying hard enough.<br />
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By the way, I chose that motto on purpose because I felt too much of my life was happening way over on the left-brain side. So I started exploring all sorts of all-brain & no-brain & right-brain stuff. I'm very glad I did! There is insight & utility & validity there too. And there is value merely in having a balanced & ethical & respectful approach to life. And to science.<br />
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I'm glad you feel that "nothing in the sciences is tabled". I wish more people did. Science has done a great service but as you say, sometimes it gets in the way of creativity & imagination & understanding & wisdom. I agree with you about the irrationality of mysticism & religion. But what about their rationality, in their own fr<x>ame of reference? It's there if you look for it.<br />
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Must we "remember that these are sources of comfort and maybe even wisdom but are not the tools for the advancement of knowledge"? But I've already forgotten! Watch me use tools which you consider unscientific and be amazed at the results I achieve!!! (Plus, I use them *naked*! It's a good show so if you ever get invited to watch maybe you'll reconsider?)

MtnMig,<br />
<br />
I couldn't have said it better.<br />
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NC,<br />
"My idea" had a different point to it.. If you were to look at how that concept has been used so far, you would need an additional forum with literature, theater, painting, and so on..categories. This last answer of yours, as well as the one with the reference to Akasha/Gaia/God/etc. gave me the odd sensation of a soup of concepts...as if you were absorbing all the information and consider it part of a unified theory of everything, but only in a philosophical way.<br />
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In other words, I think you are kind of "pulling our leg", which is fine by me, but a serious waste of energy as well, You will not mind if I may begin skipping over your messages. I am seriously interested in concrete, real, pragmatic, and applicable research of individual use of the brain.<br />
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As MM said, mysticism has not done much to advance our knowledge, although it did feed and maybe enhance our imagination as children. It is simple to keep searching and to later adjust to a theory of the ONE, a quasi-mystical-scientific approach and attempt to create a unified theory. I know it works for many and in many ways - that are none of my interest.<br />
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I have chosen to look into and research our potential from a "hands-on" student-like perspective.<br />
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I wish you best of luck with your personal research and journey. As I have some more writing coming up, and as my little experiment here has yielded some of the results I needed, it is time to keep moving forward.<br />
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Cheers,<br />
HB

The voids of our knowledge have always been filed with religious and mystical explanations and although we have only began to understand our world, science has done a far greater service than shaman or clergymen in elevating our understanding of the planet and the universe we live in.<br />
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There is a view that is often advanced by mystics that the rigor of the sciences stifles imagination and creativity blinding scientists to other realms of explanation. I could not disagree more. Although the sciences as with any discipline respond to major departures from the norm with skepticism I can think of nothing that has done more to blind humanity than the irrationality of mysticism and religion. <br />
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Although I understand the attraction that the sense of community, the connection to something greater that religion and many mystical beliefs offer, we must remember that these are sources of comfort and maybe even wisdom but are not the tools for the advancement of knowledge.

If I recall correctly exergy is a measure of the maximum energy available to do work. It is still energy. Exergy is merely reference to a specific measure.<br />
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It’s great that you can keep your mind occupied at all times. These days I have some much work that I don’t have to be bored although it can get tedious. <br />
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The problem with “akasha, astrology, deva/elohim/kami, dreams, empathic/telepathic connection with the parents or Gaea/Gaia or Global Consciousness or God or the Hundredth-monkey effect or karma or life force or miracles or the noosphere or prayer or reincarnation or soul or synchronicity or will or Universal Unconsciousness” is that these things are not testable or falsifiable meaning that they are not in the realm of science but are mystical. If we were to consider everything that is yet unproven or to employ the use of mystical explanations there would be no progress at all. <br />
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Nothing in the sciences is tabled. If you wished to take up research on ‘morphic fields’ and you got funding for it, nothing would stop you.

@Danjya: Your castle idea has been made into several Sci-Fi/Horror movies, most specifically "Cube²: Hypercube" (2002), also known as simply "Hypercube". <i>http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0285492/</i>

<p>&nbsp;<br />
Somehow I am convinced that you did not really missed my point in that article. The hard work I was referring to has a lot more meaning when placed in contrast with the mentality of "miracle."<br />
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You are absolutely right that performing miracles is of absolutely no interest to me. Your intuition is right on.<br />
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Years ago, I took many journeys into some of the fields you mentioned. I met people that can only be considered sci-fi characters or crazy, yet, they were neither. We acknowledged our presence and knew (more or less, on my part..at the time) how to salute this temporary encounter, while staying solitary on our personal journeys. <br />
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Indulge me for a few moments:<br />
Imagine for a moment a castle with many many rooms, without any apparent pattern in how they connect, more like a labyrinth than anything else. Somewhere in the center of this castle, sits one person. From where this person sits, a piece of the sky can be seen at times, and there are garden-like patches all around...seeming as if this was open space.. Imagine that everything that this person sees, changes all the time, so the person's perception is easily deceived by his/her own memory of past configurations.<br />
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This person wants to find a way..somewhere, so he/she begins a journey through various rooms, but always every path leads back to what appears to be the center of the castle...almost as if everything re-configures itself around this person, as he/she moves.<br />
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After a while, the person faces his/her dilemma: what is the point, and, where does all this lead to?<br />
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How can you construct a strategy that will offer this person a way to accomplish his/her desired task - that of walking outside of the castle - even if that means to enter another?<br />
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That's why I wrote that article..<br />
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The 3 you mentioned - magic, religion, and science - are indeed all aspects of the universe in the sense that all of them are human interpretation of the universe via various means of perception. To reconcile one with another is easy..but you know that already, don't you?<br />
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As far as curses, miracles, and magical events...I can only say that we all choose a journey, or a journey it is picked for us by others. But once we're on a journey, regardless of how we got there, we all become travelers. We may meet and we may travel alongside. Your journey is one I took long time ago, but found that it was not the road for me. Nevertheless, a fascinating journey indeed.<br />
<br />
HB<br />
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PS: Thank you for reading the article.

@MtnMig: Of course Energy, Matter & Space are as real as we can possibly know anything to be. But being "real" isn't very important to the operation of the Universe. As a biologist I would expect you to be more concerned about Exergy rather than Energy.<br />
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I'm never bored because as a student of contemplation & meditation & pattern & perception & relationship there is almost always something in the external environment which I am happy to focus my attention upon. That may be the grid of ceiling tiles (or just the dots on one tile) or cracks or shadows or sounds or sunlight or texture or almost anything. And if there isn't something external, I have a wealth of inner activities & feelings & perceptions & problems & puzzles & thoughts to draw upon. My breath if nothing else. Deep meditation is richly satisfying and I can choose to occupy myself with that anywhere, anytime.<br />
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Have you seen the movie "Wedding Crashers"?<br />
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And as for the inheritance of traits from parents I urge you not to neglect/overlook the possible (if yet unproven) influence & operation of things such as akasha or astrology or community or deva/elohim/kami or dreams or empathic/telepathic connection with the parents or Gaea/Gaia or Global Consciousness or God or the Hundredth-monkey effect or karma or life force or miracles or the noosphere or prayer or reincarnation or soul or synchronicity or will or Universal Unconsciousness on epigenesis and/or morphogenesis.<br />
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Or for that matter, the existence of other morphic fields as theorized by Rupert Sheldrake. Sheldrake "denies that DNA contains a blueprint of morphological development". Even the Royal Society has yet to rule on whether such claims are scientific and/or supported by evidence or not. They have tabled the matter until 2029.

@Danjya: Miracles are easy. I "do" miracles every day almost effortlessly. I can also do curses and other magickal operations. But I have benefited from a lifetime of practice and secret/specialized training.<br />
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I have always struggled to reconcile Magick & Religion & Science -- I am highly trained in each area -- because I know that all three are true aspects of the Universe! Recently I've made quite a bit of progress on understanding the first one.<br />
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I will not discuss this in a public forum. I have accepted a binding oath & a solemn responsibility to keep my Gypsy knowledge safe from distribution or misuse. However I have written something about the overall philosophy which I may share with you privately at some point.<br />
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Why are you writing about triggering ordinary events which appear to others to be miracles? Other than the enhanced perception capability, performing miracles is unrelated to your interest in improving brain function & speed. Or have I misstated your interest?

Some thoughts on NewChrissy’s comments. <br />
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First, I have to say I have enjoyed reading all comments and I hope that you will continue to comment on science related stories.<br />
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I have to disagree that Energy, Matter or Space are an illusion. Energy and matter is as real as we can possibly know anything to be. <br />
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“people are awake but self-report that they are not thinking about anything at all, such as while standing in line or taking a shower or waiting for a bus or washing dishes.” I think everyone is always thinking of something. It is harder to clear one’s mind than to think of anything. Now deep contemplative thought, especially about difficult concepts is harder still since it required us to use many more neural pathways that we normally don’t use. Although, I’m sure you know more about this than me.<br />
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I am amazed that you have never been bored and if that is the case I would have to say that that would definitely make you weird. I enjoy learning and intellectual challenges but there are occasions when the problems I’m working on are too complex for my poor brain to tackle without scribbling on paper and on these occasions if there is nothing else that is intellectually stimulating or fun I get bored. Going to weddings kills me for example. <br />
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As far as the inheritance of traits from parents, you are right that mothers contribute additional information since mothers supply mRNA and proteins to the egg. The fertilized egg develops using the metabolic ‘machinery’ inherited from the mother. This maternal effect can be a form of epigenetics but is very different from the idea that learned behaviors can be inherited by offspring, even through this additional mechanism of inheritence.<br />
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You commented on two very exciting biological fields, cognitive sciences and epigenetics, that have really blossomed in recent years. I look forward to reading more of your comments.<br />
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Cheers

If you have a little bit of time, I just posted an article online:<br />
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Miracles are Hard Work<br />
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Read it here and leave a comment if you found it interesting.<br />
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http://www.buzzle.com/articles/miracles-are-hard-work.html<br />
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Thank you,<br />
HB

NC,<br />
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No, not at all!! I was more leading to how we approach the brain. And I consider using it, functionally to be the lead method of exploring and learning, second very closely by the scientific research.<br />
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If we were just "driving" it, we would end up as in the scenario above.<br />
If we were just "studying" it or deconstruct it, we would end up the in scenario above.<br />
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Since we actually LIVE these scenarios, with all the backwards evident side-effects, I consider much needed to re-evaluate our approach. Both ways can function as spears, pushing forward the limit of what we know and what we do.<br />
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I do not take into consideration neither God, Intelligent Design, or anything else alike. To do so only, is to use the theoretical way. What I do is practical, applicable, AND, in parallel, I study and research as much as possible what our scientific advancements are. This is what I enjoy doing and researching, not because of a mission or anything similar. I do it because I can. I shift my moods in a fraction of second, because I can. I increase my energy level in a fraction of a second, because I can. I "play" with other little things too..because I can.<br />
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What bugles me still, is how so many people are willing to hold on to their inability to access their potential, for the sake of a belief system. For instance, if we begin speaking about activating various areas of the brain without any external tools and without any language driven methods, people just choose to seek dogmatic explanations. Yet, to switch | activate | combine | various neuronal networks is as easy and natural as lifting your arm, or bl<x>inking, or walking. <br />
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How come we walk without much debate about it, but when it comes to matters of the brain, most people flip out towards a scientific perspective (interpretative) or towards a mystical/superstitious dogmatic perspective (interpretative as well)? Well, I know a bunch of reasons why..it was a merely rhetorical question on my part..<br />
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Hope I actually answered your question.<br />
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Cheers,<br />
HB

@Danjya: I'm not sure what your point is. Are you saying we shouldn't do anything at all about/to/with the Porsche? Or are you leading up to an Intelligent Design argument?

<p>&nbsp;<br />
I think that our obsession with categorizing is also detrimental at many, many levels. I am fascinating by neuroscience because it slowly moves towards a few things that I research and DO, so I am waiting to see when they will figure out some new things.. <br />
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I stay away from categories. Wide, narrow, shallow, smart, genius, etc.. In geometry, a line is conceptualized as being an infinite number of dots. If we look at everything around us that we can possibly perceive, as a line, then we can define and systematize that line into an infinite number of labels and categories. Although it is fun, it is also functionally retarded.<br />
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Let me explain:<br />
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If we have a Porsche and contemplate two options:<br />
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ONE, to look at it, take it apart, talk about each part, forget where a part came from and begin debating why that part was there in the first place, etc..and we do this for about 100 years, then we die;<br />
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and<br />
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TWO, we get inside the Porsche and begin exploring its functions, then we take it for a 100 years long ride, until we die;<br />
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Which one is more functionally sound, CONSIDERING that at the end of that 100 years, we would have to explain to someone else - a child - WHAT THE PORSCHE IS FOR? (If you question why would we have to explain it, here is the answer: it would the biologically responsible thing to do)<br />
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IF,<br />
<br />
We dissect that Porsche for 100 years, then we encounter that child, we will take a lot of HIS/HER time while explaining the parts that took us 100 years to figure out. We would most likely die before we would be done explaining, hence we would leave the child with a sack of parts to figure out. By a second or third generation, there will no longer be a Porsche, but a pile of shiny scrap metal. Another generation later, we would no longer know that the Porsche was a car, or that it could speed. We may however, still have some stories and myths about a speeding ob<x>jects that made lots of noise and could take us from a place to another with the speed of thought. Another generation later, we would create an entire dogma, based of incomplete data and a pile of metal.<br />
Just watch Planet of the Apes to see a great example of that approach.<br />
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However,<br />
<br />
IF we drove that Porsche without understanding its dynamics, we would leave a legacy that would eventually lead to....dogma as well, as soon as the Porsche malfunctioned. We would create models based on stories about a shiny ob<x>ject that could take us....etc...and we would not know what to do. Hence, some will take it apart, some will pray for a miracle.<br />
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NEITHER choice is useful by itself. Both are retarded by themselves. But only one can drive the other.

Hi Learnerrt,<br />
To answer your post, I do not project a particular purpose to life other than itself - in a biological sense. If we were to give it a purpose, it could be an individual one, or mass-dogmatic, such as religion is, for instance. The need for a purpose has many factors involved.. The relative shortness of our life is just that - relative. For some, life may seem like a very long journey. Either way, life-span seems to be a result of DNA in conjunction with environmental dynamics over time (or "computations" as NC referred to). Could we live longer, without external genetic manipulation? Probably yes, but for that we would need to take a different look not only at our environment (including food, air, etc) but to also begin researching how can we control our bodily functions at molecular level (which is part of what I am researching) - and I am not talking about jogging, exercising and that kind of activities. In regard to how much of our brain we use, it appears that the myth of the % of the brain we use has been dealt with a while ago.<br />
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If I had to consider percentages, I would prefer to consider how much of our potential are we using, instead of how much of our brain. I think we are using all of our brain, but not its full potential.<br />
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Like a sports car. We can drive the WHOLE car at 5MPH, or, we can drive the WHOLE car at 100MPH. It is obvious that most people drive very slow... WHY is it like this? Because in our ignorance and arrogance, we have shifted towards a centrist state of functionality, namely "thinking." Thinking, if I am to use the car analogy, is like driving a Porsche at 5MPH - slow and noisy as hell.. Can it be changed? Although I know that functionally is possible, I have my doubts - mainly because people have been conditioned to resist any change.. So, it's a matter of mathematics: we are looking at the probability of human evolution versus the probability of human extinction either by self-destruction or by natural course of events.<br />
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Responsibility is something that most humans dread immensely.<br />
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As you probably noticed, I am here, writing, because I am also promoting my book, but, what I also do is research. The very change that could bring people towards a common "path", functionally natural, is blocked by dogmatic thinking in various ways. If I am to understand how change can take place, I am also to study as many aspects of delivering that change through the wall of dogma. I am simply learning.<br />
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NC,<br />
I consider the "mind" to be a function of the brain, much like digestion or breathing, and nothing else. Mind fullness or emptiness are just concepts that have "blinded" people for so long that it is becoming ridiculous. I too, cannot remember the last time I was bored :)<br />
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That being said, even if we think and talk in the most complex paradigms, with 5 Einsteins at the same time, we would still be "slow" and we would use what we use now - in order to communicate on this forum - the "mind", or better said the interpretative function of a system controlled by the brain.<br />
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It is too bad that it will be a while until you'll read my book... If I haven't sparked your interest so far, I have little chances to do so from now on. :)<br />
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Cheers,<br />
HB

@learnertt: I have discussed part of your first question here & here:<br />
http://www.hi5.com/friend/group/displayTopic.do?groupId=77322&topicId=10025491<br />
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http://www.hi5.com/friend/group/displayTopic.do?groupId=77322&topicId=11529011<br />
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In your second question you're talking about the difference between the active network of neurons in your brain (perhaps 5 to 10%) and the reserve capacity (most of the rest). <br />
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Even while a particular part of the brain is active there is significant excess capacity in that part in the form of quiescent cells which are not in the working network. As long as they're not needed they require very little to stay alive and produce very little metabolic waste. They also die more easily than other brain cells, such as when you aren't getting enough oxygen to your brain or when you drink too much alcohol.<br />
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They begin taking in nutrients and developing into a functioning nerve cell when nearby nerve cells are over-stimulated and begin growing axons and/or dendrites (http://www.biologymad.com/NervousSystem/nervoussystemintro.htm) which reach out & touch them. One to two weeks after they wake up they will have formed connections of their own (possibly waking up other cells around them) and will be fully incorporated into the working network, thereby reducing the load on the original overused nerve cells.<br />
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This is what happens when you place new demands on your brain such as learning how to read & write. Or when you begin driving or juggling or ************ or anything else which your brain isn't used to. Or you can take LSD, which wakes them up more randomly and is an effective way to increase the number of working cells & connections & pathways in your entire brain.<br />
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I've written more about brain development (and other things I've mentioned) in these topics:<br />
http://www.hi5.com/friend/group/displayTopic.do?groupId=77322&topicId=7175315<br />
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http://www.hi5.com/friend/group/displayTopic.do?groupId=77322&topicId=14785765<br />
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http://www.hi5.com/friend/group/displayTopic.do?groupId=77322&topicId=14391795<br />
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http://www.hi5.com/friend/group/displayTopic.do?groupId=77322&topicId=14390441<br />
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Please reply here as I no longer actively monitor the discussions on hi5.

Since it will be some time before I get to read your book, either we can put this discussion on hold until then or we can talk about something which is on your mind now, perhaps something you are thinking about for your next book or that a reader has asked you to expound upon further. <br />
<br />
I'll suggest a few topics. If you don't like any of these, you may suggest something.<br />
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It seems clear that many people do not usually practice being in the now or "mind-fullness". I'm always curious about what brains are doing when people are awake but self-report that they are not thinking about anything at all, such as while standing in line or taking a shower or waiting for a bus or washing dishes. My internal experience is that I'm always thinking about something and that it takes choice & effort of a sort to enter a meditative state during which I'm not thinking. What is it that you do with your brain, or that you think others could/should be doing with theirs at such times?<br />
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From a lifetime of hearing about it I have formed a working understanding of what people mean when they say they are bored but I don't believe that I have ever experienced that mental state for myself because there is always some kind of internal experience going on or a perceptual input which catches my wandering attention and keeps me entertained & occupied. I guess I'm just weird that way. What do you think about boredom?<br />
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Some people seem to have a shallow & wide memory for considering lots of choices & possibilities, or keeping up with the current status of the (many) tasks they have started, while others maintain a narrow & deep context for comparing / focusing upon a few choices & possibilities at a time, or carrying out the (few) tasks they are currently working on.<br />
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The downside of the shallow & wide approach is that hard tasks with lots of decisions & prerequisites & steps are never started or are abandoned unfinished or accomplished with important steps skipped, while the upside is that lots of easy things get done and tasks rarely get forgotten or overlooked due to distractions or interruptions along the way.<br />
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The downside of the narrow & deep strategy is never getting around to everything which needs doing and being more annoyed or upset by distractions & interruptions, while the upside is having more capacity & concentration for successfully dealing with lengthy tasks involving complex & difficult choices or decisions or problems or situations.<br />
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I invite you to read & comment or expand upon what I've written about this here:<br />
<i>http://www.hi5.com/friend/group/displayTopic.do?groupId=77322&topicId=14318031</i>

Well, I do not take into consideration MY universe or YOUR universe, for starters. To make more clear maybe, and to avoid falling into the new age nonsense that surrounds us these days, instead of MY Universe, maybe we should call it MY Perception of the Universe.<br />
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To assume that one's perception is ACTUALLY an universe is a little far fetched. Even if there were as many universes as individual perceptions, ALL of these universes would co-exist on a certain level of "existence", hence still leading to a single universe with multiple manifestations. From creatures which are light-blind and deaf in comparison to a dog, it's a bit preposterous for anyone to claim knowledge over this topic. I do not. <br />
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I agree that time may not exist. I can actually prove it, but the temporal reference to billions of years prior to the existence of humans was just that: a temporal reference. Needless to say, a lot of "computation" had to take place before a human can identify its image reflected on the surface of a pond..as being himself/herself.<br />
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Also, to believe that we consensually create this reality with our minds, is as centrist as anyone can get. And we know what happened to all centrist theories so far..<br />
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I am not really assuming anything about you and I - I only followed a personal and obvious conclusion to me. With a few exceptions, everything that all humans have ever thought about, was either incorrect or incomplete. Yet, we state absolutes.<br />
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As far as your last sentence: I no longer have a "destination", other than the natural one that leads inevitably to physical death. My research has much to do with the use of my brain, and absolutely nothing to do with any dogma.<br />
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But, some resources are valuable through their limitation, so, if you would like to find out more about what I do, I invite you to read my book, then experiment with the processes described in there, and then we can debate whether they are real or not. Until then, all we do is what humanity has done in vain for what seems like an eternity: mental looping that served absolutely no functional purpose.<br />
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If the universe was a witness, I bet it had never seen such waste of potential as humans displayed and continue to do so..<br />
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I prefer experiments to any form of debates :)<br />
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Best,<br />
HB

Perhaps I should have emphasized that MY universe (the one with me at the center as the primary actor & observer & etc.) is different from YOUR universe (...). When I say "the" Universe I'm referring to the consensual reality we create together & share with other minds.<br />
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Of course my universe would not continue to exist <i>for ME</i> if I were not in it, although it might continue existing for YOU if you continued to think about me & my point of view. That's not dogmatic, I see it as axiomatic. (This leads to an interesting discussion about continuing personal existence (in spite of ones death in some branches) in the Many Minds Interpretation (MMI) of quantum physics.) <br />
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As for talking about "the billions of years that passed before" you are giving much more importance & "reality" (for lack of a better word) to the apparent passage of time and evolution of the Universe than I feel it deserves. Time is just as much an illusion as is Energy or Matter or Space or anything else in Science. Only information (and perhaps computation, i.e., motion) is "real".<br />
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We haven't talked about what I do with my brain, or what I want to learn, or how I can share knowledge for whatever reasons. Don't assume that our approaches & desires & goals are all that far apart even if our beliefs or models or perspectives may be. Tell me about your destination & experience & journey & research & study.

Hi NC,<br />
<br />
Just to make sure I really understood your:<br />
<br />
"Answer: Of course the Universe would not continue to exist & function as it does now without having at least one (p)referential locus (humans will suffice) in it..."<br />
<br />
Are you saying that the Universe would not continue to exist & function as it does now IF HUMANS DID NOT EXIST?<br />
<br />
How could one explain the billions of years that passed before anything similar to a human even existed?<br />
<br />
But, this thread does diverge into something I did not intended it to. I am much more interested in what people do with their brain, what they want to learn (if they want to learn), and how we can share knowledge in order to further individual research. <br />
<br />
I am afraid that our perspectives are as far apart as they could be. I do not consider humans to be the center, or essential, to anything in the universe. Such view of the Universe and humankind is fundamentally dogmatic, which is, in my opinion, the most dangerous trap of all. I sincerely wish you luck with your journey and studies.<br />
<br />
Best,<br />
HB

Answer: Of course the Universe would not continue to exist & function as it does now without having at least one (p)referential locus (humans will suffice) in it. For example, the whole "Laws of Form" structure would collapse, or more accurately, would never get built. Distinctions as simple as left/right or above/below would no longer have meaning without an entity able to invent & refer to them and then impose that personal organization upon themselves and the rest of the Universe.<br />
<br />
Each level of any consensual-observer or computed/evolving/simulated/manifested reality depends upon entities & processes & rules & structures & etc. which are designed & imagined into existence at/by/in a more fundamental la<x>yer.<br />
<br />
Other than the most basic operations of retrieving & storing & transferring symbols the brain's processing speed has little to do with how fast the mind can work, that is determined more by how the mind is organized and what skills & tools it has acquired.<br />
<br />
Symbolic thinking is "fast" to the degree that it takes advantage of abstractions & relationships and short-cuts your mind has learned, just like other forms of thinking (artistic, emotional, linguistic, magickal, mathematical, mechanical, musical, spatial, & etc.).<br />
<br />
Your symbolic thinking gets faster as you build up your symbol grammar & vocabulary and become more practiced/skilled at associating/generating/manipulating/organizing/recognizing/transforming symbols and patterns of symbols. The more you use Tarot the better you get at creating & imagining & thinking about symbolic relationships & symbols instead of sentences & words.

Yes, I agree, the pause technique is functional, organic, biological. Yet, it was observed from an interpretative model which - although extremely useful in therapy - it actually limits the subject to that interpretative functioning.<br />
<br />
As per products and substances, no, I have not tried any of those mentioned, and I do not need to or intend to. My research is based on results - or lack of - without intervention.<br />
<br />
Your comment about reality made me remember one of my earliest stages when I too considered imagination to be the almighty gateway to everything. So I will ask you one question in regard to that.<br />
<br />
Q: Imagining a Universe without humans in it, hence without human imagination, would that Universe not continue to exist and function as it does now?<br />
<br />
I must say however, that you are very close to something fundamental to our existence. So maybe, I will also need to ask you to define Imagination, as you interpret the term.<br />
<br />
Do you really think that thinking symbolically is really fast? How about the process that enables you to think symbolically, wouldn't that process be faster and more complex?<br />
<br />
My point is that I consider that we are conditioned to think. Thinking is extremely slow, regardless of how well we think, or how complex and imaginative we develop our mental skills into.<br />
<br />
Best,<br />
HB

@Danjya: Some of that "aliens" & etc. discussion was intended more for MtnMig than for you.<br />
<br />
Yes, unlike the permanent improvements you get from LSD therapy, nootropics are nutritional supplements which only work as long as you are taking them. But they are reasonably priced and the increase in brain function & speed is noticeable. Have you tried nootropic formulations such as Focus Smart by Irwin Naturals or Focus Factor by Vital Basics?<br />
<br />
I'm not sure how to classify Tarot. Yes, it is an external tool until you have practiced enough to internalize it. Once your brain has learned the new language and is thinking symbolically (which is very "fast") I suppose you could stop using the actual cards. That might limit their benefits. I probably no longer need the cards but I still enjoy using them.<br />
<br />
Korzybski's thalamic pause technique is functional, organic, biological. I've seen it occurring in live brain scans.<br />
<br />
I don't give "what we call reality" as you define it much importance. Imagination is more fundamental to how the universe functions. Reality is only waves on the surface of a vast ocean of imagination.

Hi NC,<br />
<br />
My choice of the word "slow" came with a superficial explanation. If you take a vintage car for instance and compare its parameters to the fastest, most complex car of today, the vintage car will be considered "slow" - both as actual speed range, as well as overall functionality. That is not to say that the vintage car has no value. On the contrary. For me, slow does not represent lack of value or respect for a particular method, but rather a simple observation.<br />
<br />
As per your list of methods, and it seems you have tried many in your quest for knowledge, I maintain my point of view - they are quite slow, since most are employing the mind in order to make sense. The mind, in my view, is a mere function of the brain. Very slow in comparison with the processes that "create" / generate what we call mind.<br />
<br />
As far as LSD or any other substances, I do not use them as a choice, not as lack of luck in procuring them.. Needless to say, many consider them the gateway to higher consciousness, divine, etc. I choose differently, and it works excellent for me. A state of functionality that can only be achieved by external means is as constant and useful as the availability of such means. My research and practice are geared toward the most natural processes that can be accessed without any help from any source. <br />
<br />
With regard to aliens and artificial DNA is of little importance to me. Not because it does not matter, but because - at this point in my life - I prefer to focus on functionality, rather than information that would not change the functionality in itself in any way. Same goes with the concept of God. It does not matter to me if such an entity exist or not. What matters is what I can do to explore a potential that took already millions of years to develop.<br />
<br />
We can chat about aliens and the divine for years. Meanwhile, how are we actually going to learn and develop what we already have, if we are busy chatting?<br />
<br />
At least, that is my approach.<br />
<br />
One last thing: Korzybski<br />
In this society, his method is excellent. From a functional, organic, biological perspective, it is pointless. I keep very clear distinction between what we call reality - which is a looping interpretation of our own interaction with the environment from a perspective that is already skewed - and the structural "functionality" of the human being.<br />
<br />
All of the methods mentioned by you have a clear use within the human environment called society. Outside of that "shell" they are pointless and often condition the brain to function "slow."<br />
<br />
Curiously, studying JKD would take one away from dogma, concepts, and theories - and guide him/her toward functionality...Isn't that so?<br />
<br />
Regardless, I hope you obtain everything you need from studying and practicing these methods.<br />
<br />
Cheers,<br />
HB

The evidence for DNA being artificial (i.e. that it is a tool engineered & used by aliens to construct life on Earth) is controversial & conflicting. See http://www.hi5.com/friend/group/displayTopic.do?groupId=96147&topicId=15454289.<br />
<br />
That idea falls into the category of "things I want to believe because that would be so cool!" in spite of it being unlikely. The Global Consciousness Project (http://noosphere.princeton.edu/) and fungi (mushroom colonies) being an (intelligent?) alien lifeform which has adapted to live in Terra's biosphere are two more examples. I have my own personal evidence to support the last one. Do you have any pet theories like these?<br />
<br />
Don't be so quick to write off Korzybski's ideas as outdated or "rushed" (an odd choice of adjectives to describe someone who was so long-winded about explaining everything!) until you have reviewed the modern version. See The Institute of General Semantics website at http://www.generalsemantics.org/<br />
<br />
A good place to start on Win Wenger is his book "Discovering the Obvious", which is available in an inexpensive paperback version. I like his Project Renaissance ("What can we learn from a genius?") which you can learn about at http://www.winwenger.com/<br />
<br />
My martial arts style is the Jeet Kune Do evolution of traditional Wing Chun. Mixed in with various forms of Tantra.<br />
<br />
I understand why you do not use LSD, very few people get that opportunity these days. I was very lucky. But what about "any other substances"? There are a number of worthwhile nootropics available today.<br />
<br />
I challenge your characterization of the approaches on my list as being "rather slow". NLP is amazingly quick (from mere seconds to only a few minutes), Ericksonian Hypnosis (HPP) or the Mind Mirror works in just a few one-hour sessions. LSD therapy delivers huge life-time improvements in creativity & emotions & intelligence & many other areas of brain function within only ten to fourteen days, certainly in under one month.<br />
<br />
Perception training does start off slowly but begins to gain momentum after about thirty days.<br />
<br />
Pain/pleasure training makes ******* over a thousand times better in two to three months. That's about how long it takes to begin benefiting from Tarot Cards and various forms of advanced/enlightened meditation practice (Chi/Prana/Qi and Chakra/Kundalini/Tantra activation & focusing, Orgasmic Meditation, Ultra Meditation, etc.)<br />
<br />
Yes, the philosophical approaches are "slow", such as Aesthetic Realism & Fourth Way & General Semantics & Neo-Tech & Rational Inquiry. But in my experience significant results can be achieved in the first year.<br />
<br />
Then there is Magickal Thinking, which can take a lifetime and works best if you start at a young age.

Hi NC,<br />
<br />
I'll take a spin on your question (my part of it). As per your question to MM, bringing UFO's into this conversation DOES go off topic, really :) - regardless of how plausible it may be that aliens did all that we have no explanation for at the moment.<br />
<br />
So, from the list you provided, I can only think of one particular thing that I liked: binaural beats (and not any ones..)<br />
<br />
As per Korzybski's theory, I am sure that he will stand corrected if we were to exchange information today (more than 60 years later from his theory). Although his theory touches upon a similar principle that I discuss, his conclusion was rushed..due to the very limitation of the instrument he used to create his theory.<br />
<br />
Wenger's is quite fascinating, but still using a process that follows the process I describe in my book. His use of streaming imagery for instance is still a mental process of a loop (interpretation-sensory association).<br />
<br />
As a martial artist, I have trained in QiQong and TaiChi along with my base Goju and Aikido training. Those are excellent methods that can benefit greatly from a simple change in approach, as I describe in the book. It's like taking a ten-year long practice and compress it into a few minutes, hours, or days at the most. Of course, the process described by me also requires personal effort and investment of energy. There is no magic pill, thank goodness..<br />
<br />
As for the rest, I find them rather slow - at the risk of sounding pompous, which I prefer to a politically correct answer.<br />
<br />
I do not use LSD or any other substances.<br />
<br />
To give you an idea, imagine that - still having the brain we have today - we would not have any of the methods out there (as you listed), including scientific methods. Would that make our brain less capable? No.<br />
<br />
That is because our potential is not dependent on the methods, but rather the methods express one or more processes of which the brain is capable.<br />
<br />
Everything that has been developed so far - and has been released on the market - is slow. Some even condition the brain to continue to function slow. I refer to "slow" not only as speed but as functional complexity as well.<br />
<br />
HB

@MtnMig: As a biologist what is your view on all of the interesting "technological" properties DNA has which are (apparently) unrelated to reproduction? Such as absorbing & neutralizing & repairing damage from energetic radiation at levels well beyond what occurs in the cellular environment, actively transporting electrons as a loss-less superconductor at biological temperatures, "wet" structural/topological problem-solving packing configurations, and emitting photons, just to name four out of a long list.<br />
<br />
What about the possibility that it is an extraterrestrial engineering artifact which was preloaded with useful biological information (because the Earth hasn't been around long enough for that much information to have been accumulated) rather than something that naturally evolved here?<br />
<br />
Or that fungi / mushroom colonies are alien lifeforms which have adapted themselves to our biosphere but did not originate here?<br />
<br />
How do you explain Koala Bears developing the ability to survive only on Eucalyptus leaves when there is apparently no viable evolutionary sequence which leads up to that capability? (Nothing can possibly evolve from Eucalyptus leaves being poisonous to subsisting ONLY on Eucalyptus leaves without some of the intermediate organisms being non-viable.)<br />
<br />
Or horses spreading from a fairly small native territory to being a world-wide species in under one hundred years, and possibly in even less than fifty? (Are you familiar with the theory that people were transported into new territories by UFOs and they took horses with them?)<br />
<br />
What do you think about the water-ape "return to the ocean" transformation of modern homo sapiens?<br />
<br />
@Danjya: Are you familiar with the system Alfred Korzybski developed for exploring & improving & using ones own brain? Aesthetic Realism and General Semantics were very useful in tying together my magickal perception training as a Gypsy witch and my martial arts discipline and my LSD therapy and my neurological development as a pain/pleasure ****. What about Win Wenger's system? Do you use Tarot cards to develop your brain's symbolic abilities? Black (or regular) mirrors? Chi/Prana/Qi and Chakra/Kundalini/Tantra activation & focusing? Orgasmic Meditation? Ultra Meditation? What about Ericksonian Hypnosis and Hypno-Peripheral Processing and NLP? Audio/visual binaural beats and brain wave entrainment? Have you used the DAVID or the Mind Mirror or some other MegaBrain mind machine? CentrePoint? Fourth Way? Higher Balance? Neo-Tech? NXIVM / Rational Inquiry? OmniTech? Supersensonics? YES? zentech? Zygon? There are many other brain exploration philosophies & systems & technologies I've used which don't come to mind at the moment, tell me which ones you have found useful.

I am in complete agreement, MM. I could not assume that the genome itself changes.., and yes, we are talking about evolutionary steps in regard to latent genes for example, not actual new combination (although this might not be impossible either under certain mutation-prone conditions). Drug use is one of the most clear evidence of how an external factor influences a gene "reaction" at the individual level. True, a drug is not an "experience", but an experience can trigger modifications in our neuro-chemistry, affecting in turn a gene's response.<br />
<br />
The idea is that at some levels - and often quantifiable levels - "experience" can influence our overall or specific genetic material. If we look at "experience" as particular interaction between us (as organisms) and the environment. This is where I take my book to.<br />
<br />
The process I describe in the book is not mine in particular. Every single human being has the ability to do that, but they - we - were never taught how to do it, or that it is even possible.<br />
<br />
I am also not writing about meditation, which is a process that follows the process that I describe in the book. That being said, I think meditation can be very useful, as proven time and time again. The difference is that meditation in comparison to the process I describe (which by the way is a natural process, not induced by any substance or machinery) is similar to the efficiency of riding a bicycle instead of taking the plane - IF, the goal is to cross the ocean.<br />
<br />
I hope you'll read the book and find the subject as fascinating as I do. You said you are a biologist..may I ask if Research or Academia?<br />
<br />
Best,<br />
HB

I don’t disagree that the environment influences genes but it does so by selecting at the individual level but not at the level of the genes within an individual. <br />
<br />
I also agree that certain experiences affect gene activity but it does so through the ex<x>pression of existing genes and not the creation of new gene combinations.<br />
<br />
For example in one of the links you included (thanks) “Influencing brain networks: implications for education” the authors examine how brain development is influenced by education. They describe how the development of neural networks is influenced by the experience of education. What the authors do not claim and would not, is that the educational experience changes the genome of these children.<br />
<br />
Maybe I’m as just being picky about the language you use because I’m a biologist so the details matter to me.<br />
<br />
I also don't think that most neurologists or developmental biologist would disagree with you that you can change your brain by using it alone. Studies have shown the effects meditation and of simply remaining intellectually active on neural connections. This in fact is an new and exciting area of neurology and the cognitive sciences. <br />
<br />
I think we might agree that in time more people will use methods such as meditation to improve their brain function.

Hi NC,<br />
<br />
Yes, it is indeed "off-topic relative to discussing ideas & methods & technology for exploring ones own brain. "<br />
<br />
Most likely because of a statement I made that implies that we can add knowledge to out genetic material, hence our gene pool.<br />
<br />
But, to get back on track, as you put it, what I meat by "exploring my brain" refers to active participation in as many processes that take place in the brain.<br />
<br />
Now, some may argue that such a thing is not possible, and that the only process we can participate to and through is "thinking". I look at it from a different perspective, one that shows that we can not only observe processes in the brain but also alter them - without any "conventional thinking" involved.<br />
<br />
So, my thread/story is more an open invitation to conversation than a personal essay. My book is now available in print format. If any of the readers here would like to purchase it, this is the link to my CreateSpace Store (through Amazon). Before purchasing, use the code bellow for a 20% discount. <br />
<br />
The book describes experiments that any person can explore, as long as they are willing to be open to possibilities. Feel free to visit my website (www.evolutionaryexploration.com) where there is a link to a large preview of the book online, mostly from the first part, which is theoretical.<br />
<br />
Here is the link, and the discount code:<br />
<br />
Store link: https://www.createspace.com/3433123<br />
Code: T97SGC9E<br />
<br />
Best,<br />
HB

There is a great deal besides primary DNA info that is passed on at conception, including enzymes & proteins & mitochondria.<br />
<br />
Not only is there a "library" provided by the mother and one by the father, there is information about what was checked out or being ignored at the time of conception. And information which is sort of like a "card catalog" for more easily/prominently indexing DNA info which the mother or father found useful.<br />
<br />
I refer you both to the Wikipedia page on gene ex<x>pression, and more specifically to the one on epigenetics. <br />
<br />
This is off-topic relative to discussing ideas & methods & technology for exploring ones own brain.

Well, on this we may have to agree to disagree. We are not the first one to debate over this topic, and multiple studies show evidence supporting both views regarding the dynamics between environment and genetics. It is - to me - a matter of common sense to acknowledge that the environment influences genes via a numbers of pathways. It is also clear that genes determine behavior.<br />
<br />
The link to be made - and it is more and more evident that it is possible - is between the environment to the genes via influence on behavior.<br />
<br />
Certain experiences (environment-based) trigger physiological reactions and show chemical changes in the brain as well as particular gene activation.<br />
<br />
This is a both ways street. Everything has evolved DUE to environmental pressure. Behavior is simply a reflection of a complex response that takes place as the environment acts upon an organism.<br />
<br />
Here are a couple of interesting links relatively related to our conversation:<br />
<br />
http://books.google.com/books?hl=en&lr=&id=aVdw3VLRqYsC&oi=fnd&pg=PA41&dq=probabilistic+epigenesis&ots=NBgy00cJ8h&sig=Y9mcAgPv959CW6W1OIOEUKIzkT4#v=onepage&q=probabilistic%20epigenesis&f=false<br />
<br />
http://www.sciencedirect.com/science?_ob=ArticleURL&_udi=B6VH9-4FD0NGK-1&_user=10&_coverDate=03%2F01%2F2005&_rdoc=1&_fmt=high&_orig=search&_sort=d&_docanchor=&view=c&_searchStrId=1230806607&_rerunOrigin=scholar.google&_acct=C000050221&_version=1&_urlVersion=0&_userid=10&md5=991ecce38f6f6a9a0d7a4a923801067f<br />
<br />
http://psycnet.apa.org/index.cfm?fa=buy.optionToBuy&id=2003-09105-001&CFID=6778167&CFTOKEN=45878348<br />
<br />
http://www.sciencedirect.com/science?_ob=ArticleURL&_udi=B6VS3-4HG6723-1&_user=10&_coverDate=12%2F31%2F2005&_rdoc=1&_fmt=high&_orig=search&_sort=d&_docanchor=&view=c&_searchStrId=1230791072&_rerunOrigin=scholar.google&_acct=C000050221&_version=1&_urlVersion=0&_userid=10&md5=452999937678b71ce78deb10ae93c95d<br />
<br />
Whether or not things are possible, I leave it to scientists :) I am more interested to focus on experimenting and learning in an experiential manner. I enjoy the results more than I enjoy talking about possibilities or impossibilities. <br />
<br />
I always give the example of push-ups. We can talk about push-ups for days. That doesn't mean we can do 100 of them in a row, without any actual work and training. I prefer the training part :)<br />
<br />
Not too long ago it was said that humans are either left or right brain predominant and that we cannot consciously switch from one to another. Things have changed, haven't they? <br />
<br />
Cheers,<br />
HB

Yes, experiences do alter behavior but those experiences cannot become part of an individual’s genetic material – there simply is no mechanism whereby experiences alter an individual’s DNA. <br />
I’m also not speaking of only human’s. <br />
<br />
In your example with the rats, the young rats would have had to learn that behavior from the parent. If separated from the parents the young rats are not going to genetically inherent some behavior that their parents learned. <br />
<br />
Science, our best methods of learning, requires that we look for evidence of phenomena not assert that those phenomena that evidence is lacking to disprove them exist simply because evidence to the contrary has not been found. If this were the case we would have to look for evidence disproving anything that we could conjure up.

Oh, but experiences do alter behavior, which in turn becomes part of genetic material - that can be seen across the biological board. An "experience" is an event to which an individual or a group responds to. If this event occurs more than once the chances are that the response becomes more and more "precise" or efficient (for whatever task may be), then, it is observed in future generations.<br />
<br />
I am not talking humans here, but in general.<br />
<br />
The point being that experience can modify behavior, behavior can trigger a change in genetic material, hence, functional changes. Functional changes are evolutionary.<br />
<br />
By the way, humans still evolve according to some studies. And how could we not, as long as our interaction with the environment continues to present challenges.<br />
<br />
Indeed, our individual experiences - as humans - do not pass onto our children as genetic material, unless those experiences trigger changes that can be transmitted genetically. Just because our evolution is rather slow (impossible to detect unless a study across hundreds of years is done), it does not mean that it doesn't take place. At least, that is my opinion.<br />
<br />
As far as the possibility that ONE individual can alter his/her DNA and pass it on to offspring - to say that it is impossible, is based on lack of evidence at this particular moment. Once again, if a rat's experiences can change its behavior and afterward that behavior is recognized in its offspring, why would we assume that this does cannot occur in humans?<br />
<br />
Genetics and Neuroscience are relatively young, and most of their answers to most of the questions are still variations on the same theme: "we do not know why, but here is what is happening." <br />
<br />
To state an "impossibility" is very close to creating a functional limit in many cases. I shy away from that word..<br />
<br />
HB

HB,<br />
<br />
Our genes can make us more predisposed to specific behaviors but our experiences do not change the genes that you pass on to your children. However, there is a genetic component to behavior that your children could inherent from you and that may make them more predisposed to say be more analytical (speculation here). <br />
<br />
The formation of new neurons in your brain that is stimulated by your thought is not evolution it is change. So if you are using the word ‘evolution’ to mean change than yes the brain can change but that change is limited to the neurons in your brain while the DNA in your ***** cells does not change and therefore the changes that you experience cannot be passed on and it is not ‘evolution’ from a species adaptation perspective. <br />
<br />
Evolution only occurs when traits are inheritable and those traits confer some adaptive advantage that leads to their increased representation within the gene pool. <br />
<br />
I do agree with you that our brains to change as a result of thought.

Hi MtnMig,<br />
<br />
Well, my reply to NewChrissy reflects an honest answer, as her question was quite rhetorical. And since her profile did not give any clues to what NewChrissy's approach is, I couldn't tell. My answer went exactly as far as I wanted it to go.<br />
<br />
Regarding knowledge being added to our gene pool, it is rather possible, if we look at it from a biological perspective. If "knowledge" is not information from a book or language-based, but a series of functional adaptations to environment, then it is possible to become part of our genetic material.<br />
<br />
This is what evolution is in fact - a series of adaptive steps to various factors.<br />
<br />
Take "intelligence" for example. It has been stated that "overall intelligence" is our brain's capacity to create, associate, and maintain active multiple neuronal networks. The very process of learning involves creating new connections, eventually generating the formation of new neurons, etc. This is an evolutionary process, not a static one. Thus, "knowledge" can be added to our genetic code, hence, eventually to our human gene pool.<br />
<br />
Another interesting thing is how the computer age has changed and continues to do so, the way the brain forms new connections. I wish I could insert the link to that particular study, but I misplaced it.. Regardless, it was about young kids that use the computer for many hours. They showed functional changes in their brain. Functional changes are very profound, adaptive processes - which is exactly how evolution takes place. <br />
<br />
All this of course stands valid only if one accepts the theory of evolution as a valid one. I do.<br />
<br />
In regard to your request for "something concrete"...well, this is a community forum. A platform for conversation, and that is exactly what I did - opened a conversation about possibilities. I do invite you to visit my profile or my website (www.evolutionaryexploration.com). I have posted a large preview of my book online - so that should be quite concrete for now.<br />
<br />
Thank you for giving me the opportunity to elaborate my thoughts :)<br />
<br />
Cheers,<br />
HB

I guess I'm a sticker for details but we can't add knowledge to the gene pool. Well, give us something concrete. <br />
<br />
You can't change anything if your answer to NewChrissy was "I do not know". That brain exploration didn't go far now did it : )

I do not know...

Intriguing. I wonder if your approach is similar to my own?