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The seat of consciousness

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posted on Sep, 5 2012 @ 04:11 PM
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I have been on the fence for a long time about whether or not we as humans possess a soul separate from the human mind. There are many accounts of seemingly likable and well respected personalities who have been changed forever by traumatic brain injury and or brain disease. I was raised to believe that all human beings have a soul, but the stories I am going to be relating in this thread have caused me to wonder as a whole on whether or not our understanding of the internal make up of the human genome is flawed. I like to believe that the mind is the soul, and that they are not separate entities, in and of themselves.

One strange case is the case of Clive Wearing.




On March 29, 1985, Wearing, then an acknowledged expert in early music at the height of his career with BBC Radio 3, contracted herpes encephalitis. Normally causing only cold sores, in Wearing's case the virus attacked his brain. Primarily it damaged the hippocampus, which plays a major role in the handling of long term memory formation. Additionally, he sustained marginal damage to the temporal and frontal lobes. The former houses the amygdala, a component implicated in the control of emotions and associated memories.





Another strange case is that of Henry Molaison.




Henry Molaison, known by thousands of psychology students as "HM," lost his memory on an operating table in a hospital in Hartford, in August 1953. He was 27 years old and had suffered from epileptic seizures for many years.





William Beecher Scoville, a Hartford neurosurgeon, stood above an awake Henry and skilfully suctioned out the seahorse-shaped brain structure called the hippocampus that lay within each temporal lobe. Henry would have been drowsy and probably didn't notice his memory vanishing as the operation proceeded. The operation was successful in that it significantly reduced Henry's seizures, but it left him with a dense memory loss. When Scoville realized his patient had become amnesic, he referred him to the eminent neurosurgeon, Dr. Wilder Penfield and neuropsychologist Dr. Brenda Milner of Montreal Neurological Institute (MNI) who assessed him in detail. Up until then it had not been known that the hippocampus was essential for making memories, and that if we lose both of them we will suffer a global amnesia. Once this was realized, the findings were widely publicized so that this operation to remove both hippocampi would never be done again.


Full article link here.
www.google.com... nd%2F201201%2Fhm-the-man-no-memory&ei=8qpHUMiRGqfo0QHnroCICQ&usg=AFQjCNF8uXkiAtmLYgROoKhatVz9h6El4w

In a case from 2002, where a Virginia school teacher wished to remain anonymous.




The sudden and uncontrollable paedophilia exhibited by a 40-year-old man was caused by an egg-sized brain tumour, his doctors have told a scientific conference. And once the tumour had been removed, his sex-obsession disappeared. The cancer was located in the right lobe of the orbifrontal cortex, which is known to be tied to judgment, impulse control and social behaviour. But neurologists Russell Swerdlow and Jeffrey Burns, of the University of Virginia at Charlottesville, believe it is the first reported case linking damage to the region with paedophilia.


In this case, a tumor had grown in orbifrontal cortex, and after removed, the man's behavior returned to normal. Not long thereafter, the tumor had returned, and the anonymous school teacher's paedophiliac behavior returned.

Full article link here.
www.newscientist.com...

Anyone who has read the horror stories about turn-of-the-century lobotomy procedures knows how barbaric and debilitating they were, and the irreversible damage they caused.




Technically, lobotomy refers to the surgical cutting of nerve connections between the frontal lobes and the rest of the brain. The frontal lobes are unique to human beings and are the seat of the higher functions such as love, conern for others, empathy, self-insight, creativity, initiative, autonomy, rationality, abstract reasoning, judgment, future planning, foresight, will-power, determination and concentration. Without the frontal lobes it is impossible to be "human" in the fullest sense of the word; they are required for a civilized, effective, mature life. Depending on the amount of damage done, the effect can be partial or relatively complete. In a complete lobotomy, the patient becomes obviously demented with the deterioration of all higher mental functions.


Full article link here.
www.sntp.net...

The lobotomy was first seen as a way of taking those with serious psychiatric illness and "rehabilitating " them in destroying the frontal lobe of the brain in an attempt to make them more docile and controllable in society.What happened much more often than not, was that it destroyed the whole of the persons personality, and robbed them of any meaningful existence. Many patients of this procedure were changed for the worse for the rest of their lives; people that were intelligent and thoughtful became self absorbed and hateful. In extreme cases, it altered their personality to the point that some were changed from being mentally unwell to killers, with no sense of morals or conscience.

In all of the aforementioned cases, the soul, if a separate entity within the mind, did not compensate in any way for these cases of brain damage. If the soul is what makes the essence of all of us, it definitely seemed to take the back seat in each of these cases to the human brain. If the soul is the seat of each of our personalities - what makes us who we all are as individuals, the damage to the human brain one would think, could not change a persons whole center of being. It's why I started adopting the idea that the human mind is the soul. And with any damage to the brain, it damages the soul as well.

What are your thoughts on this?







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posted on Sep, 5 2012 @ 05:14 PM
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I want to further state that this is not a swipe at anyone's form of religion. Just an idea and a theory. I would hope that no one would take this post as any negative connotation toward something like that.



posted on Sep, 5 2012 @ 06:24 PM
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There's many definitions of 'soul.' But if you are referring to the "immortal essence of a human – the seat or locus of human will, understanding, and personality" which is ingrained in the Abrahamic religions, then yes, I agree with your arguments. Brain damage, drug usage, disorders etc. show how mortal and dependent on the body the soul—if there is such a thing—really is.

ETA: Great Post

edit on 5-9-2012 by LesMisanthrope because: (no reason given)



posted on Sep, 5 2012 @ 06:46 PM
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soul is the psyche, so yes, to answer your question.
The pshyche is is formed through our upbringing, and accordingly we act, and it is affected when something drastic happens
Thats why we have psychiatrist, if someone's behavior is not right or when one cannot cope with such happenings
Beyond the pchyche there is the spirit, that is the essence of every being, unchangeable and immortal.



posted on Sep, 5 2012 @ 07:13 PM
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Corporeal human consciousness is "generated" by the brain and experienced as immediate memory by the person. This does not mean that the human mind ceases to exist with the death of the brain, but it does mean that the mind (which is what the "soul" actually is) is the result of the brain doing what it does on behalf of the body whole and its effort to continue to survive.

Yes, this clashes with what religion teaches us, and what philosophy has embraced as a result of that religious cultural influence on literally all thinkers since the emergence of religiosity as a societal stabilizer, but all religion is the reality narrative of ancient men who were obviously men of their own times. The problem is that when you try to rely on a religious narrative for your fact-based reality view, you end up leaning on stubborn denial and strident faith when that sort of thinking is exactly what shouldn't be any part of the examination. Reality is what it is, and human consciousness is a part of reality - as is everything that exists. Human consciousness does not create reality any more than belief creates truth. Both can influence reality and truth - respectively - but each is the result of something, and not the primordial impetus of either reality nor truth.

It gets weird around here, with some folks taking very small indications and running for the hills with whatever fantastical interpretation they can configure as a result of those small indications. It makes for exciting fun, and who doesn't enjoy getting worked up over suggestions that superpersonhood is just an awakening away. But none of it erases the fact that no one has ever transcended the humanness of the corporeal Homo Sapiens material husk that we're each "trapped" within. They've "experienced" transcendence, and while that experience has made a big impact on them, never has anyone actually transcended the corporeal confines of material existence as a result of any of the many methods of material transcendence. In short, even the most enlightened guru dies in the end. He doesn't fly away, or ascend into the sky.

The hard facts are that no one gets out of this material realm alive...period. Human consciousness = human sentience = human self awareness = human intellect. It's just that clean, just that simple, and just that provable. It's not exciting, but it's real. I prefer real over exciting. At least when it comes to reality.


edit on 9/5/2012 by NorEaster because: (no reason given)



posted on Sep, 5 2012 @ 07:38 PM
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The nervous system is the seat of consciousness...

It is certainly possible, though, that the nervous system is literally a 'seat' for consciousness, as in a physical mechanism through which a pre-existing consciousness is focused and functioning.



posted on Sep, 5 2012 @ 08:37 PM
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reply to post by Rubicant13
 


Nice thread. This got me thinking of a few things. Before the Middle Ages, there were some great strides in the field of medicine and holistic (mind and body) health. People who suffered from mental issues were diagnosed as such and treated with medicines and were given health regiments to follow (exercising, healthy eating, good hygiene practices...). But when the Middle Ages hit, all of that good work was wiped out. For almost a thousand years the clergy and priests became the dictators of health.

They considered all the previous theories and methods and treatments to be the work of the Devil and outlawed it from mainstream practice. If someone had a mental breakdown (depressed or anxious) they considered that to be demons prying at the persons soul. For treatment, the person was thus told to attend church regularly, bow at the feet of the clergy, drink the "holy wine" and carry the Cross wherever they went. If things became worse, to the point they had severe psychological disorders, they might of been given an exorcism. And if that didn't work, they might of had a hole chiseled into the top front portion of their skull with, get this, a sharp stone and no antiseptics or painkillers...




Thank god for science.




posted on Sep, 5 2012 @ 08:56 PM
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I'll just quickly add my two cents. The fact that the brain can be damaged, in my humble opinion, is not proof that the soul doesn't exist. I think that could actually be considered a false cause fallacy.

Think of your brain as a computer and the 'soul' as software. If the computer malfunctions, that doesn't mean that the software on the hard drive doesn't exist, it just means that the hardware necessary to access it isn't working properly anymore.

I think of the brain as an interface. The same logic could work with a television and the signal that provides cable access. If you smash a television to pieces with a brick, then attempt to watch a movie and get no image or sound, that doesn't mean that the cable signal never existed, it just means that the interface between you and the signal is no longer working.
edit on 5-9-2012 by Xaphan because: (no reason given)



posted on Sep, 5 2012 @ 08:58 PM
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reply to post by NorEaster
 



To what do you refer when you say corporeal Human consciousness is generated in the brain.
Are you suggesting thought originates outside the brain as in the brain receives thought externally?



posted on Sep, 5 2012 @ 09:08 PM
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Originally posted by Xaphan
I'll just quickly add my two cents. The fact that the brain can be damaged, in my humble opinion, is not proof that the soul doesn't exist. I think that could actually be considered a false cause fallacy.

Think of your brain as a computer and the 'soul' as software. If the computer malfunctions, that doesn't mean that the software on the hard drive doesn't exist, it just means that the hardware necessary to access it isn't working properly anymore.

I think of the brain as an interface. The same logic could work with a television and the signal that provides cable access. If you smash a television to pieces with a brick, then attempt to watch a movie and get no image or sound, that doesn't mean that the cable signal never existed, it just means that the interface between you and the signal is no longer working.
edit on 5-9-2012 by Xaphan because: (no reason given)


I agree - The body (including brain) is as a machine that the soul or spirit or whatever one refers to as the real and Immortal being, inhabits the body machine for a certain time period.

When science views the brain working be it electrical signals or whatever they are viewing the effect and not the cause. The cause or soul or whatever name you wish to give it is hidden. It is hidden for good reason and can not be effected as such for that part is truly sacred or divine or whatever term you wish

edit on 5-9-2012 by artistpoet because: (no reason given)



posted on Sep, 5 2012 @ 09:11 PM
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Originally posted by artistpoet
reply to post by NorEaster
 



To what do you refer when you say corporeal Human consciousness is generated in the brain.
Are you suggesting thought originates outside the brain as in the brain receives thought externally?



Here. this might help detail it a bit. I posted this is another thread tonight. It spells it out a little bit better, and I'm distracted at the moment by the DNC, so this is much easier.



Originally posted by NorEaster
The human brain uses residual information that is specifically attributed for use by that one brain (we call it memory) to respond to, and to anticipate, external stimuli with configured bursts of "dynamic information" that provides a wide range of survival responses. Animal brains provide instinctive responses, and the human brain provides a complex balance between instinct and established intellectual reason in response to what confronts it from moment to moment. And those configured bursts of dynamic information, like all forms of information persist with no half-life deterioration, as information is not material.

Physicists agree that information exists as physical, and yet they also agree that information can become diffused, but it can't physically deteriorate, and this is the thing to remember when you're trying to figure out the truth concerning eternal human existence. The human being is the building collection of configured bursts of brain "generated" intellectual/instinctive responses, with the whole of it as a mass possessing a developing sense of sentience (self) that emerges over the years that the brain does what it does on behalf of the overall human whole. That human brain generated dynamic informational whole is what has been called the human spirit, human soul, and the eternal human being. It is "born" when the corporeal brain dies, and this is the fully developed human being.


That dynamic information is human consciousness. We experience it as we go through life, but until we die, we don't have a full understanding of what it actually is. Sadly, many Earth humans enter the eternal realm completely ignorant or delusional concerning the true nature of the human being and what consciousness actually is.
edit on 9/5/2012 by NorEaster because: (no reason given)



posted on Sep, 5 2012 @ 09:17 PM
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reply to post by NorEaster
 


Thanks for that - Your description is eloquent and unique.



posted on Sep, 5 2012 @ 09:29 PM
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reply to post by artistpoet
 


interestingly, the theoretical biologist Leonid Petrovsky has layed out, in a series of papers, an empirical model of consciousness based on this peculiar fact:...when you see an object, the parts of your brain which access MEMORY are activated several milliseconds before your RECOGNITION circuits.

I am never a fan of cliche myths, but have you ever heard the story of the native Americans who were unable to see Chris columbus' ships?

it is very difficult to see something which you have never seen before.



posted on Sep, 5 2012 @ 09:36 PM
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Originally posted by tgidkp
reply to post by artistpoet
 


interestingly, the theoretical biologist Leonid Petrovsky has layed out, in a series of papers, an empirical model of consciousness based on this peculiar fact:...when you see an object, the parts of your brain which access MEMORY are activated several milliseconds before your RECOGNITION circuits.

I am never a fan of cliche myths, but have you ever heard the story of the native Americans who were unable to see Chris columbus' ships?

it is very difficult to see something which you have never seen before.



I may be wrong and that would be no surprise but are you saying the thought already exists before we are aware of it. To me that would make sense.
As regards the myth of native Americans not being able to see C.Cs ships - Does that stem from a mis interpretation and in fact mean they do not Recognize the ships as they had never seen such things before.



posted on Sep, 5 2012 @ 09:57 PM
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I look at it like this, the soul is what animates a body. Its the glue that holds the spirit and the body together. Consciousness means nothing more than being aware.



posted on Sep, 5 2012 @ 10:02 PM
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Originally posted by Theophorus
I look at it like this, the soul is what animates a body. Its the glue that holds the spirit and the body together. Consciousness means nothing more than being aware.


I can get behind your idea or any idea that says there is a part of us that is Immortal
What I can't get behind is the idea that we are merely the body and like the body break down into the soil on the body's demise.
Heck what sort of deal would that be - The Universe or Creator or whatever is not so callous - Only fear and ignorance breeds such thoughts



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