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DrmDoc last won the day on September 16 2018

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About DrmDoc

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    Neuroscience, Neuropsychology, Oneirology, Brain Evolution,

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  1. If I'm not too late to this discussion, I believe the answer resides in how we understand or define consciousness. If by consciousness you're referencing our general awareness and sense of self, sleep merely alters our awareness and partly suspends our conscious sense of self but it does not cause the kind of death and renewal your query implies. Consciousness, as a reference to or descriptive of awareness, is merely a measured response to stimuli. Generally, our brainwaves and brain activity amid sleep are responses to stimuli and are, therefore, evidence of awareness albeit an altered state of awareness. Sleep studies have provided evidence, for example, of a correlation of increased brain activity when sleep study participants received sound and heat stimuli. This in itself is evidence that awareness, as a measure of consciousness, doesn't cease or die when we sleep. Dreaming is an interpretive process our sleeping brain engages when it's stimulated to increase activity during sleep. Dreams are how our sleeping brain interprets what it believes it is experiencing when it is stimulated by the metabolic processes of the brain and body that occur during sleep. Consciousness, as it may relate to our sense of self and identity relative to our experiences and environment, is dependent on how brain function integrates and focuses that quality. From my perspective of the metadata, our sense of self and identity is dependent on how our brain is stimulated to activate and integrate responses from the stores of experience and memories it has amassed in our lifetime. For example, our consciousness of who we are while awake and aware is not the same consciousness suggested by our dreams. This distinction occurs because there is a distinction between the stimuli our waking and sleeping brain receives. That distinction is suggested by the low activation of our prefrontal cortex amid dreaming, which is attributable to diminished stimulation during sleep. So when we dream, our brain creates a consciousness that is generally oblivious of being asleep in bed because it is not stimulated in the way it is while awake.
  2. For those who may have continued interest, I've progressed a little further in my thoughts on this subject and I now believe I can quantify the unconscious in brain structure and function. At the beginning of this discussion, I gave a definition of what mind is in brain function. Specifically, that definition suggests how mind is quantified in brain function by a capacity to integrate sensory stimuli in such a way as to produce proactive behavioral responses. It has occurred to me that the entire process of integrating a mind is something our brain does unconsciously. In brain function studies, the evidence suggests to me that the process of integrating a mind is performed by our thalamus; therefore, as I have previously stated, both our conscious and unconscious mind originates from thalamus function. Our unconscious mind, specifically, arises from how our thalamus is stimulated to activate surrounding brain function and integrate their subsequent reciprocal neural responses with incoming sensory stimuli to produce our behavioral responses. Dreams, for example, are an integrated interpretive neural response to unconscious stimuli originating primarily from or through thalamus function. From my perspective on this subject thus far, I believe I have a better understanding of our mental identity and its malleability.
  3. Nuclear holocaust??? No worries
  4. I've had a bit of a revelation that has focused my perspective in a different direction. An acquaintance of mine, during a moment of levity, mentioned Sybil, which was a famous case of dissociative identity disorder (multiple personality disorder) that was later revealed to be a hoax. I never believed in this disorder as a valid mental condition although there have been other well documented cases (e.g., Chris Costner Sizemore). There was no mechanism in brain function, as far as I understood, for multiple minds. My position has changes as a result of my recent emersion in thought on the mental aberrations associated with brain function and this topic of discussion. For me, the evidence is pretty clear that the mind our brain creates is dependent on how our cortex is activated by its subcortical neural inputs. Specifically, the primary source of our cerebral neural input is the thalamus, which suggests that our thalamus is the primary source of cortical stimuli. I understand that the distinction between our conscious and unconscious state of brain function is distinguished by the way our thalamus is stimulated to activate our cortex and how reciprocal responses from our cortex influence thalamic integration. If thalamic integration is capable of creating the distinctly different states of conscious and unconscious mentation, I propose that the thalamus integration processes are certainly capable of creating multiple states of distinctly different conscious minds dependent on how the thalamus is stimulated to activate conscious brain function. If you're still with me, as I attempt to make my perspective cogent, I appreciate your continued interest and critique.
  5. I understand and welcome your continued interest and contribution to this topic. Although just a layman myself, my interest in the dreaming brain and subsequent research of much of the collective data on brain function has enhanced my perspective of our conscious and unconscious mental processes beyond much of what some theorist believe or may have considered. For example there are many widely held notions about our memory deficiency and cause of paralysis amid REM sleep that are just plain wrong. These notions are wrong because their premise doesn't fully encompass the intricacies of our brain's evolution. There is a widely held notion that we evolved a type of paralysis amid REM sleep to keep us immobile while dreaming. That's completely wrong because the mechanism for this immobility evolved in brain function well before our brain evolved the capacity to dream. Furthermore, the deficiency in our memory of REM after arousal from sleep is attributable to the fact that memory was evolved for real physical/material experience rather than the purely interpretive process of dreaming. Quantifying the unconscious mind based on the functional matrix of the dreaming brain means we would have to consider what distinguishes that brain state from our conscious state. This is particularly difficult because both states involve activations of the same cerebral landscape with the prefrontal cortex being the most prominent exception--the same exception we find in the schizophrenic brain.
  6. I'm certain one can obtain that information with just a few mouse clicks, which leads me to wonder if there isn't some specific point you wish to make with that bit of trivia. Nearly every species of life on our little blue marble experiences some form of dormancy that could be considered a type of sleep; however, dreaming involves species with more complex neural developments. If your idea is that the sleep and dreaming processes in these simple animals or organisms somehow suggest the early stages of those in our brain's evolution, then I must say more is suggested by functional study of the singular evidence our human brain already provides. I'm convinced that it is very possible to know--what we would not otherwise be capable of knowing--through conscious cognitive access to the extraordinary perceptual capabilities I believe our unconscious brain function produces. That function is suggested most clearly to me by the dreaming brain and what its likely path of evolution.
  7. My understanding of brain function and how it produces a mind, as I described in my initial comment, is a product of research I did for a book I wrote several years ago about the dreaming brain. At that time, my interest was in providing a definitive explanation for myself as to why we dream. I understood that to discern that explanation, I would have to start from the beginning and, to me, that involved evolution. So I set out to uncover how our dreaming brain likely evolved. The problem I have with most theories about brain function and the mind it produces is a lack of a cogent explanation for how those qualities likely evolved. It seemed to me that some theorist look at nature and surmise its reflection in brain function. However, when I looked at what the research suggested about the functional construction of our brain, I saw that this construction conformed to how we generally understand the nature of evolution--that complex structures and functions evolved from and are dependent on functionally primitive and less complex structures. Decerebrate studies, for example, suggest that the functionally of our cerebral cortex is dependent on its sub-cortical neural connection to the more primitive, less complex thalamus. No sensory stimuli reaches the cortex without initially traversing the thalamus. When I looked at the evolutionary relation of the thalamus to our cortex, I learned that our brain's neural composition didn't have the capacity to produce a mind until it first evolved a functional matrix to integrate our sensory experience (thalamus) and then evolve a capacity to retain that experience for future reference (cortex). Essentially, memory (cortex) gave our rudimentary brain (thalamus) the capacity to produce a mind. From what I've managed to grasp, the mind our brain produces (conscious and unconscious) is a response to exchanges between our thalamus and cortex. This suggests to me that the distinction between the conscious and unconscious mind, as suggested by the differences between our waking and dreaming states, resides in how our cortex is activated by stimuli traversing the thalamus. I can identify that the stimuli that reach our brain in sleep differs quite distinctly from the stimuli our brain receives when we're awake. That difference is suggested by the low activation of our prefrontal cortex amid REM, which suggest to me an omission of specific stimuli. I welcome your continued interest.
  8. Although I've cited Wiki because of its convenience, I don't consider it particularly a reliable source of insight as one might gain through independent study and research of the available peer reviewed source materials. A goal of our discussion, as I intend, should be to attenuate our understanding beyond Wiki through our mutual exchanges. If your goal is to learn something not referenced in Wiki, why does the brain activity suggestive unconscious mentation during REM create an awareness so distinctively different than similar conscious brain activity? In answer to your query "Like what?", imagine having conscious access to precise memories of every second of your experience from the day you were born. Not involuntary or invasive memory recall but rather the ability to control what you decide to recall, how much, and when. How useful might that be during exams or when accessing essential references that are not available through immediate resources. Perhaps more practically, imagine having the ability to perform instantaneous calculations that enhance your personal predictive capabilities. What I'm suggesting is an expansion of our conscious contemporaneous access to unconscious information and capabilities. By "potentially enormous values" I'm suggesting capabilities that we, perhaps, cannot imagine. Our unconscious mentation in sleep is evident by our recollection of dreaming when we awake. That mentation is widely different from that we engage when we are consciously awake and aware. However, both are responses to stimuli. The distinction between the two states of mental response is suggested by a distinction in how our brain activation is stimulated while in either state. My study of the metadata suggests our unconscious state of mentation, as suggested by REM, is distinguished by our brain's limited access to at least two types of sensory information. There may be more but I'm not at this time able to discern that aspect from my current understanding of the material. Although there are certainly more important processes that occur in the brain amid sleep, dreaming amid REM sleep is suggestive of mentation in that the experience is an interpretive response to stimuli our brain believes it is perceiving amid sleep. Considering what that means for the moment, our dreams about running, for example, suggests our sleeping brain is interpreting stimuli it perceives as our engaging in physical locomotion when that is obviously not occurring. So, what stimuli is our sleeping brain interpreting when we experience dreams about running? Skipping to a related topic, the schizophrenic brain has much in common with the dreaming brain with critical distinctions and significant implication we might explore if there's interests. I welcome your continued interest.
  9. Hello All, I've posted here because, if you choose to engage, our discuss will primarily encompass my personal perspective of the research and metadata I've privately studied and amassed over several decades. My goal has been a personal understanding of the extraordinary capabilities of our unconscious mind relative to our consciousness. My hope is that this discussion will be accessible to all as I consider myself merely a layman on the subject and material. Before we begin in earnest, if you're still with me, we should probably agree on use and understanding of terms, which is no doubt a separate discussion in itself. Nevertheless: Mind- The environment of cognitive activity within the brain that arises from brain function, which is quantified consciously by a capacity to integrate divergent sensory information through a process that produces behaviors observably independent of instinct. What's important here, as I see it, is that the conscious mind is evident by an organism's ability to engage behaviors we perceive as proactive rather than reactive. Unconscious vs. Subconscious- Our brain produces just two states of quantifiable mentation, which are its conscious and unconscious states. Our conscious state is quantifiable in brain function by the level and type of activations we observe and the associated behaviors we engage and use to navigate physical/material reality. Conversely, our unconscious state can be quantified by similar activations and evidence of mentation suggested by REM sleep. For this discussion, subconscious is not a state of mentation for there's no evidence of it in brain function. Instead, subconscious is a type of influence or path of influence that can affect mentation or issue from mentation. Succinctly, subconscious is not a mind. DISCSSION As I understand the metadata, brain activation relative to conscious awareness is a response to stimuli. Our understanding of who we are relative to our surroundings and experience is a result of activations in the brain arising from our sensory connections to physical/material reality. My perspective on this arises from the dichotomy in the awareness we have upon our arousal from sleep and the awareness we appear to have amid REM sleep. When we awake from sleep, we know who we are relative to our environment and experience because of the physical/material sensory information flooding our brain upon our arousal. That sensory information arouses those neural links that provide full access to the memories and functions we use to navigate physical experience and reality. Conversely, we're primarily not aware of our true state, environment, or even identity amid REM sleep. This is a bit of a conundrum for me because our brain activity amid REM is equivalent to that activity it engages when we are fully awake and consciously aware. This is important because I believe our brain activity and its productions in REM provides the clearest perspective of what our unconscious mind may truly be. Deepening our understanding of that perspective may yield undiscovered insights of potentially enormous value, IMO. There's more I'd like to convey on the subject but I'll have to pick this up a little later. I appreciate your continued interest and patience.
  10. According to this TIME article, "Two companies, Editas Medicine and Allergan, will test this [method] in up to 18 people around the United States" afflicted with a form of congenital blindness called Leber congenital amaurosis where sufferers may "see only bright lights and blurry shapes and can eventually lose all sight." It seems promising and reminds me somewhat of a scene from one of those Star Trek movies where the Enterprise travels back in time and Dr. McCoy encounters a patient who he gives a pill that regenerates her liver...or was it her kidney?.
  11. DrmDoc

    What is faith?

    There's a subtle distinction between belief in something that isn't true (delusion) and belief in something without evidence of truth. If you are deluded, you believe in something that is provably false. Conversely, if you're a person of faith, you're a believer in something that isn't proved. Admittedly, this distinction is slight but it remains the difference between evidence and lack of evidence.
  12. DrmDoc

    What is faith?

    DrmDoc said: "...some of you do not seem to have a clear perspective of what distinguishes faith from science.  Most often arguments against science are used as justification for faith; however, those arguments do not appear to define a basis for your religious faith." For clarity, I've highlighted the portions of my original comments pertaining to the origin of this discussion. Certainly one may have faith in science--which is confidence in its methodology without any real objective evidence or experience or need for same--but then that would be a type of religion and not science in it's purest form as generally understood in this forum--IMO. Faith, in its purest form is religion, which is a believe system that does not need or require material evidence or support as science methodology requires or demands for validity. To have faith, IMO, is to have confidence, trust, or belief without any real or reproducible basis in material evidence or experience. Although it doesn't offer the legitimacy of science, faith appears to be a useful tool to individuals engaging the uncertainties of life with inadequate awareness, experience, understanding, or curiosity. Of these, I think inadequate curiosity does the most harm because of the doors to profound insight a lack of curiosity could leave unopened.
  13. DrmDoc

    What is faith?

    Not a cure but a placebo that's more of a testament to the seemingly miraculous abilities of the mind than the benevolent intercession of some unseen omnipotent entity.
  14. DrmDoc

    What is faith?

    My comments were meant to be neither judgements nor condemnation. They were merely observations I've posited for those of us here who may be less self aware. As I perceive, faith is the emergence of humanity's inherent desire to maintain the love, protection, and guidance of its deceased ancestors, parents, or village elders. It emerges from one of humanity's most useful survival tools, which is fear. Faith allievates the fear, doubt, and confusion the faithful would suffer without it. Further, I suggest the greater the fear they harbor, the greater the faithful's efforts to justify and protect their faith--hence the faithful's willingness to engage hostile environs (e.g, scienceforums.net) that potentially erodes faith.
  15. DrmDoc

    What is faith?

    Clearly, it appears some of us can't.