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Nicolette Sinensky

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How does virtuality translate into reality?

This week in my bioelectricity class, we spoke about electrical stimulation of nerves. One method of stimulation is to place a electrode directly on the surface of a nerve. One of the considerations of this method, however, is that the anode (positively charged side) and cathode (negatively charged side) of the electrode each cause a redistribution of charge around the electrode. Consequently, the anode induces a complementary "virtual cathode" and the cathode creates a complementary "virtual anode." These components aren't actually there, but we can observe a similar redistribution of charge that implies that something unseen is going on. Despite the fact that these components are not physically present, they have real effects on the functionality of both the electrode and the nerve. The virtual cathode and anode can cause a very real, measurable voltage change in the nerve, and can effectively block a nerve signal, which is dependent on the voltage.

In what other ways can intangible entities have physical manifestations? In this case, the unintended effect has a negative consequence, but can we find useful applications of such a circumstance?

Also, if these imaginary aspects can effect reality, what does that say about our definition of what is real and what isn't?

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  • Apr 7 2012: I've just finished taking Central Nervous System, and u know, we learnt about senses and perception. Indeed, such a fun subject yet a little hard (to memorize all the nerve tracks). but really it's all about the electrical signal that been sensed by our senses which cause the depolarization of the sensory nerve which then transmit the many brain area. the thing is, what been sense (reality) by our sensory cell is what cause the depolarization and hyperpolarisation of the nerve. and the depolarization and hyperpolarization is what causes the sensory part of brain area to be active. and next our brain interpret those sense (reality). such a long process. meaning, if there's alteration along the process, then, that's what create either unreal or surreal experience which also makes some people to be called "delusional" because their experience is not experienced by others as the stimulation doesn't stimulate the normal standard of sensory cell. so is what they say about the colour range and hearing range. because what's outside the range couldn't stimulate normal people's perception and give the experience of what we call "reality".
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      Apr 8 2012: It sounds as if you are confident that you understand Truth, Reality and Consciousness. I have been looking all over for you. What was the name of that course you took? Is the ion play and polarization controlled or chaotic? If it is chaotic why do most of 7 billion people function according to pattern? If it is controlled what is the nature and function of the controller? Why don't I know what is True and what is Real like you do? If you share the notes from that course with me perhaps I could penetrate the shroud of mystery and be set free by the Truth about Reality.
      • Apr 8 2012: No I dont. I dont understand them all. I don't know what's real. Even, theoretically speaking, u can stimulate your taste center in your brain, and making u feel that u taste something in your tongue without even actually putting any stimulus on it, by stimulating your either facial, or glossopharyngeal or vagus nerves electrically. But again that's theoretically speaking. I dont know if theres already been an experiment or something. Meaning; if we stimulate one guy's cranial nerves that responsible for taste sensory, without even the actual stimulus (food) available, and he thinks theres some food in his mouth, is what he thinks real? NO, but from his point of view, it's real. Because that's what his brain tells him. It's science of consciousness. BUT, all I tell u is from medical point of view - from the Consciousness point of view. How brain works, how brain interpret stimulus. Biochemically and electrically. Something already proven scientifically. The name of the course? Well, it was Nervous System Physiology.

        And I think, to understand this field, we need to organize our thinking process and divide them into several big topics. As u put it,

        1- Consciousness. Medical field explains better. And that's what I did.
        2- Reality. Quantum physics will explain it better. I don't know about it, and I'd love to understand. and hoping that somebody can come up and explain. Another thing about reality is; we cant percept the whole reality just by using our senses. That, I'm sure. The science of consciousness will explain what reality u can percept, and for whatsnot, who knows?
        3- Truth. What is truth? I dont know what it is BUT, i think truth is devoid of untruth and which only can be achieved by purifying the knowledge from doubts. Meaning; what's considered to be truth probably can be not in couple of years after the flaws of what we call truth appear.

        The ion play in our body, I'm pretty sure it's control. Our body is amazing. There are many type of ion gates
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          Apr 8 2012: Can you describe the Control of the ion play via the many ion gates in our body?
          Do you really think the medical profession is the best place to get understanding about Consciousness?
          Do you really think Quantum Physics is the best area of study for gaining understanding of Reality?
          If Truth is defined (circularly) as being devoid of Untruth, then what is Untruth?
          My point in these questions, Mr. Hazwan, has to do with the fact that many scientists set aside all the imponderable, unanswerable questions and masquerade as if they know all the facts about their specialty. Don't ignore the unanswered questions. Be honest about undiscovered Truth, don't sweep it under the rug in the interest of promoting a theory.
      • Apr 8 2012: channels in our body. and they differ in respect to the ions that go through (Na+, K+, Cl- ) , the number of subunit they composed, and the way it's regulated. And u know what, it's in every cell membrane.
      • Apr 8 2012: And, as for the conciousness stuff, that's why theres some pathological condition like ageusia (loss of taste function), dysgeusia (alteration or distortion of taste), even as simple as color blindness. -These patients do have neurological pathological condition (or not - they have different sets of stuff- if they're congenitally like that). Do you think u'll be confused more than they are about what's real and what's not? I guess, no.

        But, philosophically speaking, does these dysgeusia patient (if congenital) the ones who have "wrong sets of organ"? And we (me and most people) get the "right sets"? Again, I guess not really. They just get different stuff than we are. And the different stuff give different perception and consciousness. In the end, as I've written before, from neurological point of view, consciousness is all about the standard interpretation by our brain, as an organ, by x level of stimulation.
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      Apr 10 2012: Hi Hariz,
      Your use of the word alteration made me think of sensations in a phantom limb. While the limb itself does not exist, the sensations a person feels are real and tangible. However, the pain they feel cannot possibly exist because the limb which they feel pain in is no longer there and yet it is realized in that limb nonetheless. This makes me think about whether or not there is really any difference between the virtual and reality as we are capable of effecting our physical state through mental exercises. For example, can we not consider meditation or hypnosis to be virtual exercises of the brain that lead to a both a mental and physical change?
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        Apr 12 2012: Hi Matt! I attended a talk today on Free Will and the Science of the Brain and one person mentioned how over the years he has personally seen cases in which the normal reflex arc was disrupted. In a normal scenario, if a hand is brought into contact with a hot object, a neural pathway is triggered in which the input from the sensory neuron is fed directly to the spinal cord. In this manner, reflex actions occur relatively quickly by activating spinal motor neurons without the delay of routing signals through the brain. However, is some bizarre cases, although the hand is jerked away from the hot object and is no longer near it, the person in question feels the same amount of pain as if his/her hand were still in contact with the heat. Not only this, but the hand swells, blisters, and heats up as if being burned. So maybe with your example about the phantom limb pain, a virtual experience, beyond being something that we can't yet explain prescisely, can also be thought of as an experience that is fashioned by our mind.
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        Apr 12 2012: Hi maria

        Interesting,So could it be that because the brain was bypassed for quick reaction reflex it still processed it as if it actually was happening? as if it was paused or certain functions had been sidestepped that usually come into play but since the brain did not have those functions lit up it continued to process the action.A piece of time missing? IMHO

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