TED Conversations

Pabitra Mukhopadhyay

TEDCRED 50+

This conversation is closed. Start a new conversation
or join one »

Mind exists outside of physical world - will you agree?

Mind exists outside of physical world and can influence the physical states of brain altering behaviour in a way not fully understood by cognitive sciences that tend to avoid the idea of existence of qualia. Will you agree to such a claim?

Is there any way one can argue 'scientifically' in favor of an individual (human) mind, a group mind or mind of living systems other than organisms?

If one cannot, Andrew Soloman's brilliant experience will be no more than an art.

+4
Share:

Closing Statement from Pabitra Mukhopadhyay

Sorry, it took me awhile to write a closing statement.
It had been a great debate and I thank all who contributed for and against the OP. Despite strong and forceful arguments against the idea, I conclude that there IS a strong possibility that mind does exist outside of physical world. I would clarify my position by defining 'Mind', 'existence' as widely as possible and 'physical world' as objectively as possible.
In passing I will mention that Carlos's assertion that brain functions do not fall within quantum scale just as a figure of measurements is not possibly correct. I shall also thank Brenden Maloney for pointing out the recent success of Anirban Bandyopadhyay, PhD, at the National Institute of Material Sciences in Tsukuba, Japan (and now at MIT) on quantum vibrations in 'microtubules' in brain neurons upholding Hammeroff-Penrose Orch OR hypothesis.
Mind, in its most social meaning is acquired from environment. It's functional manifestation in brain does not prove its residency there.
Unless otherwise convinced in future, this debate made me accept the OP as true, at least for now.

progress indicator
  • thumb
    Jan 18 2014: I believe, separating the idea of mind from the idea of the brain is a convenient, practical, and intuitive model to explain complex phenomena involving trillions of neurons. It is similar to separating the contents of a book from the physical media - ink and paper or a computer disk. Media can change, the contents remain the same. In the same way, ideas and emotions can be transfered between people independently of physical methods: via audio waves, electromagnetic impulses, digitally, in analog form, on paper, etc. Emotions are transferred even through smells and facial expressions.

    It is similar to wave-particle dualism in physics. Electron is not a particle, per se. But imagining it to be "a particle" allows some useful predictions. Electron is not like waves in the ocean. But imagining it to be "like a wave" allows to explain other phenomena and make useful predictions.

    In this sense, I believe, "mind", "spirit", "soul", "free will" are useful models allowing people to understand each other's complex emotional and neurological processes. In this sense, thinking of a body having a "mind" or a "soul" is as useful as thinking of an electron having a "spin" or quarks having "color". I don't see a problem with it.

    Whether it's scientific or not is not a useful question. What science is doesn't seem to be a settled question.
    • thumb
      Jan 18 2014: Well reasoned. My question is linked with Andrew Soloman's talk. It is difficult to argue against the fact, in my opinion, that 'mind' is useful and it works in some ways we are in tacit agreement with. So when people have experiences like Andrew's or experience like having someone close in their life like Andrew it is somewhat obvious that they will want to turn to science for relief. The other option is turning to supernatural nonsense.
      So when people turn to science for a mind that is supposedly 'malfunctioning' they are left unfortunately with behavior. The idea that mind is actually reduced to neurons sounds nice but doesn't help. It didn't help Andrew.

      What do you think?
      • thumb
        Jan 19 2014: I like Andrew's analogy with cancer. The symptoms of depression are psychological. Science comes with a paradigm that psycological conditions depend on physical conditions. Which is true, to some extent. E.g. when I'm hungry, I tend to be grumpy and irritable. But I see nothing wrong with "treating" my grumpiness and irritability with "supernatural nonsense" -- e.g., meditating on the relevant passages from the Bible, beating drums, or singing psamls, like in Andrew's example regarding some African "spiritual" practices. The goal of treating depression is to make people feel loved, energetic, purposeful, and happy. If this can be achieved with "supernatural nonsense", why not? And those who love the material side of the dualism can always reason how physical activity, singing, or beating drums caused changes in hormonal levels, stimulated brain areas, etc. "Whatever tickles their pickle." I, personally, like the idea that human spirit can achieve more than drugs can. This idea has more appeal to me. But I won't enter into involved arguments with materialists. If they want to take drugs, they can take drugs. In case of psychological problems, what we believe in is what helps.
    • thumb
      Jan 19 2014: Arkady, Hello friend

      I think that the mind do resides "in" the brain. Since there is no mind in the absence of a functioning brain and every functional human brain has a mind. To me the mind is an extension of the natural world explainable in purely physical terms. I dare say that in our hunger for immortality - or fear of death- mankind creates this "vehicles" in which our persona lives on; disembodied mind, astral bodies,resurrections etc.
      I'm lost at the use and usefulness of such concepts as soul(except for Ray Charles),spirits (unless there is alcohol involved), let alone what it has to do with the standard model of Physics.
      The mere fact that the human organism may be approaching death is not going to suddenly transform the mind into an independent entity which no longer needs the brain to function. The dependence of mental states on the brain during life strongly implies that when the brain dies the mind dies with it.

      "fight against destiny, even though without hope of victory"-Unamuno


      Cheers in microgravity!
      • thumb
        Jan 19 2014: I am not advocating anything "supernatural" here. However, your interpretation of a "mind" as a part or a property of a living human brain seems too narrow. For example, one can talk of a "collective mind" or "a spirit of a nation" without any supernatural meaning. Such narrow interpretation of mind and consciousness also implies that artificial intelligence is impossible to implement using silicon transistors -- we would need to replicate the neurons of a human brain to create an "artificial mind". When we sleep, we are "unconscious" -- sleeping people or people in a coma don't seem to have a "mind" despite having a living brain which supports their bodies. And if you google "plant intelligence", you may realize that idea of a "mind" without a "brain" is not so crazy or supernatural.

        I also do not undertsand what "spirit" and "soul" have to do with physics. This is why claims that science has proven that they do not exist is somewhat strange to me.

        Again, I do not promote existence of anything supernatural here. My point is that "mind" and "spirit" appear to me as valid models, if not to explain, then, at least, to describe certain things (which is a big part of understanding).
        • thumb
          Jan 19 2014: Arkady,
          The allegorical use of mind and spirit is just fine. I like the narrow interpretation, an apple is an apple, a tree is a tree-and she is the apple of my eye. Is playing a la Fred Astaire with words & meanings.
          Ai directs traffic missiles,installs software-it picks the best choice but is not "intelligent" as we are nor artificially human-we make more mistakes- and have a mind to boot.
          Every functional brain has a mind -that scratches out folks in comma out of the list-, those normally asleep are just fine.
          Do plants have minds? Of course not. Mindlessness is part of our very definition of what a plant is: we even use the term 'vegetative state' to describe a loss of the power of thought. Are plants well adapted to their environments and do react to external stimuli in "Intelligent " ways -yes- Is a far jump from that to a "brainless mind". Specially when our measuring ruler is the Human mind-brain duo. But I'm not a Biologist -or whatever new field sprang from that research, I will ask about it.
          Science has not proved or disproved that spirits exist or not , they are just irrelevant, that is they are not needed to explain the world we live in.Science just gives us approximate answers-no absolute truth-.
          Artful use of language to convey meaning is a great tool if it leads to lucid understanding.

          Cheers!!
      • thumb
        Jan 20 2014: Re: "Artful use of language to convey meaning is a great tool if it leads to lucid understanding." - yes.

        Re: "I like the narrow interpretation, an apple is an apple, a tree is a tree-and she is the apple of my eye. Is playing a la Fred Astaire with words & meanings."

        All language is metaphoric, if you "see" what I mean. To understand something new means to draw an analogy with something we already know and understand. This is why new terms in language are, usually, derived from some familiar terms. This is why electrons have "spin" and behave like particles and waves, and this is why quarks have color. If you use language, you use metaphors. Period.

        "Literal interpretation" is a figure of speech, if you think about it. "Litera" is Latin for "letter" - a printed sign. If you disassemble language into letters, the meaning is gone. Letters don't mean anything except the sounds they are meant to represent.
        • thumb
          Jan 20 2014: Arkady,

          Agreed,

          I think that habitual language-as used by a culture or subculture- does mold world views, but that aside-the pitfall that I see in this thread is that folks use scientific concepts from Quantum Mechanics and mysticism and--> voilà: our everyday world is explained.
          It is cool to think by analogy to better understand abstract concepts, making comparisons and finding similarities between two dissimilar things-is all good-. however,when analogies are stretched too far, they can lead to misconceptions!-and that is my point - not all analogies are good analogies(not yours in particular) but when using concepts that are not fully understood to describe something that is less than understood -or not at all- it leads to confusion-no matter how good it sounds-

          Cheers!
      • thumb
        Jan 21 2014: Check out this "quasi-scientific" paper from Improbable Research regarding "comparison of apples and oranges" :-)

        http://www.improbable.com/airchives/paperair/volume1/v1i3/air-1-3-apples.html

        This article shows that such comparison is, very much, possible and valid and, in fact, the two have many similarities. So, saying that "this is like comparing apples and oranges" is, itself, an invalid comparison. Hehe.

        Well, I agree that we need to be careful with similarities. Any idea taken too far becomes nonsense.
        • thumb
          Jan 21 2014: LO-thanks for the link,-that will take a lot of context setup before content. A case when specificity does not espouses elucidation instead of eschewing obfuscation. Who knows?

          That said today's science takes language to it's limits, technology creates new concepts (Like thinking about 8-Tracks or phonographs) . And science also builds these theoretical explanations, models that defy common sense sometimes obtuse to grasp by most folks(even thou the models are available for all to learn) And since they are difficult to grasp some folks grab lingo from QM like "wave collapse" and add it to consciousness and "non-locality" & "Infinite potentiality "& supernatural to (I think at times) mislead others in lieu to quiet down some dissonance pinned to our own mortality. Who knows?-It sells books & videos, folks are all too eager to consume the "new" trend by DR So&So.

          Cheers!!
      • thumb
        Jan 21 2014: "specificity does not espouse elucidation instead of eschewing obfuscation"

        I need to remember that. This is awesome :-)
  • thumb
    Jan 19 2014: All organisms living are derived from one kind of cell. Nothing really has changed since apart from more organization and complex relations.
    The cell membrane interacts between inside needs versus outside opportunities. It is the interface of action that defines a living being while the mind writes its story by internalization of the outside world.
    To be is the quality of matter as in fact matter is energy meaning the potential for change to create and experience the story of life.
    The universe is broadcasted by consciousness while our body is on the receiving end.
    • Jan 20 2014: "The universe is broadcasted by consciousness while our body is on the receiving end."
      It's a half of the equation, it's not complete.:)
      The receiving end has the capacity to broadcast back to consciousness
      It's the act of breathing, hail/inhale.

      Hi, Frans ! Happy to see you again ! :)
      • thumb
        Jan 21 2014: I hope you don't think you're your body, Natasha.
        What we are is being itself.

        Thank you Natasha, it's nice to see you too.
        • Jan 21 2014: Hi, Frans,
          i mean the pattern, it's like breathing, the scale is different, but the process/pattern is pretty much the same.
          You take in and give into and take in again slightly different stuff with a tiny drop in it of what you've given. Consciousness whatever it is , is structured organismically, it grows through our experiences.
          Probably not, but then we are totally out of business here :)

          edited
          What we are is being itself.
          Sounds true.

          Thank you !
  • thumb
    Jan 14 2014: I think the concept of "mind" being separate from a brain comes from our lack of scientific understanding of how the brain works. This separation goes way back to the Greeks. Consider how much of our nervous system is so much better understood now : vision, hearing, fear response , memory, neurons , subsystems of the brain. Any book on neuroscience gives incredible description of the human nervous system. The progress is absolutely amazing.

    A comparable analogy is the concept of a "God" who creates the universe. It is only in the last ~150 years that so much knowledge has been obtained about stars, solar systems , the expansion of the universe. Before that, humans understandably thought there must be a creator to explain the stars, life and ourselves. Now there's not much room for the concept of a "creator God".

    I would predict that even though the brain seems unbelievably complex now , knowledge will advance and understanding of human "thinking" and "feeling" will continue to advance. Just think of the work of the Brain Institute where a atlas of the brain is being developed. Gene expression related to certain brain areas is being included.
    • thumb
      Jan 14 2014: I agree people can make up and believe all sorts of contradictory and speculative rubbish if they forgo evidence and reason.

      it seems we like to address our ignorance, fill in the gaps with claims whether reasonable or not.
    • thumb
      Jan 19 2014: "Now there's not much room for the concept of a "creator God"".

      Just wondering what took that room away from you?
      • thumb
        Jan 20 2014: It has been the accumulation of knowledge - whether about quasars , finding planets in solar systems in distant stars, molecular biology, evolution or neural systems. When I was young the world appeared mysterious and from that it is easy to develop beliefs, like believing in a creator God. In acquiring knowledge the need for beliefs diminishes.
        • thumb
          Jan 20 2014: Thanks for your response Brian. I'd like to think we are more than computers. We can set our own path, for some reason. Computers can't. In fact, I do not think anything outside the human perimeter does have that choice.

          All the best
  • thumb
    Jan 9 2014: Human consiousness is entirely about primordial art put together by our own primordial creative abilities granted to every living creature by nature. Without these abilities to imagine no researchers or scientists, laymen or social workers can think or memorize anything at all. This natural process of perceiving may effect our brains but No brains can show any image or a thought.

    Whether living forms have some brains or not, they have invisible to any microscopes minds/spirits that are to produce internal energies Within every form of life for to integrate this form of life as one unique composition.

    However, the most interesting characteristic regarding postmodern sciences is that their recycling mentality did not go anywhere since Descartes time. We absolutely cannot apply our physical devices to find something beyond physical. The most shallow and fantastically deceiving sense-perception of all we may possess - our very corporeal sight. The whole evidence (images, logic and calculations) that is brought out by sciences are based on that
    ephemeral sight!!

    I believe that the future for our scientific research may become endlessly facsinating if the thick restrictions in understanding our own human nature of perceiving would be "deleted" forever. Scientific arrogance is quite astonishing today, no learning from precious philosophy, beginning from the Greek sages, Heraclitus instant Change, and Protagoras'
    teaching about unavoidable limitations in perceiving, to the great W. Heisenberg who's philosophy on perceptions opens the gate to a new era of discoveries. When we understand that the observer unavoidably effects what he observes and no data can be recorded as exact evidence, then we might comprehend that our so-called physical evidence does not have that value as we imagine.

    I'm lucky to be involved in a pioneering research on human perceptions - the material I can share with you is breathtaking
    • thumb
      Jan 10 2014: In Gratitude for your submission I give you a Heisenberg treat.

      “The first gulp from the glass of natural sciences will turn you into an atheist, but at the bottom of the glass God is waiting for you.” ― Werner Heisenberg (father of Quantum Physics)
  • thumb
    Jan 9 2014: Dear Pabitra,
    if you ever had a situation of being outside of your body and watching it from above, there is no more such question. It is one of those things that one can not prove physically. But once you had such experience no psychiatrist can convince you that you have been hallucinating.
    • thumb
      Jan 10 2014: Hi Tobias!
      I do not have any such personal experience, only heard it from others. However, when I was in late teens I was into many adventures and practicing 'Raj Yoga' was one of those. I had no 'guru' or mentor to guide me at that time. I remember to have 'struck' by something like a laser beam right between my eyebrows when I was trying to do 'Nirbikalpa Samadhi' with my eyes closed. And I could feel clearly that it was like a warning. I still remember that I was perspiring heavily and my pulse rate soared. When I contacted a monk of Ramakrishna Mission, he advised me to stop the practice immediately.
      I am fairly convinced I was not hallucinating.

      Hey great to see you in TED. Welcome. :)
      • thumb
        Jan 10 2014: Hi Pabitra,
        I think i told you when we met in the restaurant that my mother had a lot of those experiences due to her near death experiences when she grew up as prisoner in Siberia.
        Regarding your experience, this is a very dangerous one that happened very long time back and you should not attempt to go though it without an experienced guide.
        (maybe i should check for synonym of 'experience' ;-)
        • thumb
          Jan 10 2014: Yes you did Tobias. I look forward to share such stories over cups of coffee once again. :)
        • thumb
          Jan 10 2014: Tobias, Why should one not engage in such a practice without a guide?? What is the danger??
      • thumb
        Jan 10 2014: Pabitra, I am very curious why were you advised to STOP the practice??
        • thumb
          Jan 10 2014: The monk explained to me that such practice carried out unaided by a competent teacher runs the risk of making the practitioner lose his/her mind or becoming insane. Nirbikalpa Samadhi, in simple words is a practice of training the mind of being completely thoughtless but awake and aware.
    • thumb
      Jan 10 2014: Tobias, I could not put this more clearly than you did.
  • Jan 8 2014: Yes.
  • thumb
    Jan 8 2014: of course mind is seperate from the physical world..how can anyone know? like zero in the math graphs of primary school dividing negative from positive,hot from cold...if we look again it is in fact one event. Now for us...we are in an enviornment which is essential to exist,,,but in fact are not the backdrop itself...we are also within a body but as it self regulates without our cognition we are in fact not the body...we are more the zero..an observer with no dynamic molecular weight between these two points...Because both body and enviornment are essential but largely knowable as NOT ourselves but are in fact one event wrongly divided by LINEARISM (straightline misobservation) and the mind can observe both without participating...I place myself at the zero point of observer in neither realms. Of course this is my best guess...but it feels like we look so hard to find the t.v. show in the television when in fact it never resided in the television itself and science will one day yield its obsession with physicality to all our benefit(or not)
  • thumb
    Jan 22 2014: It just occurred to me that all this talk about in-body/out-of-body experience is cheap, as so much of all talk is. What say we all take a little journey around the universe/multiverse here and now?

    Here is link to "Maggot Brain," best guitar solo ever (10 minutes), recorded in 1971 by the Funkadelics. Legend says it was recorded in a single take. Listen to it when you can relax: It gently removes brain from skull, gives a guided tour of the universe, then provides a gentle landing back in your body. Headphones or balanced speakers required for full cosmic experience!

    (New link here, too!)

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JOKn33-q4Ao

    Peace and Love!
  • Jan 20 2014: I am afraid I cannot agree.

    I am attracted to the Socratic "tuning of a lyre" analogy... The music, and tuning of the individual instrument has both unique and coherent, but not independent identity. Once the physical construct is gone, that specific tuning is also gone. It is a harsh reality to some, but it does imbue a deep value to each passing moment, no matter how mundane.

    Regards
    • thumb
      Jan 20 2014: When one recognizes a relationship between two entities does it not tacitly imply an independence of the entities?
      • Jan 20 2014: Pabitra
        Thank you for the question.
        A cognitive independence perhaps, each being it's own discrete idea, but I would argue this does not establish independent reality, or longevity. The construct is a prerequisite to the effect, in this case the tuning allowed by the lyre. I can establish a cognitive difference between fire and heat, but without the former the latter simply disperses into the background.
        That being said, there is more to your original question than my plagiarizing of Plato can answer. I would agree that mind is more than it's physical constraints. Humans are gestalts of trillions of cells, each a construct of innumerable atoms, each atom with a history as old as the universe. The heavier elements in our bodies were actually forged by stellar processes billions of years ago and then dispersed by rare supernovae across space to eventually coalesce into something that can think about how amazing that is. This complex cosmic dance can be described in a single page of equations.
        The gestalt of mind is an order of magnitude more complex than the universe that spawned it. It cannot be explained by any equations yet known. The human brain holds more possible information routes than there are atoms in the universe. It's basic biological principles may be well mapped, but even were the biology entirely understood the relativism of individual thought makes the matter to complex to contemplate... literally. So I assert that the mind is more than the sum of it's parts, as a lever is more than a stick, or a diamond more than a stone, but for all of it's stupefying wonder, it is still finite, mortal. As in Dryden's Lucretius.

        Nay, tho’ our Atoms should revolve by chance,
        And matter leap into the former dance;
        Tho’ time our life and motion could restore,
        And make our Bodies what they were before,
        What gain to us would all this bustle bring?
        The new-made Man would be another thing;
        Once an interrupting pause is made,
        The individual being is decayed.

        Regards
  • Jan 18 2014: Hi, P.M.

    We are not a body with a spirit ... but rather, spirits within a body.

    Science is getting closer and closer to this realization

    http://sedna.no.sapo.pt/death_scresearch/pdf_docs/12.3_cook_greyson_stevenson.pdf
    • thumb
      Jan 19 2014: daniel,
      The Journal you cite for your article is the Journal of Scientific Exploration.The JSE provides a forum for research on topics "outside the established disciplines of mainstream science;" These folks promote but not investigate fringe science.The JSE is not indexed in Web of Science (http://thomsonreuters.com/thomson-reuters-web-of-science/), an indexing service for scientific journals.
      The JSE may appear neutral, but they tend to ignore evidence to their borderline science, they seem to be more akin to "The X Files". I mean the JSE promotes the reality of dowsing, neo-astrology, ESP, and psychokinesis. Most of the prominent and active members are strong believers in the reality of such phenomena.This Journal is a major outlet for Ufology, paranormal activity, extrasensory powers, alien abduction and such.
      Be more selective daniel,I know a scientist or two,bona fide guys, they won't publish there. And that said take what I say with a grain of salt -cum granu salis-

      Be well-


      Cheers!
      • Jan 19 2014: Carlos,
        Even science once believed the world to be flat. In 1492 this "blackbox" assumption was proven false.
        Of course when Galelio proposed the Earth not to be the center of the universe, the existing scientific paradigmes shifted.
        Which "scientific journal" of that time would have printed that the earth might in fact be circling round the Sun ..? Or perhaps give a stipend to Christopher Colombus ...??

        The SSE claims to be a "peer reviewed journal". It's the report that I present through the link. Nothing more. What they otherwise do is up to them. Although they seem to want to break down the borders of what the traditional materialistic standpoint of what conventional science might otherwise like to hold the boundries on. I have no personal investment in their work.
        As their "Edge Science" name of their magazine seems to imply, the seem to go specifically after the things that traditional science simply casts aside because it doesn't fit into their existing world view.
        Regardless, the link is still very interesting. It shows that science is taking the phenomena of NDE's/OBE's seriously. There are more resent studies that are looking for so called "veridable evidence"

        The point is, science is now working on this ground breaking new paradigm.

        http://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(01)07100-8/fulltext

        One can easily understand that the traditional scientific way of perceiving the world is resistant to a serious look at this phenomenon. It's world view might be severly shaken if not completely broken. So the resistance is to be expected. It comes as no surprise that traditional science almost refuses to take interest in a phenomenon that may assist in collapsing the very throne they themselves are sitting upon.

        But besides all this. Attacking which scientific journal that published the report is only shadow boxing. The interesting thing is of course the phenomenon itself.

        Are you interested in addressing the phenomenon
        • thumb
          Jan 19 2014: daniel,
          With few exceptions no educated person in the history of Western Civilization from the third century B.C. onward believed that the Earth was flat. Galileo came into conflict with the Catholic church for his support of Copernican astronomy. You correctly point tacitly that there were no peer reviewed scientific publications in Galileo's era, the world view was top-fed by the church.
          It's a good thing if there is honest ongoing research into the NDE phenomena. Every morning (and throughout the night) many,many theist & Atheist scientists the world over are looking to "shake" the foundations of science. And I agree that the Scientific community is a pretty skeptical & hard to win over crowd (even to its own) . That's why the scientific method exists. There is no "throne"(maybe an ergonomic chair) or "ivory tower" . But there is work-lots of work- and there is plenty of elbow room for those willing to play the game.
          As to the NDE reports-I'm no expert- I'd say that folks reports are sincere. But the first I 'd would ask myself is : Can Nde's be explained in purely biological naturalistic terms? Do all persons under similar situations experience NDE if not why? What are the mechanisms involved? set up a hypothesis & go for it. In science when you have a "pet idea" instead of build it you try to find every reason why is not so.
          The domain of science is limited to what can be empirically studied. And yes there is more to life than what science can explain, but at the end of the day (at least for now) Science and the supernatural are disconnected.
          For now imo NDE's is just a biochemical response of the brain in some individuals and that we as a species are still largely terrified of death and have yet to learn how to deal with the reality of our own mortality. Based on this fear mankind builds an elaborate scenario in which we "cheat" death by having a consciousness that survives the demise of our bodies.

          Correlation does not imply causation...

          Cheers!
        • thumb
          Jan 21 2014: Hi Daniel, I'm not sure the flat earth hypothesis has been taken seriously even well before the evolution of the modern scientific method.

          even with the modern scientific method we didn't have the tools to discover other galaxies until the last hundred years or so.

          it's probably fair to point out we still have a lot to figure out and add or scientific understanding increases there will continue to be surprises.

          suggest the natural explanations backed by evidence may be even more counter intuitive and surprising than many speculative supernatural beliefs.
    • thumb
      Jan 19 2014: Hi Daniel:>)
      You write...."We are not a body with a spirit ... but rather, spirits within a body."

      One of the challenges with this label, is that "spirit", or "spiritual" is traditionally connected with a religion, or a god. So, right away, when people hear this, they assume an NDE is about a religion/god, when it is not always so. I imagine you know that some atheists have experienced NDE/OBEs? I personally did not experience it as religious or spiritual.

      The article you provided the link for, started out by saying something about "survival of human personality" and "evidence for survival", so I didn't even read the rest of it. With my near death experience, there was absolutely NO "human personality" or human characteristics (except the beat up body on the bed in ICU that I observed), nor did I feel like it was "survival of human personality".

      I experienced energy, and perceived the change in the form of the energy. In my perception and experience, once the body is dead, the energy that fuels the body changes form (goes back into the universal grid - for lack of a better term), and no longer has human personality or characteristics.

      The experience felt very natural to me, as opposed to supernatural, metaphysical, or spiritual. We know that energy runs through our body and out into our world. We know that energy changes form. There is nothing supernatural about that.

      The energy that powers the body, also powers the brain/mind activity. The body is a "carrier" for energy, just like our power lines are carriers for energy, which is used in different ways. As energy flows through the body, it powers all functions, and when the body dies, the energy goes back into the universal "grid"......in my humble perception and experience:>)

      My observation is that people make this way too complicated:>)
      • Jan 19 2014: Hi Colleen,
        Long time !

        Semantics will always be a problem I agree.

        But as far as I can see
        I do agree
        That you and me
        seem to be
        a living part of an energy
        that flows like the river to the sea
        because, not like everybody
        we
        .....are free !!
        • thumb
          Jan 23 2014: I LOVE that Daniel.....thanks.......and I agree:>)
      • Jan 20 2014: Colleen,

        The problem with the "immaterial world"... for lack of a better word ... (trying not to use the word ... spir ...... you know) is of course that it becomes very difficult to set a word to it. Natural, supernatural, unnatural, overnatural

        Might this link below also include a description of what might be what you call the "universal grid"?


        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Etheric_body
        • thumb
          Jan 23 2014: Hi Daniel,
          What is referred to as the Etheric body, could be part of what I refer to as the "universal grid".

          However, the definition seems contradictory and confusing.
          It is described as "body or subtle body propounded in esoteric philosophies as the first or lowest layer in the "human energy field" or aura.[1] It is said to be in immediate contact with the physical body, to sustain it and connect it with "higher" bodies.

          The definition also states..."According to Theosophists and Alice Bailey the etheric body inhabits an etheric plane which corresponds to the four higher subplanes of the physical plane."
          And...
          "In popular use it is often confounded with the related concept of the astral body as for example in the term astral projection - the early Theosophists had called it the "astral double". Others prefer to speak of the "lower and higher astral".

          My questions are....
          *Is it the "first or lowest layer in the "human energy field" or aura.... in immediate contact
          with the physical body, to sustain it and connect it with "higher" bodies."?

          *Is it corresponding to " four higher subplanes of the physical plane."?

          *Have we determined that there are, in fact, four higher subplanes?

          *Is it the "astral double", as some seem to believe?

          *Is the Etheric body " in immediate contact with the physical body, to sustain it and connect it with "higher" bodies?

          *Or is it more of the "astral double", which leaves the body?

          *Could it be both, or all of above?

          *How does the "mind", either inside or outside the physical world, fit in with the etheric body?

          Yes Daniel, it might be what I call the universal grid, it might be part of it.....or not
  • Jan 10 2014: As with majority of tough questions the answer is simple: It does and it doesn't.

    As an atheist and a sceptic, having some experience with meditation and other mind-state altering approaches and philosophies I must say that mind is not your brain, it is not made of chemicals, atoms or electricity, but it does not exist without it, outside of it, spacially or otherwise. This the diffrence betheen the book and the text, signal and information, processor and process, the fist and the punch. One is concrete, touchable, the other is abstract, but it is an abstraction on the concrete object.

    Mind is not outside of the physical world but it is not the atoms, it is the movement and interactions between them. It is in the equations of the physicist, in the measurements, not in what is measured.
  • thumb
    Jan 9 2014: Consciousness and the physical world are interdependent - not mutually exclusive.

    To interpret any kind of outside physical world, you need mind.
    To have mind, you need to be born out of the physical world.

    That's not to say they are different, they are one and the same.
    The problem is that whenever you try to probe the human psyche with the scientific method, you find that there are dialectics that won't go away.

    There are no "agreed or accepted" views on your subjective experience because it is precisely so.

    Objectivity and the scientific method is a consensus of what we can agree on subjectively about the physical world that we find ourselves in.

    Subjectivity on the other hand, is not an object and cannot be observed or analysed in the same way.

    I suggest reading up on the hard problem of consciousness: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hard_problem_of_consciousness

    Most scientists don't make any difference between consciousness, awareness or mind - they are using them all in the same way.

    It's not language that's the problem though - it's the fundamental belief that there is nothing "inner".

    Most scientists don't believe that their experiences of the world are individual and so their whole education and their faith is based around objects and matters of fact.
  • thumb
    Jan 8 2014: Hi Pabitra, I never came across a question like this but

    I would have to disagree.

    It really depends on what we are talking about though. If mind is synonymous with consciousness then ultimately there is no way to prove this. I would first have to ask what is meant by "mind"? Is it mind like the one's us homo sapians and other organisms possess or something similar to what eastern mystics believe (such as pure consciousness?) I'd watch the video but my computer is way too slow for it to play.

    Personally I believe that our minds (our expereinces) are linked to our brains. There is many reason's to suggest why this is the case ranging from Darwinian evolution to just the mechanistic nature of our brain. The only issue here is that philosophers of the mind and cognitive neuroscientist do not know what properties in the brain (if there are any) result in us having the experiences (or minds) that we have. What I do believe is that things external to our minds(brain) influence our brain but I wouldn't call this mind.

    So to answer your question, I think we can argue the science all day and I believe that there is much scientific evidence and reasoning to suggest that our minds exist in our brains but when it comes to metaphysical claims, that is where I think science is unable to answer.
    • thumb
      Jan 9 2014: Hi Orlando,
      Does that mean you do not reckon brain, mind and consciousness as three distinct entities?
      • thumb
        Jan 9 2014: Hi Pabirtra,

        I like to keep an open mind whenever I'm talking about the brain and consciousness but personally I think they are all one and the same. Any damage or modification to our brain affects the experiences that we have. But as I've admitted before there is no way for me to prove this at the level of the brain. And if I took the introspective approach I don't think this will yield results as well. All I'm doing is seeing the contents of my consciousness but its not telling the me the relationship that my experiences have with my brain.

        If it is the case that they are all distinct I would love to know how that is the case
        • thumb
          Jan 10 2014: Plants do not have brains. Do you think they are unconscious? Please do not feel compelled to be leaning on scientific logic etc. I am interested in your gut feeling.
      • thumb
        Jan 10 2014: Hi Pabitra,

        well my gut feeling is telling me that I do not know what its like to be a plant..as I've stated before I keep an open mind and I admit ignorance.

        Is it possible that plants are conscious? yes...is it possible that mind and consciousness exist outside the brain? Yes...

        so my honest answer is I have not clue but I just don't think it can be proved that plants have consciousness as well. I just know we have every reason to doubt that they are conscious
        • thumb
          Jan 10 2014: Thank you for being honest. Most of us will assume a position like you do.

          However, our ideas of consciousness, mind, intelligence, information processing etc. with respect to environments (and I am not even talking about ‘rich internal life’ or qualia) are unfairly based on neuronic hierarchy of sentience. Like for consciousness to be handled by a scientist, his/her field has to be neuro-biology. In order to discuss consciousness and mind legitimately we are supposed to be within the boundaries of cognitive sciences – and these do not offer much of explanation at all.

          If I understand it correctly, consciousness is all about being aware of the environment to start with, intelligence is the capacity to interact with it to survive at the most basic level and mind is the information processing software of conscious life. It is very unclear to me why sentience has to be sole territory of neurons, brains and nervous systems. There is much evidence of hormonal sentience of plants.

          It appears to me that we tend to monopolize the ideas of consciousness, mind and intelligence in an anthropocentric way where human brain figures as the last word.
  • thumb
    Jan 22 2014: Hi, Folks!

    As I re-read the article on incredible mantis shrimp eyes, below, I saw that some folks think its eyes bypass its tiny brain altogether. Perhaps my speculation/intuition about skin and other organs actually being parts/extensions of the brain are correct.

    So, Pabitra, if our entire body is a walking Systems Theory "fractal antenna," with sensory organs connecting every cell in our body linked and cross-wired in a Mobius feedback loop where inside is outside, too, since our skin progresses down our throats and up our butts, perhaps we are picking up signals far beyond our current comprehension that may warp space/time perceptions in our brain or be from a different "brane" (membrane) of the multiverse that some say has 11 or more universes in it.

    Are we having even more fun yet?

    http://www.popsci.com/scitech/article/2008-03/eye-mantis-shrimp
    • thumb
      Jan 23 2014: There may be forces, or stuff, or dimensions we currently don't have any strengths or limited evidence of their existence.

      some things are perhaps border line like dark matter and dark energy that are hypothesised to explain observations, but problematic to measure and detect and understand.

      I just suggest recognising where different hypotheses sit on the speculation and evidence scale. The amount of credence we give to an assertion might ideally reflect the reason and evidence in support of it.

      Suggest there might be better reasons to not discount dark matter than say claims of devils, demons , angels, gods , goddesses, heavens, hells, vahalla, nirvana, the seventh realm of articus etc, but not to treat the edges of science as having the levels of confidence compared to make established areas such as evolution, germ theory, atomic theory etc.

      .
  • thumb
    Jan 21 2014: Wow! What a chat... are we having fun yet?

    Great stuff, and I give you high points for taking your spiritual stand! Here is the problem, as I see it:

    In my early twenties deep readings in history convinced me that there was something or a number of things physically wrong with our brain. The "Crown of Creation/Crown of Evolution" that both religious types and scientists brag about so much simply doesn't fit our punkin' haids!

    The brain is by far the most plastic and changeable organ in our bodies, being physically altered by everything we experience through our senses. Now, recent studies have shown that all our senses are based on the sense of touch, since photons are physically slamming into our retinas, air molecules are impacting our ear drums, and molecules are glomming onto our taste buds.

    I might be wrong, but this new trend in learning what our senses really are may well lead us to a physical explanation of "spirit." The "out of body" experience I had in reliving dozens of past lives was nothing of the sort. It was totally an "in the body" experience, since my brains neurotransmitters were merely drinking deeply from the "soup" of liquid DNA and RNA that bathes the entire brain.
    • thumb
      Jan 21 2014: Are you talking about evolution limb?
      • Jan 21 2014: Pabitra, take a look at this link


        http://www.sciencemag.!org/content/210/4475/1232
        • thumb
          Jan 22 2014: Daniel just a note, the link works when the .lorg is changed to .org

          Would this indicate that we are not our brain, but we are our mind?

          Is this a no-brainer or what? :)
        • thumb
          Jan 22 2014: Perhaps the scientologists are right and we only use 10% of our brain,.

          I guess the10% is usually dispersed. Seems there may be redundancy and plasticity, assisting to the circumstances. Eg a blind person may develop exception hearing even sonar like abilities.

          I also note in many cases when the brain, is damaged via, injury, or stroke there are functional impacts.

          We can't ignore the examples where functionality continues cuddle despite significant deviations from normal brain status. But you should not ignore the cases where brain damage does impact cognitive abilities, personality.

          whether there is a supernatural element or not, it seems clear there is a physical dimension.

          Dementia is terrible to behold, as the person you know fades to a shell. Is this the spirit of the person fading, or the brain, failing?
    • thumb
      Jan 21 2014: This shows we have a problem. The more we know about something, but the less we can create it, the more arguments we're going to have.

      Has anyone created an apple yet?

      If everything was physical, how easy it should be by now to do just that? Especially, if we could then claim copy rights and sell it to the whole world.

      I still hold the conviction that there is a reason we are limited to the physical world for proving anything.
      • Comment deleted

        • thumb
          Jan 22 2014: Hi Brendan,
          Would there be even the slightest possibility, that you could even consider that we may have our mind and brain to be used and prepared for a next life?

          If we are apes, how come we have to pay income tax? :)

          My personal opinion is that we have our large brain to practise freewill and using our freewill to decide what to love, and what not to love. We are the only species that starts life with a clean slate. It takes years for us to learn to eat, let along being nice to someone.

          We go through so many stages of learning, from KGarden to Univ. each stage is for the next stage.
          It may indeed take a life-time but I'd like to think, eventually, we become nice people. And then we die. I like to take the reports regarding NDE's seriously and prepare.

          But we should indeed cut back on the Uzis :)
      • thumb
        Jan 22 2014: Why should every thing be easy if it is physical, material, ie matter, energy, natural forces.

        why would primates on one particular planet be expected to perfectly under stand everything let alone create complex biological systems from nothing, or the raw materials.

        seems a false dichotomy to say if we can't manufacture life it must be supernatural.

        We can't manufacture gravity, so it must be supernatural. W can't manufacture stars, so they must be supernatural.
        • thumb
          Jan 22 2014: Easy in the sense that the usual reaction to what science doesn't know is: Give us time!

          "seems a false dichotomy to say if we can't manufacture life it must be supernatural."
          What's false about it? Give us time? :)
      • thumb
        Jan 22 2014: I didn't give the usual reaction.

        what about the point I made.

        just because we can't make something, doesn't mean it is supernatural.
        • thumb
          Jan 23 2014: Well, I suppose we both will have our 'usual' reactions. I cannot proof to you that our thoughts are not from our brain, and you cannot proof to me that our thoughts are from our brain. There are enough scenarios that can make us go one way or the other. The choice is ours.

          As a response to your comment, I asked you why? And then I expect a response like, that's what evolution is all about, right?

          I have no problem with evolution, life is adjusting to life. But not changing life.
          When people have a NDE life does not change, because life is spiritual. Any material without spirit is dead matter.
          But again that is my opinion.
        • thumb
          Jan 26 2014: Sorry Obey for not seeing your comment below.
          Personally I think both, Evidence and revelation.

          As evidence would qualify any personal experience that is interpreted correctly. If a thousand people had an experience and 950 interpret it as a legitimate, spiritual experience then I'd see that as a correct way of grading it. Each of course has his/her own reason for seeing it that way.
          The IANDS.org I like, although it almost looks like they are selling spots on a cruise ship LOL

          Included with evidence were his several, recorded accounts of proving his connections with the other side. One was with the queen of Sweden, the other with a widow of a jeweler, another with a group of people he could describe a fire to, which burned in a city three days away (on horse back).


          Revelation applies here, in my opinion, because we believe he was invited to write the amount of books he wrote and their consistency, applicability, not only with the Bible, but also with every-day-life. For one thing explaining the 'connection' of correspondences between mind and brain.
          A major change when we change our mind is changing what we love and/or except as truth. In fact that is the basic and consistent subject of each page in the Bible. Including the Creation Story, which has nothing to do with this planet or universe. It is all about how we can change and grow our mind (not our brain :) ) through 6 stages, all the way from Egypt to Canaan.


          I prefer this revelation because it makes total sense to me. To me!! One of the things I really like is that there is a reason for there being 12 gates into Jerusalem. The number 12 and Jerusalem is explained as, every good person has excess to heaven, whatever their religion.
          There is not just one way to be a good person. Many can do the very same physical action but have very different mental/spiritual reasons for doing it.

          His most popular book is about the mind, Heaven And Hell.

          Also
          http://webhome.idirect.com/~abraam/documents/Ess_Swed.pdf
      • Jan 22 2014: Adriaan,
        I'll rrespond to your last comment here. There was no window remaining for me on the last thread.

        Most people use the term "mind" as something which is closely linked up with personality. Our thoughts and memories, our temeprament, likes and dislikes, all these we generally call the mind. But these are in my opinion, not what remains after death. They are also shed off with the memory body or etheric body. I guess your farmiliar with the term "etheric body" You can take a look at Wikipedia if not. This is what remains as the eternal element of our being. The "I" or the "I am" the self-conscious ego element. These things are a little too esoteric to go into here on TED. I don't think they would get much positive response from the readers here. I mention it to you because I know you are interested in E. Swedenborg.
        Although I guess we share a few fundamental concepts about the spiritual world, there are few that can relate to them here. I have been away from TED for a long time now. Maybe a year or so. But it could be interesting to start a discussion on the basic principles of estericism. But people just don't seem to be ready for it.
        Greetings,
        Daniel
        • thumb
          Jan 23 2014: Hi Daniel,,, I suggest there may just be a few of us that find various spiritual realms proposed often conflicting, to be highly speculative. Often based on revelation or intuitive connections etc, not sufficient ton or evidence.

          Which probably helps explain why there are so many mutually exclusive spiritual beliefs, tied together by underlying reality and human experience.

          Let me give an example. I spoke with the operators of a factory that had a problem making defective product. they had developed a complex explanation intuitively of what was happening, completely ignorant of the reality of the crystalline structure of metals, of the impact of grain growth, and dislocations on the mechanical properties etc. In short their model kind of correlated with the outcomes, but was compete rubbish.

          I suggest alot of intuitive spiritual type beliefs suffer the same sort of issues.
        • thumb
          Jan 23 2014: I fully agree with you Daniel. There is no mind identical to another, as we can all 'shape' our own. There is no marriage the same, no love of a sport the same, etc, etc.
          But indeed to go even further into what the mind is and what we take with us and what we don't, is beyond any interest on this site.

          On the physical level 1+1=2 while on the spiritual level 1+1 could be 1 or 4 or a thousand. This applies as much to the number 144,000, so often used in relation to literal Bible interpretation.

          I had to look up the word 'esoteric' and it seems applicable to Swedenborg. Access to spiritual truth is only for those that are positive toward the spirit. This is not only to protect the truth, but also to protect that individual.

          Although there have been a number of cases where people have started reading Swedenborg's books to proof him wrong. But over time realized that he made total sense to them. Swedenborg does say there is nothing wrong with doubt, after all we cannot know everything. But let it be positive doubt, which allows growth, while negative doubt can only go down hill .

          Someone recently asked TED permission to start a session on NDE's but it was a no.

          Swedenborg does give a detailed account what happens to our mind when our body dies. How it goes through 3 stages on the way to heaven. Two stages if we have decided to go to hell.

          Thanks Daniel for your link above. The problem with anything, or everything, on this planet is that no one can proof any details about the spirit, one way or the other. Death doesn't change that either.

          Just had the thought, 'how solid is matter?? If one looks close enough, all we see is a cloud. :)


          Sorry Obey, I know people make mistakes in their interpretation of whatever they see or what happens to them. But the many thousands of NDE's, experienced by completely different people, different in race, age, food, injuries, beliefs, habits, etc. are too consistent to totally disregard as rubbish.
        • thumb
          Jan 23 2014: Adriaan, how did Swedenborg figure out what happens after we die ? Evidence or revelation.

          why do you take his revelations over others that come to different conclusions.
  • thumb
    Jan 21 2014: There are spines on the apical dendrites, which do not participate in the formation of synapses. The synaptic density of the human cerebral cortex is .incredible. The number of neurons/gm of brain tissue (neuron density) in the human is 10.5 (Abeles 1991) and in the mouse it is 142.5. Then what makes the human brain far better than that of a mouse? The number of synapses, the variety of the neuro-neuronal junctions, and the complexity of their networking make the synaptic network in the human brain a crowning achievement of the process of evolution.
    By traditional Darwinism, what is the purpose of this evolutionary achievement? I hope none will argue it is to develop philosophy, art or poetry? It can be somewhat acceptable argument to me that these are completely unintended bye-products or exaptations. But then the question will be what is the evolutionary 'gain' in having such a complex and sophisticated physical organ at all?

    Edit:
    @Obey: If a physical system (biological is physical basically) can get so complex as to develop something such as mind, I think we have technology now to configure substantially complex systems that should have rudimentary mind too. Then societies, nations, economic systems can have 'mind' too as Arkady argued.
    Do we accept that as valid hypothesis?
    • thumb
      Jan 22 2014: Hi pm I guess it depends on how broadly you define mind. Whether you test mind as one big group or recognise groupings. Collective minds might share some similarities with the minds of individuals, but there may be problems if you assume they are similar in ask regards. Even with individual species there are a range of mind capabilities.

      Suggest it is important to recognise the differences not just the similarities of what period refer to as mind, and nde clear about the context.

      I don't find there to be sufficient evidence to support supernatural spirit type beliefs, but I guess this highlights some off the weaknesses of trading a collective mind the same as an individual mind. Plenty of people assert thor human mind, personality has some supernatural elements. Does any one assert collective minds have supernatural elements?
  • thumb
    Jan 20 2014: Pabitra, can anything exist outside or inside anything else? Everything that exists, is energy in one form or another. That is all. But the finest energy, is that which perceives the one that is more coarse than itself. Consciousness is the finest energy, from which the perception of all things is possible. Every experience takes part in Consciousness. Nothing is separate from Consciousness, the purest level of energy. That is the ground of perception. The content of perception is whatever comes to be experienced in Consciousness. The two, form the mind. One is not separate from the other. The content of consciousness is forever changing but Consciousness as the ground of experience does not, as it is the Presence within which experience is being revealed. Presence is Eternal, Consciousness as Presence. Consciousness as Form, is changing. Ultimately both are one. Thought, can change aspects of the experience as it can alter perception. Thought as emotion, or biased experience, can also affect the body, somatic wise. Only awareness-based consciousness can reveal the true experience, not thought-based consciousness which is biased. Our job is to bring thought based consciousness to an end and become Pure Consciousness, the Source of All Experience. I don't care myself much for science as it is still in the kindergarten. Science will never be able to touch the source of life, let alone measure it. Let Andrew's experience be a passing moment in a history that knows no limits.....This is how it is in my world.
    • thumb
      Jan 20 2014: Johnny, I am not as sure as you are about what science will or will not be able to do in time. It's an open book to me. It's just that i start to smell something fundamentally wrong when the principle of a study does not really change for three centuries.
      I can define the boundary and scope of my inquiry and jolly well exclude any idea that does not fit the bill. But the question remains and haunts us.
    • thumb
      Jan 23 2014: I'm not sure space and time are energy, and they exist
  • Jan 20 2014: That's correct Ben, but that is what we used to think. Science has made a lot of leaps recently. The Nour foundation for one, talks about the science behind OBE's and NDE's (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vf7qC_JOaVY). These are very much a real phenomenon. We might not be able to fully explain it or the process, but if one is honest with the proof presented, there is every reason to think that the mind can exist outside the body.

    "With lack of evidence for any other theories for NDE, the thus far assumed, but never proven, concept that consciousness and memories are localized in the brain should be discussed. How could a clear consciousness outside one’s body be experienced at the moment that the brain no longer functions during a period of clinical death with flat EEG? Also, in cardiac arrest the EEG usually becomes flat in most cases within about 10 s from onset of syncope. Furthermore, blind people have described vertical perception during out-of-body experiences at the time of this experience. NDE pushes at the limits of medical ideas about the range of human consciousness and the mind-brain relation.

    Another theory holds that NDE might be a changing state of consciousness (transcendence), in which identity, cognition, and emotion function independently from the unconscious body, but retain the possibility of non-sensory perception."

    http://pimvanlommel.nl/files/publicaties/Lancet%20artikel%20Pim%20van%20Lommel.pdf

    You should look into the International Association for Near Death Experiences. They have the "only peer-reviewed scholarly journal (ISSN 0891-4494) devoted exclusively to the field of near-death studies. It is cross-disciplinary and published quarterly."

    http://iands.org/research.html

    Science has been discovering some pretty fascinating things recently.
  • Jan 20 2014: mind does not exist outside of the physical world, in the same way that digestion doesn't exist without your intestinal tract. many people make this mistake, erroneously believing that a mind is a thing, it's not, mind is a process that ends when the brain no longer functions.
    • Jan 20 2014: To some degree, it seems like you are defining "mind" as "Brain." But if a Mind has an Idea, where does that idea come from? And if that idea is transferred from one mind to another, just what was transferred? Is an Idea part of a mind, or is it separate from the mind?
      • Jan 21 2014: i'm not defining mind as brain. the brain is a thing, the mind is a process, which cannot occur without the physical structure of the brain. ideas also arise thanks to the physical structure that is the brain. without a brain, we cannot have ideas or a mind.
      • thumb
        Jan 21 2014: Just like breath comes from breathing and breathing needs lungs.
        • Jan 21 2014: Essentially this comes down to a matter of definition though. If "mind" is a process that requires a brain, then it is easy to end the discussion there.

          Now I don't think that you need to invoke something outside of the physical world to start the process of questioning it or evaluating it though. I interpret the question to mean "what affects our thinking, and could there be some as yet undetected force that impacts our thinking?" said force for lack of a better name at this point being labeled as "mind."

          I propose that there is an indirect observation of such forces in the form of ideas. I think that we do agree that ideas exist, although quantifying just what an idea is remains elusive. Ideas affect us when we are properly exposed to them. Ideas do interact with each other in our selves, and in our societies, effecting quantifiable changes in behavior, but we remain unable to measure just what an idea is, or why some ideas are more influential than others.

          Now saying that ideas exist but can't currently be measured opens up the question of how to measure an idea, which also gives rise to the possibility that ideas are not measurable using our current level of understanding of the "physical" world. Now invoking things outside of the "physical world" seems like something of a copout, if you believe it can never be observed or measured, than it is beyond our understanding, and we pretty much have to give up on it from a scientific point of view. But if you believe that we have to come up with some way of measuring these things, and propose mechanisms for doing so, then you can start something like a scientific investigation.

          So, how do you measure an idea?
        • thumb
          Jan 21 2014: Carlos,
          We do have an accepted definition for idea..."an indefinite or unformed conception; a formulated thought or opinion".

          I suggest that ideas cannot be measured because they are subjective, indefinite and unformed conception.

          That being said however, science has the ability to detect and measure brain activity when ideas are presented and/or being formed. It is possible to detect and measure brain activity as the process of forming ideas takes place in the human brain. Have you heard of the real time MRI? Fascinating!

          Just because something may be "beyond our understanding" at this point in time, does not mean we "pretty much have to give up on it from a scientific point of view". I don't think that is how science operates:>)

          Obey,
          I could not get anywhere near your other comment (to respond) in which you mentioned people's fear of not knowing, and I agree with that:>)
        • Jan 21 2014: Colleen

          It appears that you have just stated that a "Brain" is an idea detector. Or is it an idea creator? Or both?

          Using the definition you have given, can we say that the idea of a creature is expressed in its DNA? What do we call information that can act on its environment in a way to manipulate it? What is an idea when it exists in a medium apart from a brain? How does that definition apply to the information in a book (or in a strand of DNA). And it seems that definition fails to measure any difference between ideas.

          My point about giving up was based on the idea (apparently poorly transmitted) that it would always be impossible to detect something. If you can't detect something, you can only postulate its existence rather than "prove" its existence.
        • thumb
          Jan 21 2014: Carlos,
          My statements are pretty clear.

          "The function of the brain is to exert centralized control over the other organs of the body" (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brain)

          Perhaps if you do some research you can answer some of your own questions:>)

          Edit:
          Here is another link that might help with your exploration and research....have fun:>)
          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mind
      • thumb
        Feb 6 2014: Let's back up a minute.
        In order to have an intelligent discussion of mind and brain perhaps Carlos needs to provide his reference point so I will pose this question: How much do you currently understand about how the brain forms mind?

        For starters:

        http://www.ted.com/talks/rebecca_saxe_how_brains_make_moral_judgments.html
        http://www.ted.com/talks/antonio_damasio_the_quest_to_understand_consciousness.html

        I would highly recommend Damasio's book "Self Comes to Mind."
    • thumb
      Jan 20 2014: Ben and Carlos,
      I agree that "mind" is a process, and when the body is no longer functioning, that process cannot take place in that body....just like the digestive process ceases along with all other body systems.

      I believe the body/mind is fueled by energy, and as such, the body/mind is a carrier of energy. I suggest that when an idea is transferred from one mind to another, as you mention Carlos, the idea continues to exist because of the thoughts, feelings (energy) in the body in which the idea exists. Therefor, the process remains part of the physical world.

      I suggest that everything is interconnected with energy, so in addition to a process being part of the physical world, it could also be interconnected with other processes in our universe, which is still the physical world. Perhaps the answer to the question is dependent on what we perceive as the "physical world"?
      • Jan 20 2014: Colleen:

        Once you define "Mind" as the process, then it is easy to conclude that the process ceases at some point. That's fine, but you still have the question of what "Personality" is, and what an "Idea" is. It is clear that given your definition of "Mind," a "mind" can be influenced by the thoughts or actions of others, but we are still left with the question of what an "Idea" is. And that also leads to the question of what is the "self?" Is there a "self" that exists and affects how we interact with the physical world we experience that neuroscience has yet to detect/and or understand?
        • thumb
          Jan 20 2014: A very valid question. The mental functions of a person ceases with her death. But 'mind' continues to influence and work on other minds in a non local way. This infulence is so powerful that even the most rational person finds it difficult to agree with counter intuitive reality.
          Even in the physical reality, that a particle can exist at two different locations at the same point of time or two particles can occupy the same location (violating exclusion principle) is one observation that was very difficult to accept to start with.
          Something called 'mind' (and not an individual mind) needed to be rebooted to include that kind of reality.
        • thumb
          Jan 20 2014: I really don't understand the difficulty of accepting physical brain processes alone with supporting senses (mainly sight and hearing) could support labeling patterns of observed behaviour as different personalities. Or thinking and the development and transmission of words and ideas assuming you can speak or write and the receiver can hear or read.

          Does there need to be magic to vocalise you are hungry, or that it might be a good idea to make lunch?

          Even dogs and cows have different temperaments we label based on their patterns of behaviour.
        • Jan 21 2014: an idea is not dissimilar to a thought. both things are a result of interactions between neurons in our brains. personality is also something that is contained within our brains, a result of genetics and experience. this is also what your 'self' is. you've probably noticed that unconscious people don't have much personality or self!
      • Jan 21 2014: i agree that an idea can live longer than the brain in which it formulated, but only as long as it is kept in other brains.

        how does this 'energy' connect thing?
        • thumb
          Jan 21 2014: Ben,
          I wish I knew how energy connects things! In another similar conversation on TED, a science minded person suggested that there are energies in our universe that have not yet been identified.

          There is energy in the earth, energy in the atmosphere, plants, water, and animals, including humans. With a near death experience, I perceived everything/everyone as interconnected with energy. I am not a scientist, cannot explain it, and am not presenting it as proof of anything.... simply an experience that I cannot explain, and yet makes sense to me because of the energy in everything all around and through us that we are aware of.
    • thumb
      Jan 20 2014: @ Ben: I see two problems in your comparison of mind with digestion in respect to brain and alimentary system.
      First is about the level of sophistication and complexity. I find it very difficult to comprehend why as organs the two systems differ so much evolution wise.
      Second is when one recognizes a relationship between two entities does it not tacitly imply an independence of the entities?
      • thumb
        Jan 20 2014: Pabitra,
        Please excuse me....I realize your question is for Ben, and hopefully he will answer.

        I agree that the digestive system is less complex than the brain/mind system, and that is perhaps because we can monitor and evaluate the digestive system, as we can other body systems like the skeletal system, muscular system, etc.?

        Science knows some things about the brain, and one theory is that the brain organizes and orchestrates all the other systems of the body. That would cause the brain to be more complex....would it not? I suggest that the evolution of something less complex is easier to understand and explain, while that which is more complex may take more time to understand and explain? The human brain is growing in size, and I suspect that is part of the evolutionary process?

        I would say that when one recognizes relationship between two entities it demonstrates interdependence:>)
        • thumb
          Jan 20 2014: I accept interdependence because it recognizes the independence of two entities. A considerable part of brain handles abilities that are not required, as it seems to me, for survival, which is cornerstone of biological evolution. So I am baffled as to why a physical organ which is certain to be under selective pressure will develop such complexity (and complexity comes at a price mind you, it consumes resources and power to run).
          A rational explanation of that will help me to understand it better.
        • Jan 21 2014: well explained colleen!

          pabrita just because something isn't necessary for survival doesn't mean it is not helpful for better survival. speaking in terms of evolution, one of the things that has helped us humans survive so well is our 'simulator' - we can try things out in our mind before doing them, and avoid danger this way. animals on the other hand don't know until they try. spending resources on this 'mind' gives us a huge advantage.

          an appropriate quote from TED speaker dan gilbert: "Ben and Jerry's doesn't have liver-and-onion ice cream, and it's not because they whipped some up, tried it and went, "Yuck." It's because, without leaving your armchair, you can simulate that flavor and say "yuck" before you make it."
      • thumb
        Jan 20 2014: Pabitra,
        OK, we have to be more clear as we use quantum physics concepts. For a system to be described quantum mechanically the system’s typical mass m, speed v, and distance d must be on the order of Planck’s constant h(6.62606957 × 10-34 m2 kg / s), So If mvd is much greater than h, then the system probably can be treated classically-and that will average out to the world we all live in, that is why we all see the same football game in the stadium.
        Also the mass of neural transmitter molecules, and their speed across the distance of the synapse, are about three orders of magnitude too large for quantum effects to be influential.
        The microscopic world of subatomic particles as described by the mathematics of quantum mechanics has no correspondence with the macroscopic world in which we live as described by the mathematics of Newtonian mechanics. These are two different physical systems at two different scales described by two different types of mathematics. The hydrogen atoms in the sun are not sitting around in a cloud of possibilities waiting for a cosmic mind to signal them to fuse into helium atoms and thereby throw off heat generated by nuclear fusion. By the laws of physics of this universe, a gravitationally collapsing cloud of hydrogen gas will, if large enough, reach a critical point of pressure to cause those hydrogen atoms to fuse into helium atoms and give off heat and light in the process, and it would do so even if there were not a single mind in the entire cosmos to observe it. No compelling argument or evidence requires that quantum mechanics plays a central role in human consciousness or provides instantaneous, holistic connections across the universe. Modern physics, including quantum mechanics, remains completely materialistic and reductionist while being consistent with all scientific observations.
        The observer effect of quantum physics isn't about people or reality, is gripping stuff but it has nothing to do with our daily lives.

        Cheers!!
        • thumb
          Feb 5 2014: Hi, Carlos!

          I love your input and your kind-hearted, non-aggressive style, my dear sir! Kinda like watching ol' Satchel Paige delivering smoking fast balls right down the middle with no need to brush batters back or go for the bean ball... just another day at work before going for a fast drive with fast female company that Satch so dearly loved.

          If you read my posts about what I believe was a genetic memory experience with its seemingly endless timeline stretching into my biological past, rather than into an unknowable biological or ethereal future, you will know I am an "in the body" kinda guy.

          I also experienced an "inescapable dream" that involved several false awakenings, each dream within a dream more "real" than the last, and each very similar, only varying in the identity of the lover (in order from first lover to then-current one) I found myself with. Now here is the kicker: after 3-4 false awakenings, I slapped myself and felt pain and saw myself in a mirror, but I was still dreaming, since I awakened yet again. Last time I checked, that stuff ain't supposed to happen in dreams. I finally woke up, I think, wondering if I was and perhaps am still dreaming now.

          So, as you might imagine I started researching quantum phenomena a bit, since I suspected that I had cruised through a number of "lines of probabilities" re my possible lives with each of four lovers in four different theoretical multiverse membranes.

          I understand your position that quanta are too small to affect neuromechanics as we understand them today. But a number of organs in the brain contain minute deposits of various types of "sands," calcium, etc. Could these mineral sands possibly act like crystals in an old-fashioned crystal radio set and making time/space a lot more slippery in our brains?

          You probably have access to far better search engines than this old woodworker does, if you might want to explore this... or already know something of it you can share.

          Very Best!
        • thumb
          Feb 5 2014: Quick note re last, Carlos-

          If I'm not mistaken, under conditions of total and prolonged darkness, the human eye/retina can detect a single photon. Methinks it will be found that various receptors/transmitters in our brains can detect and exchange things a lot smaller than huge molecules. Every brain scientist I know admits that we really don't know Jack about the brain. After all, the eye is the brain, pushed forward through skin to sense the world, long before skeletons evolved. Or I suppose its possible that light-sensitive cells in primitive skin/membranes evolved first, and then brains formed liked root systems under a sun-seeking plant.

          One more thing- have you noticed that chemistry, in all its wonderful new forms, is really starting to give physics a run for the money for "king" of applied sciences?

          Very best, amigo!
      • Jan 21 2014: i'm not comparing mind and digestion, they are 2 completely different processes.
        the mind is a process which depends on the brain, digestion is a completely different process that depends on a completely different physical thing - the digestive tract. if you can understand that digestion is dependent on your stomach, intestines etc, then you should also be able to understand how the mind is dependent on the brain.
        • thumb
          Jan 21 2014: Ben,
          2 completely different and interconnected processes. While the digestive tract depends on the stomach, intestines, etc., it also depends on the brain. If there is no brain activity, there is no digestive system.....I know you know that:>)

          Regarding your other comment....
          " one of the things that has helped us humans survive so well is our 'simulator' - we can try things out in our mind before doing them, and avoid danger this way. animals on the other hand don't know until they try".

          I agree that our "simulator" helps us survive in the way you mention. I also think that other animals have a "simulator"....probably not as complex as humans.

          A predator, for example, somehow "knows" which animal in a herd is the weakest and easiest to take down for lunch. A female animal often protects her babies at all costs....hiding them in appropriate areas where they will not be seen by predators, and animals will often help another species in distress. We can say this behavior is instinct, and/or perhaps they also have some level of "simulator"?
  • thumb
    Jan 19 2014: You should like this: 1975, I'm on operating table for surgery on wrist- Demerol and later ether. Hyper aware, page in bold print appears before me, story about me, pages turn faster with full comprehension... Akashic Records, right? Book becomes "Brendan, the Movie," with me in front row, then morphs into full blown reality. Perfectly smooth and sane retrogression in time/space, changing sex as easily as changing clothes, living/dying dozens of times, as natural as breathing, no fear, no loss of sense of self. Like riding in a limo steadily back in time, reliving every significant moment of dozens of past lives.

    Find myself a spear man in (I assume) Egyptian army, nervously awaiting onslaught of the enemy. Huge dust cloud forms on horizon and approaches way too fast: War chariots, which none of us Egyptian farm boys had seen before, burst from dust and we all run like hell. I regressed much farther - vague memories of swinging through trees, etc.

    Seven years later I first learned that Egypt had no chariots until Hyksos invaders overran Egypt with them and ruled Egypt for two generations. Experience (personally) validated. Kind of like dreaming of being on the Moon and waking with a scientifically confirmed moon rock in my hand. Genetic/Ancestral Memory. Told story to friend Darold Treffert, consultant for movie, Rainman, who has studied autistic savants for 50 years, and he didn't bat an eye. He is convinced unlearned/untaught savant behavior is a product of Gen Mem. Treffert also insists that unless brain theories can account for exceptional savant behavior, they cannot be valid.

    Why spend trillions on space travel? Skeletons dissolve in zero G's, anyway. The Cosmos is within us... spend hard-to-come-by dollars on Earthly matters/problems, and never, ever, fear the Reaper!
  • Jan 19 2014: Carlos,

    It will of course be the confirmation of "veridable evidence" that will tip over the first domino, When there is enough veridable evidence, then the first brick will fall. Later to be followed, one after the other, by all the rest of the one sided materialistic view of the world.


    I can see it now.....

    Science will feverishly fumble through its best playing cards, ... perhaps a "multiuniverse" explanation, perhaps a cosmic inflation theory, ... an MWI (many worlds interpretation) ... a mathematical universe hypythosis, ... or TOE (theory of everything) ... desperately trying to save face.

    In the mean time, Let it be known, that the spiritual realities are not only something that arise in our realm of experiences after the moment of death. The spiritual realities are here and now. Everywhere around us. In the plants, the animals and in mankind. We are just too blunted in our consciousness to discover it.

    Well, well, ... enough of that. Back to the point here, about the phenomenon NDE's

    Do you see how research and testing for "veridable evidence" can support the theory of a "real OBE" that people are reporting under NDE's ? Can you make the connection between the two?

    Namely, If and when one single episode of an OBE can be confirmed through significant amounts of "veridable evidence", then the old story about "all crows are black" will fall into its own footprint.
    • thumb
      Jan 19 2014: daniel,
      When and if that day comes and the "first domino falls" I will gladly read all about it (if I'm around). Then the supernatural will become ...natural.
      I don't know if you have a correct picture of how science is "done" but it follows where the evidence leads to, take for example the Michelson-Morley experiment science had to shed the aether notion that was though- but see where we are now and many more examples like it.
      You claim to know about "spiritual realities"-I don't- By what method of knowledge you arrive to those conclusions? You state: "We are just too blunted in our consciousness to discover it" does that mean that you are not and if so do you have some "special mechanism" to detect these realities? Sounds like special pleading to me.
      OK I can demonstrate to you that the boiling point of of a substance is the temperature at which the vapor pressure of the liquid equals the pressure surrounding the liquid and the liquid changes into a vapor( for water 212F).
      If there is research that follows the scientific method and they are willing to be open to scrutiny then---> Onwards! Research should be conducted with a neutral stance towards the "spiritual realm" but to go where evidence leads and if research hits a wall (IE: I don't know) this should not be filled with esoteric woo-woo, but empirical testable evidence.
      In the meantime you are right :all crows are black.

      Cheers! (in this world)
      • thumb
        Jan 19 2014: The freedom to disregard and not believe the spirit and spiritual level exist, will never be taken away from us because it can never be scientifically proven to (not) exist.
        That freedom is what makes us human. One level above the animals. We are humans because we can grow or limit our own future. We have a choice what to love and what to hate. There is no individual animal that can decide to commit suicide, we can.

        The only thing that can influence someone to believe the spirit exists, is a spiritual experience and then only with a proper interpretation of what happened.

        Another indication, and that's all it is, is the number of NDE's reported. With the similarities of the experiences, while the people that experience them can be very, and completely different.

        The people that want to see this life as useless and not having any purpose, are the people that are stuck in the 'body approach.'
        As humans we can make the choice to become 'unstuck'.
        • thumb
          Jan 19 2014: Adriaan,
          What is "a proper interpretation of what happened"?

          Would that be YOUR interpretation? Or Swedenborg's interpretation?
        • thumb
          Jan 19 2014: Adriaan,
          Indeed people the world over may believe all sorts of things as they fancy- that is just fine.

          Subjective religious experiences like Nde's are ubiquitous but our lack of understanding is not carte Blanche for the supernatural is an argument from ignorance (and everyone and all are welcome to it-it is better to say I don't know). "Spirituality" should not be the default position.
          I'm not an expert on NDE's but I'm willing to state the data is the opposite to your claim , that is NDE's vary according to culture & epoch-but is just a hunch. What do I know?
          I'm stuck in the body approach and life is just great! Life has the purpose that I give to it-And I'm having a blast! You see Adriaan blanket statements like:"The people that want to see this life as useless and not having any purpose, are the people that are stuck in the 'body approach." are detached from reality- not everyone fits in your "shoe-box" because they just so happen to disagree with you...there ...there.

          Like daniel said: All crows are black.


          Cheers! (Football is on!)
      • thumb
        Jan 19 2014: Carlos,
        NDEs are NOT necessarily a "religious experience", nor, in my humble perception and experience, is it supernatural. I experienced it as very natural, and there have been NDEs reported by people who say they are atheists.

        Adriaan, in his own personal perception, seems to want to make it religious/spiritual/supernatural, and that is his own personal belief.....his own personal choice.

        I totally agree with you Carlos..."spirituality should not be the default position", but it is to some people. If they cannot adequately explain it, then it is supernatural, metaphysical, spiritual, etc.

        Cheers! Enjoy the football!
        • thumb
          Jan 19 2014: Collen,
          I'm sorry that you had such an experience. The closest I've come to NDE is to be in an explosion during a terrorist attack years back while in the Military, I blacked out and all my mind went into survival mode, may be the reason I'm here today(plus luck). But no NDE.
          And that said it seems an ubiquitous phenomena.

          Our theist friends are completely free to asses reality as they may see fit.It is a right that I will stand to defend.

          Nice to hear from you again Colleen and thanks for sharing your experience.

          Cheers! ( I think broncos are taking this one!)
        • thumb
          Jan 20 2014: "Adriaan, in his own personal perception, seems to want to make it religious/spiritual/supernatural, and that is his own personal belief.....his own personal choice."

          Really? And that would be your perception about WHAT YOU THINK that Adriaan meant which is "in your humble experience" something that you will acknowledge and take back. And the world will live to fight (talk) for another day.
        • thumb
          Jan 21 2014: I agree colleen. Humans seem to be very uncomfortable with not knowing, with not having an explanation, and very readily accept conflicting rationales not bad on reason and sufficient evidence.

          there have always been unknowns that have been plugged with explanations not supported by sufficient evidence. Sometimes we leap to supernatural agents. Sometimes to pseudo science or other intuitive connections.

          when you think about it, it is interesting how assuming an unexplained supernatural agency, or event happened, for which the mechanics are unexplained, is often preferred and provides a higher level of psychological comfort than accepting we don't know.

          brains and minds are complex. So we plug the gap with a supernatural plug that itself is not explained. God did it, or it's magic.

          to me there are parallels with so many other natural phenomena from disease to floods and earthquakes, lightning that we now have a good foundation of understanding, but previously had conflicting supernatural explanations.

          I guess this reflects that the universe is complex, life has some strange and unusual experiences.Low probability events happen and humans evolved to see patterns and make connections and assume agency even if they're is no actual compelling evidence of any
      • thumb
        Jan 19 2014: Sorry you had that experience Carlos, and I'm glad you are here to talk about it today. I agree.....everyone is free to asses reality as they see fit, and you were in the military protecting that freedom.....thank you for that.

        I did quite a lot of research on NDE/OBEs after my experience, and one thing I discovered, is that people often interpret the experience, based on their beliefs before the event. If one believes in a god, heaven, religion, etc., the experience will be colored, and influenced by that belief....I suspect in an effort to "fit" the experience into existing beliefs. I did not have any established beliefs, and was open to possibilities, therefor, my experience was not connected to any pre-established beliefs.

        Cheers Carlos:>)
        • thumb
          Jan 20 2014: "Would that be YOUR interpretation? Or Swedenborg's interpretation?"
          Swedenborg's. He spent close to 30 years in the spiritual world while here.

          What I'm wondering is how can one interpret a NDE as a body experience when we look down and see our body?? As you mentioned in one of your comments.

          Your very last paragraph about what you discovered, is an indication why your interpretation is the way it is. They are not only based on beliefs, but also on unbeliefs. We are what we are.
          If we are willing to change, we can. Like the recent story of the Atheist surgeon.

          Did you already not like religions before your NDE, or did that come later?
      • thumb
        Jan 20 2014: I am aware of Swedenburg's teachings and the religion he started Adriaan, because you are preaching and posting that "stuff" all over TED conversations. As I've told you many times, I respect YOUR beliefs, as YOUR beliefs...it is YOUR choice regarding what to believe.

        I have not EVER said I experienced the NDE as a "body experience". I said I experienced it as very natural. I perceived myself as energy, and that energy, as the carrier of information, observed (for lack of a better word), the body on the bed in ICU.

        I agree Adriaan, we are what we are, we choose to believe what we choose to believe, and we can change if we so desire.

        I have NEVER said I do not like religions Adriaan. In fact, I have said many times, on TED, and everywhere else, that religions are a beneficial life guide for some people, and for some people religions are a means to dominate, control, abuse and violate the rights of others.

        I have said over and over again, that there are many people in my life...good friends and relatives...who I love and respect very much, who believe in, and practice various religious and philosophical beliefs. It depends on HOW one uses and practices the religious beliefs. Unfortunately, too often in our world, some folks use it to control and dominate others.

        I have told you many times Adriaan, that I respect YOUR choice of religious/philosophical beliefs, and I DO NOT appreciate your constant effort to preach your beliefs and/or try to convert everyone here on TED.

        Honestly Adriaan, I think it's kind of foolish for Swedenborg to have spent "30 years in the spiritual world while here", because MY belief is that we are HERE, NOW for a reason, and MY choice is to be fully present with the human experience.

        That also debunks a previous statement of yours claiming that it is "impossible" to connect spiritual and physical. Swedenborg would have had to keep disconnecting back and forth from physical to spiritual....spiritual to physical....that is not probable.
      • thumb
        Jan 20 2014: Dear Johnny Atman,
        This is a response to your comment....

        "Johnny Atman
        20 minutes ago: "Adriaan, in his own personal perception, seems to want to make it religious/spiritual/supernatural, and that is his own personal belief.....his own personal choice."

        Really? And that would be your perception about WHAT YOU THINK that Adriaan meant which is "in your humble experience" something that you will acknowledge and take back. And the world will live to fight (talk) for another day".

        Johnny,
        I perceive all of us on the same playing field with comments here on TED. We are ALL expressing our own personal thoughts, feelings, ideas, perceptions, perspectives and beliefs....sometimes supported by evidence....sometimes not. I usually write....my perception, my belief, my perspective, my experience, etc., to specifically clarify that I KNOW what I am expressing is only my perception/belief.

        I'm not sure what you are suggesting I "acknowledge and take back".
        • thumb
          Jan 20 2014: "{Honestly Adriaan, I think it's kind of foolish for Swedenborg to have spent "30 years in the spiritual world while here", because MY belief is that we are HERE, NOW for a reason, and MY choice is to be fully present with the human experience."

          Just wondering Colleen, tor what reason are you/we here?
    • thumb
      Jan 20 2014: Hi Adriaan!
      I have no idea why you are here Adriaan....that is a choice YOU make for YOURSELF.

      I am here, on this earth, to learn, grow and evolve as an individual, while contributing to the whole:>)


      EDIT
      I just noticed in another comment Adriaan, you write...
      " We can set our own path, for some reason"

      In my perception Adriaan, it is more beneficial to accept each person's path as their/our personal choice, as long as the practice and belief does not adversely impact others. There is no good reason to try to convince everyone that YOUR personal choice is the RIGHT one for everyone.

      YES.....absolutely......I agree....we can set our own path:>)
      • thumb
        Jan 20 2014: Can anyone set their path to 'somewhere' they do not exists??

        I've always been saying that we have to set our own path, and do so in freedom!! Whatever we do not choose in freedom, never becomes ours, never becomes part of us.

        So all I'm 'preaching' about is telling people what's available so a choice can be made. We cannot make a choice about something we do not know. When we hear something we do not want to know or follow, don't follow.

        Please get one thing strait. I'm not trying to change your mind or anyone elses mind. We can only change our own mind. I'm just giving information, and explaining it. Nothing else. I know the traditional Christian and most other belief systems approach is like that. 'Believe what we believe or you go to hell'. That is a totally wrong and loveless approach.

        We are what we love. And your research about how NDE's can be influenced by what we love or don't love, seems to support that.
        • thumb
          Jan 20 2014: People can "set their path" to anything s/he wishes Adriaan, and that has been demonstrated over and over again.

          What you are constantly promoting and "preaching" is Swedenborgianism, which is your personal chosen belief.

          Please get one thing straight Adriaan....I remember when you started on TED, that you stated you were here to promote your personal religious beliefs. You've had numerous comments removed by TED for that reason, and although you have softened your approach somewhat, you are still promoting/preaching your religious beliefs. With all due respect for what YOU choose to believe, Swedenborgianism is not the answer to everything for everyone.

          I did not say anything about research regarding what we love or don't love influencing the NDE, and I appreciate it when you discontinue twisting my words. Thank you in advance for that consideration.
      • thumb
        Jan 20 2014: You don't get it, do you??????
        You started your comment with the same thing that I said!!

        This is what I said please do read it this time, maybe you finally get the message!!!
        "I've always been saying that we have to set our own path, and do so in freedom!! Whatever we do not choose in freedom, never becomes ours, never becomes part of us."

        BTW the topic is Mind exists outside of physical world - will you agree?
        • thumb
          Jan 21 2014: Adriaan,

          The concept of something-anything -"outside the physical world" - makes no sense. Is like postulating that non-existence is- , I'm sorry, I can't follow to a non-physical realm (where?) populated by the non-physical "no se que".
          If I were to tell you that I've visited Tolkien s world (as a non-physical entity). And spoke to Gandalf & Frodo & had a drinking binge party with the whole gang- and then-I'm trying to convince you of such as a matter of fact; -and then- I'm trying to convince you to come with me; Well, you will probably have me committed to the nearest paddy wagon and I won't blame you if you did(even if I went kicking & screaming).
          But if millions believed what I described-then- by consensus it will probably be OK. And I bet you that neither of us want to be ruled by Gandalf.
          The other thing is what methodology anyone will use to arrive to the positive affirmation that the non-physical exists... sounds like a Nobel Prize to me, But what do I know?
          And you are right everyone and all are and should be free to choose in these matters as they see fit.All have a right to their own opinion but not to their own facts ( like denying that the earth is round) ,But hey this is TED there is someone out there that "knows for a fact" that Earth is as flat as Grandma 's blueberry pancakes-syrup and all-

          Cheers!!
        • thumb
          Jan 21 2014: I "get it" pretty well Adriaan, and I am aware of the topic of the conversation, which I have been trying to encourage you to address, rather than continuing to preach and promote your personal religious beliefs. I "get it" Adriaan, and I do not agree that YOUR personal beliefs are the answer for everyone and everything all the time.

          Do you understand that there is a difference between not getting it, and not agreeing? It is common for people to say one is "not getting it", or "not understanding", when the fact is, I am not agreeing with you.

          FYI....I read your comments very carefully, as I do all comments I reply to. If I did not read them carefully, I would not discover the contradictions.
      • thumb
        Jan 21 2014: "And you are right everyone and all are and should be free to choose in these matters as they see fit.All have a right to their own opinion.."

        Thank you Carlos, at least you got the idea. Each his/her own.
        A question just popped into my head. An apple is indeed an apple, but how come no one, not science or any organization can create one apple? If it is all physical.. how come we cannot create one single piece of food?
        I know we can alter and modify just about everything, we could even change our mind. :)

        That too, when we change our mind, what do we change? Our neurons, or do they change 'us'? :)
  • Jan 19 2014: When I was at the university I read about this idea: The human mind is an experience produced by the adition of the neurons activity plus the micro-electromagnetic field they generate all over and in the nervous system. Taking that as a valid hipothesis (it seems to me) the brain induces microvariations in the electric field surrounding the brain. That extension of activity outside the brain exist but is very very weak. That electromagnetic field is everywere (like the gravity is) but is still "physical".
    • Comment deleted

      • Jan 19 2014: I know who I am. You don't know me so don't talk about me . Don't take it personal. Talk about the subject. I'm talking about neurobiology so quit that rude attitude and open a book.

        I'm trying to talk with Pabitra not you.
  • thumb
    Jan 13 2014: Pm are you saying mind can exist without a brain

    to me realm of consciousness, mind, ideas, meaning, feelings, is immaterial but still requires a material brain to support the process of thinking, imagining, feeling.

    damage the brain and you may damage the mind and other functions such as muscle control.

    I don't know if we will be able to predict or model all the elements of mind, we have a lot to learn. but making speculative assertions based on ignorance is often a logical fallacy.
    • thumb
      Jan 13 2014: No. I have explained before that I am only saying that neuronic brain is not the only organ that can give rise to mind. For humans (and most animals with something of a brain) mind and its function are emergent qualities of the architecture of brain (and I have this feeling, not substantiated yet, that this quality is not a designed end of brain). For plants it may be kind of hormonal sentience.
      But that does not necessarily mean that mind and its function can be reduced to anything physical, like neurons.

      It is essential for us to know if mind body question is reducible to any material basis. We do not spend money or time anymore to predict the radioactive decay of an atom.
      • thumb
        Jan 13 2014: Hi Pabitra,
        I think you can look at the brain like an antenna with a switch board.

        You talk so inferior of plants thinking. Attach a lie detector to a plant and it will react like any other animal. This has been tested already.
        Of course if it all 'stems from a brain' where is the brain in a plant ;-)?
        • thumb
          Jan 13 2014: You got me entirely wrong my friend. I do not talk inferior about plants thinking. I am updated with works of Jagadish Chandra Bose on plants plus gone through the book 'The secret life of plants' by Peter Tompkins and Christopher Bird. Have also seen the documentary by the same name.
          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7_X2Z9v8-6Q

          Unfortunately this book and the movie is dabbed as pseudo-scientific.
      • thumb
        Jan 13 2014: Thanks for clarification pm.

        we seem to agree there is at least a connection between mind and brain, at least in some cases.

        to me it seems most likely thoughts result from physical processes.

        Others speculate that the brain odds receiver of thought from some spiritual or supernatural realm.

        do you agree that the brain is active when we think and feel and dream and pray and meditate?

        It's probably impossible to determine if there is some supernatural connection, but from my understanding of what we currently understand it seems most likely mind and consciousness is just a natural phenomena from brain processes.

        I'm open to any compelling evidence that indicates otherwise but not aware of any yet.

        I'm comfortable with the mind being a physical process of the brain. I don't see a need to jump to supernatural expansions just because it is complex and not fully understood by humans at this time.
        • thumb
          Jan 14 2014: We are walking on a thin like here Obey :)
          Of course there is a connection between mind and a brain. I am not certain that only organisms with brain have mind.
          Thoughts result in the mind when physical processes are perceived. A test tube nurturing living cells in it (a lot of physical processes) does not think about it.
          I think brain is always active as long as there is enough oxygen supplied to it and its cells are alive. Even in coma, the brain stem maintains vital functions of the body. It is only at certain state of function it allows thoughts, emotions and inspirations emerge from it. And all those are contained in something called mind - the processor and the storage.
          I have no interest in the supernatural. I believe the emergent quality that is mind of a very complex physical system that is brain is quite in the realm of natural. It's just non-material and needs some advanced treatise.
          I am very unsure if mind is a physical process of the brain. At least such claim is logically untenable. had it been so, there would have been a theory of mind, an understood and generally agreed with dynamics or mechanics of it with mathematical formulation of it.
          At best I can agree that mind may be an emergent property of the physical processes in the brain.
      • thumb
        Jan 15 2014: Hi pm I guess there is a continuum of mind across different species and over the evolution of modern humans.

        Most would agree the great apes have some sort of mind.

        fish might have something that meets a reasonable definition of mind, to a lessor extent.

        as for plants, I don't know. I suggest being careful not to project human qualities onto something that may be unconscious reaction to external stimulus. I'm not sure if plants are self aware in any meaningful way.I guess the flip side is not ruling out possibilities that might be very different to the human example.

        For example of conscious life evolved elsewhere it might be completely different to local animals.

        as for the immaterial aspects of mind, the way I look at it is day when we dream or imagine some fantastic scene, e.g. we are flying through space, w aren't actually flying through space, it's just like a movie, it's a projection s supported by physical processes, neurons are firing generating the image and perceiving the image in our minds, for me no issue accepting that mind is based on physical processes, as far as we can tell.
  • thumb
    Jan 12 2014: Consciousness is the thing that is aware that one exists - What we call 'I am' and a part of us, the mind, thinks while 'I' only decides. If you go into yourself (e.g. with meditation) you might even notice that at least some of these thoughts don't seam to originate from yourself but somewhere, something or somebody else. That's why everybody can read other peoples mind but hardly anyone recognize it. Then sentences like "Gosh, I just thought the same. What a coincidence." come up.
    • Jan 12 2014: 'Decide' is not a proper verb, but are there any proper words when we are dealing with Consciousness ?Consciousness, in the way i've used the 'term' , is impossible to define for it is all inclusive. There is nothing outside of Consciousness. In a sense it's not you/me/us that have consciousness, but it's Consciousness that have us, actually everything that is. If it is the case, then it's not us who pretended not to know and plunged into the game, but... hence the question ' who decides ?'
      I would say Consciousness itself. It is not the major player in the game, it's game itself.

      Thanks for responding ! :)
    • thumb
      Jan 13 2014: How do you know these other voices are not from your unconscious. How do you know they are from someone else.

      when we dream of other people speaking isn't this just a product of our minds, not external beings.
  • Comment deleted

    • thumb
      Jan 14 2014: I suggest the idea of incarnation is speculative.

      We develop from a fertilized egg. The brain. develops in the womb and after we are born. Our cognitive abilities develop as our brain develops.
  • thumb
    Jan 11 2014: Hi Larry,
    you can go through many incidents yourself, i agree, but not the one that Pabitra narrated.
    Actually you are right. Mental illness has to do in a way with if the mind is part of the physical universe. If you look how 'stupid' the unconscious thinks it should be physical. But then you have to separate the consciousness from the mind where the 'thinking' is located. I'm convinced that the consciousness does not think. It only knows. But knowing has a big problem: there is no game. A game has to have unknown factors for it to be a game. That’s why we pretend not to know and instead installed a mechanism called 'thinking'. Then the mind would be therefore part of the physical world. A problem that comes with it is that the consciousness is always right and in this situation it does odd things to 'prove' it.
    • thumb
      Jan 12 2014: Thanks Tobias for pointing out the heart of the question. In western philosophies sometimes mind and consciousness are taken as synonymous.
      Consciousness has no executive function but mind has. It processes information. In order to do that it has to make a distinction like internal-external (like system files of your OS). Consciousness-as-such has no such distinction, it is only when phenomenal experiences are referred as distinct from 'self' mind is required to process the data. That is I think what you are insightfully describing as the game.
    • Jan 12 2014: "...we pretend not to know and instead installed a mechanism called 'thinking'. "

      Who decides ?

      Isn't it Consciousness itself ( whatever that means ) installed this mechanism?
      Consciousness 'knows'; man ' thinks '
      Consciousness knows, that man thinks.
  • Jan 11 2014: Hi Dorian,
    If you want to unprogram yourself on a deeper level I'd recommend you reading Sequences from LessWrong.com

    Definitions can be devided in two broad categories: intentional and extentional - the former is about describing things, the latter is about pointing to examples. So you can try and define love with somewhat abstract words or give exaples of little or big gestures that prove love. By the way warmth, touch, effort and so on is how I myself would start defining love.

    The same way science does not deny existance of God it does not deny existance of love or art or calendar for that matter. With love you can only show physiological arousal and some brain activity patterns. Art is just stone, dead plants and vibrations of air. Calendar is just a culturally accepted construct suited for nature, fitted into the way things happen to be.

    As for the evidence of God's existance I'd like you to try and find some books or pictures that metion him. Ask people around, go outside of your circle, maybe ask some authorities on the matter like people of the Church.

    I would argue that God does exist just not where scientists want to not find him, not in the way they expect.
  • thumb
    Jan 10 2014: As far as I know the concept regarding the spirit/mind/soul temporary attached to one's physical body as its spritual consciousness, is a very ancient concept. We see many old paintings depicting souls flying above their bodies, or departing their bodies.

    When a newborn child arrives "here" he/she does Not identify its Self with an alien to it body. As a matter of fact the newborn does not feel the body yet in the same "direct" way as we, adults, do. A newborn is still a spirit, who is only about to experience the body.

    Unlike ourselves, the rest of Living forms experience their existence Without Separating physical and none-physical or spiritual. This wholsome approach to their existence makes them quite fantastically sensative to their environment if compared to our "thinking and calculating" approach.

    When we loose and suppress the sensitivity and intuition granted by nature, we become blind to the complexity of the world.

    We, humans, separate what we observe into different "sections" of our knowledge and experience,
    and then when we get to nowhere, we try to put some broken pieces of that experience back, together, but to glue these already loose and overdigested by consciousness parts, is a very difficult task...
  • thumb
    Jan 10 2014: I would agree that mind is present outside the physical realm. I am not aware of any scientific evidence I can provide. There may be some in the areas of quantum physics, telepathy, reincarnation or other non physical similarities. The links below may give some insight. There is also the collective consciousness of a group such as the one assembled, following the Principal of Unity within the realm of Spirit.

    Consciousness- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OrcWntw9juM

    Reincarnation- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4S_Tg4-_WVk
    • thumb
      Jan 10 2014: What a beautiful treat!

      Always enjoy your company, Larry :)
  • thumb
    Jan 9 2014: Hi Dear Pabritra:>)
    I do not agree that mind exists outside of the physical world, if you are using most of the accepted definition of "mind"...

    "the element or complex of elements in an individual that feels, perceives, thinks, wills, and esp. reasons; the conscious mental events and capabilities in an organism; the organized conscious and unconscious adaptive mental activity of an organism; intention, the normal or healthy condition of the mental faculties".

    This all suggests that the "mind" is in the organism, in the person, in the physical world.

    Another part of the accepted definition of mind is...
    "a conscious substratum or factor in the universe"

    This might explain why some folks believe the mind is outside the physical world?

    My belief, is that there could be a substratum (underlying support) in the form of energy in the universe.
    • thumb
      Jan 9 2014: I know it's a bit risky, but I am not so sure Colleen. If mind is entirely rooted in physicalism its functions need to correspond to physical realities only. Take imagination as one principal function of mind. We can imagine events that are physically impossible or improbable - like say i can imagine the Empire State Building vanishing into thin air without having any reason whatsoever.
      Mind needs a brain or a brain-like system to manifest, but that may not make it necessarily reducible to neurons only.
      • thumb
        Jan 9 2014: I didn't suggest that the "mind is entirely rooted in physicalism" Pabitra. What I wrote, is that according to our accepted definition, the "mind" is part of the physical world (in an organism), and there may be a substratum (underlying support) for mind activities in the form of energy in the universe.

        I agree that mind is connected to the brain, and I suggest that imagination, intuition, instinct may be fueled by energy in the universe, which runs through all of us, with the brain/mind organizing the information. Along this same idea, would be collective consciousness, or universal consciousness....in my perception, there is a connecting energy.