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Where do our thoughts come from?

Have you ever wondered where your thoughts come from? Is it simply a matter of the hard wiring of the brain? For example, when an idea comes to you suddenly, where did it come from? Is there more to this than we currently understand?

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    Mar 11 2011: .
    Julie Ann, as promised, I have thought really, really deep about your question (after that cup of coffee), and here's my idea:

    -military thoughts come from the military
    -linguistic thoughts and expression come from language
    -love thoughts come from lovers and love
    -thoughts about money come from money
    -philosphy comes from the discipline known as philosophy

    In short, my answer is that thoughts are tautologies embedded in pre-existing institutions. They create a framework from which our thoughts emerge. The institution (say: language) is already there before we come into this world. We tap into it. The framework precedes our presence. No single individual invents a language. You are born into this. The philosopher Michel Foucault once called these "institutions" and "thought frames": "discourses".

    This also means thoughts are "inhereted" or "shared" across generations. We build upon the frameworks of "reality" and of "the possible" which are left to us by previous generations and by society as a whole. Nobody "owns" thoughts. They are borrowed.

    So how about "genuine", "innovative", or "authentic" thoughts? I think the connection between different institutions makes for these new and creative thoughts. I think there are no "original" thoughts that spring up from nowhere. The only such thoughts may be absurd, subconscious, stuttering expressions out of context. And, perhaps, art.

    P.S.: my thought on your question is probably very "sociological". Which makes sense, because my background is in sociology. A psychologist might have a very different view, derived from... psychology. Thus proving my point about discourses and frameworks... :-)
    • Mar 12 2011: I totally agree that nothing is original to us. When we use even our imagination we create things that stem from something that already exists. Now if you trace back these thoughts which are merely borrowed from one another you have to come back to an originator of them all. Which is another question in itself, which everyone needs to answer for themselves.
    • Mar 14 2011: Thanks Laurens. I am glad you were able to return. Your comments are very convincing and very valid. Our thoughts appear to be what defines us (apart from the physical self). As a trivial example, some people are happy to walk into a dark room, flip a light switch and proceed with their activities. Another person will flip the light switch and immediately think "Why did that happen" or "How does that work", and proceed to try to find the answer. Our inherent interests seem to define our thoughts, at least in part. Or perhaps we are equipped with our own creativity and the thoughts are a part of the package, bundled together with whatever else we need to realize those creative talents.
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    Mar 4 2011: Consider the universe to be an infinite pool of water (call that god if you wish).

    Now, think of a hula hoop floating in the pool. That's your mind.

    Next, imagine a pebble dropped in the pool and the ripples entering into the circle of water enclosed by the hula hoop and bouncing around in that circle of water and merging with the ripples generated from pebbles previously dropped in the water.

    That's where thoughts come from.
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        Mar 4 2011: Thanks Birdia. Nice running into you here.
    • Mar 4 2011: Great analogy - thanks Tim. So, you are saying that thoughts are not necessarily internal or of one's self. They may be influenced (if not created) by external factors and are integrally tied to another consciousness, perhaps what we believe to be God.
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        Mar 4 2011: I really don't get hung up on god. If you want to call the totality of the universe god (basic pantheism), I don't have any problem with that. But really in that case "belief in god" is a tautology. If god is everything and anything exists, then god exists. Period. Plus I don't know of any modern religions which don't consider god to be omnipotent. If matter is energy and god is all energy then god is everything.

        But yes there is an internal aspect. Our nature and our experience create a situation where even the subtlest of outside stimuli can set up resonances which make it to our consciousness.
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          Mar 6 2011: even the Buddha remained silent when asked if there was a soul...
        • Mar 6 2011: Sunita, I would like to hear more about this. What do you think his silence meant?
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          Mar 8 2011: dear Julie, I think there are some questions which have different answers depending on the person asking. 

          For a seeker at a certain level of awareness, he needs to hear that there is a soul and he wants an explanation of how the soul "gets" to heaven. In some ways, it would be irresponsible to deny him this answer because it is the path he needs to travel. Thoughts are the vehicle by which we get to the next stage of awareness.

          For some other seekers e.g. Yogis in the Himalayas, they are ready to accept the nature of nothingness and that our perception and manifestation of the universe and the nature are illusory and can be controlled (i.e. they can perform miracles). Ideas and thoughts can be seeded and suggested through their powers.

          Some of them would understand that going back, back, back beyond our karmic bundle of memories inclinations attachments, well beyond the soul, beyond consciousness, there is nothingness.

          When the Buddha was asked this question, it was almost like a trick question. I found this online, about the doctrine of no-soul, which was very useful:
        • Mar 10 2011: Sunita, very eloquently stated - thank you. I think what this highlights is that our belief systems are important simply because it is the belief that has value - whether it is the reality or not.
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          Mar 11 2011: Could it be that even before our belief systems arose e.g. in the case of young children which haven't developed their sense of self or animals (elephants) who can collaborate to get food or if you so believe, where there was a different belief system as in our past lives, that our thoughts arose from the bundle of memories which is our soul?

          Put another way, if we can witness our thoughts arising, who is witnessing this activity? If it is our mind which creates these thoughts, is it our soul which observes this? If so, how does the soul "think"?

          If we could unravel our levels of awareness far back enough, when we were just a mass of energy, where did that very first "impulse" come from?

          I read once that when in deep meditation, ancient Hindu seekers heard the "noise" of the universe, the planets rushing past each other, which was the universal mantra Om. Was the very first impulse the simple act of observation of this sound? Did this create the distinction between the Listener and That Which Was Being Heard? Was this the genesis of all "thoughts" which only serves to augment our separation from that which we observe?

          Our thoughts can influence other beings around us e.g. pets which know when their owner is returning home. If so, is the separation between persons an artificial distinction? Is it possible that from that very first "observation" of something, we wrongly considered it apart from us and ever since then, we have Thought of all differences - people, animals, races, languages - as being separate from us.
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        Mar 6 2011: Sunita: Either you're comparing me to the Buddha, or mocking me, or mockingly comparing me to the Buddha. I can't figure out which. Thanks for stimulating your way into may consciousness in any case.
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          Mar 8 2011: But Tim, I liked your answer:if God is everything and and everything exists, then God exists. 

          Because the converse also applies: if everything doesn't exist and has arisen out of our ignorance, then God doesn't exist either. Most of us are not ready for this description of our reality. 

          I also liked: "the subtleness of outside stimulii" - i believe this was how the universe began.. 

          What is our nature and experience? Or perhaps, what is a reply to the oft-asked Zen question "what is the sound of one hand clapping?" If there is no response to action or thought or stimuli, if there is no Do-er, if there is no Seer, what is there? - there is nothingness.

          That is why the Buddha remained silent: yes, people perceive there is a soul because it is our reality which has grown out of our own ignorance but no, there isn't a soul because if there is no ignorance, no sense of "self" would arise.
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      Mar 6 2011: So, a paragraph is a couple of sentences, which are structured from random words, that collide and create several thoughts which in turn form an idea?

      I like it Tim
    • Mar 8 2011: Thoughts come from an infinite pool of water, yes,I agree,but who can explaine, why they've chosen my hula hoop?l
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        Mar 8 2011: i believe that it depends where your hula hoop is ,how far is it from the source of the ripple,how big is it and how much it's willing to be open to be impacted by the ripples..

        so thoughts dont choose the hula hoops,hula hoops find the thoughts : )
        • Mar 9 2011: Thank you, Ahmad, that's where I led to,we find our thoughts or to be more precise, create them,we shape them via language out of our prior knowledge, experiences, memories...and God knows what else. I think, thoughts don't come from anywhere, they are property of human mind.The image of the pool is compelling though, it's knowing, the void, our minds are floating there circled out by metal frame, hence our ego limitation. To enter the void, the hula hoop must pass out of existence, then you will really know, but there will be no you and there will be no thoughts. "Those who know, can;t speak".....That's what I think inside my hula hoop, of course I could be wrong.
    • Mar 11 2011: I always had the opposite idea. Thoughts and actions emanate from us, creating ripples in the universe. Strong ideas have large ripples and travel farther than weak ideas, which have small ripples. The ripples are constantly running into each other. The stronger ideas are hopefully beneficial to humanity, but obviously this is not always the case.
      • Mar 12 2011: Hi, Dave, I don't think your idea is opposite, I'm afraid we are talking about different things here. Or different stages of the same interactive course. Human mind is not capable of enventing anything new, I truelly believe so, because everything already is and always has been. Only a few, whose mind is wide open can have a glimpse, a spark of awareness, shape it into a thought and share... and only then,what you've described may happen, though I don't quite agree with the idea of judgment, and , sorry, have no hope for the "beneficial for humanity" ideas gain more chances to survive.
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          Mar 13 2011: Yes, thoughts do emanate from 'us' because we work on them - give them form and construct. Yet the conscious desire to know came before the thought itself. In this way humans are really just relays - like magnets we attract conscious soup into our sphere and depending on our personal energy equilibrium we then 'attract' through electro magnetic energy the patterns of cosmos or ingredients that can then become 'thought'. Thought is an ownership of a construct - a label. The more we give the construct thought and emotion the more real it becomes. This in turn insights and incites us to take action - to do something about the thought held from the first desire or urge. In this way our thought becomes materialized. Because we are a sub species of Planet Earth and reside within the magnetic shield - all is drawn down in gravitational pull to centre core. As humans we are just receptors of this phenomena - we receive the energy and through desire and urge translate into thought. These are neuron impulses that send signals into the body regarding survivor resilience. So the thought might be around 'eat, love, pray' - or traditionally fight-flight responses. Depending on how much negativity is in our field from prior thoughts we give energy to - they act as obstacles - which is why new age self help books always teach us to clear chakras and think positive. As magnets we attract only one stream of consciousness - but our energy field will help determine the shape that thought forms and builds. If it is negative it can result in physical sickness. At the same time as receiving consciousness that become thoughts through our crown chakra and intellect - we are also receiving energy directly upwards from Gaia's internal magnetic core. This corresponds to life force nourishment that feeds us into adulthood. We are very specialised towards Mother Nature's cycles. We are really just here to serve her as are other plants and species.
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    Mar 4 2011: Our thoughts come from our lifes.
    To live is the best way to think.
    Those wo don´t think don´t live ... :)
    • Mar 4 2011: Thanks Armando. So true, but I think that even those who appear not to think do have thoughts - perhaps there is little mental stimulation but I suppose as long as there is life there is thought. They appear as words in our heads but I guess it is the mechanism and the form (ie, what is it) that intrigues me. Appreciate your comments.
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    jag .

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    Mar 13 2011: If you want to know the answer to these types of questions, then read Eckhart Tolle Books
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      Mar 13 2011: I would advise against that
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        Mar 14 2011: why?

        I see you'r point related to this question. But in general I think there are some very informative and useful aspects in Tolle's work.
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          Mar 14 2011: I claim Tolle is wrong on a whole lot of things.

          Tolle is not a neuroscientist, nor a sociologist or psychologist.
          He speaks from experiences, not from facts or scientific observations...
          If you want to know how it might "feel" where thoughts come from: go ahead and read Tolle
          If you want to know how it factually might happen, given our current knowledge, please read Damasio, Luria, Dennet, Sachs,...
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        Mar 14 2011: (@ others: this post is somewhat off topic, so you can skip this)

        I strongly disagree with your statement that
        "all truth is subjective" Ed.
        What a person thinks to be true is subjective.

        How would you explain illusions for example?

        Let's take for example the muller lyer illusion (
        You experience that the one line is shorter even if you know (from measuring) that they are of the same length.

        That you experience things is true; that you think some of your experiences are true and others false; is quite probable. That there is an actual 1 to 1 correspondence to what you think is true, and what actually is true is utter folly.
        That we have found methods to ascertain truth by logic, reason, and good measuring devices is also quite true.

        Saying that people are not "ready" is just a non-argument (a fallacy).

        Other questions you should need to answer if you deny an objective truth to exist is: what do you feel are virusses, DNA, the workings of modern technology,...
        I just wonder how that fits your (in my eyes very solipsist) world-view?

        P.S.: I try and discredit the idea you are trying to spread, I'm not discrediting you as a person.
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          Mar 16 2011: but apart from the whole truth to be subjective or not, I do think Ed and Jag have a point in the complementairy value of Tolle's work to the (limited) Newtonian scientific worldview. In my view the core of Tolle's work is rooted in subjective experience and it builds on the thousands of years of subjective experience that were passed through the ages through the great wisdom traditions (like Christianity, Bhuddism etc).
  • Mar 12 2011: have the ability to create completely new concepts or ideas. The name of the part of the mind that generates said ideas is called the imagination. It has the unique capability to simulate entirely new concepts or ideas. Think of a surrealist landscape, perhaps a Dali. In the tentacion de San Anton (Temptation of Saint Anthony) we see elephant like creatures with impossibly long legs. Now, I'm sure a skeptic will say "case in point! The elephant is not a new entity, it is simply an extension of something in existence." I believe this to be a fair point, imagine then, some landscape from something of Dr. Seuss. It is completely unrecognizable from anything we have ever seen. It is created. The skeptic may further assert "Well yes, however, there is still a landscape though. He cannot escape the context of his worldly preconceived notions." Once again a fair point, and I will refrain from going into any great deal about minds existing outside bodies as an energy with the capability to exist only within the later 6 dimensions that we typically do not interact with within our universe. But you see how the imagination does have the ability to create, at least in a sense, things that do NOT exist, which I believe does qualify as ingenuity. In closing, I will track back to the idea of the Dali painting where what we 'perceive' we see is indeed al elephant, when in actually it is a smudge of pigment on a two dimensional canvas. Amazing how our perceptions ascribe meaning to an otherwise 'meaningless' object.
    • Mar 14 2011: Thanks Jack. I agree that the various views offered here are all quite valid. I think they represent different layers of the complete answer, whatever that really is. With regards to your comments on human imagination, this is also depicted in some interesting futuristic imagination from people like da Vinci or authors such as Jules Verne.
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    Mar 12 2011: Thoughts come from awareness. Awareness is beyond the physical brain or the physical universe, and pervades everything. Thought is movement. Awareness is stillness. Thought happens on top of this stillness/awareness, but in the end is not separate from it. It is only our own perception/conditioning of separation that separates a thought from the awareness in the end. "I" is the original thought.

    I would suggest this website as a good reference which points to this awareness. This website describes this awareness which I speak above as the superconsciousness mind.
    • Mar 14 2011: Thanks Santhip, very beautiful and profound. Could you elaborate on what you perceive as awareness?
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    Mar 12 2011: I too have wondered this for long, I even asked this question on a blog -

    Does an idea or a concept orginate or materializes when it comes in a form of a thought or feeling? Or does it exist independently, using us as only medium or vessel to be expressed?

    While conventionally, thoughts and ideas are believed to be a refined manifestation of mental activity, or consciousness, recently a new field of Memetics speaks about how thoughts or ideas transfer and replicate themselves from one being to another via 'memes'. This is analogous to the way genes work. There is a lot of debate and speculation about the credibility of this field. But nonetheless, it is another way of looking and understanding the concept of 'thoughts'.
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    Mar 8 2011: I have been thinking about this question for a long time. Thanks Julie for bring it up. I think though that before we explore where thoughts come from, we have to explore the nature of a thought. I see that this was touched upon in many of the comments, explaining it with reference to memory, language, experience, imagery, ext. but still, what is a thought? What is the difference between any neuron firing to a neuron that contains a thought. How does a neuron contain a thought? What is the physical characteristic of a thought - any thought including memory? I know nothing of neuroscience, but I have a strong sense that the more we come to understand this if we are able to, the more we will be able to understand consciousness and understand the world better. Descartes proof for his existence was that he was able to "think" I never understood what was so "tangible" about his thinking. Actions are more tangible that thoughts, but actions, we could explain easier. What is a thought?
    • Mar 8 2011: Regarding Descartes "I think, thus I am" I remember someone on youtube talking about this. He said mentioned that we often think that it's the I that does the thinking, he thought it might be the other way round. It's the thinking that created the "I". The self doesn't control the cognition, it is a product of it.
      The alternative statement was "I think 'I', thus I am"
      I liked it, thought I might share. :)
      • Mar 11 2011: I have to agree. Self awareness comes from thought. A lot of animals think, but not all thinkers are self aware.
    • Mar 10 2011: Hi Jaimie. I too have been pondering this question for a long time. You bring up a point which we touched on briefly, earlier in the conversation - what is a thought? Is it physical - if it exists does it mean that it is physical? Is it a form of energy? And if it is energy, can it theoretically be converted to matter? Quite fascinating, really.
    • Mar 10 2011: Maybe a thought is a collection of neurons
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    Mar 8 2011: I think the "Eureka" moments of brilliant inventors tell us a great deal about where thoughts come from. These creative people gather all the available information they can about the subject they are studying. They are very curious people, so they also collect information that is outside their area of expertise.

    We know that the brain assembles, organizes, and stores this information at the unconscious or subconscious level. When we are relaxed, this stored information comes to our consciousness in many combinations. Some are familiar and we accept them, some are nonsense and we reject them. Once in a while, the brain send back a new combination of the pieces we have collected. That is the "new" thought.

    I think.
    • Mar 8 2011: Thanks Jim for this succinct explanation It is quite fascinating how this brain "database" processes and outputs information in the form of these things we call our thoughts. This constant interplay between the conscious and subconscious makes me wonder if we control our minds or if our minds control us!
      • Mar 10 2011: maybe we shouldn't consider ourselves different from our minds
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    Mar 7 2011: i believe our thoughts are end product of our innner sub conscious mind ,the vital force which never sleeps and keep working all the time..This subconscious mind actually create these thoughts on its own. By ut which thoughts it create depend totally on us as we have the power to guide the inner self to whatever we is like using inner self to control the innerself again.. it sound vry confusing but really true when seen in parlance of how our inner mind work.....
    • Mar 8 2011: Thanks Ram.. Many of the conversations here are consistent with your own ideas. The role of the subconscious is believed to be pivotal in assembling or, as you suggest, creating thoughts of its own. Though the concept of the subconscious is abstract, I think there is general consensus that it exists.
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    Mar 7 2011: I read and studied all the theology of Emanuel Swedenborg (1688-1772) and to paraphrase into a question, "Do you know how to get an angels so angry they leave your presence in a huff? answer, "Tell them the truth and they just can't handle it." which is, "Our thoughts don't come from ourselves. We are not life but recipients of life as forms of love. We receive our thoughts from the angels we bring close to us from our affections for truth or the evil from falsity." Angels get their thoughts from other angels which get . . . life is One the holy One of Israel manifested in the place of time in eternity.
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      Mar 9 2011: I've heard that some say that ganja helps one to perceive it all.
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    Mar 4 2011: Ideas emerge from your unconscious mind. There is a lot of literature about this.

    For example - origin of structural chemistry -- chemical formula for benzne - was revealed to Kekule in a dream.
    • Mar 4 2011: Hi Petr .. so there is constant exchange of information between the conscious and subconscious minds and perhaps some of our dreams are an expression of subconscious thoughts
  • Mar 4 2011: Books, movies, travelling and any other social experience, I think.
    • Mar 6 2011: These things all influence our thoughts - very true
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    Mar 4 2011: As a new user on TED I was exploring the site and updating my profile. After having posted a reply to a video I found your discussion. My comment was that language is thought. A stimulating environment that contains interactions builds relationships and language.
    • Mar 4 2011: Thanks Sandra. I am glad you found the question and appreciate your comment. Maybe language is just the expression of thought. Prior to any significant language development in humans, I imagine that there were thoughts - but without the words. I suppose it would be the way it is for babies, before their language is developed.
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    Mar 4 2011: My first thought: I need to get a cup of coffee to start thinking about this one! :-) Now where did that come from?
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      Mar 4 2011: Julie Ann has asked such a curious question, I love that my brain has dashed off in several directions of how to respond to it! When I lasso the grey matter into some level of logic, I'll come back and contribute. In the meantime, I hope you have fun thinking about it too :)
    • Mar 4 2011: :-) Thanks Laurens and Sherri. Well, I guess some thoughts are more like instincts. For example if I am hungry, I would instinctively find food, even if I could not put the thoughts together. But there is a constant flow of thoughts which we take for granted. They are not physical or are they?
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        Mar 6 2011: I consider my constant flow of thoughts to be like a hamster on a wheel, "Hammy" basically stays on the wheel until a force like biology and the need to eat takes over, once its clear that the need is being met, the wheel starts turning again!

        I've often wished I had an interface with my thoughts that would allow me to print them in real time or share them telepathically but since that's evaded me these past 30 some years, I consider thoughts to lack a physical-ness.

        Now thoughts and action, that's physical!
        • Mar 6 2011: Hi Sherri. Thanks for coming back and sharing. There has been a lot of brain mapping research recently and we may be getting closer to interfacing with a device and also printing off your thoughts. Scary thought!! Some Mindflex games were developed to use one's mind to control a ball. I haven't used one so I am not sure if it works.
  • Mar 17 2011: Closing thoughts - thanks to everyone who contributed to this discussion. The responses have ranged from physical and material aspects such as the brain and the environment to less empirical aspects such as the conscious and unconscious minds and beyond. The contributions have been inspiring for me and I hope for you too. Complementary discussions on the nature of consciousness on this board have also been exceptional. My kindest regards and best wishes.
  • Mar 15 2011: Yes, our thoughts emerge from the nothingness of creation. I liken it to a radio station tuning in to a channel. Our minds searching for the vibrational energy (frequency) that begets true creativity. As a creative person designing spaces and conceiving new ways of starting things, it is a gift we all have if we pay attention to the present moment.
    • Mar 15 2011: Hi James, in this scenario, I guess each of us would have a unique range of frequencies to which we are tuned - making our individual creative talents unique. Thanks.
  • Mar 15 2011: We were discussing this exact question in my government class on Friday. That conversation explored environment, only. We explored parents, school, neighbors, and, government. My professor was not thinking about neurology, at all. Both deserve careful examination.
    • Mar 15 2011: Hi Christina, I bet it was an interesting and animated discussion. The discussion here includes several layers of perceived sources - environment and upbringing, brain, interplay between the conscious and subconscious minds and a larger more encompassing entity or system. I imagine that they are all pieces of the puzzle :-). Thanks for your input.
  • Mar 15 2011: from the willingness to know who I am and what motivates me to keep going...
  • Mar 14 2011: your brains....but where do existence could come from? What would be the definition or better said question if something I see as BLUE is also BLUE to you? It is too difficult to answer....
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    Mar 13 2011: I will defend the case that it is your brain.
    No spirits, nothing 'more'... we don't know it exactly, but the hypothesies are there.
    I highly suggest reading Damasio (or any other good neuroscientist), or watch his talk when it comes online

    1) Information comes from outside through your senses (sensors) or from your genetic material (code).
    2) your brain is the place where sensory information gets processed.
    - I assume you are referring to thoughts that are conscious, (the ones that you experience) -
    3) So thoughts is the neural activity during your non-deep-sleep hours.

    4) as new information enters your brain every second, it gets filtered, processed and sometimes stored. New matrices of activation arrise, others fade... synapses form and die,... (ah, the brain at work)

    5) some of the information is noticed conscious, and they form your thoughts.
    => standard behavioural thoughts (like hungry, thirsty, horny, need to use toilet,...) are quite pre-wired and might roughly be considered genetic in origin
    => cultural ideas are probably learned from your environment, and I think you are referring to these.
    (you might want to read "where ideas come from"
    A "sudden" idea is not sudden or out of the blue (that would violate the laws of thermodynamics) but most often new connections made between things that was not there before.

    Like using a concept A from field B to field C
    Or applying a metaphor
    Or putting other ideas together.

    Your thinking can be seen as a constant recombining and looking for parallel patterns (making them easy to "zip" or "rar" in your mind). This can happen both conscious and unconscious.
    If you then "suddenly" come up with an idea: it might be that your unconsciousness solved the/a problem you could not do with your conscious mind.
    Gives a good feeling, element of surprise, and you jump out of your bathtub to announce it to the world!

    Hope this clears a lot of the "I don't understand, so nobody does, so it must be magical" errors
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    Mar 13 2011: As a pro simultaneous interpreter I think I can testify that at least my thoughts are not coming from my own knowledge only. The most prominent experience suggesting that to me was when some 10 years ago, I was interpreting at a Bahai conference (on religion and history). My turn coming, unexpectedly, I had to translate a Hungarian scientist's presentation on her latest discoveries on the operation of the human brain, and quantum physics. She didn't know English at all. Imagine how worried I became. I had never dealt with those, not even at the level of curiosity, and this was the first time in my life I first heard the term 'quantum physics'. In Hungarian, save for English! The other reason of worry was that my English was supposed to be used by the other booth to translate the presentation into German. In desperation, I closed my eyes. After a few seconds, however, "something clicked" in my head. I shifted over to a dreamlike state, with very vivid pictures racing through my head at what felt light speed. Another 40 minutes later I was woken up from this state by the German colleagues shaking my hand, saying that they never had experienced before such real-time simultaneity, and accuracy. The topic of the presentation, the way I managed to translate - out of pure desperation -, and similar experiences told by colleagues, make me believe that many thoughts cannot come and are definitely not coming from my own brain. There must be some very physical interconnection among brains, which, in the lack of purely scientific algorithms, we, humans are more willing to accept as a spiritual experience. It taught me the lesson that even if I'm unable to go into the intricate formulae of mathematics/physics I can follow the ideas of contemporary scientists. Some quantum physicists even spell it out that, eventually, one should "feel" quantum physics because the brain is max. 4D but the multiverse is nD. It makes me think that spirituality and science are supportive siblings.
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      Mar 13 2011: I believe you make some interesting points regarding the 'sharing' of thought and the way that although the oceans may part us - our souls are never divided. If we consider the way the brain functions, transmits signals to a completely sensitive and responsive organism that is made up of a multitude of individual components - all unique in format yet combined and unified in function or as 'type' , organ and so on. We realize that internal body universe is what we are as a species of humanity. Only our external universe is in the realms of Mother Earth. The ancients and enlightened - knew this to be so - that which is now called quantum physics. Outside Earth's shield the 'laws' of Nature do no apply - no longer does life function in reflection at macro and micro cosmic level. This is because everything inside the layers of Earth atmosphere is a part of that single organism - that is the 'soul'. Beyond the soul is pure consciousness and the levels of awareness are outside intellectual capacity - hence the 'nothingness' of Zen. It means that we all just work on the principles of attraction. As part of Gaia organism we might think we are doing really original things - we are in truth serving a function as organs within our own body serve a function to us. It is the Russian Doll affect. Reading your conference reflections - reminded me of a time I was sitting on a bus. It was a long trip and I was deep in meditation. Some people - foreign tourists had come and sat in the seat facing and next to me and were busy talking. Unaware and continuing with my own MUSING I didn't notice their presence until I felt the urgency prompt of a question asked. "How do we get to...." Startled to their awareness I quickly answered - only to see some really strange looks upon their faces. As they were getting off the bus one turned to me and said in English 'thank you - we didn't realize you could speak our language'. I hadn't known I had heard or replied in any language
    • Mar 13 2011: Parapsychological explanation should be banned from TED. Such profundity abounds with nonsence and does not contribute to these discussions in a meaningful way. It appears you were experiencing intuition not quantum physics of the brain. Yielding to an explanation of extra sensory perception is no more advanced than offering a miracle hypothesis for the ineffable. Thoughts are a matter of our perception which is already handicapped before we arrive on scene. Often what we see and feel is just a practical interpretation of things to complicated for us to grasp. A quandary of competing information swirls in the genetically advanced pools of our imaginations where we make inferences and suppositions while reflecting on a diffused number of aspects. We are the source of our own answers and thus the source of thought using intuition to give greater significance to some thoughts over others. Thoughts give us consciousness and consciousness is an invisible and limitless interpretation of everything ripe with mystery and contradiction. Like a fog that we are always trying to look through, our conscious utilizes the same parts of the brain that is shared by our dreams and delusions. It appears you are very capable of higher level thinking, but you would be better off looking for a simple explanation to your experience rather than attributing it to a quantum leap which you just now experienced. Good luck with that.
  • Mar 12 2011: I tend to think ideas are not our own.
    When comes to quality of thoughts i do belive our mind work in correlation with the rast of our body and environment. destracted, in paece, drugged with coffein.. in presence of inspiring object. all of this will contribute our quality of thinking.
    Information is like building blocks. alot of information is arranged in our mind in changing petterns. we collect a lot of infomation though some informtion have more grasp on us. we are intreged with building blocks that we need in order to fit to our imegenative petternes.

    These petternes i believe are not something we creat on our own.
    i think that some shapes and graphs are so collective that thay are printed in all of us.
    if you take the spirel for exemple. it is a symbol of infinity, also the pettern where we strach our linar history on.
    it is the concept that lead to ritualism. the conceps that the past and future are cycling toward an infinat point.
    the pyramid is anouther petterns that represent Hierarchy. it can be used for social menners, spirtual menners as it can be used for valuating foods,
    if you take the information you have about food into pyramid pettern. youll have an avaluations of it.
    placed into spiral form, youll have ideas about time of harvesting, seasons for food and so on...

    thank you for reading so far:)

    i belive that all tha patterns we have are built in us, reflacted in nature and are very intuative.
    the information we collect and our terms of interest are netural phenomena we are privleged to take part in.

    so when someone comes up with an original idea, what it means to me, is that he have an urge to applay a cirtain pettern to where he find it fit and if there is a real in need, the solution (in idea form) will pop up to intelegence people simultaneously.

    I hope i contributed to you question well.
    thank you all, friends of collective petterns:)
  • Mar 12 2011: This is a wonderful message board, and before I took the time to place my own thoughts on the question posed I took some time to better formulate an answer to the question. All the answers I have seen thus far on this thread deal with one of three fields of study: theology, philosophy, or [neuro]science. I think all offer valid descriptions of thought and how we as individual agents come to have them. I think before we can apprehend the origin of thought, we must better understand what thought is. I think the best description I can give of thought is a process within the mind involving any form of symbol, language or imagery. I think the question of what is the mind warrants a whole other discussion, but that aside, I feel this outlines the three forms in which thoughts arise: symbolic, linguistic or of an image. That being said how did we come to create these images within our mind? The neurobiological perspective asserts something along the lines of an interconnected network of electrical impulses serving specific functions that simultaneously interact with one another in order to create thought in any of the above manners. As we all know different lobes interact to perform different functions at the same time, all of which are utilizing countless neurons and synapses to send information to one another to create these thoughts that we have in various forms and somehow produce a conscious experience. As far as I know, however, there is little explanation of where this consciousness actually stems from within the brain itself. In terms of a more philosophical perspective on how thoughts originate, we cannot be too sure. Philosophy seems to deal more with the nature and implications of thought as opposed to its origins. I also saw a number of comments on here that claimed there is no original thoughts, which is something I disagree with (I may have misread or misinterpreted a number of these comments, however, this was my understanding). I believe we as humans do
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    Mar 12 2011: Thoughts come from the way you are feeling and feelings come from thoughts!
    When you feel awesome great thoughts come to your mind, when you are excited, enthusiastic, inspired similar thoughts come to you.
    Your mind is a magnet, thoughts attract thoughts.
    For a further understanding I strongly recommend you read The Secret by Rhonda Byrne. Cheers! :-)
    • Mar 14 2011: Thanks Harsh, I will add this book to my list!
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    • Mar 14 2011: Hi Ed. Do you have some ideas about who created thought?
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        • Mar 15 2011: Thanks Ed, So then perhaps thought is not merely a result of brain processes but one of all cellular function - all human processes that interact with both the things we are aware of and those of which we are unaware. Perhaps the best analogy is that given in this thread by Tim Colgan's - the body of water and the hula hoop.
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    Mar 12 2011: Because desire is not an emotion but a magnetic field attraction - that exists within the laws of Mother and cycles of Nature that govern us - we do not know where desire comes from. A thought simply 'pops' into our intellect from the river of consciousness. This is quite probably electro magnetic light energy particles seeking to fuse with the molecules of Earth atmosphere - and humans become a vehicle to receive the energy infusion. The brain, emotions and physical function are then 'set up' to provide the necessary robotics to bring Nature's plan into fruition - that is to make matter or physicality that contributes to the merging of our constitution which is water based. In this way our purpose also serves the botanic realms of Devi so that they may be nourished and seed dispersal by foraging man - and so preserve the garden and that which then goes back to the heavens - the waters of life.

    Simply put - we are just serving our highest organism - Mother Earth in the same way our internal system serves us. The thoughts we have are creative and unique in that we have ability to give them a form. That's what we do. Why we give them a form is a different matter.
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    Mar 12 2011: A thought and the original seed comes from 'desire' - to know or experience. Desire at highest consciousness is not an emotion - that comes when thought has been manifest. Desire is a cataclysmic reaction within the dreamtime - the inert soup of cosmos that contains all the necessary ingredients but nothing much happens. The thought spontaneously arises as a spark, a super string in that unified flat field of 'aliveness'. The desire creates out of magnetisation within the layers of Mother Gaia. Once this occurs the thought then is manifest in a construct - it has 'experience' and this gives rise to meditation or pondering upon its presence. This brings in the body of emotions - the water elements and this creates a sense a 'feeling' of reality to the thought.

    Because thoughts in origin are purely mass potential - anyone can have the same thought and bring it down. We are all connected as one soul afterall. Once manifest into the emotional body - then the thought gains ownership - which is why we become attached. From here we create the next physical step - bringing the emotional concept into material form - so that our lawyers can give it copyright protection.
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    Mar 12 2011: our thoughts comes from what we imaginaton, the things that we learn and our own personal experiences
    when i think of things i often need a reference point to develop that thought and what's not better than the things mentioned above?
  • Mar 12 2011: Our thoughts come from God or Nature/Life, whatever you call the power that rules all thing's. It/He gives you the ability to bring new realities to the dawn, however these new invention's/occurences are always pre-determined and that is why we have the feeling of 'Dee Jar Veu' or rather "I've done this already... haven't I? - or the saying 'Ahh Haa!!!', so because this 'Dee Jar Veu' feeling is a Real Occurance because feeling's are real things!, a correct thought will always Be and 'Feel' right to a person dedicated to living in truth, One who lives in truth will Always eventually therefore determine that thought's are in fact things and things are made by God- Thank Christ for that X :)
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    Mar 12 2011: And i think our thoughts come from the life , yes , everyday we meet with so many things , if you are coinsidering one thing deeply , you will get more ideas from everything you meet in your life . like me , when i am working for marketing , i will pay more attention to everything about marketing , when i go out , i will see some marketing ways from other companies . this is really funny , life is a large source for everyone ! thanks
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    Mar 12 2011: our thoughts can only come from memory. Without memory our thoughts have no roots.
  • Mar 11 2011: erm , when i faces down time or obstacle, then i try to figure out why n how.
  • Mar 11 2011: I quite agree with your discussion and it is acutally quite easy to experience this for oneself. Just take the movement of your eyes as conected with the activities of your mind and quiten them by use of an object of conentration. Keeping awareness on the object itself, mind will start to arise, first as a disruptive input. Yet after a while of keeping this, mind will become differentiated from awareness, and you are in the state of observing conciously what is going on there. Beeing aware of the moment of emotional attraction these arising ideas have on you, you can choose to let them come and go as clouds would, flying over the sky.
    From there on you can find that ideas by themselves do arise as a reaction to emotional or external experiences, yet for there is no attachment involved anymore, they will by themselves disappear into something else. Bringing awareness to the point where these ideas become apparent first, or where they drop out of conciousness, you get the experience of a further level of beeing.
    This wil bring about a certain feeling of selflessness, an open and inviting space of beeing, profound yet uncertain in a way. Once you have established a sound experience of this field, you can choose to dive into it.
    I for myself experienced this auditory phenomenon of an all pervasive "Om" once in meditation and i just can say that it was deeply connected with the arising feeling of trans-mental states of conciousness.
  • Mar 11 2011: Ideas come from your subconscious. Our souls carry thoughts, the brain is just the power house in the body.
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    Mar 10 2011: Certain things make you think about more than others, its about signals and how we interpret them. Things wire together to make you think this thought... very strange and a question there isnt really going to be an answer too. Very good Q though!
  • Mar 10 2011: I also agree with Zaz Tao that :This whole flurry of neural activity must be part of, or connect to the part of your brain that generates language; that forms thought into words or symbols that can be expressed to the part of your brain that listens and can break down the words and symbols into meaning, which in turn is sent to neural circuitry that checks for validity, consistency or falsehood. Great information!
  • Mar 8 2011: I think thoughts generated from our different senses. During our consciousness our mind keep on programming things which will be stored in our sub-conscious and later become one of the contributor to whatever thoughts we have.
    • Mar 10 2011: Thanks Angelito. This constant interplay between conscious and unconscious minds facilitates the thought process. It would be phenomenal to see this on a graphical display as someone suggested earlier!
  • Mar 8 2011: I suggest that we cannot know where our thoughts come from and it is a risky business to be so certain that we do. Be wary of what you think you know, and be especially wary of the wordsmiths who write in with such great confidence.
    • Mar 10 2011: Hi John, thanks for the cautionary note ;-). I think we are all exploring our ideas and I think we are a long way from the real answer. But I also think that if we have the ability to conceive of a question, then we also have the ability to find the answer. Would you agree?
  • Mar 7 2011: Here's an example to illustrate how I think new thoughts might appear:

    Let's say that first I'm acting under the assumption that what I see is real and true, and everything I remember happened exactly as I remembered it.
    Then one day I have an unusually realistic dream. I could have sworn that it was real! When I woke up I was chocked to find out it was a dream. I feel disoriented and cheated by my own mind.
    And then the natural question follows "what if I'm still dreaming? How can I KNOW that this isn't still in my dream? "
    When pondering the question further, I might ask "how can I know that all my life hasn't been a dream?", "what if some of my memories have gotten mixed up with memories of dreams?" or "Maybe I'm just a character in someone else's dream? probably a butterfly or maybe a dog!"

    I chose that example because I think everybody has thought that thought at some point in their life. (Maybe they had thought about it a little bit but not so carefully before they saw The Matrix) But they're not alone in thinking that thought, it occurs in the unrelated minds of different people. And it's not so strange, I think the line of reasoning here comes pretty naturally. Often thoughts are less unique than we'd like to think (I'm not at all saying that people are identical but still, our minds follow the same mechanisms of reasoning). I myself don't believe that the world is a dream or anything.

    I think new thoughts surface when something messes up our earlier assumptions about the world. Like when two fields of knowledge meet. Idea (or more likely "set of ideas") + Idea can become a new Idea. Tough not necessarily, some things are just completely unrelated. But it's all about seeing things in a new light.
    • Mar 8 2011: Hi Vilgot, As I read this I could not help but think about the Matrix, which you also mentioned :-). I understand your concept of "collective" thinking, so to speak. I guess some of it is socially engineered - for example the thing we called culture which occurs at different scales, ranging from a country to a region, city, community and family. In other cases, there have been scientists in different parts of the world working on the same ideas, unbeknownst to each other. In these cases, I suppose the existing knowledge leads logically to certain ideas and certain paths. Perhaps part of why we exist is to use this collective thinking to learn to live together in harmony with each other and with the environment - thereby cultivating our own spiritual development. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.
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    Mar 7 2011: Part 1 of 3:

    So you have this thought. It's a poignant, curious thought and you marvel at it and ask yourself where it comes from. It seems like it came out of nowhere, and that makes it fascinating.

    But it did not come from nowhere. It lit up in your brain, and it was preceded by hundreds of thousands, maybe millions of other thoughts. Your entire development from conception to this time led to this thought in question. The brain had been building partial thoughts in infancy, constantly measuring and recalibrating the thinking mechanisms against sensory input, especially observations of caregivers and other individuals in sensory range. By the time this thought appeared, the brain that generated it had become quite expert at generating thoughts and had converted terabytes, maybe exabytes of sensory data into meaning, models of everything from basic physics like gravity to expectations of human and animal behavior, maps of local environment, you name it. You probably did name it already, stored it away and now take it for granted, what ever IT might be.
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    Mar 7 2011: Part 2 of 3:

    So after some lull, or random thinking that you forgot about, that preceded the magic thought:
    Neurotransmitters and other molecules accumulated in so many synaptic receptors, having been pushed out of so many vesicles from pre-synaptic neurons into the liquid in those synaptic clefts. The molecules having attached to the receptor assemblies on the "post-synaptic" neuron set in motion chains of events in the molecular machinery internal to that particular neuron and the algorithms that experience had built into that neuron weighed the receptor inputs and summed up a conclusion to initiate an electric pulse train, resulting in rapid dumping of more neurotransmitter-filled vesicles into the many synapses that neuron's dendrites are connected to. Again, the structure of that neuron's dendrites were built over time by the continuous functioning of the brain, controlled by experience, nutrition, and the machinery building instructions permitted by the epigenetic control of the DNA. So the firing of that neuron will begin a burst of signaling to as many other neurons as it is directly connected to which, if I am correct, can number as many as about 2000. The history built into those neurons will determine what they do with their inputs, and there will be a flurry of activity until the algorithms play out or suppression signals flood in from other neural circuitry.
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    Mar 7 2011: Part 3 of 3:

    This whole flurry of neural activity must be part of, or connect to the part of your brain that generates language; that forms thought into words or symbols that can be expressed to the part of your brain that listens and can break down the words and symbols into meaning, which in turn is sent to neural circuitry that checks for validity, consistency or falsehood. It is this computation over error-checking or logical validity that likely results in emotional response, the enabling of the reward pathway that tells you that you've had some level of a Eureka! experience, which marshals more circuitry to grab on to the stuff in short-term memory and take notice of this particular thought. One of millions, but this one sticks out, gets your attention. Ah! The joy of living in a supercomputer! How cool is this? Batches of neurons congratulating each other, the reward pathway passing out the happy drug molecules, and the Wonder Thought getting a shrine built by strengthening the physical machinery that generates this thought. It is promoted to being a more permanent part of your thinking machine.

    Just my shot at the fairy tale of the thought. There are many unknowns about knowing. The glial cells which are different from neurons are adjacent and attached to neurons and I am not informed if their contributions have been worked out. There are "electric" synapses that have channels built from one neuron to the other for faster signal transfer. Should a passing neuroscientist like to correct or enhance this description, the reward pathways of untold numbers of curious sapients may fire in your honor.
    • Mar 8 2011: Hi Zaz, Thanks for taking the time to write this story - I like it. It does being into focus the extraordinary amount of work that must go into putting our thoughts together. It is quite an engineering feat, isn't it.
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        Mar 9 2011: Your very welcome Julie. After reading many of the rather poetic responses, I just couldn't hold it back. The picture of the nuts and bolts of the nervous system that scientists have worked so hard to elucidate has a beauty that so many seem to be missing. To be alive now and not to have soaked in the mystical glory of visions like the animation presented at the end of this talk:

        is to be tragically impoverished. What an astounding ballet of absurdly small molecular machines there are dancing through all hours of the day and night in just ONE single cell in the most mundane, forgotten part of your body! As Bonnie Bassler says, what you think of as You is actually about a trillion of your body's cells and about 10 trillion bacterial cells. Oh, and I mentioned that one neuron may have up to 2,000 connections, eh, the woid on da street sez: 7,000 Average connections per.:

        (that article gets better every time I see it, as usual)

        People who can't buy that their big, profoundly deep experience of being conscious and alive can be entirely explained by physical forces and molecular machinery just don't appreciate the scale of these things, nor the complexity and deep remaining mysteries down in the atomic realm. Same people are not likely to grasp just how much we pack into today's computer and what it's main brain chip is doing two BILLION times every second! The machines we MAKE are magical, the machines we ARE, are just a thousand or a million times More magical. So far.
        • Mar 10 2011: I too marvel at the complexity of the cellular mechanism and processes that keeps us functioning. And it is true that we take it for granted. I often think that if we could observe the work that these little cells do to keep us alive, we might take better care of them.

          I also think it is wonderful to have all the different points of view articulated here. Each of us sees the world though our own little straw, so to speak. Some have short straws and see things close, others have longer straws and can see further away, some with wide straws with a broader scale perspective and some with narrow straws. Each of us thinks that what we see is the only reality. But each view is a piece of the puzzle and I guess need them all to have a more complete picture. Thank you for reminding us how miraculous our existence really is.
    • Mar 10 2011: so perhaps we should not call it a subconscious mind but a molecular mind
  • Mar 6 2011: from the connections of the subconscious brain, a part which we have no control of, which connects to things around us to either create something new or trying to explain something. i think, i read somewhere
    • Mar 8 2011: Thanks Daffa. I think the general consensus is that the subconscious is a key factor. Appreciate your comments
  • Mar 6 2011: Hello everyone,

    To be simple, I think that our thoughts depend on where we are growing up. If you had grown up in a nice, smart neighborhood, you would have gotten great ideas.
    • Mar 6 2011: Hi William, your environment does influence your thoughts, that's for sure.
    • Mar 10 2011: it is not just the enviroment though. behavior [lays a big role. you could grow in a smart neighborhood but run away and do drugs because you feel stifled.
    • Mar 11 2011: William: your comment while unrelated (for the most part) is also completely unsubstantiated in reality. I will prefacing by saying that I am NOT refuting the value of 'nurture' in human growth. However, I am offended by your statement. I grew up in a wonderful neighborhood in North Dallas. I had many wealthy, prominent, brilliant and affluent neighbors. However, I ended up in ghettos all over the country with stupid ideas doing stupid things. For you to claim that simply living in a nice neighborhood is going to lead to great ideas, is ridiculous. Did you grow up in a nice neighborhood? Because your idea was not great. I apologize for a borderline ad hominem argument but your naivety truly offended me.
    • Mar 11 2011: Thanks to the internet, we now have a huge neiborhood to choose from. Still it is as one can clearly see all around, a state of openness required to attract certain ideas, and even more important, open up oneself to be truely changed in your beeing by them. Troughout history great ideas mostly passed out of awareness for the most part of society, just a minor group of people elevated enough to get them transformed them into law, philosophy, science and religion. I guess this is still going on even today, and for very important reasons. I don
      t believe that we can change the world, without starting by changing the people. Starting with ourselves.
  • Mar 6 2011: The human consciousness is something that has heretofore been unexplored by modern science, apart from the realms of psycology and psykiatry, and this exploration has been more about effect then cause.
    After all memories and other faculities of our brain are physical attributes.

    There is an inner me person in the center somehow aware of it all.

    That inner consciousness (what medieval man i guess called the soul) is our true selves, and perhaps the explanation to why that incessent RNA molecule suddenly decided to replicate itself.

    I put to you this, there is no chaos in the universe in which we live.

    We thougt there was though, we thought chaos and order where contesting forces in our universe,
    but we have since learned its all just different degrees of Order.

    Planets move in perfect syncronisity, and even elements like water and fire can be calculated down to minutea given a sufficiently advanced computer.

    In fact, given again, said sufficient computational power, u could calculate the movement of every molecule in the galaxy past present and future.

    And yet this same futuristic supercomputer could never tell, beyond a 50% accuracy, which foot om going to put forward first as i take my next step.

    Because it is a choice i make. it is an act of my will.

    If our inner selves, our will, our soul, our consciousness, whatever, does not behave like anything else in the universe...

    ...are we from another universe ?
    • Mar 6 2011: Thanks for this interesting insight, Aurelio. If we are from another universe, is it that that universe has some effect on our thoughts, causing the unique behavior?
      • Mar 7 2011: I always wondered what a collision between two universes would look like.

        Two universes physcally colliding, perhaps by coincidence.

        Not in 3 dimensions though, but in the 4th dimension.

        A movie, or a video game,
        would probably portray it as a giant wall full of cracks,
        with light emanating from the other side.

        Or a dark rift, like a tentacled black hole.

        But all these are illustration of 3 dimensional space (and energy).

        What if it doesnt look like this at all, what if WE are the collision?

        So two universes collide in 4th dimansional space, one is made up of rules of perfect rigid order, and contains nothing but planets and stars circling each other in an eternal dance of expansion and compression.

        The other contains a totally different ruleset, consists entirely of soul-energy, and is alive, functioning under concepts we cannot even fathom.

        So they collide an the life-energy seeps in to the rigid dimension of our universe.

        But it does not have a form, not even as energy or light, and it starts to cause a 4th dimensional reaction in our universe to represent itself as something our universe will allow.

        Aminoacids, then RNA molecules, then single celled organism, then multicelled, and from there it speeds up creating massive bodies of living creatures, like watching an explosion of life matter in super slow motion.

        We have always considered ourselves observers, we love to explore and discover the universe we live in as if it is all new and wonderous.

        Perhaps we are still linked to our home universe by some unsees thread, perhaps we go there when we die, and come from there when we are born, explaining our innate desire to explore this universe and take as much as we can out of this life.

        After all we know of a direction that we cannot point to, we say in times of introspection, "I go into myself", betraying perhaps an intuitive understanding of greater things.
        • Mar 8 2011: I believe I read somewhere that gravity is a weak force emanating from a parallel universe so you may be on to something :-)
        • Mar 10 2011: Beautiful idea
        • Mar 11 2011: Yes i agree, you might think of the aspect of linear reason with uncertain free will as a clash of paradigms, maybe even Universes. Taking up your line of reason, starting with unorganized unconcious and seemingly dead materials, life started to explode into realms of creative, self organizing spaces and not only did the individual beeings evolve, carried by them society and culture evolved and continues to do so in an obnocious speed, carrying us into new realms of connectedness. So there seemes to be an imprinted drive to evolutionary unfolding, which started out of unorganic materials. Step by Step complexity is rising and with it the systems become more and more unstable and fluid. This seems like a process too elaborate to understand, yet i feel that it is quite full of reason and even understandable by human conciousness.
          All of us are imprinted with this urgent drive for fullfillment and greatness, which drives our need to constant change and adaptation. Taking this into the perspective i look at life as evolving trough leveles of complexity, from the unorganic trough organic, individual, social to cultural and global planes. In this process we do not leave behind any of these for we are still as a globalyoriented and self aware beeing partaking in culture and society, a mass of cells, forming our body and mind. For life to evolve trough this process, the same concious experience must have already been present in the underlying structure of the universe in its essence.

          So i think, that natural laws and free will develop in accordance. Based on the same principals. They are like two sides of a coin, and each of them deliveres answers which we can proove in life.
    • Mar 11 2011: Aurelio: Where did you get this information? You said that some computer could calculate the action of every molecule in the universe past, present and future. Everything I have encountered in regards to what we know about atomic and subatomic movement suggests the exact opposite (if you have something to substantiate this claim PLEASE let me know where I can find the information, I would LOVE to read it). From my rather limited understanding while the larger a sample is of the atoms, molecules, etc in question, the smaller the sample set, the more unpredictable. Essentially, given 100 million atoms, for the most part we have a pretty good idea of the trend that will occur, but if asked what any one specific atom or molecule will do, we have NO idea. Furthermore, while I believe in free-will, I think you overestimate your predictability as a human being. I also would pose to you to explain conclusively how you know you are indeed acting freely as an agent in this universe.
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    Mar 6 2011: Thinking (Thought) is a property of mind (Mind is nature of brain?). It needs memory to have thoughts. All the memory is relating and manifesting the essence into objects, to draw parallels between essence and material objects. Ideas, especially new ones are produced when mind conceives material as extension of essence of that particular object/material. The material, now known as immediate reality is only expression assigned to essence which can't manifest itself without being expressed into material world. It also implies that material or immediate reality still is only possible form of existence, only one possible way of creation, yet not more than a token, a symbol that points to its origin, the inherent essence of itself, which has to translate into material to exist. The world in which we live, the way we have known life, our quests and pleasures seems to be placed somewhat midway of a original start(creation) and end(manifestation).
    • Mar 6 2011: Hi Mrityunjay, some interesting comments, thanks. If I interpret this correctly, you suggest that the mind creates the reality - the material things we observe are the manifestations of what we conceive. You also suggest that the immediate reality is only one possible form of existence. Do you have any ideas about the other existences and would our thoughts create those as well?
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        Mar 9 2011: Hey Julie :)

        I mean the 'real' real for an enquirer is the one that is revealed using best available analytic tools. Real is relative across the realities. Within the membrane of one's system, there is a 'maximum' and last truth. Existence within that particular system requires no law or knowledge that has not been synthesized, or conceived within that system. Humane inquiry will remain confined to human and things pertaining to human. It is, when we learn by pure logic, not only do we resolve, simplify, generalize, break down to simplest constituent units of material and its relation to essence, we also are able to realize about nature of mind and of knowledge. This is where Edwin abbot (in his famous book-Flatland) steps in. It becomes like picture within picture with picture and so on... This again is why we are keen to hear more about M-theory. We have seen what happened with Mr. point, line, circle and Mr sphere in flatland. Those were some really astonishing analogies Edwin came up with.

        Coming to the second half of what beautifully you inquired; Reality is relative. It doesn't seem to change for a toad who for some reason is confined to a deep well or a small pond, how well a kid passing by knows there's more than a pond in the world. So just the way we have resolved the lower orders (no offense, assigning orders works for us), comes to our mind, those are infinite and we are in one of them. It is our vision that works on narrow wavelength, it is only light we are able to conceive we cal light, and all colors are property of light, hence light creates colors, not that objects are colorful. All the knowledge we have works perfect for us, we can master everything about it...not that this is all there is. This is all that should make sense.
        • Mar 10 2011: So there might be creatures out there we can see and interact with but cannot communicate with and therefore in that sense they might know more than we do?
        • Mar 10 2011: I din't mean as in aliens, but I meant here on earth
    • Mar 11 2011: Mrityunjay: your language is difficult to understand, but after scrutinizing your comment, you seem to leave more questions than you answered. 1) you say memory is a necessary condition for thought, what is your basis for this? Emotions are thought, that need no memory to feel. Clearly our memories can cause emotions, or influence how we feel, but they are clearly not necessary conditions for the thought process. Furthermore, thought begins somewhere before we are able to formulate memory, so I am very confused as to where this conclusion came from. 2) you say "The material, now known as immediate reality is only expression assigned to essence which can't manifest itself without being expressed into material world" This sentence was very difficult to understand, however, if i was indeed able to decipher what you were saying material is derived from essence, and essence, you suggest does so because essence itself cannot exist [in the material world]. To be honest, I don't really see a conclusion here. What are you really trying to say? 3) You also say that the material reality is 'the reality.' This seems contrary to most notions. I am more sure that I am thinking right now, than I am that I'm really writing this on a computer that exists outside me. Decartes, as it was paraphrased, says "I think, therefore, I am." We are able to identify existence because of the essence of our thoughts, not because of some external object. If you could perhaps clarify for me what you were really trying to say here, because I may have misunderstood due to your extensive sentences and floral language.
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        Mar 11 2011: Hey Jack, Sorry about the language, I am still learning it, will try to do it more efficiently.

        It is quite possible that the conversation might have invited more questions than answered, hence conversation not Q and A. There always is propositional content in question, at least in subjective ones, and it is illocutionary nature of dialogue that in the absence of a very objective mechanism of communication, no one addresses no one and we expect our mates to understand what we just said, by analogies they might have build. So it is usually about proximity, I understand and acknowledge it is loose.

        1. Thought as emotions are neurotic responses. Comprehension of thought, idea, needs analysis. It involves situation, possible comparisons, motive and action. Instincts are soughted out and scrutinized responses, ones now build into genetic material and available for individual for quick disposal. How would someone respond to something which doesn't relate to him or her through their own knowledge of things and affects they produce? Even a newborn's cry (in the absence of experiential knowledge) is equipped with mechanism to sustain life and that is the utility of it (reflex action to inhale, same method is used to communicate until wider demands pop up and language is learnt). You may like this write up on anatomical and physiological changes which cause first cry:

        Thought can not exist in 'isolation' and human are far too occupied to be isolated, unless some neural function misfires.
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        Mar 11 2011: 2. Second point is about conscious motives and generation of ideas. Everything that exists is defined by its nature and utility. So of material, what that can be perceived for kind of tools of reception we have, and how it matters to us is the immediate truth. The highest deduced belief shall be known as truth until it has been fully comprehended and consumed. How we know things are their attributes, what meaning can those have without their utility? So everything is defined as per its conceivable attribute and utility. Everything that exists can be logically defined understood and well, classified. I have no clue to question why things exist at all. What I have felt of the worlds in which things exist is everything is everything (atomic and subatomic particles) and order of their constituents help categorize them efficiently. Nature of material shall reveal itself once these constituents are understood to smallest unit. The conceived knowledge (of things) is still dependent on their attributes. I can not recall of one thing that does not imply, and what it implies doesn’t imply another thing, and so on…So what exists has pure material nature to it of which we know little and are doing very well (science) to know further, and essence of material is ‘only’ reasonable/ possible space filler we throw for seeing this process starting and concluding (Cause and effect).

        3. The reality, as we call it is the highest conceivable state of existence within a specific domain. All that is conceived as real isn’t free of analogy. It is totally and fully valid within that particular form of existence. ‘Nothing’ is allowed to bypass reasoning as knowing is property of mind. Second write up elaborates on that to whatever was possible in limited text character constraint. ‘One is thinking’ because ‘One is’ are flip sides of the same coin. I can elaborate on that but I believe you may not need me to .

        Thanks for patience Jack.
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    Mar 6 2011: Es muy interesante la cuestion. Creo fervientemente en un universo unificado energèticamente. Y a medida que la humanidad se vaya abriendo a esta realidad, màs "conectados" estaremos. Entonces, podemos reflexionar sobre alguna situacion u objeto. A la vez que estamos influenciando a alguien con nuestra inocente meditacion. Asi mismo somos influenciados (si realmente queremos ò estamos abiertos). De ahì, supongo; esos pensamientos que nos van llevando de un lado a otro, conciente o inconscientemente. Asi se gestan muchisimas ideas buenas y malas. ej: alguien està pensando en que le falta tal herramienta o utensillo para desarrollar un trabajo o actividad. Esa idea queda en el eter. Alguien que està buscando, por decirlo de alguna manera; satisfacer alguna necesidad o ayudar en algo, encuentra la frecuencia y se sube a esa idea. Y con sus conocimientos desarrolla la herramienta para la actividad del Sr anterior. Es una via o ejemplo de como surgen ideas y pensamientos.
  • Mar 5 2011: Some aphorisms... l hope help you( l want spekaking but my english very bad...)

    "A person who sees the good in things has good thoughts. And he who has good thoughts receives pleasure from life."

    "The sun’s image, which is the effulgence of its manifestation, displays the same identity on the surface of the sea and in all its droplets."

    " Forgetfulness is also a bounty. It allows one to suffer the pains of only one day, and causes the rest to be forgotten."

    " Beings are visible through light, and their existence is known through life. Both are revealers."
    • Mar 5 2011: Thank you for these. They are very enlightening and uplifting. I am glad you posted though English is not your native language. You did very well - thanks :-)
      • Mar 10 2011: thanks Julie Ann ...I hope, I can learning English so l can follow all question, ideas,....

        ..."Unfortunate truths become worthless in worthless hands.".....
  • Mar 5 2011: how about when the same idea comes to more than one person at the same time, or your thinking of someone and they call you, or you call them and they say i was just thinking about you! I have no clue
    • Mar 5 2011: Yes, these "coincidences" can be very uncanny. I think many of us have had these experiences at one time or another.
      • Mar 7 2011: Our brain, including the rest of our body uses electricity therefore producing electromagnetic waves so it is possible to transmit or receive thoughts from a distance...
        • Mar 10 2011: funny Arwin, I thought the same thing... even though I wonder how through that is. I have always thought it would be wonderful to find an instrument that would reveal any invisible components to our brains or waves migrating from brain to brain. but that's probably another kind of thinking- wishful-
      • Mar 11 2011: Are you familiar with the Merlin Project? They have a fascinating view of coincidences.
  • Mar 4 2011: I think you should look at the TED videos that feature Dan Dennett or Susan Blackmore and their talks about memetics. The idea of memetics is that memes (thoughts and ideas) are not actually a part of us, but are actually using
    us to copy and evolve within our minds, pushing us to maybe not act in ways that are beneficial to our species and its survival.

    I also suggest the book by Richard Dawkins. 'The Selfish Gene', where he introduces the idea and coins the terms memetics and meme (from the greek word Mimeme which means "to copy"). Also Susan Blackmores book 'The Meme Machine' picks up the idea Mr, Dawkins suggested and explains her theory of memetics.
    • Mar 5 2011: Thanks for the suggestions Tim. These ideas of social evolution are intriguing and would, at least in part, explain the rapid development of humans. They may also explain the cultural focus of different phases of the modern era - for example the development of art during the Renaissance and the technological developments now.
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    Mar 4 2011: From TED conversations of course.
    More seriously, from conversations in the wider sense, including those long-distance conversations we call books, art, movies, songs. Yes, perhaps from our subconscious, but our subconscious is working with what came in through our senses.
  • Mar 4 2011: Thoughts before language or language before thought? The best answer I’ve read on this is that people who think, use language, and people who don’t think, are used by language.

    I also recall a TV show, a NOVA I believe, where people were shown various objects, hammer, pen, etc. while in a MRI machine. It seems the same parts of the brain lit up in different people if they saw the same item. It was so consistent that by examining the MRI results, one could tell which item had been shown. The hypothesis is some concepts, like hammer or chair, are hard wired into our brains.

    So, some thoughts are generated by us from scratch, some are ‘absorbed’ from our environment & experience, and some may be in our genes.

    Where do our thoughts come from? It depends on the thought, and it depends on whose thinking it.
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    Mar 4 2011: Great question... I will have to think about it !
    • Mar 4 2011: Indigo, when you have thought, please come back and tell us that you think :-)
  • Mar 4 2011: You attract your thoughts based on the vibration at which you are currently emitting. You can only attract similar vibrational thoughts within a certain range so, if you are sad, thoughts of joy are not available to you, but thoughts of being less sad may be. As thoughts "occur" to us - they are in fact fully formed and are not created by us. All thoughts that were ever thought - still exist - so you can image a "gene pool" of possible thoughts - however, only those thoughts close to your current vibration are possible for you to attract into your consciousness. For more information and much better explanation see Abraham-Hicks site.
    • Mar 4 2011: Hi Matt, there are some interesting ideas here. I guess its like a radio, tuned to a certain frequency. Similar frequencies are allowed through. Also interesting is the idea that all thoughts continue to exist. How and in what form? Interesting concepts.
      • Mar 7 2011: A radio is a good anaolgy. Thoughts are consciousness and are the building blocks for all materialized matter. So as (vibrationally) like thoughts attract each other they group together - a bit like 'dust bunnies' (although I am not sure this is a good description). It is interesting to note that manifested conciousness (or our reality) also works in the same way. We ALWAYS get (receive) the exact equivalent of what we put out (emit) - so what we experience - be it thought, dream or reality - is experienced as a direct consequence of what thoughts we focus our conciousness on (that's what our ego does - it is the focuser). Thoughts come and go (pop in and pop out) but we select the ones we focus on and that in turn tunes us - effecting how we emit. So it REALLY matters what you think. Thoughts that benefit you will always feel good and those that don't will always feel bad. So feel your way around the thoughts you think (or receive) and spend time focused on those that make you feel good. The more time you spend focused on a thought - the more thoughts you will attract that are similar in vibration - focus on those thoughts that feel best and disregard those that don't make you feel good. This way you consciously affect your reality by tuning your emitted vibration.
        • Mar 8 2011: Good thoughts to live by - thanks Matt. I think this also falls with the scope of positive thinking.
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      Mar 4 2011: Doris Lessing explored this a good deal in "The Four-Gated City"; I saw a lot of truth in what she had to say, though I take "vibration" as a metaphor.
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    • Mar 4 2011: A wise grandfather Birdia, and I know he is right to a certain extent. But not all our thoughts are memories - some are discoveries. New insights, revolutionary ideas that turn convention on its head. So I would think that many are new thoughts that come from somewhere other than memory.
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        • Mar 6 2011: Hi Birdia, I think the key points in the statement are "new sensory feelings and discoveries in reality". The realization of the discoveries may be influenced by memories, but the fact that they are discoveries suggest they were not in memory, I would think. Unless you speculate that all knowledge is inherently known by an individual and "discoveries" are merely retrieval of that information - not an improbable idea :-)
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        • Mar 8 2011: Hi Birdia. I have no rigid ideas about this but am really just trying to explore and understand. I am quite amenable to all viewpoints and I certainly appreciate your ideas. Please understand that I am not contradicting them in any way - I do not know enough to contradict anyone's views but truly appreciate your ideas along with everyone else's. So thank you.
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    Mar 4 2011: thoughts are information elements wired together. Ideas are new fresh thoughts with attempt to solve something.
    Ideas come from rebuilding or combining old thought patterns with new information.
    "Eureka" and "Newton's apple" are good examples of it.
    • Mar 4 2011: Hi George. These are good thoughts :-) I wonder if they are information elements in the form of energy, like a photon. Then, what causes them to re-arrange into new patterns to give Eureka moments - other thoughts maybe?
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        Mar 4 2011: yes that's physical process, yet I don't know physics enough to explain it preciously. Still on surface level as I think ideas may come intentionally when we consciously try to combine information in unusual way, or unintentionally when due to brain activity architecture different sections of brain light up creating new unpredictable connections.
        Both approaches are used in creativity techniques like brainstorming, positioning, mindmapping etc.