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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 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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