THE MIND IS I (oneself)

THE MIND IS I (oneself): –

Mapping the brain of course has not been an easy task. A dense tapestry threaded by archipelagoes (group of islands) of nerve cells, the brain consists of billions of neurons and trillions of synapses. It is the most complex object on the planet. The heart pumps blood, the lungs ingest oxygen, the stomach absorbs nutrients, but the functions of the brain are manifold. It monitors the body’s basic processes, coordinates physical movement, perceives, thinks, acts and feels. It is an executive branch of government that ceaselessly plans, reacts and interacts with the organic world around it.

But if you define consciousness as mental content – the information contained in the thoughts that is reportable by the person, and which they can reflect on and talk about it, in that sense the consciousness is a valid subject of scientific study.

Consciousness: –

There are many levels, from basic perception of the environment to the higher consciousness, which is the capacity for self-awareness. Sense of identity is probably a mixture – a nested hierarchy – of coordinated functions arising out of several areas of the brain. But the right hemisphere is the dominant source of the self. Some scientists believe that the right hemisphere is not simply dominant in the formation of the self-awareness, but it is essential. There are definite neural correlates of higher order consciousness that, if you mark them out, the person is no longer conscious, no longer capable of self-awareness. Just tenth of an inch beneath the furrowed ridges of gray matter that covers the right front side of the brain, is a layer of tangled cell tissue that makes us uniquely human. There may be other similarly minuscule areas of the brain that contribute to consciousness, but the right prefrontal cortex – located just above the right eye – is the primary source of self awareness.

Nature vs. Nurture: –

Is this a religiosity, a function of environment of how we are brought up, or as many neuroscientists now believe that it is a function or reflection of brain activity. In other words we are hard wired for GOD.

The relationship between brain chemistry and consciousness is one that, in the neuroscience age, is hard to get away from. As neurobiologists have deepened our understanding of the powerful neurochemicals that underlie our moods and motivations, words like adrenaline, endorphins, dopamine, and serotonin have become part of our vernacular. And for those who have spent any time studying the field, it has become increasingly difficult not to think of human behavior in chemical terms.

If the study of brain damage and neurochemistry provides the beginnings of an outline of the profound link between brain and mind, powerful new brain scanning techniques promise to fill out the details in living color. By providing a picture of the brain’s blood-flow patterns when engaged in particular activities, PET, SPECT, and MRI scans are enabling researchers to map the regions of the brain like cartographers once charted the contours of the globe.

Discovering the biological basis of speech and perception is, however, just the beginning. With experimental methodologies improving by the month, even the more complex aspects of our experience, such as emotion, reason, motivation, and will, are beginning to give up their secrets. In Mapping the Mindscience journalist Rita Carter writes: “It is now possible to locate and observe the mechanics of rage, violence, and misperception, and even to detect the physical signs of complex qualities of mind like kindness, humor, heartlessness, gregariousness, altruism, mother-love, and self-awareness.”

The profound implications of these findings are not lost on the neuroscience community. Indeed, one of the more interesting new areas of discussion is what has become known as neuron-ethics. According to psychologist Martha Farah, brain imaging in particular has opened up an ethical can of worms with its unprecedented ability to peer into the previously private reaches of the individual mind. For instance, with neuroimaging, it has now become possible to tell when someone is being deceitful, or even when he or she is deceiving him or her. Enter lie-detection 3.0. Scientists can also discern whether someone was involved in a crime by showing them objects from the crime scene and seeing how their brain responds. Welcome to the new forensics, as marketed by Brain Fingerprinting Laboratories, Inc. It is even possible to tell whether someone is an illegal drug user by showing them photos of drug paraphernalia and seeing whether the brain enters a “craving state.” Meet the new war on drugs.

Then there is what Farah refers to as “brain typing.” Using these same methodologies, neuroscientists can now look behind the scenes of your persona and find out what sort of human being you really are. Do you secretly harbor racial prejudices? By watching your brain while you look at pictures of racially diverse faces, brain scanners can provide an answer. How about sexual preferences? By showing you a variety of erotic imagery, we can see who or what turns you (or your brain) on. (And don’t bother trying to suppress your response. Your brain looks different when you do that too.) Are you a risk-taker? A pessimist? An introvert? Neurotic? Persistent? Empathic? Even such core personality traits as these are now laid bare before the new neuron-interrogation.