Category Archives: NEUROPHILOSOPHY

Book recommendation for “Aping Mankind” by Raymond Tallis, FMedSci, FRCP, FRSA

 

APING MANKIND coverIf you have kept up with the flurry of books and papers on the nature of consciousness published in just the past decade alone, then you probably are under the impression that neuroscientists have made an overwhelmingly convincing case for brain activity as the source of consciousness and all else that is associated with this (“We are our brains”). And surely evolutionary psychologists have nailed down the most likely evolutionary influences and players that gave rise to key human mental and psychological traits. If you are tempted to say “Well, yes they have” to both, I want you to buy, beg or borrow a copy of “Aping Mankindby Dr. Raymond Tallis and give it a thoughtful, careful read. By the time you finish perusing it, you will probably find your confidence badly shaken.

Mind you, Dr. Tallis’s critical literary tour-de-force is informed by his own rich academic and professional background in medicine, clinical neuroscience and philosophy. And, he is an atheist (He thus came to his thesis without religious convictions or sentiments).

And, just in case there is someone reading this who suspects Dr. Tallis is a creationist or is in any way sympathetic to such pseudoscientific nonsense, he is most empathetically not.

“Aping Mankind” ably tackles (what Dr. Tallis terms) “Neuromania” and “Darwinitis” with hard-hitting reasoning and arguments based on secular science and empiricism, logic, and good sense. In addition, Dr. Tallis’s book serves as a powerful reminder that in science nothing is forever settled or final; which is to say, even well-established principles, theories or laws can be overturned by sufficiently compelling contrary evidence.

Summer Cloud gives “Aping Mankind” 5 out of 5 stars.

© 2017 by Dr. Anthony G. Payne. All rights reserved.

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Your mind as universe & what you can do to change it

MIND - UNLOCK - FREE MSDo you like it when a new way of looking at a situation or phenomenon comes to mind or is introduced to you by someone else? If your answer is “yes” then you probably will enjoy what I am about to share.

Back during junior high I was riveted by Einstein’s General Relativity and the unified, very cogent spin it offered on gravitation. Before your eyes glass over rest assured what I have to share does not get into physics but, rather, borrows something from it you will readily understand and (I hope) appreciate.

Einstein described gravity as a geometric property of what is called spacetime. Picture spacetime as a trampoline, and then mentally set a heavy object on its surface, let’s say a bowling ball. What happens?  The bowling ball produces an indentation in the trampoline fabric or curvature. This is what the sun and earth and other objects in the universe do to spacetime.  If one increases the mass of an object then the curvature increases. This very brief YouTube video does a smashing job of graphically illustrating this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LoaOHvy5AcA      

Now I want to analogize this to human psychology. Here is how:

We are all born into this world with anything but a tabula rasa or blank slate. In addition, to built-in brain circuits (modules) that favor survival as well as give rise to and sustain all kinds of behavioral propensities, there is evidence of stored memories including elements of language acquired in utero and emotional and mood wiring at unconscious as well as conscious levels.

 Using the spacetime analogy, the trampoline fabric in this instance is affect (mood, emotions and affective logic circuitry) as it animates and informs most non- or un- conscious and conscious brain processes. This fabric is studded with various objects – bowling balls or planets or whatever image tickles your fancy – which are variously non- & un- conscious as well as conscious predispositions, drives, et cetera.

With this picture in mind, let’s say you reach adulthood and spend a great deal of time engaging in helping others, say as a volunteer or medical professional or cleric. This feeds the objects on the trampoline that both feed & inform charity and altruism which grow and by so doing dwarfs other objects (pursuits, needs, desires, etc.) and eventually produces enough deformation in the fabric to bring smaller nearby objects into orbit (or subjugation, as it were). The same process is true of people who, say, feed their sexual appetite or conversely, starve it (Perhaps 20% or more of marriages in the US are sexless according to some experts. While this may reflect large numbers of people with attachment or other personality disorders, it may so reflect neglect of one dimension or object in the sexual constellation of self and the feeding of others, say cyber-fantasies).          

So of what real world good is there in knowing this? In-a-word your universe consists of objects whose size and influence reflects your focus or conversely neglect. So if you something is wrecking your peace or that of your marriage or professional life, sketch out your universe and see which aspects (objects) are being overfed or underfed. Then focus on shrinking or conversely growing them.

How to do this? It really is simple but this is not to say easy. Change your behavior,… your conduct. The rest of you will follow suit if you do so and stick with it.

Don’t believe remodeling your personal universe can be done in this way? Go to Amazon or whatever shopping website you prefer and search out “Strangers to Ourselves” (subtitled “Discovering the Adaptive Unconscious”) by Dr. Timothy D. Wilson (Sherrell J. Aston Professor of Psychology at the University of Virginia). If you are in a rush after receiving this insightful tome, turn to chapter 10 and read it in its entirety.      

TO READ MORE ON ATTACHMENT DISORDERS GO TO http://bit.ly/Xjqsja

SUPPLEMENTAL READING:

University of Pennsylvania Dorothy Swaine Thomas Professor in Sociology Dr. Randall Collins classic work “Interaction Ritual Chains” (Princeton Studies in Cultural Sociology)  

From a review of Dr. Collins seminal work by Gary Alan Fine that appeared in Social Forces
Volume 83, Number 3, March 2005 pp. 1287-1288 | 10.1353/sof.2005.0029

“Simply put, Collins argues that interaction rituals produce emotional energy, the gathering of which is a central motivating force for individuals. Affect is the engine of social order. Those interaction rituals that are most effective in generating emotional energy are the ones that bolster institutional stability. We seek emotional energy the way that felines seek catnip—it gives us a buzz. Collins stands athwart the cognitive turn in social psychology, finding affect where others find thought, and indeed valuably devotes a chapter to demonstrating the various ways in which thinking must be linked to emotional entrainment.”

https://muse.jhu.edu/login?auth=0&type=summary&url=/journals/social_forces/v083/83.3fine.html     

AFFECTIVE LOGIC: http://affect-logic.com/5.html

EXTENDED BEING: http://extendbeing.weebly.com/

Summer Cloud’s Watering Hole

© 2013 by Dr. Anthony G. Payne. All rights reserved.

EXTENDED BEING (Hubpages article)

FROM DR. PAYNE’S ARTICLE “EXTENDED BEING” on Examiner.com

“The quiet punctuated by the flow of water in that aqueduct made it possible to experience not just quiet and relaxation but more so (for me anyway) a unique situation in which conscious thoughts and awareness dipped and other things came to light. One of these was a dynamic running “mental clip” (representation) of Kaoru that was interacting with me at a very subtle level. There was a spoken and unspoken dialog going on. I realized that part of her was alive within me but not solely as memories and warm associations; there was a dynamic sort of circuit at play which was influencing not only my thoughts and mood but also some elements of my personality, i.e., I was being influenced by specific personality traits she exhibited that I found appealing and was even internalizing some of them (And while mirroring and mimicry mechanisms were undoubtedly involved in this process, there was seemingly more to it than this). She had become part of the “we” that is “me”!”

CLICK TO ACCESS MY HUBPAGES ARTICLE: http://anthonypayne.hubpages.com/hub/Extended-Being-The-You-That-is-Many

EXTENDED BEING WEBSITE: http://extendbeing.weebly.com/

EXTENDED BEING: Connective-dynamic circuits twixt thou and emotionally significant others

FROM DR. PAYNE’S “EXTENDED BEING” on Examiner.com

“The quiet punctuated by the flow of water in that aqueduct made it possible to experience not just quiet and relaxation but more so (for me anyway) a unique situation in which conscious thoughts and awareness dipped and other things came to light. One of these was a dynamic running “mental clip” (representation) of Kaoru that was interacting with me at a very subtle level. There was a spoken and unspoken dialog going on. I realized that part of her was alive within me but not solely as memories and warm associations; there was a dynamic sort of circuit at play which was influencing not only my thoughts and mood but also some elements of my personality, i.e., I was being influenced by specific personality traits she exhibited that I found appealing and was even internalizing some of them (And while mirroring and mimicry mechanisms were undoubtedly involved in this process, there was seemingly more to it than this). She had become part of the “we” that is “me”!”

CLICK TO ACCESS EXAMINER ARTICLE: http://www.examiner.com/article/extended-being-1 

EXCERPT FROM DR. PAYNE’S MORE DETAILED INTRODUCTION TO “EXTENDED BEING”:

“Extended being involves the creation of dynamic, largely affective neuro-subroutines that are, in effect, a form of dynamic connectedness or connective circuit between individuals; circuits that incorporate the other, their image (sighted people), mannerisms, attitudes and other significant aspects of their person and conduct; circuits that are fed by as well as facilitate and enhance certain aspects of socialization, behavior and self-awareness as well as distinctly human consciousness; circuits that predominately operate in our pre/unconscious and influence judgments and choices and etc. made there, as well as conscious thought flow and content, mood, and actions.  But circuits, too, that mean that part of our being is operating external to our bodies (It is not that this circuit exists in the sense it can be detected and measured outside us but, rather, that our emergent sense of being, the “we” that us, includes the other and experiences him or her as both an internal reality and an external, connected one. This circuit is reinforced and additional content added while in the other’s presence and may be diminished during their absence, but is unlikely to be extinguished entirely even when the emotionally meaningful other ceases to be a part of our life for whatever reason).” 

Click this link to read “Extended Being” in its entirety: https://biotheorist.files.wordpress.com/2012/10/extended-being-by-dr-anthony-g-payne.pdf 

EXTENDED BEING WEBSITE: http://extendbeing.weebly.com/

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