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  1. #1
    GemQuest Moderator Gary Wassner's Avatar
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    What is that feeling of ecstasy all about?

    It seems that if the parietal lobe of the brain is deactivated through drugs or stimulation then our sense of self is deactivated too. That portion of the brain is what gives us a three-dimensional sense of the body and its orientation in space. Without that orientation, we are suspended in an ecstatic, almost transcendental state, and the boundaries that usually separate us from the world around us, disappear. As in transcendental meditation, we think we may have discovered another reality, or at least transcendended this one. So, this spiritual transformation is really a physical change, or the result of one, whether self induced or chemically induced.

    As they recently determined that alcoholism is the direct result of a gene that establishes the proclivity for it, perhpas spirituality will also be determined to be the result of a gene that stimulates the supression of the parietal lobe and makes us feel at one with the universe, makes us believe.

    So who are we really? What remains sacred for us? Is my yearning for meaning just my genetic proclivity for the divine, and nothing more?

  2. #2
    The natural man is carnal and devilish, only in keeping these natural feelings under control can we find any kind of civil enlightening actions.

  3. #3
    Give me liberty! Ouroboros's Avatar
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    I've never felt let down or disenfranchised by the possibility that there are entirely naturalistic explanations for the intangible puzzles that have as yet eluded our full understanding.

    As Carl Sagan and others have written, the prospect of science holding an exploratory torchlight up to the unexplained phenomena of the natural world shouldn't make us settle in for some kind of boring science lesson: It should fill us with genuine amazement that we can even begin to answer the big questions. We've come along way, baby.

  4. #4
    GemQuest Moderator Gary Wassner's Avatar
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    Neither have I. But when we break them all down to naturalistic explanations, what are we left with? And how do we reconstruct?

  5. #5
    Just Another Philistine Hereford Eye's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gary Wassner
    It seems that if the parietal lobe of the brain is deactivated through drugs or stimulation then our sense of self is deactivated too.
    Here's the problem for me: as with what concerns RSB*, when we take an fMRI as a physical event in the brain and assume conclusions from that event we are leaping into areas for which we have no firm substantiation. For example, the difference between a full fledged human and a zombie is consciousness, the human is self-aware and passes judgement on its behavior. If we deactivate the parietal lobe of a zombie, we have - by the above quote - caused no disability because the zombie never had any consicousness. But, humans, by definition, have consicousness, self-awareness. Remove the self-awareness, you remove the human. Isn't that what all the fuss is about with "vegetable" states? Humans come equipped with functioning parietal lobes. Without them, they are less than human.

    Secondly, you point out there is a gene for proclivity for alcoholism. I will point out that there are genes for proclivity to aging, Alzheimer's, cancer, homosexualism, and blue eyes. The difference with alcoholism is that there is a matter of free-will involved. A sister might decide to best the proclivity where a father and brother succumbed. There are many who argue that the proclivity for homosexualism falls into the same category, that it can be overcome by exercise of will.

    Thirdly, , is your yearning for meaning a genetic proclivity? Why does it matter? All that matters is that you have it, exercise it, and come up with answers that work for you.

    *See RSB's "Be afraid.." thread.

  6. #6
    GemQuest Moderator Gary Wassner's Avatar
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    All your comments are well taken. But the reduction of this aspect of the parietal lobe can be done naturally as well. We can self-induce it. The point of this thread was not so much as to gnash my teeth at our pitiable state, but to question our isolated sense of self that consciuosness foists upon us. (What an insidious person I really am) Consciousness, what you say distinguishes us as human, also separates us from the world we are very much a part of.

    The genetic biologist who just published the definitive paper on the genetic roots of alcoholism would be flabbergasted at your complacent response to his study. BTW. I just was with him and he was bursting with pride at its publication due to the groundbreaking aspects of it. It's one thing to speculate on the genetic derivation of everything. It's another thing to demonstrate it specifically.

  7. #7
    Just Another Philistine Hereford Eye's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gary Wassner
    The point of this thread was not so much as to gnash my teeth at our pitiable state, but to question our isolated sense of self that consciuosness foists upon us.
    Can you see an alternative to the isolation of self? How about if we daisy-chained all our parietal lobes; would we then achieve a group consciousness and would that be superior in any way to our isolated selves?
    BTW, thanks for the typo. That does wonders for my self esteem.
    (What an insidious person I really am)
    +
    so who are we really?
    Who are you, again?
    The genetic biologist who just published the definitive paper on the genetic roots of alcoholism would be flabbergasted at your complacent response to his study. BTW.
    Why would my comments flabbergast him? Has he single-handledly disproved the efficacy of AA, the reality of my family history with father and brother who fatally succumbed to the gene, with sister who has apparently overcome the proclivity, with self who must carry the gene but has yet to succumb to it? Proclivity is not instantiation, is it? Or has your friend now defined/demonstrated/proven a "genetic" predestination and will we be able to teach it the public schools or will we be required to refer to is as god's will?
    Last edited by Hereford Eye; November 16th, 2005 at 12:58 PM.

  8. #8
    GemQuest Moderator Gary Wassner's Avatar
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    Flabbergasted because you seemed to find it already a matter of fact. He would be surprised, living in the 'proof' world that he lives in. We assume things that he doesn't assume, and his mind-set is quite different regarding what i might refer to as a fact and what he might consider a fact. No slight intended, HE.



    Daisy chained parietal lobes! Wow. Maybe someday.

    Would that make the result superior? I don't think it's a question of value.

    But when I begin to separate my mind from my body, I start to see my body differently, and it scares me. It's like schizophrenia. I prefer the psychotic.

  9. #9
    Just Another Philistine Hereford Eye's Avatar
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    Then, conceding it has no value <damn, I can't resist opportunities like that > would the daisy chain resolve the dilemma of the isolation of self in a manner satisfactory to you? Would having everyone in your head be better than just you? Or is that what you mean by preferring psychotic to schizophrenic? In which case, what was the question you set out to resolve?

  10. #10
    GemQuest Moderator Gary Wassner's Avatar
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    Did I ask a question?

    KatG was making fun of me in another thread elsewhere, and she suggested that she begin a thread titled 'Gary's Questions'.

    Hey, I can't help it. It's those genetic proclivities. I'm not to blame.

    We come full circle always it seems. What happened to the dialectical process? Isn't it supposed to take us to new and loftier places? That collective consciousness, that daisy-chained parietal lobe theory (DCPLT), sounds like a 60's acid trip. But then again, LSD broke down those separating neurological charges that made us see ourselves as independent and isolated.

  11. #11
    Just Another Philistine Hereford Eye's Avatar
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    Time out for a little good old fashioned self-promotion. Having folk in your head is a question I've spent a good deal of time pondering. My current take in fictionalized form sits in the Community Section as a WIP, an apt description of its current state. The link to the intro is:
    http://www.sffworld.com/community/st...it.php?pid=382.
    There are currently 31 installments thereafter (@54k words, I think).

  12. #12
    I'm still waiting for definitive explanations why left-handers and ambidextrous folk (like myself) tend to have differing perceptions of the world and how to organize thoughts and concepts. I've even heard a few have postulated that being Lefty is the result of brain damage!

    Maybe this is part and parcel with the larger discussion above?

  13. #13
    GemQuest Moderator Gary Wassner's Avatar
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    And I hate Chinese food! Where's the gene for that?

  14. #14
    I smell BBQ kegasaurus's Avatar
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    It's amazing isn't it. we have two real thoughts on everything. Either we're all a chemical reaction, nothing more than a scientific experiment taught to think through probability, or we're a victim of something bigger, a universal consciouness that has a connection to all that is godliness.

    chemicals altering perception? Seems to me we are nothing more than a science experiment gone wrong.

    Makes you question your place doesn't it?

  15. #15
    GemQuest Moderator Gary Wassner's Avatar
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    Yeah, just a jump to the left and a step to the right.

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