worth reading!: Scientific article on illusion of "I"

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worth reading!: Scientific article on illusion of "I"

Postby runstrails » Tue Mar 22, 2011 3:36 pm

I enjoyed this article which suggests that science shows that the notion of "I" is an illusion. I think everyone on this board will agree with that and it might really help newbies :)
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/scien ... 47591.html
FYI--Michael Gazzaniga is one of the foremost neuroscientists today.

Here is a quote from it:
Gazzaniga's metaphor holds for healthy as well as damaged minds. In other words, what the numerous pathologies of self-experience expose is that even in normal cases, there is no unified "I" behind experience. Rather, to use another musical metaphor, the mind is like a jazz orchestra that usually plays with sufficient harmony to disguise the fact that it lacks a single player, a score, or even a conductor. A few bum notes or absent musicians, however, and the illusion is shattered.

This is not an idea most are comfortable with. "People do not want to feel that the continuity of their life is just a matter of which molecules are arranged in which order inside their brain," the psychologist Susan Blackmore told me. Similarly, Broks said, "we have this deep intuition that there is a core, an essence there, and it's hard to shake off – probably impossible to shake off, I suspect. But it's true that neuroscience shows that there is no centre in the brain where things do all come together."


The problem is that (as usual) science just does not go far enough. "I" is an illusion, science says, but it has not yet taken the next step--what is that familiar 'essence' that lurks underneath?
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Re: Must read!: Scientific article on illusion of "I"

Postby rachMiel » Tue Mar 22, 2011 4:44 pm

runstrails wrote:The problem is that (as usual) science just does not go far enough.

Give it time. When it comes to paradigm shifts, science tends to move at a glacial pace, don'tcha think?

I used to be a "science guy" until I turned 180 degrees and became a musician, spiritual seeker, nobody. And I've hardly ever once looked back. I saw science as a path to Truth (though I don't think I would have put it that way back then). Then I ran head-on into eastern philosophy, and it felt (feels) to me like a much more direct and speedy path (instantaneous, in fact).

Science (hard and soft) is good at exploring/understanding the relative world. It's good for getting at truth, not so good at Truth.

But what do I know? ;-)
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Re: Must read!: Scientific article on illusion of "I"

Postby goldieflower » Tue Mar 22, 2011 5:08 pm

Thanks, RT! As always, after reading online articles, I love reading the readers' comments ...

:D
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Re: worth reading!: Scientific article on illusion of "I"

Postby snowheight » Wed Mar 23, 2011 9:23 am

Thanks for posting that 'trails, interesting read. His thesis is based on the idea of emergent phenomenon -- do you have any opinion of how this statement maps to what you've learned on your journey?

Similarly, Broks said, "we have this deep intuition that there is a core, an essence there, and it's hard to shake off – probably impossible to shake off, I suspect. But it's true that neuroscience shows that there is no centre in the brain where things do all come together."

Astonishing though this thesis can sound, there is a danger here that we could overstate just what this lack of a unified pearl of self at the heart of us really means. Many writers, such as Blackmore and Metzinger, draw the conclusion that the self is an illusion. This is true in the sense that it is not what it seems to be. But that is not to say that the self doesn't exist.


----------------

Off topic I wanted to comment on your allusion to beginners.

While it might not rise to the level of a paradox it does require one to hold two conflicting points in mind at once to accept that there is no path and to also discern between an individual who has spent a lifetime in study and seeking with various highs and lows and stages from another shaken suddenly awake by a teacher like Tolle.
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Re: worth reading!: Scientific article on illusion of "I"

Postby runstrails » Wed Mar 23, 2011 4:20 pm

Thanks, snowheight.
But that is not to say that the self doesn't exist.

I think he means Self here (or Source). But we can't know for sure since the article was kinda short.

Regards your second question, I think people can come to Self realization by either path (long term seeking or sudden realization). Adya says (in his experience) the former is the norm and the latter is rare.
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Re: worth reading!: Scientific article on illusion of "I"

Postby garuda » Fri Mar 25, 2011 9:49 pm

runstrails wrote:The problem is that (as usual) science just does not go far enough. "I" is an illusion, science says, but it has not yet taken the next step--what is that familiar 'essence' that lurks underneath?

I suspect many of the cutting-edge new-science scientists have had at least a glimpse of their own True Nature. But likely they are very careful in which scientific circles they discuss their spiritual experiences. Some may not want to risk being burned at the quantum stake by their peers. Many of them refer to this essence or unmanifest as God; perhaps a much safer label in the gerneral scientific community.

I don’t think words like “essence” have made their way to the scientific dictionary yet. And I don’t think they’ve assigned a Greek symbol for essence either, to plug into their mathematical formulas.
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Re: worth reading!: Scientific article on illusion of "I"

Postby snowheight » Sun Mar 27, 2011 10:38 pm

If the scientists who are working on emergent phenomenon are proven correct it will imply a great irony ... perhaps even a paradox -- Self emerges from a shattering of Itself into a countless number of fragments.
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