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I propose that the brain does not actually think but is nothing more than a very complex connection system, linking all the various parts of the body much like a server does for an internet network, or an exchange does for a telephone system.
The reason we have the strong feeling that we live and think in our heads, is simply because this is where our main sensory input systems are, i.e. our eyes, ears and mouth. The mouth being the part we speak from, also adding to the illusion that this is where ‘we’ are.
Think about this:
If we extended our eyes ears and mouth on extension cables to be away from the brain (say 50 metres across the road for example) then we would feel that we were across the road, seeing and hearing whatever was there. If we then turned our eyes to see our body back over the other side of the road we would have the unavoidable feeling that we were right here with our eyes ears and mouth, and that the body over the road was 50 metres away, almost someone else’s body.
But here is the mind blowing part: We would feel that body to be quite distant, until there was a feeling in that body such as a fly landing on our foot. Then all of a sudden we would feel this just as we would usually feel it, as a tickling sensation, but on a foot 50 metres away. Even though there was only a short distance between foot and brain, we would imagine (after some time of getting used to our new body) that this tickling sensation was 50 metres away! Suddenly the feeling of our bodily existence would be much larger. Now what would happen if these cables were extended to be 2000 kilometres long and our eyes ears and mouth were in another city? Say for example our eyes ears and mouth were sitting at a comfy coffee bar with some nice chocolate cake, reading the paper and watching the good looking waiter/waitress.
How would we react to a feeling in our foot 2000km away that we couldn’t see? And yet, we would still be able to reach down with our hand and shoo the fly away.
So the question remains: Where IS thought then? Where are ‘WE’?
Yes in the above scenario it is still possible to say that all the imaging is happening or located physically in the brain, and that we are simply under an illusion that we are over the road, or in our foot etc.
But I am suggesting this: That thought is everywhere and nowhere. When a white blood cell reacts to an incoming virus, it is not being directed moment by moment by the brain, it is simply doing what it does, living its life, reacting to circumstance and environment. Its environment is complex and full of interactions and chemical influences, but in a sense it is still a free agent, separate from other systems which are also all doing their own thing. When the cell reacts, it is in essence making a decision. The decision is not made in the brain, it is made in the cell. The information gets shared around in a highly complex way, in that one agent or system effects and is effected by other systems and agents, but no single one place is in control of all of this, it is simply a large network all working together.
Thus the word ‘decision’ is misleading and full of connotations. We feel that we are making decisions, but like the cell which makes its decisions, really it is reacting in the way it is programmed to do. And yet it is not a robot, it is alive and conscious.
In the same way when we decide to go to the shops to buy food, we are reacting to a set of circumstances in the way we are built to do. This does not mean we are unconscious robots, but neither does it mean we have actually made this decision somewhere, in our brain. It is both at once.
So thought does not exist in a location and is not a thing. It is a combination of all processes, information and matter at once, and this information network is spread out across every atom of the body.
When our finger is pricked with a pin or touches something hot, our arm reacts instantly by pulling our hand away. We have been told that messages get sent from the nerves in the finger to the brain, which then makes the very quick decision to tell the arm muscles to move the finger away.
We have also been told that although we feel the pain in our finger, the pain actually exists in our brain and that the feeling of pain in our finger is an illusion.
But I am saying that there is no illusion and that the pain actually IS in the finger.
The nerves in the finger are telling the arm what to do, not the brain. The brain is the highly complex facilitator for all this action, spreading the word to all the necessary systems in order that they do their work. Or to be more accurate, nothing is telling anything what to do, it is the entire system reacting in the way it is programmed to do.
Nothing can work without the brain, this is true. However this is not because the brain controls the body, it is because all processes of the body are linked there, and all the processes of the body need each other in close or distant ways.
To take this concept further is to realise that if thought and consciousness do not exist in a place but are properties of systems and connections, then thought and consciousness pervade all matter, everywhere, all systems, all connections.
As there is nothing that is not connected in some way, near or far, this consciousness is inherent in all and does not reside in small places like human bodies, nor is it individual in nature, i.e., yours or mine.
Consciousness does not reside IN matter, systems or information, but rather consciousness and systems are one and the same, inseparable. Consciousness did not evolve, did not arise because of the complexity of matter and systems; the two have never been separate. However the nature of consciousness changes with the complexity of the system and matter, or perhaps you can say it the other way around: The nature and complexity of systems and matter changes with the complexity of consciousness.
It has been an endeavour of philosophy, religion and science for thousands of years to try and understand which has come first, but perhaps neither did, perhaps they are one and the same thing.
Tagged: , thought , existence , time , space , position , brain , feeling , awareness , being , reaction , conscsiousness , systems , matter , network
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