From the New York Times

Learning How Little We Know About the Brain

"Yet the growing body of data — maps, atlases and so-called connectomes that show linkages between cells and regions of the brain — represents a paradox of progress, with the advances also highlighting great gaps in understanding."

NY Times article

we have learned so much - but where is the real human applications ? They are scarce, but present. We should expect more in real results. It makes one wonder if they have a couple wrong paradigms which need updating to yield the full potential of their work.

What would theosophy say? probably to look at what you see from a different perspective - involve the mind, and the brain gets easier.  (??)  That is one possibility. if you have two items, being studied as one, the item(s) are harder to piece together. :)

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To me Theosophy would tell us to remember that what we seek below can also be found above. So look around, the pattern we seek is right here if front of us. The truth remains consistent (it exist) at all levels of perception, and in any perspective.

Consider a large expanse of forest, that until this moment was undiscovered. No human foot has ever soiled this pristine, virgin, natural place. From above, a carpet of green, but under the surface there is space, space between the trunks that can be connected this way or that. Uncountable pathways, each unique in it's own way, yet similar to those near, less so the further apart.

Now imagine humans beginning to explore this place. At first small short pathways, in and back out. Those little forays that discover something interesting are retraced and the path becomes more distinct, easier to travel, safer. The forays that yield little of interest (at the time) are not retraced, and the Forrest reclaims them. As this network of paths forms, the points of interest become focal points.

Focal points are places where humans from a larger geographical area wanting to go to a specific  destination, or even just a general direction would go through these focal points. If a focal point becomes busy enough, then some human takes up residence there and serves as a traffic cop  The cop may not know much about the furthest reaches, but he knows about a larger geographical area than anyone traveling through that focal point, and thus is positioned to give path suggestions based on general direction of travel.

As the focal points grow, forays go forth from them (with same results as before) and the network grows. The traffic cop now needs more information, because the network of paths has grown beyond general direction. Now specific paths are more traveled and safer than others based on smaller geographical destinations.

As new focal points are established deeper and deeper into the expanse, the supporting network of paths and cops expands out behind, and specific routes spanning multiple focal points begin to emerge.

This is kinds how our I see our thinking works. Thoughts and thought processes emerge. The expanding network of connections enable to hold more complex thoughts or thought patterns (routes).

Oh, I almost forgot, the traffic cops, you gotta watch them, they get lazy and have a tendency to route everything down the safest and most well traveled paths. They would be our beliefs. 

interesting model/analogy. I think it oversimplifies <g>  but mainly it has limits on thinking and how we o ir. Where would imaginaton, intuition, and free will get derived from?

not a model, just an analogy, I would not argue the oversimplification thing, I am not a well educated person, but don't worry, I don't let that get in my way much<g>

intuition is not a thinking thing, it's a feeling thing and belongs in another discussion in my opinion.

imagination and freewill however are very much at home here.

We wonder about freewill, what freewill seems to boil down to is "the ability to recognize choice", not the actual choosing. If you can't hold 2 opposing ideas in your mind, you can't choose, you are determined. (determined by outside influences). So freewill is a product of "higher" thinking.

Benjerman Leibet (a determinist) conducted and experiment in which people were attached to machines that measure brain activity, they were instructed that when they here a click, to randomly move there finger or not

 Leibet was attempting to prove that even the conscious act of moving had precedent events in the brain and are therefore part of a causal chain.

In his own words

"I have taken an experimental approach to the question of whether
we have free will. Freely voluntary acts are preceded by a specific
electrical change in the brain (the “readiness potential,” RP) that
begins 550 msec. before the act. Human subjects became aware of
intention to act 350–400 msec. after RP starts, but 200 msec. before
the motor act. The volitional process is therefore initiated
unconsciously. But the conscious function could still control the
outcome; it can veto the act. Free will is therefore not excluded."

The veto is the part that caught my interest. I believe that veto to be the beginning of thought.

so before no, by default, that leaves yes (determined).

it is this veto that gives us our initial 2 states needed for choice recognition to begin.

consider that without this veto, we would be completely determined.

Even our children announce their initial forays into independent thought with the word NO.

So to recap

if we are influenced by things outside with a default yes, we are determined (no freewill)

When we introduce a second state "no", the beginnings of choice recognition (freewill)

as our ability to think evolved, imagination (or maybe better refereed to here as wishful thinking), seems to come from inactive times, (possibly better refereed to as day dreaming) Maybe (true to form) we found a useful tool (thinking) and tried using it for everything


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