Researching the brain

Posted on October 5, 2011
Filed Under identity, Magic, neuroscience | Leave a Comment

Although I’ve already written the first draft of my new book, I’m still continuing to do research on the neuroscience of the brain (one of the books I’ve recently read is reviewed below). It’s a fascinating subject for me, even without writing a book, but writing a book does shape a lot of the reading and experimentation I’m doing. What interests me the most is how much a person’s sense of self is wrapped up in the brain and how easily that can be changed by an accident, stroke etc. It demonstrates just how fragile a personality is…its based on biological realities as much as on any metaphysical sense we attribute to it.

A lot of my work with the brain has involved being able to go in and interact with the neuro-chemistry in order to effect desired changes in personality. For example, no longer having to suffer a mental disease such as depression involves making changes to the biological aspects of depression. Some people accomplish this through drugs…my preference has been targeted meditation work with neurotransmitters.

The brain is adaptive enough when it comes to doing such work, because it naturally has the capability to change, thanks to neuro-plasticity. Nonetheless making such changes has to be done carefully and one of the reasons I’ve read up so much on neuroscience, is to understand the mechanisms of change that are already incorporated in the brain. Even knowing that information, I think its important to carefully experiment with desired changes you want to bring to your brain.

It’s also important to recognize that what we know about the brain is still not entirely accurate. Not so long ago, there was a belief that the functions of the brain could be mapped to specific parts…while there’s some truth to that, there’s also a lot of truth that functions don’t solely belong to a specific area, but are shared in part by the neural network and specifically how it shares information across the network. Experimentation needs to be done cautiously, with a recognition that in someways all we have is an idea of how the brain works. We can test that idea…we can experiment with it, but we also need to acknowledge its limitations and recognize that experimentation will take us off the charted edge to the unknown space, with all of its mysteries.

Experimentation should challenge us to go into the unknown, while research grounds us in information we can use to push ourselves toward that unknown space. What we bring back from the unknown space is more information, to provide further grounding and a better sense of what we can do with what we have. I recognize my magical work with my brain will likely never be perceived as scientific or as valid as what actual neuroscientists do in their studies, yet I also know it has brought desirable changes into my life, improving the quality of my circumstances, and that others who have followed my work have also benefited. That’s the real test for the magician…not if something fits acceptable scientific paradigms and knowledge, but rather if you can take it, obtain a result, and then share it and help others achieve similar results. Sometimes magicians forget that in their fervor to “scientifically” fit-in with the dominant paradigms of acceptable thought. To them and all others I urge: Take what you can from the system, but don’t restrict yourself to what others have told you…try it out yourself, test through your own experience and let that be your record and great work.

Book Review: The Tell-Tale Brain (Affiliate Link) by V. S. Ramachandran

In this book, the author explains what mirror neurons are and presents a variety of case studies on them as well as discussing various neurological diseases and what causes those diseases. He also discusses the connection between linguistics, art, and neuroscience. This book is fascinating and the author presents compelling cases. More importantly, he helps the reader understand some of the science in neuroscience with stories and examples that provide context to the science he is explaining Overall a really good book on a fascinating topic.

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