Friday, August 31, 2012

Your Brain on...."Thought" (also a drug)

LINK - Neuroscience News

Seeking Brain “Neurotopia” (cause it’s all you’re ever gonna get to)

Ah, the mysticality of exploding synapses in electrochemical consciousness.

The “I-Me” brain circuitry loves to mystify itself through brain firings that evolve into all manner of intellectualized "concept" experiences, thereby, stimulating other neuro-circuits giving an experience of satisfaction and pleasure with our  many splendored magical mystery tour.

The metaphysical conspirators love to theatrically conceptualize abstract nonsense into meaningful circuits firing off experiences of “truth.” Take the concept of “consciousness” for example. Neuroscience is clearly demonstrating that electrochemical brain circuitry is continually emitting signals through a quadrillion neural dendrite networks and this is what you experience as "consciousness" or "Being." If your brain were to suddenly stop sending/receiving all neural signals, guess what would happen? Yep, you guessed it, NO consciousness! No more Being. Flat out, and to the point, you’d simply be deader than a 16th century doorknob.

For years purveyors of abstract word games have mesmerized and confused otherwise halfway decent gray matter. It’s fascinating how the brain constructs electrochemical circuitry in an attempt to escape itself and it’s own miles of genetically and socio-culturally constructed neuro-circuitry.

It’s through this type of mystical confusion that we suffer. What is a “belief” but a series of neuro-circuits that are electrochemically charged through repetitive use? What is a “thought” but socio-cultural conditioned circuitry (education/learning) that electrochemically fires initiating numerous patterns into one experience that, subsequently, fires randomly, giving an experience of a “stream of thought" (Freud). Think of a “thought” as a synaptic explosion, generating other explosions into a “belief.” I do not dare to speculate how many explosions were required to complete this sentence.


“The mind is what the brain does”

Spiritual Metaphysics is nothing more than an attempt to evade uncomfortable experiences based on universally (everyone) objectifiably observable facts, by continually stimulating and reinforcing prefrontal thought processes that further stimulate emotional circuits in the Limbic System. It seems that in attempting to rebel or extract ourselves from the ‘experience’ of specific neuro-circuits, we simply construct and become fixated on other neuro-circuits as substitution (hence, “religion”). Is it any wonder the world is becoming more confusingly complex and complicated? What’s right? What’s wrong"? What’s good or bad? Who’s lying and who’s telling the truth? Who the hell knows!

The chaos of the post-modern age is nothing more than circuitry overload.

Actually, neuroscience has explained consciousness and even how it has evolved to the point were we can become completely lost in intellectualized abstractions in order to make an escape attempt from our own neuro-circuit experience. Circuitry that an “I-Me” had absolutely nothing to do with constructing. Spiritual Metaphysics (can you talk about “non-duality” using only one hemisphere of the brain? Ah, the Oneness!) are the most absurd conceptual abstractions that neuronal dendrite relationships can conjure up as experiences generating from electrochemical neuronal networks. But metaphysics is produced from the exact same brain circuitry that scientists use to determine clearly observable facts about the brain.

It’s like… thank God my brain keeps my heart beating and my blood flowing, but all these other experiences of objective reality in my brain, well, that’s all just “illusion."

But it’s really not surprising that we all seek a way to escape our prison. All the circuitry in your brain is entirely related to observable phenomena but is NOT the phenomena, just electrochemical representations of reality entirely restricted to 3lbs of electrified fat swimming in a chemical stew, incarcerated within a cranial prison.

Such is the definition of “you” (or the “I-me” you rave about).

Even the circuit constructed to conceptualize a “non-duality” would not exist if there were not also a circuit to give you a concept of “duality.” Is it hard to understand that consistent stimulation of one concept only electrochemically stimulates the other? That’s what happens in the duality of brain matter. Concepts are electrochemical experiences no different than any other thought you experience. Every “thought” expressed by the non-dualist, Zen-Buddhist, spiritual cosmic universalist, are based on observable phenomena in relation to electrochemical charges that can be easily studied.

The brain starts with reality and then constructs all manner of inauthentic absurdity to escape from what it is resigned to as REAL (but generally crappy).

Every time you get all giddy with the concept of “illusion,” your brain lights up in specific lobes and this can be seen in an FMRI scan (looks like the “illusion” is real after all) They’ve done studies on Buddhist monks showing that they have attained the skill of lighting up specific parts of the brain.

If we wish to evolve to a universal spirituality that will take us into the next century, we need to end our fear of the objective world and stop trying to escape that world as represented in the brain (and the fact that our brains determine experience). If you finally electrochemically induce a temporal lobe experience of mystical proportions from sitting hours in meditation over several years, then don’t go around singing metaphysical praises to yourself and charging people money to hear your mystical blah, blah,blah…simply thank your temporal lobe for providing you with it (and why not donate it to science?).

Surrendering to the facts of reality will take us into an evolved consciousness that does not attempt to explain away what we all clearly experience and what science demonstrates is the source of that experience.

Metaphysical dialogue should be considered nothing but poetry and the poets have always been useful in temporarily alleviating our brain pain. I’ve always enjoyed the poets (and often tip-toe through the tulips of that “mystical” field myself). But poetry should emphasize the grounded nature of the facts, not provide escape plans that only avoid the truth that there is no escape.

Make no mistake, it will be science that completely dissolves the “I-Me” concept and NOT metaphysical poetics that individually exalt in all the mystical concepts that the “I-me” can construct, and make linguistically accessible to the emotion producing Limbic System, and they will do it by use of the very tool that made up the “I-Me” in the first place.

You’re IN there (brain) and there’s no getting out. So get used to it and surrender your attempts to escape.

Artwork by James Hill - "Utopia City"

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

NEUROTOPIA: An Exercise in Neuroplastic “Enlightenment”

Generally, it will take a human brain many years of arduous and painstaking contemplative and meditative practices to achieve the brain-based experience of “enlightenment” (located primarily in temporal lobe region), if attained at all prior to death.

Often, this may require intense training under a revered, and seemingly narcissistic, “enlightened” teacher who has achieved the appropriate neuro-circuitry for which to claim electrochemical experiences of “no-self,” “mindlessness,” “ego-transcendence,” “non-duality,” “Buddha-mind,” etcetera, etcetera, etcetera. These claims are authentic, but only point to one brain-centered experience referred to as…


Unfortunately, because many of these “enlightened” teachers have not adequately extinguished other demonstrably neuropathic circuits, much of their curriculum is often absurd or downright inane (such as sitting in a sweat lodge until dead, worshipping dogs as enlightened beings, collecting numerous Rolls Royces, etc, etc, etc). But usually it consists of some form of neuro-plastic brain circuitry construction, either behaviorally (meditation/yoga) or neurolinguistic-cognitive (teacher student transmissions/ BK's “The Work”)

Yet, clearly, as one who has attained “Neurotopia,” or the exact neuro-circuity formulation necessary to experience the “non-dual” state, I am qualified to provide at least one “neuroplastic” technique which may accelerate the learning potential of the novitiate student of Neurotopic enlightenment (additional exercises will require an up front payment of $99.99 per exercise. Credit card and Paypal accepted).

This exercise covers both input and output neural stimulation and will require approximately an average of 45 days for which to form the circuitry and the habitual responses necessary to fully experience the electrochemical charged circuit required for Neurotopia. Science has demonstrated that adult brain neuroplasticity is amenable to neuron formation (although not as efficiently as the childhood developing brain). In this exercise we are seeking to formulate one single solitary neuron with its attending dendrite branches. 


INPUT: First you must form a smile.
This simple skill is an electrochemical input as you must consciously remind yourself (brain) to engage the facial contortion necessary to provide input to the brain in terms of bodily state recognition circuitry. Science has demonstrated that “smiling” generates numerous neuro-circuit connections causing excitatory synaptical responses.

OUTPUT: Repeat “Life is meaningless and has no purpose.”  Intentionally generating this electrochemical thought-experience is considered an output channel and you will formulate these cognitive circuits by engaging intentionality circuits which will assist in solidifying the circuit we will refer to as “meaninglessness” for short.

COMBINED INPUT/OUTPUT: This exercise requires the engagement of both physical input and neuro-cognitive output to stimulate a pleasure center brain experience connected with both the neuro-circuitry generated from repetitive smiling, while reinforcing the linguistic circuitry of “meaninglessness.” This input/output feedback loop will intensify over a short time toward achieving the Neurotopia experience.

The benefits of this exercise, if diligently practiced for approx. 45 days (average habit formation/extinguishment period), will result in remarkable results and will bring the student seeking "enlightenment" that much closer to the actual Neurotopia he/she will actually experience (and run around town claiming "enlightenment/awakening")

In fact, this exercise can be coupled up with other, more specific, brain circuits to electrochemically generate an experience of enlightened Neurotopia even under the most adverse conditions.

Lost your job? Simply retain a smile and repeat “employment is meaningless and has no purpose.” Spouse wants a divorce? “Marriage is meaningless and has no purpose." Pending jail-time? Incarceration is meaningless and has no purpose.” Not getting enough sex? “Sex is meaningless and has no purpose.” Can’t pay the rent? “money is meaningless and has no purpose.” Be sure at all times to maintain a “smile” based facial condition to insure that the input co-occurs commensurate with the output of “life is meaningless and has no purpose.”

Initial attempts of this exercise will engage the “irony” and “sarcasm” brain circuits (probably stimulated as you read this). However, those disbelief-based circuits are electrochemically stimulated in response to other socio-culturally conditioned circuits solidly fixated on “enlightenment” as some form of mystical, sacred state of conscious that takes one outside oneself into a realm of magical bliss and a peace that passeth all understanding. Nevertheless, as a brain transcendent state of experience it is centrally located, generated and interpreted by….the brain. This is scientifically undeniable.

Regardless of what your brain informs you, based on genetically and socio-culturally conditioned neuro-circuits (that you can't shake free of even if you tried), I would suggest you try this exercise as it does work wonders in altering emotional circuits of the entire Limbic System.

However, keep in mind that constructing “enlightenment” circuitry does NOT extinguish or redirect other circuits long relied on to produce negatively interpreted states or experiences. Hence, achieving a state of Neurotopia may not impede or redirect other circuitry that generates an electrochemical experience in relation to learning your spouse is having an affair, your car has been repossessed or your house was foreclosed on and such circuitry collision may subsequently impede the Neurotopic response significantly, unless the above exercise is performed diligently enough to solidify the Neurotopic circuitry.

Clearly, the age of enlightenment/awakening teachings, and teachers, is coming to a final and complete close since reality based brain circuitry is much too formidable to be disconnected. This new age will reveal that all past claims to enlightened states were nothing more than spontaneous electrochemical anomalies in brain circuitry (disconnected and unintended electrochemical ‘spurts’ of cognition) entirely associated with a self identity neuro-circuit also located in brain matter. But, you can be certain that the claimants will bawl bloody murder when they have their sacred transcendent experiences reduced to nothing but brief neural circuit experiences in 3 lbs of electrified fat.

When we can finally free ourselves from ridiculous claims that experiences generated by electrically stimulated brain matter are somehow sacred and transcendent, then maybe we will finally be yielding to a real conscious evolution based on reality (and not brain waves generated by the Galactic Federation from planet Oogachaka or somebody’s dead guru). When we can finally cease this incessant desire to escape our own brain circuitry, through strange bodily contortions and absurd mind control practices, we may be ready to pursue a true spirituality (the study of the strange and seemingly miraculous “mirror neurons” is a good start) that is not seeking an escape from self and world, but seeing it all for what it really is, an experience in the brain.

A spirituality that denies reality is just sick neuro-circuitry in need of some serious plasticity.

Artwork by adnrey - "Cook in brain"

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Poof! Extinguishing the "I-Me" Neuro-circuit Completely

If the devout spiritualists (Zen Buddhism, Advaita non-dualist, and all other "self is suffering" or "ego transcendence" adherents) wish to transcend the "self" they should simply turn to the advances of neuroscience as objective proof that the neuro-circuitry of the self is nothing more than a electro-chemically induced brain experience having no more sacredness than the circuit that provokes you to pick your nose from time to time.

Actually, this self-transcendence stuff they propagate is nothing more than self-exaltation dressed up to look like a negation. When you tell them that they can rest easy now, cause science is proving they don't exist, they tend to get downright nasty.

I remember reading one of Ram Dass’s books (I think it was “Be Here Now”) when he talked about spending a very long and arduous time with his guru in India meditating his previously sinful arse off. He talked about joyously flying through consciousness and meeting his beloved guru in some cosmic nether land of "pure" meditative awareness. Hence, thinking he had reached a particular “enlightened” state, he flew back to the U.S. to teach it to others. Yet, while riding a bus home, he recalled looking out the window, seeing a pretty girl and experiencing all his past conditioning, socio-cultural and genetic, come cascading down on him (or 'up,' depending on your perspective) generating the same behavioral responses that occurred before his years of meditation.

The brain, and its quadrillion neural connections, owns you because it is "you."

The neuro-circuitry of the brain will not be overcome. It will either be accepted as “you” or rejected and even that is contingent on the neuro-networks level of development up to the point of decision. It will NEVER be up to “you.” You had no say in the development of its neuro-circuitry and you will have no say in changing that circuitry (although soon science may be able to download it to a CD).

Why do we seek so hard to overcome brain circuitry? Rejecting current neuro-circuitry does not extinguish any circuit, but only unconsciously constructs new circuits and squelches other electrochemical stimulations until the very moment an experience reinvigorates a current once again.

This is why there is NO “subconscious” mind. "Mind" is simply a concept representing an experience of electrochemical circuits in the brain and, although some circuits may not currently be electrochemically stimulated (and are thus "subconscious"), nonetheless, they exist as “dormant dendrites” (to conjure up a phrase) awaiting the opportunity to be fully engaged and experienced once again (memory).

Einstein discovered the Theory of Relativity simply because the genetic and socio-cultural conditioned circuitry facilitated electrochemical firings of neurons which generated the experience of thought processes culminating in the revolutionary Theory of Relativity. He was destined to discover it, based on the unique developing circuitry of a brain that he had absolutely nothing to do with.

Destiny is game of neurons. Ya never know what you're gonna get...

Note the premise of neuro-plasticity (or referred to as neuroplasty by some) promotes an understanding of brain malleability. It is brain plasticity that allows experience to be etched in the brain matter as electrochemical impulse circuitry occurring chronologically from birth to death. Hence, if life experiences sculpt the already genetically predisposed brain like clay, why not artificially generate experiences to construct new, more pleasing and adaptable, neuro-circuits?

Obviously the “spiritual,” new age charlatans and magicians will eventually jump on the neuro-plasticity band wagon as they have with all new scientific discoveries (like "Quantum Mechanics"), but they will be dumbfounded as to how to change genetics. You may succeed in generating experiences to change neuro-circuitry. But, unfortunately, it may NOT come out exactly as you’d like, because in manufacturing that one desired neuro-network, you have no idea how it will relate to the other 100 billion neurons, and their quadrillion dendrite circuits, that reside in your brain.

Neuro-circuitry works through neuronal relationships (think of it as a 'society of neurons'). You could construct a behaviorally influenced neuro-circuit to induce a specific electro-chemically charged action. But there really is no specific actions in life. All actions are influenced by numerous unintentional relationships with people and events. Consequences, thus, influence other actions with the people and events you encounter everyday. Neural circuits work the same way with experiential and genetic brain networks (billions of neurons branching out from a quadrillion dendrite connections) influencing other networks. You could alter brain circuits to engage a specific action (and this has been proven with stroke victims) but you could not rely on that circuit to fire in the same way all the time. Let’s say you wish to construct circuitry that improves your ability to have a more "positive" personality so people would like you more. Would you want that circuit to override other circuits if, in fact, an assailant runs at you with a knife, clearly intent on your destruction? And how would such a circuit benefit you if a loved one had died? Would your new improved “positivity” circuit interact or override your grief circuitry? How would that affect other circuits as well?

There is no sacredness to mind, because there is no "mind" at all. There are only brains. The brain experiences an outside world, inside bodily states and the electro-chemical charges of it’s own neuro-circuitry, which it then applies linguistic conceptual interpretations (also electrochemically stimulated neuro-networks) to generate additional meaning and value circuits. This is simply consciousness itself. The brain is essentially a hunk of electrified fat within a skin-encapsulated cranium atop a bipedal mobile organism and from that you experience an "I-me" charged circuit. There is nothing special or sacred about it, nor about its neuro-circuitry. This does not require religion or philosophy to define (in fact, it tends to annihilate all religious and philosophical concepts in one fell swoop). But as neurons exist in communication with themselves, so must human organisms exist in communication with other human organisms.

Try not to unconsciously construct neurological "meaning" behind those communicative engagements, because that would be an exercise in futility (in relation to circuitry you have yet to "experience").

Just simply engage and observe what arises.

You might consider this materialist reductionism rather empty and meaningless (in other words, fuzzy feel neuro-circuits related to your non-dual ego transcendence are not lighting up after reading this). Yet, many would contend that it is only through this extreme form of reductionism that real meaning can eventually be discovered, rather than genetically and socially constructed meanings, which are nothing more than electrochemically charged brain stimuli relative to the circuitry of each individual nervous system which, itself, is contingent on the neuro-circuitry of each individuals genetics and life experiences.

Eventually, science will extinguish the “I-ME” neuro-circuit as it serves no further purpose to the communal nervous system, just as it has served no real fruitful purpose to the communal social system.What gets built up to ridiculously absurd heights must eventually fall, circuit by circuit.

The real post-modern “spirituality” will seek to discover what exists when the “I-Me” circuit is reduced to material nothingness, with no more meaning than a slice of white bread. Once your every thought, every feeling and every action is broken down to nothing more than neurons, axons, dendrites, generating electrochemical spurts along a cellular network, what will become of “you”? How will you relate to yourself if NO such "self" is in there at all?

And when the “I-ME” is completely annihilated by neuroscience (as it is currently doing piece by piece, staring with "free-will") what will "you" then become? When free-will is eradicated as folklore, what will be the point of doing anything at all? If there is no “you” to experience happiness and suffering, will those experiences simply be extinguished as useless neuro-circuits?

Or will they take on new meaning, devoid of the old synaptic firings bubbling up useless concepts, generating new experiences not hinged on self-actualizing electrochemically charged neuro-circuits?

The real spiritual revolution will occur through accepting that “you” are not real, but simply interacting networks processing electrochemical charges in physical matter. The only evolution in and of consciousness will occur when consciousness is accepted for what it actually is and all mythical folklore is abolished by the weight of its own nonsensical implausibility, since all that any mystical theory of existence has ever done is electrochemically fire up self-concept neuro-circuitry through inane, but constant, self-exaltation in opposition and in competition with other neurons (and others seeking their own self-exaltation). 

The end of egocentricity is fast approaching.

Are “you” ready?

Artwork by DrunkenNinja - "Dissolving letter face"

Friday, August 24, 2012

Discovering the “No-Self” Neuro-Circuit

Not too happy about your changing moods? Well, not to worry, your brain electrochemical, neuro-circuitry insures you will have them regardless of how many pills you consume as a means of altering the chemical composition of your synapses. Got some addictions playing out? Yep, circuits for that too. Wish you had more money? Brain circuitry insures that your “wish” continues, neuron after neuron, to be an “experience.” Not meeting your goals and aspirations? That’s okay because all your goals and aspirations are genetically and socially predetermined within a labyrinth of neuro-circuitry that spreads for miles throughout  the grey matter in the brain and that you began collecting since you first saw your “self” in a mirror.

Do you really think “you” ever had anything to do with you’re being “you”? 

If you said “yes” then rest assured there’s an electro-chemical circuit for that too.

“You” are nothing more than a web of neuro-circuits stimulated by electrochemical charges, which in turn are stimulated by the impact of experiencing a world seemingly outside your brain and which, in turn, stimulate further “firings” in the brain that you could not alter if your life depended on it. Your “subconscious mind” is nothing more than neurons firing off without the attending neural circuit of “awareness,” because awareness has its own neural circuit that doesn't bother with dumb sheit.

And let’s not forget the infamous “mirror neurons” which, not only fire off when you do something, but also when you observe someone else doing the same action. This is what allows the world to imprint upon your brain through tiny microscopic wires. This is how you are sculpted BY the world and not by your “self.” The “me” that you think you are had nothing to do with “you.”

But you reject the idea that you are nothing more than brain circuitry. You reject the concept that there is no “you” and only an amalgamation of mutually stimulating circuits firing off an experience of "I-ME," that really has no more substance other than billions of microscopic neurons that twist and turn within the cerebral cortex.

Well, not to worry, there’s a circuit for your “rejection” as well and, as long as you keep stimulating it through self-enhancing electrochemical impulses, it should last your whole life.

Do you realize that you are unconsciously constructing neural pathways each and every day? In fact, with each passing moment? Even while reading this, and asking yourself "why the hell am I reading this?" microscopic dendrites are branching out and connecting up with other neuronal circuits. You can't help it. That's what brains do.

Love your kids? Yep, that’s wired in. Enjoy your career? Good thing that enjoyment is dependent on brain circuitry, otherwise, it would suck. Not in “love” with your spouse anymore? It seems that circuit has been extinguished and losing that “loving feeling” is nothing more than the experience you get when you forget to pay the electric bill…no power. Wish you were more attractive or smart, funny, happy, contented, healthy, wealthy and wise? What’d ya think, you just thought all that up? Well, no, somebody else did and its name is “society” and society is wired deep into the contours of your brain’s neuro-circuits.

But at least you can stake the claim that you have a “self” that has a “spirit” and a “soul,” forgetting that every abstract concept you pay homage to is nothing more that neuro-circuitry associated with the linguistic centers of your brain. Electrons are fired off by a brain because a brain fails to understand itself and so requires concepts or linguistic (words) experiences. As long as Alzheimer's or a stroke does not infect you, and completely wipe out those centers, you can always look to your concepts to demand your rights and needs be met by others and to make sense of a nonsensical world. You can always complain to your spouse about how he/she is not meeting your needs, because without your specific brain circuitry you wouldn’t have any of those personal, self-actualizing needs. You wouldn’t need anything related to being a “self” or a unique individual. Just food, water, sex and shelter and you’d be one happy camper. But your brain is wired for much more….

But then, you exclaim, “at least I have my consciousness! That is all mine.” But who is it that is conscious? What is this “I” that claims it is conscious? Is the “I” something completely distinct from the neuro-circuits in the brain? Distinct from electrochemical impulses that inform the body how to act and vice versa? What is an “I-me” but another brain circuit providing a brain-centered experience of an autonomous and separate existence? How many decades of parental, socio-cultural experiences impacted upon the brain, additionally influenced by genetic factors, did it take to manufacture neuro-circuitry that provides an experience of being a unique self? And if it actually was genetic predisposition and socio-cultural influences that formed “you,” how can that in anyway be uniquely “you”? What brain circuitry fires off neurons that provide the electrochemical mirage of an “I” experience? Can there actually be such a thing as an “I-me” if it is only conditioned neurocircuity? Does it matter that "you" are nothing but conditioned brain circuitry? Can you still get all jiggy with that?

And if all this brain circuitry (billions of neurons corresponding through miles of connecting axons and dendrites) is “you,” then why do you constantly reject your “self”? Why are you forever seeking to change your “self? If it’s your neuro-circuitry, why not accept it? Why constantly grit and grind over the things “you” do or don’t do? Why continue to claim that when  “I” do this it is “bad,” while doing this is “good”? If circuits inform you of what is good and bad, then why not simply accept both as “you,” since it’s your brain circuitry? And if your “self” is nothing more than a product of conditionally formulated brain circuits, why not just do away with it, if it causes such duress over doing that or not doing this?

Wouldn’t it be better if you could just trash that entire circuit, rather than struggle for years over past “bad” vs. past “good”? And if there were no “I-me” self circuit, would you even care about good and bad? Would those circuits expire along with the neurons that make up the self? But then, if that were so, who or what would be conscious? How many other circuits would be discontinued along with the brain circuit that gives you an electrochemical experience of a “self” that is “real"?

Is “consciousness” nothing more than a neuro-circuit electrochemically firing off an experience, that we call “consciousness," but is really nothing more than electrochemical charges in 3 lbs of fatty tissue? Ha! wouldn't that be a humdinger of a neural pathway to exist through?

Is what the Buddha supposedly said, “Events happen, deeds are done, consequences happen but there is no individual doer of any deed,” actually true? But “who” would know it was true? If the brain circuit that fires off subsequent to other circuits informing “I-Me” that “I-Me” is an actual experience, were discontinued, how would “you” attain Buddhist “enlightenment” or an experience of “non-duality”?

If the “I-me” circuit in the brain were discontinued, who or what would be meditating and achieving experiences of “higher consciousness” and believing in karma and ego transcendence? How could “you” believe in anything at all if you didn't have the circuitry to identify "you" as the believer?

But not to worry, because there is a circuit in your brain that demands that all of this be completely NOT understood and that you remain ignorant. A circuit that demands you ignore everything on this page as stupid and confusing drivel. A circuit in your brain that absolutely requires you disregard everything that does not conform to current circuitry that works to continually assure you that an “I-Me” does in fact exist and “you” are most certainly a real existing entity. A circuit that directs you to provide attention to scriptures and sutras that sing praises to the “I-ME” that has come to understand the sutras and scriptures. A circuit that gives you out of body experiences and allows you to see the Christ’s face permeated on a piece of burnt toast. A circuit that demands your complete ignorance as to how you are completely controlled by the brain that sits between two ears and atop a physical frame. A circuit that believes utter bullsheit as true, because believing otherwise would fire off too many uncomfortable dissonant neurons.

Follow the circuit to the circuit that electrochemically fires off neuro-circuits, influencing other circuits,  that proves you have NO choice, but gives you an experience of a “self” that makes important choices, and you will finally realize a “self” that…

…does NOT exist, has NEVER existed and cannot possibly EVER exist.

In every dual hemispheric brain there is a “self” and a “no self” circuit.
Apparently, only a few have ever made contact with the “no-self” circuit and this is most likely due to the intensity of the constant electro-chemical stimulation we provide to the “self.”

But, obviously, once located, nothing ever seems the same again.

But, make no mistake, even the "no-self" circuit is nothing more than an electrochemical experience of corresponding neurons.

It too, does NOT exist at all....

Artwork by Erica Herazo - "Inside the Brain"

Friday, August 17, 2012

The "Choice" for Egocentric Anarchy

"If I hadn’t spent so much time studying Earthlings," said the Tralfamadorian, "I wouldn’t have any idea what was meant by 'free will.' I've visited thirty-one inhabited planets in the universe, and I have studied reports on one hundred more. Only on Earth is there any talk of free will.” (Kurt Vonnegut, Slaughterhouse five)

“How can we be “free” as conscious agents if everything that we consciously intend is caused by events in our brain that we do not intend and of which we are entirely unaware? We can’t.” (Sam Harris)

“I do not believe in free will. Schopenhauer's words: 'Man can do what he wants, but he cannot will what he wills,' accompany me in all situations throughout my life and reconcile me with the actions of others, even if they are rather painful to me. This awareness of the lack of free will keeps me from taking myself and my fellow men too seriously as acting and deciding individuals, and from losing my temper.” (Einstein)

The one thing an egocentric self-concept (“I-ME”) will not tolerate is having no volition or choice over its actions. The ego-self demands this be true. Yet, this demands full control of the thoughts that it experiences from which actions/behaviors originate. Yet, clearly, the idea of NO free-will, if fully and completely accepted, would annihilate the egocentric attachment entirely simply through demonstrating it has NO free-will whatsoever.

The paradox is that there is no free-will as to when, or if, you will accept it. It’s not your choice, because an ego self-concept does NOT in any way make choices of its own free-will. It lives within an anarchy of experience, ruled by random firings of synaptic, neurophysiological networks in the brain/body.

But shouldn't knowing this be a good thing? Shouldn't this be liberating? Unless, of course, the conditioned neuronal pathways firing off randomly in your brain, inform you it's NOT a good thing at all. In that case, you might be angry, confused, ambiguous...well, who the hell knows what you'll "feel"?

To some this is an absolutely absurd proposition and they will refuse to consider it, never really examining how the choices they believe they made or will make in the future, were never really made by an “I-ME” entity/concept and the choice of not considering non-volition is as non-volitional as the choice to consider or even agree or disagree.

Either thoughts arise based on external influences (if you're hit by a car then you’ll experience having no choice but to think about being hit by a car, and even then you will respond through conditioned neuro-circuitry) or they arise from random neurophysiological firings within the conditioned brain/nervous system. Neuron/synaptic circuitry firings send electrochemical messages that are experienced as “thoughts,” that another billion neuron pathways has learned to accept as “me” (a neuroscientist would describe more aptly but i think you get the gist of it).

But now, where did this theory I present come from? I have no factual idea and the fact that I’ve arrived at this idea/thought process (as have many other brighter minds long before me) merely demonstrates that I had no control over its arising as experience. Most likely it evolved through years of conditioned neuro-circuitry, thereby, constructing the neuronal pathways that led me to be influenced by other experiences up to a moment of realization. Of myself, I could not possibly have had anything to do with it, nor do I have anything to do with what comes after.

Really, the only thing an egocentric self-concept can say is that, although these thoughts are not produced by a “me,” it is certainly me that is having them. But if the “me” that is having them does not have any control over their production (thoughts), what does that say about the “I-ME” that believes itself a real entity with the power of control? Who or what is experiencing the thoughts that “I-ME” have nothing to do with producing? Does such an entity even exist, other than as a product of past conditioned experiences that generate randomly influenced brain firings that "I-ME" is NOT even aware are happening in my brain, let alone as to how they evolved to fire off as they do, thereby, initiating actions/behaviors from beliefs/thoughts?

The easiest way of experiencing all this is simply to sit in meditation. As you perform whatever practices you use in seeking to quiet the mind, thoughts simply pop-up out of nowhere and you’re often left to consider, “well damn, where’d that come from?” You have no idea. While deep in meditation suddenly the thought, "I better pay the electric bill," simply pops up outa nowhere. Why did that thought arise instead of any million other thoughts that could have popped up? What prompted that one to come to you the moment it did?

However, you do believe you have the option of detaching or dissociating from that thought, the very basis of your meditation, but only in relation to the mechanics of the meditation practice you were taught, which you learned from outside influences and has a neuronal pathway all it’s own influencing other circuits. Hence, can you say that you were able to extinguish the thought of your own volition? If the action to do that very extinguishing was simply another neuronal pathway? Doubtful, since there is also a circuit formed in the brain to give you your meditation practices and without that pathway, no such practices could be thought of and no "mind-quieting" could occur. Could you say you’re in control of your meditation practices? Doubtful again, since how to meditate and when to meditate are always influenced by outside stimulus. Could you say that you make a conscious decision to learn meditation practices? Hardly, because if you had the potential to study the evolution of “you,” from birth on up to the very moment you engaged the meditation practice, you would most likely see a confluence of external influences, including bodily/physical states and conditions happening outside and inside “you,” impacting and shaping your neurocircuitry, bringing you right up to the very moment of choosing to meditate. States and conditions that you had no control over whatsoever. They simply happened and where processed by you in ways that relied on numerous neural circuits which in turn influenced other neural circuits in turn influencing umpteen billion more, all the while specific circuits in particular fire off an experience of seeming volition and free-choice (" brain tells me I made this choice, so I must have").

Look at any ancient wisdom tradition and this fact of no free-will is apparent and many post-modern traditions are making this same claim. If you look at “A Course in Miracles" in the text referred to as “Workbook," you’ll see these claims clearly highlighted in the first 20 lessons with the theme, “Your thoughts are meaningless"
“Unlike the preceding ones, these exercises do not begin with the idea for the day. In these practice periods, begin with noting the thoughts that are crossing your mind for about a minute. Then apply the idea to them. If you are already aware of unhappy thoughts, use them as subjects for the idea. Do not, however, select only the thoughts you think are "bad." You will find, if you train yourself to look at your thoughts, that they represent such a mixture that, in a sense, none of them can be called "good" or "bad." This is why they do not mean anything.” (ACIM, Workbook, lesson #4)
In fact, many of the postmodern non-dualists, i.e.,  Ramesh Balsekar, Wayne liquorman, Adyashanti, etc, are proclaiming this “non-doer” status as truth. Not only are you not the doer of your actions, but you cannot even stake claim to the thoughts that proceed and motivate your actions. This can only lead to the proposition that if you are not the source of your thoughts and actions, what the hell are “you” anyway?

But most of all, we have neuroscience easily demonstrating the absolute control of neurocircuitry as basis for actions, in opposition to any form of self-volitional control (the egocentric self-concepts most prized possession!) with the neuroscientist Sam Harris currently leading the scientific claim of NO free-will.

You have simply been jostled and buffeted about in ways beyond your control, some ways your neurociruitry interprets as "bad" some "good," and each choice made, that you interpret as an attempt to assert some form of control, came from brain circuitry that takes “you” out of the equation altogether. Conditioned circuitry is clearly running the show. So simply let it unfold as it will, cause you really have NO other choice.

Sit back in your meditation posture this evening and direct your awareness to your brain’s neuro-circuitry. Experience the billions of synaptic firings sending messages through numerous other billion neuronal pathways prompting additional firings and note which neuron pathways you would like to redirect or extinguish altogether, because those "thoughts" do not serve your spiritual aspirations.

Does this sound absurd? That’s because it is!

But doesn’t this liberate you from the constant pressures to control your world? From the guilt of actions performed or not performed in the past? Why would the fact of no free-will appear to some as absolutely horrifying and beyond comprehension, while others attain enlightenment?

With this comes the realization that the war waged, all these years against reality, in demanding it be as “you” say it should be, was made as a result of reality being experienced in the brain exactly as it is, and it’s time you simply surrender the fight. Let it all simply happen as it will, since you have NO control in what will happen. Make choices in the realization that no ego-self has the capacity to make choices, just a deluded concept bent on ruling its world, and enjoy the choice made.

Obviously, if there is NO egocentric control of events through choices, but only an illusion of control, this will cause many to fear egocentric anarchy.  But choices will be made and must be made, as that is a product of neuro-conditioning as well. Only this time choices can be made with no consideration as to who the maker is and there comes a spiritual freedom in this beyond any choice that ever could be made by thinking one has the volition to make a choice to become spiritually free.

This means “awakening to truth” is definitely a choice, but fortunately, one “you” will NEVER make.

 “All theory is against free will; all experience is for it.” (Samuel Johnson)

Artwork by Pixelnase - "Flying Brain"