Tuesday, January 5, 2016

PREFRONTAL CORTEX: "Flying with the Pixies"

"Your mind, your soul, your hopes, your dreams, your emotions is about a cantaloupe size of meat crackling with electricity inside your skull. There's nothing sancrosanct about altered states of consciousness.
You've always been told that altered states of consciousness are higher states of consciousness. The hallmark is that altered states of consciousness is the subtraction of all the mental faculties that make us so special in the animal kingdom. Hypofrontality means that the very pinnacle of human evolution, the prefrontal cortex, must be down regulated, which means that you lose these higher cognitive functions that make us so special. 
All altered states of consciousness are lower states of consciousness. You connect to nothing but your own reduced mind. Some people find the idea repugnant, beneath the significance of the mystical experience and that's alright if you want to hold onto some sort of stone age, medieval sense of spirituality, but I think you will only find this counterintuitive if you hold onto the idea that in those special moments, when you catch a glimpse of some parallel, mental universe, in those very moments, the mind, somehow, can transcend the machinery of the brain, become a ghost in the machine, ride above the fray, and enter some sort of platonian world of eternal truth and beauty in flying off with the pixies." (quote from video below)
The prefrontal cortex is where "you" exist. Right behind the eyes is the "I-me." The ego-self is a product of a huge frontal lobe, the size of which is not found in any other species. It's where self-actualizing egocentric decisions arise and these ego-self conceptualizations influence the neuro-chemistry of the brain, thereby, influencing the body. 

What else could "enlightenment" be, but a complete reduction of prefrontal activity (ego-self) and what other than prefrontal lobe "thought" thrusts you into your own personal heaven or hell based on conceptual interpretations made in that brain region? Suffering is a prefrontal phenomenon occurring right behind your eyes and found nowhere else between your ears.

Hence, as can be clearly interpreted from current neuroscience research, any higher state of consciousness, i.e., "awakening," "enlightenment," etc, is nothing more than a progressive shutdown of the prefrontal cortex and for most, this shutdown is brief, (a kind of spasmodic blip of depersonalization, which occurs naturally for many peeps not seeking "enlightenment") after which the prefrontal then floods with conceptual interpretations as to what just happened, ("I have attained spiritual awakening!" or "Oh my fucking god, I'm going crazy!") which then results in firing up the reward centers of the brain (source of all addictions) or the fear-survival centers, to the point that the conceptual description of the experience becomes an addictive response which, through reward-based synaptic impulses, is pontifically verbalized ad infinitum, ad nauseam (eg, Eckhardt Tolle, Deepak Chopra, etc.), but from fear-based impulses can lead to mental illness and concomitant physiological symptoms.

Yet, alas, without repetitive experiences to reinforce the conceptualized interpretation, the electro-chemical current begins to dissipate and eventually the memory circuits dissolve and you are left with a spiritualized conceptual definition that means nothing, because the experience has dissolved into nothingness.

Pain is immediate, but suffering is simply your chronic, prefrontally generated, complaints of pain, repeated incessantly in the prefrontal cortex (the thinking cap of human egocentrica mammalia). To be more specific, right behind the eyes is where almost all insanity prevails (neuroscience shows how the prefrontal cortex actually shrinks in chemical and behavioral addictions, resulting in poor decision-making and frequent relapses and this is called "hypofrontality").

As Cognitive Therapy proclaims, "it's not reality that disturbs you, but your interpretation of reality," and all interpretation is a product of prefrontal hard-wiring. Interpretation of reality is a conditioned response and after many decades that hard-wiring becomes immune to neuro-plasticity (change) because, for wiring to remain 'hard,' it requires vigilantly filtering out opposing data that might disprove the interpretation to essentially demonstrate how stupid you are (and in post-modern social order, acknowledging your stupidity is tantamount to death).

Since all "enlightenment" is a prefrontal product, while the rest of your brain, bio-genetically functioning to keep your dumb arse alive, has no interest in your prefrontal hocus pocus bullsheit and keeps doing it's thing no matter how expertly you have memorized and repeatedly provide lip-service to the Deepak Chopra quotes that gets you all jiggy in your neuro-circuited reward centers.

So here's the rub, peeps. The difference between my "enlightenment" and the "enlightenment" you seek is that I have arrived at a state where what arises from the prefrontal cortex has absolutely no significance whatsoever...to the prefrontal cortex. In other words, the prefrontal cortex is now hard-wired to cease to care what the prefrontal cortex...'thinks.' In other words, even though the prefrontal lobe (location of the 'mind') cannot stop 'thinking,' it simply has lost the capacity to care (give a rat's arse) what it thinks.

The operative term/signifier is "care," which is indicative of experiencing "emotion" and, contrary to general opinion, emotion is also a neuro-chemically induced brain state influencing bodily/physiological symptoms through the central nervous system (and peripheral nerves), but it is prefrontally 'conceptualized' (while actual emotion is more grounded in the hippocampus and amygdala, yet, engaging reward centers throughout the brain) and this is maintained through fixating on the "enlightenment" concept which is NOT "enlightenment." This is similar to those who experience "panic attacks," in which hypothetical fears, produced in the prefrontal, generate physiological symptoms throughout the entire body, even though the fear is hypothetical or NOT real.

Hypothetical "enlightenment" makes you feel good for a time. But without an accompanying actual experience (depersonalization), those circuits soon wither on the vine and eventually the brain will "prune" them out and your enlightened emancipation proclamation will become more psycho-spiritual drivel to be completely forgotten (i.e, Eckhardt Tolle, Deepak Chopra, etc).

Just as the prefrontal lobe can generate hypothetical terror, and the accompanying psychosomatic symptoms based on unreal fears not oriented to reality, it can also generate intense feelings (symptoms) of joy and pleasure, and the accompanied physical psychosomatic symptoms based on hypothetical thoughts of enlightenment not oriented to reality.


  1. What cognitive therapie proclaims, Mike, is just what cognitive therapie proclaims: A proclaimation of something that don't need to be PROCLAIMED if there would not be some agenda behind it. What kind of agenda is it? Well...as you say, "my enlightenment is better than yours! I don't feel anything anymore! Your feelings are just your frontal brain..firing! Ha!"

    If you realy would not care about what your brain makes you think, Mike, why and what for having a blog like this? Telling us you don't care...but obviously you DO care about telling us about that you don't care and that your "enlightenment" is better than mine. Dude, I don't even claim enlightenment. Claiming enlightenment is for those who have no better idea regarding who and what they are.

    Have a nice day, Mike.


  2. Nice piece Mike... I like Arne.

    I also find I suffer from "Depersonalization-derealization disorder", thanks for the DSM reference. It used to be kind of scary, but now it's like riding the wave. "Feelings of depersonalization and derealization can be very disturbing and may feel like you're living in a dream." Yeah, maybe it's time to let go of the notion that we're not. A dream in the sense that the perception of reality arises in as a bio-chemo-electrical cortical impulse.

    Anja - Mike writes about this stuff because he likes to. I use "like" poetically, as he could not do otherwise. As I do all the stupid shit I do, and seem to care about.

    Ironically, the referenced youtube video automatically followed with a piece by some yahoo called Alex Grey, titled "the dream is real". For as long as I could watch, it was full of that same mystical crapola generated by those same higher level cortical functions. What artificial intelligence (is there any other type?) hooked them together?

    Oh, what fun!

    Thank you for your contributions.

    1. Chris,
      Hmmm...not sure if "like" is a variable in my, often sudden, inclination to post. But then, I do kinda feel good that it's there (briefly). I can go months without no such inclination and then sheit busts through my frontal lobe like a goddamn tsunami. But I am getting used to the waves.
      Yes, I can relate to your "riding the wave" of depersonalization. Most of us fear these episodes of ego-self threat and scurry back into the conditioning of the frontal lobe. Ego-self requires strong anchor points, simply because of the mirage that it is, and culturally conditioned neuro-circuited hard-wiring is essentially impossible to detach from. To emphasize the rigid fixated nature of habituated conditioning I often ask right-handed peeps to brush their teeth left-handed (or vice versa), just to get a glimpse of brain hard-wiring. ALways the report back is an awkward cognitive dissonance.
      Didn't get to the vid you speak of and probably would have lasted only seconds in the viewing.
      I'll check it out though and see what's up.


    2. As I said, "like" is poetic, and that is perhaps too kind. I'm not a poet so I don't know what I'm talking about. I'll ask David Bowie (aka cracked actor) when I get to heaven*.

      Always the report back is an awkward cognitive dissonance..

      That's really the crux, isn't it? Cognitive dissonance is everything you (and I) talk about... the wrenching knowing (awkward is merely polite) that matters are not what we have assumed them to be. It takes some spine to face that down. On that subject, I noticed that you quoted Jed M recently on the facebook thing... I know you have no love for him, but that is probably one of his best utterances.

      Didn't get to the vid you speak of and probably would have lasted only seconds in the viewing. I'll check it out though and see what's up.

      Please don't bother, it was merely an observation. Don't waste one iota of your precious time as a conscious being on it. Just reporting in on a curiosity.

      *also poetic.

  3. Hey Chris,

    Funny you mention J Mc, cause I have a written piece on the primacy of consciousness, now sitting in the editorial hopper, when I received the proverbial "Voice of God" instructing me to go see if JM has written anything lately. Sure enough, our fav enlightened sociopath put out another book. "Jed McKenna's Theory of Everything." 2013. I never knew!
    Only this time, as opposed to the universe with it's hand up your arse moving your mouth, it's consciousness. U-rex vs C-rex.
    Actually, I do enjoy the guy's style of writing as it's similar to my 'in-your'face-and-fook-it-if-your-offended" way of relating to the world.

    Ha! Lol...I did waste some time on Aex Grey, which brought me to this sumo wrestler like enlightened dude name Mooji, which brought me to Sailor Bob, which morphed into Papaji and then some hot blonde MILf named Gangaji, and it just kept mercilessly unrolling from there. Fooking Youtube! (which demands the question of how can any woman's enlightenment be trusted when considering the emotional chaos of menstruation and ovulation? Just wondering...)

    So thanks, it was fun!

  4. ... Only this time, as opposed to the universe with it's hand up your arse moving your mouth, it's consciousness. U-rex vs C-rex.
    Actually, I do enjoy the guy's style of writing as it's similar to my 'in-your'face-and-fook-it-if-your-offended" way of relating to the world.

    I tend to be drawn to that approach. There's a few others that present an "interesting" model... but kind of hard to locate as they don't tend to produce high SEO rankings. Jed is about the most famous, I don't know why.

    His last book was somewhat interesting, though nothing that peeps like Nisargadatta haven't presented already. In fact, it almost seemed like a minor capitulation (or at least detour) on his part - I always took him to be more of a U-rex type. Logically, C-rex is in fact the ultimate truth but it's moot for the reasons you've been expounding on for some time. So, the only really interesting modality is U-rex, the universe of living and dying cells, electro-chemical processes, all that sloppy shit. And, it all ends up back in C-rex's lap eventually anyways - we just won't be around to get it. Doesn't C-rex actually sound like brain-death? Am I missing something? The cake and eat it thing?

    I hear he's working on a new book - U-rex vs C-rex vs T-rex. I bet I know who wins that one.

    Ha! Lol...I did waste some time on Aex Grey, which brought me to this sumo wrestler like enlightened dude name Mooji, which brought me to Sailor Bob, which morphed into Papaji and then some hot blonde MILf named Gangaji, and it just kept mercilessly unrolling from there. Fooking Youtube!

    Well, I warned you. I have trod some of those dusty highways too, always feeling the need for a hot shower after. First, adopting some foreign name immediately removes you from credibility. Additionally, maintaining anonymity is well regarded. However, I don't know where to categorize Wei Wu Wei and I do kind of like him. It's one of the things that intrigues me about Jed, he's actually been able to remain invisible. Now if some of our religious leaders would just follow suit...

    (which demands the question of how can any woman's enlightenment be trusted when considering the emotional chaos of menstruation and ovulation? Just wondering...)

    That kind of wondering is gonna get you landed in PC-jail my friend. Women (in general, and not specifically) do have a different chemical soup from males, and slightly different physiology (including the 3-pounder). However, men could be considered to have an overabundance of testosterone, which affects their perception of enlightenment. I don't think anyone gets much of a pass or head start. Besides, what's all this talk about enlightenment? Have those youtubes been affecting you? Do you need an intervention Mikeji?

  5. Mike, in case you don't know that already, I inform you herewith officially: Woman are ONLY enlightened before and during their menstruation. That's called the crazy-wisdom school of enlightenment.

    "No! I'm not angry! I just wash the dishes, Honey. Something wrong with that?"

    "But why is it so noisy? Are you angry about something?

    "NO! I just hate doing the dishes!"

    "Why don't we use paper dishes? That's my suggestion all along."

    (a cup hits the wall...)

    "No, you are not angry, Babe."

    "See? That's what I'm saying!"

    Kind regards,

    1. Ha! Lol...

      Is it true that only during ovulation can women achieve the coveted nirvana samadhi state of higher consciousness?

      Regards back atya,

  6. This theory of Arne Dietrich is that higher states of consciousness do not exist, and that all altered states of consciousness are lower states.. Very good. But there are some fundamental questions he needs to answer:

    Why is it that musicians, artists and creative professionals produce their best work in altered states of consciousness ? Why do they consider these states to be fundamentally superior ? Their work is there for all of us to evaluate.

    It is not just creative artists. Even many scientists attribute their best works to altered states of consciousness. Why is that ?

    Altered states may result not only through drugs, but also through intense meditation or devotion.

    In an earlier era, people attributed their best works in music and mathematics to "devotional states", in a state of direct communion with their muses and god. These people longed for these altered states to reappear, and in fact, wrote songs and poems about this longing. Why is that ?

    The final nail in Mr. Dietrich's theory is about behavior. Even if a person is not gifted in any creative sense, why is it that the person behave differently in altered states of consciousness. No, this behavior is not primitive - in the sense of a reptilian behavior or a lower mammal behavior. In fact, people are released from the persistent dread of stress and cognitive overload while they are in these altered states. They may not be able to keep time, reason about the division of self from the environment, or appreciate the shiny bald pate of Mr. Dietrich, but that doesn't mean they are in any "lower state of consciousness". What is the criteria for evaluation ? Who is flying with the pixies here ?

    1. What you exaltingly refer to as “altered states of consciousness” I simply refer to as ever changing neuro-chemical brain states and the fact that they can be produced through the addition of adding external chemicals should be proof of the experiences being brain induced and have nothing to do with consciousness whatsoever. The brain is a fascinating organic instrument in that most brain states “you” have nothing to do with as moods are nebulous and change for a seemingly infinite array of reasons completely outside your control. For instance, I can be grossly attentive to writing this rebuttal. Yet, periphery attention continues to scan my environment, through the senses, for any changes or threats in that environment. However, my gross awareness could become so deeply engaged in this rebuttal that periphery awareness actually shuts down and, even though I know there is another person in the room with me, their coughing could actually startles me (“exaggerated startle effect” is a clinical term). Hence, highly creative people actually wind up breifly generating “hypofrontality” or the shutting down of frontal lobe electrochemical impulses as a result of being “engrossed” in the creative act in which, afterwards there is a feeling of peace and tranquility similar to the practiced meditator who has actively shut down frontal lobe circuits through the lessening of thought impulses in that lobe. However, these are brain states and consciousness has nothing to do with it as conscious awareness keeps on trucking along regardless of what the silly brain provides as experience. Conscious awareness experiences the brain states and is not altered one tiny bit.
      However, I understand the ego-sapien mammalian needs to exalt itself above the natural order through conceptualized fantasies such as “altered states of consciousness,” “awakening,” “enlightenment,” “non-duality,” “nirvana,” etc, etc, blah, blah, blah, but this only serves as a means to escape the guilt of what human ego-sapien has done to destroy his own habitat in his ever-growing egocentric arousal addiction that fuels his need to consume his habitat and everything that exists in that habitat.
      I better question to ask is…what is it that is aware of brain states and that question of awareness or consciousness is the unanswered question. What happens in your head has already been answered but what is that elusive “awareness” of what happens in your head has yet to be discovered.


  7. Perception is the key. What I mean by an altered state of consciousness is an altered state of perception, where certain natural senses or mental states are perceived in an enhanced manner, or even completely anew.

    It is known that children have a different perception of the world around them as compared to an adult, and in certain ways, this perception is far more powerful. Blind people and autistic people have similarly very different perceptions of the world as compared to people who don't have these disabilities. Sometimes, these disabilities are superhuman abilities, enhancing certain mental faculties beyond what is possible without them.

    The human animal is indeed unique in its perception of time. No other animal thinks of the future in the same way as the human does. No other animal can make elaborate plans about the future. No other animal, as far as we know, has a theory of mind.

    So the question is about whether the natural human state of consciousness, with its abilities of perception, is the highest that there is. Or is there a higher state of consciousness where the perception of reality (both external and internal) is enhanced. The argument of Mr. Dietrich is that "no, there is no such higher state of consciousness." I believe otherwise, and that such higher states can be reached via drugs and/or by meditation.

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