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5 neuroscience reality checks, from a top neuroscientist

Humans and the environment

Humans believe they are separate from the environment, which is a wrong presumption.

Environmental and climate change and its imminent effects on humans are proof that we are not separate or insulated from our surroundings.

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5 neuroscience reality checks, from a top neuroscientist

5 neuroscience reality checks, from a top neuroscientist

https://bigthink.com/mind-brain/joseph-ledoux-consciousness

bigthink.com

5

Key Ideas

Survival before Behaviour

Our survival instinct came before any reasoning or behavioral aspects.

The human body is firstly a tool of survival, with rationalizing and the 'mind' perspectives arriving much later.

Neuroscience is a new science

We normally assume that certain sections of the brain carry out a specific set of tasks. This is fair to believe but is not entirely accurate.

The science to scan brain activity is currently in its infancy. Brain scans track blood flow; that does not mean specific functions are limited to that region.

Humans and the environment

Humans believe they are separate from the environment, which is a wrong presumption.

Environmental and climate change and its imminent effects on humans are proof that we are not separate or insulated from our surroundings.

A state of mind

Pain, even the chronic variety is subjective and can be annulled.
There are no specific receptive areas for different emotions like fear, joy, and anger. By contrast, certain receptors are activated when experiencing pain or pleasure, yet even those are subjective.

Unique species

Humans are a quick blip in the long history of species. The factors that truly make humans unique: language, autonoesis, complex emotions. 

The dangers of anthropocentrism and anthropomorphism should always be taken into consideration. Fitness means adapting to the environment. Over the course of the last century, we've arguably accomplished the opposite.

SIMILAR ARTICLES & IDEAS:

Survival of The Fittest

The famous Charles Darwin theory, 'survival of the fittest' has turned into a cultural cliché. The theory proposes that living beings naturally fight and compete with each other to survive.

T...

Collaborative Interdependence

Hundreds of studies on plants and animal behavior in recent years reveal that living things, including humans, are in reality multispecies events of collaboration and interdependence.

This is seen in the way fungus helps nurture and connect trees, or the way algae and coral form a partnership to create colorful coral reefs.

Life is more complex and collaborative than previously thought.

The Climate Crisis

The recent findings which prove that competition is not natural, at least not more than collaboration, pave the way to think about our relationship with the planet, and the millions of species inhabiting it.

Environmentalists are tackling the climate crisis assume that people are by nature bound to harm ecology, and will consume and plunder the natural resources. This leaves them with a narrow set of solutions to control the crisis.

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Friedrich Nietzsche

"Society tames the wolf into a dog. And man is the most domesticated
animal of all."

Friedrich Nietzsche

Depression in the era of infinite possibilities

Although we are currently experiencing the highest living standards in the history of mankind:

  • Depression rates are constantly rising in the US since the mid-1930s.
  • Approximately 40 million American adults are dealing with anxiety disorder.
  • Over 600,000 children of 5 and under are on some type of psychiatric drug in the US.

Depression and anxiety

According to the existential psychologist, Rollo May:

  • “Depression is the inability to construct a future.”
  • "Anxiety comes from "not being able to know the world you’re in, not being able to orient yourself in your own existence.”

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About Consciousness

About Consciousness

Consciousness is everything you experience - taste, pain, love, feeling. Where these experiences come from is a mystery.

Many modern analytic philosophers of mind either d...

Searching For Physical Footprints

What is it about brain matter that gives rise to consciousness? In particular, the neuronal correlates of consciousness (NCC) - the minimal neuronal mechanisms jointly sufficient for any conscious experience.

Consider this question: What must happen in your brain for you to experience a toothache?

Neuronal Correlates of Consciousness (NCC)

The whole brain can be considered an NCC because it generates experience continually.

  • When parts of the cerebellum, the "little brain" underneath the back of the brain, are lost to a stroke or otherwise, patients may lose the ability to play the piano, for example.  But they never lose any aspect of their consciousness. This is because the cerebellum is almost wholly a feed-forward circuit. There are no complex feedback loops.
  • The spinal cord and the cerebellum are not enough to create consciousness. Available evidence suggests neocortical tissue in generating feelings.
  • The next stages of processing are the broad set of cortical regions, collectively known as the posterior hot zone, that gives rise to conscious perception. In clinical sources of causal evidence, stimulating the posterior hot zone can trigger a diversity of distinct sensations and feelings.
  • It appears that almost all conscious experiences have their origin in the posterior cortex. But it does not explain the crucial difference between the posterior regions and much of the prefrontal cortex, which does not directly contribute to subjective content.

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