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The Illusion of the Self, An Interview With Bruce Hood
Posted: 28 May 2012 08:56 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 31 ]  
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It was either Plato’s or Aristotle’s belief that education was the key to making a better person.


Boy was he wrong.


Much of the problem lies in the fact that psychology and psychiatry are a bad mixture of science and pseudoscientific bologna. Brain science is one thing, but the psychology side of the story is more philosophy than science.


Much to do with the human brain is horrifically complicated. At the same time, much to do with the human brain is grossly overcomplicated. For example, we’re not anywhere near as emotionally complex as we think we are. Human emotion, once all the redundant words are removed, can be mapped out as simply as the different areas on the surface of the tongue. We have umpteen words for the same emotions, over and over again, many of which are entirely misconstrued.


For example, anxiety, worry, angst and nervousness are all one and the same thing. It only seems like they, and several other adjectives attached to the feeling, represent a wide variety of shades of meaning. They don’t. The English language is far more complex than the things it describes.


It’s like the old joke in Peanuts, where Charlie Brown says to Lucy, who’s playing psychiatrist, “Is the reason you can’t figure out my problem because my personality’s so complex?”


“No, Charlie Brown,” she replies. “It’s that it’s so simple.”

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Posted: 28 May 2012 12:07 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 32 ]  
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softwarevisualization - 27 May 2012 06:29 PM

The reason I said what I said about not communicating is b/c of your ESP post and rejection of double blind studies. I think we’re just too far away from each other I am really not dismissing you , just.. wow , we’re way away from each other !


As far as the humbling thing what I am saying is it’s good for people to be , ultimately, deep in their own minds, humble about their beliefs with respect to the ULTIMATE nature of reality. Certainly the world’s religions could use a dose of this, but alas, no hope for them.  For us, the rational, reality based community I think we need a dose of this even for ourselves. Nazi doctors (g’day to you Mr. Godwin sir…) come to mind, who were not (very) mystical (well, actually…. that’s not true) but anyways used their limited knowledge of science as an excuse to inflict atrocities. I don’t think anyone is safe from turning bad who also thinks they have a kind of cosmic (small c) certainty   about what they think they know . John Von Neumann also springs to mind. He was caricatured in Kubric’s “How I Learned To Stop Worrying and Love The Bomb” as Dr Strangelove.  He told Ike that the US ought to preemptively nuke the USSR while we had the bomb and they didn’t. Ike didn’t listen to him… thanks Ike!

I understand that you are not dismissing me but only that we differ. I want to ask you about the double blinding and ESP.
We set up experiments to test things and then we take out the test conditions in order to do a control, to check that something else did not create the test conditions. In the early days of drug trials they used single blinds, ie they did not tell the patients by any sensory means whether they were getting a drug or not. They found that people still knew if they were getting a drug and they knew because of ESP. So they relationally distanced them, they took away the relatedness of the patient and doctor by putting a third party between them, ie they double blinded them.
ESP is seen inside of relationship, this is the reality seen in single blinded drug trials. ESP can also exist outside of relationship and that is worthy of investigation too. Are you saying that ESP inside of relationship is unworthy of scientific investigation? Or are you saying that double blinding is some sort of standard that we necessarily have to apply because this is not the case. Double blinding is not a holy grail. Nothing constrains us to set up experiments that enable us to investigate a matter. The only thing that makes an experiment scientific is the use of a control.


For the rest the humble in science and religion I agree with you.
But I don’t agree that everyone can be corrupted. Yes I think some people who possibly have a weak conscience/ connection with others around them could be corrupted but I think it is wrong to believe that everyone can be corrupted. There is ample evidence in human history of some people’s goodness and the willingness to overcome evil.

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Posted: 28 May 2012 02:08 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 33 ]  
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They found that people still knew if they were getting a drug and they knew because of ESP.
\

The knew because of subtle behavioural cues the experimenters emitted. You can recreate this phenomena at will and see it in action by performing and videotaping single blind experiments and watching the interactions between the person administering the treatment and the subject.


When the possibility of the experimenters accidentally tipping off the patients was removed , by creating the double blind condition, the effect disappeared. No ESP was involved.

 

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Posted: 28 May 2012 04:08 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 34 ]  
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So the self is an illusion, and my illusion is having a relationship with your, their illusion. Hence the world you occupy and that world is you.

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Posted: 28 May 2012 05:09 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 35 ]  
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No one has ever demonstrated ESP. Not only was it debunked a long time ago, but there’s a prize of something like $100,000 for anyone who can demonstrate that it actually exists. The prize has been there for the taking for decades. Not only has no one ever claimed it, but the crackpots you see on the Dr Phil show conspicuously never come sniffing around trying to claim it. They don’t because they know they’re fakes, and don’t want to be exposed on national television. Fools with deep pockets pay them outrageous sums of money, and they’re not about to mess with a good thing.

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Posted: 28 May 2012 07:10 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 36 ]  
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gsmonks - 28 May 2012 05:09 PM

No one has ever demonstrated ESP. Not only was it debunked a long time ago, but there’s a prize of something like $100,000 for anyone who can demonstrate that it actually exists. The prize has been there for the taking for decades. Not only has no one ever claimed it, but the crackpots you see on the Dr Phil show conspicuously never come sniffing around trying to claim it. They don’t because they know they’re fakes, and don’t want to be exposed on national television. Fools with deep pockets pay them outrageous sums of money, and they’re not about to mess with a good thing.

There are many scientific papers proving ESP that is not the question. The question is that why is it not being investigated INSIDE of relationship. Every experiment is blinded, which is fine to investigate ESP outside of relationship, but it removes the conditions that would show it dramatically.


As for the Randi million dollar prize, there are plenty that have been and have been “disproved” because Randi double blinds the experiments. Psi ability or ESP is a property of everyone so really any one and not just those that call themselves psychics would qualify for the money. Randi’s claim is that if you can do something as a trick then why would you do it for real. Charming!


The reality that people are waking up to is that there is $1,000,000,000 industry, the medical industry, who fund possibly almost all of science, own or control the scientific journals that are considered worthy, they are so big and so influential they can even buy and sell governments, they are the ones that are profiting from disease by hiding the truth about ESP. People are stressed through toxic relationships and while fear is one aspect nothing of foul play can be done without close relationships and relational entanglement because ESP is key. Lay, humane people will do the necessary experiments and prove that ESP is a very significant part of relationships and that changes the scientific paradigm.. yeah lay people it is going to take, to put what is really Mind, a non-physical reality that underpins physical reality and ESP or direct mental perception on the table as part of scientific research.

[ Edited: 28 May 2012 07:15 PM by kyrani99]
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Posted: 28 May 2012 07:40 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 37 ]  
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softwarevisualization - 28 May 2012 02:08 PM

They found that people still knew if they were getting a drug and they knew because of ESP.
\

The knew because of subtle behavioural cues the experimenters emitted. You can recreate this phenomena at will and see it in action by performing and videotaping single blind experiments and watching the interactions between the person administering the treatment and the subject.


When the possibility of the experimenters accidentally tipping off the patients was removed , by creating the double blind condition, the effect disappeared. No ESP was involved.

 

The behavioral cues explanation that you offered are not valid and I have seen the experiments that are done. They are only valid when there are ideas simultaneously presented to the other person. There are also plenty of experiments that are done to show that people miss the most obvious cues let alone the subtle ones.
This explanation is not the case in drug trials.


In single blind experiments only those with the drug will show a placebo effect and not the blanks and you might argue this is the case as you say BUT when you double blind them all of the people exibit a placebo effect. Researchers of course do not want to attribute those with the drug as showing any placebo but that is not true. However with double blinding there are those with the blanks suddenly show placebo effects why? Because when people are mentally blinded and cannot get any information about whether they had a drug or not and they are sick and need to get well they reason.. “I got a fifty fifty chance of having a drug, so why not assume I did get the drug” hence the placebo effect right across the board, but of course it is most obvious in the blanks.


There is also the case of clinical placebos.
Some get well.. ah yes your will say the doctor gave them subliminal cues.
Some don’t get well.. well they missed the cues
And some get sicker.. what the doctor gave them negative cues.. just for the heck of it or maybe he/she was toxic and got a kick out of them coming back sicker or greedy wanting them back to sponge more money out of them. I don’t think this is the case at all.


What the doctor thinks counts because there is a direct and trusted relationship with the patient.

If the doctor is confident and thinks “that will do the trick” and believes their patient will get well the patients pick up on that through direct mental perception.


If the doctor thinks “oh my, maybe that won’t help them” again the patient picks up on that mentally.

If the doctor thinks “giving this stuff makes one want to spew” meaning he /she gets no kick backs for fake pills from BIg Pharma then the patient who only picks up on the idea mentally as only that is meaningful to them and not the doctor’s kick backs, then he or she can get sicker on what.. just sugar.


Drug trials are double blinded to get rid of ESP.. direct mental perception is a problem because they don’t want the patients knowing what the doctor knows. And that knowing doesn’t necessarily happen when the doctor is physically present with the patient. The doctor and patient can be spatially separate when the doctor examines the results of a patient. What he or she thinks is highly relevant to the patient and that is a necessary condition for ESP.. for the patient to mentally perceive what the doctor is thinking that relates to them and their condition.
Clinical placebos are heavily influenced by what the doctor thinks and not just what they express.

[ Edited: 28 May 2012 07:42 PM by kyrani99]
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Posted: 28 May 2012 08:05 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 38 ]  
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gsmonks - 28 May 2012 08:56 AM

It was either Plato’s or Aristotle’s belief that education was the key to making a better person.


Boy was he wrong.


Much of the problem lies in the fact that psychology and psychiatry are a bad mixture of science and pseudoscientific bologna. Brain science is one thing, but the psychology side of the story is more philosophy than science.


Much to do with the human brain is horrifically complicated. At the same time, much to do with the human brain is grossly overcomplicated. For example, we’re not anywhere near as emotionally complex as we think we are. Human emotion, once all the redundant words are removed, can be mapped out as simply as the different areas on the surface of the tongue. We have umpteen words for the same emotions, over and over again, many of which are entirely misconstrued.


For example, anxiety, worry, angst and nervousness are all one and the same thing. It only seems like they, and several other adjectives attached to the feeling, represent a wide variety of shades of meaning. They don’t. The English language is far more complex than the things it describes.


It’s like the old joke in Peanuts, where Charlie Brown says to Lucy, who’s playing psychiatrist, “Is the reason you can’t figure out my problem because my personality’s so complex?”


“No, Charlie Brown,” she replies. “It’s that it’s so simple.”

I think you’re being very kind to the psychologists and psychiatrists. In my book they are not just pseudoscience but downright deceitful quackery. What science do you see in them. They come up with theories and then hunt around to find evidence that suits and of course throw away evidence that doesn’t suit. And they are influencing many neuroscientists instead of allowing neuroscience to pursue their science from a clean slate. I’ve seen articles written by psychiatrists about how they are hunting to find egos and ids and the unconscious somewhere inside the brain. What rot.


I disagree with you that anxiety, worry, angst and nervousness are all one.
Anxiety is a mix of two emotions, mainly 1. fear and worry and 2. anger and worry, and they are not trivial nor “just on your tongue either” Fear and anger both raise the metabolism, fear through actions of the sympathetic nervous system and anger through deeper breathing which has a direct effect on the heart. Worry on the other hand lowers the metabolism through actions of the parasympathetic nervous system.


Worry is circular thinking and not for nothing. The person has a problem, which they feel an urgency to resolve and for which they have insufficient information. Thus not finding a solution they will go over and over it trying to resolve it. The brain needs not to have to compete for fuel materials with the musculature so the body is brought to rest to do some serious thinking. However the fear /anger doesn’t just go away because there are issues (danger/ injustices/ violations) that are current. The serious somatic problem that arises is for the heart because it is getting simultaneous stimuli to go fast and slow at the same time. Cardiac muscle fatigue and rhythm problem eventuate rendering the heart ineffective as a pump. That is seen in the body not getting enough oxygen to generate heat in severe cases so the person feels their muscles vibrate. That may also include cardiac muscles. If you want more info my website at Kyrani99 dot wordpress dot com if the link in my signature doesn’t work.

These are serious problems that the doctors don’t seem to want to recognize IMO because heart disease is big bucks.. lots of work.. Psychiatrists drug them for these with sledgehammers and when the person’s heart fails well then its a job for a physician.


Angst and nervousness are lesser forms and I won’t expand on them here, you get my point I am sure. Emotion is not “just in your head” or on your tongue then you begin to understand its significance in disease. NOT TRIVIAL.

[ Edited: 28 May 2012 08:10 PM by kyrani99]
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Posted: 28 May 2012 10:52 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 39 ]  
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The claim that the self is an illusion is obvious nonsense.

Only what the five senses and our cognitive faculties represent, in the objective world, can be illusory. The word illusion means a type of incorrect perception. A perception can only be incorrect relative to the objective world the perception is representing. The self doesn’t represent anything but itself.

Hood is probably using the word ‘illusion’ and ‘self’ in an idiosyncratic manner. He also begs the question, vaguely, in the interview, about the mind-body problem.

“The reason that the status of reality cannot be applied to the self, is that it does not exist independently of my brain alone that is having the experience.”—Hood

This is a mere assertion. It is philosophy, not science.

I consider Hood’s claim to be an example of the idiocy of scientism: philosophical claims supposedly based in science (neuroscience in this case) should be accepted without question no matter how nonsensical the claim. 

[ Edited: 30 May 2012 01:46 PM by K-man]
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Posted: 29 May 2012 02:30 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 40 ]  
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kyrani99 - 28 May 2012 07:10 PM

There are many scientific papers proving ESP that is not the question. The question is that why is it not being investigated INSIDE of relationship. Every experiment is blinded, which is fine to investigate ESP outside of relationship, but it removes the conditions that would show it dramatically.


As for the Randi million dollar prize, there are plenty that have been and have been “disproved” because Randi double blinds the experiments. Psi ability or ESP is a property of everyone so really any one and not just those that call themselves psychics would qualify for the money. Randi’s claim is that if you can do something as a trick then why would you do it for real. Charming!


The reality that people are waking up to is that there is $1,000,000,000 industry, the medical industry, who fund possibly almost all of science, own or control the scientific journals that are considered worthy, they are so big and so influential they can even buy and sell governments, they are the ones that are profiting from disease by hiding the truth about ESP. People are stressed through toxic relationships and while fear is one aspect nothing of foul play can be done without close relationships and relational entanglement because ESP is key. Lay, humane people will do the necessary experiments and prove that ESP is a very significant part of relationships and that changes the scientific paradigm.. yeah lay people it is going to take, to put what is really Mind, a non-physical reality that underpins physical reality and ESP or direct mental perception on the table as part of scientific research.


First of all, there are no legitimate scientific studies that prove ESP. There are plenty of cooked “studies” by fringe wackos and kooks, but they’re worthless.


I don’t think you know how a double-blind experiment works. The purpose of a double-blind experiment is to eliminate connivance from fakes. This is how URI Geller was exposed on national television by Johnny Carson with his “spoon bending” trick.


It’s not the medical industry that funds science. I don’t think you know anything about funding for scientific research, either.


What is true is that there are particular instances of conflict of interest, the most notorious of which is pharmaceutical corporations, the military, and other organisations with a vested interest, funding the research that ends up in psychology textbooks. This is why the world of psychology lacks credibility in certain instances. Not across the board but in certain instances.


One of the great problems of modern psychiatry and psychology is the intent of the people doing the research. This is something that is thankfully changing, as researchers are no longer operating entirely in the dark when it comes to mental illness. Now that the underlying causes are better understood, medications are being created to address them.


This is a far cry from so-called “treatments” of the past, where most psychiatric medications were controls, not for the illness in question so much, but for the people around the patient. The patient was controlled by drugging them up. This is not the same thing as the illness being controlled.


This is still a problem today, and is the very reason that the notion of forcing patients to take their meds is such a hot-button issue. You can’t always trust the patient, and you can’t always trust the people treating the patient to have the patient’s best interests at heart.

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Posted: 29 May 2012 09:38 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 41 ]  
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K-man - 28 May 2012 10:52 PM

The claim that the self is an illusion is obvious nonsense.

Only what the five senses as well as what our cognitive faculties represent in the objective world can be illusory. The word illusion means a type of incorrect perception. A perception can only be incorrect relative to the objective world the perception is representing. The self doesn’t represent anything but itself.

Hood is probably using the word ‘illusion’ and ‘self’ in an idiosyncratic manner. He also begs the question, vaguely, in the interview, about the mind-body problem.

“The reason that the status of reality cannot be applied to the self, is that it does not exist independently of my brain alone that is having the experience.”—Hood

This is a mere assertion. It is philosophy, not science.

I consider Hood’s claim to be an example of the idiocy of scientism. Philosophical claims supposedly based in science (neuroscience in this case) should be accepted without question no matter how nonsensical the claim.


I agree with you actually. Hood may be thinking of a couple of things when he says this though.

 

One is what we might call “the unitary executive of the mind .” That refers to the philosophical belief that the conscious “me” consciously makes all my important decisions. Believe it or not people actually believe that about themselves. I call them the “If I decide to do something, it gets done!” types. Of course, they fail at things which merely require will power, or could have been done better and longer if they had more will power all the time. But they just don’t keep accurate records of their failures.  We’re all generally governed by what psychologists call “system 1” and getting what they call “system 2” to kick in is always a struggle for everyone.


http://www.spiegel.de/international/zeitgeist/interview-with-daniel-kahneman-on-the-pitfalls-of-intuition-and-memory-a-834407.html

 

Wittgenstein said something similar. He said thinking is like swimming- it takes effort to get underwater and it takes effort to stay underwater.

 

The other thing Hood might be referring to is the idea of an   entity with some characteristics- it’s causally potent per above (can initiate volitional action) and not just an epiphenomena riding on the final froth of the brain activity that makes decisions. It endures over time as a stable identifiable thing. You know the drill, it’s what you think of as your self .

 

It’s interesting to think about. My own conclusion is that there there is a kind of noetic purposeful enduring awareness. How this maps to common concepts of self is an open to question in my mind.  As far as the common self goes, it may or may not have some of the properties we usually subscribe to it to a greater or lesser degree. There are clear cut cases- I know of a few myself- where the personality changes dramatically after physical injury to the brain, invariably for the worse and in ways we can assume the previous self would not have permitted if it could control the situation, which apparently it can’t.

 

These cases are clear assaults to some of the common non-brain-based notions of self that we usually have. The most effective rebuttal is the self expresses itself through the brain but is not the brain. That is of course received poorly by the opposing side since it removes the idea of self from the reach of scientific disproof.  My own view is that these things are fundamentally different than they way we imagine them to be , they way we construct them in our theories, both folk and scientific and there’s much much much more to the story than we know about. and that much much much more is significant in this context. That’s the part of me that wonders,is open, is fascinated engaged and about 3 or 4 years old and having managed to preserve that “self” (there! Take that Dr. Hood! ) all these years I have no intention of being cut off form it by anyone or anything.

 

I think Hood is bomb throwing because he is a reductionist materialist who believes what he says. I am also a reductionist materialist totally, but of a sort.  My materialism I think allows for more complexity and inter-relatedness of things in sort of weird ways which I find hard to articulate right now.

 

[ Edited: 31 May 2012 01:49 PM by softwarevisualization]
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Posted: 29 May 2012 10:26 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 42 ]  
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The great irony here is that it may very well turn out that the human brain is far more complicated than we are.


:^)

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Posted: 31 May 2012 01:46 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 43 ]  
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Yes it’s entirely possible that the brain, as it intersects and is effected by the rest of nature ad the universe, is more complicated than we can form theories to explain. There is a lot of irony in that in the poetic sense, but there’s nothing contradictory or illogical about it.

Nice chatting with you I enjoyed your posts.

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Posted: 01 June 2012 07:37 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 44 ]  
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softwarevisualization - 31 May 2012 01:46 PM

Yes it’s entirely possible that the brain, as it intersects and is effected by the rest of nature ad the universe, is more complicated than we can form theories to explain. There is a lot of irony in that in the poetic sense, but there’s nothing contradictory or illogical about it.

Nice chatting with you I enjoyed your posts.

Likewise.


You sound like you’re going away . . . ?

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Posted: 01 June 2012 08:40 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 45 ]  
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no I just get busy.. but not too busy to argue with you over on the other thread today apparently.

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