Sunday, April 2, 2017

Genetic / Plastic brain / Epigenetics

So working my way through Daniel Dennett, Consciousness Explained, I realized the amount of bullshit that is written and sold as facts, when so much is speculation, and then something else comes along that does not fit, and we start back around again. So much of life is like Dennetts multiple  drafts, around and around we go in a infinite braided feed back loop, that changes as we learn more. At some point we need to do something so we do it, with incomplete information, with partial awareness, and we get something out of it...maybe. Much without purpose, without results or not. Awareness is the last thing that came and we may only be aware, after the fact, but if it is a rational level decision, and not pressed into service before the concept has reached maturity... well then, but it does not matter, for time rushes on and in the end we all just die anyway.

We all just swim upstream or stand still, or drift with the current of time. We make minor decisions, and perhaps we change a bit or not. Time keeps rushing by. Nap and an afternoon can be gone.

The other night, in the middle of the night, I realized that I was conscious, but not awake. I was aware of my thoughts, but not awake. It is like the sensation in meditation the first time I felt sound, not heard it. It is surreal, but real. It is the split between unconsciousness and sleep. It is dream like but not a dream, paralyzed, but aware of self, of my thoughts, and the goings on about the sleeping mass of self. The consciousness was unable to awake the self. Not out of body but locked in the body, unable to break free. Fear instantly arose, but subsided enough to realize what was happening or subsided as I realized what had happened. So what does this have to do with anything and can I repeat this experience? Perhaps it is a way to rest my aged self and keep my mind active.

So how would one induce this experience again. Well, perhaps like mediating myself to sleep by using a root consciousness as the point of return when the mind wanders. Well the first test resulted in a quiet a few returns to consciousness, good nap, quick to drift off.

Back to Dennett and Plastic brain concepts. Some brains are predisposed to being better at some function than others, and have some benefit to those that have those talents, hence survive better within there closed environment. In five thousand years we see the Indus valley developing mathematics, and it spread. Some areas developed an aptitude for mathematics, while the test cases, the fringe population of the Americas did not. As a result today, the frequency of occupations requiring high drive and heavily mathematic dependent are rare among there members. Yet the visual arts has a high numbers of native members.

So do the farmer based populations and their decedents have high numbers of heavy people?

We were frequently driven home with the concept of not wasting food. The plate must be cleaned. Nothing was permitted to be wasted. A life time of not wasting food is now a fixed characteristic which we cannot overcome. If food lands on the plate, it will be eaten, so it must be kept off the plate. Is this habit, cultural, familial, or genetic or epigenetic? We certinally learned this as children, and parents do not want to leave children hungry. So overeating can be learned as children, carried on ever after, except for those few that do not overeat, and often leave food on there plates.

I was out at a self serve country diner theater last night, and I noted that the a few 'normal" sized people left food on there plate. I doubt that any overeating disordered person would do that. So is their enough plasticity in the brain of a senior to change? There has not been much evidence of that over here yet.    

1 comment :

  1. Sounds like you had a spell of lucid dreaming, which is something I've found of interest... I've been experimenting w/yoga nidra, which is basically focused meditation. Some of my dreams are in fact nightmarish & I would LOVE to be able to control them.


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