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Ch. 3: Exploring Your Brain ("Good Thinking" - by Guy P. Harrison) 
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 Ch. 3: Exploring Your Brain ("Good Thinking" - by Guy P. Harrison)
Ch. 3: Exploring Your Brain ("Good Thinking" - by Guy P. Harrison)

Please use this thread to discuss the above chapter.



Mon Sep 21, 2015 11:30 pm
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Post Re: Ch. 3: Exploring Your Brain ("Good Thinking" - by Guy P. Harrison)
This chapter seems pretty textbook so far, I am only to the amygdala though.


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Post Re: Ch. 3: Exploring Your Brain ("Good Thinking" - by Guy P. Harrison)
He does go to a bit of trouble to liven it up, but - yeah.



Mon Oct 26, 2015 6:13 am
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Post Re: Ch. 3: Exploring Your Brain ("Good Thinking" - by Guy P. Harrison)
So as I am reading all of the carefully crafted descriptions, I am struck by how much this reads like my text books in elementary school. I don't know exactly how he nailed it so well, but the tone, language, etc just sound so much like school in the early '70's :) I liked school very much then, that is not a bad thing. :yes:


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Post Re: Ch. 3: Exploring Your Brain ("Good Thinking" - by Guy P. Harrison)
that amygdala stuff was fascinating, and so relatable.

Quote:
A fascinating 2014 report in Neurocase tells the story of a forty-four-year-old businessman who began having seizures that damaged his left amygdala. Doctors removed it, only to discover later that they had extracted a phobia along with it. The man's previously recorded arachnophobia vanished. Not only was he no longer afraid at the mere sight of a spider, but after surgery he said he found them interesting and had no reluctance to touch or hold them.




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Sun Nov 01, 2015 1:01 am
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Post Re: Ch. 3: Exploring Your Brain ("Good Thinking" - by Guy P. Harrison)
Quote:
What might a small team of assassins or a vast army of soldiers who are incapable of feeling fear be capable of?

Harrison, Guy P. (2015-10-06). Good Thinking: What You Need to Know to be Smarter, Safer, Wealthier, and Wiser (Kindle Locations 1309-1310). Prometheus Books. Kindle Edition.


yeah, there is a drug sports people take that makes 'em like that.

i wondered if it worked by acting in some way on the amygdala.



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Post Re: Ch. 3: Exploring Your Brain ("Good Thinking" - by Guy P. Harrison)
Quote:
Fear is not isolated to the amygdalae. This is a complex emotion that touches multiple spots. What the good thinker needs to be aware of is that the amygdalae and all subconscious fear processing present us with a downside to consider here in the modern world. The unthinking nature of reactive and instinctual fear can make us afraid of things that don't really threaten us and, unfortunately, there is never a shortage of people ready to exploit our fears for their gain. Even though we may be sitting safely in our living rooms, for example, we still can be terrorized by images of violence and disasters that are far away and have little or no chance of harming us. Video news is a master of this kind of fear exploitation. For-profit cable-news companies, for example, know that scaring their viewers keeps them watching.

Harrison, Guy P. (2015-10-06). Good Thinking: What You Need to Know to be Smarter, Safer, Wealthier, and Wiser (Kindle Locations 1316-1321). Prometheus Books. Kindle Edition.


:yes:



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Post Re: Ch. 3: Exploring Your Brain ("Good Thinking" - by Guy P. Harrison)
Quote:
but do know that the left hemisphere is where most language processing takes place, and the right deals with making connections between bits of information and spatial awareness.


this bit from the cerebrum reminded of Archimedes

He was really advanced in being able to hold complex spatial concepts in mind.

Quote:
Archimedes developed ingenious techniques for calculating areas and volumes, in many ways anticipating modern integral calculus.


i must get around to reading "the method"



Sun Nov 01, 2015 1:16 am
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Post Re: Ch. 3: Exploring Your Brain ("Good Thinking" - by Guy P. Harrison)
i thought about games and books and movies etc and how they might be more or less immersive or more or less your cup of tea depending on what your amygdala has loaded up over the years and in the instant, in the case of say "first person shooter" computer games would you even play an FPS if you had no amygdala.



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Post Re: Ch. 3: Exploring Your Brain ("Good Thinking" - by Guy P. Harrison)
youkrst wrote:
i thought about games and books and movies etc and how they might be more or less immersive or more or less your cup of tea depending on what your amygdala has loaded up over the years and in the instant, in the case of say "first person shooter" computer games would you even play an FPS if you had no amygdala.


My wife and I were watching trick or treaters coming up to our house (decked out with some spooky Halloween props). Most kids run past the skeleton in our garage window. To the extent that they know the skeleton isn't real, they're not really scared. But that little bit of scared is thrilling. It seems to me the amygdala is one of the more primitive parts of the brain, "designed" to help us respond to danger by triggering a flight-or-fight response. It's thrilling to feel the surge of adrenalin, especially in an environment the intellect knows is really safe. Maybe that's why the immersive type video games are so fun because they trigger some of those brain chemicals that give us a little thrill, while the intellect part of our brains reassures us that this is not real.

My wife (a psych nurse practitioner) was talking about the kids she works with. Most are from small rural towns in western North Carolina. Many are from broken families, poverty, abuse. And these kids don't really enjoy Halloween. Maybe they have to deal with real horror on a daily basis and so there's no thrill of being scared. Indeed, Halloween is genuinely too scary for them. Their brains have to deal with real world problems to the extent that the playful aspect of life gets suppressed. And there's no reassurance from the intellectual part of their brains. Just musing out loud here.


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Post Re: Ch. 3: Exploring Your Brain ("Good Thinking" - by Guy P. Harrison)
A good question is, Why do we use so little of our brain? Could it be that we have lost some of its capacity of use over the thousands of years? Kind of like a bronze that the earliest made is the most authentic. Could it be another sign to creation from the God of Jehovah? I would vote, YES!!



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Post Re: Ch. 3: Exploring Your Brain ("Good Thinking" - by Guy P. Harrison)
froglipz wrote:
So as I am reading all of the carefully crafted descriptions, I am struck by how much this reads like my text books in elementary school. I don't know exactly how he nailed it so well, but the tone, language, etc just sound so much like school in the early '70's :) I liked school very much then, that is not a bad thing. :yes:


Just an observation here, but this title and others from Prometheus Books are released in paperback only. And, indeed—as I am just finding out myself—Prometheus Books was founded by Paul Kurtz, famous skeptic, who founded the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry and was editor in chief of Free Inquiry magazine. I would have said Harrison's book has a magazine article vibe to it (complete with breakout quotes and sidebars from other authors). And maybe that's due to Kurtz's background as a publisher and editor of science-oriented periodicals, not to mention a writer of quite a number of articles himself.

According to the company's web site, "Prometheus has been a leader in publishing books for the educational, scientific, professional, library, popular, and consumer markets since 1969."


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Tue Nov 03, 2015 9:09 pm
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Post Re: Ch. 3: Exploring Your Brain ("Good Thinking" - by Guy P. Harrison)
brother bob wrote:
A good question is, Why do we use so little of our brain? Could it be that we have lost some of its capacity of use over the thousands of years? Kind of like a bronze that the earliest made is the most authentic. Could it be another sign to creation from the God of Jehovah? I would vote, YES!!

Well, Popular Science magazine just came out with a list of 10 top brain myths, and the old saw about humans using only 10% of our brains is one of them! We use the whole thing, just not all parts at all times. I confess to a fondness for debunking. I suppose that at times even the debunking can turn out to need debunking--you know, in that way that truths about health and our bodies have a way of reversing themselves over time...But anyway, have a look at them. A few might relieve your minds, such as the myth that alcohol kills brain cells. Whoopee!

http://www.popsci.com/10-brain-myths-busted



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Tue Nov 03, 2015 9:38 pm
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Post Re: Ch. 3: Exploring Your Brain ("Good Thinking" - by Guy P. Harrison)
And, in matters related to some discussion above:
https://www.braindecoder.com/horror-mov ... 13810.html

It is an interesting site. Lots of real research results, but with hooks the rest of us can appreciate. Like the "Tetris Effect".



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Post Re: Ch. 3: Exploring Your Brain ("Good Thinking" - by Guy P. Harrison)
Chapter Three, Exploring Your Brain, presents a solid foundation for understanding how brain science relates to good thinking. I want to focus on just one aspect of this chapter, Harrison’s recurring theme that to understand the brain and thought properly we have to consider the brain as a whole. This is a complex idea, not just because wholistic thinking goes against the grain of our tendency to break things up into parts, but also because the human brain is the most complex known entity. Harrison says at the conclusion of this chapter that we should all aim to be a Renaissance person, one who does it all, exercising our whole brain like a muscle, a broad generalist rather than a narrow specialist. This is a way of thought with a strong religious dimension, going back to the central idea of Buddhist and Hindu scripture that all is one, and that recognising the whole is the only way to start understanding the part properly.

Harrison’s attitude of considering the brain as a whole leads him to consider the overall health and fitness of our brain as our most important organ, as meaning we should “nurture, build, protect and enhance” our brain. The brain is plastic, remarkably flexible and adaptable, “more Play-Doh than porcelain”. Good thinking requires constant effort to make our brains more strong and alive.

Harrison provides some really valuable insights into how wholistic thinking is at the centre of this constant enterprise of brain health as like tending a garden. The human brain is a garden of thought that has more moving parts than our galaxy, in terms of neural connections compared to stars. So Harrison says our brains ‘sparkle with electrical energy … a living galaxy’.

The brain has parts, such as the hippocampus, amygdala, cerebellum and cerebrum, but Harrison contends that “we have to avoid giving too much weight to the idea of well-defined borders between brain parts. It’s like looking at the Earth and seeing only two hundred or so separate nations at the expense of the reality of a single planet intimately connected across land, ocean and atmosphere. The brain is an organ built on connections.” (p78)

And later, on p99, “a key lesson [is] that it is necessary to focus conservation efforts on entire natural habitats… the web of life is too complex, the components too intertwined, to approach any other way. This is a good way to think of the brain as well, like a vast ecosystem that will never be understood unless all of it is purposefully investigated.”

These ideas may seem clear and simple, at least they do to me. But using these insights that all is one as a basis for values and ethics is immensely difficult. In practice we assume that our partial outlook is the whole of reality, and we imagine that the ideology that arises from our partial view is the whole truth. So starting from this principle of the existence of an incredibly complex whole ecosystem where our perception only scratches the surface seems a key insight in epistemology.

I will next consider these ideas in terms of how Harrison's unified model of brain science implies that we should consider any complex system, from a microscopic ecosystem up to our solar system, as a whole entity, to begin to understand it properly, as a basic principle of good thinking.


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