Mechanical Brain?

@missak (3311)
Spain
May 24, 2007 6:25am CST
As I promised, here is my "Cybernetic Theory" discussion. Have you ever heard of that theory? It has been developped in the 1940s, mainly by Norbert Wiener (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Norbert_Wiener). It defends that all our thoughts and feelings are just the product of chemical reactions and electrical stimulations in our brain, and that when science evolves enough all our feelings and thoughts could be controlled by means of special drugs for each reaction. This idea has inspired the film Matrix. I don't agree with that teory, I think there are some feelings (love, free will) or thoughts (artistic ideas) that come from elsewhere, something spiritual or inmaterial (or not physical). What do you think?
8 people like this
13 responses
• India
24 May 07
The working of our brain or mind is yet to be completely analysed. In a discussion I had stated that we are analysing our mind applying our mind and hence there is limitation on our part to find out the actual reason for damage to the brain or mind. I agree with you rejecting the cybernetic theory
4 people like this
@missak (3311)
• Spain
25 May 07
Your answer is good, but it is not the best, I am sorry for all thoose great answers, I marked this one by a mistake on my mouse!!
1 person likes this
@Naseem00 (1998)
• Pakistan
24 May 07
It can be partily true. But as you have mentioned yourself, there are phenomena which are yet to be explained like love and freewill. Still it will be interesting to see, considering that will be made possible, someone being controlled by someone else. I do not want to think what will be the impact of that on the society as whole.
24 May 07
I agree with you. I feel that whilst our brains may be little more than electric connections, through a watery mass, there is something undefined, and therefore beyond the control of chemical stimulants and electric shock treatment. I shall be on medication which does have an affect on my brain, for the rest of my life. This medication does affect my mental processes, but does not control who am I. What that undefined aspect is, and whether we shall ever understand it, I cannot say, but I'm glad it exists.
3 people like this
• Sri Lanka
24 May 07
The reason why we think that there will be limitations when it comes to love and emotion is because the technology today does not have an explanation to those things. But I think all those depends on the constitution of the brain. I am sure that in future scientists will be able to download a human being into a hard disk of the computer. Then the computer will be the person.
@sigma77 (5385)
• United States
24 May 07
I don't think it is totally valid either. There has to be somethng more to it than that. I think many feelings and ideas come from outside of us. The universe is only energy and that energy is connected to everything, just as we are. The idea of using chemicals to control my brain is appalling to me. No way do I want to be subject to that. Then maybe we already are to some extent since we need food, water and air to survive and there are chemicals in each.
3 people like this
@urbandekay (18308)
25 May 07
It seems to me that any theory of this type runs into a serious problem. We might agree that the brain is an electrochemical device but in order to show that our thoughts and feelings are just the functioning of this device it would have to be shown that thoughts and feelings posses the same properties as nervous impulses etc. and visa versa by Leibnitz Law, which has not been done. Since, if conciousness is just the functioning of our brain then they are the same thing, which is to say they have the same properties. Yet, clearly they do not, there for conciousness is more than the functioning of the brain. all the best urban
2 people like this
@Tanya8 (1734)
• Canada
25 May 07
Urban, according to your logic, you can't accept that the whirring made by a blender is caused by its mechanical parts, because the whirring doesn't share the same properties as the parts.
2 people like this
@urbandekay (18308)
25 May 07
Not at all. The whirring just is a property of the blender. But the mind (As normally conceived)has properties of its own. The analogy of blender and whirring noise just doesn't fit. So, then it might be thought that the problem can just be got round by ignoring the concept of a mind and saying that those properties we normally ascribe to minds are really properties of the brain. But this produces a further problem. We might say the properties of a glass of pure water are really just the properties of the molecules of H2O that constitute it. And you might think that again my argument would rule out this kind of talk since the molecules do not possess the gross properties of the water; liquidity, wetness, etc. But no since these gross properties of the water are explainable by the properties of the molecules in a way that those properties normally ascribed to the mind are not explainable by chemical and electrical processes in the brain. I do not mean just that they have not been explained yet but that they seem to be so fundamentally different from the kind of things that are reducible to electro-chemical processes that pessimism of an explanation seems justifiable. all the best urban
1 person likes this
@Tanya8 (1734)
• Canada
26 May 07
I think I must be driving you crazy Urban, but I disagree that the whirring is a property of a blender. I say the whirring is a property of the WORK being done by the blender. I also say that the mind is a result of work (or activity) going on in the brain. I absolutely DO NOT think that the brain and the mind are the same thing. My view is that the brain PRODUCES the mind. I thought over your water analogy, and you're right -- there are no gross properties of a quantity of water that can't be explained by the shape, mass, movement and vibrational speed of its constituent molecules. But, not all objects and phenomena in the world share qualities with their parts, and I'm of the opinion that brain and mind fall into this last category. All the analogies that makes sense to me involve a causal agent and an action or effect, and therefore less likelihood of shared properties. I'm starting to suspect that the reason we're going around in circles with each other, is that we have different understandings of the term, "materialism". I'd like to explain further, but I have to take a break for a bit, as I mentioned in a post above. I'm looking forward to returning though; this is one of the few really interesting discussions I've had at myLot for a while.
1 person likes this
@Tanya8 (1734)
• Canada
24 May 07
Hello again Missak, As you know, I do think our minds are the products of biological processes alone, however I don't know the extent to which we'll be able to have control over those processes, even if we do come to understand them fully. Some people in the artificial intelligence field, like Ray Kurtzweil (another author you might enjoy - especially his book, The Age of Spiritual Machines), think that we'll be able to make conscious robots, and transfer our own consciousness to other systems within a few decades. Others think he's underestimating the complexity of the processes in the brain, and that it may never be possible (not to mention the fact that there will be huge ethical barriers to conducting the kind of trials that could get us to that point). There have been so many fascinating advances in neuroscience in the last few decades, especially over the last 15 years. We actually know quite a lot about the systems in the brain that give rise to emotions. If you look up the neurotransmitters: dopamine; serotonin and oxytocin, you'll find a lot of information on the effects their levels have on mood, emotions and motivation. It seems from some of the comments in this discussion, and in the other one we're both involved in, that the idea of thinking of love in terms of chemicals and neural connections is somehow horrifying. I don't see why it should be though. You can still enjoy things in the world despite understanding what they're made of or how they work. Most elementary school children understand how a rainbow forms, but they aren't any less thrilled when they see one. For some people, like me, knowing how something works, actually enhances their appreciation of it. Consider going for a hike, and emerging from the woods to see a beautiful mountain range. It's not very poetic to describe the mountains as lumps of rock covered with dirt and frozen water, but it's factually correct. No one would argue that they're made out of something "better" than rock and dirt, because rock and dirt aren't beautiful. We don't know everything there is to know about the brain, but we're certainly starting to unravel it's mysteries. Knowing how love might arise from the workings of our brain, doesn't make us less able to experience the joy(and pain) love brings us or to appreciate an artist who can capture the way loves feels with a a metaphor.
2 people like this
@Tanya8 (1734)
• Canada
28 May 07
That's very kind of you. Sorry, I didn't notice this comment earlier.
1 person likes this
• United States
25 May 07
I think that our brains work by electrical impulses and different chemicals, but there is something more ethreal that makes us individuals. Cybernetics may be able to copy some things , but the true essence of each person would still be as individual as a snowflake. I also love the Matrix movies because they make to you about things just like this.
@jimbomuso (950)
25 May 07
I've heard of the theory, but I think it explains some of the automatic functions of the brain like Fight and flight which is automatic analysis of information(threat assesment)chemical output(adrenaline) which leads to action . I think that conciouness is an ever evolving operating system, it's the only analogy that seems to fit. It could be argued that love is a set of chemical reactions that is governed by an AND/OR/NOT gate in conciousness. the way I've described it makes it sound mechanical, but the whole mind/body set up is mechanical, but conciouness actually operates 'fuzzy logic' hence amazing idea's and new ways of thinking. I'm no scientist or academic but unless we can study the brain at a quantum level our conventional model of the brain will stay the same.
2 people like this
@healwell (1268)
• Ahmedabad, India
25 May 07
This theory is really old but after thatsome kind of mathematical countings and mystic numbers were considered andphysical level occurrencesmight help to do more active development of the cells in changing process and powerful mind can do that fast. that was the concept behind making of Matrix! And yes there are more spiritual and beyond mind is there which is more helpful when you try to go for such inner adventure!
@Opalrose (46)
• Australia
24 May 07
oh, and I forgot to say, that it was the Era of mind control, total control of the masses. They said we were working against the Enemy. A theory which persists to this day.
2 people like this
@polachicago (19073)
• United States
24 May 07
Neurons are transmitting information in the form of electrical signals. Neurons communicate with each other at special junctions where chemicals help to bridge the gap between one neuron and the next. However, what is going to start these electrical and chemical signals? We can stimulate our brain with chemical and electrical signals, but it is only additional stimulation when in fact is only guiding someone’s thoughts away from main tract. Without spirit man is not able to use millions of his neurons no matter what stimulations are being used...
• India
28 May 07
I'm into computer science. I'm still studying and have even a bit of experience in teaching. I have read a bit into Artificial intelligence, learning machines, human-like droids and the like. One of the main things that supposedly set up apart from even the most advanced droids (you would be surprised by the level of sophistication and the level of intelligence some of them demonstrate.) is that we can learn dynamically, and from our mistakes, but a great many of the latest droids do that too. Free will and free speech are again things that cannot be clearly defined. A machine is only that because it is programmed to do all that it's master bids it to do, while people have free will. If I don't feel like doing something, I won't, even if I'm compelled. What if a machine is programmed to disobey at times? What if we too have just been programmed to disobey or to display what seems to be free speech? What if free will is just a built in anomaly, just to make things more interesting? Scary thought, and seems rather irrational, but then, it can give a lot of food for thought.