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Schmeltz's picture

Initially, I was a Descartian

Initially, I was a Descartian probably because I have been heavily influenced by all the literature and poetry I have explored from the Romantic era and also because I really did believe in the concept of a soul.  I still do. Now, however, I have been able to develop a new story of where this soul originates and I have been able to recognize science as having the potential to be a spiritual journey.  I now believe one can be an expansionist, a spiritualist, and a materialist all at once.  I think Dickinson is an example of this.  So, I am now a converted Dickinsonian and I am happy with the transformation because I believe it has allowed me to view the world from a new perspectives.

The next bullet is a loaded question. To be honest, most of what we explored in this class was new material for me.  I really want to explore the concept of the I-function in more depth and how it functions under certain environments/conditions.  Further, I'd like to explore spiritual, self-transcendent experience to a greater extent and determine in what ways I may facilitate these experiences in my own life.  Also, I would like to gain more insight into the unconscious nervous system.  I feel like I think too much now in terms of I-function.  Additionally, I want to explore E.O. Wilson's ideas on the human connection to nature and possibly expand on the foundation he established for philosophers and scientists to take a more rigorous approach toward the conservation ethic.  Conversations/topics I found interesting: paraplegic dogs, science as being "loopy" and about "getting it less wrong", picture in our head is a construction, Dickinson and "The Brain is Wider than the Sky", CPGs, nervous system as being a system of outputs, I-function, exploration of the bipartite nervous system, color, vision, and fovea (I definitely want to explore the auditory system more after this exploration of the visual system), set points, dreams, fugues...   

I really believe that if others were offered the opportunity to explore more about the brain and behavior the approach we took would really heighten awareness and generate understanding that I really think could potentially enhance our human connection.  When you realize and come to terms with the fact that each of us is truly individualistic and a unique nervous system composed of outlets and resulting inputs, it becomes, I think, easier to accept differences.  Also, people become more interesting because you realize that you can never share their exact experience.  This is why conversation is so significant because there is so much going on of which we are not aware and of which we cannot experience.  I think by understanding the brain and behavior, people may learn to gain tolerance and compassion for the different ideas different brains possess.  By conversing and sharing the ideas in our brains, we expand and enhance our own experience.  I really believe this.

Some questions that I would like answered:

How may drugs be used to enhance our human experience i.e. hallucinogens? Do they have the power to empower the I-function?  

Are self-transcendent experiences localizable?  Do they correlate to specific brain regions? 

How exactly does anesthesia work? 

Do paraplegic dogs wag their tails? Based on my series of observations I say yes, but it is still an interesting thing to explore...


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