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Reaction to the Neurobiology Papers

jpfeiffer's picture

I found these four papers in Neurobiology very different yet inextricably linked. Although the subjects inevitably varied- from making up the mind to learning languages, to the perception of different cultures to the idea of "I" functions, these papers all dealt with science in some aspect and the conscience and un-conscious part of the human brain. In the paper about making up the mind and not being able to trust one's brain anymore because it creates images of the world as we know it was both enlightening and a tad scary. It reminded me of humans losing th ability to control what they perceive since our brains automatically do this for us. Therefore we do not really have a say, so to speak, in what we see and how we perceive it since this is performed by our un-conscious mind. This was related to the idea of learning languages as the take home message in this paper was that we are most effective at learning a language when we speak this language from our un-conscious self. For example, learning the grammar of a language is often more difficult for us and is not done by native speakers of a language because they are able to resort to their un-conscious minds to speak a language-similar to the Natural Approach described in this post. The third article and fourth articles were also insightful into the ways in which humans perceive both similar and alike people. For example, many Westerners view all Africans as being poor and living in squaller however this idea is not accurate as only four out of 53 countries in Africa actually possess a large number of poor people. At the same time however, the fact also remains that even people within a specific culture look down on members of their own people as many of the successful Africans often forget about their unfortunate peers. Lastly, the idea of minds thinking alike led me to think of the statement, 'Great Minds think Alike'. This notion is that people who think alike actually have brains that are setup similarly thus making me believe that this idea is accurate?



jpfeiffer's picture

Great minds, great thoughts

This comment led me to think if any two people can have the same thoughts in their unconscious mind? Sure, two people may be able to experience the exact same thing. But how much do emotions or trauma play a role in the way the unconscious mind perceives a certain event? Your comment about personal experience being as unique as a fingerprint definitely served as a catalyst for this train of thought.
Is it possible that the feeling of doubt is when we consciously recognize our unconscious mind? I pose this question because is it possible that when we are relying on our unconscious mind, or cruise-control, but when we actually stop and consciously think about matters we are employing what can be referred to as doubt?
I think it is better to sit back and allow our minds to run on cruise control as this is the most natural state of being for humans.

Jessica Watkins's picture

The idea of great minds

The idea of great minds literally thinking alike is one worth exploring a little more, and can definitely be related to the tug-of-war between the conscious and unconscious mind.  It seems as if a battle is begin waged within us, one that we might not consciously be aware of but still accounts for discrepancies in behavior, that challenges the conscious, analytical mind to "loosen up" and think more unconsciously.  It makes me wonder whether great minds are alike in all ways, however.  For instance, is the unconscious of one great mind made up exactly like that of another great mind?  And how can this be if the unconscious draws its conclusions from personal experience, and personal experience is as unique as fingerprints?  As for the notion that we do not have a say in how our brain transmits and imparts information to us--do you think it is healthy for us to treat our own brains with a dose of skepticism, or is it better to acquiesce and sit back, letting our minds run on cruise control?