Leaving the Faith

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Re: Leaving the Faith

Postby Moonwood the Hare » Sat Mar 07, 2015 12:56 pm

spongebob wrote:
Moonwood the Hare wrote:To say that the brain is whgere emotions happen is really to reintroduce dualism but in a materialist version. Emotions can not only have effects on our body but can originate in our body or in both brain and body.


I just don't believe a word of this.

Furthermore the brain is not a single system and emotions can originate outside conciousness.


Don't believe that either.

You need to think it through. What is an emotion, why is it there from an evolutionary perspective. William James had already asked do we run away because we are scared or arewe scared because we run away (not quite either) but here he is asking about the evolutionary origins of emotion in primitive impulses to act. So the emotion of fear begins as a flight reflex. When we develop conciousness we feel this but the impulse though reflected in conciousness is not produced in conciousness. Apes, other mamals even reptiles have something which is analogous to our amygdala but they have no concious reflection of this process. In some cases, say grasping a hot object, we have dropped what we grasp notonly before we are conciously aware of the pain but before the signal has reached the brain and the emotional response which is felt in the brain originates in the body and only later is felt by the concious mind. There is plenty of research on this- a key work is LeDoux's The Emotional Brain. There are a number of didfferent systems in the brain. The more primitive ones deal with rapid responces, and conciousness, a latecomer only becomes aware of these retrospectively.Again check the research, there's plenty.
I'm not as educated on this stuff as you are, obviously, but this just isn't something I buy at any level. I can't say I can prove it, but certainly nothing I've ever experienced suggests that it is true. I do know there is an entire world out there of alternative ideas that make claims of this nature and the vast majority of them have been exposed as nonsense through rigorous experimentation. This seems to fall into that category to me.

You are rejecting an idea because it is similar to other ideas which have been rejected through experimentation.Is that skepticism or prejudice?
If "Outside consciousness" is referring to some entity or awareness that exists outside one's body, then I see this as nonsense. If you are referring to something within our own mind that we don't have direct access to then yes I agree it is a real thing.

I'm not that interested in these metaphysical questions about if it's inside the body or outside it; inside if it makes you more comfortable to think that. Freud used the term inconcious mind and others have followed but some, Sartre for example, reject that and say what we call mind must be concious.Whatever terms we use there is stuff going on inside us that we are not aware of.
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Re: Leaving the Faith

Postby sayak » Sat Mar 07, 2015 1:01 pm

You need to think it through. What is an emotion, why is it there from an evolutionary perspective. William James had already asked do we run away because we are scared or arewe scared because we run away (not quite either) but here he is asking about the evolutionary origins of emotion in primitive impulses to act. So the emotion of fear begins as a flight reflex. When we develop conciousness we feel this but the impulse though reflected in conciousness is not produced in conciousness. Apes, other mamals even reptiles have something which is analogous to our amygdala but they have no concious reflection of this process. In some cases, say grasping a hot object, we have dropped what we grasp notonly before we are conciously aware of the pain but before the signal has reached the brain and the emotional response which is felt in the brain originates in the body and only later is felt by the concious mind. There is plenty of research on this- a key work is LeDoux's The Emotional Brain. There are a number of didfferent systems in the brain. The more primitive ones deal with rapid responces, and conciousness, a latecomer only becomes aware of these retrospectively.Again check the research, there's plenty.


The body is affected by emotions certainly. But the centers that create emotional states in us (by controlling hormones and other neuro-chemical cascades among other things) are located in the brain, some within the conscious centers and others in the more primitive parts. Would you agree MoonWood?
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Re: Leaving the Faith

Postby spongebob » Sat Mar 07, 2015 1:18 pm

Moonwood the Hare wrote:You need to think it through. What is an emotion, why is it there from an evolutionary perspective. William James had already asked do we run away because we are scared or arewe scared because we run away (not quite either) but here he is asking about the evolutionary origins of emotion in primitive impulses to act. So the emotion of fear begins as a flight reflex. When we develop conciousness we feel this but the impulse though reflected in conciousness is not produced in conciousness. Apes, other mamals even reptiles have something which is analogous to our amygdala but they have no concious reflection of this process. In some cases, say grasping a hot object, we have dropped what we grasp notonly before we are conciously aware of the pain but before the signal has reached the brain and the emotional response which is felt in the brain originates in the body and only later is felt by the concious mind. There is plenty of research on this- a key work is LeDoux's The Emotional Brain. There are a number of didfferent systems in the brain. The more primitive ones deal with rapid responces, and conciousness, a latecomer only becomes aware of these retrospectively.Again check the research, there's plenty.


You are talking mostly about pain signals and that's not the same thing as emotions. Look, I'm OK with talking about the nervous system as an extension of the brain because it is, but you are going way beyond what Chapabel was talking about. When he says "I felt the pain in my heart" it's extremely obvious that this is nothing but a metaphor. He is talking about the emotion of losing a loved one. We "feel" that emotion deeply and the affects can extend throughout our body, but its ridiculous to say that his heart muscle experiences the emotion of loss.

You are rejecting an idea because it is similar to other ideas which have been rejected through experimentation.Is that skepticism or prejudice?


I'm rejecting these ideas because they have the same hallmarks of ideas that have been demonstrated to be bogus. There's nothing prejudice about that. Like any claim, if it conflicts or deviates from the consensus then those claims need to be supported by evidence. You can't expect people to just accept every new claim that comes through the door because they are legion. What you are claiming is that there is something special with this particular claim. So demonstrate it.

I'm not that interested in these metaphysical questions about if it's inside the body or outside it; inside if it makes you more comfortable to think that. Freud used the term inconcious mind and others have followed but some, Sartre for example, reject that and say what we call mind must be concious.Whatever terms we use there is stuff going on inside us that we are not aware of.


Well, my questions are NOT based on metaphysics, not at all in any way, shape or form. I stay away from that stuff. So when I ask if you mean this "outside consciousness" is referring to parts of the mind that we don't have direct access to, then I'm OK with it. But if you say you are talking about the wind spirit that visits us when we visit the river then I know you are talking about new age stuff that I can safely ignore.

Something I tried to add to my last post but didn't get it in in time is that some of what you are suggesting sounds a lot to me like when people thought that memories could be held within body parts and they could be experienced by the recipients of transplants. That was an intriguing idea for a horror film but ultimately not true.
Man is a credulous animal, and must believe something; in the absence of good grounds for belief, he will be satisfied with bad ones.
~Bertrand Russell

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Re: Leaving the Faith

Postby Moonwood the Hare » Sat Mar 07, 2015 1:23 pm

sayak wrote:The body is affected by emotions certainly. But the centers that create emotional states in us (by controlling hormones and other neuro-chemical cascades among other things) are located in the brain, some within the conscious centers and others in the more primitive parts. Would you agree MoonWood?

Not really. It is brain and body working together. In fact Gendlin has gone so far as to say the unconcious is the body. http://www.focusing.org/gendlin/docs/gol_2148.html
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Re: Leaving the Faith

Postby sayak » Sat Mar 07, 2015 2:18 pm

Moonwood the Hare wrote:
sayak wrote:The body is affected by emotions certainly. But the centers that create emotional states in us (by controlling hormones and other neuro-chemical cascades among other things) are located in the brain, some within the conscious centers and others in the more primitive parts. Would you agree MoonWood?

Not really. It is brain and body working together. In fact Gendlin has gone so far as to say the unconcious is the body. http://www.focusing.org/gendlin/docs/gol_2148.html


This focusing looks like body mindfulness, the second stage of vipasana meditation. I have practiced it myself. Here's an excerpt from a manual,

In the midst of your regular activities, devote two one-hour periods during the week to being mindful of your body. During this time, perhaps using a timer or some other cue to remind yourself, periodically check in with your body, maybe every five minutes or so. Notice, in particular, your shoulders, stomach, face, and hands. If you find tension in any of these places, relax.

Devote one meal to eating slowly and mindfully, paying attention to the tastes, textures, temperature, and other qualities of your food, and to the experience of your body eating. (When does your body tell you that have had enough?) If possible, take the meal in silence, with no other activities to distract you. You might want to put down your spoon or fork between bites. Whenever your mind wanders, or whenever you get caught up in reactions to what is happening, relax and come back to the simplicity of eating mindfully.

Start noticing when, how and by what, your attention becomes distracted or fragmented. Are there any common themes or patterns in the kinds of thoughts, feelings, activities, or pre-occupations where your mindfulness disappears? If you discover any, discuss what you find with somebody: a friend, relative, or colleague.

Meditation Instruction: Mindfulness of the Body
During meditation, center your awareness primarily on the physical sensations of breathing. With dedication, but without strain, keep the breath in the foreground of attention. The idea is to be relaxed and receptive while alert and attentive. As long as other experiences such as bodily sensations, sounds, thoughts, or feelings are in the background of your awareness, allow them to remain there while you rest your attention with the sensations of breathing.

When a strong physical sensation makes it difficult for you to stay with the breath, simply switch your awareness to this new predominant experience. The art of mindfulness is recognizing what is predominant and then sustaining an intimate mindfulness on whatever that is. When the mind wanders and you lose the mindful connection with the sensation, gently and without judgment return your attention to the physical sensation.

As if your entire body was a sensing organ, sense or feel the physical experience. Simply allow it to be there. Drop whatever commentary or evaluations you may have about the experience in favor of seeing and sensing the experience directly in and of itself. Carefully explore the particular sensations that make it up – hardness or softness, warmth or coolness, tingling, tenseness, pressure, burning, throbbing, lightness, and so on. Let your awareness become as intimate with the experience as you can. Notice what happens to the sensations as you are mindful of them. Do they become stronger or weaker, larger or smaller, or do they stay the same?

As an aid to both acknowledging the physical experience and sustaining your focus, you can ever so softly label the experience. The labeling is a gentle, ongoing whisper in the mind that keeps the attention steady on the object of mindfulness. You should primarily sense directly the experience and what happens to it as you are present for it.

Be alert for when the focus of your attention moves from the physical sensations to your reactions to the sensations and your thoughts about them. If this happens move your attention back to the felt-sense of the sensations. Try to keep yourself independent of whatever thoughts and reactions you have. Relax.

Once a physical sensation has disappeared or is no longer compelling, you can return to mindfulness of breathing until some other sensation calls your attention.


I appreciate the phenomenological aspect of conscious awareness, but here I was talking more about biological and neurological aspects of how emotions arise. I can (after some searching) quote multiple textbooks that show the regions of the brain that are responsible for governing the emotional states, and how they create the emotional aspects of our experience. And there are several popular books on this topic too,
http://www.amazon.com/The-Feeling-What-Happens-Consciousness/dp/0156010755/ref=pd_sim_b_5?ie=UTF8&refRID=1E1JAMS1GE1N7KMXVYR6

So the question is, do you disagree with such a model of how emotions occur in us?
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Re: Leaving the Faith

Postby spongebob » Sun Mar 08, 2015 6:14 am

Anyway, this is a side track. It's been hashed before and I've heard most of these things Moonwood is talking about. I suppose they make for interesting reading but I don't see these things as valid.
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Re: Leaving the Faith

Postby Moonwood the Hare » Sun Mar 08, 2015 6:46 am

spongebob wrote:You are talking mostly about pain signals and that's not the same thing as emotions. Look, I'm OK with talking about the nervous system as an extension of the brain because it is, but you are going way beyond what Chapabel was talking about. When he says "I felt the pain in my heart" it's extremely obvious that this is nothing but a metaphor. He is talking about the emotion of losing a loved one. We "feel" that emotion deeply and the affects can extend throughout our body, but its ridiculous to say that his heart muscle experiences the emotion of loss.

If you are using the word experience in the very broad sense to mean 'are in some way affected by' then it is not absurd. If you are using it in the sense of personal experience then it is the person whohas the experience and it is as false to say the muscles in the heart experience pain as it is to say the neurons in the brain experience pain.
I'm rejecting these ideas because they have the same hallmarks of ideas that have been demonstrated to be bogus. There's nothing prejudice about that. Like any claim, if it conflicts or deviates from the consensus then those claims need to be supported by evidence. You can't expect people to just accept every new claim that comes through the door because they are legion. What you are claiming is that there is something special with this particular claim. So demonstrate it.

Rejecting a claim because it is in some way similar to another claim that has been rejected is bad science and bad epistemology. The claim made by Copernicus that the earth went round the sun was rejected by many established scientists because it was essentially the same as the claim of Pythagoras which was rejected when the Ptolemaic theory was adopted. What is it that you want me to demonstrate?
Well, my questions are NOT based on metaphysics, not at all in any way, shape or form. I stay away from that stuff. So when I ask if you mean this "outside consciousness" is referring to parts of the mind that we don't have direct access to, then I'm OK with it. But if you say you are talking about the wind spirit that visits us when we visit the river then I know you are talking about new age stuff that I can safely ignore.

I think the reason you say you stay away from metaphisics is because you see your own materialist metaphysic as simply true. All I am really seeing here is prejudice. But I guess you are wise to stay with what you feel safe with at least for the present.
Something I tried to add to my last post but didn't get it in in time is that some of what you are suggesting sounds a lot to me like when people thought that memories could be held within body parts and they could be experienced by the recipients of transplants. That was an intriguing idea for a horror film but ultimately not true.
Sayak suggested that not believing in ultimate truth was a feature of atheism, not as I suspected of all atheism, since you are now claiming to know what was ultimately not true.
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Re: Leaving the Faith

Postby Moonwood the Hare » Sun Mar 08, 2015 6:55 am

sayak wrote:
This focusing looks like body mindfulness, the second stage of vipasana meditation. I have practiced it myself. Here's an excerpt from a manual,

I think the two approaches are complementary rather than identical, although my knowledge of mindfulness comes from the more westernised, less religious, version developed by Jon Kabat-Zinn. I could be wrong but I think focussing is more explorative. It occurs to methat there is a similarity between the way therapists use mindfulness and the way Jung used Yoga, not to fully still his mind but to still it enough to allow unconcious contents to enter. I would use the two aproaches together.
I appreciate the phenomenological aspect of conscious awareness, but here I was talking more about biological and neurological aspects of how emotions arise. I can (after some searching) quote multiple textbooks that show the regions of the brain that are responsible for governing the emotional states, and how they create the emotional aspects of our experience. And there are several popular books on this topic too,
http://www.amazon.com/The-Feeling-What-Happens-Consciousness/dp/0156010755/ref=pd_sim_b_5?ie=UTF8&refRID=1E1JAMS1GE1N7KMXVYR6

So the question is, do you disagree with such a model of how emotions occur in us?

When you say 'such a model' do you mean specifically the model offered in the link? I am not denying the validity of that kind of model but I would not want to be limited by a model so that I had to say that whatever the model could not explain could not happen, I like to be open to possibilities and if you absolutise a model you place it beyong either development or falsification. That seems unwise.
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Re: Leaving the Faith

Postby Moonwood the Hare » Sun Mar 08, 2015 12:08 pm

sayak wrote:No, I did not, and I am unfamiliar with the categories you are using. Can explain more?
Hasn't Freudian psychology been superceded by more modern approaches based on empirical investigations?

Buber was a Jewish philosopher, sometimes calssed as an existentialist, who argues that there are two ays humans can relate I-thou and I-it. The I-it is a sub-personal relationship where the I-thou is personal and involves the whole self. He was a big influence on both gestalt and person centred theory though he and Rogers ultimately differed on both the nature of the person and of therapy. But in his thinking a relationship is something that trancends both feeling and thinking, an awareness beyond process.

You have to distinguish between academic psychology and therapeutic psychology. Many of Freud's or Jung's ideas are now being corroborated by our understanding of brain structure but not all. In practice both Freudian and Jungian aproaches are very much alive because so far brain physiology has not come close to producing any kind of viable therapy to deal with emotional distress even though it is being taken up into existing therapies. The nearest thing I have come to accross to what you are sugesting is some of the work of the human givems institute.
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Re: Leaving the Faith

Postby Baz86 » Tue May 05, 2015 11:33 pm

I can only speak for myself, everyone has their journey.

I departed from church for a couple years because I was disillusioned by the shallowness and lack of human compassion. Gang members are more faithful to each other than a lot of churches are. I actually felt it was unhealthy for me to stay because it was becoming a detriment to my faith. I departed from the physical church but I did not depart from faith.

I left church but I never stopped believing because my faith was not just a mental agreement to a set of rules but because I experienced the power of Christ first hand. It wasn't just some silly emotion fest. You touch a flame, you get burned and no amount of fancy arguments can undo what you experience. I got to the point after so much betrayal by people I trusted that I didn't even want to call myself a Christian anymore but that death was a new beginning for me. God used this to strip a lot of pretentious, religious falsehood from my life. It's like I just have no more tolerance for this garbage anymore, it makes me tired. I just want us to be honest and real not pretend we understand everything and have it all together. We don't. We're just as dysfunctional as anyone else.

Sometimes the church is infected with falsehood and people actually have to step away so God can really work properly in their life. I hover here until God shows me who he wants me to team up with again. It's not safe, not even in the churches, so I have to ask him to protect me wherever I go.

Step away, heal and come back with a fresh perspective is what some of us are going through.

A church that has no place for suffering people is of no use to this world. A Gospel you can't preach in a 3rd world country has no value.
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