I am not sure what we get out of thinking of neurons a bit like Christians think of at least half of human nature.
Many decades ago Donald Hebb noted that when a neural route is repeated often enough it becomes the "preferred" route. This is the neuroscience behind Dennett's assertions. Stuck in this rut, a person becomes addicted or obsessive. That the routes can be changed is called neuroplasticity. See Doidge* on this important concept.
* "The Brain That Changes Itself".
IMHO, there is enough neuroplasticity in most brains to overcome addiction provided the person's immediate environment does not reinforce it. It is an environmental plus that neurons (to use an inappropriate word) "crave" more. Without those drives there would be no creativity.
.The difference between craving and drives is semantic only. Yes, the plateaus of habit can be expanded. Whether or not we can assign teleology to these events is a matter of opinion
Looking back on fortunate neuronal routes, one is tempted to assign purpose to them. Maybe there is enough room in simple fortuity to account for all neuronal activities.
quetzalcoatl wrote:I expect the bug took many routes before it found the simplest way to survive and reproduce. Perhaps we are always trying to find some such simplicity - in a manner of speaking.
What would we become if we found it?
Is the human mind so complex that it will always arrive at more complexity?
So we will always have our demons spread across the species, could there ever be a time when people don’t do bad shit?
Do we look for simplicity or 'elegance?' I'd rather think some humans look for elegance in the way they think, but we can never be totally rational (assuming rationality = elegance)--we have too many nooks and crannies in our minds to achieve complete rationality.
Dennet, to my mind, should be considered a religious person. He has very strong fixed opinions about minds and consciousness.Amorphos wrote:I think you are right in what you say - up to a point, though Dennet has spoken about the way neurons get used to things e.g. the same coffee, even if it’s the best in town you need a change after a while.
I can't separate out brains from the endocrine system for example. People get bored, not neurons.I mean how long does it take to get bored of your wallpaper or of sex with the same person? Especially after a long marriage, its almost impossible to not want change.
As such I think there are both long and short term effects, at least in our experience ~ I had assumed that to be mostly neuronal.
Or it is a demon and shows us presuming we have (near) complete knowledge.It removes the demons and shows us a process that we can understand and work with.
I don't see what the problem of thinking 'its me' is. From a reductionist standpoint, and one a decade out of date, I am my neurons or my neurons are me. No one is forcing anyone to satisfy their desires, or the desires of the neurons (lol), but it would be weird to try to satisfy other desires. If you don't want to go down that road, you will nevertheless experience what it is like to not satisfy the desires you no longer identify as yours. Which is a choice and some people prefer it.Instead of thinking ‘its me’ or ‘its demons’, we can just think; its neurons, they want to be stimulated, it is not ‘my’ desire and I don’t have to go down the road of constantly trying to satisfy what I am not the author of.
It sounds rather Buddhist actually. Which is fine. Though that perspective would also be your 'neurons and glial cells and whatever else we don't know about yet'. And the urge to not identify with your neurons would also be your neurons urge.I think there are a myriad of ways in which that’s quite an important distinction ~ if its true or somewhat true.
You know what's funny. Everyone talks about brains/minds in terms of patterns of neurons. Neuroscientists are just realizing that what they dismissed as structural cells - glial cells, which simply meant glue cells - have a lot to do with intelligence, communicate more globally in the brain and via different mechanisms than neurons.
I can't separate out brains from the endocrine system for example. People get bored, not neurons.
I don't see what the problem of thinking 'its me' is
It sounds rather Buddhist actually. Which is fine. Though that perspective would also be your 'neurons and glial cells and whatever else we don't know about yet'. And the urge to not identify with your neurons would also be your neurons urge.
This was the book I got my info from on glial cells, but I see there are others out there also...Amorphos wrote:Interesting stuff, thanks.
I agree we have only just scratched the surface on the physics, even less so on emergent properties, and what they come from.
It seems like when neuronal paths are used, they remain strong. If they are not used, other paths seem to get precendence and some paths are no longer so effective as they once were. But this is the opposite of the boredom issue. Boredom tends to come from repetition, but neuronal paths are strengthened by repetition. Like we can see a certain area of the brain change and even grow when people learn to juggle. If they don't juggle, perhaps because they find it boring, this area will go back to where it was.I am sure I read somewhere that neurons require stimulus or they wilt and die [may have been on the royal institution lectures]? Change, difference and boredom may be outer features of this.
For some reason it appears to be part of our condition, so I assume its represented physically in some manner?
Sure, much of what I would say is me is not something I consciously authored, but I am not sure identity needs to be defined as what one has authored in oneself.I see some of these things as not of my conscious authorship, though they could be a subconscious reaction to my conscious likes and dislikes.
Some people do go in the direction you are suggesting. Though pretty much all of them will identify the rapists as having aggression toward women and that this is part of who they are, at least now. I prefer to go in the other direction, which is to identify with everything I find in myself and others, get to the root of it and see if it can change there. If I am not my anger, then I am not the part of me that dislikes it and wishes it would go away either.I think murderers and rapists consider the self to be entire, and then the thoughts they get are part of them. It seems part of the resolution to such evils, that we first disassociate the self with things it has not authored.
WEll, just to focus on this argument, Calvinists are determinists and they are certainly religious. There are many other religious determinists. Its only some strange, literally cloistered theologians who got many people associating free will with religion as a whole.lizbethrose wrote:Daniel Dennett is a determinist, and he says he is--so he'd hardly religious.
Moreno, you said, "...glial cells, which simply meant glue cells - have a lot to do with intelligence, communicate more globally in the brain and via different mechanisms than neurons."I thought, last I read, 'glue cells' attached themselves to and 'took care of' neurons. Can you lead me to a more recent site?
If I am not my anger, then I am not the part of me that dislikes it and wishes it would go away either.
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