The Monroe Institute

Neuroscientists Measure Brain Activity in “Love Competition”

May 30, 2012



"Watch The Love Competition, think really hard about how much you love someone, and get your neurochemistry flowing."

 

From Wired magazine online, "Video: Neuroscientists Measure Brain Activity in Love Competition"
By Angela Watercutter

Is it possible for one person to love more than another? In an attempt to find out, filmmaker Brent Hoff teamed with Stanford University neuroscientists to test lovers’ abilities, using an fMRI to monitor brain activity and measure whose adoration was the strongest.

The results can be seen in The Love Competition, a short film directed by Hoff (watch the whole thing below). The San Francisco director, who edits DVD magazine Wholphin, said he knows the idea of reducing love to a neurochemical blood sport might rub some people the wrong way, but he hopes people see the film in the good-natured way he intended.

... [This] film follows seven contestants as they are placed in an fMRI to have activity in their brains measured as they try to love someone as hard as they can for five minutes.

... Hoff enlisted the help of researchers at the Stanford Center for Cognitive and Neurobiological Imaging. Research director Bob Dougherty assisted with development of the love test, while Melina Uncapher served as the film’s scientific director.

It turns out — based on the levels of activity in the dopamine, serotonin and ocytocin/vasopressin pathways — it is possible for one person to exhibit that they can love someone more deeply than another person can. But what’s amazing about The Love Competition is seeing the participants talk about their loves and the effects the fMRI tests had on them. Many come out almost giddy when the test is complete, and one woman tearily explains that she just feels lucky for the love she’s had in her life.

... “The guy who lost, who came in dead last, was probably the happiest of anyone; he realized he wasn’t in love with his ex-girlfriend,” Hoff said. “He walks out of there with his arms raised, triumphant.”

Watch The Love Competition, think really hard about how much you love someone, and get your neurochemistry flowing.

See the entire article ...



Star Trek Tricorder - Open Source Designs Online For Anyone To Build!

May 28, 2012



(Reuters) - "Starships, warp speed, transporters, phasers. Think 'Star Trek' technology is only the stuff of fiction? Think again."

 

From MessageToEagle.com, "Star Trek Tricorder Now Available Online for Anyone to Build"--

We certainly live in exciting times. More and more devices that have long been considered pure science fiction are now quickly becoming reality.

... [Here is a version of] the famous Star Trek tricorder {the hand-held devices for data sensing, analysis and recording] that has just been developed by Dr. Peter Jansen, a PhD graduate of the Cognitive Science Laboratory at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.

Perhaps one of the best things about Jansen's great invention is that anyone who follows the online instructions can build the tricorder!

... Jansen has posted schematics and designs of his first and second prototypes, the Mark 1 and Mark 2, for anyone to see and build. Jansen expects to have his latest version, the Mark 4, produced for "about $200."

"Everything you need to build one is on line" at www.tricorderproject.org, said Jansen. He hopes others will follow his lead.

Dr. Jansen considers his tricorder to be a practical tool that can be used for building inspection, for instance, where it might help taking temperature and humidity readings or be a distance sensor to measure rooms.

"The Tricorders that I've released are of course much simpler than the ones on the show -- they can detect basic things relating to atmospheric measurements (like temperature, pressure, or humidity), electromagnetic measurements about magnetic fields or light, and spatial measurements about distance or motion," Dr. Jansen said.

See full article ...



Disembodied Wisdom: Exploring the Phenomenon of Channeling

May 26, 2012



"During the past forty years, as channeling has become more prominent in the public eye, it has also become an increasingly loaded, polarizing, and even emotional subject."

From Noetic Now, a journal of the Institute of Noetic Sciences. "Disembodied Wisdom: Exploring the Phenomenon of Channeling"
by Jon Klimo, PhD
--

Ed. Note: Jon Klimo is probably the world’s foremost scholar on the phenomenon of spirit channeling. After teaching at Rutgers University for eight years, he became a professor of psychology at the American School of Professional Psychology at the San Francisco–based campus of Argosy University. His book Channeling: Investigations on Receiving Information from Paranormal Sources is considered the definitive work on the subject. He has also coauthored two books on the afterlife, which brings to mind Julie Beischel’s innovative research into mediumship (see “Talking to the Dead”). In the article below, Klimo discusses David Thomas’s new book Tuning In (Hampton Roads, 2011), and more generally the role of channeled material in a modern and skeptical world.

During the past forty years, as channeling has become more prominent in the public eye, it has also become an increasingly loaded, polarizing, and even emotional subject. Similar to other phenomena studied in parapsychology, consciousness research, and transpersonal psychology—and even the more extreme case of UFOs and extraterrestrials—channeling provides a litmus test of a person’s worldview on topics that could be categorized “anomalous” by consensus reality and the dominant scientific paradigm. Without definitive evidence irrefutably proving or disproving the reality and authenticity of channeling, “the jury stays out,” and we are left to our own devices to determine how we feel and what we think about channeling....

The mainstream has decreed that channeling is just another New Age fad for escapists, the gullible, and those who fail to think critically. To advocates, channeling represents a kind of emerging, revelatory breakthrough of insight and information from a larger, otherworldly reality that is much needed in our myopic and troubled times. Most people end up wrestling with what philosopher and psychologist William James called “the will to believe.” ...

... one may wonder what the difference is between garden-variety creativity, intuition, and inspiration—available to any of us on a good day—and the kind of channeled material involving “higher intelligence speaking through humans, “as Thomas puts it. Ultimately this book may point to how we everyday embodied spirits may be evolving in our own way toward having the kind of voice and vision once only associated with thousand-year-old beings from other dimensions.

See full article ...



Murmuration: Birds Stop the Mind

May 21, 2012



Steeping oneself in nature is an effective way to quiet the mind and move into meditative states. Witnessing a murmuration is that effect on steroids.

I experienced this once in person. While I was driving, a murmuration (a flock of starlings} appeared suddenly and dramatically over the roadway. My attention was so compelled by the art and ecstacy of those birds that it was all I could do to remain conscious of the traffic around me. As tens of thousands of starlings formed and reformed, creating brilliant 3D living sculptures, my visceral response was of being pulled up, into, and along with them.

In the three short clips below you get both a vicarious experience of mumurations as well as a demonstration of their impact on human onlookers.

A short film that follows the journey of two girls in a canoe on the River Shannon in Ireland and how they stumble across one of nature's greatest phenomena; a murmuration of starlings:

 

This astonishing sequence was filmed by wild life cameraman and travel journalist Dylan Winter:

 

300,000 Birds Swarm Over Denmark:

 



Consciousness, Sacred Knowledge, and Personal Freedom

May 18, 2012



"... power is not something that is graciously conferred upon us by the authorities. It is not something that we must work hard to be worthy of. Real power is not something that can be handed over at all: it is something that we already have inside us. It is there from the beginning and it is the ultimate power."

 

From SuperConsciousness.com, "Power of the Sovereign Spirit: Reclaiming Our Sovereignity'
By Neil Kramer

...For a growing number of people focusing on matters of consciousness, sacred knowledge and personal freedom, the reclamation of the word sovereign has become profoundly consequential. ... No persons or man‐made laws have any jurisdiction whatsoever over a sovereign being. This is all very alarming for any empire that secretly prefers its populace to feel toothless.

It’s deceptively tricky for us to comprehend that power is not something that is graciously conferred upon us by the authorities. It is not something that we must work hard to be worthy of. Real power is not something that can be handed over at all: it is something that we already have inside us. It is there from the beginning and it is the ultimate power. It is the power of freewill.

The amount of freewill an individual possesses is directly proportionate to the depth and clarity of consciousness attained. Before it can be fully realized, the very existence of our free will must first be acknowledged. The slumbering mind is not cognizant of the awesome reality‐shaping power that lies within its grasp; freewill might just as well be equated with choosing what movies to watch or what shoes to buy. In contrast, the awakened mind is acutely aware of how freewill can transform imaginal visions into manifest things. It is seen as a defining characteristic of the spiritually alive human.

...Spiritual sovereignty teaches us that force and power are two very different things. Anyone can exert force, but not everyone is endowed with power. To wield real power, we must be in harmony with our higher purpose, with universal truth. This is the truth that we can feel in our hearts, minds and spirit, and is a compass for conscious growth. When we build that into our everyday thoughts and deeds, we live as honorable men and women.

See the article in its entirety ...




Good News: You Are Not Your Brain

May 16, 2012



"... when your mind finds its true power, the result is healing, inspiration, insight, self-awareness, discovery, curiosity, and quantum leaps in personal growth. The brain is totally incapable of such things."

From the HuffingtonPost.com. By Deepak Chopra, M.D., FACP, and Dr. Rudolph E. Tanzi, Ph.D., Joseph P. and Rose F. Kennedy, Professor of Neurology, Harvard Medical School Director, Genetics and Aging at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH). --

...We are shown brain scans of repeat felons with pointers to the defective areas of their brains. The same holds for Buddhist monks, only in their case, brain activity is heightened and improved, especially in the prefrontal lobes associated with compassion. By now there is no condition, good or bad, that hasn't been linked to a brain pattern that either "proves" that there is a link between the brain and a certain behavior or exhibits the "cause" of a certain trait. The whole assumption, shared by 99 percent of neuroscientists, is that we are our brains.

In this scheme, the brain is in charge, having evolved to control certain fixed behaviors. Why do men see other men as rivals for a desirable woman? Why do people seek God? Why does snacking in front of the TV become a habit? We are flooded with articles and books reinforcing the same assumption: The brain is using you, not the other way around. Yet it's clear that a faulty premise is leading to gross overreach.

The flaws in current reasoning can be summarized with devastating force:

1. Brain activity isn't the same as thinking, feeling, or seeing.

2. No one has remotely shown how molecules acquire the qualities of the mind.

3. It is impossible to construct a theory of the mind based on material objects that somehow became conscious.

4. When the brain lights up, its activity is like a radio lighting up when music is played. It is an obvious fallacy to say that the radio composed the music. What is being viewed is only a physical correlation, not a cause.

It's a massive struggle to get neuroscientists to see these flaws...

...We've become excited by a flawless 2008 article published by Donald D. Hoffman, professor of cognitive sciences at the University of California Irvine. It's called "Conscious Realism and the Mind-Body Problem," and its aim is to show, using logic, philosophy, and neuroscience, that we are not our brains. We are "conscious agents" -- Hoffman's term for minds that shape reality, including the reality of the brain. Hoffman is optimistic that the thorny problem of consciousness can be solved, and science can find a testable model for the mind. But future progress depends on researchers abandoning their current premise, that the brain is the mind. We urge you to read the article in its entirety, but for us, the good news is that Hoffman's ideas show that the tide may be turning.

It is degrading to human potential when the brain uses us instead of vice versa. There is no doubt that we can become trapped by faulty wiring in the brain -- this happens in depression, addictions, and phobias, for example. Neural circuits can seemingly take control, and there is much talk of "hard wiring" by which some activity is fixed and preset by nature, such as the fight-or-flight response. But what about people who break bad habits, kick their addictions, or overcome depression? It would be absurd to say that the brain, being stuck in faulty wiring, suddenly and spontaneously fixed the wiring. What actually happens, as anyone knows who has achieved success in these areas, is that the mind takes control. Mind shapes the brain, and when you make up your mind to do something, you return to the natural state of using your brain instead of the other way around.

It's very good news that you are not your brain, because when your mind finds its true power, the result is healing, inspiration, insight, self-awareness, discovery, curiosity, and quantum leaps in personal growth. The brain is totally incapable of such things. After all, if it is a hard-wired machine, there is no room for sudden leaps and renewed inspiration. The machine simply does what it does. A depressed brain can no more heal itself than a car can suddenly decide to fly. Right now the golden age of brain research is brilliantly decoding neural circuitry, and thanks to neuroplasticity, we know that the brain's neural pathways can be changed. The marvels of brain activity grow more astonishing every day. Yet in our astonishment it would be a grave mistake, and a disservice to our humanity, to forget that the real glory of human existence is the mind, not the brain that serves it.

See this article in its entirety ...


Deepak Chopra and Rudy Tanzi are co-authors of their forthcoming book Superbrain: New Breakthroughs for Maximizing Health, Happiness and Spiritual Well-Being by Harmony Books.



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