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The Brain Delusion

June 30, 2013

Humans are comprised of a vast number of individual living cells – somewhere in the area of 50 trillion. The brain employs many of these cells as neural (nerve) sub-systems that work autonomously.

This huge amount of data processing is co-ordinated by the brain to provide a sense of an individual self – my concept of me. From a biological perspective this capacity would probably have improved the possibility of cohesive tribal and cultural interactions.

However, within this data is a great deal of conflicting information, many inconsistencies, problematic thoughts and uncomfortable emotions that could make my concept of me very confusing.

So a popular but unsuccessful long-term solution is to tell myself a very particular story about me, and when I do or think something that is inconsistent with that story I reframe it so that it fits the story more easily. This further cements my concept of me, a process that is often referred to in modern psychology through terms such as “denial”, “projection” and “suppression”.

As the failed mystic comedian once joked:

“Denial ain’t no river in Egypt, it’s a delusional state of mind relating to the habitual activation of neural sub-systems that reinforce an ego-based perception of the world.”

A more successful long-term solution involves a personal and unique enquiry into one question: so who am I really ?

Spencer Joseph

  1. We are a different someone to everyone we meet. Or are we the same someone who displays a different part of themselves to others always, therefore consistently varied so as to be a quantifiable person, identifiable only to themselves and no other?

    • An interesting question that has been discussed for thousands of years. Different systems of thought take different viewpoints on this matter, including the idea that all concepts of an individual are ultimately illusory.

      • Interestingly and by chance I’ve been reading The Dice Man which although fictional is about rolling dice to decide ones actions so that the ego and self are disintegrated, meaning the dice person is always changing and never identifiable by personality or routine.

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