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...trying to learn about neuro-transmitters and the chemical and electro-magnetic exchanges that go on in the brain is <heh> mind-boggling...its an amazing process what goes on between nerve cells. A miracle, really. But yes, it isn't just "in there"...there is so much from the outside that effects and can change what goes on "in there"...it is so subtle. I for one feel like relationship is a super powerful influence and determinate...the power of a positive relationship is immense. Now that's a mystery and a miracle!

"Once in awhile we get shown the light, in the strangest of places, if we look at it right" - Hunter/Garcia
by whataboutbob on Fri Jan 27th, 2006 at 05:08:36 AM EST
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Your comment made me think, that the brain is the most sophisticated computer around - that is the hardware. But then, if this is true - WHO IS THE PROGRAMMER?
by Fran on Fri Jan 27th, 2006 at 05:38:08 AM EST
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That's a whole other can of worms, but I suggest Philosophy in the Flesh by George Lakoff.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Jan 27th, 2006 at 05:42:51 AM EST
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yes, and a mighty fascinating can to open.
by Fran on Fri Jan 27th, 2006 at 05:47:08 AM EST
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so...should I ask? (Who do you think is the programmer?)

"Once in awhile we get shown the light, in the strangest of places, if we look at it right" - Hunter/Garcia
by whataboutbob on Fri Jan 27th, 2006 at 05:50:15 AM EST
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I don't think there is any need for a programmer, and trying to grasp how that is even possible is the gateway to a whole new appreciation of the way living systems are organized...

But I really cannot talk about self-organization without getting technical (I've been mulling over how to talk about self-organization and economics in lay terms since I first got on this blog and I still haven't figured out how to crack that nut). It's like asking about quantum mechanics but please no complex numbers.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman

by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Jan 27th, 2006 at 06:01:23 AM EST
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It is very interesting that when the vapour motor appeare at th turn of the century the brain and the human being was compared to a machine wiht all the steem needing to go out.. it needed to release the tension, the stress.. so the brain was like a wonderful motor vapour..that worked with hundreds of little motors...specially with feelings.

Now, the brain is like a computer....Basically the brain has been compared in the past with the most common /important invention at the moment...

the brain is much more than a computer.. we just happen to believe it is a like a computer becasue it is easy for us to think in these terms and we focus our reserch and understanding on looking for such features (in the same way that people look for features where the brain and the human being behave as a motor)

So, the brain is not a computer, or at least not only a computer.. so the question of the programmer is probably much more complex than that.

Hindus and bororos have a much more interesting take...I would think in their terms ...we invent ourselves since everyboydy can think with me, in me.. the other and the self  do not exist.. they are the same...You can see that it is a much more different myth (in the best meaning of the word) to explain the brain that our computer-style approach

A pleasure

I therefore claim to show, not how men think in myths, but how myths operate in men's minds without their being aware of the fact. Levi-Strauss, Claude

by kcurie on Fri Jan 27th, 2006 at 06:02:06 AM EST
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I kind of see the brain...and its highly amazing workings...as more like a radar dish, where it is capable of recieving all kinds of signals (some unique and mysterious)

"Once in awhile we get shown the light, in the strangest of places, if we look at it right" - Hunter/Garcia
by whataboutbob on Fri Jan 27th, 2006 at 07:10:37 AM EST
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Well the brain is not necessarily the most sophisticated computer around, it's more like the best processor currently around town (Earth) but not even necessarily the best model currently in the universe, or the best model for the upcoming future (I'm just nit-picking, sorry!).

Our (non-neuron) cells themselves are highly autonomous, specialized, and together form quite a powerful processing unit too (processing in the sense that they basically act on information that they receive).

Brains, I believe, are even messy processors, subject to way too many failures, exceptions, bugs. Contradiction, in general let's say, is impossible in an AMD processor ... but in our brains it's a daily event.

by Alex in Toulouse on Fri Jan 27th, 2006 at 08:55:07 AM EST
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The brain is a mess. It's a computer whose bits have been repurposed, patched, extensions tacked on all around the place by a million different engineers none of whom comment the code or document the hardware changes. The cabling is all over the place and unlabelled. It's good at at certain things and appalling at lots of others. It can't even remember a short list without re-inputing it a couple of times, the arithmetic module is rubbish and as for the logic module ...
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Fri Jan 27th, 2006 at 09:02:08 AM EST
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I particularly liked your "the cabling is all over the place", it kind of reminds me of some situations I've been in!!

One thing we can also add is that the brain's indexing system, unlike a decent x86 and x86_64's, is totally out of control. You remember a girlfriend's laughter when you're holding a pack of chips, you remember something that someone said somewhere when you slip and fall in the staircase, etc etc

by Alex in Toulouse on Fri Jan 27th, 2006 at 09:09:09 AM EST
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I don't believe I've associated a girlfriends laughter with a packet of chips, but I think I know what you mean.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Fri Jan 27th, 2006 at 09:10:15 AM EST
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I'm an adherent of Stupid Design.
by Nomad (Bjinse) on Fri Jan 27th, 2006 at 09:34:39 AM EST
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But it has an awesome pattern recognition module! It can even recognize groups of up to 4 items without counting them (link).

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Jan 27th, 2006 at 09:39:30 AM EST
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