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The doctor that believes

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Alan C.
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Re: The doctor that believes

#21 Post by Alan C. » September 5th, 2010, 11:34 pm

Latest post of the previous page:

Nirvanam
Anyway, let's leave that aside. If our mind has the capability to influence our bodies, would they be able to influence other physical things? If yes, why? If not, why not?
Are we getting into the realm of spoon bending here? If not; then what?
My mind has no ability to influence anything other than my own body. (That I'm aware of)
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Emma Woolgatherer
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Re: The doctor that believes

#22 Post by Emma Woolgatherer » September 5th, 2010, 11:44 pm

I should point out that I'm out of my comfort zone here, and there are plenty of people in this forum better qualified to talk about such things. I might be talking complete nonsense, and if I am, then I apologise. I'm merely offering my flawed interpretation.
Nirvanam wrote:In other words a person can have a physical effect in his body without actually having a chemical/substance/drug to cause it? If this is so, what do you think is the cause behind such an effect.
As Fia has said, I wouldn't make that kind of distinction between "a person" and "his body", or, for that matter, between mind and body. I'm not talking about the "mind" having an effect on the body. But when we experience an emotion there will be some kind of related change in the body. When I am frightened by some external stimulus, my heart is likely to beat faster, I might get a bit short of breath, my skin might feel cold and clammy, I might have a dry mouth. It isn't a simple matter of the emotion of fear causing the physical changes. (Although there might be something of a positive feedback loop.) But it coincides with those physical changes. It's the way those physical changes are experienced by us, from the inside, if you see what I mean. We don't think, "My heart is racing, I feel a bit puffed, my face feels clammy and my mouth is dry." We think, "Shit! I'm bloody terrified!" Or rather we just feel bloody terrified. Of course, the fact that we feel fear at all might be related to our pre-existing beliefs, or our temperaments, or whether we've just watched a scary movie, or all sorts of things that can be said to be part of our state of mind. But the fear and the physical changes are ... sort of ... different aspects of the same thing. That's how I look at it, anyway.

Anyway, something like the placebo effect is not going to be as straightforward as the state of hyperarousal associated with fear or stress. And the emotions involved are going to be much subtler and more varied. And the physiological changes are also probably going to be much subtler and more varied. But I can believe that being informed by a trusted physician that one is going to get better if one takes a particular pill, or receives some other form of treatment, or follows some kind of ritual, combined with a strong pre-existing motivation to get better, and perhaps also a certain ... suggestibility, could be enough to trigger those biochemical changes that might help reduce pain, or accelerate the body's healing response. And the processes involved are at least along the same lines as that flight-or-fight response.
Nirvanam wrote:Yes as in it is possible for an individual to cause changes to his physical body (I am not talking about growing one more head but get rid of a fever) by the strength of his mind...focusing his mind?
I didn't actually mean that. I meant simply that the mind is involved. But I don't rule out the possibility that a person can deliberately create physiological changes in himself. Normally, shedding tears is an automatic response to an emotionally moving stimulus. But some people can make themselves cry. I confess that I've done it myself. According to Wikipedia, "tears produced during emotional crying have a chemical composition which differs from other types of tears. They contain significantly greater quantities of hormones prolactin, adrenocorticotropic hormone, Leu-enkephalin and the elements potassium and manganese." I wonder whether those "other types of tears" include tears shed by someone who has forced herself to think of something sad just for the purpose of crying! Anyway, more generally, I do think it's possible for a person to work himself or herself up deliberately into a particular emotional state, which itself involves physiological changes. But there may be other mechanisms for triggering those sorts of physiological changes. Biofeedback is one of those vaguely "alternative" therapies that I've always wanted to try. My understanding is that it has had some very limited success. I've read that it has been shown to be effective in treating headaches (including migraine), irritable bowel syndrome, and posture-related pain. I must have a look to see whether any of the quackbusters have tackled it. Maybe Alan H knows.
Nirvanam wrote:
Emma Woolgatherer wrote:It seems reasonable to think that a person's expectations and hopes about the treatment they are receiving might have a significant effect on his or her neurochemical system.
If I reword this as...a person's emotions/thoughts about something can alter its effect on him (even if it is infinitesimal)...would it be correct?
Well, that would be broadening it out, but yes, that seems reasonable. To return to the fear example, if I've just read that there's a serial killer at large in my town, who attacks women walking home alone at night, and I notice a man keeping pace with me, a few yards behind me, as I'm walking home alone at night, I'm more likely to experience the physiological changes associated with fear than I would if I hadn't just read about the serial killer. An arachnophobe is more likely to experience that fight-or-fight response when encountering a spider than someone who isn't frightened of spiders. We know these things already.
Nirvanam wrote:For one, the implication is that a change in the physiology or ailment of an individual has been caused by a non physical substance...possibly the person's own will power/mind or collective mental focus.
Well, I wouldn't use a term like "non-physical substance", as I think that all the mental processes involved have a physical basis.
Nirvanam wrote:Secondly, that there is some form of energy changes that have happened (if a physical change has happened then obviously there is some energy change that has happened). It is possible that the energy changes cause the physical changes. And if that possibility is further investigated and suppose it is true, it opens up a whole area of health sciences that are focused on energy
If there are physical changes there are energy changes, yes. Energy is being moved from one place to another, or converted from one form to another, or some such. And I suppose you could say that the physical changes depend on the energy changes, insofar as the physical changes couldn't happen without the energy changes. I mean, when I stand up, chemical energy is changing to kinetic energy. And if that didn't happen, my muscles wouldn't work, and I wouldn't be able to stand up. But I don't think that's the same as saying that the energy changes cause the physical changes. Or if it is, it's true only in a very trivial way. And I can't see that it opens up a whole new area of anything.

Emma

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Re: The doctor that believes

#23 Post by Nirvanam » September 6th, 2010, 2:03 am

Emma Woolgatherer wrote:As Fia has said, I wouldn't make that kind of distinction between "a person" and "his body", or, for that matter, between mind and body. I'm not talking about the "mind" having an effect on the body. But when we experience an emotion there will be some kind of related change in the body.
An emotion is in the realm of the mind, a change in the body is in the physical realm, the emotion has caused the change in the body - why does this not mean mind caused a change in the body? or mind influencing the body?
Emma Woolgatherer wrote:When I am frightened by some external stimulus, my heart is likely to beat faster, I might get a bit short of breath, my skin might feel cold and clammy, I might have a dry mouth. It isn't a simple matter of the emotion of fear causing the physical changes.
Is it because it sounds so simple?
Emma Woolgatherer wrote: (Although there might be something of a positive feedback loop.) But it coincides with those physical changes.
Why would you consider it a coincidence instead of causation?
Emma Woolgatherer wrote:But I can believe that being informed by a trusted physician that one is going to get better if one takes a particular pill, or receives some other form of treatment, or follows some kind of ritual, combined with a strong pre-existing motivation to get better, and perhaps also a certain ... suggestibility, could be enough to trigger those biochemical changes that might help reduce pain, or accelerate the body's healing response.
The use of the word trigger...are you meaning to say that the mind accidentally induced something? If it is not accidental then it is a deliberate influence the mind has had over the body.
Emma Woolgatherer wrote:I didn't actually mean that. I meant simply that the mind is involved.
What is the level of involvement you meant
Emma Woolgatherer wrote:But I don't rule out the possibility that a person can deliberately create physiological changes in himself.
Yep...I actually believe the mind can and does influence the body in more ways than we can imagine
Emma Woolgatherer wrote:
Nirvanam wrote:For one, the implication is that a change in the physiology or ailment of an individual has been caused by a non physical substance...possibly the person's own will power/mind or collective mental focus.
Well, I wouldn't use a term like "non-physical substance", as I think that all the mental processes involved have a physical basis.
I think it is different. Mental processes do not have physical basis, they manifest into physicality. The causer is the mind not the physical stuff in the body. Mind is directing the physical stuff like neurological communications (first level of physical manifestation) which then results in tangible changes in the body (second level of physical manifestation).

For mental processes to have basis in physical things...well this means mind itself is a physical quantity which it is not at least as our understanding stands today. Look at it even in the physical universe...energy always influences matter, energy is the causer, and changes get manifested in matter.
Emma Woolgatherer wrote:If there are physical changes there are energy changes, yes. Energy is being moved from one place to another, or converted from one form to another, or some such. And I suppose you could say that the physical changes depend on the energy changes, insofar as the physical changes couldn't happen without the energy changes. I mean, when I stand up, chemical energy is changing to kinetic energy. And if that didn't happen, my muscles wouldn't work, and I wouldn't be able to stand up. But I don't think that's the same as saying that the energy changes cause the physical changes. Or if it is, it's true only in a very trivial way.
Why is it trivial..rather what do you mean by trivial way, maybe if you can give an example of what would be a 'significant' way then it'll help me understand what you mean by trivial.
Emma Woolgatherer wrote: And I can't see that it opens up a whole new area of anything.
I think you are holding back your mental processes here (maybe there is some fear of free imagination...I dunno...you'd know best. But anyway just allow your mind to use what you have 'allowed the possibility for over here' and connect it with similar contexts [energy-matter] and just notice what your mind comes up with. I mean it's just imagined and anything goes in the imagination whether it has any bearing on reality or not. I know its an unsolicited suggestion but there's nothing to lose. The idea is to see what we can connect...it is very obvious that you are very knowledgeable and there is lotsa substance in that gray matter...maybe some connections here and there could help understand the existing knowledge better and/or add more knowledge into the repository).
But I see this has amazing potential...if this is true then it basically shakes up the foundation of modern science (which already quantum science has done brilliantly). I'll present you some experiments that were done a little later but before that I want to ensure that the psychological inertia I am carrying is nullified as much as possible by looking at things from your viewpoint and hope the same for the opposite person as well, just in case you would like it too.

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grammar king
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Re: The doctor that believes

#24 Post by grammar king » September 6th, 2010, 3:16 am

jaywhat wrote:A placebo is no good if you know that's what it is.
That's not quite true apparently. I remember reading a fairly small paper which showed that patients who were told something like 'we're going to give you a placebo. A placebo is a pill which contains no medicine and has no effect on your body, but it might help you.' still experienced the placebo effect, although not nearly as much as people who didn't know.

By the way, a placebo does not merely kid the patient into believing they're better. Real objective measures can be used to measure the placebo effect, such as stomach ulcer sizes. Ben Goldacre's got a chapter on it in Bad Science IIRC.

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Re: The doctor that believes

#25 Post by Alan H » September 6th, 2010, 10:52 am

Thanks, GK. That's one I was referring to yesterday. It'd be good to read the full paper.

Although I've not finished reading it yet, I can recommend Placebo by Dylan Evans. Although a bit speculative in places, it does provide a lot of good background on placebo research and the things it does appear to do and those it doesn't. He is also suggesting a possible explanation [---][/---] it sounds very plausible, but I'm not sure whether is has been accepted as a good explanation.
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Re: The doctor that believes

#26 Post by grammar king » September 6th, 2010, 2:24 pm

I'll have a look to see if I can find it.

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Re: The doctor that believes

#27 Post by grammar king » September 6th, 2010, 2:32 pm

Found it.

Here's a link to the paper, and here's a link to the Bad Science Post I first saw it in. As Ben says, it's a small sample size and there's no control group, but worth bearing in mind.

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Re: The doctor that believes

#28 Post by Nirvanam » September 6th, 2010, 3:17 pm

grammar king wrote:By the way, a placebo does not merely kid the patient into believing they're better. Real objective measures can be used to measure the placebo effect, such as stomach ulcer sizes. Ben Goldacre's got a chapter on it in Bad Science IIRC.
Placebo does not do anything...placebo is a term coined to express this: "an improvement has occurred in the condition of the patient". The measure of placebo effect = measure of improvement in the condition of the patient.

Dissociate the function of a causer/cause from a placebo. One way of getting clarity about the term placebo is that it is a kind of short form for the phrase, "an improvement has occurred in the patient but we don't know why or how it happened". Instead of writing that phrase every time in an article, a researcher/doc is saving real estate and time/energy by replacing those 10-15 words with one word called placebo.

The thing that has 'fooled' (if we could say that) the patient into believing they're better is the patient's mind. Not only just fooled the patient but helped the patient improve his condition...in other words the patient has caused an improvement in his condition (his body) by himself (his mind).

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Re: The doctor that believes

#29 Post by jaywhat » September 6th, 2010, 4:43 pm

Surely quite often people just get better anyway?

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Re: The doctor that believes

#30 Post by Dave B » September 6th, 2010, 4:47 pm

jaywhat wrote:Surely quite often people just get better anyway?
I seem to remember there is something on this in "Bad Science". IIRC there is even a formula or a diagram or something for it.
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Re: The doctor that believes

#31 Post by Nirvanam » September 6th, 2010, 5:25 pm

So, how far are we from acknowledging that our minds do influence our bodies? Or are there any other explanations for what a placebo is?

At the very basic level, all improvements/deteriorations in the human body are caused by energy fields, rather energy fields influence these changes...energy fields are absolutely necessary and in some cases even sufficient to make changes to the body. Shall we examine this statement if we are clear about mind influencing body?

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Re: The doctor that believes

#32 Post by Dave B » September 6th, 2010, 6:01 pm

Anyway, let's leave that aside. If our mind has the capability to influence our bodies, would they be able to influence other physical things? If yes, why? If not, why not?
So, how far are we from acknowledging that our minds do influence our bodies?
I think I missed a bit here before, please relieve me of the job or reading it all again, does anyone challenge the fact that our brain can affect the way our body works - for good and for ill?
Or are there any other explanations for what a placebo is?
Are we talking about a placebo per se or the placebo effect. If a doctor gives two people a sugar pill, a placebo, it may be that it only has any effect on one of them.

With regards to the mind affecting other physical objects: our minds only have any effect on physical objects that are not part of our bodies either by some form of interface (our finger on a switch), via some form of extra-somatic communication (waving a signal or shouting an instruction to trigger an event) or something like an "alpha-phone" that detects the brain's electrical activity and may be used to affect other devices.

There has to be some form of converting interface and energy source external to the brain.
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Re: The doctor that believes

#33 Post by grammar king » September 6th, 2010, 6:05 pm

Nirvanam wrote:So, how far are we from acknowledging that our minds do influence our bodies? Or are there any other explanations for what a placebo is?
Sure, in the same way that thinking about food makes you salivate, or thinking about nits makes your head get itchy. That's not surprising, seeing as (as has been mentioned several times in this thread) the brain is part of the body. What it doesn't mean (which I think you're alarmingly close to claiming) is that we can solve any problem in our bodies by merely thinking about them.
At the very basic level, all improvements/deteriorations in the human body are caused by energy fields, rather energy fields influence these changes...energy fields are absolutely necessary and in some cases even sufficient to make changes to the body. Shall we examine this statement if we are clear about mind influencing body?
Sorry, what? Energy fields, like... chi?

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Re: The doctor that believes

#34 Post by Dave B » September 6th, 2010, 6:13 pm

I suppose Nirvanam is right, at the molecular level!

When it comes to the crunch all illnesses are basically chemical in nature. Chemical interactions are due to alterations in inter-molecular linkages, which could be considered as energy fields.
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Re: The doctor that believes

#35 Post by Nirvanam » September 6th, 2010, 7:33 pm

Dave B wrote:I think I missed a bit here before, please relieve me of the job or reading it all again, does anyone challenge the fact that our brain can affect the way our body works - for good and for ill?
Yes I believe that the mind influences the body. Whether it is for good health or ill health does not matter...if the mind can influence our body then it should be able to influence the body in both ways, I'd assume.
Dave B wrote:Are we talking about a placebo per se or the placebo effect. If a doctor gives two people a sugar pill, a placebo, it may be that it only has any effect on one of them.
I guess that is semantics...alright, placebo = substance placebo effect = effect that the docs can't explain
Dave B wrote:With regards to the mind affecting other physical objects: our minds only have any effect on physical objects that are not part of our bodies either by some form of interface (our finger on a switch), via some form of extra-somatic communication (waving a signal or shouting an instruction to trigger an event) or something like an "alpha-phone" that detects the brain's electrical activity and may be used to affect other devices.

There has to be some form of converting interface and energy source external to the brain.
That is a different context. In the current context of placebo effect, I am proposing that the mind influences the body and it is this influence which people term placebo effect. Is there any explanation for placebo effect?

The question is, do you believe that your mind influences your body? An example - when your muscles ache because of constant stress, if you de-stress your mind and tell yourself that your muscles are relaxing, then you begin to feel that the pain in the muscles is going down...they begin to ease. Another example - boy has fever, doctor says take this pill you will be alright, boy takes pill, boy becomes alright, doc reveals to you he gave a sugar pill and calls it placebo effect. What happened there? The boy's mind caused his body to improve.

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Re: The doctor that believes

#36 Post by Nirvanam » September 6th, 2010, 7:48 pm

grammar king wrote:
Nirvanam wrote:So, how far are we from acknowledging that our minds do influence our bodies? Or are there any other explanations for what a placebo is?
Sure, in the same way that thinking about food makes you salivate, or thinking about nits makes your head get itchy. That's not surprising, seeing as (as has been mentioned several times in this thread) the brain is part of the body. What it doesn't mean (which I think you're alarmingly close to claiming) is that we can solve any problem in our bodies by merely thinking about them.
The brain is part of the body that is fine. but brain is not equal to mind. Mind = consciousness...it is the awareness we have of ourselves (I think we've been over this before that brain and mind are not the same thing...the illusion is created because most of the contemplation-related activities of the mind are performed thru the networks in the brain. Or if there is any evidence for brain = mind, please share)

Now, when your mind causes you to salivate, what do you think is happening?
grammar king wrote:
At the very basic level, all improvements/deteriorations in the human body are caused by energy fields, rather energy fields influence these changes...energy fields are absolutely necessary and in some cases even sufficient to make changes to the body. Shall we examine this statement if we are clear about mind influencing body?
Sorry, what? Energy fields, like... chi?
You are aware that every object in this universe has some energy associated with it? An object like the human body has many different types of molecules in it. Science tells you that brain activities are seen as electromagnetic waves...when you are talking about energy, a 'field of energy' is a given, automatic thing. Energy has a "field" of influence. If you are boiling water in a bowl, the heat energy from the water has an influence a little further in space than the physical boundary of the water...just keep your hand close enough to the bowl without touching it, you'll feel the heat. That 'space of influence' is the energy field of the heat energy.

Similarly the human body also has its energy field. The reference to chi and all will only cause you psychological inertia. Try understanding it scientifically...any physical object has some energy associated with it (even if it is at absolute rest - then it is called potential energy). The energy associated with the physical object has influence around the space it exists in...the farther you move from the object the lesser the influence. This 'influence-space' is called field. Does this not mean our body has energy fields in and around its boundary (not 20 feet from the body but maybe 1 millimeter from the hair, or even lesser, or maybe more)

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Re: The doctor that believes

#37 Post by Dave B » September 6th, 2010, 8:00 pm

Yes I believe that the mind influences the body.
Sorry, that was a general question, does anyone else challenge the idea that the mind (or state of) affects the body?
I guess that is semantics...alright, placebo = substance placebo effect = effect that the docs can't explain
Semantics are important if we are to agree that what is said means the same thing to us all - the wrong phrase can start a war. "effect that the docs can't explain" Is that really true? We have been talking about chemical placebos here. Is the effect that, "It'll be OK, don't worry," can have on some people is also a kind of placebo? The words may not be true, "it" may not be "OK", but they may bolster the person's mood to the point where they can provide their own support to get over the problem.

By merely giving the patient a placebo the doctor is achieving a double barrelled effect; the doctor is both colluding with the patient's belief that he or she has a problem and also providing a "cure" for that problem. Once the problem is "justified" ("believed in" by a professional) and "treated" (by a professional) there may be relief of psychosomatically induced stress and, thus, an actual relieving of the underlying psychological problem. I hesitate to say that it is a cure, I would guess that such problems go with the basic personality type and may recur.
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Re: The doctor that believes

#38 Post by Nirvanam » September 6th, 2010, 9:22 pm

Dave B wrote:Semantics are important if we are to agree that what is said means the same thing to us all - the wrong phrase can start a war. "effect that the docs can't explain" Is that really true? We have been talking about chemical placebos here. Is the effect that, "It'll be OK, don't worry," can have on some people is also a kind of placebo? The words may not be true, "it" may not be "OK", but they may bolster the person's mood to the point where they can provide their own support to get over the problem.
You are right Dave but I guess I am not too inclined to go into that kind of detail about what a word means because that derails the main issue, which is to discuss about mind causing improvement to body.

Look at it this way, placebo, placebo effect, and whatever other placebo - they are used as generic terms. They refer to any kind of positive change in the condition of a patient that cannot be explained. I don't know they might even be categorized as this is bio-mechanical placebo, that is radioactive placebo, that one there is subatomic nuclear fission placebo, that one here is bacterial placebo. At the end of the day placebo is a generic term used. Pick any specific situation where they say it is because of placebo effect, strip the words of all 'psychological inertia' causing words and names, you will come to the conclusion that the researchers are not sure how the improvement happened...what caused it.
Dave B wrote:By merely giving the patient a placebo the doctor is achieving a double barrelled effect; the doctor is both colluding with the patient's belief that he or she has a problem and also providing a "cure" for that problem. Once the problem is "justified" ("believed in" by a professional) and "treated" (by a professional) there may be relief of psychosomatically induced stress and, thus, an actual relieving of the underlying psychological problem. I hesitate to say that it is a cure, I would guess that such problems go with the basic personality type and may recur.
I 'bolded' it...the 'personality type' reference will invite homeopaths here....lol.

Anyway, the problem need not be treated by a "professional". There are enough cases where a person (consider the example I gave above of you relaxing your own muscles) self-heals. Maybe some people have a psychological need to be treated by someone other than himself or a specific type. But at the end of the day, the change is caused by the mind of the patient himself.

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Re: The doctor that believes

#39 Post by Dave B » September 6th, 2010, 10:02 pm

I 'bolded' it...the 'personality type' reference will invite homeopaths here....lol.
Too late for a full answer but why should those words invite homeopaths?

We all have a personality and, broadly speaking, there are a finite number of types surely. We speak of "personality disorders", the socipath etc., these are personality types that can be described in terms of their behaviour and expected reactions to given stimuli that have been observed in real life.

Nothing to do with homeopathy at all, basic psychology.
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Re: The doctor that believes

#40 Post by Paolo » September 6th, 2010, 10:45 pm

Nirvanam wrote:pps: the ref to natural selection...hopefully it won't be a bait coz we have already spoken about Evolution and it is fairly clear that natural selection is also a pseudo
Not going into this in detail again - Natural Selection is a simple process that works at a variety of levels, with interactions between the different levels at which selection occurs conferring a complexity to the system. You may not understand it what is entailed, but that doesn't make it a 'pseudo'. There's a good step by step guide here, but you need to take it step by step rather than leaping off to conclusions about how it functions after looking at a fraction of the explanation. It really is a very, very simple process.

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Re: The doctor that believes

#41 Post by Emma Woolgatherer » September 6th, 2010, 11:43 pm

Nirvanam wrote:An emotion is in the realm of the mind, a change in the body is in the physical realm, the emotion has caused the change in the body - why does this not mean mind caused a change in the body? or mind influencing the body?
OK, I'll try again. Now, bear in mind I haven't read any up-to-date books on cognitive neuroscience (though I want to), and much of my understanding of the mind is based on two books I read ages ago that were published in 1997 (How the Mind Works by Steven Pinker and The Human Brain: A Guided Tour by Susan Greenfield). There have been great advances in the field since then, and even more since I studied psychology thirty years ago. But anyway, my understanding of the mind is that it is a collection of physical states and processes [---][/---] or rather, it's the sum total of all cognitive states and processes, conscious and unconscious. So I don't agree with you that mind = consciousness. Though I do agree with you that the mind is not the same as the brain. The mind is what the brain does. And yes, emotions, like thoughts and memories and perceptions and imaginings, are part of the "realm" of the mind. But they are also part of the "realm" of the brain and the rest of the body. Because, as I see it, there aren't two separate realms. The distinction I would make is that words like fear and disgust and love and lust and happiness describe the processes from our point of view. We don't have any awareness of neurons firing or hormones being secreted or neurotransmitters being released into synaptic clefts or whatever. But all those things are part of the processes. The mind doesn't cause them. They are ingredients of the mind. If anything, it is the physical changes that cause us to experience emotions precisely the way we do.
Nirvanam wrote:
Emma Woolgatherer wrote:It isn't a simple matter of the emotion of fear causing the physical changes.
Is it because it sounds so simple?
Hell no. I like simplicity. All this complexity is quite exhausting. But that's life. It's complex.
Nirvanam wrote:Why would you consider it a coincidence instead of causation?
I don't consider it a coincidence, and perhaps the word "coincide" was misleading. I just think we're talking about different aspects of the same thing. However, I'm not saying that there are no causal links. But I think the causal links are between the different physical processes involved.
Nirvanam wrote:The use of the word trigger...are you meaning to say that the mind accidentally induced something? If it is not accidental then it is a deliberate influence the mind has had over the body.
Ooh, it's so difficult to express these things in words. Words are just so weighted. But OK, what I'm trying to say is that our beliefs, which themselves are associated with certain cognitive states and processes, and our personalities, which are themselves associated with certain cognitive states and processes, and our memories of past experiences, which ... etc., and our perceptions of current events, which .... etc., and our hopes and our expectations and our motivations, and all these other words that represent our own experiences of physical cognitive processes, just some of the many processes that constitute what we call "the mind", in particular combinations have an effect on other physical processes. So we have a lot of processes triggering other processes. But only a few of those processes are things that we experience consciously, and have everyday words for. Most happen at an unconscious level. But it's all "mind".
Nirvanam wrote:
Emma Woolgatherer wrote:But I don't rule out the possibility that a person can deliberately create physiological changes in himself.
Yep...I actually believe the mind can and does influence the body in more ways than we can imagine
I hope I've explained myself well enough to make it clear why I'm reluctant to put it that way. Given my understanding of the mind, it doesn't make sense to talk about the mind influencing the body. It would be like saying something like: the burning influenced the fire, or the blowing influenced the wind, or the flowing influenced the river. Except that the mind isn't a single activity, but lots of them. I think that using the word "mind" in that way actually burdens it with quite a bit of psychological inertia.
Nirvanam wrote:Mental processes do not have physical basis, they manifest into physicality. The causer is the mind not the physical stuff in the body. Mind is directing the physical stuff like neurological communications (first level of physical manifestation) which then results in tangible changes in the body (second level of physical manifestation).
Well, unsurprisingly, I don't agree. And I didn't think that modern neuroscience supported that view.
Nirvanam wrote:For mental processes to have basis in physical things...well this means mind itself is a physical quantity which it is not at least as our understanding stands today. Look at it even in the physical universe...energy always influences matter, energy is the causer, and changes get manifested in matter.
Is part of our problem here the ambiguity of the word "physical"? We use it casually to talk about observable changes in and activities of the body. But in a more strictly scientific sense, the word physical relates to both matter and energy. When you talked about the "physical universe" you weren't excluding energy. So talking about the mind in physical terms is not to say that it's made up only of matter, that it has mass and occupies volume, if that's what you meant by "physical quantity". As I've said, I think the word "mind" encompasses all cognitive states and processes, and those states and processes are physical, in that they relate to both matter and energy. And I agree that energy influences matter, but that doesn't take us outside the physical realm.
Nirvanam wrote:
Emma Woolgatherer wrote:If there are physical changes there are energy changes, yes ... But I don't think that's the same as saying that the energy changes cause the physical changes. Or if it is, it's true only in a very trivial way.
Why is it trivial..rather what do you mean by trivial way, maybe if you can give an example of what would be a 'significant' way then it'll help me understand what you mean by trivial.
I'm sorry. I expressed myself badly, but partly because I was adopting your own terminology. I shouldn't have continued to contrast energy changes with physical changes. Energy changes are physical changes. And yes, they do cause material changes. And all those changes are going on constantly in the body, specifically as part of our various cognitive processes but also as part of our respiratory processes and cardiovascular processes and digestive processes and all the other biological processes. So I reject the dualism implied by your particular approach. I don't equate the mind with energy and the brain (and the rest of the body) with matter. Or make some other distinction of that type.
Nirvanam wrote:I think you are holding back your mental processes here (maybe there is some fear of free imagination...I dunno...you'd know best ...
I might not know best, but I don't think I am holding back my mental processes (although right now I might be holding back something). And I don't think I have any fear of free imagination, but perhaps I'd be more comfortable if I fed my imagination with a little more up-to-date and accurate information.
Nirvanam wrote:But anyway just allow your mind to use what you have 'allowed the possibility for over here' and connect it with similar contexts [energy-matter] and just notice what your mind comes up with ...
Well, I've now tried to put down in writing what my mind has come up with, so make of it what you will.
Nirvanam wrote:But I see this has amazing potential...if this is true then it basically shakes up the foundation of modern science (which already quantum science has done brilliantly).
I do think the placebo effect probably does have potential, but I'm cautious. It might have only limited application, in tackling things like pain, inflammation, stress and nausea, and speeding up wound healing and antibody production. Although that would still be pretty good, if we can find a way to use it ethically. But I don't see the foundations of modern science shaking. I don't see science as some kind of solid edifice. It's much more dynamic than that.
Nirvanam wrote:I'll present you some experiments that were done a little later but before that I want to ensure that the psychological inertia I am carrying is nullified as much as possible by looking at things from your viewpoint and hope the same for the opposite person as well, just in case you would like it too.
Right. OK. I'm always happy to try to look at things in a different way. I'm not sure that psychological inertia is so easily nullified, because it is embedded in so much of the language we use, and our choice of words is so limited. But we can try.

Emma

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