Re: Mind control 1965

Patrick Mullaghy (
Mon, 19 Oct 1998 19:49:32 +0100

-----Original Message-----
From: Scott Badger <> To: <> Date: 19 October 1998 14:32
Subject: Re: Mind control 1965

>Ian Goddard <> wrote:
>> It's all very fascinating from a philosophical
>> point of view, with respect to the concepts of
>> self, free will, what and who is "the actor."
>> If remote brain control is someone controlling
>> another thing, what controls the brain locally?
>> I'd say the brain is a set of systems that have
>> learned to control each other. Slip a new system
>> in, and each subsystem assumes this new system is
>> one of the team, and thus "I wanted to turn my head."
>Michael Gazzanaga has tackled this issue in his research
>with split brain patients (those whose brain hemispheres
>have been disconnected). Without getting into his experiments
>in detail, I'll just say that he basically observed the same
>phenomenon. The left (verbal) brain for asked to account for an
>action taken by the right brain. It had no way of truly knowing
>why the right side did what it did because it couldn't communicate
>with it. So it constructed a story. It constructed meaning, obliged
>to make sense of itself as a whole.
>Gazzanaga surmised that the brain is not just made of two compartments,
>left and right, it's made of large numbers of subsystems all with their own
>responsibilities. Many or perhaps all of the subsystems just do what they
>do, but there is a particular subsystem somewhere on the left side that is
>responsible for watching the actions taken by the other subsystems. That
>particular subsystem has the task of translating it all into a cohesive
>that explains everything in context. So do we have free will? I think
>Gazzanaga would say that's pretty much an illusion.
>As for stimulating cortical neurons during open brain surgery to identify
>areas associated with epileptic seizures, this technique is very old and
>originated by Wilder Penfield. He was also fascinated by the bizarre array
>of sensations and memories that he could elicit from his patients. People
>could smell and taste things. One person heard a song start to play when
>a certain spot was stimulated. When the stimulation stopped so did the
>song, then when the stimulation was reapplied the song would start over at
>the beginning. Weird, huh? Another person had the distinct impression
>he had left his body suggesting that out-of-body experiences and the
>of near-death experiences where they float above their bodies are natural
>phenomena. Penfield wrestled with the nature of the mind and actually
>at the end of his life that there was indeed a spiritual side to it. I
>never did
>understand his reasoning, though.
>Ciao for now,
>"Quest into the unknown!" - Mr. Natural

Here's a possible line of reasoning for Penfield's conclusion that life has a spiritual side. Electrical stimulation of certain parts of the brain can produce subjective impressions of taste, smell and sound. Stimulations of other parts can produce subjective impressions of OBE's, or NDE's (which, I take it as given, are not to be classified as ordinary dreams).

In the case of the former sorts of 'experiences,' the natural explanation is something along the lines of the brain being 'fooled' into thinking that it is receiving the type of stimulation which it should 'flesh out' as a taste, smell or sound, a recognitional/experiential capacity which has evolved through the brain's interaction with the physical world over the many eons of its existence.

Why shouldn't we give the same explanation in the case of the latter sorts of 'experiences'? In those cases the brain is 'fooled' into thinking it is encountering the circumstances which it normally fleshes out as an OBE.

In the first type of case, it seems clear that the brain has developed this type of recognitional/experiential capacity to deal with something beyond itself. Why shouldn't the same be true of the second type of recognitional/experiential capacity? Why would the brain have evolved a recognitional capacity for something that doesn't actually occur?

If OBE's are real, then consciousness can survive outside the body, and life may have a spiritual side.

I'm not saying this was Penfield's reasoning......