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  1. #1
    Driving to Wewelsburg Typh0n's Avatar
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    Feb 2013
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    Default The output of the brian

    I once read someone on a forum say that the mind is simply the "output of the brain". The mind can be measured, he said, on various screens when a person's brain is hooked up to a machine for measuring brain activity. If we affect different parts of the brain, causing them to shut down, we likewise shut down corresponding parts of the mind. Thus he said, what we call the mind is "the output of the brain".

    At first I thought this was stupid. I thought to myself 'duh, how did you figure that one out, Einstien. Stop trying to reinforce your already strong materialistic belief system'. But it grew on me, and then it hit me; he wasnt saying the mind was the same thing as the brain, but actually something other than the brain, though not 'independant' from the brain, since by shutting down parts of the brain we shut down parts of the mind which correspond to brain activity(the mind depends on the brain's existence).

    What are your thoughts on this? Do you agree that the mind is merely the output of the brain? Is it something more? Less?
    And now there came out of this building a form - human - was it human? ... It reminded me of symbolical images of Genius or Demon that are seen on Etruscan vases or limned on the walls of Eastern sepulchres - images that borrow the outlines of man, and are yet of another race.

    -Edward Bulwer, Lord Lytton, The Coming Race

  2. #2
    Senior Member Alea_iacta_est's Avatar
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    Dec 2013


    I like to think of the brain like a computer, and the mind like Windows XP/Vista/7 (but not 8 because fuck that). I also like to think of it as a kind of symbiotic relationship, the brain is the hardware of the machine, which contains hard drive space that can be manipulated and programmed to do several different things, and the mind is essentially the product of programming hard drive space in the brain (software). I do agree that the mind is an output of the brain, as its main job is decision making, and when the brain/unconscious begins calculating all of the different variables that are being fed through an input, the mind (or conscious) attempts to decide what exactly to do about a problem that the unconscious comes up with. Like hunger, for instance, when we feel hungry, our unconscious is subtly letting us know that we haven't eaten in a while and advises our mind to make a decision to combat this problem. The unconscious tells the mind that the body is hungry (hunger pains), and the mind decides what to do about it. The mind is the output in this scenario, for it makes a decision in the external world (output) based off of data calculated internally in the unconscious (input).

  3. #3


    @Typh0n @Alea_iacta_est

    I agree with both of you. A couple of neat wrinkles are that the output or "software" can rewire the "hardware", and that the minds/brains are "networked" and also very much embodied.

  4. #4
    Wake, See, Sing, Dance Cellmold's Avatar
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    Mar 2012


    I'm often wondering what Brian is outputting these days, haven't seen the guy for ages.

    'One of (Lucas) Cranach's masterpieces, discussed by (Joseph) Koerner, is in it's self-referentiality the perfect expression of left-hemisphere emptiness and a precursor of post-modernism. There is no longer anything to point to beyond, nothing Other, so it points pointlessly to itself.' - Iain McGilChrist

    Suppose a tree fell down, Pooh, when we were underneath it?"
    "Suppose it didn't," said Pooh, after careful thought.
    Piglet was comforted by this.
    - A.A. Milne.

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