Showing posts from November, 2012

Chemotherapy and self-transcendence: an informal survey

A common, if anecdotal, side-effect of chemotherapy is what people commonly refer to as 'chemo brain,' a kind of loss of concentration and mental fog following chemotherapy sessions. Now, there is finally scientific evidence that 'chemo brain' is not a merely psychological phenomenon, but is correlated to physical changes in brain activity. A study presented at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America shows that "there are specific areas of the brain that use less energy following chemotherapy." In other words, chemotherapy can lead to reduced brain activity.

A friend of mine, who has indirect experience with 'chemo brain' symptoms in a close family member, raised an interesting hypothesis. He suggested that only patients who experience negative effects report it to their oncologists or general practitioners. Patients who experience a positive psychologicalchange after chemotherapy, as his own family member did, are unlikely to…

Lost posts!

UPDATE 18-Nov-2012: I managed to redirect the older URLs to the new links, so there should be no broken links anymore!

Today I was applying some adjustments to the formatting of my posts, so as to make them look nicer in the new blog template I am now using. Accidentally, I deleted the two most recent posts in that process, because somehow the blogger interface mixed their names up with a draft test post I was playing with. Naturally, I am fuming, but it doesn't help to get upset at this point.

I did have a back-up of the text of those posts and, as you can see, I've republished the original content. I've also redirected the older URLs so there should be no broken links. However, there were about 100 comments, combined from both posts, that I still see in my interface but am not sure I can 'move over' to the newly published posts. I am trying to find a way, but am not sure I will succeed. I contemplate with dread the possibility that all those comments, which you u…

Sam Harris: proud and prejudiced?

UPDATE 17 Nov 2012: I accidentally deleted the original post and recovered it here. But the 74+ original comments have probably been lost! See more here. I sincerely apologize for this. An addendum was also added at the bottom of this post as a reply to Sam Harris' own addendum.

Sam Harris is at it again. Not content to have carried out what I see as a cheap 'drive-by shooting' of a neurosurgeon in his previous blog post, which I commented on here, he is now taking his act to a whole new level. Have a look here. Below, I intend to deconstruct Harris' argument, showing it for the display of intellectual blindness and misleading prejudice that I believe it is.

Here is the first segment that caught my attention. Harris is referring to Near-Death Experiences (NDEs):

"Unfortunately, these experiences vary across cultures, and no single feature is common to them all. One would think that if a nonphysical domain were truly being explored, some universal characteristics w…

The membrane metaphor in images

UPDATE 17 Nov 2012: I accidentally deleted the original post and recovered it here. But the 30+ original comments have probably been lost! See more here. I sincerely apologize for this.
Most of you know that I have been working on a metaphorical model of reality that looks upon mind as a kind of membrane, the vibrations of which give rise to all subjective perception and, as such, to all reality. I have discussed this in a number of previous posts in this blog, amongst which:
Mind as a Hyper-Dimensional Membrane;
Categories of Consciousness;
Subject, Object, and Instincts; and
The Brain as a Knot of Consciousness.

Now, a video has been produced where I discuss the ideas behind these articles in a, hopefully, more evocative manner:

Notice how the membrane metaphor described in the video provides a different, but perfectly coherent ontological framework upon which to interpret the mathematical formulations of M-theory, the leading edge of theoretical physics today: The hyper-membrane M-theo…