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Books

Soul of Leadership (Hardcover)

Soul of Leadership (Hardcover)
ABOUT THIS BOOK Leadership is the most crucial choice one can make—it is the decision to step out of darkness into the light.      Bestselling author and spiritual guide Deepak Chopra invites...

Joyful Wisdom

Joyful Wisdom
ABOUT THEBOOK: Yongey Mingyur is one of the most celebrated among the new generation of Tibetan meditation masters, whose teachings have touched people of all faiths around the world. His first...

Brotherhood - by Deepak & Sanjiv Chopra (Hardcover)

Brotherhood - by Deepak & Sanjiv Chopra (Hardcover)
BROTHERHOOD Dharma, Destiny, and the American Dream DEEPAK & SANJIV CHOPRA   “BROTHERHOOD is an uplifting account of sibling affection and success, and of the promise and infinite...

Ten Poems to Change Your Life

Ten Poems to Change Your Life
ABOUT THE BOOK: This is a dangerous book. Great poetry calls into question not less than everything. It dares us to break free from the safe strategies of the cautious mind. It opens us to pain...

Creating Sacred Space with Feng Shui

Creating Sacred Space with Feng Shui
ABOUT THE BOOK: Feng Shui is the ancient oriental art of enhancing and harmonizing the flow of energy in your surroundings.  Over the last twenty years, Karen Kingston has pioneered the study...

GOD: A Story of Revelation (Hardcover)

GOD: A Story of Revelation (Hardcover)
“God is an empty term except through the revelations of all the saints, prophets, and mystics of history. They exist to plant the seeds of spirituality as a direct experience rather than a...

Book Of Secrets

Book Of Secrets
2005 Nautilus Book Award Grand Prize Winner! New York Times Best Seller! Every life is a book of secrets, ready to be opened. The secret of perfect love is found there, along with the secrets...

Super Brain by Deepak Chopra, MD & Rudy Tanzi, MD (Hardcover)

Super Brain by Deepak Chopra, MD & Rudy Tanzi, MD (Hardcover)
Learn about Deepak Chopra and the Chopra Center's Super Brain dietary supplement - Ayurvedic Brain Support NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER Super Brain by Deepak Chopra, MD & Rudy...

NEW Spiritual Solutions by Deepak Chopra(Hardcover)

NEW Spiritual Solutions by Deepak Chopra(Hardcover)
Spiritual Solutions: Answers to Life's Greatest Challenges ( AUDIOBOOK Available )  "Great advice directly from the master on virtually any subject, it just doesn't get any better...

Events

 
 
 
February 27 2012

The New Era for The Brain: Guiding Your Own Evolution

Category:  Consciousness , SF Gate

One of the great abilities of the human brain is to boost itself into a higher function. No one can explain how this happens. By the time early humans discovered fire and simple tools like the wheel and lever, our brains were already the most complex structure in the universe. We then proceeded to use this structure in unprecedented ways. Somewhere in our DNA was the potential for higher mathematics, for example, even though Homo sapiens existed for 200,000 years without tapping that capacity.


The reason that we are able to accomplish huge, never-ending leaps needs to be solved. If it can, then a new era will open up for the brain. The key is not materialistic, to my mind. One needs to begin, in fact, by turning away from the brain, whose intricate workings have mesmerized researchers for three decades, ever since the development of feasible brain scans. Such advances are fascinating, but we run the risk of sitting around a radio as it plays Mozart, staring at how the transistors work while imagining that we are uncovering the secrets of music.

Once you stop staring at the brain and start exploring the music it plays — i.e., the richness of human thoughts, feelings, images, and sensations — a simple truth emerges. There is something more complex in the cosmos than the human brain: the process that makes the brain work. This process involves consciousness. It is our mind that is using the brain, not the other way around. (I would argue that the brain is a creation of the mind, a physical projection of consciousness. But that argument can be set aside for another day.) If we could understand the process that underlies the entire brain, instead of focusing in reductionist fashion on bits and pieces of brain function, doors would suddenly be flung open.

Let me suggest a beginning.

What we already know are a few fundamentals that apply to everything happening in the brain. Some functions are already confirmed by brain scans; others arise from deduction, working form observed facts to larger principles.

1. The process always involves feedback loops.

2. These feedback loops are intelligent.

3. The dynamics of the brain go in and out of balance but always favor overall balance, known as homeostasis.

4. We use our brains to evolve and develop, guided by our intentions.

5. Self-reflection pushes us forward into unknown territory.

6. Many diverse areas of the brain are coordinated simultaneously.

7. We have the capacity to monitor many levels of awareness, even though our focus is generally confined to one level (i.e., waking, sleeping, and dreaming).

8. All the qualities of the known world, such as sight, sounds, textures, and tastes, are created mysteriously by the interaction of mind and brain.

9. Mind is the origin of consciousness, not the brain.

10. Only consciousness can understand consciousness. There is no mechanical explanation that suffices, working from facts about the brain.

This list bridges two worlds, biology and philosophy. Biology is great at explaining physical processes but totally inadequate to tell us about the meaning and purpose of our subjective experience. Philosophy delves deeply into meaning but has made only tentative forays into the brain. Both worlds are needed to understand ourselves. Otherwise, we fall into the biological fallacy, which holds that humans are controlled by their brains, or the philosophical fallacy, which treats experience devoid of its physiological connection. Leaving aside countless arguments between various theories of mind and brain, the goal is clear: We want to use our brains, not have them use us.

I'd like to expand on the practical uses of the ten principles listed above — they would be merely intriguing if they remained abstractions but incredibly practical if they lead to the next phase of human evolution. That phase involves using the brain better, something that human beings excel at. We are driven to greater creativity, complexity, imaginative leaps, and unknown horizons. "Better" doesn't mean more efficiently, the way technology improves a computer. In fact, by giving technicalities over to machines, we left more room for using our brains outside technology. In a world where every sort of calculation is done automatically, at the push of a button or the stroke of a keypad, assigning the brain a more evolved role poses the hugest challenge.

In the following posts I'll suggest a new synthesis that takes the most basic aspects of brain function — feedback, self-reflection, homeostasis, and multi-dimensional consciousness — to show that the era of higher brain function has arrived, awaiting only how you and I choose to participate.

(To be cont.)


Published by The San Francisco Chronicle

Top comments

  • I have the labyrinth, it is leading me, succint. It is a brain trainer, it is a meditation tool in itself, it has everything I need to keep myself healthy and alert. But I would like to thank you for guiding yourself to where you are now. Cause we all are our own student and teacher and it is great the Internet allows us these days to share our stories with one another. With gratitude :)

    heartphone // 2012-02-27 14:53:47 // //
  • looking forward to thinking again :)

    Berrin Sapmaz-Balik // 2012-02-27 14:42:29 // //

 

 

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  • This is a very exciting time to be alive "...the era of higher brain function has arrived, awaiting only how you and I choose to participate." To be cont. Yes, it never ends.

    Insights Guy // 2012-09-24 07:53:59 // //
  • Wow,months ago, while I was riding public transportation, on a random, mindful, conscious moment, I thought of exactly "what will be the next phase of human evolution." And this post is very informative Dear deepak, I am well aware of the pleasure given by being mindful, or being conscious. Joy and peace nonetheless can be achieved. But my ego, my ego is ruining it. I don`t know if it`s the ego or the id, but I can`t help but to be selfish about it. It`s like knowing a secret diet that truly works, but you never want anyone else to know it. I`ve worked hard to achieve this, I researched, I read books and invested a lot of time. My experiences in life brought me here. I want to share it, but isn`t this something people should discover for themselves? And you can`t really tell people to do this since you have to have intense motivation to achieve this. If every individual here in the globe would achieve consciousness, what do you think will be the effect?

    jegperez // 2012-07-05 12:00:42 // //
  • Yesterday, or was it today morning, I dreamt that we make everything we want. At some point, it seemed to me that the present you/I are/am experiencing is a clue to the futures we already created in the past. And I found myself seeing how, in the future, I can make my past. According to the bible in Hebrews, Faith Is the evidence of unseen things hoped for. I felt like my present is a hint as to how my future already is, according to my exercise of faith. I know this relates to guiding my own evolution in some way, I know it is clearer ahead. At the moment though, I am appreciating the time/space limitations of my human experience while realizing that something in me is timeless and is tomorrow, yesterday and now. One more thing: your thoughts on how technology enables/challenges us to tackle more creative and abstract frontiers relates a lot to an area I am quite interested in: Digital DJing and Electronic Music! Peace.

    Raph_Out_Loud // 2012-05-30 13:46:18 // //
  • hello

    Raman // 2012-05-22 22:07:00 // //
  • Fascinating thoughts.

    Raman // 2012-05-21 17:01:33 // //
  • Podrá ser el mecanismo mas complejo, pero como marcha la humandiad podría decirse que no funciona del todo bien.

    Gerardo Felipe // 2012-02-28 00:19:24 // //
  • Most of the time we feed the brain nonsensical fears and loops. If this is so then who is doing the feeding? There is consciousness, then there is the brain and there is me. If I back off and let consciousness feed the brain I guess a new result might emerge, building blocks possibly stacked differently?

    sandeep // 2012-02-27 22:38:16 // //
  • Left me wanting more...

    Vicky Lynn // 2012-02-27 15:58:01 // //
  • francisco??

    Francisco Apolinar Romo // 2012-02-27 14:58:02 // //
  • I have the labyrinth, it is leading me, succint. It is a brain trainer, it is a meditation tool in itself, it has everything I need to keep myself healthy and alert. But I would like to thank you for guiding yourself to where you are now. Cause we all are our own student and teacher and it is great the Internet allows us these days to share our stories with one another. With gratitude :)

    heartphone // 2012-02-27 14:53:47 // //
  • looking forward to thinking again :)

    Berrin Sapmaz-Balik // 2012-02-27 14:42:29 // //