Monday, May 30, 2011

Neurology and God: Chapter 1

Most all religions lay claim to a very important feature, or evidence of validation for their beliefs.

This is most widely known as - the spirit.

The spirit is a feeling inside you, that is supposedly "too deep, too strong," to be just considered a feeling. So religious people will claim that since this feeling is so strong that it must not be a feeling at all. It's the presence of a supernatural being.

If I close my eyes, and imagine a man dressed in white descending from the heavens, his arms open, his eyes and smile expressing love and confidence leading me to believe that I can trust him, and that he's only here to help. Then that feeling of deep peace comes back.

The point being that this feeling doesn't derive from a supernatural being - it derives from your brain.

If I'm in an intense moment of fear - my heart instantly doubles its pace, my eyes open wide, my muscles tighten, and the feeling I have is very different. It's a feeling that doesn't really have a definition - the best I can define it is - lively or passionate. The intensity of the situatin has awoken every facet of my being and for the next few moments my brain and body seem to be working at an incredible rate.

This feeling is far more intense than any spiritual feeling i've ever felt - yet no one would claim that this feeling derived from a supernatural being.

Butterflies are just a feeling, guilt is just a feeling, pain, heartache, goosebumps, horny - those are just feelings. But DEEP PEACE is god.

Here's where this theory doesn't work for me. I've never lived outside of my brain - So I don't know what derives from it, and what doesn't. But I do know small bits about neurology (it is one of my interests). I appreciate knowing the difference between the male and female brain, how they function, and why the brain functions the way it does. So for anyone who believes in the spirit I'm going to explain a very simple fact about brains, and how they process pain. In particular, phantom pain. Phantom pain is simply pain in a part of your body, that doesn't exist anymore.

Phantom pain:
A study found that eight days after amputation, 72 percent of patients had phantom limb pain, and six months later, 65 percent reported it. Some amputees experience continuous pain that varies in intensity or quality; others experience several bouts a day. It is often described as shooting, crushing, burning or cramping. If the pain is continuous for a long period, parts of the body may become sensitized, in so much that by touching them evokes pain in the phantom limb, or the phantom limb pain may accompany urination or defecation.

Now clearly these people don't have limbs - yet those non existent limbs seem to be causing them pain.

I bring this up to make a point about the brain... which is simply: You can't trust it. The brain is very complex, but one thing that is understood about it is brain waves.

Your brain PHYSICALLY changes every time you perform an action. The more you perform an action, the more a brain wave is set, and the more an action becomes a HABIT. Or in other words, the deeper a brain wave or the longer you've performed a habit, the more it becomes a part of your subconscious - to the point where it almost doesn't exist anymore as a thought - you act on habit. Your brain senses a situation is similar to previous situations, and reacts.

Now if a brain wave is set let's say about... a limb. You've lived with your limb for 50 years, and then it's amputated. The brain isn't going to just accept the fact that a limb doesn't exist anymore. It has built an understanding about it's environment for 50 years, and it's not going to simply drop it. That's like asking you to walk upright for 50 years, and then suddenly placing you on a boat, and EXPECTING your brain to know exactly what to do to react to the waves and keep balance.

Why do I bring all this up? Because let's say the spirit is just a feeling brought on by the brain. Now, under certain situations (church, prayer) it calls upon the spirit. The more it has this feeling under these given situation, the more apt your brain will revert to that feeling naturally when you're put into that situation.

Now if an amputee can believe he still feels pain in an inexistent limb - could you... accept the idea that it is possible that when you feel the spirit - it's actually just your brain creating a feeling for something that doesn't exist?

This theory that the brain is the cause of this spirit feeling holds alot more weight when you realize that every religion claims to have this feeling - and they all claim that they understand it, and that it guides them in their lives.

Now, either everyone but your religion is lying about this (quite a coincidence - when they all think you're lying)

or

God is sending down a spirit that is confusing everyone, and sending everyone in different directions.

BOTH of these situations seem unlikely - compared to the idea that maybe - it just comes from your brain. Like every other feeling that you experience.

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