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January-February 2009

The True Self’ Motto
Pure physicality
Pure movement of awareness

Our Collective Religious Mind

….the questions create questions. The questions
breed questions. The questions arise even when we
within the brain
have full mental faculties to answer them. The
within the neurons.
questions remain even after we presume to have
no religious or dogmatic
answered them fully.
….the question is not weather the temple, the place
of worship exists at a faraway place and had long
no preconceived
weary path…say on some hilltop…or in a desert or
psychological or
watery surroundings ….or in a busy market …or in
spiritual opinion
foreign land and you had much sweat shed before you
no guidance
had the final glimpse of your revered deity. The
question is whether you have visited that lone
no conclusion
isolated temple that exists in your soul before you
intense questioning
planned to visit the outer temple?
intense effort
….the question is not that you decided to undertake
intense need to find
the spiritual journey for the sake of
fulfillment that you urgently needed to exhaust away
till one is very near to
the everyday mental preoccupation with ‘unreligious’
cross the borders
worldly matters. The question is whether you know
till one is very near to
that you were always on the path of spiritual journey
pure intelligence within
right from the moment you took birth; that your body
and spirit were never separable?
till one is very near to have
….the question is not whether you get delight or not
from the long queues standing before the revered
idol of the deity which you equate with the might, the
deity possess or you find equal gratification from the
crowded discourse of your favorite guru who speak jumbled spiritual words you
understand a little while you remain consistently busy fanning hot humid air in the open
shamiana. The question is in the event of stampede, the unruly crowd created, the first
thing you wanted to save was not your spirit but your physical body and in the event of
saving that you destroyed many others? (Contd. next page)
within the body

Knowing others, one is learned; Knowing oneself, one is enlightened. Conquering others
requires force; Conquering oneself requires strength. Knowing contentment, one is
rich; Having perseverance, one is firm. -– “Lao tse”

For Greenfield. a sensation. and ripples from that epicenter travels across the brain. Mind and consciousness are connected in Greenfield's theory because the strength of a conscious experience is determined by the mind and the strength of its existing neuronal connections -. we witness sadly off and on) Like the wetness of water According to Greenfield. .that is. they emerge from -. ….the question is not that you were unaware of the strength of temporary support on the passage to your beloved deity and it broke down. a conscious experience occurs when a stimulus -. or internal. recruiting neurons as they go. But whereas the mind is rooted in the physical connections between neurons. Greenfield believes that consciousness is an emergent property of the brain.…. Swaran J. but the question is that you were also unable to resist the pressure of your peer society. Part of the mystery and excitement about consciousness is that scientists don't know what form the final answer will take.the actions of individual molecules. you wouldn't be able to guess whether it would be a formula. "If I said to you I'd solved the hard problem.the question is not that you were unable to withstand compel of adulation and reverence that you had for the deity. or a drug. like a thought or a memory -. Like in an earthquake. "What would I be giving you?" . similar to the 'wetness' of water or the 'transparency' of glass. ….Dr. both of which are properties that are the result of -.the question is not whether you actually wanted to escape the blaze of hell after death. the mind is made up of the physical connections between neurons. [Bulletin Editor] (on frequent stampedes at religious places. a model.connections forged from past experiences.triggers a chain reaction within the brain." said Greenfield. But the question is that you were unaware of the might of your own soul that does not need at all such ridiculous practices. the moment you decided to undertake the spiritual journey that had a sad end. The question is that you were actually pushed into the fire of man-made hell. These connections evolve slowly and are influenced by our past experiences and therefore. everyone's brain is unique. each conscious experience has an epicenter. unable to bear those scores of devotees who decided to visit worship place on a single day.either external. like a sensation.

Editor Summary so far: Consciousness. She advises him to leave the tools of deduction and logic and accept the virtue of apperception as the only way to know her. consciousness addresses the parts. His formula is ‘It is all mind or all consciousnesses. for he does not exist physically. In an utter chaotic milieu perturbed parts debate the question of governance. intellect. still he is not very happy that parts should belittle his role in the body.the mind or thinking soul and Psyche.Cosmic classroom-V Dr. The question before the parts is who is their genuine master. In order to streamline the future discussions he gives different names to the parts. We have now entered a phase where functions of mind are appreciated directly in opposition to the functions of consciousness You have been reading the serialized story of the cosmic classroom. Mind while speaking to the parts asserts that though he is intrigued at the marvel of consciousness. Mind was definitely puzzled. Now the next… The Genetic Spell “Yes Sir. makes an appearance in the cosmic classroom and marks attendance of all parts except mind. past knowledge and be innocent like a child if he wants to ‘know’ her fully. Nous. For some the mind as creator of will is the master of the body while for others will for action originates primarily in the consciousness so she is the boss. The innate apprehension of ‘the parts' have now come true when they realize that they are being guided by two souls- . reason and knowledge. Swaran J. His passionate speech in which he outlines the blueprint for future development of the world is interrupted by a part who claims that mind can never be superior to his own genes. He could not imagine that his favorite speech in which he was going to assert his supremacy among the parts and was going to sketch a plan for .the nonthinking soul or the animal soul or the consciousness. The Cosmic Classroom [5] To the readers…. She talks about the phenomenon of development of mind. But parts do not take this incidence lightly. In order to bring rhythm and order in the class. The series depict the theatre of the ‘class room’ where parts (of Body) are groomed and prepared for action. Mind’s arguments fail but he is happy that he has contacted with consciousness. the epitome of existence. The controversy leads to pandemonium in the classroom. She talks about her existence. you will never be above the genes!” “May I ask who you are?” said mind irritatingly. thought. She advises mind to clear away the rubbish of memory.

From the very start you are never satisfied with at This is the mind that changes least the outer layers of body you possess. One could see the distress of the mind on hearing this statement of Bios. I am happy that created man he created the you have given a beautiful name to your Biology fellow!” creator and God was then no more said Bios humbly. They provide the miniature model of life. the lake. defeated. We all know that genes are deciding factor in the physical make-up of the individual. death bed. It keeps on changing “How can you say this so certainly?” with flimsy disturbances.” “Okay! Okay!! Let’s not go in unnecessary details of science of genetics. Though you know take few more ages to come and that color of the skin is decided by the genes. You begin by battling was at least mature like a rock with the genetic ‘will’ first and try to modify it to your submerged deep into the lake. It will you desire your skin to be lighter. My primary ‘will’ knows this. Once you have done so and was altogether not everything you start exercising that will. With white with every age i. You remain in tune with your genes so long as you destroyed the old mind. . Life starts from a single cell I mean zygote which has half the genes from either of the parents. Bios?” Mind was mind similarly created their own comparatively calm now. The creators of new “Can you explain your point. Parts never dies. we all know. “These are my secondary activities. demonstrated this by thumping the benches. Biologically we inherit genes from two different individuals because we must get rid of those bad genes which may create certain innate abnormalities in the offspring or to combat with the army of parasites that we are going to encounter after birth. But he spoke nothing.” understanding that ancient in us Class seemed to be amused with the comment. sir! I would love to! The future life of organism theories and inventions for depends upon the genetic makeup rather than your will.them to conquer the universe would be interrupted at “The mind of man is in this such a crucial junction. skin you think it should be more tanned and with black modern or post-modern.” said Bios in a matter of fact manner.e.” said Bios. continuous designing of new mind. They with their new “Yes. Genes decide type of mind we are going to have and type of behaviour we shall exhibit for most of the time. should I The new mindset is like ripples on say. When God “Your affectionate disciple Bios Sir. “from this episode” But mind was not. The “Because of your experimentation with the tanners and squalor we are into is due to our lighteners right from the day you come to yourself. you start battling with wrong with the old mindset. That everything that comes your way. paradox for centuries. medieval.” rebuffed the mind. There have not created your ‘will’. How will you explain that genes have so much influence on the physical destiny of organism that ‘will’ of mind can never change?” “Genes are units of heredity. “Not only the physical make-up but mental make-up too. you are go before we have final after the beauticians for most part of your life. development of the world sir. benefit and in this endeavor you are often. on the scene.

helpless are those species who are so small in number that only few of their kind are left. not the man. Your problems are not because of . is that where your approach leads to?” “Who says man is helpless! Man with more than five billion bodies on earth is helpless!! Sir. They can be seen reproduced in the successive generations. The Biology fellows like me are not developing science of genetics to modify the man as super genetic specie among other creatures. you have already prepared a ground to modify it. Sir. “not only what an animal knows and remembers i. Scientists sometimes use the behavioral traits to link the closely related species. Once you identify that there exists genetic basis for our physical and social traits as well as abnormal behaviour. Certain mental traits run in the families. that is to understand the secret ways by which the nature work. impulsivity.” said mind softly. its emotional and affective capabilities…… and how it reacts. “behaviour of the animal is species specific. Even the social traits of apes closely resemble the humans. Yes.” “You understood the things incorrectly. Environmental modifications do play their part. “No sir!” said Bios firmly. as well as physical diseases.” “More or less. Do you presume that the genes and science of genetics will remain obscure from the keen scientific observations of mind? Do you mean to say that mind will helplessly sit and watch the genetic unfolding of the destiny of the species. we cannot deny the environmental modifications.e. Nature does the modifications in the species but it does so. They are really endangered.” “I don’t understand the utility of that understanding which cannot be implemented?” “Utility lies in preserving flora and fauna for many years to come. and nurturing have been identified. so silently that by the time we appreciate them we have already accepted them wholeheartedly. May be in future he will discover someday all the requisite genetic information to modify genes to create super specie as man. There are inherent dangers to that.” “Then for what purpose this whole burning of night oil to study the science of genetics?” “That is to understand that diversity of nature. Man is already so by any standards. will forget the agenda of the preferred development of the globe?” “So what you have in your mind. that is to …. continued Bios. helplessly watching the shortcomings of man. aggression. Mind sir!” asked Bios fearfully. “Mind will never put up the shutters to the genetic studies.” “That behaviour should be decided by the environment of the individual rather than the genes.” “Mere understanding and no modification for our benefit. its cognitive capabilities but also what it feels i. We are rather not in favor of modifying the behaviour of man or any other specie overnight.” “You mean that a violent individual is damned to produce violent offspring. A genetic basis of numerous physical behaviors. including homosexuality. won’t do anything to shape it as per the civic needs of our future generations. There is danger of irreparable damage to the current social fabric. Bios.“Genes and the science of genetics could be used to study”.” “So that is what I have been pointing out so far.e.

How we can prevent their entry into their progeny by properly guiding the individuals at the time of creating new family. Yet there is a danger of your own degradation.” “Viewing your favoritism towards man. “The question of studying relationship of genetics and disease. If we believe the man made law then every individual who performs this or that illegality in his life time is criminal. your ways are not going to help collectively to whole of animal and plant life on earth. They are more or less failed. “is not that we must be able to get rid of disease by getting rid of bad genes we have inherited. What is moral within the boundaries is immoral and unlawful on the streets that is what our law infers.” Bios wanted to continue further but mind waved him to stop. Sir! They were not properly looked into. man and man only. He…hee…hee.” Whole class including mind was listening silently. I’m sorry for my boldness.superiority or inferiority of man among other species. Above all there is question of genetic mutations during the life time that is due to environmental and mental stress the man is victim of. Disease was not there in the ancients because they were living in tune with nature.” continued Bios. We have reduced the plasticity of our body by not allowing harshness of natural forces to act on it.” “They have not failed. . Still if you insist Sir. Sir. The study of genetics is to note down that how bad genes are running in families and generations. We are here on earth for million of years. For the sake of upholding civility of very few individual we have nearly painted whole of human population as criminal. They were not implemented with spirit.” “And you want it to be done through genetic modification! You want to produce genetically engineer food as well as individuals who’ll eat it. for disobeying natural laws. Biggest defiance of ours is that we just not have patience to understand nature’s will? It was and never is against man or any of plant or animal specie. what is needed is intervention by the mind of the society. We have chosen disease as our punishment for creating artificial environment in which we live. We must provide our progeny good environment and stress free living to prevent that too. Nature will always bestow motherly aid to cope with harassment by the nature itself…” “………. Man’s going astray and taking on criminality would never have been a problem had we sympathetically studied man’s nature. those individual who have selfish interests to rule on other men. scientific and foolproof intervention and not merely passing time and waiting for nature’s will to modify man. We are basically not inherently diseased. Problems that are on the face of man may be disease or crime. “…Degradation? What do you mean?” Mind asked.” warned Bios.” “Yes I want to create disease and crime free society too and there is problem of food for those five billion bodies also. But man’s nature needs understanding rather than modification. “To accomplish everything you said. that man must be modified for the future of human race then there are numerous other methods ….” “But those methods have their limitations. They may help a few individuals. What I am after is the correct.

“Yes. intelligence and love. The new mindset is like ripples on the lake. Love and sorrow go together. but we are brought up in a pleasure-hunting human race.” explained Bios. So. you want.“Yes Sir! By modifying genes you will be degrading your own nature. the more you will be hurt. by genetic modifications you want to put an end to the genetic variations. to be driven away completely. It will take few more ages to come and go before we have final understanding that ancient in us never dies. They with their fondness for new theories and inventions for development of the world destroyed the old mind. That was at least mature like a rock submerged deep into the lake. if there is physical or psychological pain. The creators of new mind similarly created their own death bed. This voice attracted everyone.together that make the whole. the enlightenment. The class room again filled up with variable voices which increased every moment. We fondly call these ages as medieval. This is the mind that changes with every age. post-modern so on and so forth. the modern. . When God created man he actually created the creator and God was then no more on the scene. there is more sorrow. The more sensitive you are and the more you live from the depth of your being. Genes as you understand by now are the basis of mind and behaviour. The parts were upset once again.” “What it is that paradox?” mind was a bit worried. You live with it because it is part of life.the duality . the more vulnerable you are to life. not out of selfpity. But it is the pain and pleasure . He knew that Bios never gives surprising statements out of context. [Contd. to protect oneself from. pain and sorrow accompany the sensitivity. The voice was that of Humanos. you want to curb freedom of individual man with your preferred development of the globe. One voice out of the whole noise was more distinct.” There was an unusual shine on the face of Bios. There was altogether not everything wrong with the old mindset.. it is an expression of life. the wholeness of life. Next Issue] Sensitivity and Pain To live requires energy and fearlessness. “What that means?” “The mind of man is in this paradox for centuries. not out of any weakness. Before mind could speak there was an unusual disturbance in the classroom. By striving to create new man by changing the genetic makeup you’ll be further strengthening the paradox man is already into. . you want to create semi-mechanical species for the interest of an individual master. It keeps on changing with flimsy disturbances. The squalor we are in is due to our continuous designing of new mind and not giving it maturity for its embedding in every human heart. The more sensitive you are and the more capable of loving human beings. you live with it . and pain is something to be afraid of. Psychological hurts.not out of despair. there is more pain. you want… ”. “Creator creates the creator and destroys himself.

To separate the self from the percept is to invite infinite regress. When I smack myself in the arm it hurts. then. The homunculus. who then experiences them." . invites some unwarranted assumptions. We tend to believe in an enduring self. and there is the tree. The memories are the rememberers. sense data must come in from our sense organs. a child learns from a very young age that everything within my skin is "me".The Self One of the most certain truths in the world is Descartes' "I think. "I am thinking" it might be more appropriate to say. For there to be a Cartesian theater with a homunculus in the audience. We still have a problem of how the stimuli impinging on the homunculus come together in its "mind" to form the rich qualitative field of consciousness that it has. I question the appropriateness of the subject/object distinction in this case. sitting in the audience of the Cartesian theater who watches our thoughts is referred to as a homunculus. independent of our individual percepts. thoughts must be generated and presented in some fashion to the homunculus. There is a subject/object distinction. then. a hypothesized construct. the experiences are the experiencers. There is me. but when. James also suggested that instead of saying. In some sense. serves to push the whole problem down one more level. and that the self just sits back in the audience and watches. Accepting such metaphors unquestioningly (which is to say. it stays put. "it is thinking". has the same Hard Problem relative to this presentation that we do relative to our sense organs. any line between some receptors (functionally construed) on the homunculus and those aspects of the percepts that these receptors are sensitive to. When I want to move my arm. we still cast the situation these terms: "I" perceive the "tree". This is not necessarily to imply that most of us believe that the self or homunculus is an identifiable region of the brain like the pineal gland. and everything outside of it is "not me". the thoughts are the thinkers. using "it" in the same sense that we use it when we say "it is raining. thinks about. and so on ad infinitem. there can be no homunculus in the audience of the Cartesian theater separate from whatever is going on onstage. even when the tree is one that is created entirely in the mind. it is the very percept of the tree that is the "me". Sometimes this virtual "self" in our mind. Any distinction we can draw between the homunculus and the percepts. we assume that there is a self that is separate from the stuff that self experiences. As William James said. etc. remembers. When we speak of our percepts and thoughts. just that at some level of organization. it moves. Descartes was so certain of the existence of some kind of essential self that others have coined the term "Cartesian theater" to describe the sense that we all have of being the audience enjoying the rich play of our experiences. In the real physical world. Under pain of infinite regress. or rather it is the process of creation of that percept. therefore I am". The self is just another part of our world-model. The Cartesian theater metaphor suggests that some process dresses up reality in qualitative costumes (or creates reality completely) and presents it to consciousness. by similar force of will. but when I smack the tree. by speaking in terms of them with no explicit argument for their truth). it does not (or at least it does not hurt at the place on the tree where I struck it). watching its Cartesian theater. I am the scene on the stage of the Cartesian theater. but doesn't solve it. Perhaps it has a homunculus in its mind too. I want the tree to move. however. or the self. It feels natural to carry this distinction over into the world of our own minds.

[Editor] What is the self? How does the activity of neurons give rise to the sense of being a conscious human being? Even this most ancient of philosophical problems. It is the "turning inward" aspect of the self — its recursiveness — that gives it its peculiar paradoxical quality. and coauthor. it arises from the activity of specific sets of interlinked brain circuits. Each of these aspects of self may be mediated by different centers in different parts of the brain and its only for convenience that we lump them together in a single word. as often happens in evolution. Rizzolati. Here I develop these arguments further. It now seems increasingly likely that the self is not a holistic property of the entire brain. "I feel jealous in order to understand what jealousy feels like in someone else" — a short cut to predicting that persons behavior. The discovery of mirror neurons was made G. There are many aspects of self. Nick Humphrey. In addition it has a sense of continuity in time. San Diego. a neuroscientist. a sense of its worth. perhaps we should think of our mind as like a pseudopod that shapes itself into whatever is being thought about or perceived. I would like to suggest that groups of neurons called mirror neurons are critically involved in this ability. Phantoms in the Brain. It has been suggested by Horace Barlow. of being in control of its actions ("free will"). of being anchored in a body. Author. will yield to the methods of empirical science.S. THE NEUROLOGY OF SELF-AWARENESS By V. Ramachandran V. the same ability was exploited to model ones own mind — what one calls self awareness. dignity and mortality (or immortality). Finally I discuss some clinical examples to illustrate these ideas and make some testable predictions. If I succeed in seeing any further it is by "standing on the shoulders of these giants". As noted earlier there is one aspect of self that seems stranger than all the others — the fact that it is aware of itself. RAMACHANDRAN. David Premack and Marvin Minsky (among others) that consciousness may have evolved primarily in a social context. A Brief Tour of Human Consciousness. For instance when the monkey reached for a peanut a certain neuron in its pre motor cortex ( in the frontal lobes) would fire. It has a sense of unity despite the multitude of sense impressions and beliefs. I suggest that "other awareness" may have evolved first and then counterintutively.To replace the Cartesian theater metaphor. is Director. University of California. Another neuron would fire when the monkey . Center for Brain and Cognition. But we need to know which circuits are critically involved and what their functions might be. I believe.S. Minsky speaks of a second parallel mechanism that has evolved in humans to create representations of earlier representations and Humphrey has argued that our ability to introspect may have evolved specifically to construct meaningful models of other peoples minds in order to predict their behavior. V Gallase and I Iaccoboni while recording from the brains of monkeys performed certain goal-directed voluntary actions. Specifically. I will also suggest that a specific system of neurons called mirror neurons are involved in this ability.

in humans.. Amazingly. Neurons in the anterior cingulate will respond to the patient being poked with a needle. I call these "empathy neurons" or "Dalai Lama neurons" for they are. researchers at the University of Toronto have found that some of them will fire equally strongly when the patient watches someone else is poked. (And the "great leap forward" — the rapid Lamarckian transmission of "accidental") one-of-a kind inventions. a subset of these neurons had an additional peculiar property. I suggest that once the ability to engage in cross modal abstraction emerged — e. in short. The mirror neuron mechanism — the same algorithm — that originally evolved to help you adopt another's point of view . The neuron fired not only (say) when the monkey reached for a peanut but also when it watched another monkey reach for a peanut! These were dubbed "mirror neurons" or "monkey-see-monkey-do" neurons. Remarkably. In an essay for Edge (2001) entitled "Mirror Neurons and the Great Leap Forward" I suggested that in addition to providing a neural substrate for figuring out another persons intentions (as noted by Rizzolati's group) the emergence and subsequent sophistication of mirror neurons in hominids may have played a crucial role in many quintessentially human abilities such as empathy. Notice that in saying this one isn't being metaphorical. such as metaphor ("get a grip on yourself"). earning us the title "the Machiavellian primate". It was. Primates (including humans) are highly social creatures and knowing what someone is "up to" — creating an internal simulation of his/her mind — is crucial for survival. dissolving the barrier between self and others. I turn now to the main concern of this essay — the nature of self. the network which it is part of) was not only generating a highly specific command ("reach for the nut") but was capable of adopting another monkey's point of view. and the rapid transmission of what we call "culture".g. How does this happen ? Evolution often takes advantage of pre-existing structures to evolve completely novel abilities. This was an extraordinary observation because it implies that the neuron (or more accurately. When you think of your own self. as well).pushed a button. a third neuron when he pulled a lever. The existence of such Command neurons that control voluntary movements has been known for decades. As the brain evolved further the lobule split into two gyri — the supramarginal gyrus that allowed you to "reflect" on your own anticipated actions and the angular gyrus that allowed you to "reflect" on your body (on the right) and perhaps on other more social and linguistic aspects of your self (left hemisphere) I have argued elsewhere that mirror neurons are fundamentally performing a kind of abstraction across activity in visual maps and motor maps. what comes into mind? You have sense of "introspecting" on your own thoughts and feelings and of " watching" yourself going about your business — as if you were looking at yourself from another persons vantage point. It was doing a sort of internal virtual reality simulation of the other monkeys action in order to figure out what he was "up to". between visual "vertical" on the retina and photoreceptive "vertical" signaled by muscles (for grasping trees) it set the stage for the emergence of mirror neurons in hominids. they are often referred to as sensory pain neurons. How does all this lead to self awareness? I suggest that self awareness is simply using mirror neurons for "looking at myself as if someone else is look at me" (the word "me" encompassing some of my brain processes. This in turn may have paved the way for more conceptual types of abstraction. the neuron in question simply doesn't know the difference between it and others. Mirror neurons are also abundant in the inferior parietal lobule — a structure that underwent an accelerated expansion in the great apes and. later. a "mind-reading" neuron. learning through imitation (rather than trial and error).

especially the Wernickes ("language comprehension") area and parts of the frontal lobes.was turned inward to look at your own self. This. figuring out what someone is up to. We have seen patients who vehemently claim that their reflection in the mirror is "someone else" yet they pass the Gallup test!) It has recently been shown that if a conscious awake human patient has his parietal lobe stimulated during neurosurgery. It is often tacitly assumed that the uniquely human ability to construct a "theory of other minds" or "TOM" (seeing the world from the others point of view. the TOM evolved first in response to social needs and then later. etc. Remarkably the patient also denied the paralysis of another patient sitting in an adjacent wheelchair! (who failed to move the arm on command from the physician. as an unexpected bonus. is the basis of things like "introspection". evidence that two seemingly contradictory aspects of self — its the individuation and intense privacy vs. they are part of the current zeitgeist. (There may also be frontal inhibitory mechanisms that stop you from involuntarily mimicking another person looking at you). I suggest that this arises because of a dysfunction in the mirror neuron system in the parietooccipital junction caused by the stimulating electrode. These neurons are ordinarily activated when we temporarily "adopt" another's view of our body and mind (as outlined earlier in this essay). "mind reading". he will sometimes have an "out of body" experience — as if he was a detached entity watching his own body from up near the ceiling. If these mirror neuron-related mechanisms are deranged by the stimulating electrode the net result would be an out-ofbody experience. we would predict that they would have a deficient sense of self (TMM) and difficulty with introspection. But we are always aware we are doing this partly because of other signals (both sensory and reafference/command signals) telling you you are not literally moving out of yourself.existing sense of self. they are really the same. came the ability to introspect on your own thoughts and intentions.) must come after an already pre. Like the two sides of a Mobius strip. damage to the inferior parietal lobule/TPO junction (which are known to contain mirror neurons) and parts of the frontal lobes should also lead to a deficiency of certain aspects self awareness. Or say "I am reflecting" when you mean you are aware of yourself thinking. Any novelty derives from the manner in which I shall marshall the evidence from physiology and from our own work in neurology. But hopefully we have paved the way for future models and empirical studies on the nature of self. In other words the ability to turn inward to introspect or reflect may be a sort of metaphorical extension of the mirror neurons ability to read others minds. only that they must have played a pivotal role. Gallup's mirror test — removing a paint splotch from your face while looking at a mirror — is not an adequate test of self awareness. They may have to reach a certain critical level of sophistication that allowed them to build on earlier functions (TOM) and become linked to certain other brain circuits. Some years ago we examined a patient with a syndrome called anosognosia who had a lesion in his right parietal lobe and vehemently denied the paralysis. mirror neurons. Does the mirror neuron theory of self make other predictions? Given our discovery that autistic children have deficient mirror neurons and correspondingly deficient TOM. I claim no great originality for these ideas. (Incidentally. It may not be coincidental that we use phrases like "self conscious" when you really mean that you are conscious of others being conscious of you. Have we solved the problem of self? Obviously not — we have barely scratched the surface. its social reciprocity — may complement each other and arise from the same neural mechanism. The same might be true for other neurological disorders. even they appear — on local inspection — to be fundamentally different.) Here again was. I am arguing that the exact opposite is true. (Otherwise monkeys would have self awareness and they don't). Note that I am not arguing that mirror neurons are sufficient for the emergence of self. even though it is touted as such. a problem that philosophers have made essentially no headway in . in essence.

I cannot check them. then it results in freedom. simultaneously of the objective challenge.Dr. Meditation does not involve any mental activity at all. I will not be a victim of my reaction. I cannot stop the reaction.solving. Swaran J. Then the momentum of reaction will not carry me over with it. but I will be ahead of the reactions. omcawr [M] 9815621557 e-mail – omcawr_sj2@indiatimes. If I am aware of the nature of my reactions. and movement of my reactions. I cannot prevent. Hence our grounds for optimism about the future of brain research — especially for solving what is arguably Science's greatest riddle. -Vimala Thakar To ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- FOR CIRCULATION AMONG FRIENDS ONLY Published in public interest by Prakriti-a natural healing mission BULLETIN EDITOR. because the reactions have been rooted in the subconscious. But if I am . in the unconscious. That for me is meditation. but I will see them as I see the objective challenge. the subjective reactions and the causes of those reactions. I cannot renounce. All-inclusive attention while moving in life. (And not for want of effort — they have been at it for three thousand years). naturally that awareness will result in freedom from the reaction.