Quite a thread here, sort of overwhelming...
In general I don't disagree with the the ideas presented here, specially that focus on brain activity, and I think it is a modern and 'state-of-the-art' approach. So I'am strongly encouraging and welcoming this approach. Still, there are some details and some general notions where I'd like to comment on. And of course these comments I am doing represent a very personal and subjective view, I am not claiming the ownership of any general 'truth' or wisdom.
- The Brain
Originally Posted by terry
Training the Brain
In recent months the phrase “I swim to grow new brain cells” has become my mantra. I swim for many other reasons as well – for improvement, enjoyment, to age gracefully – but swimming to grow new brain cells as my fundamental motivation makes all my other valued outcomes far more likely.
I regard the body/brain systems as one entity, not separate ones, and I like to refer to that as the 'body'.
I think that we encounter a dilemma here that is typical for the modern-western approach: we are quite good in the observation, study and analysis of physical phenomena. The brain research develops very well in the physical
processes in the brain. But then at some point we interpret what happens, and we add mental
aspects. And at that point we run into difficulties: we are unable to clearly distinct what is what and where is the location of every distinct parts.
Example: Someone commits suicide. The body or brain/body system will very vitally do everything to prevent any damage to the body. It reacts with alarm, panic etc on dangerous situations and tries to protect 'us' (or itself). Some of these processes run beyond our control. Still, we can convince the body to commit suicide, although this clearly will be the end of it's very purpose and function. How is that possible?
There must be a controlling entity behind the brain/body system. We could call it the mind.
In the physical examination we can see activity in brain areas, and from experiment we can associate those activities with thinking, emotions etc. But actually we see the physical representation of a mental process. Where do we find our motivation in the brain? Our intention, our will, our decisions, where is the source of thoughts, of emotions ? When someone swims with the intention of pulling him- or herself through the water with the catching arm, and another one uses a picture of catching and moving the body past that arm - where do we find those different pictures and visualizations? Who creates them? A random process in the brain ?
We inevitably run into a phenomena called the mind, and that is where we get confused: we don't really know anything about it. We refer to it as thoughts and emotions, but we are unable to see whether what we see is just an appearance or the root of it, we have no sense of it's shape, location and no real understanding of it's functioning. All we know it must be there, somehow.
We could put it this way:
5. The brain is the master. Without an operating system and other software, a computer is just a collection of electronic parts.
Who then, is the programmer?
Combined with this:
... then we realize we’re capable of changing or improving literally any aspect of what makes us human.
that question becomes even more evident.
I think there is a framework, the human condition. Means we are born, we will die, we want to be happy, and we do not want to suffer. This I would call the condition where the (possible) change of our human aspects are bound within. And not only a human
condition, we do share these conditions with all other beings and creatures on this planet and there is no basis for looking down on them.
For me this means:
I am not primarily interested in developing my brain
, I am primarily interested in developing my mind.
For me this is the source of all, and everything else has no choice but to follow. I develop my mind when I train in keeping a focus and attention, the brain will develop circuits along with it.
Maybe we talk about the same thing here - just different words. Maybe. Maybe not.
- brain circuits
And finally efficient strokes are produced by a precise set of neural signals. Ragged strokes come from different circuits.
When you focus on programming the brain, you increase your control of outcomes. When you focus on training body parts—without primary consideration of the role of the brain—you get random and unpredictable outcomes.
Why random and unpredictable outcome? There is no training of body parts that does not involve the brain, just refer to this:
What brain cells do.
From the moment we walk on a pool deck (or beach) the 100 billion nerve cells in our brain, called neurons, control literally everything we do, experience or think while there.
I wouldn't elaborate too much a viewpoint, that leads in 'doing TI is more valuable for the brain than doing something else'. That would be a tough viewpoint, and it will offer a nice point of attack for people who want to think that TI is something like a religion.
- What a question
When we understand that a turn-lemons-into-lemonade attitude reflects electrical activity in a specific region of the brain, rather than a chance aspect of personality, then we realize we’re capable of changing or improving literally any aspect of what makes us human.
You seem to have a talent to step on the real big subjects! Probably derives from your keen sense of observation. (I really like that).
In other words there are collections of activities in some brain areas which we refer to as 'I'. As they can be changed these notions of 'I' can be changed.
So, what is the personality then? Does it exist ?
I just want to point out that this statement has some consequences. And the fact that if your wife reads this, she might just give you a dry "change it, darling!" when she next time comes across one of the little mannerism that we pick up during our life (as husbands (same as wives) ) and that often becomes the source of these ridiculous but nevertheless fierce quarreling we encounter in long-term relationships that moved from romanticism to a more sober kitchen-sink level, is a more harmless example but still might leave you speech- and argument-less. Not even the last refuge - 'it's just a habit' - can save you :-))
But it might create some strong reactions in different people.
While a Christian might be offended and accuses you of undermining the authority of God, a Buddhist might congratulate you and remark that finally science is moving towards viewpoints that already have been pointed out 2500 years ago on a spiritual level.
So, actually: right on! But not without consequences.
Such a nice, innocent statement...
ADD - ADHC
Are you talking about Attention Deficit Disorder - Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder ??
Well, my experience is that this gets better with age, not worse. And particularly Terry - I assume you are joking ? You are training your focus and attention anyway, there shouldn't be a problem.
And apart from possible physical causes it has a lot today with the simple habit of being constantly distracted. And habits can be changed. Just drill something different.
[u] - Plasticity[/]
Originally Posted by shuumai
Old habits getting in the way?
"...Once a particular plastic change occurs in the brain and becomes well established, it can prevent other changes from occurring. It is by understanding both the positive and negative effects of plasticity that we can truly understand the extent of human possibilities."
Interesting. I think this is a little silly. Plasticity is the fact that we can change our brain, but preventing other changes is not due to plasticity but due to the fact that habits are formed (myelin). And habits are a means for the brain to save energy, which is important as the brain is very energy consuming. Plasticity actually is the possibility to change even a habit. So I cannot see the negative news in plasticity. Plasticity is hope and might be the equivalent to what others call 'liberation' or 'enlightenment'.
So, in general I like this discussion and this direction very much. Quite unusual for a swimming forum, of course :-).
I just think it is good to watch out for not getting carried away too far.
And always back it up. You never know what you stir up in people.