Connect with us

Metaphysics & Psychology

Are the Left & Right Brain Independently Conscious?

Did you know that it was possible for the two hemispheres of our brains to be independently conscious – and even to have differing opinions? For one hemisphere to believe in God, and for the other to be an atheist? For one hemisphere to control your hand, whilst the other watches in surprise at this alien appendage moving of its own accord?

The Hemispheric Highway

To understand how this can be possible, we need to understand the structure of the brain. The corpus callosum is a wide, flat bundle of 200-300 million neural fibers connecting the left and right hemispheres of the brain. This hemispheric highway allows them to communicate with one another and coordinate actions and decision-making. This information exchange is important because the two hemispheres are highly specialised and need to be able to share their findings. For example the right hemisphere is responsible for nonverbal and spatial tasks, image and facial recognition and emotion, whereas the left hemisphere excels at language and logic. In a beautiful example of biological symmetry, the right hemisphere is also in control of the sensory functions on left side of our body (our left hand and left visual field), whilst the left hemisphere is in control of our right side.

It has been speculated that Kim Peek (the inspiration for Dustin Hoffman’s ‘Rain Man’) made unusual neural connections due to the absence of his corpus callosum. Incredibly, he had developed independent language areas in both hemispheres and was therefore able to split his vision and allow each of his eyes to read pages of a book separately, at about 8-10 seconds per page!

Split Brain Surgery 

Where things get really interesting is when two hemispheres become artificially separated. Corpus callosotomy (or split-brain surgery) is a procedure in which the corpus callosum is severed, breaking the main connection between the two hemispheres. This surgery is normally only carried out as a last resort in patients suffering from severe epileptic seizures, which start in one hemisphere and spread across the whole brain. The purpose of this surgery is to prevent the spread of this electrical storm, and by all accounts it has been shown to be remarkably successful. Following the procedure patients typically report to feel no different and are by all accounts “normal”, including functioning normally in a range of neurological tests.

However, experiments carried out by Sperry and Gazzaniga (1967) in the sixties demonstrated that something very strange was going on. When split-brain subjects are presented with a picture of an object (e.g. an apple) to only their right hemisphere (via their left eye), they were unable to verbally describe the picture, because the speech and language centre is located in the left hemisphere. However if they are asked to reach under a screen with their left hand (controlled by their right hemisphere) to touch various objects, they were able to select the apple without any trouble at all. Furthermore, if they are asked what the object was that they were holding in their left hand, they still were not able to verbalise it.

Even more fascinating is the fact that these patients would attempt to create reasons for why their right hemispheres were making particular decisions outside of their conscious awareness. For example, if they were asked why they chose the apple, they would reason that it was because this was their favourite fruit, or that they had one for lunch that day.

The video below shows these experiments in practise, and it boggles my mind every time I watch it.

A rare side effect of this procedure is a neurological disorder called ‘Alien Hand Syndrome’ – in which one hand appears to be controlled by a separate consciousness with a will of its own. The alien hand will carry out actions without the person’s awareness and outside of their control, which can often lead to a battle between the two hands over what action to take. For example, in one case a patient would put a cigarette into her mouth with her right hand, but before she could light it her left hand would pull it out of her mouth and throw it away!

The evidence thus far leads me naturally to the question – are there two separate sets of conscious experience coexisting within one skull?Is the right hemisphere independently conscious and silently lurking, unable to communicate verbally but still very much aware? The clip below from a talk by neurologist VS Ramachandran explains the incredible case of one split brain patient where his right hemisphere believed in god, but his left hemisphere was an atheist.

Spooky Implications

It is quite spooky to consider that there must be some point during the callosotomy procedure (which incidentally, people can elect to stay awake for) when the individual branches into two separate sets of consciousness, both completely unaware of the others’ existence. Does either hemisphere notice a difference, or feel a sense of loss?

However, what really gives me goosebumps is in wondering – are our minds already split in some sense? Are we are already not the only “I” within our own our minds? After all, as Sam Harris notes in ‘Waking Up’, even in a healthy brain, our two individual hemispheres are only sharing an executive summary of their processes with each other via the corpus callosum, rather than a full information exchange. This points to the possibility that our two hemispheres are already functioning independently to some extent.

Take a moment to absorb how bizarre this possibility is. The point of view from which you are consciously reading these words may not be the only conscious point of view to be found in your brain. It is one thing to say that you are unaware of a vast amount of activity in your brain. It is quite another to say that some of this activity is aware of itself and is watching your every move.”

Sam Harris – Waking Up (Chapter 1 is available for free on his blog)

Experiments conducted by Miller and Gazzaniga in 2009 suggested that the two brain hemispheres do indeed have differing opinions when it comes to making moral judgements. Subjects were told a series of stories, each involving either intentional or accidental harm. In the first story, an individual intends to poison his boss but fails because he mistakes sugar for rat poison, and in the second an individual accidentally kills his boss by mistaking rat poison for sugar. Whilst most people would conclude that the intentional harm was more morally reprehensible, when the story was read aloud to a split brain patient (and thereby only directed to the left hemisphere) they concluded that both stories were morally equal. It appears that we require an interaction between the two hemispheres in order to come to a sound moral assessment.

But this makes me wonder, what is the process behind how these two ‘hemispheric opinions’ are combined to reach our final conclusions? Have you ever been in a situation where you felt really torn about what you should do; when logically you knew what the right course of action should be, but your ‘gut’ was telling you to do the opposite? On these occasions, are we simply the spectators of an ongoing hemispheric battle?

Recent Updates

A recent publication in Brain by Pinto et al (2017) indicates that researchers are also split on whether consciousness is truly divided in split brain patients. Pinto and his colleagues argue that it is in fact visual perception that is divided, rather than consciousness itself, a viewpoint that has been rejected by Gazzaniga et al. Dr. Michael Corballis has recently hypothesised that both sets of authors have been overlooking the role of subcortical connections, which remain intact when the main cortical connections are severed. He argues that these connections maintain an element of visual unity in split brain patients, and may explain the apparent integration of vision in some patients.

Corballis also notes that as drug treatments for epilepsy have become increasingly effective, fewer and fewer split brain surgeries have been taking place. Looking ahead to the future, it could be that many of the questions surrounding this mystery will never be answered.

The Ongoing Wow
Medium

Comments

Metaphysics & Psychology

Man is able to induce controlled hallucinations without psychotropic substances

The human brain is so cunningly designed that accidental damage or malfunctions in the neural network can generate large-scale effects that do not harm a person, but, on the contrary, deliver a lot of new sensations. 

We are talking about hallucinations, influences on the sensory system, which stem from the inside of the brain itself. Modern technologies make it possible to purposefully launch such reactions without harm to humans.

The technique of guided hallucinations is based on the Ganzfeld effect, which states that when the brain receives a powerful stimulating signal in only one area, it automatically begins to “think out” signals in other areas. 

For example, if you peer into the darkness and listen to white noise, the brain draws an imaginary picture, although the eyes do not receive a single photon of light. And if you run noise on the screen in absolute silence, the brain will complement them with sound hallucinations.

Hallucinations

One interesting experiment with guided hallucinations was conducted by TV host and inventor Derek Müller, who locked himself in an anechoic and completely darkened chamber for 45 minutes to conduct a sensory deprivation experiment. 

His brain, which at once lost 90% of the signals from the outside world, remained fully functional, and Derek did not go crazy. Moreover, in the absence of external stimuli, he began to feel the subtlest vibrations of his heart and the flow of blood through the veins. 

It was not a hallucination, it was just that the brain switched to processing the signals that remained at its disposal, amplifying them and presenting them in the form of sensations understandable to the mind.

Continue Reading

Metaphysics & Psychology

Angels showed the End of the World to a child from Indonesia?

In early October, on many eschatological and conspiracy sites (The End Times Forecaster , 444prophecynews.com), a video was posted by a girl named Jacqueline, who lives in South Africa. The video tells that on September 16, in some altered state of consciousness, similar to a lucid dream, Jacqueline was given a warning: on October 10, 2020, there will be some kind of nightmarish geological catastrophe – either a volcanic eruption, or an earthquake. 

Jacqueline does not specify where the catastrophe will occur, but immediately after the volcanic eruption, she saw President Trump in Washington and the destruction of the Washington Monument with fiery stones falling from the sky. The full text of Jacqueline’s video was posted on the forum and can be viewed at the link, but her revelation itself is not very informative. It is only clear that on October 10 something may bang, and very strongly. Another thing is much more interesting. 

Since Jacqueline was shown truly creepy things, she, like anyone in her place, doubted that all this was true. However, she noticed that in her dream, before the horror broadcast began, she was shown a calendar on which she read the KIMIKO inscription.

“Kimiko” is a popular Japanese female name that literally means “wonderful unusual child”, so Jacqueline decided: if she got it right, then she needed to look for a girl from somewhere in Japan who would kind of hint at her deciphering what was shown in her dream. 

Kimiko was never found, but another girl named Catherine was found. She lives in Indonesia, is in 4th grade and is 9 years old. Jacqueline had her dream on September 16, and on September 18 some angels took this Catherine to heaven in a dream and showed her what would be on Earth in the very near future. 

According to Catherine, everything will begin on October 10, 2020, when some kind of catastrophe occurs – a catastrophe, most likely of a geological nature. Buildings will collapse and coastal cities will suffer from terrible tsunamis. At the same time, a terrible rain will pour, which in some regions will flood buildings up to the fourth floor. Thunder will thunder in the sky, which is 10 or even 20 times stronger than ordinary thunder, and after the thunder, hail will fall the size of a car windshield. But besides the hail, all the planes located there fall from the sky. 

However, the End of the World will not happen as life goes on and Trump wins the US election. After that, Israel will begin to restore the Temple, but they will not have time, since a war will start around. At this moment, the Earth will face unprecedented catastrophes.

A huge new planet will appear in the sky and the atmosphere will take on a reddish tint. It will get hotter. H achnut erupting volcanoes, and terrifying winds will become commonplace. And further, in the region of the Bermuda Triangle, a hole is formed in the lithosphere, and armada of some strange flying machines will appear from there. On TV they will say that these are good aliens. 

In parallel , a total vaccination will take place on Earth, after which people who have received the vaccine will be endowed with some unthinkable ability to communicate with their gadgets – phones will show them everything at the click of a finger and connect to subscribers with the power of thought. But happiness will not last long, because then the skin of the vaccinated will begin to turn green and many will be covered with ulcers. Further, these people mutate into a kind of zombie who will engage in cannibalism and those who have not taken the vaccine will become their preferred food. And for those who will not be eaten by mutants, aliens will chase in their flying cars, kidnap, throw bombs at them and burn them with rays. 

Finally, to top it all off, mutations will affect flora and fauna. So, insects will become gigantic, and algae will begin to crawl ashore and whoever gets into their nets will be devoured. Mutations will affect birds, jellyfish, and the rest of the fauna. Dinosaurs and real fire-breathing dragons will appear, which will fly everywhere and pour fire on everything. 

In general, the girl tells something that is impossible to believe – no reality can stand that. However, the probability that reality is real, according to estimates of the theory of probability, is no more than 50%. That is, we live in the Matrix with a probability of 1/2, although nothing can be proved / disproved somehow. But if we take into account various strange quantum effects and other miracles, then the probability of the Matrix is ​​already seventy percent and 30% remain for a flat / round Earth, for the rest of “natural science”. Therefore, maybe we are now on the eve of the reboot of the Matrix, during which we will begin to load characters from other entertaining games. 

It is possible, of course, that all these stories were invented by her mother, but similar stories are told by other children, and even adults, who were thrown either somewhere into the astral plane, or into the next world, or generally into the deepest warp. Different, unrelated people cannot tell the same tale. Therefore, most likely this is not a fairy tale and there is something in all this. But what – here we do not know, so we just have to wait and see. 

Continue Reading

Metaphysics & Psychology

Clinical death helped the inveterate egoist to change his attitude towards life. He is grateful for this experience

William F. did not live the most righteous life. His selfish, authoritarian behavior caused a lot of suffering to the people around him, especially his wife. And it is not known how his marriage would have ended if one day William had not had an accident.

On that fateful day, November 6, 2019, a man was riding a motorcycle and crashed into a truck as it changed lanes. William tried unsuccessfully to get out from under the heavy truck, as his helmet got stuck under the front axle of the car.

A policeman was the first to come to help, then an ambulance arrived. The motorcyclist was evacuated by helicopter to the hospital. The man in the helicopter told William not to sleep, but he collapsed into unconsciousness.

What William saw in oblivion made a strong impression on him and changed his future life.

xusenru / pixabay.com / Pixabay License

William’s near-death experiences

The next thing I remember happened on a large field. There was a fence about 100 meters away from me. There was a black hole in the fence on the other side of the gate.

I was drawn to the gate. The closer I got, the more love and warmth I felt, the more selfishness and bad feelings went away.

When the gate was about five steps away, and I was about to open it, someone’s hand stopped me, grabbing my forearm. Looking at this man, I noticed a few more.

– You need to stop. I watched you for a long time, son, you made a lot of mistakes. Do you know where you are? The man asked.
“I’m not sure,” I said, looking around.
“You are dead,” he said.

I panicked.

“You’re scared,” he remarked.
– No.
“Then [during your life] you were always afraid of it for no reason,” he said softly. I nodded in agreement, and our dialogue continued.
– Do you feel that everything is under your control?
“I don’t know… no.
– You have never controlled anything in your life. It’s an illusion …
– Yes, you’re right, – I nodded again.
– You are given a choice that many do not have. God gives you a choice: come back and correct your mistakes, or you can go through the gate. If you enter this gate, all the regrets of life will torment your soul until you are given another chance. It will feel like eternity.

I still have regrets about my past life, ”he added after a pause. – If you come back and do not start working on yourself to become better, if you do not find happiness in the righteous way, you will always remember and crave the feeling that you are experiencing in this place now, but you will not get here again.
When you return, recover, heart and mind will be restored. You are given something great … But you understand that God already knows your choice.

Then he looked at me and asked:

– What are you going to do?
“I’ll be back,” I replied.

At that moment, the feelings that gripped me were gone, and I let go of the gate.

“See you again very soon,” he said at last.

Then I woke up and saw my mother. I told her that I was back for good and that I would not go anywhere. She had a tired face.

“You’ve been in a lot of pain,” she said.

I said that everything would be all right with me, and told that I saw Him. She clarified who exactly. I replied that I did not know for sure, but they gave me a second chance. Mom laughed and said that probably my grandfather kicked me in the ass to bring me back here.

William’s life has changed

William underwent several operations, but the doctors said that physically he would not be the same. Among other things, the man had to learn to walk again.

About a month after the accident, thoughts of the pain inflicted on his loved ones and loved ones flooded into William, so he focused on correcting the mistakes of the past and changing his future.

Five months later, William was walking without limping. Now she runs for several kilometers, and the only evidence of an accident is scars.

The biggest proof of the reality of what he saw during clinical death is a complete change in himself, says William.

haomao57 / pixabay.com / Pixabay License

“I saw mistakes, especially in my relationship with my wife, and I understand things that I didn’t understand before. It is strange to think that someone was watching my life from a distance and knew about my actions. If I had not changed, I would have yearned for death. “

“I used to have sociopathic tendencies and no empathy. I have never felt guilt or remorse. Now I am selfless and empathetic, I feel the emotions of others, and it is overwhelming. I know how people feel just by looking at them. This is a kind of intuition.

Remorse and guilt help me re-evaluate the past. I also notice that when I do something instinctively, in the old way, I realize it and I can stop. “

“People believe when I share my experience because they see a big change in me.”

Source: NDERF

Continue Reading
Advertisement

DO NOT MISS

Trending