Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Consciousness is not Produced by the Brain

I have updated the description of the filter model of the brain on my web site:
There is no doubt that the brain and the conscious mind interact. Brain damage can cause loss of some functions of consciousness. Amnesia after a head injury or poor memory due to aging are two examples. Neurological activity can be measured and shown to be associated with mental activity. Nerve impulses from sensory organs result in brain activity, and the conscious mind has awareness of the sensations perceived. When the mind generates the impulse to move, nerve impulses are carried from the brain to the muscles to cause movement. Consciousness is affected by brain activity and it is able to influence brain activity. However this is only a correlation, it is not proof that neurological activity causes consciousness.

The correlation between consciousness and brain activity should also exist if the brain is an interface between a nonphysical mind and the physical body. One way to think of this is that the brain is like a filter of consciousness. This is called the filter model of the brain. In the filter model, consciousness is a nonphysical phenomena and the brain filters consciousness while we are incarnated in our physical bodies. The brain could filter some aspects of consciousness the way a colored glass can filter out some wavelengths of light. What passes through the brain filter is a restricted set of conscious faculties that we have while in the physical body.

The filter model is superior to the hypothesis that the brain produces consciousness because the filter model explains more evidence. You can damage a filter in two ways. You can clog it or you can punch a hole in it. When brain damage causes loss of function like amnesia, that is like a clog in the filter. When brain injury results in increased function, that is like a hole punched in the filter. An example of increased function is when people have increased psychic abilities after a brain injury.

In the filter model one of the functions of the brain is to restrict consciousness. In that case, if you release the conscious mind from the brain as happens during a near death experience you should have expanded, unfiltered, consciousness. This is exactly what happens during a near death experience. People who have NDE's are able to perceive more than they do when in the body. They report seeing in 360 degrees and seeing colors that they do not see when in the body. Blind people report seeing during NDE's. Some near death experiencers report being able to communicate telepathically with other beings. Some report understanding that time is just an illusion or that they seem to have access to all the knowledge in the universe.

More at my web site.