Neuroscience Has a Lot To Learn from Buddhism?

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« on: May 18, 2019, 01:40:13 am »
Neuroscience Has a Lot To Learn from Buddhism

Ricard: A study of people who have practiced meditation for a long time demonstrates that structural connectivity among the different areas of the brain is higher in meditators than in a control group. Hence, there must be another kind of change allowed by the brain.

Singer: I have no difficulty in accepting that a learning process can change behavioral dispositions, even in adults. There is ample evidence of this from reeducation programs, where practice leads to small but incremental behavior modifications. There is also evidence for quite dramatic and sudden changes in cognition, emotional states, and coping strategies. In this case, the same mechanisms that support learningódistributed changes in the efficiency of synaptic connectionsólead to drastic alterations of global brain states.

Ricard: You could also change the flow of neuron activity, as when the traffic on a road increases significantly.

Singer: Yes. What changes with learning and training in the adult is the flow of activity. The fixed hardware of anatomical connections is rather stable after age 20, but it is still possible to route activity flexibly from A to B or from A to C by adding certain signatures to the activity that ensure that a given activation pattern is not broadcast in a diffuse way to all connected brain regions but sent only to selected target areas.

Ricard: So far, the results of the studies conducted with trained meditators indicate that they have the faculty to generate clean, powerful, well-defined states of mind, and this faculty is associated with some specific brain patterns. Mental training enables one to generate those states at will and to modulate their intensity, even when confronted with disturbing circumstances, such as strong positive or negative emotional stimuli. Thus, one acquires the faculty to maintain an overall emotional balance that favors inner strength and peace.
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« Reply #1 on: May 18, 2019, 03:57:31 am »
I don't trust the words of buddhist westerners, but I do think buddhism is kinda fascinating with e.g. their mummies and shit.

Frankly Bucked

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« Reply #2 on: May 18, 2019, 04:28:49 am »
This is a big 'no shit sherlock' for me (not to you personally Sci., just Western thinkers in general). I mean meditation has long been shown to have positive effects with regards to brain plasticity and so forth -- not to mention the infamous 'monks-that-can-change-their-body-temperature-purely-through-meditation' experiments -- but there are also certain sects of Buddhism and several Eastern and/or Near Eastern religions in general that, while in lieu of any conventional science, have nonetheless arrived on similar or identical conclusions regarding philosophical concepts of the mind and consciousness, and did so hundreds of years ago. These same ideas (such as the nature of free will or the limitations of human comprehension) are only now beginning to be seriously considered in the West, as a result of modern science. I will be surprised if this trend doesn't continue in some capacity for quite a while. 
« Last Edit: May 18, 2019, 04:48:21 am by Francis Buck »