Was on Massive Attack’s concert today. And was massively attacked. Great concert not only because of their music (i like very much from their beginnings) and visual effects but because their concert had a message. Clear message. As there were a lot of meaningful words rolling on a big screen behind about war, all articles for impeachment of J.W. Bush, prisoners without a trial, quotes about freedom and democracy (No man is above the law and no man below it) the whole message can be summed up: “Fear is not a natural state of civilized people.”(Aung San Suv Kyi)” People have to be aware what is going on, have to think, have to be critical toward democracy preachers otherwise other will think instead of them. Fear paralyses, fear change brain’s gray matter, puts you into inferior position,…
Not talking about normal human response on adrenalin rush; i am talking about damaging effect of constant, invisible, omnipotently present fear without a real bases, which we are hearing about through media every day. Either terrorism or global warming or damaging diseases or god… They might attack you at the moment you expect the least, so be rather afraid. Very afraid. Constant fear makes you run instead of fight. (see 2. The Power of Nightmares, subtitled The Rise of the Politics of Fear of Adam Curtis)
There is a lot of them who are more than willing to comfort you but for some return. Like exchange of true freedom for fake freedom. Like putting your worries into their hands to take care of them. As quote from Massive Attack’s big screen says: “Freedom is never free.”
Like this guys who have the power to rise the awareness among masses accompanied with great music. It’s a food for emotions and mind.
Watched lately documentary Secret rulers of the world and if the half of what they’re saying is true, than this world is scary place for a living. But if people don’t know they take everything as granted.
Reminded me on very good Paul Auster ‘s book In The Century of last Thing. A world, narrowed to pure survival, trapped into corrupted system which imprisoned people. It’s a good portrait of devastation of either outher or inner person’s world. Once you are within the system, the possibility to escape is limited almost to zero. The only thought to keep you alive is that there , outside this system is another world, better one, the one you still keep in your memories. Or the one your desperate hope has built.
In In the Country of Last Things Paul Auster offers a haunting picture of a devastated world – futuristic world – but one which chillingly shadows our own. – Faber and Faber.
And the movie with the same title is in postproduction phase now.
one of my fav of MA
MASSIVE ATTACK: MEZZANINE
I’m a little curious of you in crowded scenes
And how serene your friends and fiends
We flew and strolled as two eliminated gently
Why don’t you close your eyes and reinvent me
You know you’ve got that heart made of stone
You should have let me know
You could have let me know
We’ll go ’till morning comes
And traffic grows
And windows hum
Speding all week with your friends
Give me evenings and weekends
Evenings and weekends
I could be yours
We can unwind
All these have flaws
All these have flaws
You’d agree it’s a typical high
You fly as you watch your name go by
And once the name goes by
Not thicker than water nor thicker than mud
And the eight k thuds it does
Sunset so thickly
Let’s make it quiet and quickly
It taste’s better on the way back down
I could be yours
We can unwind
All these have flaws
All these have flaws
All these have flaws
Will lead to mine
All these have flaws
All these have flaws
Will lead to mine
Will see to
All these have flaws
All these have flaws
Will see to
All these have flaws
Will lead to mine
We can unwind all our flaws
We can unwind all our flaws
Movie deals with tricking nature of two basic corner stones of our mind: memory and imagination. Invented past as anchor for future. But lately research shows that the same brain structures are responsible for memories and imagination. And that believing can be seeing – Context Dictates What We Believe We See. Pretty visionary movie though.
“You might look at it as mental time travel–the ability to take thoughts about ourselves and project them either into the past or into the future,” says Kathleen McDermott, Ph.D. and Washington University psychology professor. The team used “functional magnetic resonance imaging” — or fMRI — to “see” brain activity. They asked college students to recall past events and then envision themselves experiencing such an event in their future. The results? Similar areas of the brain “lit up” in both scenarios.
Researchers say besides furthering their understanding of the brain — the findings may help research into amnesia, a curious psychiatric phenomenon. In addition to not being able to remember the past, most people who suffer from amnesia cannot envision or visualize what they’ll be doing in the future — even the next day.”
Another good article, posted in Scientific American Mind, uses Memento to explain the nature of memory.
The Matrix in Your Head
The discovery of place-tracking neurons called grid cells, our experts say, “changes everything”
By James J. Knierim
In the 2001 suspense thriller Memento, the lead character, Lenny, suffers a brain injury that makes him unable to remember events for longer than a minute or so. This type of amnesia, known as anterograde amnesia, is well known to neurologists and neuropsychologists. Like Lenny, sufferers remember events from their life histories that occurred before their injuries, but they cannot form lasting memories of anything that occurs afterward. As far as they recall, their personal histories ended shortly before the onset of their disorders.
The cause of Lenny’s problem was probably damage to his hippocampus, a pair of small, deep-brain structures crucial to memory—and also important to some of today’s most exciting and consequential neuroscience research. Decades of research have made clear that the hippocampus and surrounding cortex do more than just place our life events in time. The hippocampus, along with a newly discovered set of cells known as grid cells in the nearby cortex, traces our movement through space as well. And by doing so, it supplies a rich array of information that provides a context in which to place our life’s events. The picture that is emerging is of historic importance and more than a little beauty.
Exactly how does the brain create and store autobiographical memories? Although that question has fascinated scientists, philosophers and writers for centuries, it was only 50 years ago that scientists identified a brain area clearly necessary for this task—the hippocampus. The structure’s role was made clear in 1953, when William Scoville, a Hartford, Conn., surgeon seeking to relieve the epileptic seizures that were threatening to kill a patient known as H.M., removed most of H.M.’s hippocampus and discovered he had rendered him unable to form new, conscious memories. Since then, the case of H.M., along with extensive animal research, has firmly established that the hippocampus acts as a kind of encoding mechanism for memory, recording the timeline of our lives.
In the 1970s another discovery inspired the theory that the hippocampus also encodes our movement through space. In 1971 John O’Keefe and Jonathan Dostrovsky, both then at University College London, found that neurons in the hippocampus displayed place-specific firing. That is, given “place cells,” as O’Keefe dubbed these hippocampal neurons, would briskly fire action potentials (the electrical impulses neurons use to communicate) whenever a rat occupied a specific location but would remain silent when the rat was elsewhere. Thus, each place cell fired for only one location, much as would a burglar alarm tied to a tile in a hallway. Similar findings have been reported subsequently in other species, including humans.
These remarkable findings led O’Keefe and Lynn Nadel, now at the University of Arizona, to propose that the hippocampus was the neural locus of a “cognitive map” of the environment. They argued that hippocampal place cells organize the various aspects of experience within the framework of the locations and contexts in which events occur and that this contextual framework encodes relations among an event’s different aspects in a way that allows later retrieval from memory. Yet a consensus is emerging that the hippocampus does somehow provide a spatial context that is vital to episodic memory. When you remember a past event, you remember not only the people, objects and other discrete components of the event but also the spatiotemporal context in which the event occurred, allowing you to distinguish this event from similar episodes with similar components. But How?
Despite intensive study, however, the precise mechanisms by which the hippocampus creates this contextual representation of memory have eluded scientists. A primary impediment was that we knew little about the brain areas that feed the hippocampus its information. Early work suggested that the entorhinal cortex, an area of cortex next to and just in front of the hippocampus, might encode spatial information in a manner similar to that of the hippocampus, though with less precision.
This view has now been turned upside down with the amazing discovery of a system of grid cells in the medial entorhinal cortex, described in a series of recent papers by the Norwegian University of Science and Technology’s Edvard Moser and May-Britt Moser and their colleagues. Unlike a place cell, which typically fires when a rat occupies a single, particular location, each grid cell will fire when the rat is in any one of many locations that are arranged in a stunningly uniform hexagonal grid—as if the cell were linked to a number of alarm tiles spaced at specific, regular distances. The locations that activate a given grid cell are arranged in a precise, repeating grid pattern composed of equilateral triangles that tessellate the floor of the environment.
Imagine arranging dozens of round dinner plates to cover a floor in their optimal packing density, such that every plate is surrounded by other, equidistant plates; this arrangement mimics the triggering pattern tied to any given grid cell. As the rat moves around the floor, a grid cell in its brain fires each time the rat steps near the center of a plate. Other grid cells, meanwhile, are associated with their own hexagonal gridworks, which overlap each other. Grids of neighboring cells are of similar dimensions but are slightlyoffset from one another.
These grid cells, conclude the Mosers and their co-workers, are likely to be key components of a brain mechanism that constantly updates the rat’s sense of its location, even in the absence of external sensory input. And they almost certainly constitute the basic spatial input that the hippocampus uses to create the highly specific, context-dependent spatial fi ring of its place cells.
This discovery is one of the most remarkable findings in the history of single-unit recordings of brain activity.
JAMES J. KNIERIM is associate professor of neurobiology and anatomy at the University of Texas Medical School at Houston, where he studies the role of the hippocampus and related brain structures in spatial learning
DAVID BOWIE (end music from the movie)
FINAL SCENES OF THE MOVIE
Psychologists have found that thought patterns used to recall the past and imagine the future are strikingly similar.
“Using functional magnetic resonance imaging to show the brain at work, they have observed the same regions activated in a similar pattern whenever a person remembers an event from the past or imagines himself in a future situation. This challenges long-standing beliefs that thoughts about the future develop exclusively in the frontal lobe.”
Watched this week The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, directed by Julian Schnabel. About J.D. Bauby’s life. About memories and imagination. As Jean-Dominique Bauby says in movie … “Other than my eye, two things aren’t paralyzed, my imagination and my memory.”
Watched before both his other movies Basquiat (Jean-Michel Basquiat is “discovered” by Andy Warhol’s art world and becomes a star) and Before Night Falls (life of Cuban poet and novelist, Reinaldo Arenas (1943-1990), but for me The Diving Bell and the Butterfly is definitely his best. Makes you think after the movie and some scenes come as flash back after you. From the beginning the movie pulls you into main actor’s head and it doesn’t let you go till the end. Schnabel as neo-expressionist” artist/painter brings into his movie excellent visual aesthetic dimension which is missed in many modern movies. Poetical and inspirational. Sensitive photography of deep inner space. Art in motion pictures. Art of flow of words. Must see art.
The story of The Diving Bell and the Butterfly: “Elle France editor Jean-Dominique Bauby, who, in 1995 at the age of 43, suffered a stroke that paralyzed his entire body, except his left eye. Using that eye to blink out his memoir, Bauby eloquently described the aspects of his interior world, from the psychological torment of being trapped inside his body to his imagined stories from lands he’d only visited in his mind.”
From www.Salon.com: “The quietly stunning film of Jean-Dominique Bauby’s phenomenal memoir, “The Diving Bell and the Butterfly,” was nominated for four Oscars this year. They include directing by Julian Schnabel— an honor he won for the film at the Cannes Film Festival and Golden Globes — and best adapted screenplay by Ronald Harwood, who won an Oscar in 2002 for his adaptation “The Pianist.” “
There is every reason for the film’s success. It recounts the remarkable life of Bauby, the debonair editor of French Elle magazine who in 1995 suffered a massive stroke. He slipped into a coma that lasted 20 days and awoke to find himself paralyzed from head to toe. He was diagnosed with a rare neurological disorder called locked-in syndrome.
A prisoner inside his useless body, Bauby, 43, could think and reason, smell and hear (though not well). With the only part of his body that he could move — his left eye — he could see and later learn to express himself. His speech therapist and later his friends would read him an alphabet, and Bauby would blink at the letter he wanted. He formed words, phrases and sentences, and ultimately, over the course of two months, working with ghostwriter Claude Mendibil, who took down word for word what he said, he completed his memoir.
The evocative title comes from Bauby’s notion that while his body was submerged and weighted down — impossible to move — his imagination and memory were still free and as light as a butterfly’s wings: “My cocoon becomes less oppressive, and my mind takes flight like a butterfly. There is so much to do. You can wander off in space or in time, set out for Tierra del Fuego or for King Midas’s court.”A few days after the book was published to rave reviews in March 1997, Bauby died of an infection.
Released last spring, the film is a visual knockout. Schnabel draws on Bauby’s fantasies to blast moviegoers with a kaleidoscope of dreamy images — some subtle, some banging loud — and an array of captivating music and sounds. The wonderful script takes the point of view of Bauby himself. The fourth wall between the audience and film has fallen away and the audience experiences the world through his eyes.”
Beautiful music from the movie: La Mer. Charles Trénet
If memories and imagination use the same brain structures, for me as a “sea” person this music and pictures and memories and imagination related to could immediately overheat them 🙂
Brain’s Gray Cells Appear To Be Changed By Trauma & Traumas Like Sept. 11 Make Brains More Reactive To Fear
This suggests that really bad experiences may have lasting effects on the brain, even in healthy people,” said Barbara Ganzel, the study’s lead researcher and postdoctoral fellow at Cornell’s College of Human Ecology.
ScienceDaily -Jun. 4, 2008 — Healthy adults who were close to the World Trade Center during the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, have less gray matter in key emotion centers of their brains compared with people who were more than 200 miles away, finds a new Cornell study.
The study — one of the first to look at the effects of trauma on the brains of healthy adults — is published in the April issue of Neurolmage. It follows a Cornell study by the same authors that found people living near the World Trade Center on 9/11 have brains that are more reactive to such emotional stimuli as photographs of fearful faces. Combined, the two studies provide an emerging picture of what happens in the brains of healthy people who experience a traumatic event.
The smaller volume of gray matter — composed largely of cells and capillary blood vessels — that Ganzel found were in areas that process emotion and may be, Ganzel suggests, the brain’s normal response to trauma. The subjects in the study did not suffer from any mental or physical health disorders. Gray matter, a major component of the nervous system, is composed of the neuron cell bodies that process information in the brain.
About half of Americans experience a trauma in their lifetime, and scientists know a lot about the effects of trauma on the brains of people with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), but not about people without clinical disorders. And most people, Ganzel said, who experience a trauma don’t get PTSD.
Key brain areas that are smaller are also more responsive to threat, said Ganzel, suggesting that these changes may be a helpful response to living in an uncertain environment.
“We have known for a long time that trauma exposure can lead to subsequent vulnerability to mental health disorders years after the trauma,” Ganzel added. “This research gives us clues about the biology underlying that vulnerability.”
The researchers used two types of magnetic resonance imaging to scan the brains of 18 people who were within 1.5 miles of the World Trade Center on Sept. 11 and compared them to scans of 18 people who lived at least 200 miles away at the time. One type showed the gray matter volume, and the other showed the brain’s response to emotional stimuli (pictures of fearful and calm faces). Those who were close to the disaster on Sept. 11 showed more emotional reactivity in the amygdala, a brain area that detects the presence of threatening information.
Combining the brain data revealed that those who were near the World Trade Center had smaller, more reactive amygdalas, and this, in turn, was related to how anxious they were years later. Several other brain regions associated with emotion processing were also smaller in those who were close to the disaster.
The researchers also found that study subjects who had experienced other types of trauma (violent crimes, sudden death of a loved one) showed a similar reduction in gray matter and similar response to emotional faces and anxiety.
“This suggests that the differences we see in the brain and behavior of people who were near the Sept. 11 disaster are not specific to that one event,” Ganzel said. “And it turns out there is a very similar pattern of gray matter volume loss with normal aging, which raises the question of what role trauma plays in the aging brain.”
Co-authors include Elise Temple of Dartmouth College, Cornell graduate student Pilyoung Kim, and Gary Glover of Stanford University.
Was another one…great sailing weekend. 10 instead of 25 knots as last time…but still great experience…(less adrenalin,…gonna talk about it next time). So effortless pleasure. We won a medal…but really not important…Its not a medal you get, its a team spirit you had, have, will have… Kind of joint effort and joint pleasure…hard to explain… IT IS A FEELING U CAN NOT GAIN ALONE. Although i like solitude, i like team work equally…it gives me pleasure…different one..but important one.
Caught an article today from New Scientist about Mirror Neurons (and i was talking about last time, just came back from sailing… Maybe there is some synchronicity but i don’t know…”who knows”…, my favorite friend’s saying). Just another prove how mirror neurons play important role in our life. I am waiting further proves cos i am believer that they are one of basic ingredients of our socialising and interdependence among all human beings. Even if you see other people’ straggle only on TV…it moves something within you…
Mirror neurons are brain cells that fire both when you do something and when you watch someone else do the same thing.
Because they allow us to mimic what others are doing, it is thought that these neurons may be responsible for why we can feel empathy, or understand others’ intentions and states of mind. People with autism, for instance, show reduced mirror neuron activity during social cognition tasks.
Now Peter Enticott at Monash University in Melbourne, Australia, and his colleagues have found evidence supporting this theory. They asked 20 healthy adults to look at pairs of images. In one task, they had to decide if paired images of faces were the same person. In another, they had to decide if both faces were showing the same emotion.
In a separate task, volunteers watched video clips of thumb movement, a hand grasping a pen and a hand while writing, while the activity in the primary motor cortex of the brain, which contains mirror neurons, was recorded.
Now the team had a measure of the “motor potential” in the thumb muscles – for example, how much the thumb was primed to move just by watching another thumb moving. This measure is a proxy for mirror neuron activity, say the researchers.
Enticott’s team found that the volunteers who were better at judging people’s emotions had higher mirror neuron activity in the thumb task. There was no correlation, however, between the ability to recognise faces and mirror neuron activity. This suggests that mirror neurons are involved in understanding emotions as well as in the mimicry of actions.
“[The study] connects the two different functions – the motor aspect with the emotional processing aspect,” says Lindsay Oberman, at Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts, US. “They show that mirror neurons for motor activity are related to mirror neurons for emotions,” she adds.
Journal reference: Neuropsychologia(DOI: 10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2008.04.022)
And fresh from great sailing weekend, i just can not avoid nice comparison of sailing and yoga (i’ve been practicing it for some while). In both you need a time to realise that you gain the most when you align with the breath, the wind, flow of life…big effort, but suddenly you realise that you gain the most effortless.
Like sailing, moving through life demands a synchronization with natural forces that requires skill and intuition, the ability to set a course yet change with the wind and currents. If you want to sail, you have to know how to assess the conditions of the weather—blustery, calm, choppy—which constantly fluctuate, as do our physical, emotional, and spiritual states.
This intuitive feeling of being “off” is an inborn signal that helps us learn how to sustain an action by harmonizing with the flow of nature. Just as a sagging sail tells a sailor to tack and realign with the energy of the wind, a drop in our mental or physical energy within an action is a sign we need to realign our course. In an asana, when the muscular effort of a pose is creating tension, it’s often a signal that we are not relying on the support of our breath. When we learn how to sustain the power and momentum of the breath, the result is like the feeling of sailing in the wind—effortless effort.
And what can i say more than: Push the limits (Enigma)
Basic instincts, social life
Paradoxes side by side
Don’t submit to stupid rules
Be yourself and not a fool
Don’t accept average habits
Open your heart and push the limits
Open your heart
And push the limits
“A challenging goal in neuroscience is to be able to read out, or decode, mental content from brain activity. … We show that these receptive-field models make it possible to identify, from a large set of completely novel natural images, which specific image was seen by an observer. Identification is not a mere consequence of the retinotopic organization of visual areas; simpler receptive-field models that describe only spatial tuning yield much poorer identification performance. Our results suggest that it may soon be possible to reconstruct a picture of a person’s visual experience from measurements of brain activity alone.”
When i started to read the article i’ve remembered immediately the Wim Wender’s movie “Until the end of the world”. Wonderful poetical movie, great soundtrack, one the best of 90s. Wenders made a movie 1991, 4 years after Sky over Berlin (which mesmerized me) an FarAway So Close(1993), which is sequel of Sky over Berlin. Until the End of the World is a beautiful love story within ScFi drama but far more than that. It’s a road movie, it’s changing so many continents with beautiful scenery, traveling around and observations above the world, shows futuristic vision of Tokyo, San Francisco, Paris,…
But beyond that is vision of future and personal travel within, folded into drama of son (Sam Farber, Trevor McPhee , played by William Hurt) who wants to give back his blind mother (Edith,played by Jeanne Moreau) possibility to see their closest family once again. Device (camera) which allows this was invented by his scientific father’ who worked for government which wants device back. Son is hiding in front of them and due to that travels around the world , meets the girl (Claire played by Solveig Dommartin) who has left the husband to follows him, husband (Gene, played by Sam Neill ) follows her… So much symbolism in this movie. No wonder why the rough director’s cut was 20h and original one 8h (source imdb)
Film ends in Australia (Aboriginal concept of dreamtime), where his mother and father live hidden in cave and experiment further how to record their own dreams, memories and watched them lately . What becomes obsession. Escape into dreams, into memories. And finally disillusion of illusions.
So according to article above, 17 years after Wenders’s ScFi movie of watching memories and dreams , dreams might come true. And his vison of future of comunication as well.
I like Wenders cos he is so no ordinary in so many senses, he is so poetical visually and lyrically. He said: “Sex and violence was never really my cup of tea; I was always more into sax and violins.”
To explain the division of the senses
No sound to reflect
The radiance of time
In the beginningest dream
Halls of disorder
Where we are swept to encircle dawn
Strapped in a low car
Racing thru silence
You could kiss the world
Standing outside the courthouse
In the rain
Seemed like a lost soul
From the chapel of dreams
With a handful of images
Faces of children
Phases of the moon
One little thing you get wrong
Changes the dimensions
Streets, swept memory
Diffused and lost
Like a prayer in the sun
Sometimes you can’t tell
Whether you’re waking up
Or going to sleep
All the games cannot be yours
All the sights, the treasures of the eye
Does the divided soul remain the same?
No equation to explain
Moved, by love
Drawn by the whispering shadows
Into the mathematics
Of our desire
Read really interesting article in Nature: “Brain makes decisions before you even know it.” The never ending questioning about free will. When we are talking we don’t think usually about next sentence. Words come smoothly as they follow certain pattern without big effort. Like something within us is putting words on our tongue and we reproduce them as air which going thorough flute and makes nice sound… So are we talking or we are talked? This brings into light importance of inner silence and clearness of mind.
“Brain activity predicts decisions before they are consciously made.”
“We think our decisions are conscious, but these data show that consciousness is just the tip of the iceberg,” says John-Dylan Haynes, a neuroscientist at the Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences in Leipzig, Germany, who led the study.“The results are quite dramatic,” says Frank Tong, a neuroscientist at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee. Ten seconds is “a lifetime” in terms of brain activity, he adds.
On the button
Haynes and his colleagues imaged the brains of 14 volunteers while they performed a decision-making task. The volunteers were asked to press one of two buttons when they felt the urge to. Each button was operated by a different hand. At the same time, a stream of letters were presented on a screen at half-second intervals, and the volunteers had to remember which letter was showing when they decided to press their button.
When the researchers analysed the data, the earliest signal the team could pick up started seven seconds before the volunteers reported having made their decision. Because of there is a delay of a few seconds in the imaging, this means that the brain activity could have begun as much as ten seconds before the conscious decision. The signal came from a region called the frontopolar cortex, at the front of the brain, immediately behind the forehead. This area may well be the brain region where decisions are initiated, says Haynes, who reports the results online in Nature Neuroscience. The next step is to speed up the data analysis to allow the team to predict people’s choices as their brains are making them.
Mind over matter
The results build on some well-known work on free will done in the 1980s by the late neurophysiologist Benjamin Libet, then at the University of California, San Francisco. Libet used a similar experimental set-up to Haynes, but with just one button and measuring electrical activity in his subjects’ brains. He found that the regions responsible for movement reacted a few hundred milliseconds before a conscious decision was made. But Libet’s study has been criticized in the intervening decades for its method of measuring time, and because the brain response might merely have been a general preparation for movement, rather than activity relating to a specific decision.
Haynes and his team improved the method by asking people to choose between two alternatives — left and right. Because moving the left and right hands generates distinct brain signals, the researchers could show that activity genuinely reflected one of the two decisions. But the experiment could limit how ‘free’ people’s choices really are, says Chris Frith, who studies consciousness and higher brain function at University College London. Although subjects are free to choose when and which button to press, the experimental set-up restricts them to only these actions and nothing more, he says. “The subjects hand over their freedom to the experimenter when they agree to enter the scanner,” he says.
What might this mean, then, for the nebulous concept of free will? If choices really are being made several seconds ahead of awareness, “there’s not much space for free will to operate”, Haynes says. But results aren’t enough to convince Frith that free will is an illusion. “We already know our decisions can be unconsciously primed,” he says. The brain activity could be part of this priming, as opposed to the decision process, he adds.
Part of the problem is defining what we mean by ‘free will’. But results such as these might help us settle on a definition. It is likely that “neuroscience will alter what we mean by free will”, says Tong.
Where is my mind (Placebo & Pixes)