Sunday, June 29, 2008

Consciousness is nothing but a word

One of the most striking passages I read in Hagakure, the Samurai's guide, was the following:

"In the words of the ancients, one should take his decisions in the matter of seven breaths."


It suited my way of thinking back then, when I read the book. The western tradition has a profound belief that the more you think, the more sound your decisions will be. Though I believe in the power of deep thinking when it comes to creating something, or coming up with new ideas, this does not mean the same applies to taking decision based on existing facts.

Now the scientists in Norway, Holland, USA and Germany have made a very interesting discovery, which somehow verifies this Japanese wisdom. By scanning the decision making parts of the brain using a functional MRI, they have shown that the decision making parts of the brain are activated 10 seconds before the decisions are taken at the "conscious" level. In other words, we became aware of the decisions we take at the cellular level only after 10 seconds, almost exactly 7 breaths!

This should help explaining many "supernatural" phenomena like "deja-vu" or "ghosts" or "epiphany." Interested can read this WSJ article on the latest experimental results.

2 comments:

aysenaz said...

yau tesadufe bak biz de bugun ghost dog'u izledik. orda da ghost dog o kitabi okuyodu bu kismi da ayrica soyluyordu. guzel film.

Ahmet C. Toker said...

le samurai'yi de seyredin melville'in kesinlikle o zaman.