Exegesis Volume 07 Issue #027

In This Issue:

From: julienne
Subject: [e] Re: exegesis Digest V7 #26

From: "Roger L. Satterlee"
Subject: [e] Re: exegesis Digest V7 #26

Exegesis Digest Sat, 16 Feb 2002

Date: Sat, 16 Feb 2002 20:29:23 -0500
From: julienne
Subject: [e] Re: exegesis Digest V7 #26

At 11:21 AM 2/16/2002 -0500, Listar wrote:
 > >in Canadian Psychology, April 1986, Vol. 27 (2).
 > >
 > >After reading some of these papers, I'm not convinced that the "bicameral
 > >mind" hypothesis
 > >could be of some use for astrology. Even I suggest that astrologers must
 > >give up all these
 > >"post-modernist" hypothesis & return to the common reason to speak with
 > >skeptics.

Julian Jaynes' hypothesis has, en tout cas, been discounted.

There are a number of ways the hemispheres of the brain communicate, although the collosum is the major connection.

There doesn't seem to be any evidence that the hemispheres developed previous to the corpus collosum. They evolved together. In whales and dolphins one side of the brain, one hemisphere, will sleep at a time so the sea beasts can keep swimming and not drown while sleeping.

That would be nice for humans - would mean we could be awake all our lives, and not have to miss anything. :)) On the other hand, maybe we need a period for emotional integration and recuperation.

I think there is a marsupial which doe not have a callosum, but does have hemispheres.

 > >- Astrology isn't a science.
 > >OK: we all agree.

Well, doesn't that depend on how we define "science"? If you mean "hard science", then it is not, but no other science, for all the vaunted claims, is really "hard" either. We are no longer so presumptuous as to think we are dealing with "facts", but with developing "theory". We don't speak about "Einstein's 'Fact' of Relativity", but "Einstein's 'Theory' of Relativity". There are some scientists who are not even sure that we once discovered is still so. Nothing might be quite as absolute and definitive as we once thought. It might actually not be just hubris which leads us to think we can somehow know everything there is to know, but actually bad and incorrect science.

For instance, we do indeed have an "old" brain, the reptilian brain, but our reptilian brain has evolved, and is not quite the same as our ancestors' reptilian brains.

 > >- Astrology is in no way a matter of knowledge
 > >Then what is it?

Am I the only one to question that? Why isn't it as much knowledge as anything else?

How are we defining "knowledge"?

 > >- Astrologers are mere believers.
 > >Then is it a religion? With no credits, no church ...

Then isn't medicine also?

 > >- Astrology isn't religion, but mere superstition.
 > >Then a superstition accredited or "believed" in a way or the other by half
 > >of the
 > >population of the industrial civilized countries (see the sociological
 > >investigations). Why
 > >the astrological areas of believers aren't mentionned then in the atlas of
 > >religion &
 > >faiths? And why a mere superstition has got today more believers that any
 > >of the State
 > >religions, without any church, continuously reproved by authorized ideological
 > >(scientistics, rationalists, but also christians, etc...) discourses?

The problem, as I see it, is that there are as many people who "believe" in medicine as a religion as who believe in astrology as a religion. The difference is that people, in general, don't realize the religious or faith-based aspects of their medical beliefs, and so it doesn't occur to the majority to question. Doctors are treated like gods, people put their lives in their hands and often unquestioningly, to their detriment.

 > >What is astrology then? There is no serious response from his opponents.
 > >Why astrology is alive in modern consciousness? No more answer.

Because we, on some level, recognize patterns out there. Because people want something to believe in. However, most of their believers could no more erect or interpret an astrological chart than they could do a liver transplant, or even describe the basic tenets of the religion to which they say they belong, and so most of these beliefs, whether in astrology or in medicine or in religion, are based on superstition, habit, ignorance.

Do the other fields of knowledge go through such angst trying to decide what they are doing? Well, some do...but most, except for the most interesting and visionary, avoid it as much as they can because they realize the answers are so elusive.

Julienne Mullette Sturm


From: "Roger L. Satterlee"
Subject: [e] Re: exegesis Digest V7 #26
Date: Sat, 16 Feb 2002 22:01:22 -0500

Original Message

From: "Listar"
To: "exegesis digest users" Sent: Saturday, February 16, 2002 11:21 AM
Subject: exegesis Digest V7 #26

 > >exegesis Digest Sat, 16 Feb 2002 Volume: 07 Issue: 026
 > >
 > >In This Issue:
 > >#1: From: Patrice Guinard
 > >Subject: [e] Re: Julian Jaynes
 > > Patrice wrote: "[..] After reading some of these papers, I'm not convinced that the "bicameral mind" hypothesis could be of some use for astrology. Even I suggest that astrologers must give up all these "post-modernist" hypothesis & return to the common reason to speak with skeptics. [..]"

I had not heard of Jaynes, and did look up some web references. I may have bumped in to some of the same pages as Lorenzo I guess...his David Hume quote is found on: http://ase.tufts.edu/cogstud/papers/selfctr.htm The Self as a Center of Narrative Gravity

(great stuff BTW...:)

I think astrology allows the mind of the astrologer to operates in the "devious" manner described below concerning the split-brain subjects--a good self inflicted pain in the ego gets all the near miss guesses going along a productive track...:) Jaynes "bicameral mind" seems, to me, just another way of saying that the self of any ordinary person is not really a unified activity with a consistently identifiable center. The apparently unconscious shifting of one's focus--what the ego is doing and why, is something I have always been tempted to call our perfectly normal level of schizophrenia...:) And after reading this web page, I think I see the role of all our soap opera styled "pain" stories and their devious self-unifying effects.

"[..]Consider some of his evidence for the extraordinary resourcefulness exhibited by (something in) the right hemisphere when it is faced with a communication problem. In one group of experiments, split-brain subjects must reach into a closed bag with the left hand to feel an object, which they are then to identify verbally. The sensory nerves in the left hand lead to the right hemisphere, whereas the control of speech is normally in the left hemisphere, but for most of us, this poses no problem. In a normal person, the left hand can know what the right hand is doing thanks to the corpus collosum, which keeps both hemispheres mutually informed. But in a split-brain subject, this unifying link has been removed; the right hemisphere gets the information about the touched object from the left hand, but the left, language-controlling, hemisphere must make the identification public. So the "part which can speak" is kept in the dark, while the "part which knows" cannot make public its knowledge.

There is a devious solution to this problem, however, and split-brain patients have been observed to discover it. Whereas ordinary tactile sensations are represented contralaterally--the signals go to the opposite hemisphere--pain signals are also represented ipsilaterally. That is, thanks to the way the nervous system is wired up, pain stimuli go to both hemispheres. Suppose the object in the bag is a pencil. The right hemisphere will sometimes hit upon a very clever tactic: hold the pencil in your left hand so its point is pressed hard into your palm; this creates pain, and lets the left hemisphere know there's something sharp in the bag, which is enough of a hint so that it can begin guessing; the right hemisphere will signal "getting warmer" and "got it" by smiling or other controllable sings, and in a very short time "the subject"--the apparently unified "sole inhabitant" of the body--will be able to announce the correct answer.

Now either the split-brain subjects have developed this extraordinarily devious talent as a reaction to the operation that landed them with such radical accessibility problem, or the operation reveals--but does not create--a virtuoso talent to be found also in normal people. Surely, Gazzaniga claims, the latter hypothesis is the most likely one to investigate. That is, it does seem that we are all virtuoso novelists, who find ourselves engaged in all sorts of behavior, more or less unified, but sometimes disunified, and we always put the best "faces" on it we can. We try to make all of our material cohere into a single good story. And that story is our autobiography.

The chief fictional character at the center of that autobiography is one's self. [..]"

Yeah...I'm hip...far out...I dig it...kool!



End of exegesis Digest V7 #27

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