Your Brain Learned to Control Your Organs

Your brain learned to control your organs. Very little came hard-coded at the start.

Our brains developed first with basic firmware, and not the full operating system, with models of organ behaviour et al, learned. By virtue of its awesomeness, it built its own operating system. If it learned wrongly, disease and abnormal situations occurred. Examples might be epilepsy and some congenital disorders.

But the brain would not be able to cause normal operation if the organs didn’t function the way the did. Every organ has a voice, and a language the brain learns, much in the same way that children pick up the language of their environment as they grow up. This learning starts in the womb. Upon reading what an organ says, if it responds wrongly, it gets a message it interprets as negative. And it tries again with something new, but now more informed. The process iterates at incredible speeds so that the organs do not roll into disequilibrium or instability.

Every organ is an independent machine with inputs, outputs, and a messaging Protocol. The brain figures out which is positive and negative after it attempts control until it figures out what really works. kind of like using what they call ‘system identification’ in the field of control engineering. We’re basically saying that the model for/and control is learned along the way. So that we move from apparent randomness to perceived order. What we call ‘Genetic algorithms’ also might mimic this learning process: starting from an initial guess and iterating through better and better ‘guesses’ (of models and associated control) based on the brains perception of the responses, until ‘flow’ is achieved.

The brain learns to control the heart and heart rate, and to do so optimally, the same way it learns a habit. It seems that once it identifies a feasible direction, equilibrium point, or a way to make an organ work, it seeks to reinforce the associated neural firing pattern by driving the same pattern when close/similar stimuli to the originating stimuli for that pattern exists. This is like the OGY control method for chaotic systems in a way, and how it is possible to sail around the world:

Where am I?
Which wind can/should I catch?
Catch it and ride
I hope it leads home
Jump from wind to wind
I hope it leads home
Jump from wind to wind
Getting closer in general
Repeat until objective achieved.

Its interpretation of overall stability, efficient global equilibrium, or effective local behaviour might be the basis of the brains response to organ behaviour. It is a learning machine that learns equilibrium oriented experiences; perhaps identified by dopamine, endorphins, and similar chemicals. Practically, it attempts to estimate the stable state of the functioning of the organs by seeking what it interprets to be peace in the long run and minimising what it sees as pain.

We could expand this to also say that the brain uses the same mechanism to arrive at ‘all’ its decisions and norms: a kind of reinforcement learning seeking peace, long term. (We may add our personal psychology too.) Reinforcing what leads to peace and what combats pain, as perceived. And then, once it concludes that it has learned adequately or correctly, it feels the need to remain the same (as with the phantom limb phenomenon).

Reinforcement learning makes the brain an obsession generation engine; both good and bad, useful and wasteful. And especially as it got positive feedback then the process started, it will release ‘feelings’ that tempt the person to act such that it can reinforce and establish the associated patterns of peace.

Read, record, respond: the brain does that. Sometimes, ‘respond’ comes before ‘record,’ with reflexes and all the learning going on. Think of a baby crawling. The brain learns its limits. And as the limits expand (stronger bones and muscles), it launches him to his feet over time. Apparently, it must test limits too.

Epilepsy? The brain has a reward circuit for it, I think. It probably ‘feels’ good (or right) when it happens. But why, or how?

If a situation persists, then it may be that we enjoy it in some way. Perhaps the brain thinks that it (epilepsy) is the better of two evils: in the sense of the body temperature rising because of malaria. The brain seeks to reinforce behavior or firing patterns it is more comfortable with (still the peace motive). So if it were not okay with the stimulus
(or neuronal response) that leads to epilepsy? It will try not to reinforce it. Can’t this habit of the brain be replaced?

An example of neuroplasticity: the more a ‘naturally’ grumpy person thinks good happy thoughts, the happier they feel, and therefore, the happier they get. So that they evolve to become, at the least, not naturally grumpy. Neuroplasticity is thus, perhaps, the basis of NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming), hypnosis, and other such methods for behaviour modification. Also why/how meditation on the Bible changes you. The assumption is that, ‘behaviour,’ whether internal (as in the ‘natural’ function of the body system), or external (as with out attitudes) are represented by patterns of neuronal connections, firings, and firing patterns.

So a question arises: couldn’t we ‘cure’ diseases like epilepsy by harnessing the neuroplasticity principle? By facilitating and/or learning new methods of control? Perhaps this has been explored already.

Neuroplasticity is usually spoken of, it seems, in the context of learning and healing; but there is more. We could say that neuroplasticity is the fundamental attribute of the brain, because that most of its functions and functioning result from it. It is a primary characteristic that makes the brain, the brain. And it results from the design of the brain as a learning machine that evolves itself, significantly motivated by its connections and perceptions.

PS: armchair neuroscience

Lay Thinking on ADHD (Part 1)

First remove the ‘D’ so that it’s the description of a tendency without the connotation of disease, illness, or even something to be treated. The persons attitude, simply, persistently, borders on an unconventional. (To them, we might be the ones ‘unnormal’ or unusual.)

Its character, like many others, is a statement of love and pain.
Love: the face of God. He runs towards it.
Pain: a face of fear. He runs away from it. We escape some noble joys that must come through pain and discomfort—like with childbirth.

What puts a baby on this path? Somehow grooming him to think that his attention needs to persistently be shifted physically and/or mentally for him to be at peace? Perhaps augmented by feelings of inadequacy, or ‘missing out’ when other things might be going on. (Guesses, guesses: where science begins.) Which asks the question whether it starts from the womb or is developed/learned after birth.

Even if the origins are chemical, the brain is plastic, and the soul drives synapses; people get better regardless of origins.

They say it’s more prevalent with boys. Girls concentrate because they play with dolls; they’re living, caring, in a story they’re making, so they’d stay for longer.

ADH is really more movement than attention; there’s an itch somewhere.
‘Tis more about interest, albeit dynamically shifting, than illness;
An intriguing stream of consciousness acted out or inside.
Call it H for hyperactivity of mind—and body—if you like.

Shifting Attention Algorithm SAA():
Loop{
The grass becomes less green once I’m on it;
    Break condition? No;
This becomes burdensome fast;
    Break condition? No;
That looks more exciting;
    Break condition? No;
We go there.
    Break condition? No;
}

This is the algorithm that should be reconfigured.

ADH stems from a superpower—a certain energy—we need to learn to redirect and harness. A hint at giftedness in an unconventional way.

It’s a big issue how to help, we hear
To control, drug ’em, tie ’em….
To redirect, lead ’em guide ’em ….
Perhaps, not that easy; indeed easier said.
I don’t know what to do.
Love is patient, Love is kind, Love is persistent … [1 Corinthians 13:4-8].

PS:
Part 2 was published a week before part 1.
Love is something that will always exist.
Thinking to remove the grasses, make things all grey, remove delineations… Get a so-determined extremely ADH person alone in an almost empty room, a still place, like of a monastery, to engage in one activity, with a deadline or a prize. What might happen with practice?

Lay Thinking on ADHD (Part 2)

If ADH comes out of a normal functioning brain, then drugging it to reduce that expression likely amounts to dulling the brain, unless drugging can lead to rewiring without negative network effects or stunted abilities, however temporary. It likely also means that soul treatment and physical activity should be more effective long term because they could lead to the necessary rewiring to reflect more controlled attention present activity (The ideal?). Afterall, the brain is plastic, they say.

Even if the attention is deficit
It still sits on something
Wandering every minute
Much shorter than is meet

To help the mind focus and practice discipline, shift the random movements of an unmotivated mind to directed movements of the body so that the mind concentrates on achieving the teleos of an activity. Poco a poco, we go forward.

Thinking dance, art, crafts, drama, and sports, instruments? Something that stirs the person to stay with it, thus giving him practice of deliberate concentration. Why does it do good? (I assume it does.) Because they become involved, fellow actors and creators, like the girl playing with her doll—she concentrates for long.

What about academics
Natural born explorers, apparently
(‘Meant to say researchers)
But we can learn anything
Staggered achievement deadlines help symptoms like procrastination’s
Plus a little encouragement and directional feedback
Good respected friends and models are very important
Isolation therefore, like sin

To train them to deal reasonably with that which is as a fear of staying still.
Because it feels like a certain sort of fear in the extreme—maybe of an aversion for missing out on some next thing, which leads to an attraction for it—leads to what some have termed ADH. Maybe it’s a fear to find out that the end was less than could be. And I won’t be surprised if the Neuroscience suggests an implicit fear response to not jumping about a bit more than is said to be normal. It could also be a love response. Both powerful motivators.

How do we deal with fears and phobias. The wisdom of the sages and science seems to come down to graduated experience of that feared, at graduated intervals and/or at graduated distances, with improvements observed. How many willing people would make it alone, in good time.

Change the activities little by little periodically to wean them and bring them into more ‘serious’ stuff as they grow, more and more, little by little.

So some say its easier to learn via kinesthetics
Some say it’s a myth
Better, material over method?
Presentation matters, representation, maybe more

If something is sufficiently boring, most of us may demonstrate ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder). ‘Disorder’ suddenly sounds out of place.

‘Interesting’ matters to attention; so does motivation. even if not based on interest.
[Looking away unto our faith’s Princely-leader and perfecter, Jesus,—who, in consideration of the joy lying before him, endured a cross, despising shame! Hebrews 12:2. Self-inspired carrots were all, here.]

PS:
Part 1 ‘was’ published about a week after part 2.

The Phantom Limb in Life

There’s this amputee, he sees his hand isn’t there anymore, but he feels and moves same amputated hand and it’s fingers.

He knows his mind, or brain, is playing tricks on him, and that his eyes see correctly, but the feeling is too real to ignore or treat as false.

So he writes this poem (with the one hand left):

It isn’t there, though he feels it
So that it’s like it’s there, but it isn’t 
Neither a hope to grow back
Nor a denial that it’s gone
But vicarious experience through sticky recollection
Of a natural perception with no basis for reality

Phew!

He’s not mad, certainly not deluded
Has a confusion instead
Wired by holding on to that past so strongly
That he can’t feel the now thus clearly
And he sings the song this way
‘You don’t know what you’ve lost till it’s gone’

One treatment suggested in a ted.com talk by neurologist, V.S. Ramachandran, (three clues to understanding your brain) is to correct the false perception in our brains by using a mirror. This is like how he showed it:
 “…And we all, with unveiled face, the glory of the Lord beholding in a mirror, to the same image are being transformed …” [2nd Corinthians 3:18].

Not exactly the same, but you understand:

Her husband died; she doesn’t miss him.
But she feels him like a fanthom limb;
his dictates remained.

All that condemnation from outside.
Over time it fades away.
And now that the eyes sees that the bond is no more,
the butterfly has refused to leave the jar,
and the elephant, to roam free.

He left her, but her mind hasn’t left him;
living in emotional mementos,
holding on to the ‘in love’ she still holds.
Experiencing him like a phantom limb;
the brain marked with what isn’t, as though it is.

He’s retired and a janitor
Formally a Sergeant Major
Barking commands and uplifting insults
As if the people should pay attention

“Sir,” a teacher said, “place it in the pot of truth using a mirror until the truth sticks.”
So help you God.

Thoughts:
Imprints on the mind and brain, of what isn’t=Patterns of repeated synapses that need to be interrupted, or better, redirected.

If elephants never forget, likewise do butterflies.

This is like the functional experience/perception of something that was once part of one, with the knowledge that it isn’t. Is it ‘bad’ if you actually do control it? Isn’t it unjust to covet the experience?

An experience of pain

There was one spot to touch, and all pain would break loose. It was one spot that could build a tremendous wave of pain, gripping my head and my sense, and shrinking my world to the place of its passion. For the moments it lasted, I was blind to all except you; from a rage of another sort.

Months ago, while skimming headlines, my mind picked up a phrase that went something like, ‘scientists show that pain is painful.’ Who wouldn’t say ‘duh!’ at this. It’s obvious isn’t it? But if we asked why or how we feel pain, and why or how it does whatever it does to us, to us, we may see some sense in what the headline said.

It’s amazing this house we live in; it’s wonderful this soul we have.

Rising from one side and going round the back of my neck then up towards my right ear, it was like a rapid, flowing at the speed of light. A rush of pain inside, through a path I couldn’t see. The feeling was such as I had never experienced before. I’d heard of neuropathic pain, this seemed like it. One entire nerve path firing pain at my brain repeatedly for a time that was shorter than it felt. It was truly pain full.

This looked like too much for a paracetamol; we needed something more. Tablets containing three active compounds with anti-inflamatory properties etc, inhibiting this and inhibiting that. Yes, we read the leaflet that came with the pack and found comfort in what we read. It wasn’t a cure, it was to us just a means to buy comfort time, time within which we expected the body would heal itself. And when we could try to help the body actually heal—taking treatment.

Going for that 3-in-1 combo tab gave relief. When I stopped the pain medication, it was still there, but much more bearable. And I continued with other treatment, the liniment, massage and exercise, without medicines interfering with the sensation of pain.

Pain, like many things in reality, is a real perception, demanding real physical, mental, or emotional reaction of some sort. Some, for their pains and discomfort, have chosen the triple treat of alcohol, drugs, and sex. When she stopped them for the little while that she would, the pain was still there in all its glory. She also had this expression of anger. Anger itself, like pride and fear, a face of pain in a twisted sort of way. Rather than regress somewhat with the feeling of pain, we ‘strike’ from our hearts with the same feeling boiling within. She’d now added new pains to deal with, the effects of excesses, and the addictions that grew from her mix of inhibitors.

I’d slept the wrong way that night, putting a part of my body in discomfort. What I felt subsequently was the voice that said so. It was a LOUD voice; I’d even heard it come out my mouth in very clear mutter. That’s what pain is, a voice that something went wrong with us somewhere.