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Simulated reality through reading


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Readers build vivid mental simulations of narrative situations, brain scans suggest

(PhysOrg.com) — A new brain-imaging study is shedding light on what it means to “get lost” in a good book — suggesting that readers create
vivid mental simulations of the sounds, sights, tastes and movements described in a textual narrative while simultaneously activating brain regions used
to process similar experiences in real life.

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If you want to include this story in your blog, copy and paste this formatted text: Readers build vivid mental simulations of narrative situations, brain scans suggest (PhysOrg.com) — A new brain-imaging study is shedding light on what it means to “get lost” in a good book — suggesting that readers create vivid mental simulations of the sounds, sights, tastes and movements described in a textual narrative while simultaneously activating brain regions used to process similar experiences in real life. Close


If you want to include this story in your blog, copy and paste this formatted text:

Readers build vivid mental simulations of narrative situations, brain scans suggest

(PhysOrg.com) — A new brain-imaging study is shedding light on what it means to “get lost” in a good book — suggesting that readers create
vivid mental simulations of the sounds, sights, tastes and movements described in a textual narrative while simultaneously activating brain regions used
to process similar experiences in real life.

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The Paraself


The Paraself
posted by
psychegram
| April 18, 2009 0groks
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I enjoy taking long walks, even if, down the subdivision of dirt roads that is my rural areas’ equivalent of the suburbs, there is not actually anything
to do but look at the same old, same old scenery. Of course, the scenery isn’t the point, it’s mainly to keep my body occupied, get away from the house
for a smoke or two, and free the mind from having to do anything save sit there and do its thing. Every once in a while, if I walk long enough and meet
certain other still nebuluous conditions, something gets jogged loose, and I have one of those moments when large ideational chunks calve like glaciers
and rearrange themselves, instantly, into a new configuration.

Lets back up for a second. You’ve heard at some point I assume of quantum mechanics, and may have come across the Many Worlds Interpretation of that theory,
a speculative but very credible formulation wherein quantum effects give rise to an invisible multiverse that consists of every possible world. Conventionally,
there can be no contact between parallel universes: once they split, in the quantum of time in which one state has the possibility of shifting to one or
the other outcome, no further influence is possible. Just as the present is untouchable save for its immediate past and can touch nothing but its immediate
future, so parallel universes are out of bounds.

(Well, that’s not entirely true. The formulation of gravity within brane theory indicates it as the one force able to radiate through all dimensions, and
due to this by far the weakest. That it would be gravity that has this property is especially interesting to me in light of where I’m going with this piece.)

This doesn’t stop science fiction writers from speculating on travel between those universes, however, and it’s thanks to their efforts and shows like Sliders
that I can be so confident that you’ve come across this particular idea before.

Now, consider for a moment Rupert Sheldrake’s theory of morphic resonance, in which like not just attract like (as in the law of attraction) but like forms
affect like forms. This explains not just heredity but also instinct, as well as personal memory and a whole host of other tendencies within the universe.
Although Sheldrake is a biologist and did his early work in botany, his morphic resonance theory is not, strictly speaking, a biological theory but a quantum
one.

Now, hold on to that part about the theory regarding its explanation of personal memory. In the theory it is advisable to think of the brain as a transciever
rather than a computer, as its function is to more closely resemble itself than anything else in the universe and thus to take advantage of morphic fields
to send information within itself. Broadly speaking, the reason you remember recent events more accurately and fully than distant ones is that present-you
is more like recent-past-you than she is like little-kid-you. But, there’s still enough in common between the the quantum form of you now and you when
you’re very young that you can retain some memories of even very distant events.

What about you-in-the-future? I can already here some of you asking. Well, at any given moment the universe is splitting off into new, irreconcilable daughter
universes, and so as you think into the future you’re inevitably confronted with a combinatorially increasing number of potential yous. And so, in contrast
with past you (of whom, at any given moment, you can remember only one) the signal from all those future yous, while present, is diffuse and mostly cancels
itself. Which isn’t to say, of course, that no contact is impossible. Only that it would take something pretty remarkable that got a large enough number
of future-yous shouting at you in unison, in order to push some amount of signal through the noise.

But I’m not really here to talk about the future, though it is I grant you a fun thing to talk about.

Really, it’s the present that interests me. What is the presnt, really? This infinitesimal moment on which our awareness balances its journey through time?
We live in it but how well do we know it? Well, I needn’t belabor the point, given the readership here, so I’ll get right to another one: it’s very possible
to imagine each moment as one amongst the almost uncountable infinity of possible configuration states of the universe.

No doubt you’ve seen it on TV. One moment, frozen in time, motionless as a painting but in three dimensions (and often as not, one of the characters can
move around in it.) Imagine your immediate surroundings frozen in this way, and now expand that to include your whole city, country, the world, and then
the universe. That is what a moment looks like. Now,picture it moving one step forward, one little infinitesimal change: some parts almost certain to undergo
no change at all, others as uncertain as the wind and it’s out of that chaos that a tree is woven of the timelines.

In fact, this brings us back again to morphic fields: one moment is most like its immediately preceding moment, and its immediately subsequent moments,
and so we experience time as we do, from effect/cause to cause/effect and so on, endlessly rolling forward through the cycles.

Now, sometimes, on a bad day when you’re in a really terrible mood and thinking all kinds of despondant thoughts about life and the lack of justice of your
place within it, you’ve wondered no doubt about how things might’ve been. About the other lives you might have led, if you’d done this differently, gone
that way, went out with that girl instead or trusted yourself a little more (or a little less, depending on circumstance.) How different of a person would
you have been? Happier, better, stronger, richer, married to a prettier woman or more skilled, able to play that guitar or write that code or catch that
fish … then again, there’s other yous that are dead in a ditch, or about to be with a needle in your arm, or bankrupt or merely unloved. Past a certain
point, there’s no knowing where the path of a different you might take them.

According to the Many Worlds Interpretation, all of those others yous exist. All of them. Even the ones you just thought of now, the impossibly ridiculous
ones you thought of just to test the theory, them too (that said, they’re likely very unlikely, a small infinite set within a vastly larger fractal system
… but then, measured against the expanse of the multiverse, we are all of us both hugely unlikely and inevitable. What seems likely and what not is a
measure only of distance between two moments, rather than an inherent superiority of one versus the other. From the standpoint of a ridiculous you, you
are yourself impossibly silly.)

I call this vast, wistful cloud of potential and might-have-been other yous the paraself. The paraself, strictly speaking, might be thought of as all potential
selves, past, present, and future, including as a matter of course the past you actually remember, and the future you perceive as likely. Or you might
define it as all of the moments within the multiverse that include you as a character (supporting or starring, depending on how you look at it.) At any
rate I imagine your mind is boggling somewhat now so I’ll let it do that a second and then we’ll get back to business.

Yes, I hear some of you say, this is all very interesting in an abstract sort of way but give us something practical, damn it! We’re busy people. We’ve
people to activate, societies to build, a world to save!

So here goes: might morphic resonance be used to contact other probabilistic ‘locations’ within the paraself? Similarity allows the communication, after
all, and while of course any self that would be interesting enough to want to contact would also be quite different but … how different is that, really?
After all, you’re probably pretty different from how you were ten or twenty years ago and yet … you remember, don’t you? At least, you remember some
of it.

How then might one establish contact? Well, the logical way to go about it of course would be through thought. Obviously, this other you within the paraself
branched off from an otherwise shared past at some point, so to follow them it might be wise to remember as clearly as possible everything about that time,
to be there inside as fully as possible and then … give things a slight nudge, perhaps, in a different direction.

The interesting question of course is how much contact one might gain with another self, how much information might actually pass between you and the paraself.
It’s all well and good we’re talking about an elaborate sort of day-dreaming here but … if the other self is truly there, might it be possible to transmit
useful information through the paraself? To use it as a sort of referrence library, from which knowledge and skills might be accessed?

I wanted to illustrate that last bit with a scene from the Matrix, any of several shots of Neo plugged into the chair in the command room of the Nebuchadnezzar,
learning kung fu in the time it takes ordinary mortals to learn what’s on TV tonight, but, as luck would have it … I can find no such image. So I’ll
just lea
The Paraself
posted by
psychegram
| April 18, 2009 0groks
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I enjoy taking long walks, even if, down the subdivision of dirt roads that is my rural areas’ equivalent of the suburbs, there is not actually anything
to do but look at the same old, same old scenery. Of course, the scenery isn’t the point, it’s mainly to keep my body occupied, get away from the house
for a smoke or two, and free the mind from having to do anything save sit there and do its thing. Every once in a while, if I walk long enough and meet
certain other still nebuluous conditions, something gets jogged loose, and I have one of those moments when large ideational chunks calve like glaciers
and rearrange themselves, instantly, into a new configuration.

Lets back up for a second. You’ve heard at some point I assume of quantum mechanics, and may have come across the Many Worlds Interpretation of that theory,
a speculative but very credible formulation wherein quantum effects give rise to an invisible multiverse that consists of every possible world. Conventionally,
there can be no contact between parallel universes: once they split, in the quantum of time in which one state has the possibility of shifting to one or
the other outcome, no further influence is possible. Just as the present is untouchable save for its immediate past and can touch nothing but its immediate
future, so parallel universes are out of bounds.

(Well, that’s not entirely true. The formulation of gravity within brane theory indicates it as the one force able to radiate through all dimensions, and
due to this by far the weakest. That it would be gravity that has this property is especially interesting to me in light of where I’m going with this piece.)

This doesn’t stop science fiction writers from speculating on travel between those universes, however, and it’s thanks to their efforts and shows like Sliders
that I can be so confident that you’ve come across this particular idea before.

Now, consider for a moment Rupert Sheldrake’s theory of morphic resonance, in which like not just attract like (as in the law of attraction) but like forms
affect like forms. This explains not just heredity but also instinct, as well as personal memory and a whole host of other tendencies within the universe.
Although Sheldrake is a biologist and did his early work in botany, his morphic resonance theory is not, strictly speaking, a biological theory but a quantum
one.

Now, hold on to that part about the theory regarding its explanation of personal memory. In the theory it is advisable to think of the brain as a transciever
rather than a computer, as its function is to more closely resemble itself than anything else in the universe and thus to take advantage of morphic fields
to send information within itself. Broadly speaking, the reason you remember recent events more accurately and fully than distant ones is that present-you
is more like recent-past-you than she is like little-kid-you. But, there’s still enough in common between the the quantum form of you now and you when
you’re very young that you can retain some memories of even very distant events.

What about you-in-the-future? I can already here some of you asking. Well, at any given moment the universe is splitting off into new, irreconcilable daughter
universes, and so as you think into the future you’re inevitably confronted with a combinatorially increasing number of potential yous. And so, in contrast
with past you (of whom, at any given moment, you can remember only one) the signal from all those future yous, while present, is diffuse and mostly cancels
itself. Which isn’t to say, of course, that no contact is impossible. Only that it would take something pretty remarkable that got a large enough number
of future-yous shouting at you in unison, in order to push some amount of signal through the noise.

But I’m not really here to talk about the future, though it is I grant you a fun thing to talk about.

Really, it’s the present that interests me. What is the presnt, really? This infinitesimal moment on which our awareness balances its journey through time?
We live in it but how well do we know it? Well, I needn’t belabor the point, given the readership here, so I’ll get right to another one: it’s very possible
to imagine each moment as one amongst the almost uncountable infinity of possible configuration states of the universe.

No doubt you’ve seen it on TV. One moment, frozen in time, motionless as a painting but in three dimensions (and often as not, one of the characters can
move around in it.) Imagine your immediate surroundings frozen in this way, and now expand that to include your whole city, country, the world, and then
the universe. That is what a moment looks like. Now,picture it moving one step forward, one little infinitesimal change: some parts almost certain to undergo
no change at all, others as uncertain as the wind and it’s out of that chaos that a tree is woven of the timelines.

In fact, this brings us back again to morphic fields: one moment is most like its immediately preceding moment, and its immediately subsequent moments,
and so we experience time as we do, from effect/cause to cause/effect and so on, endlessly rolling forward through the cycles.

Now, sometimes, on a bad day when you’re in a really terrible mood and thinking all kinds of despondant thoughts about life and the lack of justice of your
place within it, you’ve wondered no doubt about how things might’ve been. About the other lives you might have led, if you’d done this differently, gone
that way, went out with that girl instead or trusted yourself a little more (or a little less, depending on circumstance.) How different of a person would
you have been? Happier, better, stronger, richer, married to a prettier woman or more skilled, able to play that guitar or write that code or catch that
fish … then again, there’s other yous that are dead in a ditch, or about to be with a needle in your arm, or bankrupt or merely unloved. Past a certain
point, there’s no knowing where the path of a different you might take them.

According to the Many Worlds Interpretation, all of those others yous exist. All of them. Even the ones you just thought of now, the impossibly ridiculous
ones you thought of just to test the theory, them too (that said, they’re likely very unlikely, a small infinite set within a vastly larger fractal system
… but then, measured against the expanse of the multiverse, we are all of us both hugely unlikely and inevitable. What seems likely and what not is a
measure only of distance between two moments, rather than an inherent superiority of one versus the other. From the standpoint of a ridiculous you, you
are yourself impossibly silly.)

I call this vast, wistful cloud of potential and might-have-been other yous the paraself. The paraself, strictly speaking, might be thought of as all potential
selves, past, present, and future, including as a matter of course the past you actually remember, and the future you perceive as likely. Or you might
define it as all of the moments within the multiverse that include you as a character (supporting or starring, depending on how you look at it.) At any
rate I imagine your mind is boggling somewhat now so I’ll let it do that a second and then we’ll get back to business.

Yes, I hear some of you say, this is all very interesting in an abstract sort of way but give us something practical, damn it! We’re busy people. We’ve
people to activate, societies to build, a world to save!

So here goes: might morphic resonance be used to contact other probabilistic ‘locations’ within the paraself? Similarity allows the communication, after
all, and while of course any self that would be interesting enough to want to contact would also be quite different but … how different is that, really?
After all, you’re probably pretty different from how you were ten or twenty years ago and yet … you remember, don’t you? At least, you remember some
of it.

How then might one establish contact? Well, the logical way to go about it of course would be through thought. Obviously, this other you within the paraself
branched off from an otherwise shared past at some point, so to follow them it might be wise to remember as clearly as possible everything about that time,
to be there inside as fully as possible and then … give things a slight nudge, perhaps, in a different direction.

The interesting question of course is how much contact one might gain with another self, how much information might actually pass between you and the paraself.
It’s all well and good we’re talking about an elaborate sort of day-dreaming here but … if the other self is truly there, might it be possible to transmit
useful information through the paraself? To use it as a sort of referrence library, from which knowledge and skills might be accessed?

I wanted to illustrate that last bit with a scene from the Matrix, any of several shots of Neo plugged into the chair in the command room of the Nebuchadnezzar,
learning kung fu in the time it takes ordinary mortals to learn what’s on TV tonight, but, as luck would have it … I can find no such image. So I’ll
just leave this off here, encapsulating finally more or less the sum of the epiphany I had on that walk two weeks ago and leaving the subsequent experiments
(their logical subject, the aptly termed myself) for a later essay.

(I’m a bit on the busy side at the moment and so don’t have all sorts of time to be inserting html tags and such. Another version of this post, fully illustrated
and linked, is up at my
namesake blog.)

ve this off here, encapsulating finally more or less the sum of the epiphany I had on that walk two weeks ago and leaving the subsequent experiments
(their logical subject, the aptly termed myself) for a later essay.

(I’m a bit on the busy side at the moment and so don’t have all sorts of time to be inserting html tags and such. Another version of this post, fully illustrated
and linked, is up at my
namesake blog.)

Timeslip?


I don’t know if it’s just my strange perception of the world anymore that seems to have taken a more spiritual and somewhat magical slant on reality, but I think I’ve encountered some kind of perception into the past.Okay, so maybe it has to do with energy from the earth because it happens a lot as I’m walking up my country road passed peoples’ houses and fields. A lot of time times if I really am quiet and pay attention to the surroundings, it’s as if something inside me opens to the many layers of the past buried under the hard pavement to a dirt road once travled traveled by Native Americans to their Pow-Wow in town, the long journeys the wagons of old times traveling. Then more recently are hints of families that had once lived in the houses I pass and it’s like I glimpse fragments of their lives, like essences all mixed up. I’m no psychic or anything lik like that but all I can say is these expeirnces xperiences are quite profoudn at times and somewhat unreal, because I know they’re in my mind and yet somehow it’s like I’m seeing preserved moments frozen in time as energy captured by the earth. IT’s very strange.

A more recent event of this funny timeslip experience happened to me about two months ago while I was praying at my church. IT’s a city church, so it’s open all day long and I enjoy going in there alone to be in solitude. Well, autumn had arrived with a cool breeze but no leaveshad fallen just yet. Anyway, it was late afternoon as I was headed for the church and realized that something was hovering around me,a sense of being suspended in another time while simaltaniously existing in the present. I couldn’t place myself as to what time period until I had prayed a while in the church and then after some thought realized it was like I was in the late 1800s. In my mind, I had this strong thought of men and women dressed in suits and dresses lingering outside the church, talking (therewas no sound), as if I were watching a three-dimentional silent film and there was a tall rod iron fence and gate outside the church and many dried leaves under a gray fall sky. That was the sense and picture I gathered from this timeslip and thought it curious. IT didn’t leave me till I walked a block or so away from the church and I haven’t sensed it since.
What was so fascinating about this mental timeslip, if that’s what it was, was that when I researched the historiy of the church, I found it had once indeed had a rod iron fence around it and it was popular with many people attending during the time I’d perceived. Now, I didn’t know any historical background of this church so it wasn’t anything from my unconscious awareness.

So, what could this have been? What is this phenomenon? Has anyone else experienced this? Is time layeredlike the many years of soil or rock? Please let me know.

Second Nature


Second Nature
There’s a side to me not many people see, and not one I show to just anyone. It’s a side that runs deep in my veins ever since I was a child. What it is my deep compassion for animals, particularly of the canine kind. Most strongly is that of the wolf.
The unfortunate part is that, living in upstate New York, there aren’t any wolves around. The closest getting to these anazing creatures is a relative, the coyote.
WE have many packs that run throughout our fields during a chase in the folds of night and the one best way to connect to them and my, if you would, wild side, is to call to them. Not everyone, like those who just can’t sing to save their lives, can howl. It’s something that takes practice if one plans on calling a coyote. It’s even better, I believe, to know some of the basic rules of communication when it comes to calling to a coyote or its pack. Like people, these intelligent animals have their own language and meaning to certain vocalizations. The main call I use to begin with is the greeting howl, a very high pitched cry that’s used in a way of saying, “hello to you, too,” in response to my first call.
Getting such a response from a distant or sometimes nearby lone coyote is an exhilarating feeling that makes my heart drum harder. AS if encouraged, I call back again, switching over to a more traditional prolonged, high wolf’s howl that echoes over the mountains beyond.
Sometimes I’ll pick up the calls from distant packs miles off and during the summer months when a mother has made a den for her pups, a raucous chorus of yips, barks, warbling howls from pups and mother rise up from the darkness. It is at this time when I feel truly part of the universe, taking in gentle moonlight and the perfumed air of the night saturated in sweet cut hay and other unknown wild things. Trees join in between the silent gaps when the voices of the canids have fallen to await my voice in return. Crickets and insects fill the moments of silence with their unbroken humming and chirps and it is then I feel the power of Earth. Power of nature. My place on the wild side in which I don’t quite belong and yet do. A place I relish to blend and meld into for those sweet minutes that slip away as water over vertical glass. In that time I’m like one of them, I’m all the pieces I’ve never explored before during daylight. I’m half animal, half human. Then, it’s over. I’m whole human again. Yes, it’s true that’s what I am. Deep down, somewhere in the shadowed places of my spirit, though, I am of the wild side. IN a way, we all are. We just have to discover it. Take time to tune out our hectic human lives just for a few moments. Breathe in God in nature, take in his incredible artwork, his gift to us.

Psychology of Costumes


Costumes: Reflections and Effectations on Personalities.

My favorite part of Halloween is the fact that it gives everyone license to dress up and be someone else for the whole day. We can shed our inhibitions and free ourselves of the preconceived notions others might have about us. The costume a person picks has two main implications. One: it reflects their innate personality. People choose what to be based on what they like and characters with which they strongly relate. On the other side of the coin however, what costume a person wear can also impact how they feel and behave while disguised by it.

Although it’s extremely unlikely that clothing alone can literally alter an individual’s inherant personality, it’s commonly accepted that what a person wears and how it makes them feel has a direct effect on how they might behave.

For instance, it’s not uncommon, for a shy person to choose a bold costume like that of a super hero and while wearing that costume become more outgoing and assertive. The psychology behind this phenomenon is complex and beyond the scope of this simple article. However, what we wish to impress upon people is that Halloween and the act of wearing costumes offers everyone a chance to explore hidden facets of their personality. Perhaps even a way to fascilitate long term positive changes.

So next time you’re trying to decide what costume to pick, think about who you are and also about who you want to be. Not just for Halloween, but every day.

http://www.halloweencostumes4u.com