MessageToEagle.com – The mysterious functions of our mind and brain have long fascinated expert. Although we gain knowledge regularly and are unlocking the secrets of our mind, there are still many things we don’t know about the power of the mind.
Some scientists have suggested that the unconscious mind is a shadow of the “real” conscious mind and we might possess asecond hidden intelligence.
But what is consciousness really? Over the years several theories have been put forward attempting to define and explain the role and function of consciousness. Now, the most common theory of consciousness has been challenged by a man who misses most of his brain and still exhibits normal behavior. The man in question misses as much as 90% of his neurons!
Consciousness is often described as a state of awareness. This means a person is aware of an external object or something within oneself. Consciousness has also been defined as sentience, awareness, subjectivity, the ability to experience or to feel, wakefulness, having a sense of selfhood, and the executive control system of the mind.
The scientific problem is it is really unknown how gray matter generates consciousness. For example, a 44-year-old Frenchman whose brain was mostly filled with fluid, missing, leaving just a thin perimeter of actual brain tissue was examined and the results showed he was a civil servant with an IQ of 75, below-average in his intelligence, but he was not mentally disabled. The man was also married and had two children.
Experts think the man’s brain slowly eroded over 30 years due to a build up of fluid in the brain’s ventricles, a condition known as “hydrocephalus.”
His hydrocephalus was treated with a shunt, which drains the fluid into the bloodstream, when he was an infant and it was removed when he was 14 years old. Over the following decades, the fluid accumulated, leaving less and less space for his brain.
While this may seem medically miraculous, it also poses a major challenge for cognitive psychologists, says Axel Cleeremans of the Université Libre de Bruxelles.
“Any theory of consciousness has to be able to explain why a person like that, who’s missing 90% of his neurons, still exhibits normal behavior,” says Cleeremans. A theory of consciousness that depends on “specific neuroanatomical features” (the physical make-up of the brain) would have trouble explaining such cases.
Cleeremans suggests the brain adapts to the specific conditions. In time the brain develops consciousness. In his opinion, it’s a learning process during which, the brain is continually and unconsciously learning to re-describe its own activity to itself, and these descriptions form the basis of conscious experience.
“Consciousness is the brain’s non-conceptual theory about itself, gained through experience—that is learning, interacting with itself, the world, and with other people,” he says.