from : the living
to : the imaginal mindbrain,
an evolution ...
Wim van den Dungen
Antwerp, 2003 - 2014.
a pluralist philosophy of
3 stages of cognition & 7 modes of thought
the triune brain as executive organ of consciousness
the brain wired to transmit spiritual experiences
the realization of a neural "God-circuit"
the imaginal brainmind
"... what about such a proposition as 'I know I have a brain ?'
Can I doubt it ? Grounds for doubt are lacking !
Everything speaks in its favour, nothing against it.
Nevertheless it is imaginable that my skull
should turn out empty when it was operated on."
Wittgenstein, L. : On Certainty, 1969, 4.
These philosophical investigations
encompass elementary neurology, the philosophy of mind and neurospirituality
(also called "neurotheology"). They also address sensation and its neurophilosophy and so probe
into the way the data issued by the five senses are interpreted by the
brain (in particular, the crucial difference between pre-thalamic data
and thalamic projection on the neocortex).
This accommodates a clean-clear scrutiny of the status of
the five sensory systems of perception. If there is a physiological difference
between appearance and interpretation, between "naked" (causal) stimuli
and the resultant, post-thalamic sensoric synthesis, then clearly the distinction
between perception, sensation and the resultant mental picture of objects taking
shape "in our mind" is pertinent.
This is a crucial crucial issue both in
esthetics, for the truth, goodness & beauty of objects (and
subjects) co-depends on sensate objects and mental objects. In metaphysics, this issue is linked
with the topic of universal illusion, the point of view all mental
constructions done on the basis of sensory input is illusionary, i.e.
not appearing as they truly are ... The tenets of materialism, like
could come under fatal attack, placing our constructing mind
together with the
senses at the crossroad between truth & falsehood, between valid and
invalid empirico-formal propositions of science. This would herald the
end of the limited, naieve materialistic views, infesting contemporary science
and crippling further research into psychosomatism, suggestion, placebo,
biofeedback & parapsychology, to name but a few.
Because of their
larger setting, these studies entail
anthropological & system-theoretical considerations.
Apart from the
Bibliography, they are divided into
four sections :
Neurophilosophy of Sensation
Neurology for Philosophers
Imagining the Brain
Interactionism, Suggestion & Placebo
In the Introduction,
the materialistic axiom stating mental states are per definition caused,
produced, secreted, made, generated etc. by the neurophysiology of the
brain is bracketed. This position does not turn out to be the outcome of
the investigation, neither should it be taken as the unchallenged
building-block of neurophilosophy, quite on the contrary. Since
Cartesius, rationalism has favored interactionism, not materialistic
monism. In the ontology defended here, the triadism of matter,
information & consciousness is considered to be more in tune with the
diversity of human knowledge than materialistic monism.
Metaphysics explains how monism is nevertheless in tune with this
functional triadism, conjecturing how brain states compute, process, execute,
calculate, etc. mental states. Surely methologically, interactionism cannot be rejected a priori ?
In the First Section,
dealing with a neurophilosophy of sensation, the five senses
are studied, in particular the way
sensoric pathways and cortical modules process the formation of the five
conscious states co-relative with smell, taste, touch, audition and
sight. The division of the neocortex in primary, secondary and tertiary sensory areas
plays an important role here. The present interactionistic
philosophy of mind is rooted in a triadic,
triune ontology with "consciousness",
as logical primitives.
genesis of mind backing this exercise,
the mind is viewed as a layered reality, the product of the sequential
genesis of modes or layers of thought. Integrated rationality (or free
thinking), completes three fundamental stages of cognition or
rationality : prenominal ante-rationality, nominal rationality &
post-nominal meta-rationality, and seven
modes of thought : mythical, pre-rational, proto-rational, rational,
critical, creative & nondual.
In the Second Section, intelligent design is reaffirmed, as evidenced in
the universe as a whole, as well as in the sublime manifestation of
material excellence as we know it : the human brain. However,
intelligent design is divorced from traditional creationism,
reintroducing the outdated models of theist theology. The question "Does
the Divine exist ?" is
answered affirmatively, but without bringing in the notion of
a theist "God" or "Creator".
overview of the neuronal executants of the spiritual function in the
brain is given. Thanks to, on the one hand, the distinctions between the
spirituality of the Neanderthal (with a brain different from ours) and
the Homo Sapiens sapiens (the Cro-Magnon) and, on the other hand,
the discovery of "the abode of God" in the limbic system
(amygdala-hippocampal complex), to identify the executant part of the
brain computing the spiritual function of humanity, a cortico-limbic "God-circuit" may be
postulated. Clearly the word "God" is used as a
metaphor for the spiritual function and not as referring to the traditional theism
of the three religions "of the book" (Judaism, Christianity,
In the Third Section, the emancipatoric value of neurotheology is put
into evidence. Recitation, prayer, meditation and ritual are the
approved ways of the world religions (Hinduism,
Islam). Can neurofeedback improve these ancient
spiritual technologies ? The evolution proposed, ignites the spirituality
naturally embedded in the mind and executed (as a spiritual function) by its brain (together called the "brainmind") and allows consciousness
to steer this emancipation by means of an imaginal representation of the
brain (or "mindbrain"), put into play as a visualized neurofeedback
interface or a neuro-emancipatoric cognitive map.
Fourth Section, the philosophy of neurology is at hand. After
thoroughly criticizing exclusive materialism and its naieve realism as
well as spiritualism/mentalism and its naieve idealism, a critical triadic
approach is defended on the basis of the distinction between matter,
information and consciousness, viewed as three independent,
non-reducible operators. Once in place, this interaction between, on the
one hand, a material brain coded with information and, on the other
hand, consciousness is discussed. After arguing interactionism, the
importance of (auto)suggestion and placebo is analyzed in the context of
neurospirituality, redefining genuine spirituality as at least a
In the Epilogue, a series of "spiritual rules" are formulated on the
basis of the foregoing investigations.