My Mental Muscles Act on Their Own

by Mike Sententia on September 27, 2012

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Today, my mental muscles acted on their own initiative. I think. But let me start at the beginning.

In the shower this morning, I asked a psychic question that required numbers. The ethereal software told me it’s not integrated with the numbers-receiving part of my mind, and offered to set that up. Took about 20 minutes, it was easy, I was pleased.

Then, around 11am, my head starts tingling, and I feel overly-alert. After verifying that no one was trying to communicate with me, and that the psychic ethereal software wasn’t setting up new connections, I… Well, I don’t recall exactly what I thought, and I don’t know that I thought any one thing. I wasn’t worried, though it did seem odd. I wasn’t perplexed, because I was focused on problem-solving, but I didn’t have a clear next step, either. But I knew something weird was going on.

After a few dead ends, I engaged all the mental muscles involved in communication, and immediately saw: Those mental muscles were doing more setup. Weird. I mean, I do this kind of setup all the time, but this is the first time they’ve done it on their own, without conscious guidance from me. It worried me — I couldn’t say definitively that this shouldn’t happen, but it doesn’t seem right. Could my mental muscles take over my thinking? Split from my brain? I had no idea.

Though, looking back, perhaps it’s just the first time I’ve noticed.

I wanted to call my mentors, but I couldn’t communicate without interfering with this setup. And the setup looked useful. So, no answers yet.

(Update: Since writing this, I have done training on it. Everything is good. I’ll post the solution tomorrow.)

(Update: Follow-up post is up.)

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Ona September 28, 2012 at 4:01 AM

“this is the first time they’ve done it on their own, without conscious guidance from me. It worried me — I couldn’t say definitively that this shouldn’t happen, but it doesn’t seem right. Could my mental muscles take over my thinking? Split from my brain? I had no idea.”

I’m curious where you go with this in your follow-up post! I have no idea why you think it shouldn’t happen – after all all sorts of processes run unconsciously all day long (releasing hormones, digesting food, adjusting body temperature, operating the pancreas, etc.) Besides which I think we like to think that all the conscious deliberate verbal thinking we do (hm, I want to do this and now I’m going to do that and I should put olives on the salad) is just a kind of narrative babble that is actually fairly non-functional. According to some studies I recall most decisions seem to happen a split second before we start the inner dialogue about making them, so they are actually unconscious anyway. Thoughts?

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Ananael Qaa September 28, 2012 at 6:27 AM

The studies about decisions happening before people report having made them can be read that way, but they’re a lot more open to interpretation than a lot of pop-psychology treatments are willing to admit. It doesn’t have to do with any sort of “inner dialog” because the decisions tested were completely trivial (by design, to simplify the experiment). The basic methodology is to have people make simple, meaningless decisions such as press button A or button B. Then, you have one more button, call it C, that the subjects can push to indicate that they have decided which button to push on the trial in question.

The actual observation is this: a brain scan allows researchers to predict with a high degree of accuracy whether the subject will push button A or button B before they press button C. So the pop-psychology spin is that this shows people make decisions before they are aware of the decision they are going to make. The thing is that this is a case where the brain doesn’t really work like a computer with a bunch of on/off switches. The brain makes use of a lot of recursive processing, and therefore what I would expect to see on a scan is a pretty closely predictive “lean” in the neural firing pattern toward one decision or another before the decision is finally made, especially when the decision itself has no emotional weight. That’s really all the experiment shows.

I would say that a lot of people are not usually that aware of how this “lean” feels, but you’ll notice it if you pay close attention. Meditation helps increase your awareness of this process as it’s going on. I would add that for someone who doesn’t notice it, you could reasonably call the process unconscious, but it’s not a “thought” in the sense that we normally mean when we talk about thinking. It’s more like a field of neural potentials shifting in one way versus another.

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Yoseqlo September 28, 2012 at 7:07 AM

Mhm, Interesting as I do things with the Mental m, always have to engaging them consciously.

Maybe like your “Integration” algorithm, with all the updates you have done, your Mental muscles configuration set up an “update” algorithm giving the apparent self acting, or actually can be choosing actions in their own by the most contact with the thinking mind, don’t know.

Hope this don’t be any dangerous.

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