It is said that the average human being has over 12,000 different thoughts each day.

The human mind can be split into two quite different parts, the conscious and the subconscious.

This page discusses these parts, their differences and how the integrate with each other.

The Conscious Mind
The conscious mind only represents a mere 12% of the total mind's capacity, and can only be concerned with, or hold one single thought at a time. To some extent it has control over our nervous system, and is responsible for the voluntary actions of our muscles.

The conscious mind is mainly active when we are awake and is responsible for our decision making processes, or rationalisation and analysis. It decides what action we will take, often based upon past subconscious experiences, and constantly re-assesses a situation to ensure that the correct action has been taken.

The conscious mind has no memory capacity, and therefore only deals with the 'here and now' situation.

When we go into a trance, whether induced as part of hypnosis, or as a natural process, our conscious mind is not really needed and becomes dormant. It operates in a similar way to an auto-pilot on an aircraft - should anything happen that requires the conscious mind to reawaken, it will do so immediately.

The Subconscious Mind.

The subconscious mind takes up the remaining 88% of our brain's capacity, and could be compared to a massive computer system that stores all of the information regarding our location, situation, feelings etc.

It controls our Autonomic Nervous System such as our heart beat, breathing, organs and glands - in other words all of the things we do not have to think about.

The subconscious mind has no reasoning power, and cannot reject anything that it is told.

The subconscious mind has a perfect memory. In fact if you were to merely glance at the face of a passer by in a crowd, your subconscious mind would be able to recall every detail regarding that person such as his clothes, facial lines or wrinkles, everything that you saw. You may have to do some searching to find this information, but be assured that it would be there, even years later. Many Police Forces now use hypnotism to bring these memories to the forefront of a witness's mind.

As mentioned earlier, the conscious mind constantly refers to it's counterpart for information. When a person is writing a word on a piece of paper, the subconscious mind will attempt to locate the correct spelling and then pass that information to the conscious mind so that it can instruct the muscles in the hand to act accordingly.

If a child constantly misspells a certain word, it is likely that, as the child grows older, the incorrect spelling will always be used. This is because the subconscious mind has recorded the incorrectly spelt word and has no way of knowing that it has been misinformed.

In effect, the subconscious mind is like a computer program that runs our body for us. It never sleeps and will continue to runs it's program, such as digesting food, maintaining the body, healing cuts and bruises etc.

Whilst in a trance state, the subconscious mind will accept any suggestion it receives without question. It must be remembered however that is a suggestion is not conducive with the moral code of the subconscious, or if it is perceived as a threat, then there is a likelihood that the conscious mind will reawaken to analyse the situation accordingly.

Brain Wave States.

There are four states of awareness that our brain goes through. They are known as brain wave states and can be measured by a sophisticated piece of medical equipment known as an electroencephalograph machine (E.E.G.). This machine measures the electrical activity taking place within the brain, and enables scientists to ascertain what level of awareness a subject has achieved.

When we are wide awake and alert we are in the Beta State. Our conscious mind is fully active and ready to analyse any information it receives. If we are performing a difficult task that requires a lot of concentration out brain would almost certainly be in the Beta State.

As we start to relax our brain wave cycles start to relax also.

Should this state of relaxation become deep enough, our brain would enter the Alpha State. This state is often referred to as the meditative state, the Zen state, the daydreaming state, or the trance state. Although we are not actually asleep, we are also not really awake. We are aware of things around us, perhaps we can hear noises or people talking, but they appear to be very distant. In this state the conscious mind has effectively fallen asleep, and our subconscious mind remains in control of our Autonomic Nervous System.

In this state, any suggestions given to us would pass straight into the subconscious mind. We are effectively hypnotised.

With further relaxation, we would fall into a light sleep, this is the Theta State, and from here we would normally fall into a deep sleep known as the Delta State.

Under normal circumstances, we all pass through these four stages when we fall asleep, and then move back through them in reverse order as we awaken. Medical science has proven that we must all spend a certain amount of time in the Alpha State each day to function properly.

However, if drugs are used to induce sleep, we will normally move straight from the Beta State to the Delta State effectively missing out the other two. Continued use of these drugs can seriously affect our Nervous System causing a downturn in our general health, often leading to depression and withdrawal.

We all suffer from insomnia from time to time, but if the symptoms persist then it is wise to seek help. Hypnotherapy is an ideal solution for this problem as the we can simply drift from hypnosis into natural sleep. No Drugs, No Problem.
The study of AI is a half a century old, beginning with lofty expectations at a 1956 conference but quickly fragmenting into different specializations and sub-fields. The MMP wants to roll back the clock, fixing early assumptions that are now foundations of the field and redefining what the objectives of AI research should be.

The fundamental problem, it seems, is that the mind, memory and body function both together and separately to solve any number of problems, and the way they work together (and alone) varies from problem to problem. The human mind alone applies various systems and functions to any given problem. Many AI solutions have attempted to solve all the problems with one system or function rather than multiple systems working together as in the human mind, a "silver bullet" approach that hinders real progress.

Likewise, when it comes to memory, researchers have created models that work more like computers, where everything is either one or zero. Real memory is filled with gray areas, ambiguities and inconsistencies, but functions in spite of not always being congruent. MMP researchers also intend to bring computer science and physiology together, forcing computers to work within the confines of physical space and time just like the body does.

The team even proposes discarding the Turing Test, the long-recognized standard for determining artificial intelligence. Instead, MMP researchers want to test for a machine's comprehension of a children's book — rather than a human's comprehension of another human being — to gain a better understanding or the AI's ability to process and regurgitate thought.

It's a big-picture approach to a big challenge, and while it's perhaps unlikely that the team can re-imagine AI in the ambitious five-year window they've given themselves, it very well could shore up some of the loose underpinnings of a discipline that has boundless potential to shape a better world (or, for you SkyNet junkies, limitless potential to destroy it). If nothing else, it's a responsible admission from the scientific community that they simply don't have it quite right, that we need to rethink what we think we know.

Henry Markram is on a quest to find the holy grail of neuroscience, to understand the design of the neo-cortex, the newest part of the brain.

The neo-cortex, found only in mammals, developed to deal with parenthood and complex social interactions, Markram said. The number of neurons has increased by so much that the brain has actually outgrown the space in the human skull. It began to fold back on itself, leading to the grooved and wrinkled surface of our brains. The folds increased the surface area available for the billions of neurons in the human neo-cortex.

Markram is working to develop a model of the human brain because it is a key step to our understanding of the neo-cortex, and scientists cannot continue doing animal experimentation forever. It is key to understanding diseases and disorders, including Alzheimer's and autism.

99% of what we "see" is actually our brain inferring things about our surroundings, and he believes that a model of the brain will help us understand reality by understanding this fundamental internal reality.

Through intense study of the neo-cortex, not only the billions of neurons but just as importantly the rules of communications and connectivity, they have been able to build a three dimensional model of the neo-cortex. They have coded the rules that neurons use as a basis for communication with each other.

No two neurons are the same. They intersect in a complex network, creating what Markram described as the fabric of the brain. While the neurons are all different, the neurons fit together in a similar pattern in every human brain.

On a small scale, they now have the equations to simulate neurons and the electro-chemical reactions between them. It is a complex computer simulation. That in itself is a complex computer simulation. It is too difficult to simulate the connections between multiple neurons in silicon, Markram said.

To simulate a single neuron takes the computing power equivalent of a laptop. To build even a small model of the brain, they need a lot of laptops, about 10,000. But using an IBM supercomputer, "we can take the magic carpet for a ride".

They are now able to stimulate this simulated brain with images. If they show the brain a rose, what happens? "We can now follow the energy. We saw these ghostly electrical columns in the neo-cortex," Markram wrote.


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