CONSCIOUSNESS WITH THE BRAIN OFFLINE

By William Markiewicz

In his article, "Can Consciousness Exist When The Brain Is Offline?" Jay Ingram says that the near death experience (NDE) accompanied by a clinical image of cardiac arrest and brain death excludes the brain's elaboration of the images reported by the revived subject. The author draws conclusions that consciousness does not nest originally and exclusively in the brain, which opens fascinating and yet unknown perspectives on what consciousness and its sources are. Of course, when we stop at this point all hypotheses are permitted, including philosophical, metaphysical, about consciousness and soul, etc. But almost from the beginning we forget the simplest steps to consider. After all, the brain is not only the cortex where the electroencephalogram draws its information about brain activity. As important, though placed at the second level because of the imposing cortex, is the limbic system, the reptilian brain. The electroencephalogram hardly reaches this level which may still remain active though the cortex is immobile and then all our "irrational" feelings, thoughts, reactions come from the remaining source, the limbic system. Surrealistic, creative, oneric, magical, unexplained reactions, even if the cortex doesn't perceive them, are still boiling below like fire under the earth's dry crust. And as the limbic system doesn't operate in a logical cause/effect line like the cortex, those pictures must have a somehow "irrational" character like dreams. After all, dreams originate in the limbic system. After the person revives, with the dormant memory registered in his cortex as in a computer or a fax, he reports the adventures sent to him by his limbic system. While his cortex was 'dead', the patient lived 'crazy and wonderful' poetry sent to him by his limbic system. In "Pondering Evolution" I discuss the pathway of creativity. So, it's true that we are digging into the unknown but the limbic system's activity is much more satisfying as an explanation than dwelling on some mysterious realms.



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