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What actually happens in the brain at Stream Entry?

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What actually happens in the brain at Stream Entry? Jason Snyder 5/26/14 9:51 PM
RE: What actually happens in the brain at Stream Entry? Daniel M. Ingram 5/26/14 11:23 PM
RE: What actually happens in the brain at Stream Entry? Dream Walker 5/27/14 12:33 AM
RE: What actually happens in the brain at Stream Entry? Dream Walker 5/27/14 12:47 AM
RE: What actually happens in the brain at Stream Entry? Jason Snyder 5/27/14 8:45 PM
RE: What actually happens in the brain at Stream Entry? . Jake . 5/28/14 1:11 PM
RE: What actually happens in the brain at Stream Entry? Dream Walker 5/28/14 1:19 PM
RE: What actually happens in the brain at Stream Entry? Jason Snyder 5/27/14 8:53 PM
RE: What actually happens in the brain at Stream Entry? Jinxed P 5/26/14 11:50 PM
RE: What actually happens in the brain at Stream Entry? Psi 5/26/14 11:55 PM
RE: What actually happens in the brain at Stream Entry? Dream Walker 5/27/14 12:55 AM
RE: What actually happens in the brain at Stream Entry? Dream Walker 5/27/14 1:29 AM
RE: What actually happens in the brain at Stream Entry? sawfoot _ 5/27/14 2:41 AM
RE: What actually happens in the brain at Stream Entry? Jason Snyder 5/27/14 8:51 PM
RE: What actually happens in the brain at Stream Entry? Daniel M. Ingram 5/28/14 12:28 AM
RE: What actually happens in the brain at Stream Entry? Jason Snyder 5/28/14 1:46 PM
RE: What actually happens in the brain at Stream Entry? Dream Walker 5/28/14 1:32 PM
RE: What actually happens in the brain at Stream Entry? sawfoot _ 5/29/14 3:09 AM
RE: What actually happens in the brain at Stream Entry? sawfoot _ 5/30/14 9:07 AM
RE: What actually happens in the brain at Stream Entry? Dream Walker 5/30/14 10:51 AM
RE: What actually happens in the brain at Stream Entry? sawfoot _ 5/31/14 3:13 AM
RE: What actually happens in the brain at Stream Entry? J C 5/31/14 12:23 PM
RE: What actually happens in the brain at Stream Entry? sawfoot _ 6/1/14 3:04 AM
RE: What actually happens in the brain at Stream Entry? Daniel M. Ingram 6/1/14 11:42 PM
RE: What actually happens in the brain at Stream Entry? Dream Walker 6/2/14 1:38 AM
RE: What actually happens in the brain at Stream Entry? Daniel M. Ingram 6/2/14 1:43 AM
RE: What actually happens in the brain at Stream Entry? Eric M W 6/5/14 7:57 PM
RE: What actually happens in the brain at Stream Entry? Banned For waht? 5/27/14 7:07 AM
RE: What actually happens in the brain at Stream Entry? J J 5/29/14 10:03 AM
RE: What actually happens in the brain at Stream Entry? J C 5/30/14 8:49 PM
Basically my question is in the title. This momentary blip...clearly there is some fundamental rewiring in the brain, but what exactly is it, in a neurological sense? Would outsiders have reason to consider it a form of brain damage or self induced retardation? 

RE: What actually happens in the brain at Stream Entry?
Answer
5/26/14 11:23 PM as a reply to Jason Snyder.
Ha!

I don't know that anyone knows. I could speculate, but it would be pure pseudoscience, something I generally dislike.

I don't know how you would measure it, and even if you were, say, wired to an EEG when it happened or in an fMRI, I still doubt that would tell you much.

I don't think we have the technology at this point to sort it out. Current brain imaging is like trying to learn about human psychology by satellite, like trying to study the workings of a computer with a hand-held magnifying glass and volt-meter.

As to dain bramage, etc. It generally enhances function rather than diminishing it, but that is funny.

RE: What actually happens in the brain at Stream Entry?
Answer
5/26/14 11:50 PM as a reply to Jason Snyder.
Check out the book "Zen and the Brain". It's a classic.

RE: What actually happens in the brain at Stream Entry?
Answer
5/26/14 11:55 PM as a reply to Jason Snyder.
Jason Snyder:
Basically my question is in the title. This momentary blip...clearly there is some fundamental rewiring in the brain, but what exactly is it, in a neurological sense? Would outsiders have reason to consider it a form of brain damage or self induced retardation? 

This study was always kind of interesting:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1361002/

As far as I know no one has recorded a path moment with scientific tools. 

As to what happens I only have speculations, viewing the brain in a holistic sense, one could speculate that consciousness resembles nature , as electrons jump from one energy level to another, so too would consciousness jump from one consciousness level to another.  And, this hypothesis would stand to reason why one wouldn't "fall" back from the stream entered point.

Brain damage or brain change?  Neuroplasticity, yes.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neuroplasticity 

Happy Memorial Day!

Psi

RE: What actually happens in the brain at Stream Entry?
Answer
5/27/14 12:33 AM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Daniel M. Ingram:
I don't know that anyone knows. I could speculate, but it would be pure pseudoscience, something I generally dislike.

From a actual neurological brain rewiring theory I really don't know if anyone really understands the brain enough to tell you exactly how most of anything real happens for sure....there are theories but I don't know how much of it is really outside destructive inference(we know the results of breaking parts of it) but how much do we know about the operation of a single thought?
Now speculating from a psychological point of view I find quite comfortable since most of psychology is pseudoscience. (or soft science if you prefer)
Here is my speculation - There are multiple selfing processes running in the sub/pre-conscious that add up to a cohesive impression of a self. Any information that gets to the threshold that it pops up to the conscious level has these extra selfing layers added to it. These selfing processes are attached to the defensive center of the brain like the Fight or Flight center. From wiki-"This response is recognized as the first stage of a general adaptation syndrome that regulates stress responses among vertebrates and other organisms." Therefore stress is part and parcel to the selfing processes.
So when stream entry is achieved what happens is that one of the selfing processes shuts down permanently, the sense of self related to this goes away and the stress caused by it is gone. You experience for the first time what it is like to perceive reality without that extra layer and this also tends to free up the brains overall running load to it's benefit. The exact selfing process that shuts down at stream entry seems to me to be the process of possessiveness of the five senses.
This is of course a no-self model and uses terminology outside the Buddhist tradition.
Read the book "The Ego Tunnel" to get a firm grasp of the layers that make up this "illusionary" self. It goes into psychology and neuroscience of this concept and is written by an analytical philosopher. I enjoyed it immensely and it confirmed my concepts to me.
Good luck,
~D

RE: What actually happens in the brain at Stream Entry?
Answer
5/27/14 12:47 AM as a reply to Dream Walker.
Here is a diagram I've been working on.  Still working on it  It is a continuation of my earlier work.

RE: What actually happens in the brain at Stream Entry?
Answer
5/27/14 12:55 AM as a reply to Jason Snyder.
Jason Snyder:
Would outsiders have reason to consider it a form of brain damage or self induced retardation? 
I look at it in the same category as overcoming an extreme phobia...the phobia of letting go of  what you consider as self. As well as overcoming an extreme addition to seeing reality with a self. Those who have done so seem to like it a lot and recommend it highly. Those with the phobia and addiction might tell you something completely different.
~D

RE: What actually happens in the brain at Stream Entry?
Answer
5/27/14 1:29 AM as a reply to Jason Snyder.
Here is another interesting take on what happens from Shinzen Young. Take a look at pages 40 - 45. http://www.shinzen.org/Articles/WhatIsMindfulness_SY_Public.pdf
Sorry if this is getting too far off track from your initial questions.
~D

RE: What actually happens in the brain at Stream Entry?
Answer
5/27/14 2:41 AM as a reply to Jason Snyder.
Can I ask why you want to know? Are you worried about giving yourself brain damage?

DI, I don't see a great harm in speculating on an internet forum (if you don't mind being wrong about stuff?)...I wouldn't call that pseudoscience, just speculation, which could vary on a continuum of scientific informedness. I think we know enough to make some rough speculations. So, for example, if your path moment was followed by feelings of bliss, it would seem likely that you triggered the release of a bunch of neurotransmitters (e.g. dopamine, opiods) into your brain. 

My current speculation is that if the "blip" part of it - a cesssation - involves a loss of consciousness, then it might have some similarity to absence seizures seen in epilepsy. And I think deliberately inducing a temporary loss of consciousness may be harmful (i.e. be neurotoxic). While everyone's experience is different, I have heard reports from some that the "dark night" following stream entry was worse than what became before, so potentially any gain in functioning also has to be weighed in with potentially destabilising effects.  

It might be an easier question to answer if we had a better understanding of what a path moment is - and if "Stream Entry" described a class of experiences that have a similar neurological underpinning. My speculation now is that people use the term Stream Entry to describe a variety of experiences which might actually be quite different at the brain level. 

DW, Most of psychology is psuedoscience? A bit harsh! We actually do know quite a bit about the brain works, particularly in the case where we have good animal models - in visual cognitive neuroscience for example. 

So not being a stream enterer, I am just spitballing, but my way of thinking about it is like seeing an optical illusion - there is a point where you don't see the old woman, but then when you see it, you can't help but see it - so you have altered your perception permanently in seeing something in a new light. "Shutting down" a selfing process entirely seems a little extreme - rather than shutting it down, you spend more time seeing the old woman and gain increased power into downregulating the seeing of the girl. 



RE: What actually happens in the brain at Stream Entry?
Answer
5/27/14 7:07 AM as a reply to Jason Snyder.
dharma wheel starts to run or paddle after the stream entry. Dharma is reality in other words.
So you will start to become randomly aware during the day. (ups offtopic)

RE: What actually happens in the brain at Stream Entry?
Answer
5/27/14 8:45 PM as a reply to Dream Walker.
Dream Walker:
Here is a diagram I've been working on.  Still working on it  It is a continuation of my earlier work.

Interesting diagram. I guess the question I am struggling with is, why did we evolve the selfing process in the first place, and what are we giving up (unintented consequences) by willfully deactivating it. Is it that at an earlier stage of evolution (biological or social) it was a much more critical function then it is in todays world, and so now it just gets in the way?

RE: What actually happens in the brain at Stream Entry?
Answer
5/27/14 8:51 PM as a reply to sawfoot _.
sawfoot _:
Can I ask why you want to know? Are you worried about giving yourself brain damage?

DI, I don't see a great harm in speculating on an internet forum (if you don't mind being wrong about stuff?)...I wouldn't call that pseudoscience, just speculation, which could vary on a continuum of scientific informedness. I think we know enough to make some rough speculations. So, for example, if your path moment was followed by feelings of bliss, it would seem likely that you triggered the release of a bunch of neurotransmitters (e.g. dopamine, opiods) into your brain. 

My current speculation is that if the "blip" part of it - a cesssation - involves a loss of consciousness, then it might have some similarity to absence seizures seen in epilepsy. And I think deliberately inducing a temporary loss of consciousness may be harmful (i.e. be neurotoxic). While everyone's experience is different, I have heard reports from some that the "dark night" following stream entry was worse than what became before, so potentially any gain in functioning also has to be weighed in with potentially destabilising effects.  

It might be an easier question to answer if we had a better understanding of what a path moment is - and if "Stream Entry" described a class of experiences that have a similar neurological underpinning. My speculation now is that people use the term Stream Entry to describe a variety of experiences which might actually be quite different at the brain level. 

DW, Most of psychology is psuedoscience? A bit harsh! We actually do know quite a bit about the brain works, particularly in the case where we have good animal models - in visual cognitive neuroscience for example. 

So not being a stream enterer, I am just spitballing, but my way of thinking about it is like seeing an optical illusion - there is a point where you don't see the old woman, but then when you see it, you can't help but see it - so you have altered your perception permanently in seeing something in a new light. "Shutting down" a selfing process entirely seems a little extreme - rather than shutting it down, you spend more time seeing the old woman and gain increased power into downregulating the seeing of the girl. 


Yes I am a little bit worried about brain damage, although not worried enough to stop from doing it anyway...the thought of continuing life via normal consciousnesss is unsatisfactory. I diagnose myself to be in Equanimity stage and feel like I am close to Stream Entry. There is the fear that I will lose something that I can't get back, and it will be detrimental in the long run. I know this fear is probably irrational, a lot of it comes from fear of letting go of control, and so is just ego. 

RE: What actually happens in the brain at Stream Entry?
Answer
5/27/14 8:53 PM as a reply to Dream Walker.
Dream Walker, thanks for the book recommendation, I just ordered it. 

RE: What actually happens in the brain at Stream Entry?
Answer
5/28/14 12:28 AM as a reply to sawfoot _.
Alright, pure speculation, just so everyone know this is totally made up on the fly and not science at all:

There are various awareness centers in the brain, and when we wire the most conscious of them to brain area after brain area as they tour through during the stages of insight, which, during their progress bring up issue after issue corresponding to brain center after brain center, pathway after pathway, process after process, eventually we have wired them all sufficiently to this awareness center, and this has some sort of synchronizing effect, such that when the attentional centers all synchronize for one great burst of 3-4 pulses of total mental synchrony, as occurs in Conformity knowledge and the few pulses afterwards, this causes the brain centers all to converge totally and without remainder on the end of that last pulse and take themselves all the way down to whatever happens between the frames, typically referred to as Nibbana in the Abhidhamma,  and these synchronized centers converge on that, and in that convergence somehow something shifts, a switch is thrown, and a new set of pathways come on line, such that the benefits of stream entry are switched on.

Daniel

RE: What actually happens in the brain at Stream Entry?
Answer
5/28/14 1:11 PM as a reply to Jason Snyder.
Jason Snyder:
Dream Walker:
Here is a diagram I've been working on.  Still working on it  It is a continuation of my earlier work.

Interesting diagram. I guess the question I am struggling with is, why did we evolve the selfing process in the first place, and what are we giving up (unintented consequences) by willfully deactivating it. Is it that at an earlier stage of evolution (biological or social) it was a much more critical function then it is in todays world, and so now it just gets in the way?

Remember, traits (like the selfing process, or a physical trait) don't have intrinsic 'survival value'. They only facilitate or inhibit reproduction depending on circumstances. So it's fallacious to assume that all traits that current organisms have now, once had survival value. I'm sure many traits we have we have survived despite having. So it's totally possible that the 'selfing' process is just something a brain of sufficient complexity-- or perhaps any brain at all-- generates for technical reasons having to do with reflexivity in neural nets in general but that the selfing process adds nothing to survival value, it's just there because that's how brains tend to work until they become sufficiently complex to debug themselves.

RE: What actually happens in the brain at Stream Entry?
Answer
5/28/14 1:19 PM as a reply to . Jake ..
. Jake .:

Remember, traits (like the selfing process, or a physical trait) don't have intrinsic 'survival value'. They only facilitate or inhibit reproduction depending on circumstances. So it's fallacious to assume that all traits that current organisms have now, once had survival value. I'm sure many traits we have we have survived despite having. So it's totally possible that the 'selfing' process is just something a brain of sufficient complexity-- or perhaps any brain at all-- generates for technical reasons having to do with reflexivity in neural nets in general but that the selfing process adds nothing to survival value, it's just there because that's how brains tend to work until they become sufficiently complex to debug themselves.

Discussed in "The Ego Tunnel" THE EVOLUTION PROBLEM: COULDN’T ALL OF THIS HAVE HAPPENED IN THE DARK?
"First, let’s not forget that evolution is driven by chance, does not pursue a goal, and achieved what we now consider the continuous optimization of nervous systems in a blind process of hereditary variation and selection. It is incorrect to assume that evolution had to invent consciousness—in principle it could have been a useless by-product. No necessity was involved. Not everything is an adaptation, and even adaptations are not optimally designed, because natural selection can act only on what is already there. Other routes and solutions were and remain possible. Nevertheless, a lot of what happened in our brains and in those of our ancestors clearly was adaptive and had survival value."
Chock full o good stuff...
~D

RE: What actually happens in the brain at Stream Entry?
Answer
5/28/14 1:46 PM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Daniel M. Ingram:
Alright, pure speculation, just so everyone know this is totally made up on the fly and not science at all:

There are various awareness centers in the brain, and when we wire the most conscious of them to brain area after brain area as they tour through during the stages of insight, which, during their progress bring up issue after issue corresponding to brain center after brain center, pathway after pathway, process after process, eventually we have wired them all sufficiently to this awareness center, and this has some sort of synchronizing effect, such that when the attentional centers all synchronize for one great burst of 3-4 pulses of total mental synchrony, as occurs in Conformity knowledge and the few pulses afterwards, this causes the brain centers all to converge totally and without remainder on the end of that last pulse and take themselves all the way down to whatever happens between the frames, typically referred to as Nibbana in the Abhidhamma,  and these synchronized centers converge on that, and in that convergence somehow something shifts, a switch is thrown, and a new set of pathways come on line, such that the benefits of stream entry are switched on.

Daniel


Hmm, interesting. It makes sense in light of the theory that conscious mind is composed of "modules" that get triggered in different situations. It seems to me that by being un-synchronized the sense of a self is allowed to persist because there is always this module in relation to that...but in Stream Entry, as they are synchronized, there is no longer any duality. 

There is an interesting discussion of mind modularity in relation to the sense of self here.

RE: What actually happens in the brain at Stream Entry?
Answer
5/28/14 1:32 PM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Daniel M. Ingram:
Alright, pure speculation, just so everyone know this is totally made up on the fly and not science at all:

There are various awareness centers in the brain, and when we wire the most conscious of them to brain area after brain area as they tour through during the stages of insight, which, during their progress bring up issue after issue corresponding to brain center after brain center, pathway after pathway, process after process, eventually we have wired them all sufficiently to this awareness center, and this has some sort of synchronizing effect, such that when the attentional centers all synchronize for one great burst of 3-4 pulses of total mental synchrony, as occurs in Conformity knowledge and the few pulses afterwards, this causes the brain centers all to converge totally and without remainder on the end of that last pulse and take themselves all the way down to whatever happens between the frames, typically referred to as Nibbana in the Abhidhamma,  and these synchronized centers converge on that, and in that convergence somehow something shifts, a switch is thrown, and a new set of pathways come on line, such that the benefits of stream entry are switched on.

Daniel


From "The Ego Tunnel" -CHAPTER TWO APPENDIX THE UNITY OF CONSCIOUSNESS: A CONVERSATION WITH WOLF SINGER
"Singer: A unique property of consciousness is its coherence. The contents of consciousness change continuously, at the pace of the experienced present, but at any one moment all the contents of phenomenal awareness are related to one another, unless there is a pathological condition causing a disintegration of conscious experience. This suggests a close relation between consciousness and binding. It seems that only those results of the numerous computational processes that have been bound successfully will enter consciousness simultaneously. This notion also establishes a close link among consciousness, short-term memory, and attention. Evidence indicates that stimuli need to be attended to in order to be perceived consciously, and only then will they have access to short-term memory.
The binding problem results from two distinct features of the brain: First, the brain is a highly distributed system, in which a very large number of operations are carried out in parallel; second, it lacks a single convergence center, in which the results of these parallel computations could be evaluated in a coherent way. The various processing modules are interconnected, in an exceedingly dense and complex network of reciprocal connections, and these appear to be generating globally ordered states, by means of powerful self-organizing mechanisms. It follows that representations of complex cognitive contents—perceptual objects, thoughts, action plans, reactivated memories—must have a distributed structure as well. This requires that neurons participating in a distributed representation of a particular type of content convey two messages in parallel: First, they have to signal whether the feature they’re tuned to is present; second, they have to indicate which of the many other neurons they’re cooperating with in forming a distributed representation. It is widely accepted that neurons signal the presence of the feature they encode by increasing their discharge frequency; however, there’s less consensus about how neurons signal with which other neurons they cooperate.
achieved if neurons engage in rhythmic, oscillatory discharges, because oscillatory processes can be synchronized more easily than temporally unstructured activation sequences.

Metzinger: Then this isn’t just a hypothesis—there’s supportive experimental evidence.

Singer: Since the discovery of synchronized oscillatory discharges in the visual cortex more than a decade ago, more and more evidence has supported the hypothesis that synchronization of oscillatory activity may be the mechanism for the binding of distributed brain processes—whereas the relevant oscillation frequencies differ for different structures and in the cerebral cortex typically cover the range of beta- and gamma-oscillations: 20 to 80 Hz. What makes the synchronization phenomena particularly interesting in the present context is that they occur in association with a number of functions relevant for conscious experience."

Buy the book already...you know you want to emoticon
~D

RE: What actually happens in the brain at Stream Entry?
Answer
5/29/14 3:09 AM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
DI, perhaps they are complementary to a large extent, but I tend to see the stages of insight in terms of a skill development in the context of changing "mood" (hypomania, depression, equanimity) rather than acquiring knowledge or insight. This explains, for example, why you can go through all the stages and not reach "path", and then if you stop meditating for a while, you might have to go through them all again, as you lose out on the brain environment and plasticity necessary to allow certain "tricks" to occur.
y).

Jake, just because something is possible, doesn't mean it is likely. Fairies are possible...

DI, Pawel, everyone - Total brain synchrony sounds romantic - but generally too much synchrony is a bad (e.g. see epilepsy). Some meditation states though seem likely to involve more sychrony than normal, for example, in jhanas. And this probably occurs in high frequency bands (e.g. gamma), though as Pawel notes, you have phase locking with synchrony with lower frequency ranges. If you look into absence seizures, models seem to suggest that increased cortical excitability (with high synchrony) can switch the thalamus to a generalised low frequency oscillation, around 3hz, which is associated with absence of consiousness. So profound changes in consciousness (e.g. blips) are probably associated with a manipulation of the thalamocortical frequency coupling. 

RE: What actually happens in the brain at Stream Entry?
Answer
5/29/14 10:03 AM as a reply to Jason Snyder.
Stream Entry as defined as most of the Hardcore/Pragmatic Dharma community consists of a 'blip' in the ordinary stream of consciousness. It is the complete and total absence of suffering, for a few moments.

As Daniel said I'm not entirely sure speculating is a good idea, we are not entirely sure how the brain works, most cognitive function seems to come from how the brain works 'as a whole', namely its 'assembly' as opposed to its individual parts. But then again I'm speculating and have no background in neuroscience.

TL;DR my post sucks don't read it

RE: What actually happens in the brain at Stream Entry?
Answer
5/30/14 9:07 AM as a reply to sawfoot _.
Paweł K:
Epilepsy happen when mind have positive (or too strong negative) feedback loop which can't be turned down

Point is to learn to control feedback strength and type so that hitting resonance frequency is not driving mind into unwholesome states of epileptic seizures. Without proper coefficients of those feedback loop mind probably can't go near full synchronization because safety mechanisms stop it and desynchronize mind to protect it. In epileptic people those safety mechanisms do not function properly.


Yep - so I don't think there is such a thing as resonance frequency in the brain, but those cases where the safety mechanisms do not function properly are really interesting - which might be what is happening when we have peak "mystical" experiences, like A&P and path.

RE: What actually happens in the brain at Stream Entry?
Answer
5/30/14 10:51 AM as a reply to sawfoot _.
sawfoot _:
Yep - so I don't think there is such a thing as resonance frequency in the brain

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neural_oscillation What do you believe then?
~D

RE: What actually happens in the brain at Stream Entry?
Answer
5/30/14 8:49 PM as a reply to Jason Snyder.
There are a couple assumptions made in this thread that strike me as odd:


First, the idea that the self or selving processes are somehow part of the physical makeup of the brain, as opposed to a human cultural innovation. Julian Jaynes persuasively argues in "The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind" (very highly recommended) that the self is a fairly recent cultural innovation, only a few thousand years old. Human beings lived in small nomadic tribes for two million years; it's only in the last few thousand years that we've had language, writing, cities, philosophy, and so on. My best guess is that when humans started developing agriculture and diversification of labor, this changed the human experience in a significant way, due to the development of complex abstract ideas and social roles, and gave rise to the self. The brain is hardware, and the self is software. According to this theory, the self didn't evolve; it was created by human culture. The self is a fiction and was created by human societies, just like many other fictions.


Second, that something "happens" in the brain at stream entry. What happens in the brain when someone goes to medical school and becomes a doctor? What happens in the brain when someone comes up with an idea for a story and writes it down? When someone changes their religion or political beliefs? These are very complex, abstract processes that don't have simple neurological correlates. Abstractions like these emerge out of complex patterns of neuron structure and activity, in different ways for everyone, and I doubt very much that stream entry corresponds to anything as simple as one area of the brain or one particular mix of neurotransmitters. My best guess is that stream entry isn't something that shows up or can easily be seen at the physical level. I don't see any reason to think that it would, any more than it's possible to look at someone's brain and easily tell what kind of poem they would write if you asked them to write a poem.

RE: What actually happens in the brain at Stream Entry?
Answer
5/31/14 3:13 AM as a reply to Dream Walker.
Dream Walker:
sawfoot _:
Yep - so I don't think there is such a thing as resonance frequency in the brain

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neural_oscillation What do you believe then?
~D
I can't say for sure what Pawel meant, but if you look up resonance frequency and the brain on google, you mainly find a much of new age verbiage about energy fields and the universe, and pseudoscience where Schuman frequencies comes up a lot. As I said in earlier replies, the idea of total sychrony in the brain sounds a bit romantic, so my response was in that vein.

JC, Jaynes is a fun read but its pretty nuts! Certainly our concept of consiousness has changed a lot in the last few thousand years, and this must have changed our experience of self considerably. But the current best guesses on the evolution of human culture is that "modern" humans have been around for at least 50,000 years - though some put the date back as far as 200,000-400,000 years (in Africa). And you seem to be equating "self" with "consciousness". But I agree in principle - social relations and increased cultural complexity probably had a significant influence on the development of consiousness and "selfing processes".

Something "happens" in the brain when I go to the toilet. Something also happens when I have a stroke. In one case there are profound changes with lasting consquences and in the other less so. The claim in the DhO is that some brain events are more significant than others. With neuroimaging (e.g. fmri or EEG) you can pick up a lot about brain activity, so my best guess is that you would be able to pick up an event like stream entry, or at least "blips" involving a transient loss of consciousness, given their likely EEG signature.
So just a random example of what we can detect to contrast with your poem example:
http://www.sciencemag.org/content/340/6132/639

RE: What actually happens in the brain at Stream Entry?
Answer
5/31/14 12:23 PM as a reply to sawfoot _.
sawfoot _:

JC, Jaynes is a fun read but its pretty nuts! Certainly our concept of consiousness has changed a lot in the last few thousand years, and this must have changed our experience of self considerably. But the current best guesses on the evolution of human culture is that "modern" humans have been around for at least 50,000 years - though some put the date back as far as 200,000-400,000 years (in Africa). And you seem to be equating "self" with "consciousness". But I agree in principle - social relations and increased cultural complexity probably had a significant influence on the development of consiousness and "selfing processes".

Something "happens" in the brain when I go to the toilet. Something also happens when I have a stroke. In one case there are profound changes with lasting consquences and in the other less so. The claim in the DhO is that some brain events are more significant than others. With neuroimaging (e.g. fmri or EEG) you can pick up a lot about brain activity, so my best guess is that you would be able to pick up an event like stream entry, or at least "blips" involving a transient loss of consciousness, given their likely EEG signature.
So just a random example of what we can detect to contrast with your poem example:
http://www.sciencemag.org/content/340/6132/639

While Jaynes uses the word "consciousness," he's talking about the idea of the self. Using his terminology, schizophrenics, enlightened people, and people before a few thousand years ago were all not "conscious." But clearly they were aware of sensory perception; they just didn't have the same sense of self. The terminology is a little confusing. I don't think he's nuts, though some of his chronology and analysis of ancient cultures may be off - the main point, like you say, is that the self and selving processes are affected by the culture that people grow up in - software programmed in at an early age.


With enough data and sophisticated machine learning techniques, we can probably detect anything, as in your example. The way that it worked in that study was that they'd scan people's brains and ask them to think about, say, skiing, and the machine looks at the pattern of static and then detects when the brain is in a statistically similar state. But you need enough data, and with stream entry you'd have to rely on data from a lot of different people - individual neurological differences might make it complicated. But I agree, if we manage to catch enough people entering the stream and scan their brains, we may be able to come up with some pattern of static and statistically match it to people.

My point wasn't about detection, though, but about being able to easily describe what happens on a neurological level during stream entry. Stream entry is a "mind" event, not a brain event like a stroke. While there's probably some complicated pattern that is associated with stream entry, I doubt it can be simply described by "X, Y, and Z is what happens in the brain."

I'm not clear on what you mean by "some brain events are more significant than others." There's significance on a neurological level, and there's significance on the level of meaning and experience. A brain event that's very significant neurologically may have only minor significance to the person's life and vice versa. While stream entry is a very significant event in a person's life, it's not clear to me that there's anything especially significant about it neurologically. I see it more as a complex, high-level organizational shift - in other words, I doubt you'd see anything special or noticable without a statistical analysis.

RE: What actually happens in the brain at Stream Entry?
Answer
6/1/14 3:04 AM as a reply to J C.
J C:

While Jaynes uses the word "consciousness," he's talking about the idea of the self. Using his terminology, schizophrenics, enlightened people, and people before a few thousand years ago were all not "conscious." But clearly they were aware of sensory perception; they just didn't have the same sense of self. The terminology is a little confusing. I don't think he's nuts, though some of his chronology and analysis of ancient cultures may be off - the main point, like you say, is that the self and selving processes are affected by the culture that people grow up in - software programmed in at an early age.

With enough data and sophisticated machine learning techniques, we can probably detect anything, as in your example. The way that it worked in that study was that they'd scan people's brains and ask them to think about, say, skiing, and the machine looks at the pattern of static and then detects when the brain is in a statistically similar state. But you need enough data, and with stream entry you'd have to rely on data from a lot of different people - individual neurological differences might make it complicated. But I agree, if we manage to catch enough people entering the stream and scan their brains, we may be able to come up with some pattern of static and statistically match it to people.

My point wasn't about detection, though, but about being able to easily describe what happens on a neurological level during stream entry. Stream entry is a "mind" event, not a brain event like a stroke. While there's probably some complicated pattern that is associated with stream entry, I doubt it can be simply described by "X, Y, and Z is what happens in the brain."

I'm not clear on what you mean by "some brain events are more significant than others." There's significance on a neurological level, and there's significance on the level of meaning and experience. A brain event that's very significant neurologically may have only minor significance to the person's life and vice versa. While stream entry is a very significant event in a person's life, it's not clear to me that there's anything especially significant about it neurologically. I see it more as a complex, high-level organizational shift - in other words, I doubt you'd see anything special or noticable without a statistical analysis.

"Some brain events are more significant than others" I mean Enlightenment is a significant event! Not exactly my view, but a pragmatic dharma-type view - if enlightenment is something real, achievable, life changing and systematic, then it should reflect some systematic brain changes. So, I would assume you must agree that ultimately all mind events are also brain events. And so generally, significant brain events are most likely significantly correlated with significant life events. Look at A&P for example - the brain must be going a bit haywire, and it has a big influence on everyday life. The term "significant" is perhaps not helpful. But this is the question under consideration. Most neurocognitive events are complicated, high-level. involving multiple systems coordinated across the brain. If there is a class of events called stream entry that describe some systematic organizational shift, then in principle we should be able to understand what happens, to the extent we can understand other cognitive processes in the brain. And we can understand other processes in the brain! You don't need to join the chorus of voices which you sometimes see (i.e. on this thread) saying "we know nothing about the brain works" (which really means, "I don't know how the brain works, but I have one, so I can offer an opinion"). One big problem (as you mention) is lack of data - these things are one off events which make them very hard to study. And I also have a fair degree of scepticism as to whether stream entry is a systematic process which happens in roughly the same way across different people's brains. When you say it might be a significant life event, not in the brain, perhaps we could consider it something like attending a graduation ceremony after college - not something you could really describe neurologically, but has major influences on mood and perspective, because of its relationship to what came before of it and what the future holds.

RE: What actually happens in the brain at Stream Entry?
Answer
6/1/14 11:42 PM as a reply to sawfoot _.
So oddly synchronized with a conversation I was just having with Dr Jud Brewer who has just moved his shop from Yale to U Mass (though I think he is still adjuct at Yale). You see, I will be going up again at the end of the month to have a second session playing on their research-grade EEG machine, and one of the things I was hoping to do was to be able to go lead by lead, brain region by brain region, frequency band by frequency band, and see how they correlate with the pulse of attention itself, which is something that is totally obvious to me. I will be talking with his coder guy shortly about writing the software to allow me to do that.

I personally have the belief that somewhere in the EEG, in those 128 leads, is the ability to feel the pulse of attention itself, and then have this fed back to the person such that they could get to know it also, as we have so highly tuned our minds to not notice it. It is like the glasses that flip the world upside down by means of mirrors: soon enough you see the world right-side up again and then when you take them off the world is upside down until it flips over again on its own. The brain rapidly remodels itself to make sense of everything. Part of that habitual sense is totally missing the pulse of attention, like someone who grew up in a house with strobe-lights but no longer notices them and now sees the light as continuous, except that it totally isn't, it pulses, the whole world pulses, the whole sensate universe pulses, and it does it pretty fast, fast enough that we don't generally notice it, but no so fast that you can't train yourself to perceive it.

It is my hypothesis that if you figured out which leads and at which bands the attention pulse was registering and gave someone that specific feedback, that band-pass-filtered pulse, then you could rapidly create people who figure out how to get conformity knowledge, which is the total 3-4 pulse synchrony that leads to stream entry the first time and subsequent Fruitions and further paths later on. Having experienced this thousands of times, it is pretty weird to remember that people might not even believe such a thing was possible or that reality was actually the way I say it is, but then that's what it is like talking to virgins about sex, isn't it?

RE: What actually happens in the brain at Stream Entry?
Answer
6/2/14 1:38 AM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Daniel M. Ingram:
I personally have the belief that somewhere in the EEG, in those 128 leads, is the ability to feel the pulse of attention itself, and then have this fed back to the person such that they could get to know it also, as we have so highly tuned our minds to not notice it.
It is my hypothesis that if you figured out which leads and at which bands the attention pulse was registering and gave someone that specific feedback, that band-pass-filtered pulse, then you could rapidly create people who figure out how to get conformity knowledge, which is the total 3-4 pulse synchrony that leads to stream entry the first time and subsequent Fruitions and further paths later on.
Interesting article from wired magazine - Do it yourself brain stimulation
I wonder what effects they are having reported on their forums.
I played around with Binaural beats generator gnaural when I was headed to stream entry and during review. I stopped at a point as I have read that it can hinder after a certain point by locking you into the 3.8-4 hertz when your brain needs to do something different to progress further. I have tried it again and this seems to be true...it gets me to eq but it seems like its an old light version of it from around first path and I have no interest in that state as I can meditate to a much better one with some effort.
Fun stuff though.
~D

RE: What actually happens in the brain at Stream Entry?
Answer
6/2/14 1:43 AM as a reply to Dream Walker.
The pulses and ranges and frequencies and harmonics clearly change during various stages of meditation, so being able to figure out how to track and roll with that is key.

RE: What actually happens in the brain at Stream Entry?
Answer
6/5/14 7:57 PM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Daniel M. Ingram:
So oddly synchronized with a conversation I was just having with Dr Jud Brewer who has just moved his shop from Yale to U Mass (though I think he is still adjuct at Yale). You see, I will be going up again at the end of the month to have a second session playing on their research-grade EEG machine, and one of the things I was hoping to do was to be able to go lead by lead, brain region by brain region, frequency band by frequency band, and see how they correlate with the pulse of attention itself, which is something that is totally obvious to me. I will be talking with his coder guy shortly about writing the software to allow me to do that.

I personally have the belief that somewhere in the EEG, in those 128 leads, is the ability to feel the pulse of attention itself, and then have this fed back to the person such that they could get to know it also, as we have so highly tuned our minds to not notice it. It is like the glasses that flip the world upside down by means of mirrors: soon enough you see the world right-side up again and then when you take them off the world is upside down until it flips over again on its own. The brain rapidly remodels itself to make sense of everything. Part of that habitual sense is totally missing the pulse of attention, like someone who grew up in a house with strobe-lights but no longer notices them and now sees the light as continuous, except that it totally isn't, it pulses, the whole world pulses, the whole sensate universe pulses, and it does it pretty fast, fast enough that we don't generally notice it, but no so fast that you can't train yourself to perceive it.

It is my hypothesis that if you figured out which leads and at which bands the attention pulse was registering and gave someone that specific feedback, that band-pass-filtered pulse, then you could rapidly create people who figure out how to get conformity knowledge, which is the total 3-4 pulse synchrony that leads to stream entry the first time and subsequent Fruitions and further paths later on. Having experienced this thousands of times, it is pretty weird to remember that people might not even believe such a thing was possible or that reality was actually the way I say it is, but then that's what it is like talking to virgins about sex, isn't it?
What's really cool is that I was thinking about this the other day.  What if we could create a bio-feedback device that zaps or honks at the meditator if their mindfulness faulters?  Imagine how many years of practice such a device could save.

Then again, imagine how many supposedly super-meditators would be shocked at how much thier mindfulness sucks after snoozing in a Zen monastery for two decades.  I don't know if a device like this would be well-received by some people...

What's sex like, anyway?