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Can you "feel" a thought?

Posted: Fri Nov 22, 2013 4:41 pm
by aloysius
When I mentally verbalize a thought, I have a sense it is occurring or is localized in my head. Since the thought I’m having is, in itself, immaterial, how can this be so?

If it is true that electro-chemical activity in the brain gives rise to the thought, perhaps that is what I “feel”. But then, what triggers the electro-chemical activity that gives rise to the thought?

Am I back to the old mind-body problem? Damn.

Re: Can you "feel" a thought?

Posted: Fri Nov 22, 2013 6:32 pm
by Skip
What triggers electrical activity in the brain is some kind of physical stimulus. The external cause of that stimulus may be sensory input (something you see, hear, touch, smell or taste) or an idea; that is, intellectual input from another mind, through print or speech or image. The internal cause may be a somatic sensation (stomach acid, elevated body temperature, pressure on the bladder, etc.) or - most complicated and least traceable - a thought or idea of which you were not previously aware, arising in a different area of the brain. In any case, there is feedback: the brain responds to whatever sensory organ sent the message, which then responds, and so on.

For example, you may be four hours off the last meal when you catch a whiff of baking bread (or see the word 'Boulangerie' in the background of a scene in a spy movie) Nose or verbal translation center sends message to the hypothalamus, which triggers the hunger response, which sets off the gastric lining at the same time as it's referred to the frontal lobe as a problem to solve: "We're hungry over here; get us fed asap!" which then begins to work out ideas how to come by some food - much preferably (for some odd reason) crusty fresh baguette... with maybe a little brie?.. and olives, if you wouldn't mind, and a glass of Chardonnay...

What you feel may be an interaction between brain and body - all those messages being passed back and forth.

Re: Can you "feel" a thought?

Posted: Fri Nov 22, 2013 7:35 pm
by jackles
Thoughts are reactions to feelings.feelings result from an awarness.awareness comes from a level of consciousness.

Re: Can you "feel" a thought?

Posted: Fri Nov 22, 2013 11:20 pm
by The Voice of Time
The fact that you are aware that you are yourself thinking should say something about "feeling" thoughts. If you didn't feel your thoughts, how could you have been aware of them?

Re: Can you "feel" a thought?

Posted: Fri Nov 22, 2013 11:35 pm
by aloysius
Skip,
Excellent! I agree with all you said about external stimuli being the cause of ( most at least) brain activity. I also like your “feedback “ loop “idea. It appeals to my engineering/electronics background. What intrigues me most though, is what you call the “complicated and least traceable”. I’m not sure how “a thought or idea of which I was not previously aware, arising in a different area of the brain” makes any difference – I still “feel” it.

Feeling an interaction between brain and body – hmmm. Perhaps. But I would modify that statement to between mind and body, since the brain is part of the body.

Thanks.

Jackles,
So it begins with consciousness which proceeds to awareness, resulting in feelings, which precipitates thought. I find it difficult to argue that train of thought (perhaps I shouldn’t have used that word as it is the subject of discussion). But, assuming by “feeling”, you mean emotion, how does non-emotional (as in perhaps logical) thought tie in?

Thanks

Voice of Time,
Of course. But how/why do I “feel” thoughts to be occurring in my head?

Thanks.

Re: Can you "feel" a thought?

Posted: Sat Nov 23, 2013 12:00 am
by The Voice of Time
Why? That's a bit of a religious-like question... should there have to be a reason why? I always think of "why" as presuming somebody consciously planning for an intentional result.

As for "how", that's more a scientific question than philosophical, as you'd have to make the inquiry into a person's head and poke around until you find it, and not in a psychological way as psychology won't be able to uncover anything so particular, but rather in a biological-physiological kinda way.

Re: Can you "feel" a thought?

Posted: Sat Nov 23, 2013 4:54 am
by Skip
What intrigues me most though, is what you call the “complicated and least traceable”. I’m not sure how “a thought or idea of which I was not previously aware, arising in a different area of the brain” makes any difference – I still “feel” it.
How do you know? There may be all kinds of processes going on that you are unaware of. Have you ever read or seen a book I Am a Strange Loop by Douglas R. Hofstadter? There is a lot in there about feedback systems. Some of it, too weird by half.

The reason I said that thoughts generated by another part of your own mind are least traceable is that they happen on a very low energy level. Housekeeping and filing are carried out all the time, whenever there are no meteorites to dodge or horse-racing odds to calculate: literally thousands of synaptic network reconfigurations that are so routine, they don't light up the switchboard... until one of these processes sets off a cascade. Like, for example, the memory of a recent airplane trip is being filed in long-term storage, next to other memories of airplanes, which are next to the recurring dream about flying, which switches on the childhood nightmare of falling, ... and suddenly, it all coalesces in the picture of your father repeatedly throwing you up in the air, and you pretending to enjoy it ... because... you were afraid to make him angry, in case he deliberately dropped you... The Bastard!! ... But, but, wait? How was he supposed to know you didn't enjoy it? Or did he know the whole time? ...

See the MRI busting out in red and yellow islands?

Re: Can you "feel" a thought?

Posted: Mon Nov 25, 2013 8:55 pm
by duszek
Perhaps we should distinguish between a pre-verbal thought and a verbalized thought.

A pre-verbal thought is something like a state of mind focusing on a certain set of emotions and perceived circumstances.
This state of mind is stored in the brain as a thought unit and you can plunge into it and out of it willfully. If your will is strong enough.

If your will is not strong enough the thought unit can suck your awareness and you feel trapped.

::::::::::::::::

A verbalized thought is a thought unit ex-pressed out of the mind. The vehicles for ex-pressing portions of the thought unit one by one are words.

Re: Can you "feel" a thought?

Posted: Mon Nov 25, 2013 9:32 pm
by jackles
What you descibe is how turetts syndrome works.the rest state of the mind which is ameaning is intruded upon by an event meaning which disturbes it the rest state.

Re: Can you "feel" a thought?

Posted: Tue Jan 21, 2014 1:45 am
by HexHammer
Can you "feel" a thought?

Yes.

Re: Can you "feel" a thought?

Posted: Wed Jan 22, 2014 2:51 pm
by duszek
A thought can trigger feelings and emotions.

I am aware of a thought but I don´t feel it.

Re: Can you "feel" a thought?

Posted: Wed Jan 22, 2014 3:27 pm
by jackles
yes a thought may disturb calm feeling.and polarise feeling to the thought subject.but the feeling was there before the disturbance of focusing on a subject took place.so feeling exists without feeling as in emotion.awareness is feeling without need of feeling.so normal walk down the street consciousness is feeling without feeling.

Re: Can you "feel" a thought?

Posted: Wed Jan 22, 2014 7:38 pm
by Skip
That that is is. That is that cleared up!

Re: Can you "feel" a thought?

Posted: Wed Jan 22, 2014 8:21 pm
by marjoramblues
Skip wrote:That that is is. That is that cleared up!
:)

Can you fool a thought?

Re: Can you "feel" a thought?

Posted: Wed Jan 22, 2014 9:57 pm
by jackles
yes if you doubt what you are in terms of.?self