2.24.2010

What Stops the Brain? From Whence? At Whose Behest?

Man, this is so awesome that I'm showing it again:



But I guess it's also good fodder for parody:


6 comments:

fenhopper said...

this little video has never impressed me. mostly because wtf kind of eeg is that?

Casey said...

I was worried you'd say that. So you think a "real" EEG wouldn't look like this... I suppose that's possible. But then, would you be surprised if certain expert meditation practitioners could produce similar results on more sophisticated technology?

fenhopper said...

possible reactions are all over the place on this stuff. here's the order of my filter:

1. is that really "showing" brain wave data? if not: stop. if it is...

2. consider the possibility that he's playing a "switch" trick like crimping a hose or disconnecting a sensor. so, is the variation on the graph actually representing variation of his brain activity? if not: stop. if it is...

3. consider the possibility that very slight brain wave changes are enough to "drop" the signal making it look like his brain is shutting down when he's really just capturing very common leveling of brain waves that anyone can do by closing their eyes and relaxing all muscles. so is the variation in brain activity reasonably proportional to the drastic graphical representation? if not: stop. if it is...

3. since state of consciousness are all over the place, and focus is already known to be easier for some than others. through repetition and training, young ben crenshaw over a putt would probably be pretty crazy to watch on an eeg. so how exceptional is this 'skill' or event? if no more than crenshaw: stop. if very exceptional...

what is the actual benefit or result of this, other than some meaningless quote like 'get your brain out of the way and you'll see g-d'? because i've already accepted that biofeedback can do some cool parlor tricks, but i don't really need hold my breath for 6 minutes.

fenhopper said...

that should be a "4" there when i get all snarky.

slycon!

Casey said...

Those are all good reasons to not believe this is "anything." But at the same, your fourth point seems to be that he's not making any extraordinary claims associated with the EEG reading. So what's his motivation?

I saw David Blaine hold his breath on Oprah for 17 minutes last year. Then I saw him explain how he did it. He still claims there were no tricks. I'm 50/50 on that feat. It seems extremely unlikely, but the previous certified world record was like 16 minutes, and Ripley's certified this one.

I guess my point is to sort of "wonder" at a person's ability to do these kinds of things. Ken Wilber might be pinching the cord. But still you didn't really answer my question: would you be totally surprised if someone could do this kind of brain-quiet feat with a real EEG?

But, I mean, if you think this is like the séance craze of the 1880s, I understand your eyeroll.

fenhopper said...

i wouldn't be that surprised. because, as i said, there are some people who have a lot of control over things that for other people are involuntary 'processes'.

and as for his possible motivation: whether or not it's a "real" thing, he could have the same motivation to advertise it. to get attention. to make money. to change society. to go down in history. to get a wikipedia article written about him. to help people.

the actual motivation doesn't really affect my reaction tho.