Tuesday, June 7, 2016

New Age Ideas

The Age of Spiritual Machines is a non-fiction book by inventor and futurist Ray Kurzweil about artificial intelligence and the future course of humanity. Kurzweil predicts machines with human-level intelligence will be available from affordable computing devices within a couple of decades, revolutionizing most aspects of life.  He believes evolution provides evidence that humans will one day create machines more intelligent than they are.

Mr.Kurzweil's idea remains to be seen, but it is apparent that the "mechanical revolution" is increasingly doing away with work, effort. Most of our food, shelter, transportation has been mechanized, but also science, medicine and entertainment.

Indeed materialist philosophers have argued that man is some sort of machine. But materialism remains unsatisfying, because it seems inadequate to explain our deeper selves -our aspirations for transcendence, for freedom, and the beatific vision. Materialism and spirituality have long been pitted against each other, but computerized intelligence is making some interesting inroads into our personal identity through cognitive reprogramming.

There is ever increasing scientific evidence that you can actually change the structure of your brain by just thinking about it. It was believed until recently that each of us was born with a finite number of neural cells and when a cell died no new cell could grow. This old model of the brain's inability to regenerate new nerve cells is no longer relevant. It has been proven that the brain can generate fresh cells.

This new understanding of neural cell generation is an incredible discovery. New studies have shown that new neural cells are generated throughout life as well as new neural pathways. Even the elderly are capable of creating measurable changes in brain organization.

Neuro-plasticity, also known as brain plasticity, is a term that describes lasting change to the brain. The term Neuro-plasticity is derived from the root words Neuron and Plastic. A neuron refers to the nerve cells in our brain. Each individual neural cell is made up of an axon, dendrites, and is linked to one another by a small space called the synapses. The word plastic means to mold, sculpt, or modify. Neuro-plasticity refers to the potential that the brain has to reorganize by creating new neural pathways to adapt, as it needs. Think of the neurological changes being made in the brain as the brain's way of tuning itself to meet your needs.

The more you focus and practice something the better you become at the new skill that you are learning or an obstacle you are trying to overcome. By doing this new neural connections are created in the brain as synapses that don't usually fire together do, which help us to sharpen our new skill.

The implications of neuro-plasticity are profound, but there has been another recent and related discovery which may be even more profound. It is called Epigenitics. The new field of epigenetics shows that people enter the world with a particular genetic code, however genes are not controlled by DNA, but by environmental influences. So epigenetic control of gene expression (the switching on and switching off of genes) is an intelligent response to the environment.

 Epigenetic changes can be transmitted from one generation to another, which is faster than the evolutionary changes resulting from natural selection. Epigenetics turns on its head the conventional wisdom of genetic determinism, the belief that genes predetermine biological and behavioral traits. It implies that we are not victims of heredity.

Neuro-plasticity and Epigenetics together form the basis of a new approach to health and happiness. The Law of Attraction is the name given to the maxim "like attracts like" which in New Thought philosophy is used to sum up the idea that by focusing on positive or negative thoughts a person brings positive or negative experiences into their life. This belief is based upon the idea that people and their thoughts are both made from "pure energy", and the belief that like energy attracts like energy. Quantum Thinking is based on a combination of NLP, Quantum Physics, and Positive Psychology.

This law of attraction simply says that you attract into your life whatever you think about. Your dominant thoughts will find a way to manifest. If you are stressed out or have too many dark and gloomy thoughts you might get sick. The first step to using the law of attraction is shifting to more positive way of thinking.

But there is a catch. the subconscious mind is much more powerful that the conscious mind and the subconscious is preoccupied with survival. Too many variables or stress overwhelms the stream of consciousness and instinct takes over. At any time each cell can be either in a growth mode or a protection mode and remaining in the protection mode too long impedes cell development, and it goes wrong in disease.

Apparently the greatest challenge to humanity is a lot of subconscious beliefs that we are undeserving, not good enough, smart enough, rich enough, or attractive enough to stay well and happy. So we unwittingly sabotage ourselves.

While we often think of our bodies and minds as two distinct entities, it turns out they are much more entwined than we might assume.  Mind over matter is a phrase that essentially refers to one's ability to use will power over physical limitations - and this is the central theme of the New Age.

Using the internet to improve the quality of your life keeps easier and more affordable. A finger nail sized memory chip in an Ultra Compact MP3 Player costing just a few dollars can hold hundreds of hours of self-motivation audio files that can apparently alter your subconscious mind and help you to overcome problems and reach your goals to become healthier and happier.