This is such an important and ground-breaking book. I am very surprised that it did not get any prize!
So, we all now know the old concept that the brain does not change, no new neuron after you pass your childhood is TOTALLY WRONG. Our brain is so dynamic that no two brain work the same. And evern for the same person, if you check his brain now and check again a few months later, the brain function will CHANGE!
This whole new neuro-science is termed Neuroplasticity. The brain is quite plastics.
For example, if I learn piano now, my representation of all the finger will enlarge signaficantly because of the practice. If a person's arm is amputated, chances are the nearby sense of face will occupy this part of neuron, making a "phantom limb".
So for neuron, it is the survial of the busiest. If a certain circuit and neuron remind un-used, it will slowly die, or to save itself, being recuited to do other function. One good example is that those born-blind people's visual cortex are used for sensory of fingers instead, particularly if he learn Braile.
Schwartz is a Buddhist, and not just those simply SAY thye are Buddhist, he is a practicing one. He practice Theravada meditation (I suppose it is the branch of Mahashi). He applied what he learned in his own meditation to the treatment of Obsessive Compulsion Disorder, and develope a Four Step Theraphy: Relabel, Reattribute, Refocus & Revalue has been very sucessfully treated the patient, AND also make change in the brain.
The OCD triad: orbital frontal cortex, anterior cingulate gyrus, caudate nucleus used to be over-active, but then turn quiet after a lot of efforts and mindfulness of the patients using Four Steps.
So, it is obvious that, the mind DO change the brain.... but how?
The answer lie in a surprising direction - Quantumn physics.
The Classic Physics always take a Observed system totally separate from Observer. The logic is that the system will be like this no matter who, how and whether it is observed. This fall quite in line with our day to day experience, but common sense is not necessary correct. Quantumn Physics hold that the Observer play an active part into the system. Before a system (usually tiny one like electron, photon, ions, etc) is observed, it is just a spectrum of all kinds of possibilities (Schodinger wave function). But the system is observed, it is collapsed into one single reality that is picken by the nature according to probability. This is called Collapse of the Wave Function.
So Quantum Physics recognize the role an observer play, and it hold that there is no absolute reality. It only depends how your observe it, that means, what is the question you put into the system. This make an important hard science foundation of how could the abstract MIND possibly change the material Brain.
The consciousness also proven to able both to do or inhibit a particular urge arise, that is not just Free WILL, but also Free WON'T. The logic is that, the brain is working like Schodinger's wave function, with different possibilities arise into consciousness. And it is the consciousness being able to veto of a particular urge, that is Not taking some action that count.
Also, the neuron and brain circuit can ONLY change if we pay Attention. The underlying Physics explanation is Quantum Zeno Effect. It says that: THe questions one puts to nature have the power to influence the dynaic evolutiono f a system. In particular, repeated and closely spaced observations of a quantum property can freeze that property in place foreer, or at least much longer than it wouold otherwise stay if unwatched. This is also called the "wached kettle".
So, if we human pay a lot of effort in attention on some good behavious and good thoughts, we can change our brain wiring to make these celebrated thoughts and behaviours deepen and deepen into a new effortless habit. A new good habit.
This is how we are the true master of ourselves.
This is how we are totally responsible of our own actions and thoughts.
This underly how Free WILL is possible, and why we hold total moral responsibility.
This is also a very optismistic view that: Our own destiny is totally in our hands. What we do and pay attention NOW will determin our future. We are not at the mercy of any creator-god or devine super-power, we make our own destiny.
May all beings get out of the web of ignorant. May all beings be HAPPY!...Continua