Category Archives: Neurobiology

The brain from top to bottom

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Among the subjects which are indirectly connected to the vision of Vedanta and therefore worth exploring are the brain, the human behavior, the emotions and the nature of consciousness.

I found the following website to be an amazingly rich source of information on these subjects. It is called ‘The brain from top to bottom’ and is an initiative affiliated and funded by the Canadian Institute of Health, Institute of Neurosciences, Mental Health and addiction.

It includes different subject matters from the most recent ‘The emergence of consciousness’ to ‘Emotions and the brain’ and ‘Pleasure and pain‘ to cite a few of them. What is remarkable is that the topics can be explored at different levels of explanation (beginner, intermediate and advanced) and organization (social, psychological, neurological, cellular, molecular).

As an illustration, one can go to the different sub topics for ‘The emergence of consciousness’ at the psychological and beginner level : What is consciousness, Philosophical positions on consciousness, Theories of consciousness in cognitive sciences, Flaws in classical model of consciousness.These sub topics can be explored at an intermediate or advanced level.

To know more about the sense of I, the self, the unconscious and consciousness according to Vedanta, you can view and download the pdf article ‘Psychology in Vedanta’ by Swami Dayananda Saraswati.

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TED Talk: The neurons that shaped civilization, VS Ramachandran

Another fascinating TED video from the neuroscientist VS Ramachandran about some particular neurons in the human brain called mirror neurons, which he jokingly calls ‘Gandhi’, ‘Dalai Lama’ neurons or empathy neurons. According to VS Ramachandran, these mirror neurons might hold some keys to understand better seemingly unconnected subjects such as imitation and emulation, empathy, self-awareness and the ‘big bang in human evolution’ which took place some 40,000 years ago.

…the mirror neuron system underlies the interface allowing you to rethink about issues like consciousness, representation of self, what separates you from other human beings, what allows you to empathize with other human beings, and also even things like the emergence of culture and civilization, which is unique to human beings. From TED talk, The neurons that shaped civilization, VS Ramachandran

To know more, two articles from VS Ramachandran available in Edge

1. The neurology of self-awareness, Article in Edge [1.8.07]

2. Mirror neurons and imitation learning as the driving force behind “the great leap forward” in human evolution, Article in Edge [6.1.2000]



All pervading Intelligence

Microcosme & Macrocosme

Microcosm & Macrocosm

Two beautiful images to contemplate upon the all pervading intelligence and creative power that is unfolded by the Upanishads, with the help of modern science. It is quite amazing that similar arrangement and patterns are found at the level of the galaxies in the universe and in the network of neurons of a living being.

On the left is a microscopic image of the  neuronal network in the brain of a mouse produced by Mark N. Miller of Brandeis University’s Nelson Lab. On the right is the Max Planck Institute’s computer simulation of the vast dark matter network (purple) connecting visible matter of galaxies (yellow) across the universe.

Source : http://www.kosmictom.com/

Note : Some definitions of dark matter can be found at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dark_matter & http://science.howstuffworks.com/dark-matter.htm

Go further with Discover Vedanta, the yoga of objectivity

[1] The equation ‘You are that’, the cause of the universe

[2] The equation ‘You are that’, the nature of ‘that’

[3] Article in pdf format, The vedic vision of God