Drawing an object and naming it engages the brain in similar ways, according to research recently published in JNeurosci. The finding demonstrates the importance of the visual processing system for producing drawings of an object.
In a study by Fan et al., healthy adults performed two tasks while the researchers recorded brain activity using functional magnetic resonance imaging: they identified pieces of furniture in pictures and produced drawings of those pieces of furniture. The researchers used machine learning to discover similar patterns of brain activity across both tasks within the occipital cortex, an area of the brain important for visual processing. This means people recruit the same neural representation of an object whether they are drawing it or seeing it. (1)
We think what we see.
We speak what we think.
Draw a line.
Contain the cosmos on a paper.
And you will remain speechless.
Do you see?
We think what we speak.
We see what we think…
But who drew the first line? Who thought of that first thought? Who spoke the first words?
In the midst of silence, can you listen to yourself?
Our brains have a remarkable ability to pick out one voice from among many. Now, a team of Columbia University neuroengineers has uncovered the steps that take place in the brain to make this feat possible.
The auditory cortex is the brain’s listening hub. The inner ear sends this brain region electrical signals that represent a jumble of sound waves from the external world. The auditory cortex must then pick out meaningful sounds from that jumble. The researchers were particularly interested in two parts of the auditory cortex’s hierarchy: Heschl’s gyrus (HG) and the superior temporal gyrus (STG). Information from the ear reaches HG first, passing through it and arriving at STG later.
The data showed that HG creates a rich and multi-dimensional representation of the sound mixture, whereby each speaker is separated by differences in frequency. This region showed no preference for one voice or another. However, in STG ” it is possible to amplify one speaker’s voice or the other by correctly weighting the output signal coming from HG”.
In other words: HG represents, while STG selects. It all happens in around 150 milliseconds.
The researchers also found that after selection, STG formed an auditory object, a representation of the sound that is analogous to our mental representations of the objects we see with our eyes. This demonstrates that even when a voice is obscured by another speaker – such as when two people talk over each other – STG can still represent the desired speaker as a unified whole that is unaffected by the volume of the competing voice. (1)
We learn to listen.
And distinguish voices from one another.
But could that be the problem of philosophy today?
Concentrating too much on specific voices? Caring too much on specific views? After all, there is no philosophical opinion today which has no opposition from an equally important philosopher. There is no case where the philosophy of one philosopher is not refuted in its entirety by the philosophy of another.
And this is where Harmonia Philosophica comes in play!
You see, for Harmonia Philosophica there is no right or wrong opinion!
For Harmonia Philosophica there is no right or wrong way of thinking!
Because for me, thinking itself IS the problem!
We must stop thinking and start accepting. Start truly living again as we once did.
You cannot explain the cosmos. You can just experience it.
You cannot understand what life is. You can just live it.
The highest forms of philosophy lie within the lowest forms of conscious thinking.
Where there is no thought to cast shadows under the light of Being.
Where there is no though to disturb the calm sea of One with ripples of existence.
The highest philosophy at the end is non-philosophy!
As I once wrote in my opening Harmonia Philosophica article, we must forget how to think in order to truly think.
A new group to publish and discuss the answers of children to the greatest philosophical problems of humanity was created: PHILOSOPHY BY CHILDREN! Philosophy is not ‘for’ children. Philosophy can only be conducted BY children! We must forget how to think in order to think! True philosophers should always question everything. And who is better in doing that those who have learnt nothing?
Thinking is always based on specific axioms. Any person must start from somewhere when pondering on any question: The things he knows, the things he thinks he knows, his beliefs, his hopes, his wishes. In that sense, any attempt to think freely is hindered by the very notion of thinking per se.
The only think to truly think is to forget how to think!
Harmonia Philosophica has been trying for a long time to promote the idea of non-thinking or of irrational thinking as the way forward regarding philosophy and science (search articles related to ‘irrational’ or ‘non-thinking’ for that). In that sense, looking at what children have to say regarding the big questions of humanity is a way to get a glimpse of what that non-thinking could look like.
About Children’s Philosophy: A series of articles that will show how small children answer the greatest philosophical questions of humanity. Philosophers need to question everything. And in order to do that, one must think as a child again!
One can find wisdom in crazy persons and in children. So that is what I did: I asked the greatest philosophical questions to a seven years old child. And the answers were amazing.
Some of them you can find in various posts hidden in Harmonia Philosophica (e.g. in the There is no death article). This is an attempt to gather the major answers of the child here.
Humans have been pondering on big questions of philosophy for thousands of years now. And yet, no definitive answers have been found. Harmonia Philosophica tries to guide humans to these questions by promoting non thinking and irrationality, for this is the only way to discard all dogmas and think freely. The child provided great input that helps us enhance our faith in the path we have taken.
A child thinks with no premises, no dogmas, no prior knowledge of things. In that way one can say that a child’s thought is more close to non-thinking than to thinking. This way of thinking can be a true revelation for a grown up who is too used to the things he or she already ‘knows’. True philosophers and scientists alike question everything.
Are you ready to stop thinking in order to think?
Let’s see what the child had to say…
EPISODE 1: Does death exist?
Truth puzzles are an invention of Harmonia Philosophica that helps someone formulate a ‘solution’ to the great philosophical questions of human mind. In these ‘puzzles’ you have all the basic elements of philosophy and all you have to do is connect them with lines or arrows to indicate their relationships. There are no rules on how to do that and that is the basic rule: there are no predefined rules on how to think!
One can read the Truth Puzzles article here to learn more about that method of philosophical investigation.
Details set aside, what is of interest here is that I have a Truth Puzzle to the child to complete.
The instructions were simple: My child, take that page and draw lines or arrows between these words.
An important note is that the child did not have English as its mother tongue so it was difficult for it to understand the words, let alone the fact that the child could not in any case be fully aware of the meaning of the words in the Truth Puzzle anyway due to its age.
After a minute the puzzle was completed. And the result was astounding.
What I saw was that…
The child had connected with lines all elements on the page except one: Death!
Besides the importance of the coincidence that the word Death was the only one omitted (Read the ‘There is no death‘ article for that), another important thing we should always keep in mind: There are no rules on how to think! I had thought that one should connect all elements I had written on the page, but the child showed me that this should not be the case!
Lesson learned: There are no rules on thinking! Question everything! Especially the things that you don’t!
That is how philosophy and science progress!
EPISODE 2: What is Being?
I once asked a child ‘What is Being?’.
I have the question written on a piece of paper and waited to see how this difficult philosophical question will be tackled by a seven-year old brain.
After a minute, the answer was handed back to be.
“What is Being?” – “A word”
To my astonishment the child answered that “Being” is a word. Thinking in a simple manner is and has always been a trait of wise men and women. And children. Yes, Being is a word. Perhaps the best answer to our great philosophical questions cannot be found through Logos but through the experience of life and existence itself.q
Lesson learned: Don’t think too much about questions that you yourself has invented. Question everything. Especially yourself!
Philosophers have pondered on the answers to the great metaphysical questions of humankind for aeons…
And they have failed miserably to find definitive answers.
Every philosopher has his or her own views, which usually are in complete opposition to the views of other philosophers.
There is currently no way to decide who is right and who is wrong. Perhaps there will never be.
Truth puzzles are here to the rescue!
But what are they?
Simply put, they are a way to easily and quickly draft your thoughts on how the great elements of philosophy and life connect to each other.
The elements of the puzzle are the major elements that trouble philosophers for centuries: God, existence, Being, self, others, life, death, phenomena, reality, One, faith, nothingness, knowledge, senses, thought, consciousness. You can of course add more as you please, but these are the major ones.
The goal of a truth puzzle is to draw the connections between these elements.
How to fill in the puzzles?
It is very easy: Just take all the elements, draw them on a paper and then connect them! The connections could be simple lines, lines with arrows or even lines with explanations detailing the nature of the connections.
I have created Truth Puzzles on paper while sitting for coffee, or with any of the various mind mapping applications available. For example the below image was created with the miMind Android application. Any brain map application will do the trick.
Now the important part of the instructions: Don’t think too much!
As said already, the solution of the problem is not evident and perhaps will never be! So don’t bother with thinking. Just like in automatic writing, let yourself go and just randomly draw lines and connections between the elements of the puzzle!
Given the complex nature of the problem and our almost total ignorance of what life and existence truly are, there is really no point in trying to think how to draw the Truth Puzzle.
And to be honest, randomly drawing without the arbitrarily created obstacles by human-defined logic, could be the best shot we ever had at the problem in the first place!
So go on and have fun!
Fill in your Truth Puzzles, share it with your friends or even send it to Harmonia Philosophica for publication and, you never know…
What you created might be the solution of the mysteries of the world that Parmenides and Aristotle were looking for…