Secrets of the Mind

Secrets of the Mind

2001, Science  -   20 Comments
Ratings: 6.00/10 from 28 users.

Secrets Of The MindIn Secrets of the Mind we gain insights through various tragedies that have affected others, thanks to the logic and insights of Professor Ramachandran regarding what he calls the most complex organized matter in the universe.

The documentary begins with "phantom limb syndrome" - pain and sensation in missing body areas. Ramachandran's reasoning, confirmed through a CAT-scan, is that the brain has a map of various body areas, and that eg. the right arm and right face areas of the brain are adjacent. Thus, missing body areas can lead to interference by those associated brain areas trying to cope with stimulus deprivation - eg. "cross-wiring."

However, we are still left with the problem of treating pain in a body-part that no longer exists. Dr. Ramachandran found that placing the remaining opposite body part (eg. hand) into a mirror-box fools the mind into receiving feedback from the missing part and no longer sending ever-increasing (and unmet) signals that cause the pain.

Visual activities take up almost half the human brain. Dr. Ramachandran is confronted with an individual who can "see" (detect) movement but not recognize what the object is. His explanation is that there are two pathways from the eye in humans: one to the visual cortex that recognizes the object, and other to the brain stem that simply senses movement. Thus, when the visual cortex link is severed, one would only be able to recognize movement of a fly, but not the fly itself - perhaps the way a lizard views the world. Similarly, he says to driving - most of the time it is done without consciousness while the conscious brain is taken up in talking of other thinking.

Dr. Ramachandran believes that there are some 30 areas in the brain concerned with seeing - separate areas for color, movement, shape, distance and depth perception, etc. Interference/damage to any one of these areas can lead to oddities - eg. an individual believing his parents are impostors when the emotional response area is cut.

Finally, viewers are told that some people with temporal seizures have intense religious or emotional experiences, possibly believing they are a prophet or even God, or sensing an intense emotional reaction to everything - even a grain of sand.

More great documentaries

20 Comments / User Reviews

  1. Mila Wilson

    Very Informative, loved it!!!

  2. Melissa McGuire Burgess

    I enjoyed watching this documentary. Very Interesting!

  3. Mikael

    why did the narrator say "when he was doing one-armed repairs"? Seems condescending to need to say "one-armed repairs" just "repairs"

  4. TimOsmand

    I'll have what he's having.

  5. SimonTheSorcerer

    @Charels B.
    There is no way to resolve this right now. I simply don't have a laboratory full with expensive high-tech gadetry to measure my temporal lobe functions and then send you the data.
    About the demons well again there is no way for me mere office-slave marketing guy to prove/disprove this . I remember hearing this same argument back in high-school from the Jehovah's witness girl (she hated me :)).
    We marketing guys have a reputation for selling our soul to the devil so maybe you are not so far off. -just joking :)

  6. Charles B.

    There are spiritual aspects to meditation that are not entirely 100% always of a solo mental exercise. I do believe in demonic entities, and they often play a part in meditation.

    Prolonged maditation can be an abuse of the temporal lobes' functions, perhaps.

  7. SimonTheSorcerer

    @Charles B.
    Not entirely true. As I mentioned in aa comment yesterday in "the fondational falsehoods of creationism " thread (it was a really long one nobody read it :)) this can be induced in a perfectly healthy individual through the use of various meditational techniques/self regression. I'm the living proof for this it is recreatable, descriabable, the intensity of it measurable even under controlled circumstances.

  8. Charles B.

    Wow! A very good documentary! This is a brilliant man.

    Barton: You said: "Perhaps Prophets, God/Gods and Buddha had a temporal lobe epilepsy."

    Or, perhaps, God, when he choses to speak or make Himself known to a person individually, stimulates the perfectly operating temporal lobes in the process. Only the damaged temporal lobes induce delutions.

  9. Inediblehulk

    I've never dislodged both my eyeballs and aimed the left one directly into the right one, but I imagine it's a feeling well beyond words. By that same token (on a much greater level), using your brain to examine your brain can only take you so far, and let you rationally record or convey far less.

    It's a great benefit, therefore, to use someone else's brain as a teaching tool. But watching an area of an image of a mind light up with a CAT scan can never tell you what that really meant, not with the fattest textbook ever published.

    In the study of ourselves, the scientific fundamentals of rationality and reliance on demonstrable evidence cannot co-exist. But one can "come close" to absolute knowledge in this field, and there are worse jobs out there.

  10. sg

    It seems that simple explanations tend to precede more accurate ones. This is true for some of the abnormalities in this documentary, but it might also be true for how the universe and life and humans came into being.

    When I see comments like some of the above, questioning whether some religious people were actually experiencing temporal lobe epilepsy, I think simply: why is there any reason to think god exists in the first place? Perhaps this is just another case of the original explanation(s) being wrong.

    See "The Secret Life of Chaos" to start to get a sense of some of these "intention-free" forces that give rise to the world we see.

  11. One

    You cant understand people more sensitive i think that all the energy is god so.. in that case we are all gods.

  12. The Ali (Arabic meaning: The Exalted One)

    asalmu alakoum (Peace be upon you).
    Islam has one vision. That is as simple as knowing the definition of Islam in English. For those that don't know it mean 'The Peace'. It has been around since the beginning of man. It has been perfected 1431 years ago and has a great amount of wisdom behind it. Islam was brought about to correct the people from what was distracting them from understanding other religions. Why does the Quran tell the individual reading it to find anything on this earth to contradict this book? What book would ever ask that? How does a man who suffered so much hardship in his life not write a book that would make him God or even speak about him? Why are there so many scientists trying so hard to deface the Quran? Clearly unsuccessful. The Quran is designed-in Arabic- to not be changed. To the Arabic reader's eyes they notice when a letter in a word in that book gets everything distorted.
    For those to make a comment to mine make sure you have enough research to defend yourself.
    Asalamu alakoum (Peace be upon you)

  13. Mari

    I grew up in a Moselm Family, and every Moslem knows that Pophet Mohammad had Seizures and afterward he would come up with a part of Quran as in his visions he would see or rather think that it's been said to him by Jebreiel (the Saint or the angel).

    1. Muhammad Ali

      Perhaps seizures could suddenly make you the king of your language ?? cause the Prophet (P.B.U.H.) did not know how to read or write and yet the ayats in the Quran are extremely correct in all aspects of arabic grammer. Not even the most brilliant poets back then and today (poets back then were better) could do that.

    2. Muhammad Ali

      Also he dint get seizures all the time. Also I know you dint grow up in a muslim family because EVERY MUSLIM KNOWS JEBREIEL IS AN ANGEL. lol.

  14. Lew

    its makes you question whether they are simply just accounts of temporal lobe epilepsy as the science of man likes to call it, or if it is indeed a witnessing of profound spiritual content that was intended and exacted by some higher being.

  15. Lady Marmalade

    OMG I thought the exact same thing! It makes you wonder how many religions and cults were started based upon a vision by someone with temporal lobe epilepsy.

  16. Barton

    Perhaps Prophets,God/Gods and Buddha had a temporal lobe epilepsy.

  17. Shashikiran Srinivasa

    Wow! Amazing

  18. Leander Conferido

    This documentary gives credence to Crick's hypothesis that "You", your joys and your sorrows, your memories and your ambitions, your sense of personal identity and free will, are in fact no more than the behaviour of a vast assembly of nerve cells and their associated molecules.'