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Science Finds The ON-OFF Switch For Human Consciousness!

human-consciousnessDo we truly understand what consciousness is? Is it possible that we can turn consciousness on and off? Recent study said it’s possible.

The little known region of the brain called the Claustrum is actually an irregular sheet of neurons that is located within the center of the brain in an area known as the neocortex.  The Claustrum has been an area of research in the neuroscience field for the last two centuries, though it was not until recently that a scientific study discovered that this area could be the on/off switch for human consciousness. Because it is believed that the claustrum is found in all forms of mammals, this study provokes more questions that have yet to be answered.

To begin, the human consciousness is the one thing that makes us human and sets us apart from our animal instincts. This is why people who are known to have a low level of consciousness are known to engage in bizarre behaviors or even struggle with certain psychological disorders such as stress, anxiety, and even psychosis. In some circles, you hear about people who worked through these issues by having a conscious awakening. People with a higher consciousness are known to be more selfless, loving, and compassionate and are basically the real leaders in society.

If neuroscience proves that all forms of mammals have a conscience too, then that will make us wonder if we are any better than other forms of animal life.  Humans are the highest form of life in the animal kingdom because we have the ability to expand our consciousness through learning and engaging with life.

Simply defined, consciousness has to do with how aware of our surroundings we are. Likewise, a lack thereof is equated with being asleep, either physically or in a moral and spiritual sense. This explains why during brief periods throughout history there have been Awakenings, or eras when the masses suddenly saw the big picture in what was going on around them; usually on the political scene and in many cases, spiritually too.

The area of the claustrom works to bind together all the computations and senses into one single, cohesive expression which integrates all activity from various other regions of the brain to provide a more holistic experience for the individual.  This seat of human consciousness is likened to the central processing unit (CPU) of a computer being that without it, you are merely left with a myriad of parts that may theoretically function though they never really get anything done.

The possibility of the claustrom being the on/off switch was actually discovered in a lab experiment at George Washington University in Washington D.C. while the team of scientists were studying a patient to find the cause of their seizures. Once the claustrom was stimulated, the test subject begin to gradually lose consciousness even though they were still awake. The subject did return to consciousness once the stimulation was removed from their claustrom, though they had no recollection that they had even lost consciousness.  They sort of just zoned off and stared off into space with a blank expression on their faces.

There is much to be studied in the way of scientific knowledge as, when it comes to science, there are always more questions than answers. Although this new observation could likely lead to more information later about comas and anesthesia’s.  While the Claustrum is responsible for holding together all the activity in the human brain, there could be more serious repercussions if a patient is in a minimal state of consciousness; i.e., a coma or under anesthesia.  Another question that people who study neuroscience are going to be asking is what organisms are actually conscious? From dogs, cats, to cows, and lastly to a human fetus. This could shed some light in the political arena on the entire pro-life debate concerning the morality of abortions.

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References:

http://mobile.extremetech.com/latest/221636-scientists-discover-the-on-off-switch-for-human-consciousness-deep-within-the-brain

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Claustrum

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2683140/Have-scientists-soul-Discovery-consciousness-switch-human-brain-medical-breakthrough.html

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Genius Awakening was created to lead people to a better understanding of self and others in order to navigate our world at a higher and more awakened level of being. Together we will explore the depths of consciousness in order to evolve beyond our current paradigms into a world of love, joy and peace. Oksana and Larry Ostrovsky are passionate guides of this space.
  • cornishfaerie

    Where to even begin with this one? Okay let’s start with “to begin”:
    Re: “To begin, the human consciousness is the one thing that makes us human and sets us apart from our animal instincts.”

    I’ll interpret that as other mammals instead. And no, the part that makes us different is our arrogant, murderous and idiotic traits (at least a wolf kills for food or when it is scared i.e., defence. Contrast that to humans that kill each other for their own gains or animals for a ‘trophy’). Put another way we have far less morals even though we should actually have MORE. That’s as a whole, but it still is true – humans are the single biggest problem for the entire planet and all for their own gain (ironically their gains are pushed back because of these facts).

    Re: “…are known to engage in bizarre behaviors or even struggle with certain
    psychological disorders such as stress, anxiety, and even psychosis. In
    some circles, you hear about people who worked through these issues by
    having a conscious awakening. People with a higher consciousness are
    known to be more selfless, loving, and compassionate and are basically
    the real leaders in society.”

    What a load of rubbish. You clearly have no idea what you’re writing about here (oh, wait…). Summary: nothing related to the mind is that simple. Nothing related, therefore, to mental health, is that simple. In fact, generally, most things are not that simple, period. Now then, let’s start with stress: stress is a normal thing and not disordered (except when extreme and life debilitating like the next one). Anxiety could be considered the same until it is to the extreme too. Psychosis and low consciousness? That is quite ignorant indeed, unless you refer to unaware that X is not real. But the interesting thing is you can also argue they are more aware in another way as they sense things not there. Hint: it is not unheard of – pun intended – for someone who was not born deaf to go deaf and also have schizophrenia and know exactly what voices sound like. That means schizophrenics that are deaf have had auditory hallucinations WHILE deaf. Yes, that means when you hear something under normal circumstances it is a reaction to an EXTERNAL stimuli but in the case of hallucinations it is not external stimuli. Similar is an illusion which is a misinterpretation of an external stimuli. And what, you think those with delusions of persecution are not aware? You are really serious? What about those affected with thought insertion, thought blocking and similar (which do indeed relate to paranoia)? I could elaborate on other psychosis themes but the point is more or less the same. You genuinely think they have low consciousness? No, their senses are heightened. But let’s assume for a minute the times it isn’t true. There is a huge problem here. The problem is this – which you remark on: do we know what conscious is? There’s more than one way of looking at each definition. But still, conscious awakening as “working through” psychosis is ludicrous. Either they are very mild OR they are not genuinely psychotic (hypochondria, attention seeking and related comes to mind… as do psychosis due to a general medical condition and other more “natural” causes and by that I mean not mental illness). The only other possibility is that psychosis is not a constant thing in all cases because indeed some can get it under control. But under control does not mean gone for good (or even gone completely). Something else: those who are mentally ill – including indeed those who suffer from psychosis – are often very smart. And there are many times where they are most productive (as in get the most done during – what they are doing is irrelevant) when they are psychotic. I’ll let you put these thoughts together and actually see for yourself (if you can work it out) how these facts contradict your suggestions (as in there is far more to it than this and even one variable has many possibilities and interactions). In short and this applies to pretty much everything: it isn’t that simple (see above summary). The fact is psychosis isn’t related to “consciousness” as we know it. Okay sure, you can argue it might be or is partially so, but that’s not really helpful. I’ll get to something of late that potentially is, however. Lastly, here: regardless of what we do know, we know far less than there is to know. Something recent: there was a discovery related to DNA and schizophrenia and it has huge implications: http://www.nimh.nih.gov/news/science-news/2014/schizophrenias-genetic-skyline-rising.shtml

    (observe also what is stated about what is known versus not and what is worth investigating further).

    I love also how you refer to compassion, selfless, loving as being qualities of real leaders. That is the most hilarious and most stupid thing I’ve read in a long, long time. That’s hard to imagine it is that bad. Real leaders – with rare exceptions and usually in this case it is out of being years of oppression and that is quite different – are not really known, not if you want to refer to those traits. A real leader is in a position of power and can influence others to do things for them (at least of a society… leader of a group is different but then these people are on as a whole not globally known). Granted, yes, those traits do help depending on their purpose, but again, there is so much more to it. The sad reality is power corrupts and those who are most drawn to power are the ones least deserving (and least capable of dealing with) power. Mark Twain had quite some insights here…

    I’ll ignore the rest of the article because I should start acting like you suggest… that I have low conscious. Or maybe I’m just tired. Definitely the latter but the former is questionable…

    • E Bishop Wooten

      Actually when I read the article, I noted the term “real leader”. Those that corrupt themselves in positions of power may have lost their identity years ago. In a spiritual world, the “real leaders” may likely be the complete reverse; aka those that live counterculturally. Thus, those that are more selfless and compassionate are usually the ones not caught up in all of the political b.s. that tends to enslave people.

      As far as psychosis, I was diagnosed with Bipolar I which is borderline Schizophrenia. I couldn’t deal with the side effects of antipsychotic medications and I had genuine paranoid delusions. Granted it never really goes away but through counseling, cognitive behavior therapy which changed my whole way of thinking, I spend more time practicing mindful meditations and positive affirmations. It was hard at first, especially when you see how prone to negativity most of the world is (see counter-cultural), but it gets easier everyday. I have not felt any paranoia in the last year because I begin to recognize them as delusions and affirmed myself of that in order to ground myself in reality.

      I don’t fit in with western culture which is too intellectual and lacking street smarts as well as finding a pill for everything. Maybe I should move to India and find myself like Waldo did.

      • cornishfaerie

        Well yes, real leader is indeed up to definition. But that remark was more me being – here we go – negative. Is it surprising though? No, not really when you see the leaders and indeed destruction that humans cause (not just leaders mind you). Mostly humans (in general) disgust me and that is why I sometimes lash out. It isn’t always appropriate and I imagine that was an example. I am not spiritual though so it would be quite wrong for me to respond there let alone suggest I can view real leader that way.

        You don’t need to tell me, however, what bipolar disorder is. I would suggest however, bipolar 1 is not exactly borderline schizophrenia. The reasons are many: you have mood congruency/incongruency and you also have schizoaffective disorder, the latter of which is controversial. But what is known is bipolar can indeed cause psychosis. So that is irrelevant, really. The only thing – and I stress only – that matters is this: the symptoms. In the end if you’re treating something the right way (which may or may not have a cause; going for the cause is of course best but it isn’t always known, is it?) it does not matter (yes, there’s more to this but I think you get the point).

        Either way – glad it works for you. Glad you can gain insight. Not everyone can, even with medications. Affirmations made things worse for me, because I truly did not believe them and worse still I saw what I believed. So every time it was a reminder of what I already felt was true. But nothing is so simple though, treating mental health problems included. Yes all you suggest is helpful but each and everyone of them has potential enemies. And one of the enemies is oneself and that can be a tough nut – pun is indeed intended – to crack.

        But as for western culture: I don’t fit in culture, period. I’m an outcast at best. A pill for everything? Well there is no such thing as a magic pill, and I know this and I think you do too. But that doesn’t mean medications are not necessary (and that goes for non-mental things too!). Again, too many variables and it is a per-situation set of variables, at that.

        And with all that, here’s some amusing irony: I don’t even remember what the hell started all of this. Oh well. How it goes. The only way I’ll remember this tomorrow is by specifically suggesting I won’t remember it.

  • BDBinc

    I’m afraid that the scientists did not discover “consciousness”.

    They discovered that an electrical impulse in the claustrum made the patient ‘go to sleep’.

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