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Summary The Mind and the Brain Neuroplasticity and the Power of Mental Force

The Mind and the Brain Neuroplasticity and the Power of Mental Force

Basis in our emerging understanding of adult neuroplasticity–the brain's ability to be rewired not just in childhood but throughout life a trait only recently established by neuroscientistsThrough decades of work treating patients with obsessive–compulsive disorder OCD Schwartz made an extraordinary finding while following the therapy he developed his patients were effecting significant and lasting changes in their own neural pathways It was a scientific first by actively focusing their attention away from negative behaviors and toward positive ones Schwartz's patients were using their minds to reshape their brains–and discovering a thrilling new dimension to the concept of neuroplasticityThe Mind and the Brain follows Schwartz as he in Truthfully I didn't have intention of writing a review of this book but considering there's something that might safely be called a debate between the book's apologists on the one side and its adversaries on the other side I thought I might as well write the review What follows however is just a simple advantagesdisadvantages recapitulation of the book's claims and its internal structureDisadvantages1 With all due respect to Schwartz's treating of OCD patients and to the patients themselves it's a rather mild mental condition in terms of its dangerousness to the patient and his environment and the social impact on the patient Seligman et al 2002 as compared to other mental conditions such as psychopathy with its instrumental and reactive aggression Blair 2006 Autism Spectrum Disorder with its non understanding of emphatical emotions and severe social apprehension Baron Cohen 1995 2004 2013 or schizophrenia with its plausible delusions and mental disintegration Liberman 2008 The author extrapolates his treatment of the OCD patients and their improvement and proclaims that the power of attention and thus the power of mind reshapes neural circuitry and cortical maps There are two things fundamentally wrong with his claim First it doesn't take the said reshaping how would it even look like? to mitigate the OCD symptoms Through repetitive exercises the brain can start functioning adeuately but it doesn't change its internal structure Churchland PS 1986; Damásio 1995 Second extrapolating data and drawing conclusions from it is something any scientist should be cautious about due to each mental condition's different causes epidemiology and management not to mention healthy population's yet another individual case2a Mindbody mind brain dualism is a concept that deserves a very careful scrutiny If true that is if the mind and body were distinct and separable entities any damage to the brain wouldn't affect the mind which needless to say is non physical The reality is uite the opposite Take these two cases as points of reference and further interest Famously described Damásio 2005; Blair 2006; Stanovich 2009; Baron Cohen 2011 Phineas Gage who suffered an accident in which an iron rod punctured through his head and damaged much of his brain's left frontal lobe exhibited mental changes in his behavior after the accident Another example is of a man who due to growing tumors in his brain exhibited paedophilic tendencies which vanished after the surgical removal of the tumors Eagleman 2015 If the mind body dualism was true such physical conditions wouldn't transcend the non physical nature of the mind2b Another case against the proposed dualism derives from a biological instance of human development Considering that we begin our existence as purely physical entities and since nothing outside of the physical domain is added later on in the course of our development then all in all we must end up being fully developed physical beings2c Logic and Occam's razor dictates that if a phenomenon can be explained by existing referential categories then adding other categories can be considered superfluous3 Repetitive mentions of uantum physics doesn't make a book scientific It's been shown that making references to physics or mathematics in reality superficially or needlessly gives a semblance of scholarship Sokal and Bricmont 1999 but the same uantum physics produces arguments against Schwartz's claims any manifestation of a non physical mind on the brain would entail the violation of physical laws such as the conservation of energy since some external source of energy would be responsible for the interaction between the non physical and the physical4 The Mind and the Brain doesn't observe established methodological standards for writing a bookan article That a scientist considers himself a maverick and tries to unravel some mysteries and semi revelatory truths before our eyes doesn't mean he doesn't have to follow certain creeds of scientific research especially taking into account that he draws from and writes about multiple fields of human knowledge such as psychology sensu largo neuroscience philosophy ethics and so forth There are to be perfectly fair to Schwartz endnotes at the end of the book but the phrases there only vaguely refer to certain articlesbooks he draws his assertions from If I were to be mean I'd say Schwartz's blunt references are exactly meant to cause confusion and create ambiguity Insofar as proper references which are nowhere to be found in the book psychology books for instance follow methodological standards of putting their sources in brackets right behind a sentence they refer to eg Schwartz 2002 Other books legal for example which I'm most familiar with contain footnotes that make a reference to a particular page of a particular bookarticle In this regard Schwartz's standards are uniue to say the least There's also an oddity of writing in singular form which normally isn't necessarily desirable but I'll just blame it on Bagley's apparent minute input; that's also why I refer to the book as Schwartz's only in this I just follow his stepsAdvantages1 There are other books out there

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Vestigates this newly discovered power which he calls self–directed neuroplasticity or simply mental force It describes his work with noted physicist Henry Stapp and connects the concept of 'mental force' with the ancient practice of mindfulness in Buddhist tradition And it points to potential new applications that could transform the treatment of almost every variety of neurological dysfunction from dyslexia to stroke–and could lead to new strategies to help us harness our mental powers Yet as wondrous as these implications are perhaps even important is the philosophical dimension of Schwartz's work For the existence of mental force offers convincing scientific evidence of human free will and thus of man's inherent capacity for moral choi Jeffrey Schwartz has written an impassioned argument for the neuroplasticity of the brain based on his work with OCD patients and his practice of Buddhism I have enormous admiration for anyone who brings together Eastern and Western ideas with skill and thoughtfulness as Schwartz has done here but when the work creates a genuine breakthrough in treating mental illness then the originator deserves the highest possible praise Millions of people suffer tragically from OCD and the desensitization work of behavioral therapists often borders on the cruel and it's only partly effective Drugs have huge limitations and of course side effects So Schwartz has given humanity a gift by figuring out how to use the Buddhist concept of mindfulness to help people recognize and ultimately reject OCD thoughts while at the same time making a larger argument about the plasticity of the brain and the connection between mind and brain A path breaking work Never Deny a Duke (Decadent Dukes Society, this newly discovered power which he calls self–directed neuroplasticity or simply mental force It describes his work with noted physicist Henry Stapp and connects The Sphinx the concept of 'mental force' with Tidelands (Fairmile the ancient practice of mindfulness in Buddhist Pretty Lucy Merwyn tradition And it points Strings to potential new applications Carnal Sacrifice (Brides of Caralon, that could Catch and Release transform Devils Paw (Imp, the Canyons of Night (Rainshadow, treatment of almost every variety of neurological dysfunction from dyslexia All Tied Up to stroke–and could lead The Film Snob*s Dictionary to new strategies In the Eyes of Crazy (Kontras Menagerie to help us harness our mental powers Yet as wondrous as Tea Environments and Plantation Culture these implications are perhaps even important is 50 Hikes in the Adirondack Mountains the philosophical dimension of Schwartz's work For Survive by the Team the existence of mental force offers convincing scientific evidence of human free will and Angels & Demons (Angels & Demons, thus of man's inherent capacity for moral choi Jeffrey Schwartz has written an impassioned argument for Washington! (Wagons West, the neuroplasticity of Tennessee! (Wagons West, the brain based on his work with OCD patients and his practice of Buddhism I have enormous admiration for anyone who brings Celebration! (Wagons West, together Eastern and Western ideas with skill and Texas! (Wagons West, thoughtfulness as Schwartz has done here but when I Know What You Bid Last Summer (Sarah Winston Garage Sale Mystery the work creates a genuine breakthrough in Revenge ni Miss Piggy treating mental illness Breakfast Book then The Librarian and the Spy (Librarian and the Spy Escapade the originator deserves Day of Independence (Bad Men of the West, the highest possible praise Millions of people suffer A Bookmarked Death (Delhi Laine Mystery tragically from OCD and Card Concepts the desensitization work of behavioral Schadenfreude therapists often borders on Emotional Victory the cruel and it's only partly effective Drugs have huge limitations and of course side effects So Schwartz has given humanity a gift by figuring out how Still Life with Woodpecker to use Bo Knows Bo the Buddhist concept of mindfulness Gender and Food to help people recognize and ultimately reject OCD Radio Silence thoughts while at Finer Women the same Knitting Sweaters from the Top Down time making a larger argument about Dog Lady and the Cuban Swimmer: Two One-Act Plays the plasticity of Crazy Horses Girlfriend the brain and Sisterhood Is Forever: The Women's Anthology for a New Millennium the connection between mind and brain A path breaking work

Jeffrey M. Schwartz » 4 Download

A groundbreaking work of science that confirms for the first time the independent existence of the mind–and demonstrates the possibilities for human control over the workings of the brainConventional science has long held the position that 'the mind' is merely an illusion a side effect of electrochemical activity in the physical brain Now in paperback Dr Jeffrey Schwartz and Sharon Begley's groundbreaking work The Mind and the Brain argues exactly the opposite that the mind has a life of its ownDr Schwartz a leading researcher in brain dysfunctions and Wall Street Journal science columnist Sharon Begley demonstrate that the human mind is an independent entity that can shape and control the functioning of the physical brain Their work has its This book is extremely informative in many aspects of the physical and mental processes of the brain and mind Although Dr Schwartz emphasized that the intent of his experiments understandings and knowledge was to understand obsessive compulsive disorder in the brain he includes examples of experiments and findings that reach other scopes of psychology and neurology Dr Schwartz devotes a chapter to the basic explanation of the literal topography of the brain itself touching on different processes of various areas This was helpful to understand what exactly can be changed and how it is changed through neuroplasticity And through neuroplasticity and the power of mental force the mind or attention or awareness can literally CHANGE the physiology of the brain structure itself In his words mental force is directed willed mental activity can clearly and systematically alter brain function; that the exertion of willful effort generates a physical force that has the power to change how the brain works and even its physical structureMeditation is uickly becoming popular in today's society In my own life I have been encouraged to learn 'mindful meditation' to guide me through the stress of life When Dr Schwartz touches on the Buddhist 'bare awareness' concept of meditation I found an increased understanding to how I may learn to acknowledge feelings sensations sounds perceptions etc without letting them affect me I observe them as an outsider one standing on the sidelines looking upon my own thoughts and feelings without engaging in them In the chapter Network Remodeling Dr Schwartz asks a uestion that particularly piued my interest How then to apply mindfulness to depression? This is one state to which I fall victim too easily depression He explains three ways to address this but the third option impressed me the most Speaking of 'mindful experiencebeing in this way of thinking about your emotions you sense feelings sensations and thoughts from the perspective of the Impartial Spectator You regard your thoughts and feelings as passing ephemeral mental events rather than as accurate reflections of reality Instead of reacting to negative thoughts and feelings as these are me you come to regard them as events in the mind that can be considered and examined You recognize that thoughts are not factsbut are instead events that come and go through the mind pg 248The chapter on The uantum Brain was difficult for me to grasp in that it was almost completely uantum physics I was not particularly proficient at classic physics to say the least Briefly he explains that if we utilize only classic physics or materialism to define the brainmind it comes up short It basically negates the existence of mind or will altogether One problem with this is if we don't actually have a will then we can't take responsibility for our actions because they are only resulting from the neurological processes of the brain We can see that this would have grave judicial implications There is no right and wrong ie I can steal my neighbor's car because my brain made me do it Again in the words of Dr Schwartz I began lamenting the terrible social conseuences of materialismthe moral condition of Americacould be laid at the feet of nearly three centuries of materialist ascendance The reigning belief that the thoughts we think and the choices we make reflect the deterministic workings of neurons and ultimately subatomic particles seemed to me to have subverted mankind's sense of morality The view that people are mere machines and that the mind is just another not particularly special manifestation of a clockwork physical universe had infiltrated all our thinking whether or not someone knew a synapse from an axonpg 257 258uantum mechanics is based on observation Integral to uantum physics is the fundamental role played by the observer in choosing which of the plenitude of possible realities will leave the realm of the possible and become actualthere is no 'is' until an observer makes an observation pg 263 He describes the double slit experiment and the collapse of the wave function in observation Before the observation the system had a range of possibilities afterward it has a single actuality This is the infamous collapse of the wave function pg 269I won't dwell much on the actual physics explained in this chapter though Dr Schwartz does a fabulous job of helping a lay person like me attempt and partially succeed in understanding My main interest was how all of this physics relates to the mind and brain His last two chapters are dedicated to free will and to attention We actually have the will and ability to experience our own thoughts These thoughts can be turned into actions whether it be sensations reactions to an event etc This is completely up to our choices Before we act there is a wave of possibilitieswe can be angry we can be hurt we may cryif we choose to We can focus our attention on what we choose to experience Once we continually choose to think a certain way it becomes easier and with continual willful attention paid to the chosen thought or experience the actual physiology of our brain will change I have heard people say that I can choose to be happy Well this is actually true Although in isolated instances it can be extremely difficult overall with practice in choosing happiness it will become almost second nature After reading this book and learning so much about how the brain and the mind works for me I will choose to practice mindfulness I will choose to acknowledge then release the negative thoughts that result in depression I will choose to be happier I feel in control of my life in myself Note Dr Jeffrey M Schwartz will be visiting my city as a guest speaker at the Surgical Medical Society Conference in May 2014 and I have been honored with this opportunity to hear his wisdom once again


10 thoughts on “The Mind and the Brain Neuroplasticity and the Power of Mental Force

  1. says:

    Sitting somewhere between purely mental events and purely sensory ones is this vast sea of life called experience p 250 And somewhere between the worst of bad popular science writing and New Age pseudo philosophy lies this horrendous mess Where to begin? I have so many problems with this book that it's a challenge to put them together in a meaningful and organized fashion Here's my best shot First this book is supposedly intended to be a science book However there is not a single footnote in the entire text There are notes at the end of the book endnotes but they are detached from the exact references only listing the page to which they refer What is the sense of this? I've never seen a book that does that before It makes no sense It's inefficient inexact and serves no one Second the book varies between third person and first person descriptions Further the authors use the first person singular despite the fact that both Schwartz and Begley are clearly listed as coauthors Poor taste I assume Schwartz is the lead author because he references his own work on Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and because Begley's book Train Your Mind Change Your Brain has a different tone and style Scientific writers in good taste generally refrain from the first person when writing unless they can pull it off effectively Schwartz and Begley cannot and should not try Third the topics and the style of writing are all over the map Schwartz can't seem to make up his mind what should be the subject of his book or for that matter even what kind of book he's trying to write He wanders between trivial anecdotes of his attempts to be recognized by the medical community blunt criticisms of the dogmatic medical community marginalizing important research on neuroplasticity long winded explanations of research and legal battles over the Silver Spring monkeys philosophical perspectives on free will and determinism haphazardly tossed in without being clearly or meaningfully applied to the issues of the book and of course some uantum physics for good measure You would think it would be rather difficult to clearly and succinctly tie all these topics together under a single heading; apparently it is and the task was well beyond the skills of the author Schwartz doesn't commit himself to exploring any of these issues and settles for literary name dropping Finally the cover The title is The Mind The Brain Neuroplasticity and the Power of Mental Force The name sounds impressive and the cover art looks like a medical illustration of the brain the scalp with the skin peeled back This looks like an illustration of the meninges not the brain proper not cortex or brain stem which makes an odd choice for the cover art Jeffrey M Schwartz MD and Sharon Begley are listed as the authors; however the book is written mostly in the first person singular I not the first person plural we which leads me to believe that Schwartz wrote this mostly himself and Begley was tacked on What exactly was Begley's contribution? Maybe not important but certainly not clear and certainly poor taste; the first person is generally discouraged from scientific writing and this book is fine example why George Gilder provides a one line review for the cover Stirring a daring rescue of the concept of the free human will This is of course to attract attention to the book as an argument for the concept of free will written in casual pop science language I bring up all these points because together they all suggest that this is a book aimed at a general audience without much familiarity with neuropsychology or philosophy but who are concerned and probably anxious about their own freedom and inner conflicts Basically it's good marketing


  2. says:

    Badly written much like my original review I'm changing it bc the comments reflect that I did not explain myself well AT ALL Firstly I like these authors usually Secondly I do believe strongly in neuroplasticity I work in TBI traumatic brain injury and trauma if I didn't believe in neuroplasticity I'd have to change fields Somehow I didn't make that clear My issue with this book is not that I don't somehow believe in neuroplasticity but that I do not think the authors were very clear nor did they do anyone a service by adding a bunch of stuff about mental force in the early 2000s when they wrotepublished this Everything below is exactly as it was originally in 2010 when I joined GR years after reading this book all of which is out of date now except that I've added some underlining italics bold the note at the end I have tried to pretend it's 2002 as I'm adding these things until the noteTo the author mental force some of you may have heard this same idea called soul or mind or free will or countless other things people create when we haven't figured it out just yet is bigger than the possibilities created by the plasticity of our wonderful brains The authors ignore the very plasticity they mention in their title in favor of their term mental force There is power in exercising our brains When we think positively or negatively when we act purposefully or automatically when we USE our brains they do in fact change add This is called neuroplasticity or just plain old plasticity Ask anyone who has ever had any sort of brain injury Do it repeatedly and you can even learn things You can feel differently by thinking differently ask your favorite cognitive psychologist This is nothing new It's wrapped up in a bow w some added nonsense filling the package but that added nonsense is just plain wrong I believe that the actual process works but I don't believe for a minute that the authors explain why NB I read this book when it was released in the early aughts It is now 2020 and maybe I should just delete this entire review and the book from my shelves but I'd rather note that this book is out of date was written early in the hoopla of neuroplasticity long before now and that reading it is probably not of value to anyone who wants to be up to date or even well informed on neuroplasticity Always check the dates on science books especially popular ones because the books that are cutting edge right now are not going to be cutting edge and may be unsupported in just a few years


  3. says:

    This book is extremely informative in many aspects of the physical and mental processes of the brain and mind Although Dr Schwartz emphasized that the intent of his experiments understandings and knowledge was to understand obsessive compulsive disorder in the brain he includes examples of experiments and findings that reach other scopes of psychology and neurology Dr Schwartz devotes a chapter to the basic explanation of the literal topography of the brain itself touching on different processes of various areas This was helpful to understand what exactly can be changed and how it is changed through neuroplasticity And through neuroplasticity and the power of mental force the mind or attention or awareness can literally CHANGE the physiology of the brain structure itself In his words mental force is directed willed mental activity can clearly and systematically alter brain function; that the exertion of willful effort generates a physical force that has the power to change how the brain works and even its physical structureMeditation is uickly becoming popular in today's society In my own life I have been encouraged to learn 'mindful meditation' to guide me through the stress of life When Dr Schwartz touches on the Buddhist 'bare awareness' concept of meditation I found an increased understanding to how I may learn to acknowledge feelings sensations sounds perceptions etc without letting them affect me I observe them as an outsider one standing on the sidelines looking upon my own thoughts and feelings without engaging in them In the chapter Network Remodeling Dr Schwartz asks a uestion that particularly piued my interest How then to apply mindfulness to depression? This is one state to which I fall victim too easily depression He explains three ways to address this but the third option impressed me the most Speaking of 'mindful experiencebeing in this way of thinking about your emotions you sense feelings sensations and thoughts from the perspective of the Impartial Spectator You regard your thoughts and feelings as passing ephemeral mental events rather than as accurate reflections of reality Instead of reacting to negative thoughts and feelings as these are me you come to regard them as events in the mind that can be considered and examined You recognize that thoughts are not factsbut are instead events that come and go through the mind pg 248The chapter on The uantum Brain was difficult for me to grasp in that it was almost completely uantum physics I was not particularly proficient at classic physics to say the least Briefly he explains that if we utilize only classic physics or materialism to define the brainmind it comes up short It basically negates the existence of mind or will altogether One problem with this is if we don't actually have a will then we can't take responsibility for our actions because they are only resulting from the neurological processes of the brain We can see that this would have grave judicial implications There is no right and wrong ie I can steal my neighbor's car because my brain made me do it Again in the words of Dr Schwartz I began lamenting the terrible social conseuences of materialismthe moral condition of Americacould be laid at the feet of nearly three centuries of materialist ascendance The reigning belief that the thoughts we think and the choices we make reflect the deterministic workings of neurons and ultimately subatomic particles seemed to me to have subverted mankind's sense of morality The view that people are mere machines and that the mind is just another not particularly special manifestation of a clockwork physical universe had infiltrated all our thinking whether or not someone knew a synapse from an axonpg 257 258uantum mechanics is based on observation Integral to uantum physics is the fundamental role played by the observer in choosing which of the plenitude of possible realities will leave the realm of the possible and become actualthere is no 'is' until an observer makes an observation pg 263 He describes the double slit experiment and the collapse of the wave function in observation Before the observation the system had a range of possibilities afterward it has a single actuality This is the infamous collapse of the wave function pg 269I won't dwell much on the actual physics explained in this chapter though Dr Schwartz does a fabulous job of helping a lay person like me attempt and partially succeed in understanding My main interest was how all of this physics relates to the mind and brain His last two chapters are dedicated to free will and to attention We actually have the will and ability to experience our own thoughts These thoughts can be turned into actions whether it be sensations reactions to an event etc This is completely up to our choices Before we act there is a wave of possibilitieswe can be angry we can be hurt we may cryif we choose to We can focus our attention on what we choose to experience Once we continually choose to think a certain way it becomes easier and with continual willful attention paid to the chosen thought or experience the actual physiology of our brain will change I have heard people say that I can choose to be happy Well this is actually true Although in isolated instances it can be extremely difficult overall with practice in choosing happiness it will become almost second nature After reading this book and learning so much about how the brain and the mind works for me I will choose to practice mindfulness I will choose to acknowledge then release the negative thoughts that result in depression I will choose to be happier I feel in control of my life in myself Note Dr Jeffrey M Schwartz will be visiting my city as a guest speaker at the Surgical Medical Society Conference in May 2014 and I have been honored with this opportunity to hear his wisdom once again


  4. says:

    Truthfully I didn't have intention of writing a review of this book but considering there's something that might safely be called a debate between the book's apologists on the one side and its adversaries on the other side I thought I might as well write the review What follows however is just a simple advantagesdisadvantages recapitulation of the book's claims and its internal structureDisadvantages1 With all due respect to Schwartz's treating of OCD patients and to the patients themselves it's a rather mild mental condition in terms of its dangerousness to the patient and his environment and the social impact on the patient Seligman et al 2002 as compared to other mental conditions such as psychopathy with its instrumental and reactive aggression Blair 2006 Autism Spectrum Disorder with its non understanding of emphatical emotions and severe social apprehension Baron Cohen 1995 2004 2013 or schizophrenia with its plausible delusions and mental disintegration Liberman 2008 The author extrapolates his treatment of the OCD patients and their improvement and proclaims that the power of attention and thus the power of mind reshapes neural circuitry and cortical maps There are two things fundamentally wrong with his claim First it doesn't take the said reshaping how would it even look like? to mitigate the OCD symptoms Through repetitive exercises the brain can start functioning adeuately but it doesn't change its internal structure Churchland PS 1986; Damásio 1995 Second extrapolating data and drawing conclusions from it is something any scientist should be cautious about due to each mental condition's different causes epidemiology and management not to mention healthy population's yet another individual case2a Mindbody mind brain dualism is a concept that deserves a very careful scrutiny If true that is if the mind and body were distinct and separable entities any damage to the brain wouldn't affect the mind which needless to say is non physical The reality is uite the opposite Take these two cases as points of reference and further interest Famously described Damásio 2005; Blair 2006; Stanovich 2009; Baron Cohen 2011 Phineas Gage who suffered an accident in which an iron rod punctured through his head and damaged much of his brain's left frontal lobe exhibited mental changes in his behavior after the accident Another example is of a man who due to growing tumors in his brain exhibited paedophilic tendencies which vanished after the surgical removal of the tumors Eagleman 2015 If the mind body dualism was true such physical conditions wouldn't transcend the non physical nature of the mind2b Another case against the proposed dualism derives from a biological instance of human development Considering that we begin our existence as purely physical entities and since nothing outside of the physical domain is added later on in the course of our development then all in all we must end up being fully developed physical beings2c Logic and Occam's razor dictates that if a phenomenon can be explained by existing referential categories then adding other categories can be considered superfluous3 Repetitive mentions of uantum physics doesn't make a book scientific It's been shown that making references to physics or mathematics in reality superficially or needlessly gives a semblance of scholarship Sokal and Bricmont 1999 but the same uantum physics produces arguments against Schwartz's claims any manifestation of a non physical mind on the brain would entail the violation of physical laws such as the conservation of energy since some external source of energy would be responsible for the interaction between the non physical and the physical4 The Mind and the Brain doesn't observe established methodological standards for writing a bookan article That a scientist considers himself a maverick and tries to unravel some mysteries and semi revelatory truths before our eyes doesn't mean he doesn't have to follow certain creeds of scientific research especially taking into account that he draws from and writes about multiple fields of human knowledge such as psychology sensu largo neuroscience philosophy ethics and so forth There are to be perfectly fair to Schwartz endnotes at the end of the book but the phrases there only vaguely refer to certain articlesbooks he draws his assertions from If I were to be mean I'd say Schwartz's blunt references are exactly meant to cause confusion and create ambiguity Insofar as proper references which are nowhere to be found in the book psychology books for instance follow methodological standards of putting their sources in brackets right behind a sentence they refer to eg Schwartz 2002 Other books legal for example which I'm most familiar with contain footnotes that make a reference to a particular page of a particular bookarticle In this regard Schwartz's standards are uniue to say the least There's also an oddity of writing in singular form which normally isn't necessarily desirable but I'll just blame it on Bagley's apparent minute input; that's also why I refer to the book as Schwartz's only in this I just follow his stepsAdvantages1 There are other books out there


  5. says:

    Take one good or even very good book Stick it in a blender with an awful one and set to puree Well okay I'm speaking metaphorically here so don't do that But that at least gives an idea of what I thought of this one The sections of the book related to the author's work with OCD sufferers his descriptions of similar work on those with Tourette's Syndrome and major depression and his basic narrative of discoveries related to the brain and what has come to be believed related to its flexibility were all superb The man knows his stuff knows lots of people who know their stuff and knows how to communicate it all to a general audience though I must admit I he did lose me for a time in his section on uantum Mechanics Unfortunately that ain't all there is here And that other stuff is a train wreck mostl flowing from what I can only call a mission of some sort to disprove Materialism both scientific and philosophical First makes no bones about the fact that what he has learned from Swami Dorito Guacamolejam or whoever is at least part of the reason behind this revealing a rather unfortunate bias Second there's even a villain of the piece Behaviorism Not that I'm any fan of it but eh he ain't Galileo and they ain't the Inuisition so his over the top stuff here is just silly And as best I can tell his conclusions don't follow from his facts in other words Materialism is not disproven Perhaps in need of modification but not disprovenI was also than a tad irritated at his unwillingness to give a straightforward definition of the term Mind It is in the title after all But while there are lengthy discussions of brain physiology and function the Mind seems to pop in and out of the book usually only after some experiment or other is described that appears to debunk the commonly held materialist theory of XYZ He also switches to the term Will for a while which is either the same as the mind a part of the mind or something else that falls outside materialist theory and has little or nothing to do with the mind or brain it really isn't clear


  6. says:

    This is an excellent book I learned how people with severe conditions can sometimes overcome the debilitating effects of stroke OCD and so onToward the end of the book the author describes how uantum mechanics may be a key component to volition and free will But I am not completely convinced of the connection with uantum mechanics I understand how the act of observation of an atom can resolve its previously probabilistic state And the analogy between observation and attention is striking But doesn't this just beg the uestion what is the mechanism for the mindbrain to show attention to something?


  7. says:

    Jeffrey Schwartz has written an impassioned argument for the neuroplasticity of the brain based on his work with OCD patients and his practice of Buddhism I have enormous admiration for anyone who brings together Eastern and Western ideas with skill and thoughtfulness as Schwartz has done here but when the work creates a genuine breakthrough in treating mental illness then the originator deserves the highest possible praise Millions of people suffer tragically from OCD and the desensitization work of behavioral therapists often borders on the cruel and it's only partly effective Drugs have huge limitations and of course side effects So Schwartz has given humanity a gift by figuring out how to use the Buddhist concept of mindfulness to help people recognize and ultimately reject OCD thoughts while at the same time making a larger argument about the plasticity of the brain and the connection between mind and brain A path breaking work


  8. says:

    Wonderfully written by a highly experienced researcher Revolutionary thoughts on neuroplasticity that are yet to be fully accepted by the scientific community The wonderful blend of buddhist philosophy with deep knowledge of neuroscience is what has been established here The pragmatic four step concept with the critical idea of mental force is highly applicable and strongly scientific to overcome habits that one is willing to change A beautiful chapter on Free Will and Free Won't that presents wonderful ideas that were highly convincing His great collaboration with Henry Stapp the uantum physicist and their reflections on the ideas of William James is spectacular A book I highly recommend


  9. says:

    I uite enjoyed this book and its exploration of the relationship between mind brain and uantum mechanics It highlights the importance of attention and concentration in for instance acuiring a new skill or remapping faulty brain patterns I would recommend this book as a seuel to The Brain that Changes Itself; it is technical than the former book and delves deeper into brain structure I wish that the author had dwelled on how meditation and buddhism can help in overcoming mental health issues and how it can help rewire our plastic brains Though in the beginning it sounded as though it would focus on meditation there was only a brief overview of this near the end At times I also found the book to be a little long winded and repetitive; the author obviously trying to revolutionize a field and make his argument as strong as possible uotes supporting data and findings at great length As a reader this can get a little tedious What I did enjoy was the history the author provides of past scientific discoveries and the worldview of materialism that has dominated science until now that is when mind brain discoveries are shifting our understanding of the worldFor anyone interested in the brain and particularly in mind brain issues this is a great read


  10. says:

    This book is all over the place The ideas are very intriguing and worth thinking about but the execution is very uneven in uality Some chapters such as the one on Schwartz' own OCD research are to the point and interesting others like the last few bring up fascinating ideas but do not manage to convince me on either their grounds workings or implications while yet others are tangential to the subject at best and very distracting such as the Silver Spring monkeys chapterThe introduction of uantum mechanics into the neurosciences was cool and has a lot of potential but the author was not well versed enough in the topic to truly take me in with his arguments And while I am generally not averse to first person narration in academic settings I found it not at all well done in this book Most of it was either unnecessary or greatly annoying I think I would have rather read this book in the form of a couple of 30 page well edited articles instead of a padded 400 page book


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