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  • Writer's pictureEpilepsy Connections: ECA


This story is based on (Part 1) - "How Neurological coding errors effect Epilepsy symptoms" -…/a.119429581981…/263296544261580/… - I would advise that people read part 1 prior to this article to give some perspective into this story.

As the title suggests, Part 1 was based on how Neurological code (and errors created by Epilepsy) play a role into seizures and other Neurological symptoms. There is always a chance when writing about Neurological issues (especially Epilepsy) that some people may take some offence - i.e. "that's not why/how my symptoms occur" but ECA has been very lucky so far not to have received such critiques in our prior material.

However I would like to respond to a couple of (3) emails we received relating to Part 1 (listed above) - in particular that "the article reduced the complexity of the human mind to a computer" and that "it gave the impression we are just a processor and have no real soul"... and I disagree with these assessments hence am writing "Part 2" of the story.

To recap: Part 1 was a simplified analogy to provide some insight into how Epilepsy effects our Neurological processes and causes errors to the normal systems that create a stable electrical pattern(s) - subsequently resulting in the symptoms of Epilepsy and many other conditions.

The principle of the analogy was that the human mind could be likened to a computer with a processor reading a complex binary code (the Neurological code) - in relation to Epilepsy this involved 1 or more errors to hardware or software that causes corruptions to the code with negative effects - the numerous symptoms of Epilepsy (and other conditions).

But how the mind actually works is far more complex. To give a more in depth (yet still simplified) view of this analogy, the mind works due to several key factors:

1) A Neurological "code". Far more complex than the basics of simple binary code (1's and 0's) this involves 2 main styles of Neurons, exhibitory (increasing) and inhibitory (dampening), then 150 sub-catagories or "languages". This could be described mathematically as increase (">") versus decrease ("<") at possibly infinite timing / speeds ("Is & It") (as yet unknown) times 150 squared creating (as yet unknown) possibly infinite ("I") patterns / codes. ( > v < x Is & It x 150sq = Ipc )

2) Chemical conductivity. Our Neurons don't create electrical signals out of nowhere. They require chemical neurotransmitters gained from the environment such as via digestion (examples: amino acids such as glutamate / manoamines such as dopamine - and many more - based around 7 main categories) plus they all work differently so may play a different role in conductivity at any one time. So unlike the possibly infinite "Neuronic codes" these would have a limit or "cap" based on the limited chemical Neurotransmitters in the brain / body at any one time. This could be viewed as 7 times an unknown ("?") limited ("L") amount divided by ("/") the required roles equals an unknown, yet limited and divided amount. (7 x ? / R = L/?)

3) The conscious and subconscious processors. We have a conscious mind that actively processes our Neurological signals and actively responds, plus we have majority control over reactionary signals. This is balanced by a subconscious mind that processes our Neurological signals (also actively) but the responses / reactions are actioned using deeper and more entrenched codes that we may not realise with our active conscious. This could be likened to how a PC has systems (the subconscious) and a keyboard / touchscreen (the conscious we actively use). We are beginning to understand now that a balance between these 2 processors is integral to both our mental and Neurological health - and many forms of either psychological or physical / disease based trauma can damage this delicate balance. So a Balanced ("T") Conscious ("c") times a Balanced Subconscious ("Sc") minus damage ("D") from trauma equals a stable ("T") Psychological ("p") and Neurological ("n") state. ( Tc x Tsc - D = TpTn )

4) A physical structure ("Ps"). This is simply that every human brain is individual in it's physical form. Peoples Neurons are all in different places and formats, chemical producers such as the hypothalamus all have individual ranges, the sizes and capabilities (plus system reliances - how much we "use" each part of the brain in certain circumstances) of each of the sections / lobes of our brains all vary... I can go on but you get the idea. This is again a (possibly) infinite ("I") amount of structural variations ("v") and system reliances ("u") times (possibly) infinite chemical variations ("CHv") in any one situation would equal infinite Physical Structures. ( Iv x Iu x ICHv = IPs )

5) Multiple Systems ("xS"). Even with all the above (possibly) infinite variables ("Iv") there is also the fact that different parts of our brains and bodies read signals differently. For example the same signals may cause different Conscious and Subconscious reactions - plus different reactions to automated systems such as the ones controlling heart rate. Then there are physical signals from the body such as visual, auditory or physical sensation - and the combination of what we are seeing, hearing and feeling at any one time - and how we process that (and subsequent combinations of) both consciously and subconscious could again create infinite codes ("Ic"). ( Iv x xS x Ic = IcIv )

Now there are also the non-neurological factors that also factor into thought process (such as genetics) but for the moment I am going to leave those out for a clear Neurological perspective. I'm guessing a few people at this point are thinking "how is changing it mathematics refuting that the prior article was non-spiritual?" - I'll explain why...

All of the above factors CAN be read mathematically - but given that it would dictate that human thought processes would be far more predictable - but they're not. We have no explanation for things like motivation, optimism, curiosity, spirituality and many other human traits. Like with animals - if all the above sums were the only factors that controlled our thoughts we would be like animals... once we had enough food and shelter to live and reproduce we would have no motivations for anything else. This is not what humans are like - especially if we look at human endeavours such as things like art, science, always wanting to progress our lives and seeking social acceptance (to name just a few).

So what makes us so different and more complex? I am not a religious person but nor am I an atheist - and there is one explanation that I have heard that satisfies my scientific and spiritual sides. On top of all the above mathematical factors - we must also all "read" (or "process") the infinite amount of Neurological and chemical codes we are presented with DIFFERENTLY. So even if 2 people were to get the exact same "code" in their brain both Neurologically and chemically (although impossible) they would still get a different "thought" as a reaction. Imagine if there were 7 billion languages in the world and not one person spoke the same one? But everyone understood each others "language" or "code" - just differently - one person says red another person hears it as blue... one draws a picture of a pie another sees an image of a pizza? It would be individual and infinite combinations of language or code.

What do we call this additional factor: The Individual? The Person? A Soul? That is a question that I don't think I'm qualified to even attempt to answer - and many great philosophers over time have failed to do so. But the question I always ask myself is a simple one:

"With what will most likely be an infinite amount of variations - Neurological, Chemical, System, Environment and Physical structures - why do we also need to be individual? Why do we need completely different ways to process the same signals? Is this simply anther factor we have not yet learnt - or is it what makes us human - and something we will likely never have an answer to?"

This is why I think Neurology, Psychology and medicine in general can actually give us a greater understanding of our spirituality - it can give us greater insight into more complex questions to ask about our humanity. I hope this hasn't been to out there for people - but I wanted people to know that asking questions about how our mind works is not a barrier to having spirituality. At least in my view.

Paul Lang: ECA CEO & Founder

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