Consciousness at the Crossroads: Conversations with the by Dalai Lama

By Dalai Lama

This booklet addresses one of the most primary and problematical questions that experience pushed a wedge among the geographical regions of Western technology and faith for hundreds of years.

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Extra resources for Consciousness at the Crossroads: Conversations with the Dalai Lama on Brainscience and Buddhism

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In these cases, memory can be impaired without there being any impairment of self-awareness or intellectual functions. A very tiny part of the brain is involved, whereby damage can cause such specific memory problems. Dr. Squire presented a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) brain scan showing details of the hippocampus. Here we have an image of the brain of a sixty-five-year-old gentleman who developed a significant memory impairment. In this area of the hippocampus is a very small abnormality—the only abnormality that we can detect using MRI images.

If one of us suffered a stroke, and had thereby lost a particular area of the brain, that would provide an opportunity to study the results of the loss of that part. We would learn what the brain can do in the absence of that particular part. I shall present examples of what the consequences are for persons who lose certain brain areas as opposed to those who lose other areas. A very important fact is that the surface of the brain, the cerebral cortex, is made up of distinctive areas, each of which has characteristic functions.

Damasio showed the group a series of MRI brain scans with the fusiform gyrus marked in red, noting that such images are obtained without doing any harm to the patient. ANTONIO DAMASIO: Once you lose this particular area, and this alone, your visual experience will be normal, except for the loss of color in one half-field. There is no possibility of learning or otherwise restoring the experience of color vision in that affected field. If you produce equivalent cortical damage elsewhere, no such loss will occur.

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