Jump to content
Objectivism Online Forum

Ilya Startsev

  • Posts

  • Joined

  • Last visited

  • Days Won


Ilya Startsev last won the day on September 11 2018

Ilya Startsev had the most liked content!

1 Follower

About Ilya Startsev

  • Birthday 04/05/1986

Profile Information

  • Interests
    fiction & philosophy
  • Location
  • Gender

Previous Fields

  • Sexual orientation
    No Answer
  • Relationship status
  • State (US/Canadian)
    Not Specified
  • Country
  • Biography/Intro
    thanks to Rand, philosophizing as a hobby
  • Experience with Objectivism
    the ones I most like/admire: AS, ITOE, DIM, EoS
  • Copyright
    Public Domain
  • Real Name
  • School or University
    Veda School
  • Occupation

Recent Profile Visitors

8966 profile views

Ilya Startsev's Achievements

Advanced Member

Advanced Member (5/7)



  1. For sure this new science is influenced by spirituality and mysticism (collectivism -- not so much). Ancient philosophy of Aristotle was pointing exactly to this kind of science as well. You wouldn't call Aristotle a collectivist due to his political views? That story about the girl touched Pearsall for sure, and he was quite honest, if gullible, and emotionally charged in the positive sense. I haven't finished all of the book, but there seem to be more stories about patients experiencing their heart donors' emotions. I would rather believe him than pathological individuals like Novella. And BS detector might be your overcharged brain (not in a good sense). I am not aware of what "Liquid Buddha Studios" is about. Have they made some videos with faulty information? Addendum: In any case, even if they did, there can always be good things hidden among rotten stuff. The book with McCraty's article I quoted from (Bioelectromagnetic and Subtle Energy Medicine) is exactly like that. I wouldn't believe other articles in it.
  2. Can you please explain why you consider what I posted 'nonsense'?
  3. Since MisterSwig is seemingly accepting Novella's criticism of HeartMath for granted, I want to quote a famous sociological work concerning some of the practices of the likes of Novella that are common in modern science: In other words, if Novella and his team had the result that McCraty had gotten, they would accept it as true science. The problem with that is that these scientists don't see the problems that McCraty and his researchers do because these individuals clearly look through different methodological lenses, structured by different epistemologies. Reference: Latour, B. & S. Woolgar. (1986). Laboratory Life: The Construction of Scientific Facts. Princeton, NJ: Princeton UP
  4. Is that so? You are right that I don't know Biology (sic) so well, or maybe not as well as you do. Can you tell me what the purpose of "junk" DNA is, please?
  5. But I'm not equivocating in terms of the source from where that signal originates. This confusion is similar, for example, to misunderstanding Aristotle's epistemology. The forms (causes) exist objectively, but we need to use our soul (source) to make "imprints" of them, thus originating them within our (sub)consciousness for further processing. If our heart counts as the source of emotions, surely our toes don't. The idea that taking a signal for the thing itself (hereby, emotion) as false goes back to Alfred Korzibski's work (another darn Kantian) who tried to disprove Aristotelian objectivism. I am indeed taking the signal for emotion, but it's a specific kind of signal (not just any kind) because it was imposed by the specific organ in our body (namely, heart) which then allowed the signal to be transferred throughout the body. This signal, in contrast to Korzibski's reified abstractions, is natural and therefore objective. Similarly to this equivalence of blood pulse (the aforementioned signal) and emotion, I would, however, go even so far as to think of my ontological Model as reality itself, but now that would be supported by Korzibski's idea of knowledge being structure, and hence what we would call reality is our knowledge of it that we gained through structure that was correctly taken (read: imprinted, a la Aristotle) from outside. Someone would say that correspondence theory is false, but that's another topic.
  6. The more recent work by HeartMath begins thusly: Then the rest of the article flushes out the details and shows empirical data that is brushed aside by Novella as mere "noise". References & Bibliography: McCraty, R., & Childre, D. (2002). The Appreciative Heart: The Psychophysiology of Positive Emotions and Optimal Functioning. Boulder Creek, CA: Institute of HeartMath. McCraty, R. (2001). Science of the Heart: Exploring the Role of the Heart in Human Performance. Boulder Creek, CA: Institute of HeartMath. McCraty, R. (2015). The Energetic Heart: Biomagnetic Communication Within and Between People. In Rosch, P. J. (Ed.), Bioelectromagnetic and Subtle Energy Medicine (Chapter 14). Boca Raton, FL: Taylor & Francis Group, LLC. Pearsall, P. (1999). The Heart's Code: Tapping the Wisdom and Power of Our Heart Energy, The New Findings About Cellular Memories and Their Role in the Mind / Body / Spirit Connection. NY: Broadway Books. That's exactly right. Notice that they also don't have blood cells. Heart and brain develop together only in higher animals. I don't think we understand how the human body operates very clearly as well. Some, like Richard Dawkins (in his talk with Lawrence Krauss), think that our bodies are so inefficiently made that we should modify them in order to improve them. Others, namely, geneticists, see a huge amount of seemingly redundant DNA and call it "junk" DNA. And the stories just pile and pile. In contrast to them I think our bodies are extremely efficient, if you learn to understand them correctly (through the prism of good philosophy, of course). The 40 thousand neurons are mentioned by McCraty in his 2001 version of Science of the Heart (p. 4), but in the newer version available free on their website that paragraph, among others, is missing, which is very strange. They are clearly trying to show that those neurons have functions other than simple autonomous functions like pumping blood, and these neurons surely aren't used for processing pain, as we can't feel our hearts, so that already means they are relatively independent from the nervous system as a whole. McCraty & Co. usually cite in their earlier work Armour (1994), but I don't know what that neurocardiologist's standing is in the field and whether he is still relevant. Reference: Armour, J.A. and J.L. Ardell, eds. Neurocardiology. 1994, Oxford University Press: New York.
  7. Just to show that I've considered empirical research concerning emotions from more authoritative sources than HeartMath, here is what I wrote to Bill Harris on my blog after banning him in 2016: I found Purves et al.’s Neuroscience (2004; see complete reference below) to be the most respected and used textbook in graduate neuroscience courses. I’ve read the section on emotions (Chapter 28) and skimmed through most of the book. Here is my interpretation of the neurological perspective on emotions (if you are not familiar with it, see the textbook, and also compare to similar findings of Ekman summarized in Lakoff, 1990). I thought about neurological emotions and decided that the deviation in the position of the facial muscles from the natural (neutral or no expression) requires more blood flow. It’s the same with our bodies — when you exercise your body or you rub the skin, you excite the muscles, so the pulse quickens, and the excited skin area becomes red from increased blood content (in most cases). So, in contrast to “emotions” that neurologists see, this phenomenon is better defined as excitation, which is triggered in the muscles/tissues by increased blood pulse, and not other emotions, like happiness, hatred, etc. Moreover, expression of hate or fear (correlating with specific positioning of eyebrows, cheeks, and other features of the whole face) requires a greater blood flow than the expression of happiness or pleasure (smiling). Therefore, the negative “emotions” on the face lead to a greater increase in heart rate than positive “emotions.” Clearly, none of their research really deals with emotions other than excitation. REFERENCES Purves. D., G. J. Augustine, & D. Fitzpatrick et al. (2004). Neuroscience (3d ed.). Sunderland, Massachusetts: Sinauer Associates, Inc. Ch. 28. Lakoff, G. (1990). Women, Fire, and Dangerous Things: What Categories Reveal about the Mind. Chicago UP. pp. 38ff.
  8. From Novella's article: Indeed, the neurons in the heart that are only called a 'brain' (for ease of understanding) regulate, that is, as HeartMath found out, encode blood with impulses that have information in them. Skeptics stuck in brain-centered consciousness cannot accept this because this idea doesn't correlate with Kantianesque science, but only some ancient philosophy (like that of Aristotle, who was indeed heart-centered and thus self-conscious). Indeed it doesn't. But it means it might have a soul, which is not reducible to mind (contrary to what Descartes and his followers thought). This soul is also pre-conscious, or at least serves as only a part of our consciousness, since it affects (as HeartMath studies have shown) our intelligence -- how clearly we are able to think, for example. And here is a logical mistake: Neurons in our head may form mind, but mind is only in the head by definition. Hence what's in the heart is not a mind, but a (little) 'brain', independent from our brain/mind. A complex, natural network of neurons, however, cannot function like a computer chip because they have nonlinear, that is synergetic, qualities in their interaction, which cannot be artificially imitated (at least with today's neurology) or with computer engineering, in which about 50% of circuits are linear (and only memory circuits are non-linear, but they are not the same sort of complex nonlinearity as in neurology). It's a faulty comparison and obsolete metaphor, as other neurologists know ("Unplugging the Computer Metaphor", "Why Your Brain Isn't A Computer", etc.), and it's an equivocation with the term 'mind', following in Descartes' (or more clearly, Kant's) steps. Neither emotions, not the heart (and its mechanisms) have anything to do with cognition. That's called overthinking, which is another problem of both this article's author and today's culture that follows this kind of Kantian thinking (categorized as DIS). The author, Steve Novella, by the way, is one of the critics of HeartMath, having called their research 'noise' in an article on his blog (but disabled the comments after his fellow skeptics posted a few responses) a year before this article in Neurologica. This blog post was used for a Wikipedia article directed against HeartMath (with no comment from HeartMath on it, of course). I was able to write enough criticism to have the article deleted. Other skeptics also realized their mistake, as Wikipedia tends to be overcrowded by skeptics, and there are not enough open-minded individuals there. My criticism, however, was deleted because it was too lengthy (the moderator said it's not a forum), and I've seemingly lost it and cannot find it. I remember that through my research Novella happened to be a kind of person (like Kant) with problems with his heart, a very narrow-minded, brain-centered scientist, who only pathologically tries to destroy but doesn't really create. I've already pointed out the incorrect metaphor used by Novella to compare our brain/mind with computer. I think my comparison of heart with soul is credible, just as brain is related to mind. We also know that these people who have transplanted hearts are very confused sometimes and shocked by the new kind of and unfamiliar emotions they are feeling perhaps for the same reason you are pointing out: namely, that their brains weren't related to the same hearts and hence are unable to understand these new emotions from the lives of the previous owners. It can be particularly shocking sometimes, depending on the kind of person the donor was. For example, here is something from The Heart's Code: And we already know how emotions serve as the foundation for memory. The confusion is taking nonessential parts of the body and giving them meaning to which they don't contribute essentially. Physical pain is processed by the brain and isn't the emotion I'm talking about here. Emotions like fear, love, hate, excitement, peace, etc. are not reducible to brain impulses (or nerve impulses, for that matter), senses or sensations, facial expressions or intuitive feelings. Emotions are those (im)pulses that contain information from environment or other parts of the body (toes included) but are produced within us. They are sent to processing centers in the brain to interpret this information, which then becomes conscious and gets mixes with a lot of complex conscious and subjective processes. Hence we can, with our brain, repress emotions, but that doesn't mean they don't occur somewhere deeper and are transferred throughout the circulatory system. What's causing emotions is different from the source of emotions. Cause of emotions is not the place where emotions are produced. The same confusion you are showing between cause and source are found in the brain. Kant, in particular, believed that we cause our phenomenal realities, and even the source of them was somewhere within our brains (the noumenon as the direction toward which we go through practical reason to the deeper levels within ourselves). This is the same confusion found in neuroscientists like Novella who are in the same category as Kant. What causes the formation of our human information is the environment, the context. We, however, are the ones who produce this information (we don't cause it, in this sense). Reality causes, we adapt, assimilate impulses, integrate information (even subconsciously!) and hence produce it, but the sources of production of such information are different and not only found within one organ, but within many (and yes, even our stomachs have their own electromagnetic frequencies and own neurons, but stomachs are not as significant as our hearts, without which a person cannot live and with even an artificial heart a person lives maximum of 4 years). Yet we see animals who can live without their brains or heads, but no animal can live without a heart for very long.
  9. No, a paramecium doesn’t have a heart and thus has no emotions. I differentiate thoughts (cognitive content) from emotions, just as I differentiate positive from negative emotions that cancel out, like fear and love. Excitement during exercise and peace are also emotions, since they occur at or after heart-rate changes, when we can become conscious of them. However, just like thoughts, emotions can also be subconscious or unconscious: I use these two terms interchangibly, although I realize there is a technical difference. In philosophy, though, they both would mean being outside of conscious thought. Measuring objective emotions that I’ve been talking about is real. All you need is a device that can find the differential of heart-rate, known as heart-rate variability, or heart rhythm. Emotion research like that is quite groundbreaking and completely ignored by most neuro & cardio scientists. As for MisterSwig’s comment, I’m not sure if it’s serious or sarcastic, so I won’t reply to it.
  10. By the way, if you want to know another mystical psychologist, you should consider Sabina Spielrein, the first female psychologist and one who was related to both gentlemen. Her mystical tendency (yet she wasn't a mystic!) related her to Jung, but her position was more idealist than his. The trio they formed can be categorized as: Freud DISintegrating, Jung INTegrating, Spielrein MISintegrating (a sort of a Hegelian variety). This is the context from which all of psychology developed, along one of these three lines.
  11. If Jung believed that he was brain-centered, then this would relate to himself not understanding his mystical nature, even being opposed to it, and his self-confusion. An essential starting point of any realist/mystic is a real context. All of Jung's psychology is saturated with contexts and context-bound entities. Archetypes come first to mind as we think about how they form the historical, beyond-mind patterns of the collective subconsciousness. In contrast to Jung, Freud dug into his psyche, thus starting with the brain and lowering his focus to the individual subconscious, which he believed to be the dominant factor in psychology. Although both used the same material for their psychological theories, they surely went in different, even opposing directions from their positions.
  12. Wouldn't medulla oblongata be the first point that blood pulse passes when entering the brain? Hence this point is prior to the limbic system's processing, yet it cannot be the source of emotions, but merely a subconscious unit on the path between the heart and the brain. Although heart and brain can work autonomously, as we know that hearts starts working before the brain in human development, it's optimum for them to work together, cohering their individual impulses. When one dominates the other, as when heart pulses disbalance our brain chemistry or the brain forces our heart-rate to change due to autosuggestion, we lose control of ourselves. Yet it seems that both problems develop within the framework of brain-centeredness that is so widely spread in our culture, taking one endpoint of the human organism for the starting location. With heart-centeredness I don't think the same problem occurs, or at least we don't know enough about such frame of consciousness to know what its hidden dangers might be.
  13. It's a complex question and a problem that doesn't have any experimental data because most people just think that the heart is a pump and can be replaced like any other organ, completely ignoring the fact that the real heart has a brain that's independent from the brain in our head. From books such as The Heart's Code we know that heart transplant receivers experience emotions of their heart's donors. My guess about the artificial heart carriers is that they won't experience the same kind of emotions as everyone else or that they won't be able to become as deeply conscious about their emotions as everyone else. However, the definition I give to emotions is still that they are changes of heart rate. Yet that definition is too simplistic because it ignores the information encoded by the heart in our heart rhythm, which would be the cybernetic nature of emotions.
  14. Has anyone read Ivan Yefremov's Razor's Edge? I am reading it right now and finding that much of aesthetics expressed in the beginning of the first part resonates and in parts joins with Rand's objective aesthetics. Here is a quote to consider (my translation from the Russian original): Yefremov, being a professional scientist (paleontologist, geologist, and biologist), is also an artist of words who wrote science-fiction in beautiful and rich prose. He was inspired by Jules Verne and Konstantin Tsiolkovsky, but he also shares many elements from other scientists and philosophers. In this paragraph, you can find an amalgamation of diverse elements merging toward the same goal, the meaning of beauty. Here you can see Darwin's biological evolution, Aristotle's golden mean, and Democritus's principle of expediency, but beneath it all, as I judge, hides the most basic and favorite principle of Aristotelian art: the Golden Ratio. I think this perspective on art is closer to Rand's objective one than, say, to Kant's subjective one. Here is another quote, in which Yefremov criticizes the art in the Soviet Union at the time of his writing (1963-1965): It's unfortunate that his little known works in which he expresses his aesthetical views are not translated into English yet. However, you may have heard of his most famous work: Andromeda Nebula (in my opinion a work comparable to the classics by Stanisław Lem, especially his The Magellanic Cloud). Although Yefremov chose utopian Communism over nuclear-weapon-proliferating Capitalism, his focus on human spirit, competency, and beauty is all so surprisingly similar to Rand's.
  • Create New...