Internal self-consciousness?

Read this real story and tell me if you also believe that it could be more than a coincidence:

Shortly, it is about a neuroscientist who had studied the criminal brain for 20 years and had shown that orbital cortex (or whatever) is inactive in those rare people. And after all when he scans his own brain, he happens to be one of them, himself!

But what, other than chance, can be behind this? I bring up this question:

Is it possible for different parts of the brain to directly communicate “inside the skull” and inform each other about their condition? We know that different brain circuits “inform” each other about signals and stuff but I am questioning about a higher level of informing.

Today Mr. Fallon knows that his orbital cortex is abnormally inactive. He knows this by looking at his brain scans, provided through the world outside (scanning devices and the rest, outside of his skull). Now his brain has externally revealed something about itself. Wouldn’t it then be possible that his brain already “knew” it internally, but not consciously?

Let’s map it from the physical brain domain to the mind domain: A part of his mind (call it the researcher part) is now externally aware of a disorder in another part (the criminal part). Now, is it imaginable that the “conscious researcher part” had internally had some clues about the “unconscious criminal part”?

This is a philosopher sending a query to the experimental scientists: Is there such an internal awareness? Back to the hard-wired brain domain, it could be a result of some internal nervous connections between such brain regions. Or I don’t know. Any sort of connection that has in some way inspired, motivated and driven him to perform such study, by the means available in the “outside” world.

Related on brain and mind: Symmetric mind, bilateral brain.

4 thoughts on “Internal self-consciousness?”

  1. I believe that human brian is a product of evolution, so I don’t think a part of the brian can label another part as criminal or any other abstract label, and make the person be conscious about this fact. I think environment is assigning such abstract labels to parts of the brain!


    Of course Faranak. I didn’t ask whether a part of the brain labels another part.

    First of all it’s a very simple reduction. As far as I understand one may call the orbitofrontal cortex the “moral part” as it’s among many other things in charge of moral and ethical decisions. If it’s not active enough people do things we call crime. And then we may oversimplify again and call that brain region for that specific person “the criminal part” in a sense that without that specific region working improperly, the crime wouldn’t have happened.

    Evolutionarily as you said, are you sure that no such internal alert system has evolved in the brain? Any “sensor” that when something is wrong with the unconscious parts, the conscious parts gets a signal. A simple system we use in any normal car (gas meter).

    My claim is that I am not sure if no such “internal alert system” has evolved in our brain over ages. I mean, have we even survived without it?!

    p.s. In the gas-meter analogy:

    The driver + car is the brain.
    The car itself is the unconscious and the driver is the conscious part
    The tank is the moral part turns in to the criminal part when empty!
    As a result of malfunctioning in the unconscious part, a car crash would be a crime.

    What is the analogous of the gas-meter? (if there is any).

    With such an internal alert system a driver can be informed that something is wrong with the car, before a crash – externally – takes place.

    On that note:

    “Have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.

    – Steve Jobs

  2. I think being ethical or criminal (and having the proper brain for each case) are just different ways of survival. So I would change your question to this: can the conscious part of the mind be aware of anything about the unconscious part of it?

    It’s difficult for me to differentiate between mind and brain! I hope I haven’t written confusingly!


    You mean: Can the conscious part of the mind be aware of anything about the unconscious part of it [directly from inside]?

    Yes this is my question.

    We have been recently self-conscious or moral creatures. So in the recent or on-going process of the human evolution, yes, being ethical or criminal can play its surviving role. But most of the brain evolved long before this.

    If our “hypothesized gas-meters” are not really there in all of us and Mr. Fallon has got one by chance (let’s say he’s a mutant), it’s likely that future human gets it eventually. (Imagine he could be a criminal and wouldn’t have survived the risk, now he’s a scientist with a happy family life).

    But if it has actually evolved in our brain (that was my question) the next question is if such “internal self-consciousness” is formed after emergence of an “external” self-consciousness or even before that?

    A very ambitious question when they haven’t even settled the debate over when consciousness emerged in human. Or even whether it’s culturally driven or hard-wired. [or if it has ever emerged at all! 😉 ]

  3. “Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other’s opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”


    They SOMEHOW already know what you truly want to become.

    HOW do they know?

  4. I think the point with consciousness is that it is hardly measurable. As far as I know, nobody knows if the animals are conscious or not!

    Discovery of the unconscious part of the brain by the conscious part; isn’t it happening while meditation?

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