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The Human Bio-Computer (The Human Identity)

What are you? Are you your brain? Are you your body? Are you a combination of the two? When most people use the word “I” they tend to mean it in reference a whole person, made up of many different pieces.


“I” usually refers to the personality, the body and the brain. That is deceiving though, because one could still be called “I” even after losing most of the above. And if we are made up of only our personality, body and brain, why is it we can observe our own emotions, our own thoughts? What is doing the observing? Seasoned meditators have learned to clear their mind and watch as their thoughts flow by, as a psychotherapist would observe a patient.

What is watching your thoughts? If common knowledge is true (that “I” is made up of our thoughts and feelings), observing our thoughts without intervention should not be possible, because we should be our thoughts. But that is not true. In order for a thought to be observed there must be something doing the observing.

There is a part of the brain that is inherently different than any other part. Its purpose is to observe your brain and interact with your will. It is the consciousness. It is self-awareness. John C. Lilly, M.D., calls it the self-metaprogram, or a mental structure that observes, controls, organizes and governs other mental structures. It might not even be a specific part of the brain, it might be made up of hundreds of little pieces from all other parts of the brain, but this observing, conscious mechanism exists in all humans. It is more base than intelligence, thought or emotion. It is the only part of you that hasn’t changed since you were born. If you were to take away everything but it, you would be left without any motion, emotions, sensations or thoughts. You would desire nothing. You would not even fear death.

Try this thought experiment. Think of something that makes you embarrassed or upset. Observe as your stomach tenses up and your mood changes from calm to angry. The part of you that is observing this brain-body reaction has no bias, no filters, and no anger. Anger and embarrassment are ultimately just mechanisms of the brain. They can be turned on and off, like light switches. You just turned one of them on. After a little knowledge and practice, it becomes just as easy to turn them off.

So in a sense, your brain is like a computer. The brain consists of all of your emotions, all your pain, all your thoughts, memories, beliefs, judgments and personality quirks. You, the user and the observer of this computer, can control all of it via mind programming.

Further Reading: Programming and Metaprogramming in the Human Biocomputer, John C. Lilly, M.D.

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