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The secret to how your brain works
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The secret to how your brain works

  #1 (permalink)
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The secret to how your brain works

I have been watching this documentary I found which was produced by the BBC. Its called The Brain with David Eagleman. I encourage you to watch it as it reveals some very deep insights into the mechanics of the wet computer encased in bone that is your consciousness. Im finding it fascinating with many topics relating to trading to explore and discuss further for anyone that is interested.

One part that really struck me (of the many) was this chap on the operating theatre who was undergoing brain surgery and who had agreed to a live experiment while the top of his skull had been removed, brain exposed, and surgeons were doing their thing. They hooked up a device that made an audio popping sound whenever certain neurons fired. David shows the subject a picture of a rabbit that could be a duck and asks him what he sees. At first there is no noise, but then you can hear a popping sound, almost like popcorn going off and that is the sound of his mind trying to make a decision!

It was just so weird seeing it because although it is a human lying there, I felt like he wasnt human anymore, but was something else entirely, just a bundle of nerves neurons and mechanical impulses with sensory input devices attached (ears, eyes nose, mouth).

If you are interested in this sort of thing, watch the video, there are many topics revealed in there that would create an interesting discussion relating to trading and I would love to explore some of the themes further.

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For the curious...


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In one of the episodes I watched last night, an interesting study was done where they monitored parts of the brain responsible for empathy, and then showed the subjects a persons hand being stabbed with this huge needle. All the subjects showed signs of brain activity and winced after seeing it. However, when they were told that the hand being stabbed belonged to a person from a different religious belief, or in some cases a different race to their own...there was no reaction.

This is fascinating. Simply introducing a few choice words completely changes the behaviour of your brain. The hand still belonged to a human, the person being stabbed still felt pain, and the information might have been incorrect, yet the brain ignores all this and simply had no empathy reaction. He explains the reasons behind this which was also very interesting but for the brain to go so easily from one configuration to another is a pretty darn scary thought.

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His books 'Incognito' and 'Sum' are two of my favourites.

Cheers

Travel Well
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Which archetypal trader are you?

I love this word. Archetype. It relates to trading in a very fundamental way.
In Jungian theory it is an inherited pattern of thought that is derived from the past collective experience of humanity, and is present in the unconscious of the individual. Like a fear of snakes, or spiders.

Breaking it down to the individual and it is an experience we go through which creates a certain response within us. Negative experiences we want to avoid, positive experiences we want to repeat.

My experience of this concept (related to my early trading experience) is as follows:

The fun part:
When I first traded I did well, I made money but I didn't know what I was doing. Easy money. Fast money. Big dreams. Positive experience and I wanted more.

The hard part:
Then I started thinking about what I was doing and became a consistent loser. I questioned my ability and doubted the viability of trading. Negative experience I didn't want to trade anymore.

The blue pill or the red pill:
Then came the agonising climb out of this pit of negativity and fear. How does one overcome this overwhelming urge to run away to safety, to get away from this thing that is causing so much pain? Adding to this anguish is the message of the high failure rate in trading. All these negative things collectively gang up and endorse the desire to stop and give up. I had become the archetypal losing trader and fulfilled the recurring pattern of defeat common to all but a select few. The choice was there for me to make. Continue down the rabbit hole or go back to mediocrity?


This fits into the theme of how the brain works because the formative years of trading are the hardest part of the journey and also the part where emotions and behaviour patterns are being created (mostly negative in my case) in response to your attempt at creating a new path for yourself. I believe that this is where most people fail and give up. Not because they are doing anything wrong because the losing phase is necessary, but because the emotional trauma is too much to deal with.

I did manage to get through the fire though but thats a story for another day.

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Your mind makes you believe that you are separate from everyone, an entity ‘in here’ experiencing the world ‘out there’.

This is a necessary illusion but it is not true. You are one with everything. You are driven by the same impulse as the next person. A water droplet in a thunderstorm has the same purpose as every other water droplet. It cannot be different or unique because it is driven by the very same force of nature as the next water droplet, and the next, and the next....

The only control you have is the way in which you think about your experience. If you hate it and fight it, you will invite anguish into your mind and you will be unhappy. If you accept your circumstance and go with the flow then you open yourself to a more positive experience.

Its all in your mind.

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Your mind makes you believe that you are separate from everyone, an entity ‘in here’ experiencing the world ‘out there’.

This is a necessary illusion but it is not true. You are one with everything. You are driven by the same impulse as the next person. A water droplet in a thunderstorm has the same purpose as every other water droplet. It cannot be different or unique because it is driven by the very same force of nature as the next water droplet, and the next, and the next....

The only control you have is the way in which you think about your experience. If you hate it and fight it, you will invite anguish into your mind and you will be unhappy. If you accept your circumstance and go with the flow then you open yourself to a more positive experience.

Its all in your mind.

It sounds like you'd enjoy the book "The Master and his Emissary" by Ian McGilchrist.

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It sounds like you'd enjoy the book "The Master and his Emissary" by Ian McGilchrist.

I was going to suggest the "The Inside Out Revolution" by Michael Neill Very interesting thread.

Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication - Leonardo da Vinci
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Time, the brain, and fear


On the way to the dentist today, I listened to an awesome interview on the radio about time and the brain.

Went along these lines: We have sensory input devices for vision, sound, taste, smell but no device that picks up time. We do however sense time. If you pause for a few seconds and think about those seconds, you must ask how do you sense this interval of time? You probably sense it through your feelings which your brain mashes, reconstructs and presents to you as a flow of time. Your brain can slow time or speed it up. When youre in a panic situation, everything relative to you seems to be slowing down. You become hyperaware, you seem to have time to think about what needs to be done.
Reason:
We experience so much through our lives that it is not necessary to remember everything, so our minds have developed mechanisms to store certain events with higher priority than others. Such as when we under extreme duress or trauma.

How does it get stored? Is you memory completely accurate or does it get enhanced over time? Memory is reconstructive it is not a stamp of exactly what happened. So something your mind reconstructs can be manipulated over time. This can lead to false memories.
The power of the brain is that it can recreate these emotional events under certain situations. And, it doesn’t need to initiate these responses from an external trigger; your reaction can come from a thought. This is where meditation comes in, it teaches you to manage thought and to understand silence. So I guess the question is if you can remain physically and mentally calm in a stressful situation can fear stimulus be lessened? From a personal perspective, I can confirm that it is possible.

They also discussed how the heartbeat is linked to fear and memory storage but it sounded like these scientists had been given huge amounts of money to study a phenomenon that can be reduced to common sense when taken apart.

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