Great Virtual Race Across Tennessee 2021

 It is that time of year. The second edition of the Great Virtual Race Across Tennessee. I entered this virtual race again because we got cool belt buckles last year. This year\’s version is 642 miles. It began on May 1. I have already completed 102 miles.

You can see my current location on the map just above Jackson. 102 miles is 16%.

I find that since the race started, my brain has been focused on doing miles. Not that there is any hurry. A very curious thing about my brain. It thinks it is in the race, therefore, I am compelled to do more miles than normal. 

Starting Monday was a 255-mile ultra-marathon. It took place between Phoenix and Flagstaff, Arizona, on trails. For the first time ever, it was live-streamed by many volunteers on the course. I watched as much as I could. I happened to watch the winner finish in real-time, just over 72 hours. It was amazing to watch him run in to the finish, not at all looking like he just spent 3 days in the mountains doing 255 miles. The first female came in about 12 hours later. She did look like her feet hurt. I could feel her pain. However, all the finishers demonstrated an amazing thing about the human mind. The mind can somehow keep a body going and going and going. There was a live chat on Youtube. I could see that many people felt amazed as I did. Every time I logged in to watch, there were nearly 1,000 others watching. Many ultra-runners left the live stream on their computers all day while they \”worked from home.\” And then, I went out to do my own miles. 

Speaking of the brain, I just finished another neuroscience book: \”7 1/2 Lessons About the Brain\” by Lisa Feldman-Barrett. Interestingly, this author thinks that the brain makes the mind, not that the mind uses the brain as a tool. Not a word about \”consciousness,\” unless you count the word \”mind\” as consciousness. The implications are major if consciousness is a thing made by an organic process with no intentional guidance. 

I\’ve read a number of neuroscience books. I can say that most of them do not propose that there is a consciousness, or soul, which is present at birth or that enters the body at some point. Experiments have not been able to detect consciousness. 

Neuroscience leaves us spiritualists hanging. There is no data, only individual reports. 7 1/2 Lessons also does not discuss the differing jobs of the left and right hemispheres. Perhaps in writing a logical book, the author did not give the right hemisphere a say; after all, the right hemisphere is non-verbal. If there is a higher consciousness, it would communicate quietly through the right hemisphere. The communication would be an intuitive thought received into the left hemisphere through the corpus callosum, which connects the two hemispheres. 

René Descartes, a philosopher who died in 1650, knew as much about consciousness as we do. We still don\’t know what makes a human out of an animal. We prefer to see ourselves as special in the universe, more conscious than any other animal; but we could be wrong about our specialness.

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