Fifth Paper - Cheung 1 Andrew Cheung Stephanie Clare...

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Cheung Andrew Cheung Stephanie Clare Expository Writing BU 02 April 2008 An Infinite Series When one is placed at the crossroad between a new life and the familiarity of an old life, who or what decides which way to go? An estimated 47,000 people become blind each year, or about one every 11 minutes. For these people a question like this goes from a metaphorical crossroad to a reality quite quick. It is this decision that Oliver Sacks, author of, “The Mind’s Eye”, writes and of how several people have made their decision and what brought them to it. On a similar note of life altering decisions and, to the common man, surreal events David Abram writes of the effects and origins of Shamanism in his work, “The Ecology of Magic”. Together through their experiences these two authors define the line between the power of the brain and of ones own personal experience. It becomes apparent in both writings that the power of personal experience outweighs that of the brain and is a prerequisite for any radical changes in the brain. First and foremost are the definitions of the brain, mind, and what is meant by a change in them. For all intents and purposes brain and mind can be considered synonymous since it is my belief that the mind is simply an imaginary animation that resides within the organic brain. Furthermore the brain should be considered as a type of capacity. All people are born with a brain but each have a unique capacity for learning. The first time this capacity is altered is when a person has their first experience, namely 1
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Cheung birth. As for what a change in the mind is defined as: A change in the mind is any sensory or perceptual input that registers on even the most minute of scales. This being said the mind is a constantly changing capacity. These changes that occur in the mind are not always for the same reason and vary from person to person and in degree. For example, Abram discusses at great length the aspects of shamanism that alter a person. Abram defines a shaman as someone who has “the ability to readily slip out of the perceptual boundaries that demarcate his or her
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Fifth Paper - Cheung 1 Andrew Cheung Stephanie Clare...

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