O Log - Conscious Perception and Reality

[28-Jan-06] 

    Spike wrote --

    Here is the background. I hurt my ankle a few months ago. When I run I feel some discomfort, in particular when I run along a hillside with my right foot on the uphill side.

    Now that you have the background, you can get to the wierd experience.

    I spent some time carefully studying a map today. I was concentrating and really looking at each leg, picking routes, thinking about the route and what I'd see. I was looking at a leg where my route was along a steep hillside where my right food would have been on the uphill side. Without conciously thinking about it, I thought that my ankle hurt. I quickly revised my route, climbing more and getting to the flat top of the hill (which would ease the discomfort).

    Spike's experience seems consistent with other documented "weirdnesses" in the conscious experience space, such as amputees feeling pain in amputated limbs under certain stimuli. I could geek on, but the point is there seems to be an important (and debated subtle or not so subtle) disconnect between reality and conscious reality (at least some of the time). My guess is that Spike's brain (sounds like the name of a band) rendered a conscious reality of pain based on the stimuli of the sidehill route on the map.

    I think there is an application of this to sports performance. I've noticed that I feel slow when I have my fastest runs, and am dissatisfied with my time when I think I'm pushing it and running fast. Its known that the body (or at least I've seen the claims) releases chemicals to trick the conscious brain into thinking its muscles are fatigued (under certain circumstances) when in fact they are not. This could lead to a feeling of pushing it, or lead to the conscious desire (and following fulfillment) to slow down even one second per minute (or about 2%). Likewise, there are probably all kinds of weirdnesses going on where the brain's perception of performance and fatigue is out of sync with the actual state of the muscles. Another thought along these lines is that feeling slow when running well is a result of a better information processing capacity per real second. Again a way that consciousness and reality seem to flux.

    If one could elusis this out, and somehow reprogram it, one could perhaps harness it to improve race day performance. I obsess over this; that is why I stick to a fairly strict regular training cycle, and pre-race day and race day eating and other rituals, in case this phenomena is stimuli-based or otherwise cyclic. Of course, I'm no PhD, so I could be totally wrong that there is something interesting here (as if only PhDs can be right).

    My guess is that my experiments would be better if I invested in an HRM, but somehow less interesting as a puzzle.

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