The philosophy of brain training and peak performance

Philosophical underpinnings of the science of neurotherapy

Dec 8, 2023

Young Man in Peak Performance
Young Man in Peak Performance
Young Man in Peak Performance

In the pursuit of success, we often find ourselves as both the architect of our dreams and the chief saboteur of their realization. As unique individuals, we carry within us thinking patterns and behaviors that, at times, unintentionally obstruct the path to our full potential. Deep down, we all share the same desire – the burning ambition to be our very best.

The purpose of brain training for peak performance is to help you break free from the constraints you've unknowingly imposed upon yourself. Our goal is simple yet profound: to guide you towards a state of maximal mental freedom, where your talents, creativity, and capabilities can shine brilliantly.

The Relationship Between Brain and Mind

In our practice, we employ advanced brain mapping, targeted neurofeedback, and neurostimulation to influence the brain, steering it away from ingrained, unhealthy thinking patterns. This transformation allows you to break free from self-limitations and unlock your true potential. But this raises the question, are we training the brain or the mind? What's the difference, and how are they related?

Rene Descartes and Gottfried Liebniz

René Descartes is famously known for his statement, "Cogito, ergo sum," which means "I think, therefore I am." This statement encapsulates his realization that the act of thinking itself is proof of one's existence. Descartes doubted everything he believed to be true, except for the fact that he was thinking. He concluded that doubt, belief, and thought are all acts of a thinking self. Thus, for Descartes, the thinking self is fundamental to human existence.

Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz contributed to the understanding of the self as a product of thinking through his philosophy of monadology. He proposed the concept of "monads," which are indivisible, immaterial substances that make up the fabric of reality. Each monad represents a unique perspective on the universe and continually perceives its surroundings. In Leibniz's view, perception and thought were intrinsic to these monads. Human beings, as complex arrangements of monads, are products of their ongoing perceptions and thoughts. Therefore, our thinking and perceptions are integral to our identity and existence.

Descartes and Leibniz both emphasized the significance of thinking and mental processes in shaping human identity and existence. Descartes focused on the act of thinking as proof of existence, while Leibniz integrated thought and perception into his philosophy of monads, highlighting the role of continuous mental activity in defining who we are. Their ideas laid the groundwork for modern discussions about the relationship between consciousness, thought, and human nature.

In simple terms, we can perceive the brain as a mirror that reflects our mind, and the patterns of brain waves as reflections of our thoughts. It's accurate to say that our efforts are directed toward training both the intricate interplay of the brain and the mind simultaneously. The 2020 PhilPapers Survey found that over 50% of the 2,407 contemporary philosophers surveyed identified as physicalists (mind is an emergent property of matter) while just over 30% identified as non-physicaliats (largely idealists, where matter is an emergent property of mind) - but regardless of which stance you take, we can still apply this perspective.

Our Nervous System Keeps the Score

Bessel van der Kolk, a renowned psychiatrist and trauma expert, describes how our past experiences shape our current selves by emphasizing the profound impact of trauma and adversity. He believes that early traumatic experiences, especially during childhood, can fundamentally alter the brain and body's responses to stress and emotional regulation. These experiences can lead to the development of coping mechanisms and behavioral patterns that persist into adulthood. Van der Kolk's work underscores the importance of recognizing and addressing past trauma and its influence on our present well-being.

The Body Keeps the Score (c) 2014 Bessel van der Kolk

The Body Keeps the Score (c) 2014 Bessel van der Kolk

It's important to note that our current selves are shaped not only by significant "capital T" Trauma but also by a myriad of smaller, everyday experiences that leave their mark on our nervous system and brain activity. These experiences can include chronic stress, emotional ups and downs, and even seemingly minor incidents that accumulate over time. These "small t" traumas can still have a profound impact on our neural pathways and emotional responses, influencing our behavior, perceptions, and overall well-being. Recognizing the significance of both major and minor life experiences is crucial for understanding how we've become who we are today.

Breaking Free From Conditioned Thinking

Hands breaking free from chains

Our lives are shaped by these endless external influences, experiences, and circumstances that we encounter from the moment we are born. These external factors play a significant role in molding our beliefs, values, and behaviors. However, it's essential to recognize that we also have the agency to choose how we think and respond to these influences.

The choices we make in our thoughts and responses are like building blocks that construct our unique identity. They determine our attitudes, perspectives, and ultimately, who we are today. Our reactions to external influences can lead to both positive and negative conditioning. Positive conditioning occurs when we respond to life's challenges with resilience and growth, while negative conditioning can result from adopting harmful thought patterns or coping mechanisms.

The transformative power of brain training lies in identifying and understanding the conditioning that has resulted from our thoughts and choices. By recognizing and acknowledging these patterns, we can gain a profound sense of self-awareness. This awareness is the key to breaking free from self-limiting behaviors and thought processes. It provides us with the freedom to make conscious choices that align with our truest self and allow us to become our best self.

It's helpful to think of thought as a language – and like every language, it has a syntax and semantics. The syntax of thought is how our thoughts are structured, like letters and words composing sentences, and we can observe this syntax in our brain waves. The semantics are private to us, and that’s the meaning we apply and what we experience when we think these thoughts. Our lives shape not just what we think, but also how we think. Brain training can help us optimize how we think, working on the syntactical level to help us think more clearly and efficiently. Combine this with the semantics that only you can provide – and it has the potential to help you realize your dreams.

Neurofeedback and Neurostimulation for Peak Performance

Often the most efficient way to perform better isn't to just go faster, but to figure out what's slowing you down and remove those obstacles. At Bay Area Peak Performance, we don't treat medical conditions, and we don’t use the language of disorder, referring to specific diagnostic labels. Instead, our peak performance practice is all about mapping your brain and nervous systems to identify the problematic thinking patterns - expressed in terms of brain waves - that are holding you back and use high-tech tools to train more constructive patterns in their place. Brain training helps you optimize your thinking.

© 2023 - 2023 James Croall - All Rights Reserved.

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