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LETTERS TO THE EDITOR Dear Sir: The effectiveness of "biofeedback training" (autocontrol of autonomic functions through operant conditioning) as a therapeutic technique depends on the ability of the patient to control the particular function in question once the training session ends. Some subjects have achieved such "out-of-lab" control, but no success has been reported in systematically generating this ability. Perhaps the following method could bring about the desired result. Consider the case of a patient who must be trained to keep his systolic blood pressure (b.p.) below some critical level. His b.p. would be electronically monitored, and each time it went above the critical level, his thumb would be made to "twitch" by surface electrostimulation. The haptic perception of this "twitch" would provide the feedback the patient needs during his training session. In addition, the thumb "twitch" could become a conditioned response to a dangerous rise in b.p., thus providing feedback for the patient once the training session is over. Charles S. Masarsky 305 Thurston Avenue Ithaca, New York 14850 Dear Sir: During the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries intellectuals wishing to enlighten the less fortunate told them that they should be guided by "Reason." Today the same advice is given in the name of "Science." In both instances the chief value is in the style of presentation (see Carl L. Becker's "The Heavenly City of the Eighteenth-Century Philosophers"). Dr. Sperry {Perspectives in Biology and Medicine [Autumn 1972]) would solve our "problem of values" in the name of the only god which is left for the "enlightened ," Science. He writes that "science becomes a source and arbiter of values and belief systems at the higher level and the most direct avenue to an intimate understanding and rapport with those 'forces that move the universe and created man.' " It is no great change of meaning if one substitutes for the term "science," the word "reason" or the designation "Vishnu." The traditional views Sperry finds obsolete: Stone Age mythologies and those based on "faith, fantasy, and intuition" were exorcised by the advocates of "Reason " a couple of centuries ago (see Becker's book above). And, no one since Darwin, that is, one who accepted the evolutionary point of view, has believed Perspectives in Biology and Medicine · Summer 1973 | 653 other than that "conscious mental awareness is a property of, and inseparably tied to, the living brain." But, says Sperry, "The problems of mind-brain are (not) fully solved—far from it." In other words, the "body-mind" problem remains a mystery to him as it does for all neurophysiologists, although some new analogies are brought forth (i.e., lasers). The solution to the body-mind problem involves areas other than neurophysiology, requiring considerable background in anthropology and history . This fact has been recognized by the makeup of various symposia dealing with the subject of "consciousness" (see Brain and Conscious Experience, edited by John C. Eccles [Berlin and New York: Springer-Verlag, 1966]. Because of religious considerations philosophers were specifically excluded) . But this method defeats itself, since the integration of the various disciplines must be in one head! The body-mind problem has been solved. However, it lacks the proper "certification ." Consequently, the answer is not considered by those who should read it. There is also another facet to the situation. Science, in the form of chemistry and biology, has not been able to give man immortality. The "mind" is the last stronghold for those who are not "tough minded" enough to face the ultimate frustration. It is this, for many, subconscious fear that motivates a great deal of our present-day value difficulties. The irrational will not be irradicated by an essay. In this regard E. R. Dodd's "The Greeks and the Irrational" is highly recommended. E. S. Ferguson 606 Sunset Road Boynton Beach, Florida 33435 654 I Letters to the Editor ...


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