My Brain Hurts! …your CPU versus your CPG: Central Pattern Generator

There is a Strange Mechanism at work in our bodies that can serve a useful purpose but also be a source of confusion and be an impediment to our attempts to understand our minds and consequently the nature of life itself. This mechanism is the Central Pattern Generator. There are a variety of them in different species and they serve various purposes. One that is in humans that serves to keep up breathing can inherently also conflict with our attempts to quiet our bodies and minds in order to try to achieve higher consciousness. I hypothesize that its presence is a built-in source of blocking of those attempts–that is, our own biological survival mechanism is at odds with our desires and abilities to transcend mere biological existence. Consider the excerpts from Wikipedia below and see if you think that this may be a factor. The main concept of this site, the bypassing of the natural breathing need, could likely bypass the pesky, distracting actions and distractions of this particular CPG and allow our brains–our CPUs–to finally run without the noise in the background.

Central pattern generators (CPGs) are biological neural networks that produce rhythmic patterned outputs without sensory feedback. CPGs have been shown to produce rhythmic outputs resembling normal “rhythmic motor pattern production” even in isolation from motor and sensory feedback from limbs and other muscle targets. To be classified as a rhythmic generator, a CPG requires: 1. “two or more processes that interact such that each process sequentially increases and decreases, and 2. that, as a result of this interaction, the system repeatedly returns to its starting condition.


A three-phase model is the classical view of the respiratory CPG. The phases of the respiratory CPG are characterized by the rhythmic activity of: (1) the phrenic nerve during inspiration; (2) recurrent laryngeal nerve branches that innervate the thyroarytenoid muscle during the last stage of expiration; (3) the internal intercostal nerve branches that innervate the triangularis sterni muscle during the second stage of expiration. The rhythmicity of these nerves is classically viewed as originating from a single rhythm generator. In this model, phasing is produced by reciprocal synaptic inhibition between groups of sequentially active interneurons.

Nevertheless, an alternative model has been proposed[30] reinforced by certain experimental data. According to this model, respiratory rhythm is generated by two coupled anatomically distinct rhythm generators, one in the pre-Boetzinger complex[31] and the other in the retrotrapezoid nucleus / parafacial respiratory group. Further survey provided evidence to the hypothesis that one of the networks is responsible for inspiration rhythm and the other for expiration rhythm. Therefore, inspiration and expiration are distinct functions and one does not induce the other, as is the common belief, but one of two dominates the behavior by generating a faster rhythm.

(This article may be too technical for most readers to understand. Please help improve this article to make it understandable to non-experts, without removing the technical details.)



One Response to “My Brain Hurts! …your CPU versus your CPG: Central Pattern Generator”

  1. Off-the-shelf technology for expanding human possibilities | Helping to Save The World by slingin' lead at your screen Says:

    […] Information I have only recently become aware of points to a built-in biological mechanism that could likely be a prime candidate for the source of why we cannot readily or easily achieve the calming of the body and consequently the mind. This bottleneck is the Central Pattern Generator that is associated with breathing and what I found is on its own page here. […]

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