The nature of consciousness remains elusive. Many have attempted to describe it with words, but it is difficult to pin down and lacking any definitive explanation. While considerable progress has been made with AI (Artificial Intelligence), it remains to be seen if it will ever demonstrate self-awareness or desire and emotion in any human sense.
The human brain — grey matter — is generally considered to be the root of conciousness. After all, if damaged it will cease to function correctly, and humans will struggle or die as a result. Could this view be too simplistic, however? For example, if a television is damaged, it might work poorly or fail, but this doesn't affect the actual transmission. That remains on the airwaves, of course. In a similar fashion, some argue that human conciousness may reside remote from its transceiver — the brain. This can be a contentious subject like no other, needless to say, not least because the subject matter might be described as 'spiritual' in some sense. Strictly speaking, though, spiritual means only non-physical.
This philosophy of mind is sometimes referred to as mind-body dualism because mental phenomena can appear non-physical, and the mind and body distinct and separable. Then again, there may be an alternative way of looking at this apparent dilemma. As the late comedian Bill Hicks suggested in his quote, right, maybe matter and consciousness are different vibrations of the same ultimate substance. It seems amusement can be found in this heavy subject.
It can also be argued that similar uncertainties exist in relation to electricity and gravity. Is electricity a wave or a particle, and likewise with gravity? Isaac Newton admitted that he did not understand the actual mechanism behind gravity. It is sometimes described as the curvature of space time, but again this is more descriptive than explanative, not to mention abstract.
Interestingly, a number of leading scientists in their day took an interest in studies now considered occult. Newton, for example, obsessed over the likes of spiritualism, alchemy, and sacred geometry. It would therefore be wrong to dismiss him as a rigid materialist, as some have done.
"Today a young man on acid realized that all matter is merely energy condensed to a slow vibration, that we are all one consciousness experiencing itself subjectively, there is no such thing as death, life is only a dream, and we are the imagination of ourselves ... Heres Tom with the Weather." Bill Hicks
Julian Jaynes (1920-1997) The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of The Bicameral Mind
Princeton Psychologist, Julian Jaynes, hypothesized that our current state of subjective consciousness (in terms of introspective self-awareness) began to emerge around the the second millenium BCE. You might say that we are more self-ish today, literally and metaphorically.
Prior to this, he proposed that human behaviour followed a group mentality for the most part, as if driven by some form of collective consciousness. Interestingly, the time frames Jaynes proposed for this breakdown in bicamerality coincide roughly with those suggested in much catastrophism related thought. Although Jaynes was not a catastrophist in any conventional sense, there exist some interesting parallels, nonetheless. Perhaps a different electrical and gravitational environment at some point in the past may have facilitated a different state of mind? According to Jaynes, when the bicameral mind (separation of the hemispheres) broke down, it lead to the left hemisphere suddenly having access to the right and mistaking its own intuitive thoughts (hitherto unconscious) for the voices of the gods (or God). Jaynes believed this offered some insight into phenomena like hypnosis and disorders like schizophrenia. Schizophrenics hear voices, ergo, schizophrenia is a regression to an earlier state of mind.
Talking of voices, if you will pardon the pun, when Spanish and Portuguese conquistadors landed in South America, for example, they were surprised to discover that many of the natives saw and heard their statues talking to them ... in a literal sense. Furthermore, it seems the statues very often formed a focal point for their communities. Similarly, when the heroes of the Iliad and the Old Testament heard voices giving them commands or advice, Jaynes argued that this was not a figurative expression. They literally heard voices.
There is some overlap between Jaynes' work, and psychiatrist Dr Iain McGilchrist's, below, although they are at variance in important respects. McGilchrist argues that, if anything, mankind began losing touch with the right hemisphere of the brain during the specified time frame, as opposed to left hemisphere suddenly having access to the right, and he also points out that — contrary to some popular opinion — the left brain is dominant when a subject is under hypnosis, or during a schizophrenic episode. McGilchrist's work benefits from decades of further research, of course. Also, there is little if any evidence for the existence of schizophrenia before the 18th century.
“Putting it at its simplest, where Jaynes interprets the voices of the gods as being due to the disconcerting effects of the opening of a door between the hemispheres so that the voices could for the first time be heard, I see them as being due to the closing of the door, so that the voices of intuition now appear distant, ‘other’, familiar but alien, wise but uncanny – in a word, divine.” Iain McGilchrist, P 262, The Ancient World. The Master and His Emissary
Iain McGilchrist The Master and his Emissary
In his 2009 book The Master and his Emissary The Divided Brain and the making of the western world, former pyschiatrist Dr Iain McGilchrist raises some challenging questions about the nature of conciousness and how we think today.
Blinkered left hemisphere training, for example, renders students functionally blind to alternative ways of looking at problems. The left hemisphere simply blocks out everything that doesn't fit with its take. Many scientists, with their narrow, specialised training, may not be able to see what to a non-expert is obvious. He argues that they will probably be the last to see a paradigm shift in the making.
“Our culture is becoming more autistic.” Dr Iain McGilchrist
Typically, in popular culture the left brain is portrayed as rational and lingusitic, and the right brain as creative and emotional. Various metaphors have also been employed to promote a similar narrative. The left has been described as the paint pot and the right the painter. Forget everything you thought you knew! Although containing a grain of truth, such generalizations can be misleading. McGilchrist stresses that both sides of the brain are engaged in most activities, albeit with different approaches, or “reliably different takes on the world”. It is better to see the two hemispheres as "paying attention in different ways" as he puts it. “It’s not that they do different things, but that they do things differently”.
Furthermore, the notion that the left hemisphere is boring but reliable, a bit like an old accountant friend, is false. It turns out the right hemisphere is actually less likely to jump to conclusions. It can see both sides of a question. Distinguished neuroscientist professor VS Ramachandran describes the right brain as an effective devil’s advocate in this respect.
“It is only the left brain that thinks there is certainty to be found anywhere.” Iain McGilchrist The Master and His Emissary. P 171, The Nature of the Two Worlds
McGilchrist also points out that the left hemisphere does have emotions. It is associated with anger, intolerance, and disgust; all too often the timbre which social media, in particular, and general social discourse quickly descend to nowadays. Anger lateralizes to the left, and results from the left-hemisphere tendency to see things in black and white. In the interview with Rebel Wisdom below, WE NEED TO ACT, McGilchrist discusses the illiberal tendencies of some who, ironically, describe themselves as liberal.
Based on decades of research, McGilchrist notes that people in the West are generally more left-brained and reductive in nature, whereas people from the East are generally better able to approach problems using both the right and left hemispheres. The 'Master' and 'Emissary', respectively. The left brain is more literal and tends to see the world in purely mechanistic, fragmented terms. The right brain puts the pieces togther. Moreover, it is the right brain that will understand the moral of a story or get the point of a joke. Often described as the silent side, the right brain also provides context in order to see the bigger picture. It recognises patterns and connections.
"Language has done its best to obscure its parentage. It has increasingly abstracted itself from its origins in the body of the experiential world. It developed its current form to enable us to refer to whatever is not present in experience: language helped its re-presentation. This had the effect of expanding its usefulness to communication and thinking for some purposes, but reducing it for others. In the process important aspects of language, the denotative elements that enable precision of reference and planning, have taken up residence in the left hemisphere, while other aspects of language, broadly its emotive and connotative functions, have taken up residence in the right hemisphere. And the understanding of language at its highest level, once the bits have been put together, and making sense of its utterance in its context, taking into account whatever else is going on, including the tone, irony, sense of humour, use of metaphor and so on, belongs again with the right hemisphere." Iain McGilchrist The Master and His Emissary. P 125, Language, Truth, and Music.
The left-brain deals with abstraction which, by definition, is removal from context. This fact is pertinent to cosmology in particular where today we see so much of the 'science' dominated by mathematical speculation and abstraction, as discussed throughout this web site. Reification is the name of the game. So many fields of human endeavour seem to have been removed and deconstructed from reality.
Most of the great discoveries in science were made intuitively through pattern recognition — through seeing Gestalt. They weren't necessarily made by following a linear sequence. The right brain sees no conflict between science, intuition, imagination, and reason. In good science they all work together. In other words, there is no reason for these things to be set-up or talked about as if they are somehow in conflict with one another.
In short, McGilchrist argues that the right-brain is more solid and reliable, and yet we are living in an increasingly left-brained world. The hemispheres need to work in balance and, fundamentally, it is the right hemisphere that provides balance. In this fascinating discussion, Jordan Peterson explores the wider implications of McGilchrist's work in a societal sense. The Matter with Things: Peterson and McGilchrist
“We are headed straight into good old fashioned psychosis. We are completely mad as a civilsation, in my view. This is not because we all have schizophrenia, but because this is precisely the way the left hemisphere thinks when it has complete control, of course ... when it has no counter-balancing from the grounding effects of the right hemisphere.”
My 2023 Thunderblog aboout McGilchrist's work can be viewed here or at https://www.thunderbolts.info/wp/2023/10/15/losing-context-the-divided-brain-and-the-making-of-the-western-world/
The fact that an
opinion has been widely held is no evidence whatever
that it is not utterly absurd; indeed in view of the
silliness of the majority of mankind, a widespread belief
is more likely to be foolish than sensible." Bertrand
Rupert Sheldrake The Science Delusion
Rupert Sheldrake has an impressive CV. He is a biologist and author of more than 85 scientific papers and 9 books, and the co-author of 6 books. He was among the top 100 Global Thought Leaders for 2013, as ranked by the Duttweiler Institute, Zurich, Switzerland's leading think tank. On ResearchGate, the largest scientific and academic online network, his RG score of 33.5 puts him among the top 7.5% of researchers, based on citations of his peer-reviewed publications.
However, his pioneering research has put him on a collision course with rigid materialist science. In 2013, his TED talk entitled The Science Delusion was taken out of circulation by TED, relegated to a corner of their website, and stamped with a warning label! Arrangements for further discussion were made, but those who condemned the talk failed to show. The vast majority of those who spoke out were outraged, including those who'd never heard of morphic resonance. Ironically, before the banning the video had a modest 35,000 views; since then its clones have been watched over 5 million times. It's also been dubbed in Russian and has subtitles in 20 plus languages.
Sheldrake has taken a keen interest in the nature of consciousness, psi phenomenon, and memory in nature. He is perhaps best known for the latter - his work on Morphic Resonance. His work certainly resonates with EU advocates, who see the universe as a dance of electrical particles.
Here is the banned TED talk.
Perhaps the most amusing part of this talk relates to the constants or, more specifically, their lack of constancy (at around 11 minutes). This is clearly a problem for consensus science. A constant should be constant, after all. Varying measurements of G (gravity) have to be averaged out by a commitee every so often, in order to arrive at a constant, and variations in the the speed of light, c, have been circumvented by fixing the speed of light by definition. In other words, the metre is now defined by the speed of light, so the units change with it! Go figure.
In other words, these constants could now vary without our knowledge. Rather than hiding this, Rupert jokes that it would be fun to see a kind of financial style index of fluctuating constants, perhaps published on a daily basis.
From an Electric Universe perspective, such fluctuations are not surprising. Gravity, for example, is expected to vary according to the prevailing electrical environment.
“People with a psychological need to believe in marvels are no more prejudiced and gullible than people with a psychological need not to believe in marvels.” Charles Fort
Self styled skeptics pride themselves on debunking claims that do not fit their world view. There is clearly a living to be made at this, and there is probably also some good to come out of it if and where fraud is exposed. The trouble is, many such skeptics tend to go overboard and lump all non-standard and alternative theories into the same basket. Needless to say, most new theories tend to be attacked to begin with, regardless of evidence. Many such controversies are well documented in Thomas Kuhn's work on the nature of paradigm shifts. His book The Structure of Scientific Revolutions was influential in both academic and popular circles.
Skepticism in its true philosophical sense means to doubt certainty, so the brand of superior cynicism mentioned above is generally referred to as pseudo-skepticism. It is not always difficult to demand an unreasonable burden of proof from any new theory, while accepting prevailing theories on the basis of convention, even where they are lacking in many respects. Conventional wisdom usually owes at least as much to convention as wisdom, IMHO.
Many pseudo-skeptics pride themselves, in particular, on debunking beliefs in a God or Gods. Arguments in respect of a supreme being are beyond the scope of this web site, but when it comes to the gods of myth and legend, there is another important angle that should be taken into account.
Mythologists like David Talbott, Ev Cochrance, and Dwardu Cardona, who have worked closely with the Electric Universe, look for patterns. When it comes to the gods of myth and legend, we discover that so many of these gods are associated with the planets Saturn, Mars, and Venus. Different cultures have feared, worshipped, and depicted them in manifold ways, but the key points of agreement are difficult to ignore from the perspective of comparative mythology. In other words, it is naive to dismiss the origin of related archetypal symbols as the work of ignorance and superstition. Mankind may be a story telling race, but verbal traditions the world over pride themselves on accuracy and continuity, not elaboration. There is a bigger picture to take into account. See the mythology and catastrophism sections of this web site.
Pseudo-skepticism or one way skeptıcısm is, in fact, a classic demonstration of the limited left-brain thinking mentioned above. Iain McGilchrist has highlighted the weaknesses and shortfalls of this mindset.
Skeptical about Skeptics .org have done some excellent work exposing the questionable motivations of a number of so-called skeptics. The philosophical derivation of the term skepticism means to doubt certainty, and yet these prominent 'skeptics' seem utterly certain of their own world view. Ironically, the virulent brand of atheism that typifies a number of these indviduals is somewhat akin to a cult like mentality.
"I would like to put in a word for uncertainty. In the field of religion there are dogmatists of no-faith as there are of faith, and both seem to me closer to one another than those who try to keep the door open to the possibility of something beyond the customary ways in which we think, but which we would have to find, painstakingly, for ourselves ... Certainty is the greatest of all illusions: whatever kind of fundamentalism it may underwrite, that of religion or science, it is what the ancients meant by hubris. The only certainty, it seems to me, is that those who believe they are certainly right are certainly wrong."
Iain McGilchrist The Master and His Emissary. P 460, Conclusion, The Master Betrayed.
"Conventional wisdom usually owes at least as much to convention as wisdom." David Drew
The light of life
Life emits light. Michael Clarage, PhD, Astrophysicist and Lead Scientist of SAFIRE, explains how we could not have organic life without cells, chemicals, light, electricity, or the ecosystems of the Earth and Sun — all levels of the hierarchy communicate and exchange energy.
There is even proof our eyes emit light. To a physicist this is possible since all receivers are also transmitters — a radio antenna can send or receive the same signal. The rhodopsin molecules in the retinal cells absorb and emit the same visible light.
“Traditional theories of human creativity ascribe it to inspiration from a higher source working through the creative individual, who acts as a channel. The same conception underlies the notion of genius; originally the genius was not the person himself but his presiding god or spirit.” Rupert Sheldrake