The nature of consciousness remains mysterious. 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 you damage a television set, 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, and those with strong religious views may take offense. Atheists are uncomfortable with the idea of a non-physical aspect to consciousness, beyond brain chemistry that is, and the religious can be offended by the thought of science trespassing on spiritual ground. In a strict sense, spiritual only means non-physical, though. Ironically, in this respect, religious fundamentalism and atheism represent different sides of the same coin.
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 Jim 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 The Origins of Consciousness in the Breakdown of The Bicameral Mind
Princeton Psychologist, Julian Jaynes, theorises that our current state of subjective consciousness is a relatively recent phenomena, and that mankind not so long ago lacked the same degree of self-awareness that we enjoy today.
In recent millennia mankind may have acted at the mercy of a now largely defunct area of the right brain, in a fashion similar to that of an automaton. Basically, he proposes that human behaviour followed a group mentality for the most part, driven by some form of collective consciousness. Strange as this may sound, Jaynes provides some powerful and compelling arguments to support his case.
Interestingly, the time frames he proposes for this breakdown in bicamerality coincide roughly with those suggested in much catastrophism related thought. Though Jaynes was not a catastrophist in any conventional sense, there exist some interesting parallels, nonetheless. Perhaps a different electrical and gravitational environment in the past might have facilitated this different state of mind.
His research may also offer some insight into phenomena like Schizophrenia and Hypnosis. When Spanish and Portugese conquistadors landed in South America, for example, they were surprised to discover that many of the natives literally saw and heard their statues talking to them. Furthermore, these statues very often formed the focal point of a community.
Iain McGilchrist The Master and his Emissary
In his book The Master and his Emissary The Divided Brain and the making of the western world, former pyschiatrist 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.
McGilchrist has done some fascinating research on the differences between the two hemispheres of the brain. He 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 left and right brain hemispheres. The left brain has considerable difficulty comprehending more subjective matters, especially those that might be considered spiritual in nature, it becomes apparent.
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.
His pioneering research put him on a collision course with rigid materialist science in 2013, however. 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.
He has a 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.
See the banned TED talk below.
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 a clearly a problem for consensus science. A constant should be constant, after all. Varying measurements of big 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.
Skepticism in its true philosophical sense means to doubt certainty, so the brand of superior cynicism referred to 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 has at least as much to do with convention as wisdom, of course.
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 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.
"Conventional wisdom usually owes at least as much to convention as wisdom." David Drew