Presentation on theme: "NextUs: How Thoughts Persist Art Cockfield Saturday Club, Nov. 1, 2010."— Presentation transcript:
NextUs: How Thoughts Persist Art Cockfield Saturday Club, Nov. 1, 2010
Bottom line … Your thoughts exist outside your brain and are connected to an invisible network that makes a permanent record of every conscious thought you have and every choice you make
Overview Thoughts exist outside your brain (recent brain research and notions of quantum consciousness) Thoughts are recorded (imprinted) on a universal hard-drive (called the noösphere) What are some of the religious, philosophical, social implications of these views?
Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI)
fMRI provides video of brain stimulation
Monks meditating … fMRI shows prefrontal cortex active senior monks brain structure appears more receptive to meditation
Can thoughts be measured? fMRI information decoded: Kay et al., Nature (2008)
So what are thoughts? Research still primitive due to complexity of brain (trillions of synapses on billions of neurons) Thought can have an impact on material world (brain structure) Thoughts decoded information emitting from brain function Thoughts can be measured Consciousness may occur at the quantum level, which leads us to next part …
Quantum effects in biological processes: a.Fleming et al., Nature (2007): photosynthesis in green sulfur bacteria b.Tejero et al., Journal of American Chemical Society (2007): facilitate molecular reactions within green tea c.Turin, Physical Review Letters (2007): human smell receptors
Quantum consciousness? Roger Penrose, The Emperors New Mind (1989) Stuart Hameroff, Director of Center for Consciousness Studies at U. of Arizona: anesthetics interrupt quantum process within part of brains neurons called microtubules Ideas still speculative and experimentally unproven, but perhaps thoughts are a kind of quantum information emitted by brain
Part 2: where do thoughts end up? From Newton to Einstein:
Are time and space real? Insights from quantum mechanics Tiniest bits of matter are not matter, but really a strange form of energy that appears indivisible; sub-atomic particles have no meaning in isolation but only in relation with everything else John Wheeler: universe is at bottom … an immaterial source.
The universe is constituted by quantum bits of information David Bohm: the universe is a hologram Seth Lloyd, Programming the Universe (2006) Vlatko Vedral, Decoding Reality (2010)
What is different about human thoughts? Sentience and conscious thoughts versus other kinds of thoughts Gives rise to notions of universal consciousness Vladimir Vernadkys and Pierre de Chadrins noösphere
Imprinting on noösphere? All information exchanges from beginning to end of time stored somewhere in universe Information exchange between our minds and rest of universe recorded in noösphere Process: speculate that neural synapses firing serve as kind of transmitter and receiver that interacts with noösphere
Part 3: Implications? One view: none! The more the universe seems comprehensible, the more it seems pointless. Steven Weinberg, The First Three Minutes (1977) Too speculative …
Another view: Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter.
Consistent with major religions Ancients truths increasingly supported by science Early philosophers from Aristotle to Spinoza conceived of God as the natural universe Also support in Buddhism, Hinduism, Christianity and others Common theme: an immaterial realm flows through our bodies and our minds, and binds us all together Anti-New Atheists (Dawkins, Hitchens, Harris)
Mind and matter? Is the physical brain alone responsible for our mind and consciousness, or is something else that is immaterial also involved? Answer: no real separation between mind and immaterial realm Alistair sleeps well tonight
Where are we going when we die? Existence of soul: permanent imprinting on noösphere Choices and actions lead to reward or punishment? We are what we do (existentialism)? Heaven or Hell?