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Book Reviews

 

Following, are some of my reviews of books that have informed me about the nature of reality. Click on a title to read the review.

                                                                                                                                                                                                     

 

Decoding the Universe
Charles Seife

The Non-Local Universe:
The New Physics and Matters of the Mind
Robert Nadeau and Menas Kafatos

The Conscious Universe:
Part and Whole in Modern Physical Theory
Menas Kafatos and Robert Nadeau

Programming the Universe
Seth Lloyd

The Self-Aware Universe
Amit Goswami

The Quantum Brain
Jeffrey Satinover

Quantum Physics:
Illusion or Reality
Alastair Rae

Quantum Evolution:
How Physics’ Weirdest Theory Explains Life’s Biggest Mystery
JohnJoe Mcfadden

Quantum Enigma:
Physics Encounters Consciousness
Bruce Rosenblum, Fred Kuttner

Quantum Enigma
Wolfgang Smith

The Quantum Brain
Jeffrey Satinover

Train your mind Change your Brain
Sharon Begley

The Mind and the Brain
Jeffrey M. Schwartz, M.D. and Sharon Begley

Mind in Life
Evan Thompson

Mind as Mosaic:
The Robot in the Machine
Bruce H. Hinrichs


Unified Reality Theory:
The Evolution of Existence into Experience
Steven Kaufman

The Visionary Window
Amit Goswami

The Monkey and the Tetrahedron
David M. Jinks

The Physics of Consciousness:
The Quantum Mind and the Meaning of Life
Evan Harris Walker

The Fabric of the Cosmos
Brian Greene

The Essential David Bohm
Lee Nichol

The End of Time:
The Next Revolution in Physics
Julian Barbour

Everything Forever
Gevin Giorbran

The Bit and the Pendulum:
From Quantum Computing to M Theory
The New Physics of Information
Tom Siegfried

Supernatural:
Meetings with the Ancient Teachers of Mankind
Graham Hancock

Secrets of the Sacred Ark
Laurence Gardner

Nothing I See Means Anything:

Quantum Questions—Quantum Answers
David Parrish

The Mysterious Flame
Colin Mcginn

Meaning, Medicine and
The “Placebo Effect”
Daniel Moerman

Information and the Nature of Reality:
From Physics to Metaphysics
Edited by Paul Davies and Niels Henrik Gregersen

Incomplete Nature: How Mind Emerged from Matter
Terrence W. Deacon

Genesis and the Big Bang
Gerald L. Schroeder

DMT: The Spirit Molecule
Rick Strassman

Crystal & Dragon
David Wade

Biocentrism:
How Life and Consciousness are the keys to Understanding True Nature of the Universe
Robert Lanza with Bob Berman

The Mind Body Prescription
John E. Sarno, M.D.


Who's in charge?
Free Will and the Science of the
Brain Michael S. Gazzaniga

The Hidden Records
The Star of the Gods

Wayne Herschel
Co-author Birgitt Lederer

The Brotherhood of the Screaming Abyss:
My Life with Terrence Mckenna
Dennis Mckenna

Ayahuasca and Depression:
The Clarity of Darkness
Justin Taylor (Kindle version only)


Spontaneous Evolution:
Our Positive Future
Bruce Lipton Ph.D. And Steve Bhaerman (Kindle version)


The Cosmic Bridge:
Close Encounters and Human Destiny
Criag R. Lang

You are The Placebo:
Making Your Mind Matter
Dr. Joe Dispenza


Life’s Ratchet:
How Molecular Machines Extract Order from Chaos
Peter M. Hoffmann

 

Missing 411: A sobering Coincidence:
David Paulides

 

Consciousness and the Brain:
Stanislas Dehaene



The Mysterious Epigenome:
Thomas E. Woodward, James P. Gills

 

Life on the Edge: The Coming of Age of Quantum Biology:
Jim Al-Khalili and Johnjoe McFadden


The Vital Question: Energy, Evolution, and the Origins of Complex Life :
Nick Lane


The 37th Parallel :
Ben Mezrich

 

Origins of Consciousness:
How the Search to Understand the Nature of Consciousness is Leading to a New View of Reality
Adrian David Nelson

 

The Epigenetic Revolution:
How Modern Biology is Rewriting Our Understanding of Genetics, Disease, and Inheritance
Nessa Carey

 

 

The Biology of Belief:
Unleashing the Power of Consciousness, Matter & Miracles
Bruce H. Lipton, Ph.D.



The Enigma of Cranial Deformation:
Elongated Skulls of the Ancients
David Hatcher Childress
Brien Foerster



Our Mathematical Universe:
My Quest for the Ultimate Nature of Reality
Max Tegmark



The Spontaneous Healing of Belief: Shattering the Paradigm of False Limits
Greg Braden



                                                                                                                                                                                                     


Decoding the Universe

Charles Seife

 

    Charles Seife has not been the first to proclaim that the most fundamental entity in the universe is information.  Physicist John Wheeler, David Bohm, and Tom Siegfried among others have held this view as well, but no other author I’ve read has gone to such lengths to establish this idea as an undeniable conclusion. 

   In a concise straight-forward format, Seife delves into biology, computer science, cosmology, Relativity, and quantum theory, to establish the notion that information and the second law of thermodynamics are intricately linked.  And he does this without ever allowing the reader to become lost or confused.

      Information is always physical, whether it is marks on paper, holes in a punch card, atoms in an electro-magnetic state on a CD, photon polarization, or up/down spin on an electron.  All information has a physical representation.  And like any physical thing in our universe, it abides by the laws of nature, including the laws of thermodynamics and Relativity.  Information, like energy, can neither be created nor destroyed.  Information always moves toward the most probable state: maximum entropy.  And no information can travel faster than the speed of light.

   The qubit, which is the quantum representation of the classical bit, abides by the laws of quantum physics, and despite the weird instantaneous quantum connection between particles in an entangled state demonstrated by Bell’s theorem of inequality; the qubit does not violate faster-than-light communication.  Oddly, the qubit does violate one tenant of Relativity—that no effect can precede its cause.  It seems that the time-asymmetrical qubit has no “before” or “after”.

    Unlike the classical bit which resides in a binary, either/or state, the qubit can be in a superposition of states:  two states simultaneously.  This fact is what makes the possibility of quantum computing so enticing.  By nesting probable outcomes in a superposition of states many fewer yes/no questions are needed in algorithms, making quantum computing many orders of magnitude faster than classical computing.

    But, far wider implications exist for the quantum qubit.   Siefe believes that the qubit’s superposition of states solves two contentious vagaries of the Copenhagen Interpretation of reality:  What constitutes and observer? And is there a difference between the classical and quantum worlds? 

       Siefe says that there is no clear-cut demarcation between the subatomic and classical world, and there is no conscious observer required to collapse the wave function. This directly leads to a resolution of the famous Schrödinger’s cat paradox.   Since the universe at large is constantly involved in probing with light waves, neutrinos, and zero point energy, the universe itself acts as the observer.  Large macro objects such as cats undergo decoherence (a collapse of the superposition of states into a classical bit) very rapidly, while a single subatomic particle or photon  take a much longer time, being less likely to come into contact with nature’s measurements.

   Information is so fundamental that Siefe believes Richard Dawkins’ popular book called “The Selfish Gene”, would have been more aptly called “Selfish Information”. Siefe says that when it comes to biological organisms, information is even more selfish than the gene, and can run contrary to survival of the fittest.  He cites several examples of information reproducing itself even though it is detrimental to the organism, and at times, to an entire species.  Information will attempt to replicate even at the expense of the proliferation of the organism carrying the information.

   This book was very enticing, and left me with some questions.  Is it “information” that is the most basic entity, or is it “meaning” as Physicist David Bohm maintains.   Is there a difference between information and meaning?  Experiments with polarization of light would lead me to suspect that there is a difference.

  And, finally, is the brain really a classical machine as Siefe says, or is it a quantum machine as Evan Harris Walker maintains.  (See my review: “The physics of Consciousness” on Amazon).  Either way, Charles Seife is right on the mark with this work

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The Non-Local Universe:

The New Physics and Matters of the Mind

Robert Nadeau and Menas Kafatos

 

    If Albert Einstein had lived long enough to witness the results of Alain Aspect’s experiments at the University of Paris-South in 1982 he would have to concede that quantum theory is a self-consistent theory, and physical reality is non-local. The Aspect experiment, and the Nicolus Gisin experiments with twin-photons in 1997, validated John Stewart Bell’s non-locality theorem, which he published in 1964.  These experiments confirmed that the physical universe is holistic, and indeterminate; a fact that many physicists call the most profound discovery in all of science. 

     This is the premise of a thoroughly enlightening book by Nadeau and Kafatos, who by virtue of concise and clear writing entice anyone willing to take the time and effort on a journey into the new world of non-locality.  The Authors State that in order to embrace their premises one must be committed to metaphysical and epistemological realism.  Metaphysical realism assumes that physical reality is real or has an actual existence independent of observation, and epistemological realism assumes that progress in science requires strict adherence to scientific methodology.  This seems to be a bit of an inconsistency since one of the main premises of their book is that metaphysical realism is invalid. 

     Einstein, who was himself a contributor to quantum theory, and whose theory of relativity demonstrated that space, time, and motion are relative concepts, was none-the-less not ready to give up on the idea of deterministic principles.  His debates with Bohr concerning whether quantum theory was a complete theory raged on until his death.  In his most famous thought experiment, called EPR, devised with the help of two colleagues, he made his most brilliant effort to save a classical causal reality.  The purpose of EPR was to show that both the position and momentum of a particle could be deduced in violation of the indeterminacy principle making quantum theory incomplete.

    John Stewart Bell sounded the death knoll to any hope that Einstein could be correct in his effort to save determinacy.  Bell’s theorem is predicated on two major assumptions: Locality (signals or energy transfers between space-like separated regions cannot occur faster than the speed of light) and realism which assumes that physical reality exists independently of the observer.  As Nadeau and Kafatos put it, both of these assumptions may be invalid.  While Bell’s theorem in no way violated Relativity’s ban on information traveling faster than light speed, it did clearly demonstrate that there is an indeterminate connection between systems, which manifests in “no time”.  These connections are instantaneous.  Since the connections are indeterminate and are subject to the laws of probability there is no way to transfer information in a meaningful way under these random circumstances, therefore Relativity itself remains intact.  Had Einstein witnessed the results of the experiments validating Bell’s theorem he would have had to concede, however, that realism—a reality existing independent of observation—could not exist at the deepest levels or reality.  Quite simply, if nonlocality is a fact of nature, indeterminacy is also an indisputable fact of nature.

    Einstein would have revealed, however, in a second type of nonlocality—temporal nonlocality.  It has been found that in Wheeler-type delayed choice experiments the past cannot be distinguished from the future—an assumption that Einstein clearly maintained.  Confusion concerning delayed choice experiments is that the observer causes an event to happen in the past.  There is no causal effect in this case.  What comes into existence in observation is one aspect of a complimentary whole that always existed.

   The demise of realism also puts to rest the paradox of the well-known Schrodinger Cat Experiment.  Since there is no one-to-one correspondence between physical theory and reality and, since only measurement or observation determines reality, as Bohr clearly maintained, we cannot assume that systems, either the particle or the cat, have any reality in the absence of measurement.  Therefore, nothing can be said about “the cat in a state of limbo.” Since no measurement has been made, there exists no reality to this unobserved situation.

    Despite the fact that realism has been shown to be invalid, Cartesian dualism, the reigning scientific paradigm since the seventeenth century, remains steadfast among many scientists today. Dualism has found form in the post-modern rationalist ontology of positivism. Adherents of this philosophy believe that certain truth about physical reality resides only in the mathematical description, and contend that a one-to-one correspondence exists between every element of physical theory and every aspect of the reality it describes.

     Neither dualism nor positivism can be considered valid in light of the new reality of nonlocality for a variety of reasons: First, as we noted earlier the positivist contention of an objective reality is inconsistent with principles of indeterminacy.  Physical laws and theories have no independent existence and are human creations useful only in coordinating observations with experience.  By definition an objective reality suggests a consciousness separate and distinct from the rest of reality.  This arbitrary distinction is invalid in a holistic universe.  If nonlocality is a property of the entire universe, then we must also conclude that an undivided wholeness exists on the most primary level of physical reality.

   Second, science can claim knowledge of physical reality only when the predictions of a physical theory are validated by experiment.  In a non-local universe the indivisible whole cannot be measured or observed, and nothing can be said about the character of this reality.  Quantum systems it seems behave in such a holistic state.  The wave and particle are the total reality of the situation—they are complimentary.   The system is determinate when left alone, but upon observation it behaves indeterminately according to the laws of probability.  Only one aspect of the whole can be observed at any one moment in time.

    Interestingly, As science has progressed in this century, more and more complementarities have been found.  In special relativity, mass and energy as well as space and time were found to be complimentary; in mathematics real and imaginary numbers are complimentary, and in biology Bohr himself realized that organic and inorganic matter are constructs that need to be applied independently to describe the phenomenon of life.  

Additionally life appears to be holistic, as any attempt to isolate its parts for scientific study, tends toward a reductionist approach which only makes for inconguencies in the study of the whole.  This new understanding of the relationship between part and whole in biology mirrors nonlocality in physics.

  Complementarity demonstrates that the whole is not equal to the sum of its parts.  This is true in physical reality and it is true in biology.  The authors make the philosophical argument that since consciousness is an emergent process of the brain, and the brain in turn, is an emergent process of the undivided whole, it is not unreasonable to believe that the universe is conscious.

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The Conscious Universe:

Part and Whole in Modern Physical Theory

Menas Kafatos and Robert Nadeau

 

    The theme of this book is that the universe is an undivided whole, and that John Stewart Bell's theory of non-locality and its subsequent experimental demonstration by Alain Aspect at the University of Paris-South is a fact, not only quantum physics, but the Universe as a whole.

   Quantum physics undermined the classical belief that there exists a one-to-one correspondence between every element of physical theory and every element of physical reality.  It was this proposition most of all that Einstein could not come to grips with.

   The author states that modern physics has gone to the realm of the unvisualizable.  This started with the special theory of relativity, general relativity, and quantum theory.

   The authors lay down a very clear and concise history of the development of quantum theory, including the two-hole experiments, Schrodinger's cat, and Bell's theorem.

   The authors explain very well Bohr's position on the theory of complementarity, and allowed me to see that I had errored in my own book when I suggested that Bohr believed that there was a causal effect in the collapse of the wave function.  No such thing--Instead Bohr believed that we are merely measuring different aspects of reality, both and neither are correct, but the observer and the measuring device, the total system must be taken into account.  The theory of complementarity is mutually exclusive, similar to thought and emotion as the author suggests.  Also, I might add, that awareness is exclusive in that only one aspect of reality can be illuminated at one time, to the exclusion of all else.  The following quote best summarizes the theme of the book.

 

     Science is a dialogue with nature in which we can only correlate relations between particulars, and thus any proof that the parts constitute the whole is not and cannot be the subject of science.  How, then, do we even grasp the notion of a whole?  The answer is, we think, quite obvious--we do so because that sense of wholeness is a "given" in consciousness.  But science, again by definition, does not define wholeness any more than mathematicians can define mathematically an empty set, or cosmologists can define the universe before its origin.  Definitions require opposition between at least two points of reference....This whole is literally indescribable in the sense that any description, including those of ordinary language, divides the indivisible.

 

   This book was well written and informative; however, it was a little disappointing in that there were no real philosophical breakthroughs.  The one exception may have been the description of two types of non-locality, spatial non-locality and temporal non-locality.  This was a revelation to me, but should have been apparent in the Wheeler delayed choice experiment and the regular two-hole experiment.  The measurement of the particle happens in what appears to be a reverse temporal association-- backwards in our perceived time frame.  I made a leap of logic however when I realized what Rudy Rucker stated:  That it doesn't matter whether you think of the fourth dimension as a spatial dimension or a temporal dimension, because they are the same thing.  What this could mean is that non-locality is really only spatial and that we must entertain the notion of a higher dimensionality.  This could in fact be the solution to understanding non-locality--That the universe is connected at a higher level dimension.

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Programming the Universe

Seth Lloyd

 

The universe we observe did not come about by a grand designer, or by purely random classical events according to Seth Lloyd.  Rather, the complexity we observe in the universe is a result of random programs run on the largest computer imaginable—the universe itself.

   All physical interactions of matter and energy produce information, and the universe, just like the computer sitting on your desk, uses simple Boolean logistical operations such as “NOT”, “AND”, “OR”, and “COPY.   For example the spin of an atomic particle can be represented by a single bit “0” for the “up” spin, and “1” for the down spin.  An interaction with an electromagnetic field can “flip” these spins from a “0” to a “1” and vice versa, just as a “NOT” operation would do on any universal computer.

    Likewise, an atom’s absorption of a certain frequency of light whose electron resides in the lowest energy state represented by a “0” bit can jump to a higher energy state represented by a “1” bit.  That process can be reversed when an atom emits a photon and returns to the ground state. The universe is constantly computing and the programs it uses are the laws of nature.   Designs in nature which are the most common are designs created by the simplest, most probable programs.

     Information always has a physical representation and like energy it is conserved.  Although information never diminishes and adheres to the laws of thermodynamics, quantum theory, and Relativity, information can be created from nothing.  For example, when a measurement is preformed to determine the dynamic attribute of polarization for a photon of light, information simply materializes.

  This helps explain many of the perplexities posed by quantum measurement problems, such as the “spooky action at a distance” that so bothered Albert Einstein in his famous refutation of quantum theory called the EPR experiment.  Specifically, he wondered how the measurement of one particle could instantaneously affect its entangled partner half-way across the universe in an apparent violation of causality.  Seth Lloyd says that Einstein can rest easy, because there is no observable instantaneous effect from one particle to the next in violation of Relativity.  Rather, a quantum bit called the qubit, residing in a superposition of states (a “0” and “1” simultaneously) shares a single bit of information.  Neither particle has any polarization before the measurement.  After a measurement or observation, decoherence occurs and the superposition of states collapses into a single classical bit, resulting in information about both particles.

   Information theory is so fundamental that it could encompass the so called Theory of Everything that physicists have sought for the last century.  Lloyd explains that there is a possibility that information theory can unite gravity with both Relativity and Quantum theory.  This would be the final piece of the puzzle.

  Programming the Universe was a wonderful compliment to Jeffrey Satinover’s book, The Quantum Brain, and Charles Seife’s book Decoding the Universe.  It has become apparent from reading these books that information is the most basic entity of reality, and that the universe evolved its complexity from the bottom up. 

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The Self-Aware Universe

Amit Goswami, Ph.D.

 

   It has been said that philosophers never answer any questions, they simply pose them.   Amit Goswami does both.  Armed with a keen understanding of philosophy and an academic background in theoretical sciences, Goswami is able to both succinctly state the essence of a problem and logically hypothesize an answer, while fending off the criticisms offered by others in his field.

    Goswami tackles what I consider the most important question of our time:  What are the implications of quantum physics for our everyday reality?  Numerous attempts have been made to make sense of the oddities and paradoxes of quantum physics, and there have been as many as a dozen proposals to explain the implications for our everyday reality.  Among the propositions have been Bohr’s Copenhagen Interpretation, Everett’s many-worlds Interpretation, and what some have called the most naïve explanation—Consciousness Created Reality.  The advocates of this Idealist philosophy, which includes John Von Neumann, Eugene Wigner, Fred Alan wolf, and the author of this book, unashamedly insist that objects such as the moon don’t exist until they are observed.

    Goswami doesn’t reject other interpretations of reality outright, but rather, he incorporates some of the best points into his strong anthropocentric philosophy of Monistic Idealism, which posits that the universe exists in a transcendental domain of potentiality, and it is we, the observer, who collapse this potential into the corporal world.                                              

    The fact that observers have not been here during a majority of the universe’s existence is no problem for Goswami, as he explains that a myriad of universes have existed in a transcendental realm outside of space/time, and an observation now can go ”back-in-time” to create the universe we know today.  Strange as it may seem the notion that a choice in the present can affect past events is strongly demonstrated in Wheeler-style delayed choice experiments.

   One of the thorny issues that always crops up with Consciousness Created Reality is the separation that seems to exist between the observer and the observed.  Why do we feel discrete from what we observe, and why is there a sense of a mind/body duality?  Goswami contends that the brain/mind is an object in the universal transcendental domain like any other object, and that the brain/mind is a measuring device with both classical and quantum components.  We remain largely unaware of the creative choice that our subconscious mind makes when it exercises a collapse.  The choices we make are very creative when we are young, but as we become more conditioned the choices are skewed toward predictable patterns.  It is these conditioned patterns and our memories of past choices that give us the sense of our separate “selves”—our individual egos.  

     Having read “The conscious Universe” and The Unconscious Universe” I was a bit leery about picking up yet another book with such a similar title.  I was glad that I did.  “The Self-Aware Universe” is one of those landmark publications that can change ones entire view of reality.

    For me, “Consciousness Created Reality” has always been the most romantically satisfying explanation of the paradoxes of quantum experiments.  Goswami has made it the most scientifically satisfying as well.

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    The Quantum Brain

Jeffrey Satinover

 

   Prior to reading The Quantum Brain I had supposed that evolutionary theory was an incomplete theory.  Just as quantum theory is a broader theory than classical physics, I had imagined that one day a broader, more inclusive theory would come along to explain the shortcomings of evolutionary theory.  I certainly was no creationist, but how, I wondered, could one explain such things as the perfectly engineered bird’s wing when we are told that evolution happens incrementally over generations by pure chance?  After all, a partially developed wing incapable of flight is useless to an organism and therefore, according to the principle of survival of the fittest, that organism should quickly die out.

   In addition, aren’t most genetic mutations harmful rather than helpful?   Must there not be some teleological principle involved where organisms move toward some “goal” as the ancient Greeks believed? 

   No.  It has now become apparent to me from reading The Quantum Brain that self-organizing systems with no guiding hand, can, and do, form global complexity from initial random local conditions.  And they do this through a learning process of reiterative algorithms.

   Classical chaotic systems can be seen in inanimate objects, from fluid dynamics to the growth of crystals, and intelligent aided cellular automata.  But it is life itself that takes full advantage of quantum chaos.  In fact, life would not be possible without protein’s ability to take advantage of the principles of indeterminacy, indistinguishabilty, and quantum tunneling.    

       DNA, which itself is manipulated by quantum effects, holds the blueprint for constructing proteins.  But once synthesized, proteins can manifest into trillions of possible shapes to achieve their desired function in the cells.  In a classical deterministic universe, it would take proteins billions of years to find the correct lowest energy folding patterns, but with quantum tunneling, it takes only seconds.

    With the help of phonons, sound particles used by cells to communicate, quantum tunneling effects can be extended over the length of these huge protein molecules.  In an upward amplification, these proteins change the shape of the microtubules, the highways of transportation and information processing in the cells. These local processes are further amplified into the neural networks, which in the brain, give rise to global organization and intelligence.  

    We are machines, but we are not deterministic machines.  Pure chance, the progenitor of free-will, can only take place as a result of quantum indeterminism at the atomic level.  At the instant of decoherence, what we think of as consciousness, the collapse of the superposition of states creates information and reality.  Life, the product of this reality, has in turn adapted to take advantage of quantum effects, by amplifying them and creating ever more complex life forms.  Life, as Jeffrey Satinover envisions it, is an information creating, quantum machine. 

    Jeffrey Satinover does an exquisite job explaining how life and intelligence emerges from indeterminate quantum chaos, and he has changed my philosophy of life, evolution, and consciousness. 

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Quantum Physics:

  Illusion or Reality?

Alastair Rae

 

   Since the formulation of quantum theory in the 1920s, the Copenhagen interpretation of reality has been the mainstream view among physicists.  But this interpretation has been uncomfortable for many, for it raises many paradoxes.  The lack of cause and effect, (indeterminism), the so called “observer affect, (quantum measurement problem), and non-locality, are among them.

   Wasting no time in this 118 page book, Alastair Rae grabs the reader in the very first sentence of the book by quoting Albert Einstein’s now famous pronouncement: Does God play dice [with the universe]?

   Using impeccable logic and only a bit of mathematical jargon, which can be circumvented by the reader Rae sets out to solve many of these paradoxes.  Citing experiments with polarized photons of light, he asks:

What exactly constitutes a measurement?  Does a measurement occur when a record is made?  Or does it take consciousness to collapse the wave into a definitive particle?  Is there a resolution to the Schrodinger Cat paradox? How can we explain nonlocality?

   Rae systematically entertains and rebuts in a convincing and objective way many different philosophies put forward to make sense of quantum reality.  Some have claimed, most notably Niels Bohr, that it’s the interaction of the particle with a macro-measuring device that instigates the collapse.  Others believe that it takes a consciousness to create reality.  Still others, looking for a way to save determinism, and circumvent the measurement problem latch on to Hugh Everett’s many-world interpretation. 

    In this outlandish scenario a parallel universe splits off with each measurement creating an almost unimaginable number of universes.    It is mathematically elegant but as Rae quotes physicist Paul Davies “most would believe that the losses involved in the ‘extravagance with universes’ heavily outweigh the gains from the ‘economy with postulates’.   Ironically as Rae points out most scientists claim to be “positivist”, believing that it is meaningless to speculate on unobservable quantities.  Yet, they apparently have no problem believing in a myriad of unobservable and un-measureable universes, completely and irreversibly cut off from our own.

   In the final two chapters Rae objectively entertains what he believes is the most likely resolution of the quantum measurement problem.  His idea was first proposed by Ilia Prigogine who won the Nobel Prize for his work in the field of irreversible chemical thermodynamics.  The classical idea put forward by Prigogine states that there is an irreversible arrow of time and the second law of thermodynamics is never violated.   Macro systems such as weather patterns or pots of boiling water are intrinsically unpredictable and irreversible, while quantum systems can be reversible. 

    Before a measurement of a quantum particle is made and recorded it is not apart of the reality of space and time and therefore has no application to physical law.   As Rae explains in his polarized photon experiments, if no measurement is made of a quantum system no impression has been made on the universe, and the information which could have been obtained can be reversed and destroyed.   If however a measurement is made, a change of some sort has occurred, either in the measuring device or our brain.  The measurement has impacted the universe in some manner, and as a result the macro system must now follow the second law of thermodynamics, which has an arrow of time and hence is irreversible.

    Rae states that “If we follow Prigogine’s approach, indeterminism becomes an implicit part of classical physics.  Our inability to predict the future motion of the components of a many-particle system is no longer to be thought of as a limitation on our experimental or computational ability, but as an inevitable consequence of the laws of nature.”

   Has Alastair Rae accomplished what he set out to do in this book? I don’t believe so.

  At the beginning of the book he states that he will tackle the problem of indeterminism, yet he spends most of his time attempting to explain the quantum measurement problem which is something quite different.  His attempt at determinism falls short on several points. 

   First, a Prigogine macro system is indeed unpredictable, but it is not indeterminate as Rae claims.  Rather, it is a determinate and irreversible system having and arrow of time and an initial cause, no matter how subtle. 

   Secondly, he fails to address the process of nuclear decay and the jump of the electron from one orbit to another—both of which are “real” and indeterminate.

   Finally, in regard to the quantum measurement problem,  Rae does not take into account recent experiments done with photons as cited in Scientific American (November 1991).  It this particular experimental set-up at the University of Rochester, researchers demonstrated that “The mere possibility that the paths can be distinguished is enough to wipe out the interference pattern.”  There is no measurement made, no record made, and no interaction with a macro system.  Therefore, it seems that Rae’s explanation of a resolution to the problem through a record in a Prigogine system is invalid.

   This is still a very well written and provocative book and I would recommend it for those who are interested in an objective treatment of the quantum paradoxes.

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Quantum Evolution:

  How Physics’ Weirdest Theory Explains Life’s Biggest Mystery

JohnJoe Mcfadden

 

JohnJoe McFadden, professor of molecular genetics at the University of Surrey, England identifies four major problems with Darwinian evolutionary theory.  The first, and most well-known, is the gaps in the fossil record.  These are often explained as simply an incomplete fossil record, however, as McFadden states:  “… recent exhaustive studies of well-preserved species, such as marine snails, tend to support the view that, generally, evolution seems to hop and jump, rather than crawl.”  McFadden points out that some paleontologists such as Stephen Gould and Niles Eldridge have come up with a more compatible hypothesis called “punctuated equilibrium”  which coincides  more closely with the fossil record, however, many prominent evolutionary biologists including Richard Dawkins sees little in the way of a mechanism to account for these large jumps in the evolutionary tree. 

   The second problem is the lack of precursors for the approximately one thousand protein families.  McFadden states:  “New protein families must have arisen from existing proteins by some kind of mutational process but how their sequence traversed this vast empty sequence space devoid of Darwinian intermediates is a mystery.”

  The third problem is the irreducibility of metabolic pathways.  McFadden gives the example of AMP (adenosine monophosphate) which is a precursor of ATP.  Thirteen different enzymes are needed to synthesize AMP, yet there exist no evidence of advantageous precursors of this biochemical in other organisms.  How these sequences happened within the present Darwinian theory of gradualism is difficult to explain.

   Finally, there is the problem of directionality of random mutations. Mutations happen blindly with no regard as to whether the mutation will be harmful or beneficial.  Present evolutionary theory accounts for adaptive changes in the organisms through the process of natural selection.  Those mutations which turn out to be advantageous to an organism will survive, and they will pass their genes onto the next generation.  This is the bottom-up idea, in which changes happen randomly in the DNA.  But there could possibly be something like a Lamarckian or top-down process as well. 

  McFadden sites an experiment which lends credence to this idea:  John Cairns of the Harvard School of Public Health incubated two cultures of E. coli. (“A” and “B”).  Both cultures were deficient in an enzyme needed to metabolize lactose.  He fed culture A only lactose, and he fed culture B a yeast extract that does not require the missing enzyme for metabolism. He was investigating whether or not there would be a difference in the rate of gene mutation between the two groups.  Culture A went into a latent phase and grew very slowly as expected, and culture B thrived.  To his surprise, the stressed culture A produced many more mutations for the specific gene responsible for the enzyme needed to metabolize lactose than culture B.  The rate of mutation for other genes not related to the lactose enzyme were the same in both cultures, which suggests that there must have been a specific signal from the environment with caused a top down change in the DNA.  These finding have been supported in other epigenetic research.

    McFadden believes that quantum theory could help fill in the gaps of evolutionary theory as well as explain how life originated.  He readily admits the possibility that life originated by pure chance no matter how unlikely.  If this is the case, then we would expect that we were the only life in the universe—a depressing proposition according to McFadden.  Of course it is possible that life could have arisen only once in another part of the universe and our planet was “seeded” by a comet or some other means. 

     What are the chances that life could have arisen randomly?  Chance and probability are often misunderstood.  If I flipped a coin 10 times and each time the result was a head, one might think this very unlikely, and yet the chance of throwing 10 consecutive heads is no more remote than any other series of combinations of heads and tails.  If on the other hand I asked you before I threw the coins, what the chances are of throwing 10 heads in a row (or any other sequence for that matter)  the chances would be astronomically low— 2 to the 10 power.  So, it is possible that life could have happened once, but the likelihood of it happening twice would be extremely low. 

  Fred Hoyle, who championed the “steady state” theory of the universe, wrote in his book, “The intelligent universe”: A generation or more ago a profound disserve was done to popular thought by the notion that a horde of monkeys thumping away on typewriters cold eventually arrive at the plays of Shakespeare.  This idea is wrong, so wrong that one has to wonder how it came to be broadcast so widely.  The answer I think is that scientists wanted to believe that anything at all, even the origin of life, could happen by chance…”  The fact is, as he points out, is that not enough space exists in the observable universe to hold the number of monkeys needed to randomly type even one scene of any Shakespeare play.  Either way, life could have been a solitary occurrence.  Most, however, believe that life is ubiquitous in the universe. 

 

   McFadden is one who believes that life is ubiquitous in the universe and he calls upon quantum theory to explain how life and its evolution could have been directed.  Some features of quantum processes have already been identified.   For example quantum tunneling is essential for the transport of protons (the nucleus of the hydrogen atom) in such molecular events as protein folding and DNA replication. As described by the uncertainty principle, a particle can simply jump the classical energy barrier and appear in another location.

  Another interesting aspect of quantum theory is that information can be stored in a state of superposition—the promise of quantum computing and a feature of non-locality.  Information in violation of the first law of thermodynamics can be created from nothing.  For example, light has a dynamic attribute (observer created) of polarization.  It has no polarization until it is measured.  Before measurement the information exists as a qubit (a quantum bit) which is stored everywhere and nowhere as a superposition.  Upon measurement the superposition collapses into one of two possible outcomes.  

  McFadden believes that quantum superposition resides within the cell among the various DNA and protein molecules. The cell itself can act as the observer to collapse the superposition into a single event in a process called decoherence a popular variation of the Copenhagen interpretation of reality.  Niels Bohr once stated that on subatomic event is a real event until it is observed, but recent experiments suggest that an actual observer is not necessary for the collapse of the wave-function.  Many think that atomic particles interacting with the environment are enough to collapse a superposition into a single event. Millions of possibilities can exist in superposition and when a cell senses an environmental need it can collapse the millions of possibilities into a single reality—a beneficial mutation.

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Quantum Enigma:     

Physics Encounters Consciousness

Bruce Rosenblum, Fred Kuttner

 

 

   Quantum theory is responsible for one third of our economy and it is the most successful theory of all time, yet few physicists want to face the quantum enigma or the “meaning” of this theory.

    Although the solution to this enigma remains unresolved after eighty years, the problems can be simply stated, and the authors of this book do an exemplary job of presenting the quantum enigma for anyone to understand.

   The “three pillars” of the standard Copenhagen interpretation of reality: quantum probability, the uncertainty principle, and complementarity, as well as a thorough treatment of Bell’s theorem of inequality are all explained in great detail with all of the implications it offers for the topic of consciousness and free will.  

   The two most important questions of our era, the quantum enigma and consciousness may be fundamentally related, and the resolution of one could have implications for the other.  “There is no way to interpret quantum theory without in some way addressing consciousness” (156).

    We all know that we are conscious, because consciousness is a subjective experience.  This is the first book I’ve read on this topic that offers an “objective” proof that consciousness exists using the simple principles of quantum theory.  This alone makes the book worth reading.

 

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 Quantum Enigma

Wolfgang Smith

 

 

   In this scholarly, yet accessible book, Wolfgang Smith draws a distinction between his own philosophical views and those of Werner Heisenberg’s.  Believing that quantity and scale alone do not distinguish the quantum world from the everyday macro world of classical physics, Smith rejects Heisenberg’s view and aligns himself with the philosophy of Niels Bohr who once made the assertion that there is no quantum world.  Rather, Smith arbitrarily divides the world into three separate categories:  The corporeal, the subcorporeal and the transcorporeal.

    The corporeal world is that which we perceive with our senses, our everyday reality of sight, sound, touch, and smell.  Corporeal objects Smith maintains are not anything like the physical world, but merely occupy the same space.  Though most idealist and representationalist philosophers beginning with Descartes and John Locke and continuing to the present, consider secondary qualities such as taste, sight, and sound subjective qualities imparted by the observer, Smith considers these qualities just as objective as mass and quantity, while maintaining, if not incredibly, that even the red color of an apple is an objective quality independent of observation.

  This corporeal world of the senses is presented by the physical or subcorporeal world--Plato’s universal forms (nature in and of itself) perfectly described by mathematics yet imperceptible to the senses. Atomic and subatomic particles--the transcorporeal world-- can never be perceived and must be measured by a subcorporeal measuring device, such as a geiger counter, or bubble chamber.  These devices, in turn, make a presentation of themselves by making a transformation into the corporeal world of perception.   

   There is no indeterminacy as suggested by Heisenberg, nor is there any wave/particle duality or quantum measurement problem as described by Bohr.  Smith maintains that the state vector collapse does not happen at the level of the atom, but occurs the moment a subcorporeal object passes into the corporeal domain.  Macroscopic objects of classical physics are every bit as “potential” as subatomic particles and it is measurement that actualizes the potentia from the physical to the corporeal level of reality.

   As a result, Smith believes that there is no mystery in the Schrodinger’s Cat paradox.  It is not necessary he claims, for an observer to peer into the box to determine if the cat is dead or alive, since the cat, which belongs to the corporeal world, collapses its own state vector.  Just how the transition from the subcorporeal to the corporeal world is achieved isn’t addressed directly, but one must infer from statements such as, “the entire universe is created for us,” that he is an adherent to the strong anthropic principle.  As a result, the quantum measurement problem is not solved but instead, is merely shifted from the quantum domain to a supposed transformation between the subcorporeal and corporeal domains under equally mysterious circumstances.

  Smith believes that “God plays dice” and that it is only an averaging effect of large numbers at the classical level of physics that accounts for the deterministic appearance of reality.

   In the end Smith disappoints somewhat by reverting to a deity to explain what is at present still misunderstood, betraying his rational sensibility.

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The Quantum Brain

Jeffrey Satinover

 

   Prior to reading The Quantum Brain I had supposed that evolutionary theory was an incomplete theory.  Just as quantum theory is a broader theory than classical physics, I had imagined that one day a broader, more inclusive theory would come along to explain the shortcomings of evolutionary theory.  I certainly was no creationist, but how, I wondered, could one explain such things as the perfectly engineered bird’s wing when we are told that evolution happens incrementally over generations by pure chance?  After all, a partially developed wing incapable of flight is useless to an organism and therefore, according to the principle of survival of the fittest, that organism should quickly die out.

   In addition, aren’t most genetic mutations harmful rather than helpful?   Must there not be some teleological principle involved where organisms move toward some “goal” as the ancient Greeks believed? 

   No.  It has now become apparent to me from reading The Quantum Brain that self-organizing systems with no guiding hand, can, and do, form global complexity from initial random local conditions.  And they do this through a learning process of reiterative algorithms.

   Classical chaotic systems can be seen in inanimate objects, from fluid dynamics to the growth of crystals, and intelligent aided cellular automata.  But it is life itself that takes full advantage of quantum chaos.  In fact, life would not be possible without protein’s ability to take advantage of the principles of indeterminacy, indistinguishabilty, and quantum tunneling.    

       DNA, which itself is manipulated by quantum effects, holds the blueprint for constructing proteins.  But once synthesized, proteins can manifest into trillions of possible shapes to achieve their desired function in the cells.  In a classical deterministic universe, it would take proteins billions of years to find the correct lowest energy folding patterns, but with quantum tunneling, it takes only seconds.

    With the help of phonons, sound particles used by cells to communicate, quantum tunneling effects can be extended over the length of these huge protein molecules.  In an upward amplification, these proteins change the shape of the microtubules, the highways of transportation and information processing in the cells. These local processes are further amplified into the neural networks, which in the brain, give rise to global organization and intelligence.  

    We are machines, but we are not deterministic machines.  Pure chance, the progenitor of free-will, can only take place as a result of quantum indeterminism at the atomic level.  At the instant of decoherence, what we think of as consciousness, the collapse of the superposition of states creates information and reality.  Life, the product of this reality, has in turn adapted to take advantage of quantum effects, by amplifying them and creating ever more complex life forms.  Life, as Jeffrey Satinover envisions it, is an information creating, quantum machine. 

    Jeffrey Satinover does an exquisite job explaining how life and intelligence emerges from indeterminate quantum chaos, and he has changed my philosophy of life, evolution, and consciousness. 

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Train your Mind Change your Brain

Sharon Begley

Forward by the Dalai Lama

 “One of the cardinal assumptions of neuroscience

is that our mental processes stem from brain activity:

The brain creates and shapes the mind, not the other way around.

But the data reported here now suggest there may be a two-way street

of causality…” (xii )preface

 

   The time was 2004.  The place was the exiled home of the Dali Lama in Dharmasala, India.  The event was the annual conference of the “Mind and Life Institute” concerning the topic of neuroplasticity. 

    Perhaps it shouldn’t seem all that unlikely that two such disparate philosophies,  western science and Buddhism, should come together to discuss what one discipline discovered subjectively over a period of centuries, and the other “objectively” over the past few decades, that the brain has the ability to change is own architecture over an entire lifetime.  After all, both disciplines are dynamic in their search for knowledge. 

 

Buddhism challenges the traditional belief

 in an external, objective, reality. 

Instead, it teaches that our reality is created by our own projections…

If we place all our hopes and fears in the outside world,

we have quite a challenge, because our control of the outside world

 is weak, temporary, and even illusory (14).

 

     Significant self-modification of the brain was unknown in adults, but this is not the case for children.  The neuroplasticity of a newborn’s brain is legendary.  At birth, each of the 100 billion neurons connects to approximately 2,500 other neurons and over the next two or three years a flurry of dendritic branching takes place until, on average, almost 15,000 connections are made by each neuron.  At the age of just three a human has reached the pinnacle of neural connections.

     After age three a process of pruning takes place in which some 20 billion connections are lost each day until early adolescence.  A second process of pruning takes place at around age 20.  As a result of this diminution of neural connections after childhood, it is not surprising that neuroscientists believed the adult brain to be fairly static and unchanging, with little hope of new growth.  Other evidence supported this conclusion.

    First, neurons do not undergo reproductive division, therefore, it was reasoned that no new neurons could be born in the brain.  The second and more fundamental reasoning goes right to the heart of the mechanistic paradigm of classical physics.  If the brain is a deterministic system in which connections are established by a grand genetic design, then changing the architecture of an estimated 100 billion neurons with 100 trillion connections should have catastrophic results.  This would certainly be true for a circuit board of a computer.  It is no wonder that the prospects for neuroplasticity in the adult brain seemed dim. 

 

The discovery overturned generations of conventional wisdom

in neuroscience.  The human brain is not limited to the neurons

it is born with, or even the neurons that fill it after the explosion

of brain development in early childhood (65).

 

    However, as new experiments with both human subjects and lab animals began to come in, it became clear that the brain does change during adulthood as a result of external stimuli including physical exercise, and these changes are not simply more dendrite connections, but new neurons originating from stem cells in the hippocampus area of the brain.

 

If you can get someone to exercise, his depression lifts.

Neurogenesis may be the ultimate antidepressant (70).

 

    Neuroplasticity is evident in every part of the brain.  The Somatosensory cortex, the homunculus-like region of the brain, which receives and interprets touch sensations from all parts of the body, the auditory cortex, the visual cortex, and  most surprisingly the motor cortex, which is responsible for muscle movement, are all subject to change throughout life. 

  For example, it has been demonstrated that when the visual cortex no longer receives signals from the optic nerve because of blindness, the visual cortex will reorganize to receive auditory signals.  Likewise, when deafness occurs, the auditory cortex will begin to receive and interpret visual signals.   Mastery skills such as playing the piano or repetitive athletic endeavors will increase the size of the area of the motor cortex responsible for these movements.

   But these experiments were only of passing interest to the Dalai Lama. He wanted to know if experiments could clearly show what he knew through experience.  Can it be shown that the mind alone affects the brain? 

   New scientific evidence suggested that awareness is essential in producing brain changes.  In experiments with monkeys, it was shown that only when the animals were focusing or paying attention to external stimuli, did they reap the benefits of increased brain function for performing the tasks involved. 

 

Brain specialization is not a function of anatomy

or dictated by the genes.

It is a result of experience (108).

 

    These were the first steps in answering the Dalai Lama’s question, but more data was needed, and perhaps it was the hope of verifying this belief, as well as his life-long interest in science, that convinced him and fellow Buddhist monks, lamas, and teachers to trek half-way around the world to the University of Wisconsin, where such research was being done.  The specific question the Dalai Lama had, as he inspected the strange EEG and MRI machines was this:  Can these devices tell whether or not thoughts occur before electrical activity is registered in the brain? 

  The answer to this question was never answered, nor could it be.   Researchers had another question in mind.  They already knew that the brain state changes during meditation, but does the practice of long term meditation permanently change the brain? Does our overall sense of happiness and well-being change as a result of meditation?  And more fundamentally, does mind affect brain as the Dali Lama maintains? 

 

The machine we call the brain is modified

throughout life (36).

 

   Researcher Richie Davidson of Harvard and MIT, wanted to know if cognition and mood were related.   In the 1970’s neuroscience treated the brain as very compartmentalized.  The limbic system was considered to be the seat of emotions, while the frontal lobes were known to be responsible for high order cognition.  But while at MIT Davidson discovered that the frontal lobe and the limbic system were interconnected, and subsequent evidence with brain injured people showed that injury to the frontal cortex could severely impact the mood of the individual.

 

 

This neuroanatomy is consistent with

two thousand years of Buddhist though

which holds that emotion and cognition

cannot be separated.

 

   Davidson found that when brain waves were monitored by an electroencephalogram it was possible to detect the difference in activity between the left and the right frontal lobes of the brain.  A clear correlation was established between this brain wave variability and the incidence of happiness or sadness of individuals.  Persons, who have higher brain wave activity in the right frontal lobe compared to the left frontal lobe, have a lower baseline of happiness.  These people tend to exhibit feelings of sadness, anxiety and worry.  Those who have higher brain wave activity in the left frontal lobe tend to have more positive emotions.  These individuals generally are more enthusiastic, energetic, and generally happy. 

   Of course life circumstances can change our happiness, such as illness, the death of someone close to us, financial distress and a multitude of other unfortunate circumstances.  Likewise fortuitous events can make us happier, but these things usually have only a temporary effect on our overall sense of happiness and joy.  Eventually we tend to gravitate to what has been called the “base line” or “set point” of happiness.

    Davidson now wanted to know if the emotional set point of happiness could be changed by the cognitive process of mindfulness meditation. 

   In May of 2001 Davidson had a chance to answer these questions thanks to the Buddhist Tibetan Monks who traveled to his lab.   When hooked to an EEG machine the readings from the left prefrontal cortex of monks who had practiced compassion meditation for over thirty years went off the charts, while in the process of compassion meditation.  Activity in the left frontal lobe was over 90 percent higher than any other individual ever measured!

  Gamma waves, brain waves produced when having a “aha” experience, were very high for Davidson’s meditating subjects as compared with control groups.  Once more, these levels of gamma waves, which normally last for just milliseconds in the control group of novice mediators, lasted as long as five minutes for the adept compassion meditators.   Even more impressive to this study is that once the subjects stopped meditation the gamma waves continued, demonstrating that cognitive processes have enduring effects on the architecture of the brain.

 

 

From a scientific perspective

the honest answer is that we don’t know

how mental processes

influence the physical brain (156).

 

 

  I suspect that neither the Buddhist practitioners, nor the neuroscientists have it quite right.  Buddhist philosophy concerning mind is similar to the philosophy of dualism, which in western science goes back to Descartes.  Put in the language of a Greek syllogism, Descartes reasoning on the dualism of mind/matter would have probably gone something like this:  All matter is subject to the deterministic laws of nature.  I have free will and can think any thought I please; therefore, my thoughts are different from matter and are not subject to the laws of physics. Mind and matter must be distinct.

    The trouble with “self-evident” propositions in the deductive reasoning process is that   initial propositions are often untrue.   Modern physics has shown us that at the most basic level of subatomic particles, matter has none of the familiar attributes we usually ascribe to it.  Matter has no solidity or texture, smell, color, or even a discrete location in space.   When matter becomes epiphenomenal, no distinctions can be made, and the mind/matter dualism disintegrates.  If there is no difference between mind and matter, then one cannot act on the other. 

   The second proposition is flawed as well.  We can think many thoughts, but our thoughts are not infinite.  We can only be aware of the thoughts we can conjure up, but we cannot be aware of those we cannot imagine.  Even though our ego tells us that our thoughts are original and novel, most of our thoughts come from experience, and imaginative variations of familiar things.  We cannot think of things that are totally unfamiliar.  This is why our projections of life in the future always fall short of reality.  Our ancient ancestors could not have imagined nuclear fusion, radio waves, electron microscopes, or most other modern contrivances.    It is difficult to see how a mind that is restricted by convention can freely act upon the brain.    

       Equally blatant are the shortcomings of cognitive scientists who are looking for a conventional mechanistic explanation of how it is possible for the mind, which they correctly contend is an emergent property of the brain, to have a causal effect on that which produced it in the first place.  If the brain is a classical system as they contend, a logical inconsistency occurs.  A cause and effect loop is created, which is not supported by classical physics. 

    Experiments with subjects who have electrodes placed on their heads to monitor brain activity, have shown that brain activity begins even before a person decides to do something.  Another words, if you decide to get up out of your chair and go to the refrigerator to get something to eat, brain activity has already begun before you become aware of the desire to take this action.   The Buddhist philosophy supports the notion of free will, yet this experiment is contrary to such a belief.  If the subject in this experiment wasn’t even aware of his own desire to go to the refrigerator, then whose mind is it that preceded the brain activity?  If there is some universal mind dictating our actions, then we have no more free will than the determinist cognitive scientists would have us believe. 

       Free will cannot be justified in either the Buddhist philosophy, or the determinist philosophy of the cognitive scientists, whose advocates believe that all of our actions and thoughts are created by chemical and electrical events in the brain.  But if we think of the brain as a quantum machine instead of a classical machine, then we can bring to bear all of the quirky properties of the quantum world.

    In the quantum world, it is not the particle or the field that is the most basic entity, it is information.  Information is always physical, whether it is marks on paper, holes in a punch card, atoms in an electro-magnetic state on a CD, photon polarization, or up/down spin on an electron.  All information has a physical representation, and the most basic unit of information is the qubit.  The qubit abides by the laws of thermodynamics and Relativity, except for two principles which are relevant to our topic here. 

   The first law of thermodynamics states that energy is conserved, and cannot be created nor destroyed.  But in a process know as decoherence, information can be created from nothing.  For example light has a dynamic attribute called polarization.  Before it is measured, light has no angle of polarization.  It is the very act of measurement, in and of itself, that gives light its angle of polarization.

   Also, according to Charles Seife, in his book, Decoding the Universe information does not violate Relativity except for one strange quirk—that no effect can precede its cause.       It seems that the time-asymmetrical qubit has no “before” or “after”.  The famous “double-slit” experiment in physics confirms this apparent backwards-in-time effect.

   These facts are relevant to our discussion of free will.  The quantum brain is seething with potentia in the form of trillions of qubits of potential information in a coherent state.   In a process known as decoherence, observation by our conscious mind, which is itself a product of our brain, collapses these potentia creating information and our reality in the process.  This information created through observation by our conscious mind loops back and affects our brain and subsequent actions, giving rise to the very consciousness that observed it.  There is no before or after in the quantum information world; therefore, no causal paradox arises as it does in the classical model.  We need not wonder if brain activity created consciousness or consciousness created brain activity.  A quantum loop occurs, and frees us from the idea of classical determinism.  Free will is restored.

   This was certainly a thought provoking book, and I recommend it to anyone interested in the brain and consciousness.

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     The Mind and the Brain

Jeffrey M. Schwartz, M.D. and Sharon Begley

 

   Neuropsychiatrist Jeffrey Schwartz stood at the precipice of a great divide: a divide between classical physics and quantum physics, between behaviorism and cognition, between physiological determinism and free will, between John B. Watson and William James.

   Behaviorist John B. Watson, an adherent to the philosophies of classical physics, functionalism, and determinism believed that consciousness is nothing more than the product of causal events in the brain.  These notions implicitly deny the idea of consciousness and free will, and his writings served as the guiding philosophy for the behaviorists who were providing therapy for obsessive/compulsive (OCD) patients in the 1980s.  

      “In the United States, therapists in the forefront of developing these techniques have had patients rub public toilet seats with their hands and then spread—well, then spread whatever they touched all over their hair, face, and clothes.  They have had patients rub urine over themselves.  They have had patients bring in a piece of toilet paper soiled with a minuscule amount of their fecal material and rub it on their face and through their hair during the therapy sessions….In other cases patients are prevented from washing their hands for days at a time, even after using the bathroom” (3).

   Jeffrey Schwartz was appalled at this inhumanity.   A student of Buddhism, Schwartz believed that mindfulness or “bare attention” might be more suited in helping his OCD patients than the cruel and unnecessary treatment at the hands of the behaviorist therapists, and decades of experimental research beginning in the 1980s backed up his ideas that the mind can change the brain. These experiments conclusively showed that the adult brain has the ability to form new connections as well as grow entirely new neurons from stem cells in the hippocampus of the brain. These findings were largely ignored by behaviorist therapists who were treating patients with obsessive/compulsive disorder.

  Schwartz began to recruit his own OCD patients.   He convinced them that the obsessive thoughts were the result of the faulty functioning of their brains.  In a four step process of relabeling, reattributing, refocusing, and revaluing, he was able to instill in his patients a method of self-induced therapy.  Over time these procedures altered brain chemistry,

brain function, and produced favorable long- term measurable changes in the physical  structure of the brain.

      These successes were not limited to OCD patients.  Similar procedures, which rely upon focused attention, produced equally successful therapies for patients of stroke, depression, turrets syndrome, and autism, as well as possible cures for tinnitus.

    Schwartz coined the term “mental force” implying that the mind affects matter and he states: “Mental force affects the brain by altering the wave functions of the atoms that make up the brain’s ions, neurotransmitters, and synaptic vesicles” (318).  Seeking a more rigorous quantum mechanical description of his idea, it seemed only fitting that in the spring of 1988 he would meet quantum physicist Henry Stapp.  Both he and Stapp had been profoundly influenced by the writings of William James. 

    Stapp, like James, believed that a materialist view of the mind was untenable.  The brain, Stapp insists, is a quantum mechanical system subject to all the properties of quantum mechanics such as non-locality, quantum tunneling, and the principle of uncertainty. 

   In particular, the ion channels, which are the chemical gateways connecting neurons across the synaptic gaps, are extremely narrow providing a large amount of uncertainty.   As a result a quantum superposition of states is created in which the neuron both fires and does not fire, both possibilities existing simultaneously.  At the moment of observation, the superposition of states of the brain and of the aspects of nature being probed collapse into a definitive state in which information or meaning is gained.  The dualistic boundary between mind and matter collapses.

   The role of the observer, Stapp suggests, is to decide which questions to pose.  The mind chooses which deterministic thoughts welling up in the brain should be held in consciousness in what William James called the “stream of consciousness” and what physicists call the quantum Zeno effect, named after the Greek philosopher Zeno of Elea. 

   The quantum Zeno effect, describes what happens when certain quantum attributes exist in a superposition of states simultaneously.  An observation will collapse the two states into just one, and continued closely spaced in time observations will tend to hold it in that position indefinitely. 

   This procedure has been carried out with an ammonia atom.  The nitrogen atom which sits either atop or below a tripod of three hydrogen atoms exist in a superposition of being on top of the tripod or being below the tripod.  An observation will find it at one place or the other, but continual observation will freeze it in one location indefinitely.  Free-will allows choice in asking nature which questions to ask and what thoughts to hold in consciousness. 

   Through experiments he carried out in the 1980s Ben Libet believed that free-will concerns which deterministic thoughts to act upon. 

   In his experiments Libet hooked subjects up to an electroencephalograph that measures brain activity in the cerebral cortex.  He asked subjects to make a voluntary movement at any time they wished.  Through careful measurements he discovered that brain activity conducive to a particular movement began even before the subject decided to act.  Some interpreted this to mean that free will is nothing more than an illusion, since brain activity preceded the decision to act.  Libet had a different interpretation.  He surmised that free will is really about deciding whether or not to act upon deterministic processes that occur in the brain.  In each occurrence of the brain’s activity, ample time remains for subjects to veto the decision to make a movement.  This then is the essence of free will, and this is what gave the OCD patients the prerogative not to act upon the unwanted thoughts that welled up in their brains as a result of deterministic processes.

   Schwartz’ effort was a triumph of quantum physics over classical physics, of cognition over behaviorism, of free will over determinism and of William James over the ideas of John B. Watson.  This was a masterful and well researched book that documents many years of Jeffrey Schwartz’s professional career from his early influence by William James to his groundbreaking work with OCD patients, and culminating with his fortuitous meeting with physicist Henry Stapp.  This book had an influential effect on my philosophy of the nature of reality.

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  Mind in Life

Evan Thompson

 

   Evan Thompson draws from the disciplines of biology, philosophy, psychology, and neuroscience to bring about a wide and varied discussion of one of the most significant philosophical questions or our time called the explanatory gap—the gap between our subjective experience and the laws of nature.  “Exactly how are consciousness and subjective experience related to the brain and the body?”  How is it that our subjective experience of the world sets us apart from our environment, when our environment and life are intricately coupled?  Thompson contends that there can be no dualistic separation between the organizational properties of life and mind.  In fact, Thompson says in the preface: “…the self-organizing features of mind are an enriched version of the self-organizing features of life.”  To understand mind it is necessary to understand life.  And to these ends, Thompson references the great philosophical and scientific thinkers past and present in an attempt to sort out questions of what constitutes life and consciousness, and he carefully and respectfully points out what he believes could be the strengths and weaknesses of each hypothesis.

   Since it is necessary to understand life in order to comprehend mind, it isn’t surprising that the philosophical methodologies used to explaining life are similar to those used to explain mind.  From my understanding of Thompson’s work, it seems that there are two philosophically divergent paths that researchers have pursued to explain these concepts.  One path, which encompasses the fields of cognitive science, computation, and genocentrism, is mechanistic, reductive, dualistic, and materialistic in nature.  The other more meaningful and holistic path favored by Thompson encompasses principles including dynamism, autonomy, autopoiesis, and enactive evolution. 

   The theory of genocentrism supposes that the organism is merely a vehicle which the “selfish gene constructs and controls for purposes of its own survival.  Genocentrism as a theory of life and evolution is similar to the view of computationalists in respect to the mind and the brain.  Both incorporate the dualistic notion of hardware vs. software, matter vs. information and body vs. mind.  Just as the genocentrist views the genes inside the cell as the software that controls everything from phenotype to evolution, so the computationalist views the mind as the controlling software inside the head.  The author summarizes this idea by stating that “The view that life is essentially a matter of the genes inside the cell nucleus is homologous to the view that the mind is essentially a matter of a computer brain inside the head” (173).   The main problem with the genocentrist view is that the theory presupposes that the apparatus of the cell is already in place for the DNA and RNA replication process.  DNA and RNA are not self-replicating and are entirely dependent upon the self-replicating cell to establish an environment for the process of protein synthesis and reproduction.  There is no one-to-one correspondence between the coding of the genes and phenotypic expression.  In fact, while it was once believed that it took one gene to produce one protein, it has since been discovered that one gene can code for many proteins and the expression of these proteins is dependent upon quantum processes that allow individual proteins to fold into as many as a thousand different configurations to carry out their specific tasks. The multitude of processes that are carried out by the membrane and various organelles of the cell in their totality are what provide the milieu for the function of the genetic material.  As Thompson states:  “This notion of information as something that preexists its own expression in the cell, and that is not affected by the developmental matrix of the organism and environment, is a reification that has no explanatory value.  It is informational idolatry and superstition, not science.” (187)

 

 Thompson details the shortcomings of genocentrism and espouses the viability of the inactive approach to explain mind and life.  The author states that self-organization and natural selection are not mutually exclusive, but, are in fact, complementary aspects of a unified process of enactive evolution.  The enactive approach takes into account the intentionality of life as well as the emergence of mind in the self-organizing processes that interconnect the brain, body, and the environment.  The expression of life is not merely a matter of information, but a complementarity of information and meaning—an idea thoroughly explored in my book, “Confronting the Quantum Enigma, Albert, Niels, and John.” (2011)

   Thompson’s assumptions hinge on the many researchers who have attempted to define life.   The consensus view is that for something to be alive is must be “autopoietic”.  Autopoiesis is defined as a dynamic, self-organizing, self-replication system.  Several researchers including Maturana and Varela contend that all autopoietic systems are also cognitive systems.  Thompson states that if autopoiesis and cognition are what distinguishes life from non-life, then the process of understanding life and understanding mind are continuous.

This dense book of five hundred pages took me several months to plod through, but the effort was worth it.   Evan Thompson left no stone unturned in his quest to understand life and mind in this well-researched masterpiece. 

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Mind as Mosaic: 

The Robot in the Machine

Bruce H. Hinrichs

 

 

     Mind as Mosaic is a monumental work that cuts through folk psychology and myth to attain a scientific understanding of the relationship between the brain and the mind.  Hinrichs approach is to define terms and principles, and to address long held philosophical notions such as dualism and the mind-body problem.

    Descartes, the founder of modern western philosophy, believed that mind has a supernatural origin that influenced behavior and was not necessarily involved with the physical brain.  Hinrichs says the evidence is overwhelming that this is not the case. Mental activities including our emotions, are completely and solely a product of the biochemical activities of the physical brain. The mental never influences the physical.  We don’t will anything to happen, rather, our actions are a product of a deterministic brain.  Our misconception that we will our actions arises because the actions produced by our brain also produces a conscious state that previews these actions and, in turn, elicits the illusion that the conscious state caused us to act.

    Mental activity and will can be altered by physical changes that take place in the brain by the simple process of learning, but behavior will rarely be changed by simple suggestion or an individual’s desire to alter behavior.  Therefore, as popular notion has it, there is no ghost in the machine, but rather a robot.  Our mind is a slave to our brains.

  

   Still it is not clear just how the physical brain produces our conscious state.  This is the essence of the mind-body problem.   Some such as Colin Mcginn believe that we can never understand consciousness because it is beyond our potential.  Many thinkers believe that consciousness, by definition, can never be understood, by citing Godel’s mathematical incompleteness theorem that in essence states: No independent system can completely understand itself.

     Other researchers, Hinrichs among them I suspect, believe that there is no reason why consciousness is beyond the realm of a scientific understanding.  One thing seems to be certain.  The world we perceive, the movie in our heads that produces our conscious reality is not the reality perceived by our senses.  In other words our reality is an altered, filtered, product of the physical world.

   Our brain might in some sense be a computer, in that it calculates, but it is by no stretch of the imagination anything like the silicon chip computer on our desks.  There is disagreement, in fact, whether our brains are machines at all.  Physicist Roger Penrose maintains that no machine can ever be conscious.  He believes that the brain is not computational, but operates on the principle of nonlocality, and therefore is not a computer at all.  John Searle agrees believing that machines can mimic the thinking process by manipulation symbols, but can never understand in a conscious manner. 

     There are many differences that set the brain apart from traditional computers. First, the brain is a living “machine” in which it is impossible to separate the software from the hardware.  Unlike an electronic computer there is no location for memory storage.  Instead, memory is stored amongst the neural connections.   In addition the brain acts holistically.  If one was to remove a chip, or part of a program, a computer would cease to run, but removing a few neurons in the brain would have little effect.  Hinrichs refers to the holism of the brain as a Mosaic, but I think he has the wrong metaphor here, for the tiles of a mosaic form the whole picture by simply adding the pieces together.  This in essence is the electronic computer metaphor. The Metaphor for the brain would more accurately be like a hologram in which each minuscule part contains the entire image.

   Hinrichs makes a convincing argument that our minds are determined by the actions of the brain, which in turn is a product of evolution.   His thesis raises some very interesting questions regarding the notion of free will.

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Unified Reality Theory:

  The Evolution of Existence into Experience

Steven Kaufman

 

   Niels Bohr said that the work of the physicist in not to explain how nature “is”, but rather, to describe physical phenomenon according to the type of measurement preformed.  Steven Kaufman, apparently, is not willing to let the physicist off the hook so easily.  In a bold and ambitious work, Kaufman invents what he calls the Relational Matrix Model to not only describe the phenomena of nature, but to give a description of the “how” and the ”why” of phenomena.  In this all- encompassing ontological model, Kaufman offers a physical description of the nature of:  Space/time, electromagnetic energy, mass, inertia, matter, gravity, Planck’s constant, the wave/particle duality, and consciousness. 

  It is often stated that we have no better understanding of such phenomena as: energy, gravity, matter, and inertia than the ancient Greeks.  Yet, Kaufman’s Relational Matrix Model provides an explanation of what these phenomena actually “are”.   For instance, he demonstrates with his model of reality how distortions of “absolute existence” provides a basis for: why gravity bends space, why matter exits, why electromagnetic energy propagates through space at the speed of light, why gravity and matter are associated with each other, and why Planck’s constant must have its numerical value.  Everything seems to “work out” in Kaufman’s physical model of reality, which manifests as sets of hierarchical complimentary relationships between absolute existence and relative existence.   As Buddhist philosophers have long maintained: Nothing has independent existence, and Kaufman takes this idea to its ultimate fulfillment.   He states:  “Realities exist as part of a relationship, and exist as such only within the context of that relationship.”  Existence is the process by which absolute existence dualizes to form a relationship with itself.  This reality can only be actualized within the context of an experience.  Kaufman says:  “There exists no experienced reality in the absence of an experiencer…”

  Kaufman’s style is to repeat over and over again various concepts, each time in a slightly different manner.  This is by no means a shortcoming, but a necessity to help the reader understand the complexity of his revolutionary system of reality.  His greatest achievement in this work, I believe, is his treatment of the nature of experience, awareness, and consciousness; all of which are relative complementary aspects, each dependent upon the other for their existence.  He states: “Consciousness isn’t a product of physical reality, but reality is a product of consciousness.”

  “Unified Reality Theory” is a grandiose title, but Steven Kaufman delivers the goods in this unique and extraordinary book. 

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The Visionary Window

Amit Goswami, Ph.D.

 

 

     Seventy years after the quantum revolution began; Amit Goswami peered through the visionary window to behold a truth that Eastern traditions such as Hinduism, Buddhism, and Taoism have known for centuries:  Consciousness is the ground of all being.  For him, this revelation synthesized the two disciplines of science and spirituality. 

     Traditional western science has treated consciousness as an epiphenomenon of matter, an emergent property of the brain.  But Goswami insists that this produces a paradox.  If consciousness is necessary for decoherence, the process by which quantum possibilities become material reality, how is it possible that consciousness can arise from the very material consciousness creates? 

   If however, we turn this idea on its head, and show that matter is an epiphenomenon of consciousness, then the paradox disappears.  Matter is within consciousness.   “We don’t have consciousness, rather consciousness has us” (52).  It is only because of our memory that we have a secondary awareness, which creates the illusion that consciousness is an individual experience.

    A universal consciousness helps explain some quantum decoherence experiments in which a conscious observer has been eliminated.  For example, in an experiment called the “Quantum Pinball (Scientific American, November 1991) the results showed that just the mere possibility that knowledge could be gained, was sufficient to collapse the quantum potential into reality.  It appears that decoherence is dependent only upon knowledge or meaning in and of itself.   

 

   This idea provides an answer to the question:  What constitutes a measuring device?  Is it any macro device as Niels Bohr had insisted; would Schrodinger’s cat suffice?  Or is human consciousness necessary for decoherence as physicist Eugene Wigner and mathematician John Von Neumann have claimed?  It appears that universal consciousness, differentiation, and meaning are responsible for decoherence.

 

    If the strong anthropic principle makes you uncomfortable, the idea that the universe is created for us and the species to follow, then the concept of universal consciousness relieves us of this anthropocentric burden.  The universe is imbued with consciousness and meaning, and there is a constant self-referential communication between consciousness and matter in an endless creative drive toward greater and greater complexity and evolution, including the optimal measuring device—the human brain.

   

  In the last portion of the book Amit Goswami includes chapters on subjects such as reincarnation, angels, and quantum healing.  If this makes you queasy, rest assured Goswami is a physicist to the core.  This book was well worth the read, and a very good follow up to his book “The Self-Aware Universe”.  (see my review on Amazon). 

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The Monkey and the Tetrahedron

David M. Jinks

 

   I have reviewed a dozen or more books of science in this forum,  (Amazon Customer Reviews) many of which I considered to be outstanding in clarity, scope, and profundity, but I have remained very stingy on granting the highest of exaltations on these works until now.  The Monkey and The Tetrahedron by David M. Jinks, warrants my very first 5 star rating.

   In this momentous work Jinks delves into topics ranging from the enigmatic Monuments of Mars, the UFO phenomenon, cold fusion, archeology, biology, and even a science I had never heard of called Archeocrptology, and brings them all together in a tightly knit scheme.  Attempting to synthesize what Jinks has achieved in this work would only be an injustice.  It’s a book that must be read in its entirety.  There are enough unturned stones here that it could entice you into pursuing you own investigations and scientific experimentation.  It did me!  What more can we ask of a book than to have it compel us to pick up the torch of scientific inquiry.       

 

              See Book Notes Below:

 

 

Page 15.  Richard Hoagland, director of the “Enterprise Mission”, has accumulated a body of evidence which suggests that hyperdimensional physics is the driving force in the universe.

 

Note:  The author says that he is not an expert in any one field in particular, and says that there are no degrees for the subject matter he discusses.  This should be exciting for any non-scientist who is curious because anyone of us could conceivably advance the study of any of these fields.

 

Page 17.  The author covers all of the Enigmatic Monuments of Mars discussed in Hoagland’s book by the same title.

 

Page 20.  The five main pyramid points of the “City” form a pentagon.

 

Page 29   Horace Crater reported that every internal angle created by lines drawn between the Pentad of mounds is a simple function of 90 degree and 19.5 degree angles.  The odds of this happening by chance is one in 200 million.

 

Page 30. Researchers closely involved in the Cydonia studies echoed Hoagland’s conclusion that the structures on Mars are probably intelligently designed.

  Dr. Eugene Mallove, formerly of TASC and MIT Lincoln Laboratory, concluded that “The evidence is probably irrefutable that an extraterrestrial civilization came here millions of years ago and established itself on Mars.” 

 

Pages 34, 35 demonstrate government conspiracies to cover-up the investigations of the monuments.

 

Page 57.  The messages of Cydonia

Page 58.   The mathematical relationships of the monuments on Mars most often include the irrational numbers and ratios of square root of 2, 3, 5, and the relationships of e and pi.    The square roots of 2,3, and 5 are the basis for all volumetric forms.   Architects of antiquity believed that geometry and certain mathematical relationships were crucial building blocks of the Cosmos, and that architecture should reflect these symmetries.

 

E/pi = .865 = the ratio of the surface area of a sphere to the surface area of its inscribed tetrahedron.

 

One of the most profound messages seems to be the relationship of a tetrahedron inscribed within a sphere.

Each of the four vertices of the tetrahedron forms 60degree angles with the other three vertices.  A three dimensional projection of an equilateral triangle.

 

Page 63.  Hoagland found that if one point of an imaginary tetrahedron was placed within the Mars sphere with one vortex at Olympus Mons, which is located at 19.5 degrees north latitude the other vortex falls at the longitude of Cydonia.

 

Page 68.  Hoagland entertains the idea that higher dimensions interact with lower dimensions creating excess energy.  The more dimensions—the more information—the more energy.

 

Page 71.   It’s possible that the 4th dimension creates our three dimensional world at the quantum level.

 The anomaly posed by superconductivity and superfluidity might not be explained by altered electron energy states, but rather the tapping of hyperdimensional energy (the zero point energy)  or New Hydrogen Energy (NHE)—cold fusion”

 

 

Page 79.  A Device called the Patterson fuel cell, which creates extra energy has been patented.  Patents have been squashed in this country, but in countries such as Japan cold fusion is treated as another branch of academic physics.

 

 

Page 96.  It is suggested that materials such as palladium, platinum, nickel, and carbon, which have tetrahedral geometry, are responsible for the NHE affect.  In addition it is worth noting that many cold fusion reactions are produced using superconducting materials.  Most superconducting materials exhibit tetrahedral geometry in their atomic configurations.

 

Page 97.  A litany of descriptions of NHE and gravity altering devices on these pages.

 

Page 99.  Alchemy may be possible without nuclear reactions if cold fusion is valid.   Example, is some cold-fusion reactions rubidium was transmuted to strontium.   Also potassium to calcium, and lead to Gold and other metals.

 

Page 101.  The evidence for transmutations in experiments is overwhelming though the process is not understood.

 

Page 102.  Scientist are still puzzled as to why Mars was warmer in the distant past.  Theories such as the Greenhouse effects of erupting volcanoes don’t account for this affect.  Rather Hoagland proposes that the sun is dimming rather than getting brighter due to the fact that as the Sun spins, its corona extends into space thus slowing down its angular momentum, and as a result causing it to translate less energy from 4D to 3D.  Fossil records show a warmer past.

  (This contradicts the notion I had that the Sun is 50 percent more luminous than in Cambrian times.

 

Since we are carbon based tetrahedral organisms we might be hype-dimensional machines transferring 4D into 3D energy called consciousness.

 

Page 104.  The study of Astrology might have originally been the biological response to hyperdimensional gating driven by the largest conductors—The celestial bodies.

 

Page 105.  Time can be thought of as the human response to the gradual, yet continuous degradation of information transfer between the 4D and 3D due to partially closed hyper-dimensional gate.  Time would cease to exist in a perfect system of no resistance.

 

Page 117.  Carl Munck’s research shows beyond question that several hundred of the thousands of earthen and rock buildings, temples, and mounds dotting the planet are related to what he calls, simply “the code”—Monk’s Code.  He found mathematical parallels between sacred Earth monuments, and Cydonia.

 

Page 120.  Discussion of Stan Tenen’s work who has spent 25 years studying mathematical codings and geometric metaphors in ancient sacred texts.

 

Page 140.  According to Braden the electromagnetic field of the earth is too strong to allow hyper-dimensional flow into our 3D world.

  The Schumann Cavity Resonance is a measure of the quasi-standing electromagnetic waves in the Earth’s ionosphere.

 

Page 142.  The Fibonacci Series:  1…1…2…3…5…8…13…21…etc.  –each number is derived from the addition of the two previous numbers.  This series describes many natural cycles including plant growth, breeding patterns of rabbits, the reflection of light through mirrors, the rhythmic laws of losses and gains in the radiation of energy.

 

Page 143.  The strength of the Earth’s magnetic field is thought to depend on the rotation rate of the planet’s molten core

 

It’s been postulated that a pole reversal occurs when the earth’s rotation gradually comes to a halt and begins to rotate in the opposite direction.  There is some evidence to suggest that a complete pole reversal took place 11,000 to 13,000 years ago.  Some predictions estimate that the next reversal could occur in the year 2030.  (This doesn’t seem feasible.  What would cause the earth to stop and spin in the other direction?).

 

Page 163.  Five Platonic solids shown.  Fully enclosed volumes having sides of equal length and interior angles of identical size.

 

Page 170   Cairo Egypt was originally named EL-Kahir which means “Mars”.

 

Page 171.  Two scientists Richard Thompson, and Michael Cremo, have compiled an impressive volume full of evidence that supports the idea that modern humans existed long before modern theories of evolution allow.  Forbidden Archeology:  The Hidden History of the Human Race,  concludes that evidence show that anatomically modern humans coexisted with other primates for tens of millions of years.

  Richard Leakey said it does not deserve to be taken seriously by anyone other than a fool.

  Michael Denton’s book Evolution: A theory in Crisis and Phillip Johnson’s book Darwin on trial, points out that transitional species have not been found.  There seems to be little in the way to support the gradual evolution of species.

  It was predicted that Microbiology would eventually provide crucial evidence of the millions of chance mutations required by Darwinism to produce evolutionary changes.  Instead, recent breakthroughs in the genetic sciences strongly refute the core assumptions of evolution by natural selection.  For example, at the molecular level amphibian, traditionally thought to be intermediate between other terrestrial vertebrates and fish, are as far from fish as any group or reptiles or mammals.

 

Page 175.  The scientific credo, which says extraordinary claims need extraordinary proof, is simply a filter to reject unwanted ideas.  Any scientific claim should be subject to the same amount of proof.

 

Page 177.  Cremo and Thomposon’s exhaustive research reveals hundreds of artifact discoveries that upsets accepted theories:  A list follows.

 

Page 185.  The lack of evidence for advanced civilizations that predate the Egyptian and Sumerians may be due to tremendous geological changes such as glaciers, volcanism, and other violent activities, small populations

 

Page 189.  List of statistics of the great pyramid.

 

Page 192.  The evidence linking the three pharaohs to the consturction of the pyramids is dubious.  The Great Pyramid is mentioned nowhere in any ancient text or painting

 

Page 196.  Evidence shows that the Sphinx may be 7,000 to 10,000 years old due to the fact that it has been weathered by water.

 

Page 201.  According to Bauval and co-author Adrian Gilbert in The Orion Mystery, the great pyramids of Giza were not glorified burial plots, but were part of an elaborate “star map” designed to emulate a region of the sky—Orion’s belt.  Orion represented the most powerful of gods, Osiris.  The Nile River represented the Milky Way.

 

Page 203.  Bauval found that the entire Giza Necropolis, was a giant astronomical clock designed to draw attention to the epoch of 10,450 BC.—A time when according to the ancient Egyptians when humans consorted with the gods.  The geometries of the sky and Giza mirrored each other 13,000 years ago!

 

Page 206.  The vernal equinox possibly not coincidentally falls in Leo from 10,970-8810 BC, the new proposed date of the construction of the sphinx.

 

The processional cycle is 25,920 years.  One half of a cycle is 12,960.  We are near the end of the half-cycle or “last time.”  These numbers and their divisors (5, 6, 12, 36, 72, 144, 360, 432, etc are special numbers which, in ancient texts, myths, or monuments refer to the passing of the earth through the ages.

 

Page 208.  A list of the processional numbers.  The ancients may have encoded this information into their measurements and time-keeping for future generations.

 

Page 211.  The Dogon culture mystery is presented.  Robert G Temple in his book; The Sirius Mystery publicized the puzzle of the Dogon.

 

Page 213 Carl Munck who has joined Hoagland’s Mars Mission team spent 15 years as an Archeocryptologist studing the mathematically encoded monuments of the world.  Specifically, Munck investigaed the relationships between ancient anonymous sites around the world that appears to link them together, through processional and tetrahedral numbers.  Munck called these patterns the “code”.

 

   Munck’s Code is the picture of simplicity.  In order to determine whether a structure is included in Munck’s global grid, it is necessary to note the most obvious feature displayed by the particular monument.  For example, circular or spherical structures suggest 360 and /or pi; square architecture suggests right angles.  Certain monuments that prominently display fundamental features—the number of stairs, staircases, terraces or columns, for example—suggest certain numbers that should be used in determining how (or if) the structure belongs in Munck’s grid.

 

  Three other basic measurements are needed: The structure’s Grid Latitude, its Grid longitude, and it’s Grid Point.  Munck defines a structure’s Grid Latitude as the product of its degrees, minutes and seconds of latitude.  A structure’s Grid Longitude is the product of its degrees, minutes and seconds of longitude.  A structure’s Grid point value is the Grid Longitude divided by its Grid latitude.

   There’s one other important and essential point.  The meaningful global grid arises only when the Prime Meridian is positioned precisely within the Giza Plateau—specifically, through the apex of the Great Pyramid!

  Giza is at the exact center of Earth’s habitable landmasses.  The east-west axis corresponds to the longest land parallel across the earth, passing through Africa, Asia and America; the longest land meridian on Earth passes through Asia, African, Europe, and Antarctica.

 

Page 214.  The perimeter-to-height ration of the Great pyramid is pi.  According to Munck the Great Pyramid was built as a 3D model of pi.

 

Page 215.  The Code conclusions: 

  The ancient designers of monuments knew where the equator was and used the Great pyramid, at the center of the planet’s landmass as the Prime Meridian.

  They utilized the 12-inch foot, the 5280-foot mile, the 360-degree circle, and base- ten mathematics.

  They knew the dimensions of the Earth and Moon and, probably, the distances from the Earth to the Sun, Moon and Mars.

  They knew about both the processions of the equinoxes and the structures of Cydonia..

 

Page 228.  The tetrahedron generates all the processional numbers.

 

Page 231.  The creators of the Code appear to have known precisely what they were doing when they locked in the hyper-dimensional numbers according to an astronomical clock keyed to the Earth’s wobble.

 

Page 232.  Discussion of Atlantis and the lithosphere pole shift theory.

 

Page 243.  Description of crop circles.  The samples of grain in crop circles have the following anomalous characteristics:

1.      An abnormal enlargement of cell wall pits in bract tissue (the membrane surrounding the developing embryo.

2.      The presence of “expulsion” cavities (holes at the plant stem nodes blown from the inside-out).

 

3.      Grossly enlarged plant stem nodes in conjunction with a marked bending of the plant stem nodes, from as little as 10 degrees to an extreme of 90 degrees or more.

 

4.      Malformed seed-heads, in which in some cases the seed are missing or, more often, in which the seeds are severely stunted.

 

5.      Significant changes in germination or seedling growth rates.

 

One particular crop circle at Barbary Castle was profoundly meaningful with regard to the message of Cydonia, for it encompasses subtleties of form which could only be known to someone well versed in hyper-dimensional physics and sacred geometry.   The .865 (e/pi), 19.5 degrees and 49.6 degrees the buttress angles of the D & M as well as the Stonehenge Avenue angles are each found plainly communicated in the Barbary Castle formation.

 

Page 281- 388.   The UFO phenomenon. 

 

Page 389.  Lunar artifacts.  Some of the moon’s mysteries have been solved thanks to images leaked from the Clementine probe.

1)      A paradoxical darkening and lightening of the lunar surface due to the “Venetian Blind” affect of the dome.

2)      Flashes of light reported for centuries could be due to collapsing glass structures, and may also be responsible for the release of the unexplained water vapor emissions detected by NASA in 1971.

3)      Excessive “ringing” of the lunar surface produced by Moon quakes, and bombardments may be due to vibration of glass structures.

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The Physics of Consciousness:

 The quantum mind and the meaning of life  

Evan Harris Walker

 

 

 In this insightful work, The Physics of Consciousness, Evan Harris Walker concludes that “consciousness is reality”.    Many philosophers and scientist have suggested that consciousness can never be explained because of its subjective nature, but Walker disagrees. 

   Methodically quantifying the various processes involved in information exchange in the brain in terms of “bits”, Walker is able to extrapolate approximations of the speed and capacities of the information being manipulated in neural activities. 

    With this information in hand, Walker proceeds to treat the mind/brain activities in Descartesean fashion, maintaining that  in order to fully understand the relationship between the part and the whole, a dualistic notion of mind and matter must be entertained.  The dualities of wave vs. particle and observer vs. observed in the strange quantum world of state vector collapse, give us a clue as to what is transpiring in the brain.  

   Walker contends that the 24 trillion synapses in the brain delineate the transition point between mind and matter.    Most have rejected quantum effects across the synapses because of the relatively large distances and energy it takes to make the leap, but these individuals have not taken into account several known facets of quantum physics such as the principles of tunneling, indistinguishability, and the state vector collapse. 

   Walker says that the mind itself consists of two parts—consciousness and will.  Consciousness does not have to be a part of a living or thinking entity, but is a factor in all quantum events in nature. The Will, which defines what we are, is the catalyst that collapses the wave function into one discrete, non-local event from a myriad of possibilities.  According to the principles established by Bell’s non-locality theorem, this state vector collapse travels out into the universe at large, and always maintains a link to our individual and collective minds.  As a bonus, Walker has answered another mystery as deep as consciousness itself—the nature of time.  Time is real and asymmetrical.  It is the irreversibility of the state vector collapse that gives time its arrow.

   This is without exception the most satisfying and believable description of the nature of consciousness I have read to date.  This work is a bit difficult at times for the non-scientist, but in the end patience pays off.  With great effort he has made the concepts of the principles of “indistinguishability” and “non-locality” understandable, and he has brought us to a definitive link between mind, time, and nature.

   Even so, I found his distinctions between consciousness, thought, and “will” a bit confusing if not contradictory at times.  But he has something very important to say about the nature of mind, and as a result of his thorough understanding of quantum theory, he has come closer than any previous scholars to finally nailing down the nature of consciousness. 

  Running parallel to his main thesis is a delightful reminiscence of his high school lover who died after graduation in the summer of 1952.  Excerpts from his diary and remembrances of the lost love of days gone by, make Walker’s work both a scholarly and endearing tale.

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The Fabric of the Cosmos

Brian Greene

 

 

  This was an excellently written comprehensive treatment of an expansive subject matter—the nature of reality.  Following are some key points in this book.

 

 Page 36.  Newton thought that motion was relative to space, but Mach thought that space was not a real concept.  Rather he believed that motion is relative to all matter in the universe.  The problem of the “spinning bucket of water” in which centrifugal force causes the water to become concave when the bucket is spinning had various explanations.  Mach claims that the water would not become concave if there were no matter in the universe.  He said that there would be no feeling of spinning, and in fact spinning would have no meaning in an empty universe.  He said, “You feel acceleration only when you accelerate relative to the average distribution of other material inhabiting the cosmos.”

 

Page 51.  Einstein probably should have stuck with the original name of relativity theory.  He initially wanted to call his new theory, the theory of invariance, but of course it became known as relativity theory.  This theory states that the laws of nature are the same for every frame of reference.    It is only when observers in difference frames of reference compare their observations that the peculiarities arise.  For example, space/time is absolute, and this is what provides the reference for the acceleration and the spinning bucket problem.   Absolute time does not exist, and absolute space does not exist, but absolute space/time does exist according to Einstein.

  An object that is not accelerating will have a straight line though space/time, but an accelerating object will track a curved line.

 

Page 67.  Since gravity and acceleration are equivalent, if you feel gravity’s influence you must be accelerating.  A person falling down an elevator shaft is not accelerating, but is weightless.  It is the building and the earth that are accelerating upward.  We are accelerating as we sit in our chars here on earth.

 

Page 99. The Einstein-Podolsky-Rosen paper was designed to demonstrate that an exact position and momentum of subatomic particles could be known.

 

Page 112.   John Stewart Bell proved EPR was incorrect.  Later experiments verified that the measurement of entangled particles separated in space/time is not autonomous.  The measurement of one particle can have an instantaneous effect on its entangled partner despite its spatial separation in space/time.

 

Page 121.  Einstein believed that objects in the universe possess definite values.  Attributes do not hang in limbo waiting for an experimenter to measure them.  Most physicists say that Einstein was wrong on this.

 

Page 141.  A particular moment can no more change in time than a particular location can move in space.  If the location were to move it would be a different location in space; if a moment in time were to change it would be a different moment in time.

 

Page 157.  The second law of thermodynamics seems to have given us an arrow of time.  More specifically it is the collapse of the wave function that gives us the arrow of time.  This can only happen in one direction.

 

Page 171.  The big bang started the universe off in a state of extraordinary low entropy, and that state appears to be the source of the order we currently see. 

 

Page 173.   The more squeezed, dense, and massive clumping of mass in the universe the more over-all entropy.  Black holes are the extreme in entropy.  Black holes hold on to all the entropy the produce.  The universe started out in a state of very low entropy—the most probable state.

 

Page 181.   Richard Feynman showed that the sum-over histories of a particles possible paths toward the detector gives us the probability outcome of the resulting outcome.

 

Page 190.   In quantum mechanics it is not possible to erase the past—only the potentialities can be erased.   In a gravitational lens, for example, a measurement taken now doesn’t effect which route the photon took billions of years ago, because the photons have been in a quantum hybrid state of possibilities.  Observation today causes one of the strands of quantum history to gain prominence.

 

Page 208.  The most likely solution to the quantum measurement problem is decoherence.  No conscious observer is needed, because decoherence is a result of environmental observation, by other photons, neutrinos, etc.

 

Page 241.  There are but three possibilities to the shape of the universe, positive curvature, negative curvature of flat—zero curvature.

 

Page 254.  Photons are the elementary particle of electromagnetic fields and can be thought of as the microscopic transmitters of the electromagnetic force.  And just as electromagnetic fields are compose of photons, and gravitational fields are believed to be composed of gravitons, the strong and weak fields also have a particulate constituent.  The particles of the strong force are called gluons, and those of the weak force are called the W and Z particles.

 Fields respond to temperature as ordinary matter does.  The higher the temperature, the more ferociously the value of a field,

 

Page 261.  It is the Higgs field that scientists believe gives object inertia.  The Higgs field interacts with the quarks and electrons in objects and causes resistance to motion.  The Higgs field unlike the presupposed ether does not interact with light, nor objects in constant motion.

 

Page 272.  A common misconception is that the big bang provides a theory of cosmic origins.  It doesn’t.  The big bang is a theory explaining what happened a moment after the beginning.  It’s quite possible that gravity acted as a repulsive force to cause the universe to come into being.

 

Page 274.  Einstein introduced the cosmological constant to explain why the universe was static.  This he considered to be the biggest blunder of his life.  This cosmological constant gave gravity a repulse force to explain why everything wasn’t pulled together.

 

Page 275.   It’s not just the mass of objects that contribute to the strength of the gravitational field.  Energy and pressure also contribute.

 

Page 276.   If you heat up a cube of gold you increase its weight.  You are adding energy to the mass.  Energy equal mass.

   Einstein showed that the gravitational force depends not only on mass, and not only on energy such as heat, but also on the pressures that may be exerted.

Pressure like mass and energy, is a source of gravity.  And remarkably, if the pressure is a region is negative, it contributes a gravitational push to the gravitational field.

  Einstein found that he could precisely balance the usual attractive gravitational force with the newly discovered repulsive gravitational force to produce a static universe.

 

Page 284.  Guth’s inflationary cosmology theory is based on the Higgs field that

caused a huge negative pressure that drove every region of space outward.

 

Page 292.  In inflationary cosmology, space stretched by such a colossal factor that the observable universe is but a small patch in a gigantic cosmos. 

 

Page 299.  Ever since the universe was 7 billion years old, its expansion rate has not been decelerating, but instead the expansion rate has sped up.

 

Page 300.  Not only does ordinary matter---protons, neutrons, and electrons constitute only 5 % of the mass/energy of the universe, but the rest is composed of dark matter and a mysterious dark energy.

 

Page 311.  Gravity depletes the energy of fast-moving particles of matter and radiation as the universe expands, while an inflation field gains energy from gravity.  By mining gravity for its energy the inflationary field (the Higgs field) can produce all the ordinary matter and radiation in the universe from a tiny twenty-pound speck of inflationary space.

 

Page 321.  As the universe expanded during inflation, the inflation field relinquished its hugely amplified energy by filling space nearly uniformly with matter and radiation.

 

Page 329.  More than anything else it is the Uncertainty Principle that encapsulates the break with classical physics.

  Qunatum uncertainty applies to fields as well as particles.

 

Page 396.  Newton’s inverse square law for gravity is thus a reflection of a geometrical property of spheres in three dimensional space.

 

Page 452.   Time—Each moment exists, each event exists, just as each point in space exists.  Moments don’t momentarily come to life when they are illuminated.*by the spotlight of an observer present, instead, once illuminated always illuminated. Moments don’t change.  Moments are. All events making up the universe are on view; they are all there, static and unchanging, but different observers might disagree upon what happened first.

 

Page 458.  Is time travel to the past possible?  Most physicists say NO!

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The Essential David Bohm

Lee Nichol

 

 

 

     I’ve read several books by and about physicist Daivd Bohm including, Wholeness and the Implicate order, but it wasn’t until I read The Essential David Bohm that I began to comprehend Bohm’s philosophy.

If I were to attempt a one-line summary of his philosophy it would be that nature is an undivided whole. This is not a new idea as it has its roots in monistic traditions, but it has always been difficult for me to understand just how we, as individual observers, fit into the wholeness of the universe.  How is it, as Einstein himself wondered, that we are able to make the universe comprehensible by doing objective science if we are a part of what we are studying?  And if matter and energy scurry around in a cold, purposeless fashion as most modern orthodox physicists proclaim, why do we, as one of the most complex inhabitants of this universe, seem to aspire to creativity and purpose?

    The answer according to David Bohm, is that the universe is organized at all levels of complexity according to “meaning”, and this includes life itself.  If “meaning” is enfolded within all matter and energy, in what Bohm calls the implicate order, then there is no separation of mind and matter.  Nor, can objectivity and subjectivity be discrete. If the entire universe is organized according to meaning, then the universe is contextual and therefore subjective at all levels.  Objectivity becomes a false endeavor. 

   Yet, it is undeniable that “objective” science has taken us a long way in the twentieth century, from an understanding of the workings of the atom, to the marvels of DNA. This approach has its limits, however.  A growing realization in many scientific disciplines is that the ultimate building blocks of nature are unattainable.  The philosophy of reductionism has by definition a major flaw.  The part can never abstract the whole.  Therefore, a new holistic approach must be adapted in which meaning is considered at all levels of complexity.

    How is it possible for us to observe nature if all of nature is subjective?  Bohm explanation is that “meaning” is self-referential allowing consciousness to observe itself. And contrary to what most of us intuitively believe, the process of observation is not passive.  Similar to the scientific method, experimentation between our brain and the environment are constantly taking place in a process of active “attunement”. 

   Such attunement is a skill that requires practice. For example, visual observation requires a subtle unconscious movement of the eyeball itself.  When subjects are placed in sensory deprivation where practice of these skills cease, perception can completely break down. Taking a Kantian viewpoint, Bohm says that observation allows us only an abstraction of the universe filtered through our senses.  We are not creating reality through this continual interplay between our nervous systems and nature.  We are only creating an “inner show”, which allows us a subjective insight into the universe.  Therefore, an abstract comprehension of the universe is possible due to the constant interplay between nature and ourselves, and because the universe is subjective and contextual.

   The idea of a contextual universe is not such a radical step for two reasons.  First, Niels Bohr himself made the position and momentum of particles context dependent by bringing in the measuring device (the observer) as the determining factor for the outcome of the experiment.  An “observation” is required in quantum experiments to make the particle determinate.  And second, Bohr realized that there could be no division between the classical and quantum worlds.  In fact, in his later years Bohr proclaimed: “There is no quantum world.”  And yet there seems to be a dichotomy.  Classical physics is supposed to be causal, objective, and deterministic, while quantum physics is non-local, acausal, and indeterministic.

   For example, two similar processes exemplify one of the most mysterious aspects of quantum theory: The acausal jump of the electron from one orbit to another around the nucleus of an atom, and the acausal process of nuclear decay.  Both processes are indeterministic in that there is no cause for and individual electron to make a jump, nor an unstable atom to decay.  Only a statistical average can be determined.  But if, as Bohm claims, the universe is context driven then “meaning” can be the unifying factor of the quantum and classical worlds.  For if we realize that the original source of all cause and effect is “meaning”, then both classical and quantum physics would be contextual, and therefore no division would exist. 

One of David Bohm’s colleagues once said of Bohm’s ideas: Some are brilliant, many are obscure, and some are just plain nonsense”.  In reading this book, I discovered much of the brilliance as well as some of the obscurity of David Bohm.  And though I found his description of the physics famous double-slit experiment, as well as his “pilot-wave” idea unsatisfying, I would not want to proclaim it “nonsense”.  This book was truly mind-expanding, and I highly recommend it for the contemplative individual.

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The End of Time:

The Next Revolution in Physics

Julian Barbour

 

 

    Julian Barbour’s Book, The End of Time: The Next Revolution in Physics, is truly revolutionary.  Barbour’s simple idea is that time does not exist in nature.  But since time is explicitly entwined with motion, Barbour faces a much more monumental task—banishing the very motion responsible for the abstract concept of time.  All of this he does quite convincingly but, as yet, his world picture is not supported by mathematical theory or experiment. 

     Speculation that time and motion are illusory is not a recent proposition.  One of the first systematic treatments of motion was presented by the rationalist Greek philosopher Zeno (550-451 BC,).  His famous paradoxes attempted to demonstrate that an arrow cannot fly, and motion cannot exist. (Quantum Reality: A new philosophical Perspective P.4).  Twenty five hundred years later, Barbour would agree with the results, but not the premises.  Zeno’s vision hinged on the concepts of objective time and space, both of which have been discredited since the advent of Relativity.

    Objective or absolute space and time remained at the heart of scientific theory from the time of the Greek philosophers, to the Copernican revolution, and up through Newtonian era.  But the idea of absolute motion became suspect well before the arrival of Newton as result of observations by Galileo.  He realized, as he sat in the cabin of a sailing ship, that the motion of objects, birds, and insects were unaffected by the constant steady motion of the ship through the water.  This was the first formal realization that motion was relative.  But what was it relative too?  Most thought that the motion of objects was relative to the fixed stars.  When it was found that the stars moved also, Newton proposed that objects moved relative to absolute space.

   The next great leap came with Mach who suggested, that motion must be relative to the sum total of all other matter in the universe.  Mach states:  “It is utterly beyond our power to measure the changes of things by time.  Quite the contrary, time is an abstraction, at which we arrive by means of the changes of things.”  And this is our understanding of time today.  Time is motion and nothing more.  This is more or less the crux of Julian Barbour’s paradigm.

   To understand his idea, imagine that the entire universe is made up of just three objects.  You can imagine, if you’d like, that you are on one of these floating in the vastness of “space”.  (Barbour denies space thus the quotes.)  The three objects form a triangle. You see the other two objects appear to change position, getting smaller than larger in respect to each other as your triangle universe changes configurations, but it’s impossible to tell if you are moving or if the other objects are moving.

   From this vantage point it’s easy to grasp the idea of relative motion, and you remember Galileo’s notion that there is absolutely no difference between an object in motion and an object at rest.  There is nothing to judge the various configurations of the three objects: no reference point, no background space, just change of the entire universe—the three objects forming your triangle universe.   Just as it is meaningless to ask what lies beyond the universe, or if there was time before the big bang, it is meaningless to ask, “what was the configuration prior to the one you are in at this very moment?”   Each snapshot, each configuration, is the universe.  There is nothing that lies within this universe.  The objects themselves are the universe.   There is nothing outside your universe to “time” it as it goes through its phases.  Only internal change relative to the universe can have “time”.  But nothing lies within. It’s everything that is. There is no clock—No God’s eye view. There is no motion, only different configurations of your small universe.

    Now imagine expanding this concept to our present universe.  The scenario is the same as above.  Every object in the universe is the universe.  Nothing lies within this “container” There is no motion, only different configurations of all objects in the universe.  Motion is time and nothing more.  Therefore no motion—no time.  The things we see around us that we perceive as motion are simply part of the great configuration of the universe.  Each instant of “time” is simply a different configuration.

 

Implications and speculations

 

    It is often stated that Relativity destroyed the concept of “now” and this bothered Einstein greatly.  Physicist David Bohm described this idea succinctly: Imagine a line representing time.  The line is divided into two equal parts.  The part of the line to the left of the midpoint represents the past.  The part to the right represents the future.  This leaves nothing for the “now”.   Einstein imagined that the past and future exist all at once. (The block Time concept)   Barbour says that Einstein’s view is very close to his own.   The difference being that; whereas, Relativity denies simultaneity of events, Barbour’s world doesn’t rule out the relative simultaneity of events. 

 

    There aren’t multiple “nows” for different observers in motion, rather there is only one “now” for all observers in a static universe.  Any other “now” in a different region of space/time is simply a past world that no longer exists. Barbour refers to this as the “many instants interpretation” of reality.  Barbour says that his many instants interpretation differs from the more famous version by Hugh Everett called the many worlds interpretation, in several ways.  While Everett’s view of the two-hole experiment is that the wave function never collapses and that all possibilities are realized, each in its own separate universe which splits off along with the observer at that instant, Barbour believes that it’s the same universe in “mass”, but in a different configuration.  The results of a sub-atomic experiment cannot be explained from what happened previously.  There is no causality from past to future.  There is only “horizontal causality” from the totality of things happening at this instant.  Let’s imagine what a typical two-hole experiment might look like in a Barbour universe if I understand what he’s says.  I will call Barbour’s universe the “B” universe.

   A photon of light is emitted from a source and travels on its way to a detection screen.  Between the source and the screen there is a barrier with two holes.  The photon will appear to go through both holes as if it were a “wave” unless there is an observer on the far side of the barrier in which case the photon will “choose” one hole or the other and behave more like a particle.  How does the photon “know” in advance if there will be an observer?  This has been one of the paradoxes of the two-hole experiment.  In the B universe each particular setup of the experiment is one configuration of the universe.  There is no unfolding of events as the photon passes through the experiment.  There is no motion in the B universe.  Therefore, one entire configuration—one snapshot—is the entire experimental setup with an observer in place.  The results are always the same in that situation.  The photon goes through one of the holes.  When no observer is present the probability wave is the result.  There is no need for the photon to “know” anything in advance because no time passes.  This is also consistent with Relativity.  For a photon traveling at the speed of light, no time passes and all distances shrink to zero; the source, the holes, the observer, the screen, are all in one place simultaneously.  There is no before or after —A “Barbour relativistic ‘now’.”

This is not a completely satisfying description because not all the paradoxes are cleared up.  Why the wave particle duality?  One inference is Barbour’s static wave idea. The appearance of movement is caused by two separate statistical static waves out of phase by one quarter of a wavelength according to Barbour.  If that is so, then we could surmise that when no observer is present both particles, which are traditionally called the wave function, go through their separate holes and interfere with one another.  The results are recorded on the screen. That’s one experiment—one configuration.   When an observer is present in a different configuration, a different experiment, and a different world, only one possibility occurs.  Since the wave, which are really two static waves slightly out of phase “go through the holes” it is not simultaneous.  It is not one configuration of the universe, but rather two.  The “lead” particle goes through the setup “first” and that is the result.  There is no “time” for the second one to go through.  That is a different configuration, so it never occurs.  The universe camera has already taken its “snapshot” and the result recorded.  It’s difficult with our sense of time to get away from words like “goes through” and “first.”  These are in affect just different configurations of the universe.  Barbour himself never addresses what precisely would happen in the two-hole experiment and I agree this is a stretch on my part, but I had anticipated a B universe back in 1994.  (Quantum Reality, page 89-100)

   A few final points: First there were two things that bothered Einstein about quantum physics. One was the observer affect.  The other had to do with probability.  As a believer in a deterministic universe of cause and effect, he wondered how it was possible that the laws of probability governed the universe at the most fundamental level of reality.  He would have appreciated the B universe.  To speculate once again, in a B universe there is no way for probabilities to build up over time, because time in nonexistent.  There is not a 50/50 probability of the photon going through one hole or the other as experiment suggests.  There is only one determined possibility for each individual configuration.  When we throw a coin a hundred times we know that the compiled, recorded results over time will produce about 50 heads and 50 tails.  These records are not past records in a B universe, but present records of different worlds.  Just as if 100 people individually threw a single die simultaneously. The same scenario holds for the photon.  Each configuration could be deterministic, but appear to be probabilistic when the records of many different universes are recorded and observed in the present universal configuration.

   On a separate point, it seems to me that not even Barbour took his ideas far enough.  Relativity tells us that space, time and motion are inseparable.  He took care of space and time.  What about distance?  Is distance really anything concrete?  For example, imagine that we double the size of the entire universe.  Would we notice?  No, every measuring stick would likewise be doubled! How about if we measured things with a beam of light? Light speed is invariant and not relative.  That wouldn’t change things either because time would double along with space.  A second of “time” would double in duration. Distance seems arbitrary as well.

  Finally, contrary to what one might think Barbour said Einstein was absolutely correct in his theory of Relativity.  Why?  I’m not sure.  There was much of the book I didn’t understand.  My guess is the Barbour would say that everything works out as Einstein predicted if motion is considered “locally” within individual configurations and not in a static holistic universe.  The B universe theory is simply a more comprehensive addition.

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Everything Forever

Gevin Giorbran

 

 

    In this exhaustive masterpiece Gevin Giorbran gives us a unique and original “hypothesis of everything”.  From the big bang, or Alpha state, to the final Omega state, the universe is not winding down as the traditional explanation of the second law of thermodynamics is currently understood.  Rather, the universe is going from one type of order, “grouping order” to another type “symmetry order.” 

  Time, energy, the forces of nature, and meaning are all a result of the universe moving toward its most probable future, a future of perfect balance. 

  According to Giorbran, energy is a product of imbalance, and time is simply the transformation of matter into the fullness of space symmetry.

   Gravity can be understood as pockets of “time in reverse”.  Gravity represents our past order, pulling time backwards.

   The electromagnetic force represents the arrow of time moving toward the future.  The opposite charges of the electron and proton are simply the tendency of these particles to seek balance.   “Forces are simply the shapes of probability waves, and those shapes bond particles together, in groups, in lattices, in symmetries.”

   The past and the future are quantum potentials, and conscious beings are constantly creating the most likely futures and the most likely pasts.  Meaning arises is a result of the decoherence of these potential states. 

   Everything Forever is the most significant book concerning the nature of reality I’ve read in years.  I highly recommend this book for those looking for a simple and elegant hypothesis of the infinite, meaningful universe.

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The Bit and the Pendulum:

From Quantum Computing to M Theory

The New Physics of Information

Tom Siegfried

 

    Just as the clock defined society in medieval times, and the steam engine defined life in the nineteenth century, so the computer has defined society today.  But Tom Siegfried believes that the metaphor of the computer is much more profound than the tools of previous eras.  In an interdisciplinary effort, Siegfried interviews some to the most renowned scientists and thinkers of our day to illuminate his belief that information is what the universe is made at the most fundamental level of reality. 

   An interview with physicist John Wheeler reinforces his hypothesis.  Wheeler states that his view of the universe has changed over his lifetime.  Initially, Wheeler believed that the most basic entity was the particle, then in later years he believed that the universe was made up of fields, and now he believes, as does Siegfried, that everything is information.  To state it another way, information is real—a physical aspect of the universe as real as atoms.

   Wheeler, in turn, addresses the quantum measurement problem.  In a departure from a rising tide of opinion among scientists that quantum measurements merely select a reality that already exists, he believes that we are not acquiring information from the great void, but in actuality, “creating” information out of a chaotic confusion of “yes—no” possibilities.

  Information is not an abstraction, but is always tied to something physical whether it be ink on paper, holes in a punch card, magnetic patterns on a floppy discs, or the arrangement of atoms in DNA.  Information is always physical in some way.

   Just what constitutes an observer has been a controversial subject in quantum theory since the Copenhagen Interpretation of reality.  But Murray Gell—Mann, considered one of the deepest thinkers in the world of Physics, maintains that an observer is simply a complex system that has the ability to compress information about their environment— an entity that can take bits and construct an algorithm

   From Wheeler to Hugh Everett, from Physics to Biology, Tom Siegfried makes a strong case for the hypothesis that information is physical.

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Supernatural:

  Meetings with the Ancient Teachers of Mankind

Graham Hancock

 

     Graham Hancock’s journeys have taken him into some of the most inaccessible caves of Europe and to the farthest reaches of the mind in an attempt to answer the question: What happened around 40,000 years ago that changed humanity?  Before this period in history there is little that we would recognize as modern human activities, but quite abruptly after this period, modern human behavior emerged.  Hancock believes that this sudden change was the result of the widespread use of psychoactive plants.

   Hancock begins his guided tour into the Pech Merle cave in southwestern France where, around 25,000 years ago, during the epoch known as the Upper Paleolithic, ancient artisans began to use the cramped, inaccessible, dimly lit, and damp walls of the caves as a canvas for their paintings of red ochre and black manganese.   There, Hancock discovers many of the traditional scenes of hunters and game animals, such as the woolly mammoths and bears, but there are also surrealistic drawings of animals with disproportionately small heads, cartoon type figures of fairy like humans, the “wounded man” paintings of humans pierced with arrows, and the half-man half- beast images, known as therianthropes that are common to much prehistoric art.   It appears that around 40,000 years ago a symbolic revolution began in which humans began to be concerned with more than just survival.  They began to ponder the after-life, gods, deities, and supernatural beings.   Since our anatomy and genetic make-up have not changed in at least 200,000 years, it is the belief of Professor David Lewis-Williams and a growing number of anthropologists and paleoarcheologists that about 40,000 years ago religions sprang up as a result of the hallucinogenic visions brought on by the widespread ingestion of psychoactive plants.   It is now a widely held view among scholars that these ancient cave painting were an expression of the psychedelic visions of shamans.

   Lewis-Williams, the architect of his neuropsychological model of cave art and religion has, since the 1980s, spent an enormous amount of time and effort defending his proposition.   With so much invested, Graham Hancock was miffed that Lewis-Williams had never consumed any hallucinogenic products himself.  Hancock felt that for the sake of research it was necessary to experience these substance first hand, so he took it upon himself to become a psychonaut, and over the next few years began experimenting with ibogaine, psilocybin, DMT, and ayahuasca.  By this time, Hancock was already familiar with psychiatrist Dr. Rick Strassman’s research program at the University of New Mexico, in which he administered DMT (Di-methyl-Tryptamine), a highly psychoactive drug, to volunteer subjects in the early 1990s.  DMT is one of the active ingredients in ayahuasca, a psycho-active plant used by the shamans in the Amazon regions of Brazil.  DMT is found in many plants and is, in fact, produced in small quantities in the human body; however, it is only when it reaches a certain critical threshold that it produces a storm of hallucinations.   The similarities of what was reported by Strassman’s subjects and what has been reported by abductees in the UFO research field and what has been seen in the shamanistic cave art from antiquity is remarkable.  These visions included: therianthropes (half man half beasts), bird-like creatures, threads of light, tunnels, stairways, spaceships,  small humanoids about four feet tall with large heads and black almond shaped eyes, spaceships, insectoids, reptiles, and most importantly coiled serpents, a staple of most hallucinogenic experiences.   Strassman’s subjects were not satisfied with the explanation that these were mere hallucinations hardwired into the neural structure of the brain only to be released upon the introduction of a chemical substance.  To them the experiences were too real.   Nor, was Hancock satisfied.  He points out that this reductionist viewpoint makes no sense either evolutionarily or culturally.  Consumption of psychoactive plants serves no survival purpose, nor is it likely that these visions are culturally induced, since the same images appeared to the ancient shamans in their cave art 25,000 years ago as they did for their counterparts in Strassman’s experiments in the 1990’s.  Yet, no two experiences are ever alike.  One of Strassman’s subjects who had a multitude of sessions said that when she returned for a visit with the entities, it wasn’t like things picked up where they left off, it was like returning to what had happened since her last encounter.  Strassman, himself, wondered if it were possible that these DMT induced experiences were not necessarily hallucinations in the conventional sense, but rather, an aid to bringing other realities into our awareness.  Hancock, too, wondered if these alternate realities are actually real, existing parallel to our everyday reality but imperceptible to our senses.  This is just one of several ideas that Hancock wanted to explore through his own use of psychoactive substances—substances that are illegal in most parts of the world, with extreme punishments for offenders, often resulting in incarceration for long periods of time—a situation that Hancock feels is a violation of human rights if not outright barbaric.   

   Lewis-Williams  the founder of the neuropsychological model of cave art and religion believes that the cave art is nothing more than the illusions of brain chemistry, but like Hancock,  other renowned specialists in the field believe that this explanation is too simple.  William James, the renowned psychologist and philosopher, believes that our normal waking consciousness is just one type of consciousness that has evolved through evolutionary processes, but he contends that we should not infer that it is the only consciousness.  Author Aldous Huxley agrees.  Drawing on his experiences with peyote, mescaline, psilocybin and LSD, Huxley has come to the conclusion that our brains and central nervous systems act more like a filter, screening out other forms of reality that we cannot deal with, leaving us with a very narrow view of reality.   Others, such as Albert Hoffman, who was the first to synthesize LSD, stated that… “The true importance of LSD and related hallucinogens lies in their capacity to shift the wavelength setting or the receiving ‘self’,” and thereby to evoke alterations in reality consciousness... (103). Both Huxley and Hoffman view the brain as, not only a producer of consciousness, but a finely tuned receiver.

   It should be noted that ingesting hallucinogens is not the only way to reach altered states of consciousness.  Many cultures around the world from Africa to the Americas have used other methods to reach altered states that range from self-inflicted pain, fasting, drumming, and rhythmic dancing.  Remarkably, 2% of the population can spontaneously go into altered states of consciousness, and Hancock is one who thinks that these are the same people who report abduction experiences.  He says up front that he does not believe that UFOs are nuts-and-bolts spaceships from other planets.  UFO advocates need not be discouraged, because Hancock does entertain another idea that opens new possibilities of alien interaction—the possibility that there is an encoded message on our DNA.

    If some advanced civilization wanted to leave us a message to read when our civilization had attained a certain scientific sophistication, where would they leave it? It is plausible that they might encode a message in some of the great megalithic structures found around the world, such as the pyramids on the Giza Plateau in Egypt or the pyramids of the Sun and Moon at Teotihuacan, Mexico.   These messages could be in the form of a hall of records concealed within or buried underneath these structures in deep caverns.  They could have left mathematical messages incorporated into the very design of the structures themselves, or in the precise placement of the structures in relation to points on the globe or alignments with stars.   They might well have done this, but the most ideal place to store a vast amount of information that won’t be degraded or compromised by the passage of time is to store it on the DNA molecule—the double helix.   Coiled up in each and every cell in our body are two meters of DNA just ten atoms wide.  DNA has the capacity to store over one hundred trillion times more information by volume than our most sophisticated computers. It is the perfect storage system because the information can be copied nearly flawlessly and passed anew from one generation to the next.  During this process there are proteins whose sole responsibility is to proofread the message and correct for errors.  It is a remarkable system that we are only now beginning to understand.  It is noteworthy that many people in altered states of consciousness report seeing serpents joined together in a configuration of a double helix DNA molecule, the serpents intertwined in reverse, heads facing tales, just as the reversed alignment of the double DNA strands.  It is now legend that the co-discoverer of the structure of the DNA molecule, Francis Crick, envisioned the double helix structure in a dream; however, Crick confided in his friends that when he worked at the Cavendish laboratory in Cambridge in the early 1950’s, he frequently used LSD, a substance that was legal at that time.  He, in fact, told his colleagues that he was under the influence of LSD when he saw the double helix shape.  Interesting too, is the remarkable coincidence that tryptophan, the amino acid that is involved in the construction of the DNA molecule is the parent molecule of tryptamine, the active molecule in nearly all psychoactive substances including DMT, ayahuasca, and LSD.  Perhaps tryptamine which is ubiquitous in nature provides the key to tap into the message left on the DNA molecule.  One of Strassman’s subjects felt that “…the plant was a being in its own right and that it was passing knowledge to him.  This is in line with the indigenous conception of plants as teachers…” (280) If this is true, then we can say that tryptamine doesn’t cause hallucinations, but instead, provides access to an alternate realm of reality.   Is there evidence that a message was transcribed on DNA for us to read; furthermore, if there is a message, who or what left the message?

   In 1939, George Zipf discovered an interesting aspect of all languages.  He found that in each and every language there is a formula for determining the frequency of a word in a text.  Graham Hancock describes Zipf’s law as follows:  If one searched a novel of any of the world’s  languages, for example, one would find that if the first ranked word—the most frequently used word—occurs 10,000 times then the tenth ranked word will appear 1,000 times and the 100th most frequently used word will appear 100 times.  If the word frequency in a text is plotted on a graph, one gets a straight diagonal line. In the above example the frequency decreases by a factor of ten.  When researchers at Boston University and Harvard Medical School examined DNA base pairs they found that Zipf’s law did not apply to the 3% of our DNA that code for the proteins that run the machinery of life.  However, when they analyzed the 78% of our DNA that is called “junk DNA” they discovered that Zipf’s law corresponded perfectly.  The research suggests that the so-called junk DNA might be a language.  But this was not the only indication that a language is encoded on our DNA.  Claude Shannon, who was the first to realize that the second law of thermodynamics could be applied to information, discovered that any true language has a standard measure of redundancy built into any string of characters.  This redundancy distinguishes a language from a string of nonsense.  When Shannon’s law was applied to the sequences of DNA that code for proteins, the redundancy was, again, not found.  Redundancy isn’t necessary for perfect copies of DNA, but the redundancy required for Shannon’s principle did corresponded with the junk DNA.  So, we have two separate tests predicting that the junk DNA is encoded with some kind of language.  Why would this so called Junk DNA be in our cells in the first place?  Nature tends to be very frugal and it seems very unlikely that all of this DNA is in our cells for absolutely no purpose. 

   All of the evidence seems to point to the fact that DNA contains some sort of message.  The next question is how did it get there?  We can only speculate at this point.  Some UFO researchers contend that it was encoded on our DNA by an extraterrestrial intelligence.  Francis Crick suggests that the molecules of life are so unlikely to have occurred by random chance in the relatively short time that our earth has been a host for life that some sort of intelligence might be involved.  But even if we assumed that life on earth was seeded by some far-flung civilization that has been around since the dawn of the universe, the likelihood of accidental occurrence of life is only slightly enhanced by this increased time frame, in my opinion. 

   I believe that part of the mystery of how life began lies in the fact that we still don’t have a good definition of life.  We still take the reductionist view of a bottom-up approach completely leaving out the idea of self-organizing principles of cognition.   In his book Mind in Life Evan Thompson suggests that the process of understanding life and understanding mind are continuous—to understand life is to understand mind.  What distinguishes life from non-life, according to several contributors in his book, is that living organisms are self-organizing, self-replicating systems that are cognitive or have “purpose.”  But this is not purpose in the conventional sense.  In other words, the DNA molecule is not purposeful in relation to our needs and goals. DNA cares nothing about our individual goals. But DNA is purposeful to proteins, and proteins are purposeful in relation to the individual cells, and the cells are purposeful to tissue, and tissue to organs, and organs to the organism, and the organism is purposeful to mind.  Purpose is an idea that science does not like because it reverses the principle of cause and effect and it smacks of religion.  Science has long ago discounted Aristotle’s notion of teleology, which portends that the acorn strives to become a tree.  Yet, when you watch a video of the machine-like ribosome factories in the cells reading, unzipping, transcribing, and spitting out strings of DNA code, it certainly looks purposeful.  

   One of the mysteries of the origins of life is that life requires both DNA and proteins working together to create and maintain an organism.  DNA is required to make proteins that, in turn, are necessary to transport, transcribe, and replicate the DNA. Neither is possible without the other.  It is the chicken and the egg riddle.  How did either independently arise without the other?  Niels Bohr borrowed the Buddhist concept of the yin and the yang, an idea he called, “complementarity” to explain the wave/particle duality.  The wave and particle exist only in relation to each other and each exclusively of each other.  Many complementarities are recognized in nature.  The quark, for example, does not exist in isolation but exists only in relation to the atom.  This idea of complementarities might be what we are looking for to explain how DNA and proteins evolved at the same instant, and in addition, it can explain the concept of purpose.   If we recognize that the DNA molecule and the proteins are a complementary system, exclusive of each other, yet dependent upon each other for their existence, then it is easier to understand how they co-evolved.  Any physical system is a system that exchanges information and meaning.  These systems are information/meaning complementarities; they compute; they are intelligent and they have purpose.  Life didn’t occur by accident, therefore, but came about as self-organizing and cognitive principles of nature.

   Complementarities appear to show purpose, from the DNA and Proteins, to the cell, tissues, organs, and the mind.   But what if complementarities do not end there?  What if the chain of complementarities forms a loop with the mind being complementary to the DNA itself?  This idea would link the whole system into a continuous complementarity and it would explain how people who go into altered states of consciousness can directly access the DNA code.  It is conceivable that the psychoactive molecules might block our ordinary perception of reality and allow direct contact with our own DNA.  If our DNA is a great hall of records, and psychoactive plants are the key to unlocking the vault, then the reports of hybrids, reptiles, entities, abductions, and spaceships by psychonauts, might not only be an indication of our past interactions with extraterrestrial life, but it might contain a window into our future interactions with extraterrestrial life as well.

References:

Thompson, Evan.  Mind in Life: Biology, Phenomenology, and the Sciences of Mind, London: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2007.

Lloyd, Seth. Programming the Universe: A Quantum Computer Scientist Takes On The Cosmos, New York: Alfred A Knopf, 2006.

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Secrets of the Sacred Ark

Laurence Gardner

 

 

     International best-selling author Laurence Gardner has fulfilled all expectations with this well researched and scholarly approach to a mystery that spans thousands of years.

    Gardner’s contention is that the Biblical Ark of the Covenant was in reality: a capacitor that made it a powerful and deadly weapon, a superconductor that allowed it to levitate above the ground, and a machine for manufacturing a substance called: mfkzt by the ancient Egyptians, Shem-an-na by the Mesopotamians, manna by the Hebrews, and the philosophers’ stone by alchemists.   At first glance, these propositions seem preposterous, and yet, after following his trail of logic, one wonders how it could have been anything other than what he insists it was.

   Using his vast background in antiquities and history, and his recently acquired research into quantum physics, Gardner is able to convincingly offer a solution to the riddle of the Sacred Ark of the Covenant.  In recounting the history of the Ark the author makes it clear that biblical stories only loosely correlate with historical facts. 

   Gardner begins his tale with a 1904 expedition, funded by the Egypt Exploration Society and headed by Sir W.M Flinders Petrie.  The Petrie expedition, whose initial purpose was to explore the turquoise and copper mining region of the Sinai Peninsula, scaled Mount Horib.  Mount Horib, according to the King James Version of the bible, was the place where Moses received the Ten Commandments.   On the plateau of the 2,600 ft. mountain, Petrie and his party were astonished to find the ruins of an Egyptian temple, with hundreds of artifacts including: huge statues, obelisks, a man-made cave with inscriptions dating to 2,600 BC, round tables, trays, crucibles, vases, wands, and significantly, as we shall discover later, conical stones and tons of a pure white powder concealed underneath flagstones.  Clearly this was an active site long before biblical times. 

   What was this mysterious white powder?  Many of the inscriptions on the temple walls refer to a substance called mfkzt.  Scholars and Alchemists have ascertained that it was made from gold; a fine powder that was often referred to as white bread, or manna, and called the giver of life. Numerous stele at the temple show it as a conical loaf being presented to the king.  But this is not the only reference to mfkzt.  The substance is referenced throughout ancient history.  For example, there are depictions at the Temple of Karnack.  As Gardner explains:  “As reproduced in a bas-relief at the temple of Karnack…There are a number of cone-shaped items.”  They are explained as being made: one cone of silver and thirty of Gold, and carrying a description: “white bread”’. 

   Other biblical references refer to the white powder as manna.  “And Moses said unto them, this is the bread which the Lord hath given you to eat.”      

 In Revelations (2:17) it is said, “To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone.”  “Stone” in the ancient Egyptian language was defined as a valuable unstable substance.

   The “paradise stone” was featured in a parable of Alexander the Great, in which it is said to, “give youth to the old and to outweigh its own quantity of gold, although even a feather could tip the scales against it.”

Other Egyptian writings refer to mfkzt as the purest of pure gold that resists fire like a stone, but is of very fine powder.  In Exodus of the Old Testament it was stated that “shewbread” or “bread of the presence”, was made at Mount Horeb by the skilled goldsmith and Craftsman Bezaleel, who as no small matter, is also given credit at the builder of the ark of the covenant.  And Moses too had the secret, for it was written that

 Moses burnt the golden calf with fire, ground it into a fine powder, mixed it with water, and made the children of Israel drink it.

   Obviously, people were consuming a white powder made from gold, but what were the benefits, and how can a white powder be made from gold?  Heating gold simply turns it into molten gold. Was the white mfkzt found at Mount Horib Gold?  All references indicate that it was, yet when the substance was initially analyzed it was said to be a combination of Iron, Silica, and Aluminum.  The author leaves us in suspense at this point and turns to modern physics for answers.

    Gardner explains that when heated with an electric arc under the right conditions, atoms of certain elements enter into what is referred to as a “high spin state”.  Normally the outer shell of electrons is outside of what is called the screening potential of the nucleus.  These outer electrons usually travel in pairs with opposite spins.  When the atom goes into a high spin state all of the electrons come under the influence of the nucleus and they all begin to resonate as one.  The electrons turn into pure white light and the substance in effect becomes a superconductor.  The individual atoms of the substance can no longer bond together and the substance falls apart into a fine powder of individual atoms—the mfkzt.  Other metals exhibit these properties as well, and they are called the platinum group metals (PGMs). These metals include platinum, palladium, rhodium, iridium, and osmium.   Here again is more evidence that the substance at Mount Horeb was Gold or one of the Platinum group metals.  Could it be, as Gardner contends that the ark itself was used to manufacture mfkzt?  If so, how would this be done?  To make gold or PGMs become monatomic it is necessary to provide direct electric arc heating over a period of time.  The ark must have somehow provided this power.

    Biblical references are quite specific as to the dimensions of the ark, and these are confirmed by writings of king Solomon.  The dimensions of the ark were about 45 inches in length, 27 inches wide, and 27 inches in height. The ark box was made of wood sandwiched by pure gold on each side.   On top was the “mercy seat”; a lid made of pure gold. On each end were two wooden poles for the transport by four or possibly eight men.  It so happens that these are also the specifications for a capacitor.  A capacitor is basically two conductive materials separated by an insulator.  Atmospheric charges, which would have been common on Mount Horeb, would be all that was needed to make the ark into a powerful and deadly device.  And more importantly, it has been estimated that a capacitor the size of the ark could charge to several thousand volts, enough arcing power to give it the capability to manufacture mfkzt – the pure white monoatomic powder of gold.

   It is interesting that the ancients made special mention that the mercy seat was made of “pure gold”.  How did they know for instance that the gold they mined was not pure?  They in fact had seven nouns for gold of which only one referred to pure gold.  And if they somehow knew that it was impure how did they make it pure?  The process for making pure gold wasn’t developed until the 19th century.   The process called “electrolysis” requires a direct electric current to be applied to a tank containing an ionized salt and the molten metal, with the positive anode at one end and the negatively charged cathode at the other end.  The atoms of the element build up on one of the metal plates in a process called electroplating.

  In light of these facts, it is perplexing to note that the over 2,500 years ago craftsmen were making gold leaf.  Gold leafing, which is pure gold beaten into a thickness of only one micron, cannot be accomplished without all of the impurities removed from gold.  And electrolysis is the only know method to accomplish this purification.  Gold plated chisels were found as well in Mesopotamia dating back to 3,000 BC.

 

   At this point Gardner interrupts his historical account, to tell the extraordinary story of David Hudson, a wealthy cotton farmer from Phoenix, Arizona.  The soil in the Yuma Valley is very Alkaline, and in order to make the ground suitable for planting, farmers like David Hudson contract chemical companies to inject sulfuric acid into the soil.  Calcium carbonate is then added to act as a buffer.

   Hudson noticed upon analyzing the soil that some of the soil products were not broken down by the acid.  When the soil was dried in the hot Arizona sun at low humidity a remarkable thing happened.  The sample disappeared in a burst of white light! 

  Intrigued, Hudson decided to have the soil sample analyzed in a laboratory.  The only thing that could be determined by the analysis was that it was denser than lead.  At first he thought that the material might be gold or silver, because even though lead has a higher atomic weight on the periodic chart, Gold is denser and has a higher specific gravity than does lead because the individual atoms form tighter bonds.   But this hypothesis was short-lived because, when the substance was heated, allowed to cool, and then struck with a hammer it shattered like glass.  Hudson then took the material to another laboratory, where after extensive testing, it was determined that the material was made up of common iron, silica, and aluminum, precisely the same analysis as the white powder found at Mount Horib.  Yet, Hudson knew that the sulfuric acid would have destroyed those elements.

     The substance was then tested by Emission Spectroscopy where it was submitted to an electric arc for 15 seconds at 5,500 degrees centigrade, but still no satisfactory results.  From there it went to a lab in Oxfordshire, England for neutron activation analysis, but no suitable reading could be obtained.  It had been suggested by the Soviet Academy of sciences that the arcing time should be increased to 300 seconds, twenty times longer than previous tests.  The test was repeated and Gardner describes the dramatic situation as follows:

 

  Then using an original raw sample, the tests were done again.  As expected, during the

First 15 seconds it read: iron, silica, and aluminum,…20 seconds went by, 25, 30, 35,

40—and all the way to 70 seconds: still nothing.  Then, suddenly, the substance become real again, registering as palladium: after another 20 seconds, it recorded platinum, and after that came ruthenium, rhodium, iridium, and osmium at 220 seconds.  It transpired that the tiny white bead was composed entirely of platinum group metals, which by standard Western testing had previously registered nothing.

     The richest known platinum group deposits in the world are half a mile underground at the Bushveld Igneous Complex in South Africa…It was discovered that the Phoenix farm soil contained 7,500 times this amount, at an astonishing 2,400 ounces per ton!

 

    Is there any doubt that the white powder at Mount Horib, said to be iron, silica, and aluminum were anything but PGM’s? 

   Subsequently, David Hudson has filed for 22 patents for the newly discovered monatomic elements for which six more years of testing were required to provide the necessary data.  More astonishing results were in store.  Gardner describes what happened when the substance was heated and then cooled:

  

But the great surprise came when the substance changed from its original dullness to the familiar whiteness of its bright bead and subsequent powder.  At that moment the sample’s weight fell dramatically to 56% of its starting weight.  Where did the other 44% go?  Further heating at 1160 degrees centigrade in a vacuum then transformed the precious substance into a wonderfully clear glass, at which point the material weight returned to its original 100%.  It was seemingly impossible, but it happened time and time again

   When repeatedly heated and cooled under inert gasses, the cooling processes took the sample to an amazing 400% of its starting weight.  But when heated again it weighed less than nothing—way below zero.  When removed from its pan, the pan actually weighed more than it did with the material in it, and it was perceived that the white sample had the ability to transfer its weightlessness to its supporting host.  Even the pan was levitating!

 

Surprisingly, a superconductor material is not conductive.  For example, when a voltage potential was applied to the white powder it acted like an insulator.  A material becomes superconductive when an external magnetic force is applied, and this can be as slight as the earth’s own magnetic field.  When this force is applied the electrons turn into a single frequency light and the substance will continue to flow forever without losing energy.  It is in effect a perpetual motion engine.  When a material is superconducting, it repels all magnetic fields, and therefore will levitate over a magnet.  This is why the white powder lost 44% of its weight.  It was repelling the earth’s own magnetic field. And if this isn’t bizarre enough, a superconductor exhibits a quantum oddity called non-locality.    When two or more superconductors are correlated they act as one single quantum entity.  Time and distance are irrelevant.    Any change in one will instantaneously affect the other no matter how far they are separated in the universe.  It is no wonder, that superconductors have been described by some physicists as having the strangest properties of any substance in the universe.

    Here again is another clue to the puzzle of the ark.  You’ll remember that the lid of the ark was made of pure gold.  It has been calculated that the lid alone would have weighed around 2,714 pounds.  The box of the ark probably weighed an equal amount or more, yet we know that the ark was often depicted being toted around by four men, and was even marched around the walls of Jericho.  This would seem highly unlikely unless the ark had the ability to reduce its own weight by levitation.  Gardner speculates that not only was the ark a manufacturer of mfkzt, but probably stored the substance as well.  This might have been enough to cause the ark to levitate, making it easier to move.  

   Many biblical references refer to two portable hand-held items that often accompanied the ark called the Urim and the Thummim.  These were said to emit charges of lighting and they had the power of levitation.  If the mfkzt in the ark was acting as a superconductor, it is quite possible that the two devices had a non-local quantum coupling allowing them to be used as fierce weapons of destruction.  Was this what caused the collapse of the walls of Jericho? 

   It seems that there is only one great mystery left for Gardner to tackle.  Why were the ancients consuming mfkzt?  Could there be any benefits to eating powdered monatomic gold?

    Recently, biochemists have become very interested in monatomic PGMs.  Research has shown that when a single atom of ruthenium or platinum interact with DNA in tumor cells, the atom begins to resonate with the malignant cell causing it to correct its deformity.  Additionally, a single atom of ruthenium attached to each end of a DNA strand will make it 10,000 times more conductive, in effect turning it into a superconductor.

    It has been demonstrated, as well, that monatomic PGMs have anti-aging effects.  They increase melatonine production by activating the endocrine system, stimulating the pineal and pituitary glands; thereby reactivating “Junk DNA”. Gardner and others are themselves experimenting by consuming PGM’s.  It is interesting to note that Moses was said to have lived about eight hundred years.  Was this due to the consumption of monatomic PGM’s? 

   We won’t be finding out very soon apparently, because the sage of David Hudson as told by Gardner isn’t a happy one. After sinking millions of dollars of his own money into a processing plant, to extract and manufacture the PGM’s, the United States government through EPA regulations effectively shut him down.  Presumably our government could not afford to have this type of technology in the hands of just a few private citizens.  Hudson is now nearly broke but continues to lecture around the country.

   How was it that the ancients had this advanced technology?  Gardner speculates that they didn’t really have a sophisticated knowledge of what they possessed, but rather stumbled into it.  This seems plausible, but one wonders, if perhaps there was a previous highly advanced culture, either terrestrial or extraterrestrial, that passed the technology down to the cultures of the biblical era.   And Gardner himself speculates that the Great Pyramid, and other huge monoliths around the world might have had help from levitation.  As the author explains:  The common myth that ramps were used to build the great pyramid have for all practical purposes been disclaimed.  A ramp to build the Cheops pyramid would have had to be about a mile in length and contain three times the material to build the pyramid structure itself.

    We’re told that the pyramids were tombs for the kings, yet no pyramid has ever been found with a corpse.  What then was found in the granite coffer in the great pyramid?  Only a granular substance, that when submitted to conventional analysis, were said to be feldspar and mica, which are minerals of the aluminum silicate group!

   Lost Secrets of the Sacred Ark, has all the intrigue of a detective novel.  The sometimes tedious historical references are certainly worth the effort to attain the rewards this book holds.  I highly recommend it. 

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Nothing I See Means Anything:

 Quantum Questions—Quantum Answers

David Parrish M. D. 

 

      David Parrish says that the fields of psychology, mysticism, and quantum physics have all contributed to the notion that the reality we perceive in the world is not an objective reality, but a reality which is colored by our beliefs and our conditioning.  Modern psychology, mysticism and quantum theory have all elucidated the fact that we are participants in creating and altering our reality.  

   Parrish says that modern psychology has shed the Freudian notion that our behavior is determined by subconscious obsessions and desires, and external events that are beyond our control.  In its place existential and cognitive psychology have for the most part disavowed the subconscious mind and have embraced a more seamless and holistic consciousness, a consciousness of freedom in which we are responsible for our own acts.

   Likewise mysticism, which can be defined as a pathway to understanding reality through a transcendence or direct experience, has for centuries taught us that the subject/object duality is a grand illusion, and quantum theory has once and for all demonstrated through theory and experiment that in the subatomic realm there are non-local connections between particles that have been intertwined. 

   Parrish does an admirable job of drawing together the three disciplines, especially   psychology and mysticism, however, his understanding of the principles of physics are a bit disappointing for the knowledgeable reader when he attempts to describe such subjects as entropy,  The EPR proposal, Bell’s theorem of inequality, and some of the basic tenants of quantum theory.

   For example, he defines entropy as a state of chaos when, in fact, entropy is simply the tendency of systems to move toward equilibrium—a system’s most probable state.  He says that the old scientific paradigm is characterized by chance and separateness, while the new paradigm is one of wholeness and harmony, when in fact the old scientific paradigm was deterministic while the new paradigm --quantum theory-- is characterized by chance and probability of the purest form.   He describes Bell’s theorem in terms of “non-local causation”, and energy fields, but Bell’s theorem of inequality put the final nail into the coffin of hidden variables such as energy fields as an explanation for non-local events. And he misrepresents The EPR argument when he says, “They proposed through errorless mathematical reasoning that if quantum theory were correct, then a change in the spin of one particle in a two-particle system would affect its twin simultaneously, even if the two had been widely separated in the meantime.”  Instead, Einstein argued the opposite. And not to belabor the point he states:  “Research has found that in the world of sub-particle matter, the state of consciousness of the observer determines the outcome.”  This completely misstates the “observer affect”.  Many experiments have been conducted in which a conscious observer is unnecessary in the collapse of the quantum wave function.  In an experiment conducted by investigators at the University of Rochester and featured in the November 1991 issue of “Scientific American”, researcher Leonard Mandel said, “The mere possibility that the paths [of the photons] can be distinguished is enough to wipe out the interference pattern.”  Extracting information from a system alone can collapse the wave function.

    Parrish’s main premise is valid and I think he succeeds in demonstrating that the emerging fields of science have come to an understanding that the universe is an undivided whole, and that we are responsible for creating our own reality, but by the end of the book he destroys his own premises by dividing and subdividing consciousness into layers, and making religious references to God, spiritualism, and miracles.  The book began with so much promise, but it quickly spun out of control.  For that reason I give it three stars.

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The Mysterious Flame

Colin Mcginn

 

  The Mysterious Flame is a clear and intuitive treatment of the mystery of consciousness.  Colin Mcginn believes that consciousness is ubiquitous among biological organisms and that it is no more complex than digestion or sexual reproduction. 

  Mcginn discounts both materialism and dualism as a rational explanation of the existence of consciousness.  Materialists contend that the brain and the mind are identical and that conscious experience can be reduced to neural processes, a hypothesis that does not explain the subjective experience of the senses, such as color perception.  Duelists, in contrast, believe that consciousness is an extra feature of the universe and the brain is not necessary for consciousness to occur; both untenable propositions as Mcginn clearly demonstrates using extremely clear examples.

   We may have run up against our cognitive limitations when it comes to understanding consciousness, according to Mcginn, because conscious experience cannot be reduced to electrochemical processes of the familiar kind.

    There may be a link between space and consciousness-perhaps a higher dimensional reality that we don’t perceive. Just as our spatial universe was created in the Big Bang by a non-spatial entity, so, congruently, our spatial brain gives rise to a non-spatial consciousness.  

  Mcginn believes that the Turing test, devised by the English mathematician Alan Turing does not provide a necessary condition for determining if a machine is intelligent since a conscious being such as a cat would flunk the Turing test.  Neither does it provide a sufficient condition since a machine can mimic conscious behavior without being conscious—a materialist claim which Mcginn successfully rejects.  The question of machine intelligence is dependent upon the definition of “machine.”  If by machine one means an “artifact” than it would be possible to have an intelligent machine if man could create a brain, but it is unlikely that a conscious machine could be created from silicon chips. 

   The Mysterious Flame one of the best books I’ve read on subject of consciousness.

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Meaning, Medicine and the “Placebo Effect”

Daniel Moerman

 

  

     Daniel Moerman places the words placebo effect in quotations because he believes that the placebo effect should be redefined.  A placebo, he explains is inert.  It has no causal effect.  A more appropriate definition of the “placebo effect” he asserts is, the meaning response.

     It is because of our beliefs and the meaning we associate with a placebo that determines its effectiveness.   Despite this simple formula for determining who will respond to a placebo, it is not a very good predictor for a given individual at a given time.  Studies indicate that there is no method to determine which individuals will respond to a placebo.  Attempts have been made to remove placebo responders from studies.  Occasionally, researchers will conduct a precursor trial run with a completely unrelated substance to identify those who might respond to a placebo in an effort to cull these responders from the “real” study.  These attempts have been futile.

      No reliable indicators have ever been found that identify individual placebo responders.  In fact, a person who responds to a placebo in one study has no increased likely hood of responding to a placebo in subsequent studies.  More remarkably, if one eliminates the approximately one third of the populace who initially respond to a given placebo, the remaining group will contain about the same proportion of responders in subsequent studies.  Moerman, never makes the connection between these facts and the parallels to natural physical laws at the quantum level.  And though they might be only coincidental, I think it worth the comparisons.

     Note that a placebo has no causal effect, but instead it is meaning that determines the “effect” of a placebo.  The late physicist David Bohm asserted that the entire universe is organized at all levels according to meaning.  If this is true, then it substantiates Moerman’s claim that meaning is operating at the macro level.  But the similarities to physical law don’t end here.

   Moerman observed that when placebo responders are eliminated from a group, the same statistical relationships hold for the remainder of the group—approximately one third of the remaining group will still be responders in the next study.

   Similarities can be drawn with quantum processes such as the jump of the electron in orbit around the nucleus of an atom or the well-known process of nuclear decay. If one knows the half-life of a mass, it is possible to calculate exactly what proportion of the substance will remain after a given amount of time, yet nothing can be said about the transmutation of any given atom.  Divide the mass into two portions, and the half-life of each portion remains the same.  As Morerman has shown this is exactly what we witness in placebo studies.  It is possible to calculate statistically how many in a group will respond, but nothing can be said about which specific individuals will respond.  In both cases, whether dealing with the placebo responders or nuclear decay, the process is determinate for the whole, but indeterminate for the individual person or particle.   I have previously described this as a new law-- “nature conserves meaning”. 

 

   Moerman documents many studies involving placebos from around the world.  He notes that cultural differences, knowledge, and the practitioner all statistically contribute to the meaning response.  In particular, it has been demonstrated that the character and personality of the physician has more to do with the outcome of placebo studies than the make-up of the patient.  Moerman contends that a positive and upbeat clinician or doctor transmits subtle cues to the patient making for a more positive outcome.  He states that it is what the doctor “knows” that is important.  If the doctor believes his patient has a possibility of getting a powerful drug, patients will do better than if he knows they will only be getting a placebo.  Even though both groups get a placebo, the doctor’s knowledge is what is important.  The conclusion is sound, but the mechanism, I believe is dubious.  I’m doubtful, that some sort of “subtle” cues are passed on to the patient in such a consistent manner.  I wonder if it is possible once again to find the answer in physical law. 

    In the famous “double-slit” or “two-hole” experiments as it is often called, it has been demonstrated that an “observer” is not necessary to change the behavior of particles. In fact it is the mere possibility that the path or route of the particle can be determined at some point in the future that determines of outcome of the experiment.   In experiments done by Marlan Scully at the University of California at Berkeley it was found that it is our knowledge that determines the behavior of particles.

 

Surprisingly, it is not necessary for the experimenter actually to go ahead and measure the photons’ polarization to determine the paths they have taken--for the change in detector behavior to be observed.  The mere threat of obtaining such information is enough to destroy the ghostly superposition of hybrid phantom realities. It is our potential knowledge of the quantum system, not our actual knowledge that helps decide the outcome. (Davis, 1996)

  

  Of course these associations with quantum experiments are merely conjecture.

 

   Daniel Merman’s book is well documented and it is obvious that much research went into this publication.  If one wants a sound understanding of the placebo effect, or the meaning response, this book is the one to read.  Well done.

Return to table of contents

 

  

 

  Information and the Nature of Reality:

From Physics to Metaphysics

Edited by Paul Davies and Niels Henrik Gregersen  

 

  This book is divided into four main Categories: History, Physics, Biology, and Philosophy and Theology, with contributions by 15 prominent authors including the two editors, Paul Davies, and Niels Henrik Gregersen.

   Information, like the concepts of matter and energy has been difficult to define.  According to Terrence Deacon, the definition of energy wasn’t fully realized until it was discovered that energy is not a substance, but rather, a dynamic process of change that is always conserved.  Just as with the concept of energy, he said, we must give up the idea of thinking of information as some “artifact” or “commodity”.   In the broadest sense, says John F. Haught, information can mean whatever gives form, order, pattern, or identify to something. 

   Today most physicists divide information into two broad categories:  syntactic information and semantic information.  Syntactic information is sometimes called Shannon information after Claude Shannon who discovered that information can be thought of as a measure of entropy and probability.  This is both a quantitative and physical definition, which describes how much information any system can carry and is not concerned with the meaning of the information.   The more information a system carries the less entropy it contains, which also happens to be the least probable state of the system.  Likewise, the most probable state of a system has a high degree of entropy and carries little information.  So we can think of information as a complementarity between the message and the medium.  Both are needed for a complete description of information.   The second type of information is called semantic information, and it deals with the content of the message—what it means. 

   Paul Davies says that most physicists now believe that information and not particles and fields are the ground of all being.  Beginning with the ancient Greeks up until recent times it has been assumed that the laws of physics, and their mathematically descriptive counterpart were objective aspects of the universe cast in stone, and it was the job of the physicist to uncover these objective truths.  This idea was furthered by monotheistic thinking which suggested that the discovery of these objective truths were a window into the mind of God, an idea that has gone unchallenged for three centuries.  Davis states:  “The fusion of Platonism and Monotheism created the powerful orthodox scientific concept of the laws of physics as ideal, perfect infinitely precise, immutable, eternal unchanging mathematical forms that reside in an abstract platonic heaven beyond space and time.  All of these assumptions must be jettisoned to come to an understanding that the laws and states of the universe co-evolve.”

  For many—from Plato to physicist/ mathematician, Roger Penrose— mathematics has been assumed to be an objective construct of the universe from which matter and information find expression, but an evolving view among physicists is that information is the basic entity of reality from which the laws of physics, and matter emerge.  After all says Davies, “Laws are an informational statement.”  Mathematics has been successful in describing the laws of physics, not because mathematics is somehow an objective aspect of the universe, but because mathematics and the laws of physics co-emerge from computations carried out since the beginning of time by the ultimate quantum computer—the universe at large.

     There can be no separation between the information processing nature of the universe and the information processing revolution of life itself.  Both the syntactic and the semantic concept of information are involved in the interplay between organisms and their environment in the sense that far from equilibrium system (organisms) need to be associated with an environment that supports the organisms condition.  Both the environment (the signal medium) and the organism (the message) are needed for the co-evolution of the organism/environmental system. 

  According to Keith Ward and Arthur Peacocke, the information contained in DNA is not semantic information because no understanding is required for the translation and transcription processes that code for proteins.  This kind of information belongs to a third category he calls “Shaping” or coded information and it requires no sentience.  The functioning of the parts can only be explained by how they contribute to the organism as a whole, and this is true whether we are speaking of the universe as a whole or a living organism.  Since consciousness is primordial and contains all possible states, we should not look to the simple to explain the complex, but rather the complex to explain the simple.

 John Haught maintains that the idea of “God” as a designer is getting harder and harder to defend in light of the fact that the universe is constantly evolving.  Information is a complementarity of order and disorder.  Too much order is too rigid and does not allow for novelty and evolution.  “If the universe or life were simply designed,” says Haught, “it would be frozen in a fixed and eternally unchanging identity. Design is a dead end.”  Though Haught says that whether or not one calls such a primordial consciousness “God” is partly a matter of taste it hasn’t stopped him and other contributors to the last section of this work in making a desperate attempt to shoe-horn God into the equation.

  This work was a very exhaustive and comprehensive treatment of the topic of information, and it greatly informed me on the subject.  I would highly recommend this to anyone willing to wade through some fairly dense material in order to get to a clear understanding of the nature of information.

     Chapter 2 History:   Matter was seen by Aristotle as the bearer of potentiality (16) Aristotle’s idea was that of complementarity.  Aristotle’s substance had form and matter each requiring the other in order to constitute a thing.  Prime matter was supposed to be indeterminate.

  Descartes said the stuff of the world was matter with its extension a combination of their volume and their shape.  But there were problems.   He later added the characteristics of impenetrability, mobility, inertia, and density.  (19).    In the corpuscular model, density was explained by the degree of packing.  These were the primary qualities of matter--the objective attributes.  The secondary qualities are observer dependent.

 Newton brought in the concept of “mass” to explain inertia and gravitation.

Einstein said that mass and energy are equivalent.

A photon which has zero rest mass will exert gravitational force as a result of its kinetic energy.

Chapter 3—Philip Clayton.

  Materialism consisted of 5 central theses:

1)      Matter is the fundamental constituent of the  natural world

2)      Forces act on matter

3)      The fundamental entities of reality are the particles and their fields.  These forces determine the motion of objects in nature-determinism.

4)      Nothing exists that are not part of the forces and fields.  There is no such thing as vitalism or consciousness.  (dualism)

5)      Materialism excludes top-down causation or strong emergence.  Materialism is an ontological position because it describes all that can exist

Plato, Aristotle, Thomas Aquinas, Descartes, Leibniz, Hegel, and Whitehead all fail to give a consistent definition of matter. (40)

 Thales—All was ultimately water, Empedocles is was the four elements of earth, air, fire,for and water, for Parmenides, the logos or reason, and for Heraclitus it was change. 

  Plato thought that the ultimate reality was the world of “Forms.”  Plato’s notion implied that the material world is in some sense illusory.  “The further one descends from the realmof the forms, the less reality is possessed by the objects one encounters.  Aristotle was disturbed by Plato’s notion that matter might be illusion.  He believed that each object was a unity of form and matter—a complementarity.

  Thomas Aquinas adopted Aristotle’s notion of form and matter, but he believed that God created the matter of the universe, yet if God is pure Spirit as he proclaimed, “How could God create something different from himself?

Rene Descartes, “The father of modern philosophy” said there were two kinds of substances: “thought” and “matter”. Descartes could never solve the problem of the interaction of the mind and body because he defined each as two separate and distinct features of the world.

Leibnitz tried to solve the problem of matter by combining consciousness and matter.  He suggested that all matter possesses some understanding and the smoothly running machine of the universe is accredited to God.

  The philosophy of Leibnitz is a monism of spirit.

German philosopher Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, offered a synthesis of mind and matter, yet the idea of the spirit dominated his philosophy.

  The definition of matter remains illusive (50). Clayton says that every attempt to understand matter ends up focusing on the active principle of the intellect—that which makes understanding possible—rather than on what was to be understood which is matter.

Hobbes began with the premise that all is “matter in motion”, the crucial task that then arises is to understand exactly how things move.

Newton’s mechanics seemed to offer support for the metaphysical position of materialism, the view that all things are composed of matter.  His three laws of motion could explain the motion of all objects in the universe, from inertia to gravitation.  And Darwin’s idea of natural selection gave a naturalist explanation of the evolution of life itself.  Consciousness was left out of the equation. (53)  When the knowledge of all things has been reduced to fundamental particles and to  universal laws, the  victory of materialism, they maintained, would be complete.

  The project of materialist reduction began to run into difficulty with special and general relativity and quantum mechanics.  Radioactivity demonstrated that one substance and transpose into another without an initial cause.  Einstein showed that matter and energy are not discrete, but are one of the same. The idea of complementarity demonstrated that one phenomenon can be described in multiple ways depending upon the observation or measurement performed.  Heisenberg demonstrated that particles do not have precise location in space, they are indeterminate until an observation is made.

“Physics may also suggest an entanglement of matter and meaning” (59)

 

Chapter 4 Physics:  Paul Davies

  What is the underpinning of reality?  Most theologians have abandoned the idea that God exits necessarily.  The concept of a necessary being is fraught with philosophical and theological difficulties, not least of which is the fact that such a being does not bear a resemblance to traditional notions of God. 

  Science evaded these complications by resting content to accepting the physical universe itself at each instant of time, as the basement level of reality, without the need for a god(necessary or otherwise) to underpin it. 

    A subtle shift occurred, among theoretical physicists in which the ground of reality first became transferred to the laws of physics themselves, and then to their mathematical surrogates, such as Lagrangian Hilbert spaces, etc.  The logical conclusion of going down the path is to treat the physical universe as if it is simple mathematics.  For many physicists mathematics is the ground of being.

  What is the origin of these laws, and as Einstein asked:  Could the laws have been different? Einstein’s suggestion has little support.  It is easy to construct universes, according to Davies that are mathematically and logically self-consistent.

   The long held idea that the laws of the universe are perfect and immutable “cast in tablets of stone from everlasting to everlasting” is a relic that comes directly from monotheism, which asserts that a rational being designed he universe according to a set of perfect laws.   

   Newton and his contemporaries believed that they were uncovering the divine plan for the universe in the form of its underlying mathematical order. 

  Rene Descartes:  It is God who established the laws of nature.

  This view has gone largely unchallenged for 300 years of secular science.

   Many mathematicians are Platonists, believing that mathematical objects have real existence, even though they are not situated in the physical universe.   (72)  The fusion of Platonism and monotheism created the powerful orthodox scientific concept of the laws of physics as idea perfect infinitely precise, immutable, eternal unchanging mathematical forms, that reside in an abstract Platonic heaven beyond space and time.

  All of these assumptions must be jettisoned to come to an understanding that the laws and states of the universe co-evolve.

  The challenge to these assumptions builds on the work of John Wheeler and Rolf Landauer that originally sprang for the theory of information and computation (75).

  The traditional symbolic expression is: Mathematicsà Physicsà Information.

  According to the orthodox view, mathematical relationships are the most basic aspect of existence.  The physical world is an expression of a subset of mathematical relationships, whereas information is a secondary or derived, concept that characterizes certain specific states of matter.

  The alternative view gaining ground is that information is the primary entity from which physical reality is built.

  The new expressions are:  Informationà Laws of physicsà Matter.

  After all the laws are informational statements. 

  Is the information content of the universe finite or infinite?

  No information can travel faster than the speed of light.

   Quantum mechanics says that the states of matter are fundamentally discrete rather than continuous, so they form a countable set.  It is then possible to work out how many bits of information any given volume of the universe contains by virtue of quantum discreteness. The answer is 10 raised to the 222 power bits for the region within the horizon of time.

  The holographic principle implies that the total information content of a region of space cannot exceed one quarter of the surface are in Planck units that confines it. So the information content of the universe is finite.  The implications are that nothing in the universe can be specified or described by more than 10 raised to the 122 power bits of information.

   The information content of the universe is a fundamental limitation on all of nature, and not just on states of the world that humans perceive.  (82) The laws of physics are inherent in and emergent with the universe, not transcendent of it.

  The conclusion is stark.  If the cosmic information bound is set, and if information is ontologically real, then the laws of physics have intrinsically finite accuracy.  It would not be possible to create a state of more than 400 entangled quantum particles as quantum computer scientists want to do. Davies predicts a breakdown of the unitary evolution of the wave function at that point.

   If one accepts that mathematics is meaningful only if it is the product of real computational processes, then there is a self-consistent loop: the laws of physics determine what can be computed, which in turn, determines the informational basis of those same laws of physics. It appears that mathematics and the laws of physics co-emerge.

 

Chapter 5:  Seth Lloyd.

   The invention of the printing press was an information –processing revolution of the first magnitude.

  A small town of 1000 people, reproducing sexually with a generation time of 30 years produces the same amount of genetic variation as a culture of one trillion bacteria reproducing asexually every 30 minutes.

  The mechanism of storing genetic information in DNA, and reproducing with variation, is a remarkable invention that gave rise to the beautiful and rich world around us.  Life is the original information-processing revolution.  But the very first information-processing revolution began with the universe itself.

  Each of these particles carried with it bits of information, and every time two particles bounced off each other, those bits were transformed and processed.  The big bang was a bit bang.  The universe computes.

  To think of the universe not just as a machine, but also as a machine that computes, is a potentially powerful extension of the mechanistic paradigm. (96)

  Could the universe have originated from randomness alone?  No! Randomness taken on its own, gives rise to gibberish.  The million monkeys typing on a typewriter would only produce one line of Hamlet’s Soliloquy if they typed since the beginning of the universe.  But if they typed short program instructions instead of single characters the results would be different.

  The universe provides fresh bits through quantum decoherence.

 

  Chapter 6:  Henry Stapp

    If one accepts as fundamental this Aristotelian idea of potentia of objective tendencies, then the whole scheme of things becomes intuitively understandable.  There is nothing intrinsically incomprehensible about the idea of tendencies. 

   No one has yet shown how the interventions of our minds-or some surrogates-required by contemporary orthodox quantum theory can consistently be eliminated.  This unavoidable entry of mental realities into the laws of physics arises in connection with the choice of which action will be performed on a system being observed.  This theory offers a conception of nature that enforces everything that physics says about the structure of human experience.

   At the atomic level deterministic laws describe actions.  It is only when the consequence of the atomic level processes is extended to the macro level that the radically new quantum features come into play.  It is only then that one encounters the shift from deterministic processes to the Heisenberg/Aristotelian notion of the potentia for psycho-physical events to occur. (108)

  (My thought)  If meaning is woven into every level of complexity then observer created reality and decoherence are one of the same.

   Human experience is an aspect of the reduction of the cloud of potentia to those that contain the neural correlate of that experience.  The psycho-physical actions/events are of two kinds.  The first kind is a choice of how the observed system is to be probed.  The actions of the second kind are predicted to conform to certain quantum probability rules.

 The quantum Zeno effect is a decoherence effect, and it is not diminished by the environment-induced decoherence: It survives intact in a large, warm, wet brain.

   The physical described world is not a world of material substances, as normally conceived, but is rather a world of potentialities for future experiences.

  I claimed above that quantum mechanics, properly presented, and more specifically the quantum mechanical conception of nature, is in line with intuition.  It is rather classical physics that is non-intuitive. Any conception of reality that cannot explain how our conscious effort influences our bodily actions is problematic.

  Heisenberg said that reality is not built out of matter, but out of psycho-physical events.

 

 

Part III: Biology:

Chapter 7:  John Maynard Smith

   Smith disagrees with some biologist who believes that classical information theory does not apply to biology. 

  

   In both protein synthesis and later development, genes are symbols, in that there is no necessary connection between their form (sequence) and their effects.  The sequence of a gene has been determined by past natural selection. In biology, the use of informational terms implies intentionality, in that both the form of the signal, and the response to it, has evolved by selection.  Where an engineer sees design, a biologist sees natural selection.   Natural selection in the past produced the sequence of bases out of many possible sequences that, via the information channel specifies a protein that has a “meaning,” in the sense of functioning in a way that favors the survival of the organism.

 Molecular biologist do make use of the information analogy in their daily work, such as Transcription, translation, code, redundancy, synonymous, messenger, editing, proofreading, library.

  The information coded in DNA came about as a result of past natural selection.

  The difficulty of applying information theory to genetics is not in the transfer of information, but in its meaning.

   In the early days it was customary to assert that the theory was not concerned with meaning, but only with quantity of information—Shannon.   In biology, the question is:     how does genetic information specify form and function?

  Some claim the chemical processes are not a signal that carries a message?  Why not?  In a message can be carried by a sound wave, an electromagnetic wave, etc., why not by a set of chemical molecules? 

   A gene requires the translating machinery of a cell-ribosomes, tRNA, etc, but his does not invalidate the analogy: a computer program needs a computer before it can do anything..

  In evolution changes in genes can cause changes in proteins, while the laws of chemistry remain unchanged. 

  The image of development that is emerging is one of a complex hierarchy of regulatory genes, and of a signaling system that is essentially symbolic.  (142)

   The notion of information as it is used in biology implies intentionality. (143)

 Genes carry information but enzymes do not because there is no “receiver” of a “message” from the enzyme.

  Intentional information seems like a better candidate for the sense in which genes carry developmental information and nothing else does.  In biology there is an evolved structure carrying information and an evolved structure that receives it. (143).

Chapter (8): Deacon

   The concept of energy took many decades to clarify.  It was ultimately demystified by recognizing that energy was not a substance, but rather a constant dynamic parameter that was transformed and yet conserved in processes of induced change.  Similarly, to develop a full scientific understanding of information we will be required to give up thinking about it, as some artifact or commodity.

   Two kinds of information must be discussed.  Information can refer to the sign or signal themselves, irrespective of any meaning, or reference, as in the information content in bits.  This is referred to as syntactic information.  Or it can refer to the ideas I am hoping to communicate, or semantic or pragmatic information.

   All physical processes are potential computations, but no physical process is intrinsically a computation.

   In both classical physics and quantum physics only the syntactic concepts of information is involved.  Claude Shannon’s statistical approach to the analysis of signals and their capacity to carry information has excluded any reference to problems of defining content or significance.

   Information is, by definition, something in relation to something else, but it can mean “what is conveyed, or what provides the conveyance.  Shannon’s concept totally ignores the issue of what information is about.  It is about the amount of uncertainty that is removed with the receipt of a given signal. So to measure information requires comparing the potential variety of signals that could have been transmitted with what was transmitted.  It is about measuring the entropy of the physical system.  According to Shannon the information-bearing capacity of a signal is proportional to the improbability of its current physical state.

 The generation of information is an emergent property of life.

  The process of evolution, in its most general form, can be understood as the necessary originative source for information.  Where there is no evolutionary dynamic there is no information in the full sense of the concept.

  In the process of natural selection an analogous role is played by conditions in the environment that favor the reproduction and persistence of some variants and not others. It is in this sense that we feel justified in claiming that the traits that are present in any given generation of organism are adaptations to certain of those conditions.  They could be said to be “about” those conditions.

  The capability of the Darwinian process to generate new information about organism-environment interdependency is the ultimate demonstration of the post-hoc nature of information.  (167)  

  (My words)   Both the syntactic and the semantic concepts of information are involved in the interplay between organisms and their environment in the sense that far from equilibrium systems (organisms) need to be associated with an environment that supports the organisms condition.  Both the environment the signal medium and the organism the message are needed for the full expression of information.  Both are needed to describe what it is about. The organism/environment coupling can be seen as the signal/medium system necessary for an expression of information.

  (My conclusion)  Both the syntactic and semantic definitions of information are expressed by the environment/organism system in that the signal and the medium are necessary for an expression of information, and the emergence of intelligence is the semantics of the equation.

 Chapter 9: Bernd-Olaf Kuppers

   Information exists only in a relative sense—that is, in relation to some other information.

  From an evolutionary standpoint, there are good grounds to assert that “language” is indeed a natural phenomenon, which originates in the molecular language of the genome.

  The information content of a message is coupled to its expectation value:  the lower the expectation value of a message, the higher its novelty and thus its information content.

  Information is always related to an entity that receives and evaluates the information.  This in turn means that evaluation presupposes some other information that underlies the process of registration and processing of the incoming information.

  Information conveying meaning cannot be compressed with change in, or even loss of its meaning.  Viewed technically, no algorithms exist that can extrapolate arbitrarily chosen parts of the  message and thus generate he rest of the message.  Therefore, to understand a piece of information of a certain complexity, one always requires background information that is at least of the same complexity.

  Chapter 10: Jesper Hoffmeyer

  Charles Sanders Peirce introduced the concept of a sign as a substitute for information to make sure that the interpretative side of information is not neglected.  A sign is simply something that refers to something else: Semiotics=sing activity. (189)

  It is a fact that the universe has given rise to entities that do, daily, modify the universe to their own ends.  This is a measuring process, whereby the agent is enabled to modify its environment in a select way, furthering its own ends.  This is not derived from natural selection for the simple reason that it is required for natural selection in the first place.  If an organism did not strive there would be no competition for survival.(suspect)

  The evolutionary formation of this kind of autonomous macro-entity is the quintessence of what is called downward causation

 (Page 201:  interesting account of bacteria’s symbiotic relationship with a shark.)

    The point of all of this is that the semiotic emergence whereby this system was gradually established in the course of evolution necessarily also demanded the invention of semiotic means for assuring the stability of the system, and these semiotic means are precisely what we understand by downward causation.

  The biosemiotic approach thereby overturns the need for intelligent design.

Chapter 11:  Holmes Rolston, III 

  Every biologist must concede that “care” is there.

  A consensus claim by those in complexity studies is that complex systems must be understood at multiple levels.  Another is that simpler systems can generate more complex ones. Even so neither complexity nor caring can be formalized into any comprehensive algorithmic routine.

  Where there is information being transmitted there arises the possibility of error.  The genetic code is a “code for” something, set for control of the upcoming molecules that it will participate in forming.  There is proactive “intention” about the future.

  The human brain is of such complexity that descriptive numbers are astronomical and difficult to fathom.  A typical estimate is 10 to the 12th power of neurons, each with several thousand synapses.

 

 

IV Philosophy and Theology

  Chapter 12: Arthur Peacocke

   They are “emergent” in that we did not anticipate the properties exhibited by the whole system given what we knew of the parts

  The term downward causation denotes the way in which the network of an organism’s relationships to it environment and its  behavior patterns together determine over the course of time the actual DNA sequences at the molecular level present in an evolved organism.

  The parts would not be behaving as observed it they were not parts of that particular system (the whole).  The state of the system as a whole is influencing what the parts actually do.

  Naturalism:  A view of the world, and of man’s relation to it in which only the operation of natural laws and forms is assumed.

It was Darwin’s eventually accepted proposal of a plausible mechanism for the changes in living organisms that led to the ultimate demise of the external deistic notion of God.

Chapter 13: Keith Ward

  Scientists who speculate on philosophical questions usually agree that classical materialism—the view that reality consists of nothing but small massy particles bumping into one another in an absolute and unique space-time—is intellectually dead.

 Most contributors to this volume distinguish three main types of information—Shannon information, “shaping” information, and semantic information. Shannon information is a matter of how to input the maximum amount of information into a closed physical system.  It is concerned it might be said, with quantity rather than quality, in that it totally ignores questions of the significance of function of the information that a physical system might contain.

  Shaping or coding information” the sort of thing we might have in mind when thinking of how DNA carries the information for constructing proteins and organic cells and bodies. 

   We should not necessarily look to the simplest of organisms to explain the complex, perhaps we should instead try to understand the simplest by looking at the complex.  The most comprehensive sate would include the specification of all possible states.

  The laws of nature would not then be arbitrary, but necessary to the fruition of a coherent, complex organized, and integrated universe of unique and inexponable value.  The set of all possible mathematical states plus a selective principle of evaluation ( a rule for ordering these states) world provide the informational code for construction an actual universe.

   So if we look at the universe in terms of the types of information, we have all possible states which would be the Shannon information, the shaping information which would be the code to select the correct principle, and then the semantic information which would be the meaning.

  This sense of information would not be part of the physical system for which it was a container and transmitter of information, but it would be analogous to shaping information it would contain the patterns of all possible physical configurations, and a principle of selection between possibilities.

  To me writes Penrose, “the world of perfect forms is primary…its existence being almost a logical necessity.

  If we posit consciousness as a distinctive kind of existent, we move to the  third use of the term “information”—the semantic use.

  Without that act of understanding, there is no information.  There is only the material substratum that stores information (perhaps Shannon information).

  That is why the information carried by DNA molecules is not information in the semantic sense.  The code does provide a program for constructing an organism, but no person has constructed it and no consciousness needs to understand and apply the program.  Like a computer program, it operates without the need for conscious interpretation. (288).

  In my view, such things as conscious intention and understanding have real existential status. They are irreducible and distinctive forms of reality.

  Consciousness could be explained as a cosmic, holistic entity, in which the development of the parts is explained by their contribution to the existence of an integrated totality (huge)

   This suggests the idea of a primordial consciousness that is ontologically prior to all physical realities that contains the “coded” information for constructing any possible universe.

  Whether or not one calls such a primordial consciousness “God” is partly a matter of taste.  For some the idea of God is too anthropomorphic, too primitive and sentimental, to be of use. (good quote.)

  As Wheeler suggests the simple originating phenomena of the universe may not even exist unless they are conceived, evaluated, and intentionally actualized by consciousness.  For some physicists like Wheeler, it is the final conscious state of the universe itself that is a causal factor in its own physical origin.  The universe generates a cosmic intelligence that then becomes cause of its own originating processes. (Huge)

Chapter 14: John F. Haught

  The image of Goad as “designer” has become increasingly questionable, especially in view of evolutionary accounts of life.

   In the broadest sense “information” can mean whatever gives form, order, patter, or identity to something, whether it be an electron, a crystal, the human mind, a civilization, or the economic system.

  In communication theory information means the reduction or removal of indefiniteness or uncertainty.  The more uncertainty is removed, the more information.

  The amount of information in a message varies in direct proportion to the improbability of its content.

  The paradox is that the more informative a message is, the less immediately comprehensible it may be in terms of meaning.

 It makes sense that the most significant information carried by the cosmos transcends scientific understanding.

  The real world is a blend of order and indefiniteness.

  In order to function as potential bits of information, the letters of the alphabet must have a random, noisy nature—the characters must be capable of being figuratively disassembled and place in a mixing pot.  A cod has to have the capacity to disassemble in order to reassemble.

  As long as it remains impossible to break down such rigidity, information would be impossible—In other words, too much order—or design—would prevent the transmission of information.  If the universe or life were simply designed it would be frozen in a fixed and eternally unchanging identity.  Design is a dead end.

  Theology might be understandable as an influence of information flow.

  The novelty in an emergent universe is analogous to what is now called information (313)

  Just as information can be given to a word processor without modifying the rules governing the lower levels in the computation, so new information in the universe effects higher level emergent development without altering the laws of nature.

Amen.

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Incomplete Nature:

 How Mind Emerged from Matter

Terrence W. Deacon

 

Terrence Deacon’s essential idea concerns a philosophy he calls “absentialism”, a Taoist notion that requires that we pay attention to what is absent.  What matters is what is not evident.  Concepts such as information, purpose, meaning, and consciousness are examples of concepts that are defined in terms of what they are not, and Deacon invents the term “ententional” to describe these phenomena.  Ententional phenomena are purposeful, end-directed, and teleological and are usually associated with evolution, biological processes and consciousness.  Biologists, for example, have no problem using ententional or teleological language when describing biological processes or events.  They might say that the bird builds a nest in order to protect its eggs, or that DNA emerges from the nucleolus in order to be replicated, yet when asked directly, these same biologists will completely deny any involvement with teleological or ententional explanations for these occurrences.  Deacon contends that rather than hiding from what seems evident, we should instead try to explain how ententional processes arise from physical matter and energy.  Deacon explains that the processes involved from nonlife to life and matter to consciousness proceed in a ratcheting-up of a step-by-step orthograde process beginning with thermodynamic constraints that step up to morphodynamic constraints and evolve to teleodynamic constraints.  (An example of thermodynamic constraint would be a piston in an engine that constrains an expanding gas to produce work.) Each of these steps from the thermodynamic to the teleodynamic and from life to consciousness is irreducible.  One cannot deduce the parts from the whole when considering life or consciousness, because something is lost or constrained at each stage of the evolutionary process.  Quite literally, according to Deacon, the whole is less than the sum of the parts.

  Whereas a machine must be assembled from various parts by a designer with a pre-determined purpose, living organisms intrinsically differentiate, beginning with the whole and subdividing into parts, the most basic of which is the cell wall, a constraint necessary for all living organisms on earth.  Once life emerged it developed from simple organisms to more advanced, organized, and specialized forms through progressive series of natural constraints called evolution.  

  Deacon has produced a profound addition to our understanding of life and consciousness.  My only disappointment apart from the lack of constraints on the length of this work—nearly 600 pages—is his reluctance to include quantum theory.  Deacon seems to want to disregard what he apparently views as some kind of fringe aspect of physics when he states:  These [quantum physical phenomena] must be excluded for three reasons:  First, if we were to make use of any such extraordinary physical phenomena, we would at best only have substituted one mystery for another…”  Also, Deacon states, “Although quantum phenomena often seem strange, they are not strange in the sense of exhibiting the kind of causality that organisms and minds do…more important the scale at which we do unambiguously recognize ententional properties is vastly larger than the scale of quantum events.”    These propositions as I understand them are not correct.  First, classical physics which encompass the laws of thermodynamics and cause and effect are a special case in physics.  Classical physics is a subset of quantum theory—not the other way around.  Secondly, the scale of quantum effects is not too small to account for the processes involved in the macromolecules of biological life as Deacon says.  Quantum effects are essential for the alignment of the complementary strands of DNA during replication, and the two and three-dimensional folding of proteins that carry out most of the functions of the organism. 

   Deacon did a wonderful job applying his thesis to explain many of the mysteries of life and consciousness and I advanced my own thinking on the nature of reality. 

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Genesis and the Big Bang

Gerald L. Schroeder, Ph.D.

 

   Gerald Schroeder’s premise is that there is no conflict between science and the Christian bible in interpreting the origin of life and the universe itself.  And just as scientists are constantly updating scientific theories, the bible must also be reinterpreted as new texts come to light and the Hebrew alphabet’s secrets are ascertained.               

   Schroeder’s credentials are sound and his scientific expertise and easy style of writing can draw in even the most skeptical atheists.  But, there are many statements in his book that one can take issue.  He states that “There is now overwhelmingly strong evidence, both statistical and paleontological, that life could not have been started on earth by a series of random chemical reactions” (25).  And in this he is correct.

    Fred Hoyle, author of the intelligent universe, and creator of the steady state theory of the universe, which has since been overturned by the Big Bang theory wrote in his book:

 

    A generation ago a profound disservice was done to popular thought by the notion that a horde of monkeys thumping away on typewriters could eventually arrive at the plays of Shakespeare.  This idea is wrong, so wrong that one has to wonder how it came to be broadcast so widely (11).

 

   It has now been calculated that given the entire history of the universe not even one line of a Shakespearean play would be composed by this random method.  And life is even more improbable by random means.  But the unlikely odds of spontaneous generation do not suggest some teleological guiding hand.

    In his landmark book, Programming the Universe, quantum computer scientist Seth Lloyd says that the universe we observe did not come about by a grand designer, or by purely random classical events.  The complexity we observe in the universe is a result of random programs run on the largest computer imaginable—the universe itself.  Like a giant computer the universe is constantly computing and the laws of nature, gravity, the electromagnet force, and the two nuclear forces are its algorithms. 

    Our very existence has come about as a result of the play of these forces.  In the vast reaches of space unimaginable quantities of matter are drawn together by the force of gravity.  At a critical point, the crushing gravity becomes so intense that nuclear fusion takes over and a star is born.  Hydrogen is converted to helium, as the outward pressures of fusion holds off the force of gravity.

    If the star is large enough fusion continues creating all the elements of the periodic chart through element 26, Iron.  When all fuel is exhausted and no more fusion can take place, gravity once again takes over, and the star collapses upon itself setting the stage for an enormous rebound explosion called a supernova, in which the heavier elements of the periodic chart are created and flung into space.  This matter eventually coalesces once again, as happened in the formation of our own solar system.  All the elements, hydrogen, oxygen, carbon, nitrogen, and sulfur, which were created by gravity and fusion, are now available to form the organic compounds of life by the chemistry of the electromagnetic force.

    The algorithms, the laws of nature, have brought about the elements of life without a supernatural force, but how could these laws turn inorganic molecules into life?  I have been all too aware of some of the shortcomings of evolutionary theory:

 

1)  If evolutionary theory is a complete theory, why does man need such a highly developed eye?  Evolution is a very frugal process and no new adaptation happens without a survival advantage.  Would an eye which is not quite so advanced have caused man to lose the battle of survival?

 

2)  If evolutionary theory is a completed theory, how did a wing develop?  Evolutionary theory teaches us that advances come in gradual incremental states over many generations.  How then, according to natural selection could a wing evolve?  Certainly nothing short of a full-blown wing capable of flight would be of any use to a creature.  How could this wing have evolved in stages over thousands of years as present theory suggests? 

 

3)  If evolutionary theory is a complete theory, how do we explain cell specialization?  In a dividing blastula cell, a fertilized egg, all the genetic material is reproduced by duplication and passed to the new cell so that each cell contains the same genetic information.  Initially, division happens without any specialization but after a certain amount of time cells begin to cluster to form specific body parts with specific functions.  Where does the new information come for this specialization?

 

4)  If evolutionary theory is a complete theory, how do we explain the more highly organized complex forms of life?  Simple bacteria have proved the most hardy and adaptable life forms.  What is the mechanism that would allow for the appearance of more complex biological systems which are less efficient, and less adaptable? According to the second law of thermodynamics, systems always tend to move toward more and more entropy, not more complexity.

 

   All of this, along with missing links in the fossil record, casts a shadow on evolutionary theory.  But recent advances in information theory have put bottom-up evolution on solid ground once again. 

   In his book, The Bit and the Pendulum, Tom Siegfried interviewed quantum physicist John Wheeler, who took over Albert Einstein’s chair at Princeton and is best known for coining the term “Black Hole”.  Wheeler says that in his early days he believed that the most basic entity in the universe was the particle.  In later years he believed it to be the “field”.  Now Wheeler believes that information is the essential fundamental unit in the universe.

    It is difficult to think of information as a quantity, but information is real and it always has a physical representation,  whether it be markings on paper, holes in a punch card, magnetically arranged atoms on a CD, or the up/down spin of an electron.  The smallest unit of information is the bit which can be represented as a “1” or “0”. Like any physical thing in our universe, the bit is subject to the laws of nature, including the laws of thermodynamics and Relativity.  Information, like energy, is conserved; information always moves toward the most probable state, maximum entropy; and no information can travel faster than the speed of light.  And as it turns out, information tends to be self-organizing. 

    In the 1970’s mathematician John Horton Conway discovered a self-organizing principle that has since become known as cellular automata.   He found that arrays of inanimate objects can evolve complex global designs using simple local Boolean instructions.  For example, one can randomly wire together an array of light bulbs.  Simple Boolean logical rules or instructions can then be implemented to control the flow of electricity to the light bulbs.  An instruction could be something as simple as, “If any of the light bulbs in the adjacent cells are turned on, then turn off the light bulb in this cell.”  The instructions are reiterative and after each instruction the lights will take on a different pattern.  The instructions are again implemented, perhaps hundreds of times every second.  Depending on how they are wired and the type of instruction, the array of lights will often take on complex patterns that appear to be “alive”

   .  In this manner, the universe is constantly computing using reiterative programs, and the simplest programs are the ones we see most often repeated in nature. The spiral can be seen in a nautilus or in the giant pin-wheel galaxies in deep space.  The Fibonacci series (1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21…) a reiterative process by which a number in the series is attained by adding itself to the previous number, is ubiquitous in nature, describing everything form the growth of bacteria in a Petri dish, to the growth over time of most plants.  These simple programs occur spontaneously over and over in nature.

   Self-organizing cellular automata-like processes occur at all levels of reality including the neural networks of the brain.  In the Quantum Brain, Jeffrey Satinover writes: 

 

From the computational perspective, physical reality is inherently like a cellular automaton, and thus facilitates computation and self-organization at all scales.  The implementation of basic brain structure—neural embryogenesis—occurs via cellular automata-like processes….From a mathematical point of view, neural networks and cellular automata are almost identical—only the physical basis and appearance are different:  Self-organization at one scale yields the capacity for self-organization at the next (87).

 

   From these processes we can imagine that life really could have developed spontaneously, but still we must deal with those embarrassing gaps in the fossil record.  The author states:

 

  “Yet today’s fossil record is as discontinuous as that of Darwin’s time” (p.134). “Punctuated equilibrium [The idea that a new species bears little resemblance to the species that predated it] is now the accepted theory for many paleontologists.  Smooth evolution is admittedly inadequate as a theory”. (163)

 

 

Schroeder then goes on to say that “Biblically, the transition from the nonliving to the living and the appearance of plants and animals are all marked by statements of God” (136).

    Yet, Schroeder is firmly grounded in the biochemistry of life, and does not deny in any way the power of genetics in the evolution of life.  In what seems to be a contradiction he states:

 

             Based on the advances in molecular genetics during the past thirty years, it is now believed that the adaptive variant was already contained within the genetic material of the parent generations….When the environment demanded this trait for survival, the number of individuals with this trait increased greatly. (137)

 

  While Schroeder might have cast some doubt on the validity of traditional evolutionary theory with this statement, he simultaneously opened the door to a scientific explanation for gaps in the fossil record, which require no need for supernatural “words from God”. What Schroeder is implying here is that “God’s plan” is being carried out now as it was before, through deterministic DNA codes. 

   This deterministic method may or may not be proven to be true.  Either way it doesn’t warrant a supernatural cause. But there is another possibility on the scientific horizon that does not require determinism. 

   In his book The Biology of Belief Bruce Lipton wrote:

 

Geneticists experienced a comparable shock when, contrary to their expectations of over 120,000 genes, they found that the entire human genome consists of approximately 25,000 genes.  More than eighty percent of the presumed and required DNA does not exist!  (62)

 

   It was thought that one gene codes for each protein in the cells.  But new evidence shows that one gene can create over 2,000 variations of proteins.  Using quantum tunneling, these proteins can fold into trillions of different shapes to carry out their function in the cell, and environmental factors can modify these function.

   Most of the functions of the cells can be carried out without the nucleus.  For example, a prokaryotes bacterium has no nucleus whatsoever, yet a bacterium eats, digests, breathes and excretes.  All this action takes place across the cell’s membrane which Lipton calls the “brains of the cell”.  He says:

 

                    So the nucleus is not the brain of the cell—the nucleus is the cell’s gonad!  Confusing the gonad with the brain is an understandable error because science has always been and still is a patriarchal endeavor. (66)

 

   This could explain the leaps in the fossil record, and demonstrates that organisms are in flux and constantly changing according to information gleaned from their environment.  No “command” from the genetic code is needed for change.

 

Schroeder saved his most spectacular sleight of hand to explain the six days of creation of Genesis. 

 

   When the Bible describes the day-by-day development of our universe in the six days following the creation, it is truly referring to six 24-hour days.  But the reference frame by which those days were measured was one which contained the total universe.  This first week of Genesis is not some tale to satisfy the curiosity of children, to be discarded in the wisdom of adulthood.  Quite the contrary, it contains hints of events that mankind is only now beginning to comprehend (53).

 

 

   He explains that this temporal incompatibility is due to relativity theory; that God is in some “other place” in the universe where, apparently, time is measured differently.  What other place does an omnipresent God occupy?  

     Most people are surprised to learn what relativity theory actually states:  The laws of the universe are the same for observers in all frames of reference.  In fact, Einstein had originally planned to call his theory, “the theory of invariance”.

     A person in a rocket ship traveling at close to the speed of light will find no abnormalities in the laws of physics.  The strange oddities of Relativity only occur when comparisons are made between observes in different frames of reference.  What comparisons can be made for a God who is all places at once?   Schroeder really stretches the bounds of credulity here.

    Gerald L. Schroeder’s command of Relativity is excellent and I thoroughly enjoyed this chapter, but he certainly didn’t attain his goal of convincing me that science and the bible are compatible.  Even with these limitations, this was a fun and informative book, and I was glad I gave it a chance. 

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DMT:

 The Spirit Molecule

Rick Strassman, M.D.

 

 

     Rich Strassman’s account of his ground-breaking research program with the psychedelic drug DMT is more than a scientific chronicle.  His tale of the rigors of such an extraordinary undertaking, from the years he spent gaining permission for the study, getting access to the drug, and carrying out the experiments with human subjects, is suspenseful to the end. 

            DMT or di-methyl-tryptamine is produced by many organisms and is found abundantly in plants and animal tissue.  In humans it is believed that it is produced in the tiny pineal gland, which is situated deep within brain.  Its location in the brain corresponds with Eastern Ayurvedic traditions of the highest chakra.  In reptiles, the pineal is a light sensitive organ, and though this function has been lost in humans, it has been referred to as the “third eye”.  Descartes called it the “seat of the soul”, and in modern times it has been a focal point of the study of consciousness.

     Though the academic purpose for the research at the University of New Mexico from 1990 to 1995 was to find the purpose and function of endogenous (produced by the body)  DMT, as well as its relationship to psychosis, it was Stassman’s emersion in the teaching of Buddhism that was his inspiration throughout.  Ironically, the findings of his research undermined many of his beliefs and left him alienated from the Buddhist community.  

   Many of his research subjects were experienced psychedelic users, but they were unprepared for the intensity of DMT.  One volunteer described his acute ten minute voyage into another dimensions as being hit by a “nuclear cannon.” While LSD allows the user a self-guided trip, the DMT experience has its own agenda, stripping the subject of any goals, expectations, and ego.  As Strassman said, “DMT" as the true spirit molecule, gave the volunteers the trip they needed, rather than the one they wanted.”

  But it was not only the volunteers of the experiments that were shocked.  Strassman was completely unprepared for his subjects’ reports of contact with alien beings, reptiles, and other strange entities.  In other cases, they described out-of-body experiences, going through tunnels of white light, and meeting relatives, spirits, and angels.  Strassman soon realized that these reports were very similar to the modern cultural phenomena of alien abductions, and near death experiences (NDE) —neither of which were familiar to him prior to his research project.

 

  He theorized that these two phenomena might be caused by excess releases of endogenous DMT from the pineal gland under conditions of stress, such as child birth or severe trauma, precipitating an NDE.   Similarly, a close cousin of DMT, namely melatonin and perhaps DMT itself is released during the nighttime hours.  This, Strassman thought, could give rise to the alien abduction experience, which most often happens in the early morning hours. This seems to be a very likely explanation.

    Near death experiences have often been used to support religious teachings.  Perhaps the reverse should be considered.   Religion was invented to explain the strange phenomena experienced due to an excess release of DMT in the body. 

 

   Because of the intense reality of the DMT experience, and the volunteers’ rejection of psychological, or biological explanations for their journey, Strassman was forced to consider an even more intriguing explanation.  Perhaps, DMT does not cause hallucinogenic experiences, but rather, allows our brain to sense different forms of existing reality.  The information we receive from the world is limited by our five senses.  It is possible that DMT allows us to sense other dimensions and other realities.

 

   In the end the rigors and stresses of the study took a huge toll on Strassman costing him his job and alienation from the Buddhist community.  Even though many of the monks had entered the monistic community as a result of LSD use, their rise to elected power left them unable to support Strassman’s research.  As Strassman stated, “Holiness won out over truth.”

 

  Rich Strassman’s writing style makes this book extremely readable, and the DMT subjects’ reports and anecdotal stories make the book difficult to put down.  This book warrants a “5 star” rating.  I highly recommend DMT the Spirit Molecule. 

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Crystal & Dragon

David Wade

 

   As I began to read Crystal & Dragon, a large beautiful book laden with wonderful illustrations, art from eastern and western cultures, and wide margins filled with quotations to support David Wade’s work, I looked for a singular meaning to the terms crystal and dragon.  I soon realized that David Wade had imbued these two terms with layers of meaning. 

  Primarily, crystal and dragon symbolizes the opposing views of eastern and western modes of thought.  The dragon, the symbol of eastern culture, is representative of the smooth continuous ever changing universe, a universe that is holistic, spontaneous, and integral to the life it supports.  The crystal is symbolic of western thought.

    Crystalline structures, which comprise most of the solid matter in the universe, are characterized by rigid symmetrical arrangements of molecules in lattice-like layers that produce very distinct and enduring geometric forms.  These precise symmetrical forms are a metaphor for many of the political, religious, and scientific aspects of western cultures.      

   Secondarily, and I think more importantly, crystal and dragon reflect the Buddhist and Taoist philosophy that nature is neither dualistic nor monistic, but rather a unity of opposing forces which the Chinese refer to as the ti and the t’ien.  These opposing, natural, self-organizing principles express themselves in the interplay between symmetry and chaos, between form and energy, and between determinism and chance.  The ti and the t’ien are responsible for the creation of the universe and for the very definition of asymmetrical time itself: the change of one type of energy into another in the relentless drive toward entropy. 

   Since the dawn of the twentieth century, western science, which has become synonymous with the philosophy of dualism, has come full circle to embrace many aspects of the ti and the t’ien.  Niels Bohr, himself a student of eastern philosophy, used the word complementarity to describe the mutually exclusive properties of the particle/wave duality.  Not only did he see that the wave and particle were complimentary aspects of the same thing, but in the process he rid the world of the mind/matter duality.  In a holistic universe there can be no separation between the observer and the observed. 

    The seeds of western science were sewn by the Greek philosophers, who provided us with a crystal view of reality that was achieved by nothing more than passive observation and pure rational thought.  According to Wade, the earliest proponent of this school of thought was Parmenides of Elea, who thought that change was merely a temporary expression of the more perfect world of permanent forms.  

  Plato crystallized Parmenides ideas when he said that the world of perfect forms is part of the objective external realm which is at least partially accessible by the intellect.  The best chance of understanding these forms, he said, was through the study of objective numbers.  This mind/matter duality provided a clear and necessary distinction between the observer and the observed, setting the stage for an objective analysis of the material world.   

   Many of the principles ascertained by the early Greeks through the deductive method of science were resurrected in the early twentieth century and were verified by an entirely different mode of scientific analysis—the inductive experimental method. In fact, a whole new revolution in science emerged based on the Greek word “quanta” meaning “packet” or “smallest unit”:

 

  •     Pythagoras’s idea that the universe operates according to whole numbers and their ratios was realized when Niels Bohr discovered that the electrons did not move uniformly from one orbit to another gradually taking up and emitting energy in a classical way; rather, the electron exists only in certain orbits corresponding to exact whole units of energy. This finding explained the periodic table of the elements, and established the very mechanism for all chemical bonds and interactions. 
  •    Parmenides and Zeno of Elea proposed that change is illusory.  Zeno postulated his famous “the arrow cannot fly” paradox.  He said that an arrow cannot fly, because at any instant one chooses, the arrow must be in one and only one location.  Though the Greeks believed that numbers were objective and that there is a one-to-one correspondence between numbers and elements of the world, they did not think that numbers were infinite, nor did they believe that a finite set such as time or distance could be infinitely divided.  As a result, Zeno rejected the eastern tradition that time, space, and motion are smooth and continuous.    

     Almost twenty five hundred years later Zeno was vindicated by Werner Heisenberg’s theory of indeterminism which showed that a particle’s velocity and momentum could not be simultaneously established to infinity.  The more we know about the momentum of a particle, the less we know about its position and vice versa. This was not a shortcoming of technology, but rather an all- encompassing mathematical law and philosophical principle. 

  • Leucippus of Miletus and Democritus believed that the world was composed of discrete non-reducible entities they called “atoms”.

   Max Planck, the father of the quantum revolution, mathematically demonstrated that emissions of heat and light from a black body could be explained only if energy were not continuous, but came in “quanta” or chunks. 

  Just a few years later Albert Einstein, in one of three papers published in 1905, theorized that the buffeting of tiny pollen grains seen under powerful telescopes was the result of molecular motion.  This finally convinced most physicists of the atomic theory of matter.

  In his second Nobel Prize winning paper on the photoelectric effect, Einstein found that when cohesive light was shone on a metal, electrons are “kicked out”.  The energy of these emissions is not dependent upon the amplitude of the light, but only upon the frequency of the light in multiples of Planck’s constant.   These particles of light were soon to be called photons.  The quantization of the world had seemingly become established, and the holistic paradigm of the east seemed distant indeed.

 

     Two major paradigms in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries solidified the reductionist crystallization of reality: the Copernican heliocentric revolution, and the “clock-work universe of Francis Bacon and Rene Descartes, which provided the foundation of scientific thought during the “age of reason”.  Copernicus removed us from the center of the universe in a physical way, and the clock-work model removed us in a psychological way by reducing our humanity to nothing more than the result of the deterministic laws of matter and energy. 

    Few can deny that the dualist, reductionist, and deterministic approaches to the world have been extremely successful.  The inductive scientific method of inquiry has divined the basic structure of matter, explained how chemical interactions take place, provided a cosmological explanation of how the universe evolved, and given us an understanding of biology from the perspective of the cell and DNA, but it has come at a price. It has separated us from nature and made free will untenable.  It seemed that humanity and life in general were the result of nothing more than the mindless scurrying of matter. 

    The promiscuity of reductionism, and the descent into the crystal-like world of dualism seemed to go unchecked, but there was a glimmer of change on the horizon.  After twenty five hundred years of materialistic determinism a simultaneous synthesis was emerging in the West.  The early twentieth century saw the advent of two major scientific theories that changed the world: Relativity and quantum theory.  Both turned the tide toward a more participatory role for the observer, and began the process of merging the crystal West with the dragon East.    

   Ironically, this synthesis fell to one of the most prominent determinist of the age, Albert Einstein.  He, more than anyone, was responsible for slowing the tide of the reductionist wave, and reconciling the dichotomy of the crystal and the dragon.  Two of the principles that emerged from special relativity were his famous equation showing that form and energy were two aspects of the same thing, and that the subjective qualities of space and time could be synthesized into a more objective principle of space/time. 

    In his theory of general relativity he proposed the equivalency of gravity and acceleration. Though he sought objectivity and invariance in nature, he discovered many concepts of the world that were relative to the observer. 

   It was during this period of time that Einstein’s friend and colleague, Niels Bohr, presented his revolutionary idea that elementary particles, or more correctly, entities of matter and light, are neither particle nor wave.  As a matter of fact, elementary particles of matter and light do not manifest as “real” classical waves, but are only statistical waves, and the determination of which of these two aspects of reality are revealed, most astonishingly, depends entirely upon the observer.

 Clearly, the observer was once again taking a more central and integrated role in the universe of which we are apart, but the quantum revolution did not concern only the infinitesimal, it also included the infinite universe on the grandest of scale.

   In what was one of the most important discoveries of the age, Edmund Hubble discovered that the entire universe was expanding at a prodigious rate.  Born in an unimaginable violent explosion from an infinitesimally small perpetration of space, from the embryonic seed, the alpha, the black egg, the void, the entire universe and everything in it is expanding outward dragging space and time along with it.  This discovery was a blow to Fred Hoyle’s “steady state” universe and the crystal idea of permanence of form.  Motion, as Heraclites of Ephesus in Asia Minor intuited almost twenty five hundred years ago, and Galileo confirmed by experiment many years later, is the natural state of matter. 

  Though the new scientific understanding has not filtered down to the public at large, most of the scientific community has come to fully embrace the dragon to the extent that it is not at all surprising to hear scientists and philosophers discussing the strong anthropic principle with complete and utter sobriety.

   Western science has merged with the ancient traditions of Confucianism, Buddhism, and Taoism to once again entertain the idea that the universe has purpose, not the monotheistic notion of a grand designer, but purpose in the Buddhist sense in which consciousness is the ground of all being.

   Consciousness might be the ultimate link in the interplay between two dualisms that have garnered much study in recent years: information and meaning.  Many physicists now consider information to be the most basic entity in the universe.  Information is not an abstraction according to the modern interpretation.  Information is crystal-like in that it always has a physical representation, whether it is petroglyphs on a rock, ink on paper, magnetic alignments of atoms on a CD, the up/down spin of electrons, or the angle of the polarization of light.  Like energy, information adheres to the laws of thermodynamics and relativity with one interesting exception: information can be created from nothing. 

   Meaning, on the other hand, is more subjective and dragon-like. Petroglyphs are meaningless until the information they encode is comprehended, words on paper are merely scrawling until the meaning of the alphabet is learned, and magnetic arrangement of atoms on a CD are meaningless until they are turned into music. 

    Quantum nonlocality experiments with polarized photons demonstrate that information can be extracted in a binary form. Counter-intuitively, light has no polarization until it is measured. When measured, light is polarized either to the angle measured or 90 degrees from the angle measured.  The dynamic, observer-created attribute of polarization is a binary either/or proposition.   

   When two correlated photons are shot in opposite directions the measurement of the angle of polarization of one photon will instantaneously affect the angle of polarization of the other photon despite their distance of separation in time and space.  While information can not violate faster-than-light travel, meaning is not relativistically constrained and is conserved holistically.  Physicist David Bohm referred to the ubiquitous and non-local aspects of meaning as the “implicate order.

   Ironically, quantum physical experiments are beginning to suggest that the subjective qualities of consciousness and meaning are an objective aspect of the universe.  Quite possibly the very nature of consciousness itself might be bound up with the relationship between the information/meaning complementarity.

 

   I would be remiss not to mention one of the most prominent features of this wonderfully visual book, and that is its art.   Wade says that there is no clearer example of the duality of crystal and dragon than in the art of eastern and western cultures.  He says of the two cultures of art:  “The art of Islam is to a great extent the art of decoration…Islam has demonstrated an almost obsessive fascination with pattern and symmetry, a genre that seems to refer directly to the pure geometry of the crystalline order.  By contrast those arts of China that show the influence of Taoist sentiments are aschematic and, if anything, show a preference for asymmetric composition.  In this art there is no underlying structure and no adherence to form (50).”

 

   No aspect of humanity escapes the crystal and the dragon. Perhaps this is a result of what philosophers and scientists from John Locke to Immanuel Kant and Niels Bohr to David Bohm have suggested:  We can never know nature directly, because our investigation of nature must always be subjective.  It has been stated that we have no better understanding of what gravity is than did the ancient Greeks, nor is there any clear scientific understanding of the terms form and energy.  Science can only describe how these aspects of reality interact with nature.  The scientific process, which by its very nature must be dualistic, will always be a subjective endeavor in a holistic universe. 

   It might be that we see the world as dualistic because or our physical brains. The left half of our brain, the crystal, is more concerned with logic and language, while the right half tends to be more holistic and intuitive.  Author Julian Jaynes hypothesized that the integration of our brains via the Corpus Callosum is a recent evolutionary advance.  Perhaps this is the reason that our science is moving toward a more complementary and integrated synthesis of the crystal and the dragon. 

     The longevity of our republic might also be a result of the perfect combination of the crystal and dragon.  The constitution of the United States was hammered out with equal consideration for those who wanted a strong central government and those who favored state’s rights.  The constitution provides for a rigid system of three branches of government, and yet, each of these branches is responsive to the people it serves.

    Finally, one last dualism remains: The very physical layout of David Wade’s book is the epitome of the crystal and dragon.  Each of the chapters of his book could stand alone, and yet, each is intricately woven into a holistic tapestry of pure elegance.  The illustrations alone are enough to recommend it, but you won’t want to miss out on every last detail of the content. 

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Biocentrism:

 How Life and Consciousness are the keys to Understanding True Nature of the Universe

Robert Lanza, M.D.

With

Bob Berman

 

   One of the most intriguing mysteries in science involves our existence in the universe.   How did it happen that all the conditions necessary for the emergence of life, from the values of the four forces of nature, to the mass of elementary particles, to the conditions within stars, are tailor made for the existence of life?  If any one of the hundreds of fundamental values of nature were slightly different we wouldn’t be here to ponder our existence.   

   Robert Lanza says that, currently, there are only three hypotheses to explain these remarkable coincidences:  The first idea, which merely averts any serious treatment of the subject, is to simply say God did it all.

    The second contender is the anthropic principle which has two versions, the weak and the strong:   The weak anthropic principle states that we would not be here to ponder our existence unless the conditions were just perfect to spawn life.  In a Darwinian sense, it is possible that our universe is one of trillions of universes that popped into existence, and it is simply mere chance circumstances that our universe supports living organisms.  Not only is there no observational data to support this idea, but it is no more satisfying than chance mutation for an explanation of biological evolution.  

     The strong anthropic principle, which is similar to the participatory universe advocated by the renowned physicist John Wheeler, concludes that it is no accident that the universe has the conditions to support life, because it is we, the observers, who have brought forth our present universe. Those unfamiliar with quantum experiments might find this idea a bit outrageous, but ample experimental evidence prevails.  Thought experiments initially proposed by John Wheeler and others, where put to the test in the 1980s and results conclusively indicated that an observation in the present can retroactively and instantaneously change the path of a particle in the distant past without regard to time and space.  

   The third proposition, similar to the strong anthropic principle, and advocated by Lanza is called Biocentrism.  Lanza professes that the universe exists in a state of superposition.  The observer is necessary to collapse this state of probabilities into a discrete reality.  The idea that a particle only exists as a probability until observed was first proposed by Max Born who discovered to Einstein’s dismay that the electron exists only as a statistical probability until it is observed.  This is now the cornerstone of the Copenhagen interpretation of reality.  Lanza purposes that the universe itself exists in a state of probability until it is observed:  “There is no separate physical universe outside of life and consciousness.  Nothing is real that is not perceived. There was never a time when an external, dumb, physical universe existed, or that life sprang randomly from it at a later date.  Space and time exist only as constructs of the mind, as tools of perception.” (159)       

 

   Relativity theory, which treats space and time as malleable and dependent upon the frame of reference of the observer, lends credence to Lanza’s notion that space and time are merely perceptual constructs. It is very counterintuitive to imagine that space and time are not part of reality, yet Isaac Newton’s three laws of motion, Irwin Schrodinger’s wave mechanics, Werner Heisenberg’s matrix equations, Richard Feynman’s sum over histories equations and Albert Einstein’s field equations are all time symmetrical.  We have always equated change and movement with time whether it be the rotation of the earth to measure one day, the revolution of the earth around the sun to indicate one year, or the mechanical movement of the hands of a clock to mark off the minutes and hours, yet the relationship between time and motion is nothing more than a persistent illusion.  Only the second law of thermodynamics appears time asymmetrical.  Systems tend to move from a state of order to a more probable state of entropy.  Lanza says this fact has nothing to do with time.  The second law of thermodynamics does not necessitate time—“Time” necessitates the second law of thermodynamics.

   I think that “Biocentrism” the book and the word itself will become as common to our language as “the big bang” or “black-holes”, but I’m not certain that this work is that unconventional or revolutionary, because of its similarities to John Wheeler’s Participatory universe idea.   The difference between John Wheeler’s participatory universe and Lanza’s biocentrism is slight but significant.  While Wheeler believes that the material universe has come into its present state as a result of initial observations, Lanza believes that observations are ongoing and continual and that consciousness and the material world are “correlative.  The moon, he would contend, ceases to exist when we are not looking.  I, for one, tend to believe that my bed is there even as I sleep. Even so, Lanza makes an extraordinarily rational argument for his Biocentrism thesis.   This is one of those intriguing books that come along all too infrequently.    

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       The Mind body Prescription

John E. Sarno, M.D.

 

   Based on 24 years of successfully treating psychogenic disorders John Sarno has concluded that Tension Myositis Syndrome (TMS) is the most common emotional induced disorder in the Western World.

   Tension Myositis Syndrome is a painful but harmless change in the state of muscles which manifests itself in many forms including fibromyalgia (a muscular condition in which most of the muscles of the torso are affected), gastrointestinal maladies, heartburn, pre-ulcer symptoms, hiatus hernia, colitis, spastic colon, tension-induced headaches, back aches, knee and hip problems, asthma, and a host of other illnesses.

   TMS is a strategy used by the irrational unconscious mind to focus attention on the body through physical pain to prevent fearful thoughts from emerging from the unconscious mind into the rational conscious mind.  Childhood rage, self-imposed pressures, and the stresses and strains of everyday life are triggers for TMS.

   In one study MRIs were done on ninety-eight people with no history of low back or leg pain.  Thirty-six percent had normal discs at all levels, 52 percent had a bulging disc at one or more levels, 27 percent had a disc protrusion and 1 percent had an extrusion.  The conclusion is that back pain and the occurrence of bulges or protrusions might be coincidental.

In treating patients with TMS, Sarno noticed, that there were several steps to alleviating the physical pain.  The most important of these is to merely acknowledge that there is no structural abnormality, and accept that the pain is psychosomatic. By doing this we change the focus of attention from the body to the psyche, rendering the pain useless and thwarting the brains strategy.  Sarno found that merely acknowledging that the pain was not “physical” often resulted in the alleviation of the pain completely and permanently.  This is not a placebo effect since most placebos are temporary and the pain often returns according to Sarno.

  In addition Sarno noted that physical rehabilitation was often counter-productive since exercises focus on the “physical”, reinforcing the mind’s attempt to draw attention toward the body and away from the emergence of fearful thoughts into consciousness.

  People suffering from a psychogenic illness such as TMS must realize that it is very common in Western society, and does not in any way imply that one has psychological disorders.

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 Who’s in Charge?
Free Will and the Science of the Brain
Michael S. Gazzaniga


Philosophers have debated the concept of free will at least since the time of the ancient Greeks. As with any philosophical issue one most first define and agree upon the definition of the term “free will” before any headway can be made either scientifically or philosophically. Until the 1960s the debate over whether or not human beings have free will was at a stalemate, because neuroscience had not progressed far enough to accurately define what is meant by free will. This all changed as a result of experiments designed by cognitive neuroscientist Michael Gazzaniga when he was an undergraduate student at Dartmouth College.
Michael Gazzaniga had a unique opportunity to use his newly devised set of tests on patients who had undergone commissurotomy surgery—a surgery that severs the corpus callosum dividing the two hemispheres of the brain. A patient who has undergone this type of surgery feels normal with little loss of cognitive abilities.
Gazzaniga’s first test on a patient with split brain surgery demonstrated that things were not as normal as the patients reported. For example, when presenting a visual image of an object to the right field of vision that travels only to the left hemisphere of the brain, “split-brain” patients will invariably respond that they saw the object; however, when the same image is presented to the left field of vision which travels only to the right side of the brain, patients (speaking from the language area of the brain located in the left hemisphere) state that they see nothing. But the right hemisphere is not blind to the object. When asked to draw the object using the left hand controlled by the right brain, these patients can draw the object presented to the right hemisphere. In general, Gazzaniga’s tests show that visual, tactile, auditory and olfactory information received by only one half of the brain is processed by that hemisphere of the brain without awareness by the other half of the brain. The two hemispheres act independently and have specialized systems of operation, but severing the two hemispheres does not create two conscious individuals in one body. The two hemispheres are not equal. The left hemisphere is superior at logic, language, and making inferences, while the right brain is superior at spatial skills and is very literal. The new model of the brain suggests that the conscious experience is not so much left/right brain oriented, but is a result of specialized systems or modules that compete for conscious awareness across the entire brain.
Gazzaniga says that what makes us different from other animals is not brain size, but brain specialization. Because brain size is limited for many practical reasons, evolutionary processes have evolved a brain that specializes and automates by relegating many functions to modules that operate unconsciously and more economically in terms of energy consumption. This specialization is not only in the way the brain makes connections, but it is also in the very neurons themselves—a fact that has only recently been discovered.
Like all complex systems the brain has no external organizing principle or central control; therefore, consciousness arises not from a central command center, but as an emergent property of a decentralized, self-regulating system of modules all competing for attention. Gazzaniga admits that calling consciousness an emergent process of the brain doesn’t explain what consciousness is, but it puts the problem into the same framework as emergent processes in other fields of study such as biology, chemistry, sociology, and even art. Emergent processes are irreducible in that the parts cannot be extrapolated from the whole. For example, one could not predict Newtonian law by studying the atom or the complexity of a cell by studying the chemistry that makes up the cell. At each step of complexity entirely new properties emerge such that the whole is greater than the sum of the parts.
From his experiments, Gazzaniga has come to understand at least two important principles. First, that the left brain is the interpreter. The left hemisphere is constantly confabulating and concocting stories to rationalize the actions and beliefs of the deterministic brain ad hoc. If a person survives a plane crash, he will often attribute the good fortune to divine intervention rather than simply saying it was a random luck. The left hemisphere attempts to find meaning and patterns of order in chaos. And second, consciousness is relatively slow compared to the autonomic and automatic processes taking place unconsciously. We will jump back when we think we see a snake or we will quickly remove our hand from a hot stove long before it comes to our awareness. Our conscious selves believe that these actions occur in real time in relation to our consciousness, but these responses occur well before we are consciously aware of them.
Gazzaniga maintains that the brain is deterministic in nature, but this is not your grandfather’s determinism. It isn’t the determinism of Descartes, Newton or Dawkins; it is the new determinism of emergent properties that are irreducible. So do we have choice? Gazzaniga might answer yes and no. Both bottom up and top down processes are constantly taking place, but it is difficult to say that one is the cause of the other. For instance, DNA makes RNA, and RNA makes proteins that carry out the life processes of the cells and organs of the body. The RNA and the proteins are involved in transporting, transcribing, and translating proteins that are responsible for maintaining and replicating new strands of DNA. Neither is possible without the other. So what came first the DNA or the protein? And which one causes the other? This is the dilemma that has led to complementarity—a concept that fits nicely into the interplay between the deterministic bottom-up processes of the brain and the conscious top-down processes of choice. One is not necessarily the cause of the other. They exist as complementarities. With this type of scenario in place, Gazzaniga suggests we simply abandon the whole concept of free will, because it is no longer relevant to even pose the question. We like to believe that we are somehow independent of the deterministic brain, and it is we who are calling the shots. Well, in fact we are, but it isn’t the Freudian “I” who is calling the shots. Most of our choices and decisions are not made by the aware conscious mind. As the author states: “What on earth do humans want to be free from? Indeed what does free will even mean? However actions are caused, we want them to be carried out with accuracy, consistency, and purpose.” We don’t want to be free of our anatomical systems, our emotions, or our life experiences, for these are all involved in consistent and sound decision making despite the fact that they are often not conscious.
Michael Gazzaniga does a fantastic job of helping us to understand why the concept of free will belongs in the trash bin of antiquity right along-side concepts such as the aether of space, and the vital force of life.

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The Hidden Records
The Star of the Gods

Wayne Herschel
Co-author Birgitt Lederer

 

(Click on photo to enlarge, close new browser window to return)

Star Map Egypt

Accumulating evidence in the fields of archeology, anthropology, and archeo-astronomy are giving credibility to the idea that one or more advanced civilizations have lived on this planet in pre-recorded history. New archeological finds such as the twelve thousand year old stone circles of Gobekli Tepe in Turkey, and the reexamination of megalithic structures of Egypt, Baalbek, Lebanon, Teotihuacan, Mexico, Tiahuanaco, Macchu Picchu, and Puma Punku in Peru and Bolivia are providing incontrovertible evidence that a highly advanced civilization lived in our remote past. What has not been clear up until now is whether these advanced civilizations were a product of the cyclical rise and fall of terrestrial civilizations, or the result of alien intervention from an extraterrestrial race.



In a methodical and scientific approach, Wayne Herschel has unleashed upon the world a magnificent and boldly illustrated work of scholarship and art called “The Hidden Records.” In his first chapter called ‘Star Map Egypt’, Herschel graphically shows how the pyramids of Egypt are laid out as a representation of the constellations. Herschel began his own quest into the subject after reading Robert Bauval’s book “The Orion Mystery,” in which Bauval claimed that the pyramids on the Giza plateau mimicked the layout of the stars of the constellation of Orion. Bauval’s book was a sensation, but as time passed and the details of his work were more fully scrutinized, it was discovered that some of the stars of Orion did not have corresponding pyramids and some pyramids did not have corresponding stars. Other researchers such as Graham Hancock and Richard Hoagland picked up the torch in an attempt to find other celestial correlations representing the structures on the Giza Plateau. The ground breaking work by geologists Anthony West and Robert Shock had already given geologic support to the notion that the Sphinx was constructed at an earlier era than conventional Egyptologist had dated the structure and this opened the door for a whole new round of speculation about this monument. Hoagland and other researchers, who believe that the Sphinx was constructed as a representation of the constellation of Leo, corroborated West and Shock’s date of the Sphinx’s construction from a cosmic perspective. Using a sophisticated computerized star map program, Hoagland and his colleagues were able to run their star program backward in time. They discovered that the last time the Sphinx would have been able to look into the eastern horizon to see the sun rising in the constellation of Leo would have been about 12,000 years ago. This they claimed, demonstrated that the Sphinx was built at a time when the constellation of Leo was in the house of the rising sun, thus bolstering West and Schlock’s geological hypothesis for the earlier dating of the construction of the Sphinx. But Herschel, who concurs that the Sphinx represents the constellation of Leo, believes that the reason for the Sphinx’s positioning is much simpler than that. He says that the other researchers failed to look at the complex of 50 pyramids in Lower Egypt in their entirety. If they had done that, they would have realized that the Sphinx is looking at its own reflection in the Nile River (the Milky Way) at the same angle as Leo is looking toward the middle star of Orion’s belt. Both the pyramids and the belt stars appear to be lying flat while Leo and the Sphinx are in an upright position. What Bauval, Hancock, Hoagland and others failed to understand, according to Herschel, is that the entire complex of pyramids in Lower Egypt taken together form a star map of the constellations on one side of the Milky Way Galaxy. As Hermes wrote thousands of years ago: All pyramids represent the stars!



Realizing that his own hypothesis would be met with skepticism among scholar, Herschel self-imposed a set of quantifiable criteria that would withstand the onslaught of scientific scrutiny. These criteria include the following: 1) there should be a correlation between the apparent magnitude of the stars and the sizes of the pyramids. 2) The angles of the layout plan of the pyramids should be very similar to the angles between the stars that they represent, and 3) the relative distances between the pyramids should correlate with the apparent relative distances between the stars.

The most recognizable and brightest stars in the constellation of Orion are the three “belt” stars. Located on opposite corners of the constellation of Orion, perpendicular to the belt stars, are two high magnitude stars Rigel and Betelgeuse. Also in the area, and on either side of Orion, is Sirius, the brightest star in the heavens and opposite of it, relative to Orion is the star Aldebaran in the constellation of Taurus the Bull. If you draw an imaginary line from Sirius, through the belt of Orion and then through Aldebaran you come to a faint cluster of stars called the Pleiades—“the seven sisters” as they are often referred.
All these stars were important to the Egyptians, but as Herschel was soon to discover it wasn’t because the stars in and around Orion were sacred in and of themselves. They were important because they pointed the way to the Pleiades the home of our ancestors. The Pleiades in the constellation of Taurus the bull were so revered that bull worship was practiced by ancient people from the Far East to the Mideast and from the Mideast to the Americas.
It was in 1997 that Herschel first noticed that the northern pyramids of Lower Egypt matched the stars of Sirius, Orion, and the Pleiades. The magnitude of the stars was in correlation with the sizes of the pyramids and the angles between these stars were the same as the angles between the pyramids. The only discrepancies were related to the size of the pyramids representing the Pleiades. Here the scale of the pyramids increased in size. Herschel discovered that this might have been a result of the importance the ancients placed on the Pleiades. On his first map depicting the northern half of the Egyptian complex of pyramids you’ll notice the similarity of the celestial and terrestrial plans. The most northern pyramid of the complex at Abu Ruwash has as its counterpart the star Sirius. The three main pyramids, which include the Great Pyramid, Khafre, and Menkaure, are representative of the three stars of Orion’s belt, Alnitak, Alnilam, and Mintaka respectively. Aldebaran, the brightest star in Taurus matches the pyramid at Zaweyet Al-Aryan that points the way to the Pleiades represented by the complex of pyramids at Abusir.
Everything seemed to be falling into place for Herschel, but there were a couple of problems at this early stage of his investigation. The first is that the angle of Orion’s belt did not match the layout of the angle of the three pyramids of Giza. At first Herschel assumed that the pyramids were built at this angle because of practical considerations. If they were built at the angle of Orion’s belt one of the pyramids would be in the Nile. Later we will see how he reconciled this incongruity. The other problem was that two of Orion’s the most prominent stars Rigel and Betelgeuse were not represented by pyramids.

Herschel began to wonder if the desert had covered up the missing pyramids. Through meticulous research of ancient maps, Herschel found the remnants of two pyramids that were in the correct position to replicate the missing stars of Rigel and Betelgeuse. He labeled these ruin A and ruin B. He noticed that if one draws an imaginary line connecting the two ruins, it intersects the line drawn between the apex of the pyramids Khafre and Menkaure at a right angle just as the line joining Regel and Betelgeuse intersects the imaginary line drawn between the two stars of Orion’s belt at a right angle. Herschel noticed another geometric relationship showing that the Giza complex represents the constellations. An imaginary line linking the brightest star of Leo, Regulus, with the middle star of Orion’s belt is at the same angle as an imaginary line linking the Sphinx with the middle pyramid, Khafre. The link between the Sphinx and the constellation of Leo is now undeniable.



At this point Herschel realized that there were two problems for his hypothesis. Remember that two of the rules Herschel imposed upon himself were that the sizes of the pyramids should correspond to the apparent magnitude of the stars they represented, and second, that the scale of the distances between the pyramids should be proportional to the apparent distances between the stars. Both of these rules were violated at the Abusir grouping representing the Pleiades. The pyramids at Abusir were on a larger scale, and the scale of the map itself had increased. He solved the second problem right away. Taking the entire complex of pyramids as a whole, Herschel apprehended that if the center of the map, which includes Abusir and the Sun Temple, is considered to be on a scale of “one,” then the distances between the pyramids to the north are at a scale of ¾ and the pyramids to the south are on a scale of 1/8. This scaling was no doubt purposeful. Herschel believes the reduced scale is likely due to the vast distances between the groupings of pyramids. If they were placed on a one- to-one scale, someone looking from above would not be able to tell that they were a representation of the constellations. The resolution of the first problem having to do with the sizes of the pyramids at Abusir, representing the Pleiades, was a result of their importance. In almost all ancient murals and paintings, the Pleiades were depicted larger than they should be relative to the stars. This he came to realize was because of their special significance to the ancients.

Herschel believes that the center of the pyramid complex at Abusir was the most important for the Egyptians. This was the earliest city called Memphis meaning “first place” and it was the most sacred to the Egyptians. Offset from the Abusir grouping is what Herschel has called the Sun Temple whose most prominent feature is an Obelisk, now in ruins. True to its designation as the “first place,” Herschel believes that this structure represents the location of the star system from which our ancestors arrived over 17,000 years ago. The sun temple in Egypt was revered more than any of the other pyramids. Its name can be translated as the ‘pyramid that is established of places,’ or in other words, our place of origin. Herschel calls this obelisk structure the ‘Sun Pyramid of Ra.’ According to his hypothesis, the people of the time who worshipped the sun were not worshipping our sun, but the sun from the solar system our ancestors came from in the constellation of Taurus the bull. Historians have thought that Ra was the Sun, but Herschel thinks that Ra is the Obelisk itself, or at least the star that the obelisk represents. In Egyptian legend Ra was the god of the sun that visited the earth in his celestial ‘boat.’
Herschel became interested in the off-set angle of the obelisk representing the mystery star, in relation to the Abusir pyramid groupings representing the Pleiades. Was it possible that the mystery star’s location could be determined by measuring the angle between the Abusir pyramids and the Sun Temple? And if so, are there other pyramid complexes with associated star maps that would verify the mystery star’s location? He was not disappointed. Herschel found numerous complexes around the world that have associated star maps at Teotihuacan in Mexico, Tikal in the Yucatan Peninsula, Angkor in Cambodia, Nazca in Peru, Stonehenge in Britain, and Cydonia on Mars.
Star map Teotihuacan

The largest pyramid culture in the world is not in Egypt or the Far East but in Central and North America. An exact count of the number of pyramids in Central America is not possible because so many ruins are still buried in the undergrowth of jungle. As a result the estimates are wide ranging from tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands. Herschel decided to limit his research to the oldest pyramids located at Teotihuacan, because many of the smaller pyramids were built in more recent times by post-apocalyptic peoples who were unaware of the original reasons for building these structures. Herschel decided to concentrate his efforts on the pyramids at Teotihuacan in Mexico, said to have been built by the Aztecs, despite the fact that the Aztecs themselves have always maintained that the pyramids were there when they arrived.

Herschel’s interest was piqued when his research indicated that the minor causeway was designed to align with the barely visible star cluster—the Pleiades. This was a start. But the main causeway was a bit mysterious in that it was not aligned to the East-West Axis, nor did it seem to be aligned with any particular star in the sky. Believing that the three main pyramids must represent the belt stars of Orion, he used his star program to find the further most star of Orion’s belt and then ran a line at the same angle as the prime causeway. He was pleasantly surprised to find that the angle of the prime causeway aligned with the ‘mystery star’ at the same angle as the sun temple in Egypt aligned with the pyramids at Abusir in Egypt. Now he went looking for a representation of the Pleiades. From an aerial view, Herschel noticed that there were a cluster of hills at the end of the main causeway. When he compared his star map of Orion with the terrestrial view he discovered that the three pyramids of Teotihuacan and the causeway were mirror images of Orion’s belt, the mystery star, and the cluster of hills representing the Pleiades. But there was a problem. According to Herschel’s own standards, the magnitude of the stars had to match the size of the pyramids and this was obviously not the case. Then Herschel had an idea. Suppose the ancients were using absolute magnitude rather than relative magnitude as did the Egyptians. Relative magnitude is how bright the star appears to an observer. For instance, a small star might seem much brighter than a much larger star simply because the former is much closer to earth. Absolute magnitude on the other hand is based on the actual brightness of the star relative to the brightness of our sun. Herschel found that if the absolute magnitude is used as a determining factor then the sizes of the pyramids are in correspondence to the absolute brightness of the stars. Is this just coincidence or did the ancients have knowledge as a result of their interaction with their god Quetzalcoatl, the representative from the mystery star?

Star Map Tikal


Quetzalcoatl’s counterpart among the Mayan people of Central America was the god-king Pacal, who is said to have traveled amongst the stars of the Milky Way. According to some interpretations, the lid of Pascal’s sarcophagus depicts him clad in a space suit, breathing apparatus, and hands at the controls of a space ship spewing exhaust as it travels through space. Like the Aztecs, the Mayans also held the star cluster of the Pleiades in special regard. They believed that their gods were from the stars and that they came to visit periodically. Tikal, the pyramid ruins in the Guatemalan jungle, also feature a cluster of pyramids referred to as the “plaza of the seven pyramid temples” a possible reference to the ‘seven sisters’ of the Pleiades. Herschel noticed that the causeway emanating from the temples representing the Pleiades and leading to temple 4 at Tikal has the same angle as the pyramid structures at Abusir in relation to the Sun Temple of Ra in Egypt. This was quite remarkable, but Herschel was now considering another possibility. He began to wonder if it were possible that our ancestors came from two separate star systems as suggested by the two causeways leading from the “plaza of seven pyramid temples.” This idea would have to wait for more evidence.


Star Map Angkor

The name Cambodia means descendants of Kambu, who is said to have come from above. This is yet another indication from a completely different culture that their civilization was established by visitors from another star system. This did not go unnoticed by Graham Hancock. In 1998 Hancock published his book called “Heaven’s Mirror” whose premise was that the layout of the pyramids at Angkor, Cambodia mirrored the constellation of Draco. The book was published in haste, and his work was met with skepticism among scholars and astronomers for good reason. The accuracy of the alignments was not at all convincing and his work soon fell into disrepute. This left an opening for Herschel to apply his tried and true methods. As before, Herschel started his search looking for the tell-tale pyramids that might represent the Pleiades. He found this relationship in the pyramids at Roluos in the south eastern part of Angkor. At a site called Preah Ko he came upon a cluster of stupas known as “the seven temples of the ancestors.” Nearby, stands the most sacred structure of the ancient Khmer, the Bakong temple.


Herschel believed that this temple might be similar to the Sun Temple of Egypt or temple 4 at Tikal in its significance for representing the mystery star of our ancestors. Herschel tried many transparencies to find a star map that would fit. Finally, he found a match in the constellation of Perseus. Unlike the Egyptians, Aztecs, and Maya, the Khmer did not use the constellation of Orion to point the way to the Pleiades. Rather, they used the constellation of Perseus, a constellation that modern astronomers use to find the Pleiades when Orion is below the horizon. As it turned out the Perseus constellation is a near perfect match for the layout plan of the structures of Angkor. A line drawn from Angkor Wat to Preah Ko, the structure representing the Pleiades, is at the same angle and apparent relative distance as a line drawn from a star designated as ATK, in the constellation of Perseus, to the Pleiades.
As a thorough young researcher, Herschel decided to seek out a professional South African astronomer by the name of Bill Hollenbach to verify his work. Hollenbach is well known for his images in Astronomy Magazine and is proprietor of Kromdraai observatory near Johannesburg. Hollenbach concurred with Herschel’s hypothesis and appeared on a television show with Herschel agreeing that his star maps were right on target and could not be coincidence.

The Sacred Symbol

Two common themes emerged as a result of Herschel’s research. Not only did diverse cultures on almost every continent on earth build monumental structures of the same style, but these cultures apparently all built these monuments because of a similar belief system, namely, the belief that our ancestors came from the sky. Herschel’s developing premise was that these ancient people all believed that our ancestors came from the stars, more specifically, that they came from a star located in the sky near the star cluster Pleiades in the constellation of Taurus the bull. These beliefs spawned bull worship among the ancient. Bull worship was practiced by the Greek and Roman civilizations and, in fact, bull worship was practiced by every ancient cradle civilization in the northern hemisphere persisting through the ages long after the original meaning for the ceremony had been forgotten. Most of us remember the biblical story of Moses reprimanding his followers for worshipping the golden calf. And even today the cow is considered to be sacred by Hindus in India. Herschel set out to find evidence in the form of ancient texts, artifacts, and murals to support or refute the idea that the ancient’s religious beliefs were a means to acknowledge their heritage.

Incontrovertible evidence came from the Takamatsu Zuka Kofun pyramid in Japan, a pyramid which has been closed to human access since its discovery. The pyramid, which was probed by a remote camera, showed a sophisticated star map on the ceiling. The Pleiades, in in the shape of the leg of the bull, was depicted much larger than it would normally look relative to the other stars.

In the Egyptian Museum in Cairo, one of the oldest known tablets that has resisted attempts by scholars to translate its inscription, Herschel found the tell tail signs of bull worship. This included the leg-like object representing the Pleiades at the center top of both sides of the artifact. The leg was flanked by two bulls’ heads on each side.

Even earlier evidence has been found by Herschel and Graham Hancock demonstrating the ancient’s fascination with the Pleiades. Seventeen thousand year old cave paintings in Lascaux, France near the town of Cro-Magnon, known for the excavation of ancient human remains, depict a star map of Orion and the constellation of Taurus with seven stars representing the Pleiades. The sophistication of the paintings and the difficulty of accessing these paintings deep in the unlit caves make it obvious that these stars were of extreme importance to early Cro-Magnon man. How did these early people, supposedly without language skills, develop the ability to create these paintings without artificial light, in the darkest recesses of the caves? Through the lens of his developing hypothesis, Herschel’s careful examination of hundreds of murals and artifacts led him to an unorthodox interpretation of many ancient Egyptian symbols. Among these findings is that the leg of the bull depicted in so many paintings and drawings is synonymous with the Pleiades.

Star Map Stonehenge

Herschel wondered if the same system of star maps could apply to Stonehenge. He rented a plane so that he could get an aerial view of the layout plan. He wanted to investigate the barrows near Stonehenge to see if he could detect the now familiar leg of the bull representing the Pleiades. The barrows are manmade mounds, some pyramid shaped, some conically shaped, with interior chambers whose purpose is still unknown. The oldest mounds are about 6,000 years old, predating Stonehenge itself. From his aerial position, Herschel was pleasantly surprised when he spotted the familiar leg of the bull among the mounds. What Herschel needed to know now is whether or not there was a mystery star in the vicinity. What he came to realize was absolutely stunning! Stonehenge itself was at the correct angle to be the mystery star! Herschel went looking for additional evidence. He found it in full public view at Wiltshire, Britain. Engraved on a rock he found the three stars of Orion and a serpent pointing the way to the Pleiades with a single off-set star representing the mystery star. Next to this display he noticed a double ring circle seemingly representing Stonehenge itself with a causeway emanating from the center.

This was enough evidence for Herschel to begin his search for the mystery star. From his research, it was now possible to calculate the approximate angle and approximate ‘apparent’ distance of the mystery star from the Pleiades. Using his computerized star map, Herschel was disappointed when he could not find an appropriate star in the sky representing the position of Stonehenge. Herschel’s criteria for finding the mystery star were that: 1) the mystery star would have to be sun-like—at least a G-2 or more—in other words at least a second or third generation star. 2) The mystery star would have to be as old as, or older than our sun, presumably to give the process of evolution time to develop an advanced civilization. And 3) the star should be within about 20 light years of earth allowing for the possibility of a journey from their planet to earth in a reasonable amount of time. It is possible of course that some advanced civilization might have gotten around the law of special relativity that prevents any mass from traveling faster than the speed of light, but this cannot be assumed.
Herschel’s initial searches for our ancestor’s homeland proved fruitless. He had failed to take into account that a star within 20 light years of earth would have changed its relative position over the millennia. He knew that the Pleiades would not have changed much in relation to our position in the galaxy, because that cluster of stars is almost 400 light years away, but if the mystery star was a mere 20 light years away or less, than it would have made a significant shift in position.

In the meantime, Herschel began to wonder if there were other things he could discover about the geometric layout of Stonehenge. Working with photographs and drawings of Stonehenge he identified key astronomical points having to do the sun and moon positions relative to lines of sight within the monument. Through a series of steps he joined key points with lines and discovered that the entire complex was designed as a five pointed star representing the human codex. Like the pyramid complexes, Stonehenge was meant to be deciphered from above. Just as we left our flag on the moon and inscriptions on our deep space probes to identify our species, so the descendants of the gods left their marker for anyone who could decipher it. The human codex suggests that the ancients who arrived were of human form.
Bolstered by his discoveries, Herschel revisited his maps of the Egyptian pyramids and found the human codex incorporated into the geometry of the structures of Giza as well. By linking various key points on the Giza complex the five sided human codex emerged once again. Now the question was: Could the human codex be found on other planets in our solar system?



Star Map Mars

Most people are now familiar with an area on Mars photographed by NASA’s Viking orbiter called Cydonia. Richard Hoagland and Graham Hancock have extensively investigated this area and have produced works such as “The Monuments of Mars” and “The Mars Mystery.”



When looking at the layout of the Cydonia Complex, Herschel noticed almost instantly that a star map was apparent. The area known as the city, which is a cluster of structures almost perfectly replicating the Pleiades star cluster, was pointing to the mystery star represented by the face. It wasn’t long until Herschel decoded two human codices. The first and most obvious was the five sided pyramid called the D & M Pyramid after its discoverer Vincent DiPietro, an electrical engineer and Gregory Molenaar, a computer scientist. The second codex involved the Cydonia complex in its entirety. Drawing a line from the apex of the structures within the so called city produces a perfect human codex. From the evidence on Mars and Tikal, Herschel wondered if there were possibly two stars from which our ancestors arrived. To Herschel the map on Mars reads: “The origins of human form are from the star system corresponding with the five-sided D &M anomaly. Later space explorers from this star system colonized the ‘face’ star system. The message now suggests that these people, from the ‘newly’ colonized ‘face’ star system were the people who colonized Mars and who would later colonize Earth.”


The Final Pieces of the Puzzle

The hunt was now on for not one, but two, mystery stars and the criterion was set. The stars had to be at the correct angles established by the angles of the monuments and the pieces of art work Herschel investigated. In addition, the stars had to be sun-like, a G-2 or more, as old as, or older than our Sun and within 20 light years of earth to make travel practical.



Herschel went to his star program and began running it backward in time to compensate for the vast amount of time that has passed since our ancestors left us the message. The program had a limitation of 7,000 years and he was hoping that it was enough to locate the mystery star. Since there are only a handful of sun-like stars within 20 light years that can be identified by astronomers, Herschel knew that the chances of finding a star, let alone two stars, in the vicinity he was looking were extremely small. He waited as the program went back in time. He watched the computer screen in great anticipation until he saw Leo coming up over the horizon. The program continued to run and then he paused the program as he looked on in amazement. There they were in all their glory! Leo, Orion, and Taurus were all in their upright position in the sky and the cosmic scene matched the layout of the structures at Giza. Now for the first time the angle of the pyramids matched the angle of Orion’s belt. The pyramids point the way to the Pleiades and Leo looks over the Milky Way just as the Sphinx is looking over the Nile River. And sure enough, there were Herschel’s two stars HD 283271, and HE 282943, both sun-like stars within 20 light years of planet Earth. Herschel’s hypothesis had been elevated to a theory.

Our earthly ancestors built monolithic structures as welcome mats for the return of the gods and coded messages for later generations to decipher. Since that time, the meaning of these star maps has been lost and superstition and monotheism have taken the place of the flesh and blood gods. At last we have come full circle to understand that these ancients were not heathens, but guardians of the knowledge of a high tech race who came to Earth to teach and guide us on our own journey into the future. Wayne Herschel has done his part in bringing us closer to answering two of life’s great mysteries—who are we, and where did we come from?

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The Brotherhood of the Screaming Abyss:

My Life with Terrence Mckenna

Dennis Mckenna


If I had never heard of Terrence Mckenna, this romantic biography by his brother Dennis would be no less diminished. Dennis Mckenna recounts his experiences with his brother from the early days growing up in Paonia, Colorado, to their experiments with mushrooms and ayahuasca at La Chorrera, Columbia in the Amazon, and to the emotional end of Terrance’s last days on earth. Being two years older than Dennis and two years younger than Terrance, I imagined myself as the phantom “middle brother”. Though I might not have been quite as adventuresome, I felt that I was right there with them reliving my own days of the 1960s and 1970s counter-culture with all that it encompassed—free love, psychedelic drugs, and unbridled optimism. What more could one ask of a book.
Dennis and Terrence’s experimentations started as a very young age. Both were well read in philosophy and were more concerned with the philosophical implications of substances such as Psilocybin, LSD, and DMT, than its use as a recreational drug. Their grand adventure culminated with “the experiment at La Chorrera.” It had such an effect on these two brothers that Dennis states: “In some aspects everything in life before we arrived as La Chorrera was a prelude to the events that engulfed us there; and everything afterward has been a reflection of them.”
Their experiment at La Chorrera involves an innate question about the nature of reality that can be stated thusly: Is the mushroom and the teacher one of the same? According to Mckenna, science has yet to close the gap between subjective conscious experience, and “objective” reality, if indeed such a demarcation between subjective and objective reality exists.
On his reflections of La Chorrera, Dennis wonders if there was more to their experience than mere pathological delusion. Were any of the phenomena “real” in an objective sense? Is there a symbiosis between DNA and tryptamine based drugs? Were psilocybin and DMT, a substance ubiquitous in nature, purposely put here by an alien civilization to interact with our DNA to enhance our cognition and consciousness? Is there a higher level language or an encoded message on our DNA that goes beyond the known mechanistic processes of gene replication and protein synthesis? Do the psilocybin mushrooms unleash this message and give us a glimpse of our own destiny? A growing number of psychedelic experiencers have a tentative answer to these questions. Many have come to the conclusion that we are an immature species attempting to find our way to a much older and wiser galactic civilization through the psychedelic experience.
McKenna says, “The mushroom…demands that we reject faith. All we need is the courage to experience the phenomenon and judge it ourselves…[We may discover a model] that suggests there just may be such a thing as human destiny—and our existence, as individuals and as a species, may have meaning after all.”
Mckenna describes one of his most memorable “trips” at a conference in Sao Paulo, Brazil in which 500 people, many of whom were physicians and academics, participated in the ayahuasca ceremony. After his second dose of ayahuasca, Mckenna had one of his most intense and prophetic journeys when he experienced the chemical process of photosynthesis from the perspective of a molecule of water. Near the end of this molecular journey through the vascular system of the plant, Mckenna felt an overwhelming sense of depression and rage at our destructive species. We are destroying the source of our own existence. What would happen, he wondered, if we destroyed the Amazon rain forest? Then the answer came in another vision. The plant teacher said. “You don’t really think we would let this happen, do you.” A sense of relief returned as Mckenna realized who was really in charge. He experienced the “force” first hand and it brought him great comfort.
Their experimentations profoundly influenced their lives. Terrence became an icon of the counter-culture, co-authoring books with his brother, becoming a popular international lecturer on the topic of psychedelic drugs, and collecting specimens of endogenic plants for propagating and scientific investigation. Dennis, an ethno pharmacologist, in turn, gathered and studied hallucinogenic plants for forty years, published many scientific papers in the fields of pharmacology, ethno botany, and neuroscience, and holds a Doctorate degree from the University of British Columbia. What an exciting and productive life these two brothers led.

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Ayahuasca and Depression:

The Clarity of Darkness

Justin Taylor
(Kindle version only)


Justin Taylor highlights his personal quest to find meaning in life through his experience with Ayahuasca, the psychoactive brew of the indigenous people of the Amazon. Taylor’s easy flowing, yet nonlinear writing style, is narrowly focused keeping the reader engrossed throughout the book. Perhaps this style of writing came about as a direct result of his Ayahuasca experience which taught him that we should appreciate what the universe has to offer and not be distracted by the superficiality that occurs all around us in this modern world.

During his graduate work in Honolulu, Hawaii Taylor was hit with bouts of gastro-intestinal problems that he eventually became convinced were due to stress. Years of ill health and negative emotions led to his dependence on prescription medications that only masked the problem of depression. In desperation, he turned to other modalities such as behavioral therapy, homeopathic tinctures, dietary changes, and yoga, but the joy and synchronicities that pulsed through his life as a young adult did not return. He became numb to the world.

We next find the author in Brazil where he meets practitioners of the ayahuasca ceremonies who espouse the benefits and healing potential of this plant derived substance. He is enthralled about the possibilities but knows that he cannot partake due to his continued use of antidepressants which often produce unwanted side effects when combined with DMT, the active ingredient in ayahuasca.

His research of a 1994 Finnish study that demonstrated improvements in the mental and physical health of its participants, and his interactions with friends he met in his travels who used ayahuasca, influenced and inspired him to seek out the psychoactive plant for his own consumption.

In one particular instance, Taylor noticed that a friend who had experienced a life of traumatic experiences was much more serene and grounded after she consumed ayahuasca. This bolstered his determination to experiment with the plant substance. Freeing himself from both his addictive cigarette habit and his antidepressant medications, Taylor solicited the help of Shaman Alia, to guide him in his journey. After first consuming a less intense substance called Huachuma, derived from a cactus native to the Andes Mountains in Peru and Ecuador, Taylor decided he was ready for ayahuasca, dubbed the mother plant by shamans of the Amazon because, purportedly, its consumption allows them to go into the forest and find other plants that have healing properties.

After his ayahuasca experience Taylor had an intense sense of gratitude to the plant, Alia, and the universe for bringing this opportunity. He says that there is nothing linear or predictable about the ayahuasca experience. He writes: “…The consciousness that animates our human minds and the consciousness in the rest of the Universe, plants, animals and other creatures are vitally connected and inseparable. Indeed, in this state of being one cannot fully distinguish between what is self and what is not self.” He found himself craving solitude, nature, and simplicity even more than he did before the ceremony, and the plants beneficial effects have lasted long after the experience.

This book is enjoyable, informative, and will hold the reader’s attention throughout.

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Spontaneous Evolution:

Our Positive Future
(Kindle version)
Bruce Lipton, Ph.D. And Steve Bhaerman

In 1990 the U.S National Institute of Health announced with great fanfare the Human Genome Project (HGP) initially headed by James Watson the co-discoverer of the structure of the DNA molecule. The purpose of the project was: 1) to identify the genetic basis of all human traits, 2) to create a research database to share with biotechnical industry and the private sector, and 3) To foster the development of new medical applications around the world. Simultaneously, private companies announced their own privately funded gene sequencing projects as bio-tech companies and drug companies alike, lined up cash in on the fortune to be made on the bio-tech companies plan to patent the more than 100,000 gene sequences and sell them to the drug companies for the manufacturing of drugs to cure diseases. The grand project ended in a whimper when it was discovered that there were only about 23,000 genes in the human DNA bank—about the same number as in the lowly round-worm. The human genome project was certainly money well spent, but its limited success marked the end of the standard deterministic model of biology championed by the likes of Francis Crick, James Watson, and Richard Dawkins. Though strict determinism had been banished from the field of physics with the advent of quantum theory over a century ago, biologists have stubbornly held on to the outmoded deterministic model.

A more purposefully driven top-down paradigm called epigenetics has emerged to temper the deterministic model of biology. As biochemists are beginning to understand, genes do not control our individual destinies, nor are they primarily responsible for evolutionary change. Genes are not self-emergent; they cannot turn themselves on and off, they are not the control center of cellular activity, and they are not self-replicating. No one-to- one correspondence exists between DNA instruction and the creation of a specific protein, since one gene can code for multiple proteins. In addition, once a protein is constructed it can take on over 30,000 different folding configurations as dictated by the specific needs of the cell. Genes are merely blue-prints, the gonads of the cells, whose processes are orchestrated by environmental signals from the brains of the cell—the cell membrane. Communications with the organelles of the cell are accomplished by means of thousands of protein based receptor and effector switches imbedded in the lipid plasma membrane. Signals sent from outside the cell are received by receptor proteins that modify their shape to connect with the effector proteins. The effector proteins then send secondary signals through the cytoplasm resulting in the regulation of cell metabolism, a fact that the authors call the real secret of life.

The idea of environmentally controlled top-down genetic information runs counter to two of Darwinian evolution’s most cherished principles—1) Adaptation (survival of the fittest) –That evolution occurs only as a result of a species ability to survive and pass on its genes to the next generation, and 2) Random mutation—That favorable traits are expressed in an organism only as a result of random mutations in the process of genetic replication and coding, and that this information flows in only in one direction, from the DNA to RNA to Proteins. This is the essence of genetic determinism.

According to biologist Lynn Margulis, however, evolution has rarely occurred in a Darwinian or Malthusian way in which species battle for limited resources. Paleontological history demonstrates that most evolutionary advances occur as a result of cooperation and symbiotic relationships. Simple prokaryotic bacteria evolved by banding together into communities protected by a biofilm membrane. By doing this they were able to enhance their survivability by sharing genetic information, specializing in task functions, and increasing their collective awareness. A major evolutionary advance occurred when these loose communities of prokaryotes underwent further specialization by creating organelles such as mitochondria, ribosomes, and nuclei within a single large cytoskeletal membrane giving the eukaryotic cells thousands of times more membrane surface area then their precursors and vastly increasing their awareness. During the Precambrian period, simple colonies were able to increase their awareness by banding together into mats or layers of identical cells such as Stromatolites that produced the oxygen in our early atmosphere. The law of diminishing returns put a limit on the size of these communities, and as a result, various cells within the community began to group into specialized epithelia, bone, muscle, and brain cells to carry out specialized tasks. As Margulis points out, evolution did not proceed by struggle, but by networking, an ongoing process that, according to the authors of this book, will happen in a similar way for our own destiny, not by producing a new species of man, but as a result of increasing levels of communal complexity and interrelationships.

In the late 1960s, geneticist Howard Temin at the University of Wisconsin challenged the second tenant of Darwinian evolution postulating that DNA information can only travel in one direction when he suggested that RNA information could be transcribed from the RNA molecule into an organism’s DNA. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology in 1975 for discovering reverse transcriptase, the enzyme that did exactly that. Information from viruses can enter a cell and change the DNA of the host organism demonstrating that information can flow from the environment into the DNA of a cell.

A second broader challenge to the dogma of random mutation was established as a result of experimental research conducted by John Cairns in 1988. Cairns placed bacteria that were unable to metabolize lactose in a medium where only lactose was present. It was assumed that the colonies of bacteria would perish, but information from their environment was feeding back into the organisms and accelerating the bacteria’s mutation mechanisms. It soon became apparent that stressed, non-dividing bacteria can purposely engage a unique error-prone DNA copying enzyme to make mutated copies of genes associated with a particular dysfunction. Through this process of generating genetic variants, the organism attempts to create a more functional gene that will allow it to overcome the environmental stressors. This purposeful, accelerated generation of random mutations is called somatic hypermutation. When one of these gene variants is able to produce a protein product that can effectively resolve the stress, the bacterium cuts the original ineffective gene out of the chromosome and replaces it with the new version. So, yes random mutations do occur, but those random mutations can be purposefully accelerated through awareness of the environment. This process is a reflection of quantum physics’ discovery that a single reality can be created from a probability wave by simple observation or measurement. Our biological destiny is driven by bottom-up determinism and top down intelligence acting in a complementary interplay of both processes. The role of complementarities established by Niels Bohr in physics has established a foot-hold in many other disciplines and is likely to be a major factor in answering many mysteries in biology.

Perhaps it should not be so surprising that biology strayed so far afield from the philosophical niche that physics has carved out of reality. After all, it is difficult to do objective science when studying the very principles that create the scientist and life in general. We humans are attempting to study ourselves with the same tools that created us. It is time to step out of our shells just as humankind did during the enlightenment that followed the Copernican Revolution, when humanity believed we were the center of our solar system and the center of the entire universe. Thereafter, humankind came to realize that we were not the center of our solar system, the center of our galaxy, nor the center of the universe. We are simply self-repeating patterns in an intelligent fractal universe with no central control. With this in mind, we might imagine that the next great paradigm shift will occur when we entertain the possibility that we are not even at the controls of our own egos. Ninety five percent of our decisions, actions, and emotions are unconscious, subject to programing established from the time we were in the womb to the age of six. Does the idea of free will even make sense under these circumstances? What do we want to be free from—ninety five present of our cognitive being? We must acknowledge that there is no demarcation between the observer and the observed and this was the essence of the great battle between Albert Einstein and Niels Bohr. Einstein felt that the universe exists independent of observation and that the field was the ultimate reality. He stated, “There is no place in this new kind of physics both for the field and matter, for the field is the only reality.” The authors apparently agreed with this statement when they equated the concept of the field to what happens to entangled particles in quantum physics experiments. They state for example, “No structure from a drop of water to a human being can ever be separated from the field which is the source.” The concept of a field and nonlocal actions in quantum theory are completely different however. A field is something physical that obeys the laws of thermodynamics and Relativity. On the other hand, nonlocal actions, as described by John Stewart Bell in his theorem of inequality, are not physical; they are not part of a field, and they do not obey the laws of thermodynamics or Relativity. Explaining our existence as part of some morphogenic field is nothing more than reification. It explains nothing. Rather, what is more convincing is the author’s contention that a cell and a human body are self-similar fractal images that share self-similar functions. The organs of our bodies that carry out the functions of awareness, digestion, respiration, and reproduction are also the functions that are carried out by most of the 50 trillion cells in our bodies. We are a community of cells.

Lipton and Bhaerman explain how important our belief systems have been throughout recorded history. According to archaeologists and historians, four major paradigms have reigned and each has had their own belief systems reflecting their response to three of the major questions that have beset mankind since the beginning of civilization. The four major paradigms are: Animism, polytheism, monotheism, and materialism and each had their own answers to these key questions: 1) How did we get here? 2) Why are we here? 3) Now that we are here, how do we make the best of it?

Animism, which had its origins around 8000 B.C.E. and is founded on the belief that the spirit is universal existing in all things animate or inanimate with little distinction between the self and the environment, answered the questions this way: 1) We are children of mother earth and father sky. 2) We are here to tend the Garden and thrive. 3) We are here to live in balance with nature. Polytheism which came to prominence in the Greek era around 2,000 B.C.E separated spirit from matter into an earthly realm and a heavenly realm ruled by gods representing nature’s elements. Polytheism answered the three questions this way: 1) We came from chaos. 2) We are here to please the whimsy of the gods. 3) We should not anger the gods. Monotheism followed ushering in the belief in an omniscient, omnipotent, and omnipresent universal God and answered the questions this way: 1) We got here by divine intervention. 2) We live here to serve God. 3) We should obey the scriptures. And finally, our present paradigm, Materialism, answers the questions this way: 1) We got here through random events. 2) We are here to enjoy life, be creative, and proliferate, 3) We live by the laws of the jungle. New scientific advances in many disciplines dispute Materialism’s answers to the three major questions listed above. It is quite evident that we are on the verge of yet another paradigm shift.

Beliefs are not just incidental to our thinking processes; they are the creators of physical reality in many respects. To demonstrate this concept Lipton and Bhaerman recount several placebo experiments or which I will mention only one to emphasize the extent of our belief systems on physical reality. In one study, Japanese children who were allergic to poison ivy-like plants took part in an experiment in which they were told a poisonous plant leaf would be rubbed onto their right forearm and a nonpoisonous plant leaf that looked similar to the poisonous plant would be rubbed onto their left forearm. Unknown to the children, the plants were switched and the left forearm was rubbed with the poisonous plant, and the right forearm was rubbed with the nonpoisonous plant. In most of the cases the left forearm treated with the poisonous plants did not produce a rash, while the right forearm treated with the nonpoisonous plant broke out in a rash! It was the suggestion alone that produced the rash on the right forearm where the innocuous plant was rubbed, and the lack of a rash response on the left forearm where the poisonous plant was rubbed. The authors ask us to consider the percentage of our illnesses and diseases that might be attributed to negative thoughts.

This far-flung and wide-ranging work was too much to put between the covers of one book, whilst making it difficult for any reviewer to encapsulate its essence. Much more lies between its covers and I will leave it to the reader to discover the treasure-trove of interesting and well documented material.

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The Cosmic Bridge:

Close Encounters and Human Destiny

Craig Lang


Craig Lange graduated from the University of Wisconsin in 1980 with a degree in Engineering. He subsequently worked for several electronics companies and in 1996 he received a master’s degree in software engineering at the University of Saint Thomas, in Minnesota. After completion of graduate school, he became a field investigator for MUFON, The Mutual UFO Network. It was during his field work as an investigator that he had the opportunity to interview many abductees, and it was this experience that fueled his fascination with the abduction phenomenon and led him on a path toward achieving certification as a hypnotherapist. Armed with this new tool, he was better equipped to delve more deeply into the fascinating topic of alien encounters.
The Cosmic Bridge, published in 2006, is both a personal testimonial and a well-researched academic work that encompasses the full spectrum of the alien abduction phenomenon. The first couple of chapters deal with the definition of UFOs and close encounters using the Vallee System of classification. Lange provides examples of each case type from his own log of investigations, as well as cases investigated by other researchers, including Bud Hopkins and David Jacobs. Through his interviews with experiencers, by either spontaneous recall or the technique of hypnotic regression, Lange has identified and expounds on six common factors that comprise an abduction scenario, as well as five additional “themes” provided by other researchers. He has labeled these interactions, “The Standard Model” of UFO abductions.
Lange has found that many abductees do not have conscious memories of their experiences, but often, lurking just below their conscious memories are suppressed, unconscious memories that can have a long-lasting psychological effects. Lange draws on the work, Healing Shattered Reality, published by Alice Bryant and Linda Seebach, to create a list of tell-tale indicators of those who might have had a close encounter but might not be aware of their experience. A few of these signs are: 1) A sudden and inexplicable shift in interest toward topics related to UFOs… 2) A shift in perspective or belief…3) A sudden sense of mission …4) Nightmares, dreams and/or fragments related to UFOs or non-human entities. Lange points out that a person who presents several of the nine indicators is likely to have had an encounter. Apparently, these encounters are not rare. Lange says that the Roper Polls of Unexplained Experiences, indicates that anywhere from two-tenths of one percent to one percent of the population has had unexplained experiences that could be related to the abduction phenomenon. This is a staggering number. Using a figure of one-half of one percent, we could conclude that in the United States alone, over one million people may have had close encounters sometime during their lives.
Who are these visitors and what is their relationship to the individual experiencer? Lange says that there is a pattern of involvement that relates directly with the age of the experiencer. During childhood, contact seems to be in the form of developing, teaching, and testing the child. Lessons are often light-hearted and whimsical. The result of this early contact can leave the child feeling special, and often remote from his/her family and peers. During adolescence, more serious lessons concerning the environment, and alien technology might be presented to the student. Traumatic and emotional experiences of a sexual nature are often reported in encounters during puberty and sometimes in adulthood. In adulthood, contact often involves teachings of a metaphysical or philosophical nature, as well as warnings about the dangerous path humanity is embarking. Adult contactees, according to Lange, often remember more detail in their alien encounters, feel less threatened by their experience, and are more likely to seek out the help of therapists.
What do the aliens want? Lange says that it was Bud Hopkins who first entertained the notion that the aliens are here for reproductive purposes. Almost every experiencer has described the harvesting of genetic material, according to Lange. In addition, females have frequently reported artificial alien insemination and subsequent extraction of the hybrid fetus. Lange recounts the story of a client who had a fetus removed, and, in a subsequent abduction a few weeks later, was shown a room with incubation tubes containing gestating fetuses. She was informed that one of them contained her child. In other cases, mothers have been shown their new born children and are encouraged to bond with them. It is unclear what the genetic motive entails. Are they producing hybrids to repopulate the earth after some cataclysm, or are they using hybrids to repopulate other worlds? We can only speculate.
Lange says that he has spent much time reading about and contemplating the Fermi Paradox. Assuming the validity of the Drake Equation, postulating that there should be vast numbers of technologically advanced civilizations within our galactic neighborhood, Enrico Fermi asked the obvious question: Where is everybody? Why don’t we have verifiable evidence of alien encounters if they are advanced enough to travel and populate the galaxy? One model favored by Lange, called the Deardorff model, gives plausible answers to the apparent silence. Deardorff says that there are several reasons why overt contact has not been made. First, our civilization’s preoccupation with war and materialism has not made us a good candidate for entrance into the galactic community. Second, our present religious, philosophical, governmental, and economic fragility might not survive overt contact. It took hundreds of years for humankind to assimilate the scientific, philosophical, and religious implications of the Copernican revolution—to understand that we are not at the physical center of our solar system, galaxy, or the universe at large. Would our egocentric culture really be able to handle another paradigm shift suggesting that we are not even at the center of our own egos? Perhaps, as Graham Hancock and others have suggested, our comforting notion that we are in control of our own faculties might simply be an illusion created by the designers of an encoded language imprinted our DNA. As Deardorff and Lange suggest, we simply are not prepared for contact at this point in our history.
Hypothesis abound concerning the Fermi paradox. Deardorff favors what is known as the Zoo Hypothesis, which suggests that just as we humans visit a zoo to observe the animals, so our extraterrestrial neighbors are visiting us and keeping a low profile. Lange has his own hypothesis, called the “Nature Preserve Metaphor,” which deviates a bit from the Zoo Hypothesis. In Lange’s metaphor, we can imagine a race of beings monitoring and observing us just as we would monitor animals in a nature preserve. Our goal in the case of the preserve is to scientifically monitor the environment and intervene as little as possible so that the species of plants and animals can live in a natural habitat unencumbered by outside influences, such as, hunting and habitat destruction by encroaching humanity. As much as possible, the aliens would observe without disturbing, but occasionally, for either scientific study, management, or to avert a civilization ending event, they would covertly intervene, just as we do in a preserve when we band animals, or anesthetize animals to attach locating devises, or take biological samples to ascertain the health or mating habits of species. In some cases it might be necessary to capture an animal that has been injured, or to cull animals, when the natural balance between predator and prey is upset. Whether we are talking about species in a nature preserve or our own species with its propensity for self-destruction living on the Gaia preserve, a policy of observation, management, and covert intervention just makes sense. The Nature Preserve Metaphor is the most eloquent hypothesis to explain the entire extraterrestrial phenomenon from the inexplicable ancient monolithic structures, to animal mutilations, crop formations, and alien abductions. Lange writes, “The most basic and all-encompassing model seems to me to be the Deardorff ‘Possible ET Strategy for Earth’[ idea]…such a model suggests a slow steady program of observation, limited contact at the grass-roots level, with gradual and progressive revelation of themselves as humanity adapts to their presence.” In light of the entire extraterrestrial phenomenon, Lange’s statement seems to fit the circumstantial evidence precisely.
The Cosmic Bridge: Close Encounters and Human Destiny, is an ideal read for the uninitiated as well as the researcher. As an Iowa Mufon Investigator and Star Team member this book will serve as my personal handbook of the abduction phenomenon.

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