Tag Archives | Consciousness

Why Can’t the World’s Greatest Minds Solve the Mystery of Consciousness?

Consciousness. What is it? No one knows, but many intelligent people have tried to explain it. Here’s the Guardian‘s take (note, it’s a long, #longread):

One spring morning in Tucson, Arizona, in 1994, an unknown philosopher named David Chalmers got up to give a talk on consciousness, by which he meant the feeling of being inside your head, looking out – or, to use the kind of language that might give a neuroscientist an aneurysm, of having a soul. Though he didn’t realise it at the time, the young Australian academic was about to ignite a war between philosophers and scientists, by drawing attention to a central mystery of human life – perhaps the central mystery of human life – and revealing how embarrassingly far they were from solving it.

The scholars gathered at the University of Arizona – for what would later go down as a landmark conference on the subject – knew they were doing something edgy: in many quarters, consciousness was still taboo, too weird and new agey to take seriously, and some of the scientists in the audience were risking their reputations by attending.

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In Search Of A Science Of Consciousness

Capture Queen (CC BY 2.0)

Capture Queen (CC BY 2.0)

Via NPR:

Any color you choose can be matched by a mixture of short, medium and long wavelength light (i.e., blue, green and red light). This perceptual observation led to the formulation, early in the 19th century, of a neurophysiological hypothesis: The eye contains three kinds of distinct color-sensitive receptors (cones); just as colors themselves can be composed of lights of different spectral character, so we can see the vast range of visible color thanks to the joint operation of only three distinct kinds of receptors.

This is a beautiful example of the primacy of experience in the study of the brain-basis of consciousness. Before you can even begin to think about how the brain enables us to see or feel or (more generally) experience what we do, you need to pay careful attention to what our experience is actually like.

And, so, it was further attention to the experience that led scientists to realize the shortcomings of what came to be known as the Trichromatic Theory of Color.

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The Phoenix Generation: A New Era of Connection, Compassion & Consciousness

downing.amanda (CC BY 2.0)

downing.amanda (CC BY 2.0)

via Reality Sandwich:

In the years ahead we are going to see great change sweeping through our diverse human societies. It will be change not only brought about by intentional minds and willing hearts; but also by necessity, by coercion, and from an evolutionary imperative. The 21st century will be equivalent to the dramatic ‘flat Earth to round Earth’ shift that was thrust upon humanity centuries before. Some may say we are in the midst of a 3rd Industrial Revolution. Yet rather than referring to this transition as an ‘industrial’ one, I consider this profound shift as a Revolution in Human Being – or rather as a Revolution in Human Becoming. The possibility of a genuine planetary civilization – with unity through diversity – and with the participation of an awakened and aware humanity, was never on the cards…until now. We have entered a phase where there will be new forms, new arrangements, new structures, new perspectives, and new emerging states of being.

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Psilocybin: The Science behind a Magical Molecule

Excellent summary of some of the recent scientific research on the main constituent of psychedelic fungi via The Nexian:

Liberty CapsPsilocybin is a naturally occurring psychedelic compound found in many species of mushrooms. In this form it has a long history of use by humanity in the context of healing and divination, and it is still employed in this manner today by indigenous groups such as the Mazatec. Since the 1960’s awareness of psilocybin and the fungi within which it resides has spread into the Western world. Following the legal clamp down that resulted from widespread use of this and other psychedelics like LSD and mescaline at this time, scientific research into this compound and other psychedelics all but drew to a halt. In the last few years regulatory red tape has been loosening to some degree, and scientists have began studying psilocybin for a number of reasons. It appears that psilocybin is a highly multifaceted compound and has the capacity to act as a profound tool in the study of the brain and consciousness, as well as act as a treatment for a variety of psychological conditions.… Read the rest

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Consciousness In The Age Of Digital Dystopia

Vijay Kalakoti (CC BY-ND 2.0)

Vijay Kalakoti (CC BY-ND 2.0)

This was originally published on Jan Wellmann’s website. You can follow him on Twitter: @janwe

It’s Monday morning and you’re preparing your first cup of coffee when the tanks roll into your neighborhood. Phone lines are cut, curfew is activated, and doors are broken down.

You sigh. It’s another “cleanout day” in the not too distant future.

The War On Terror has infiltrated every layer of society. Internet sites track the spread of extremism like the CDC tracks a lethal virus. The threat is pandemic and online news sources agree: In order to keep you safe, weekly cleanout campaigns must ramp up all across the nation – yet again.

Today you just happen to be in the red zone.

The main annoyance about being in a red zone is usually the loss of your phone signal. But today is different.

A close friend has gone missing – along with his past.… Read the rest

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Altered Statesman: An Interview With Psychedelic Explorer David Jay Brown

Photo taken from David Jay Brown's Amazon Author page.

Photo taken from David Jay Brown’s Amazon Author page.

via Acceler8or:

“I think DNA is ultimately trying to create a world where the imagination is externalized, where the mind and the external world become synchronized as one, so that basically whatever we can imagine can become a reality. Literally.”

Consciousness: What is it? Are your thoughts and emotions nothing more than neural static? Will your physical death extinguish your awareness? Is your individual consciousness just one of innumerable facets of a universal consciousness?

In search of answers to questions like these, local writer/neuroscience researcher David Jay Brown has mind-melded with many of the world’s most prominent philosophers, visionaries, culture-shapers and snorkelers of the psyche, including Timothy Leary, Terence McKenna, Robert Anton Wilson, Noam Chomsky, Ram Dass, Albert Hofmann, Jack Kevorkian, George Carlin, Sasha Shulgin, Deepak Chopra, Alex Grey, Jerry Garcia, Stanislav Grof and John Lilly. He’s chronicled these meetings in his bestselling interview compendiums Conversations on the Edge of the Apocalypse, Mavericks of the Mind, Mavericks of Medicine and Voices from the Edge.

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Psychoactive Sermon 2: Submission to a Higher Order of Knowing

Join me as I rant about my summoning into the Occult by mysterious 5th dimensional entities and the omnipresence of dualities in spiritual thought. Find out how this relates to the creative polarities of shamanic and western materialist philosophy and why these forces need to increasingly commingle if we’re to evolve heavenward.

Buy an autographed copy of my book, The Galactic Dialogue: Occult Initiations here.

Also on Amazon for only $2.99 digitally.

@Thad_McKraken on Twitter

(Galactic magick dialogue runs on Facebook continually, friend me)

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The Great Consciousness Swindle: Why Philosophers Will Never Find Consciousness, And Why They Secretly Don’t Want To

Kevin Dooley (CC BY 2.0)

Kevin Dooley (CC BY 2.0)

via Acceler8or:

As someone who writes regularly on aspects of the brain and consciousness, I have recently received a large amount of correspondence from people wondering what I think about a news article linking consciousness to quantum gravity in cellular microtubules, and how this model could offer “proof” of the soul’s ability to survive outside the body through some kind of nonlocal quantum hocus-pocus.[1] Even though this theory is presented purely as an exercise in theoretical mathematics, because it was suggested by Roger Penrose, a lauded and respected mathematician and philosopher, many people have jumped to the conclusion that this theory is not only correct, but that it somehow “proves” that consciousness is eternal, immutable, and can travel in and out of the body like a soul. My personal take on the theory is that it is garbage disguised as science, and not only is it wrong, it perpetuates a myth of consciousness that philosophers have been using to mislead gullible believers for centuries.

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Consciousness in the Cosmos

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The Immortal Mind is now available.

via Reality Sandwich:

Your consciousness is not your consciousness.

It is the manifestation of the longing of the cosmos for itself.

It comes to you through you but not from you.*

*A paraphrase of Khalil Gibran’s words about children in The Prophet:

Your children are not your children.

They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.

They come through you but not from you.

The beyond-the-brain consciousness—the consciousness we encountered in our review of near-death experiences, after-death communication, medium-conveyed and instrumental transcommunication, past-life recollections, and in experiences suggestive of reincarnation—is not a material entity in the manifest world. It is an intrinsic element in the Akasha, the deep dimension of the cosmos.

The idea that consciousness belongs to a deeper dimension of reality is a perennial intuition. The great spiritual masters, poets, and even scientists have been telling us that consciousness is not “in” the brain and is not part of the world in which the brain exists.

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What Is Consciousness and Do Humans Have a Monopoly on It?

By Insomnia Cured Here via Flickr (CC by-sa 2.0)

By Insomnia Cured Here via Flickr (CC by-sa 2.0)

via News Junkie:

There has not been so much excitement about the effect of electricity on the human body since Luigi Galvani discovered that an electrical stimulation of the nerves in the leg muscles of a dead frog caused it to kick. These early experiments inspired Mary Shelley in 1818 to write Frankenstein, a brilliant allegory about the need for men – especially male scientists and poets of the romantic era – to take responsibility for their creation.

Those who have not read about the book’s monster, which is more Dr. Frankenstein than his creation, and only know of the Hollywood version, should compare the two and ponder how much art has been trivialized for the screen. Indeed, the book’s full title was Frankenstein, or the Modern Prometheus, and the title page featured the verse from John Milton’s Paradise Lost:

“Did I request thee, Maker, from my clay
To mould me man?

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