Tag Archives | Consciousness

Thoughts Can Cause Specific Molecular Changes To Your Genes

Molecule man 2007 12 09 picture 06No word on what kind of thoughts cause the most change… Spiritual counselor Michael Forrester summarizes the new studies at TunedBody:

With evidence growing that training the mind or inducing certain modes of consciousness can have positive health effects, researchers have sought to understand how these practices physically affect the body. A new study by researchers in Wisconsin, Spain, and France reports the first evidence of specific molecular changes in the body following a period of intensive mindfulness practice.

The study investigated the effects of a day of intensive mindfulness practice in a group of experienced meditators, compared to a group of untrained control subjects who engaged in quiet non-meditative activities. After eight hours of mindfulness practice, the meditators showed a range of genetic and molecular differences, including altered levels of gene-regulating machinery and reduced levels of pro-inflammatory genes, which in turn correlated with faster physical recovery from a stressful situation.

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Synchro-missity

jungtower1-448x275

Carl Jung called meaningful coincidences and parapsychological occurrences by the term “synchronicity,” but noted that some things are merely attributable to “probability of chance.” Writing on Reality Sandwich, Nick Meador wonders: do we know how to tell the difference?

In recent times the term “synchronicity” has become one of the trendiest words in circles that self-identify as conscious or transformative. The Internet contributed to this, no doubt, by exposing so many of us to schools of thought like Jungian psychology (the origin of synchronicity) that had been partially or totally omitted from general education programs. However, common discussion and application of the term doesn’t take into consideration the fact that the Internet and connected technologies are constantly influencing our perception of supposed synchronicities. When we evaluate these phenomena more closely, it becomes unclear whether we’re identifying them correctly or interpreting them in a useful way.

The word “synchronicity” first appeared in the 1950s, when Carl Jung brought it forth in the development of archetypal psychology.

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Neurostimulation: The Next Mind-Expanding Idea

Visual cortical implant designed by Profesor Mohamad Sawan (CC)

Visual cortical implant designed by Profesor Mohamad Sawan (CC)

Amol Sarva expounds on the next frontier in the exploration of consciousness: neurostimulation (via Wired UK):

The idea of stimulating brain performance seemed very plausible when I first heard about it, taking my PhD in cognitive science at Stanford. Your brain operates with electricity; why couldn’t electric current or waves boost it a bit? Gentlemen physicists such as Volta and Galvani were fiddling with frogs’ legs and cadavers back around the late 18th century. Another Italian wrote about curing melancholia with electricity in 1804. And today, everyone knows about the power of shock therapy.

But what appeared on my radar in 2003 was different: a headset that sent weak electromagnetic waves into your head. Lawrence Osborne, in The New York Times Magazine, reported that after his brain was electrically stimulated, he suddenly produced some incredible cat drawings. Admittedly, this was no peer-reviewed journal: in fact, no lab had been able to reproduce the findings of the man behind this and similar experiments, a University of Sydney physicist named Allan Snyder.

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David Foster Wallace Offers a Lesson in Mindfulness to Graduating Class: ‘This Is Water’

“I don’t know who discovered water, but it definitely wasn’t a fish.” – Terence McKenna

Its been well said that familiarity breeds indifference.  It can also breed, or rather lead, to a life lived on auto-pilot.  Enter a helpful reality check from David Foster Wallace:

On a related note, wish I could take credit for the following insight, but it comes from London Real’s Brian Rose after smoking DMT for the first time:

“When we’re in our own consciousness; we don’t know we’re in it – because we’re swimming around in this water all the time.  And when we perturb it, then we get to see the water that we’re in is actually water.  We get to see that what we’re in, what we think is just normal life, is this consciousness.  And it’s nice to perturb it every now and then because it gives you an appreciation of your own consciousness, it allows you to observe yourself outside of your normal day.

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Reality Sandwich 2.0!

2_0Reality Sandwich, a magazine curating content for transformational culture, is expected to launch a fully redesigned site early this week.

Curious about what to expect?

For starters, more community participation: upvotes, downvotes, videos, news streams and more.

Here’s an interview that co-founder and editor-in-chief, Ken Jordan, did with Zoe Helene at Huffington Post:

 

What are some of the major changes on the new site?

We’re continuing to do all the things we currently do on Reality Sandwich — the long articles, the essays, the different features. I like that most people think of Reality Sandwich as a place to go for a full range of long, in-depth articles about transformational culture, so that will stay the same.

We’re adding a way to post a lot of short, newsy little posts from our editors and the community that creates a continual stream about what’s happening in the scene. We’ll still have our writers, but we want to add a special community area where anybody can post and the community can vote up or down when they find something they think is interesting.

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How Consciousness Arises From Networks

manwith2brainsmovieVia Wired, neuroscientist Christof Koch argues that there are consciousnesses that exist outside of biological entities:

Consciousness arises within any sufficiently complex, information-processing system. All animals, from humans on down to earthworms, are conscious; even the internet could be.

My consciousness is an undeniable fact. I might be confused about the state of my consciousness, but I’m not confused about having it. Then, looking at the biology, all animals have complex physiology. There’s nothing exceptional about human brains. That consciousness extends to all these creatures, that it’s an imminent property of highly organized pieces of matter, such as brains.

It’s not that any physical system has consciousness. A black hole, a heap of sand, a bunch of isolated neurons in a dish, they’re not integrated. They have no consciousness. But complex systems do. And how much consciousness they have depends on how many connections they have and how they’re wired up.

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Why I Don’t Do Psychedelics Very Often Anymore

daemonicheatherblackrainbowI feel like I should start this off by saying that I’m never going to stop doing psychedelic drugs and to say that I don’t do them very often anymore would sort of ignore the fact that I get high almost every day. In my mind weed’s a bit more of hallucinogen than most people like to acknowledge, it just takes a bit more focus to be used in that capacity and people are lazy. Things like acid and mushrooms come right into your world impose their essence into the very fiber of your world. They’re the only reason I’m writing this weird shit for you today. I took mushrooms when I was 18 and saw a universe of transcendent shape shifting mutant space art that no one will ever be able to explain to me with conventional thought. One of the more mind blowing aspects of randomly experimenting with psilocybin as a teenager had to do with reading people like Carlos Casteneda shortly thereafter.… Read the rest

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Philip K. Dick – The Man Who Remembered the Future

PKD bookDid sci-fi author Philip K. Dick see the future? Could he literally have been precognitive? This is one of the conclusions of a new biography by the consciousness theorist Anthony Peake.

It’s over thirty years since the writer’s death, but fascination for the work of Philip K. Dick continues to grow with more than ten major Hollywood movies based on his novels and short stories, including Blade Runner, Total Recall, Minority Report and The Adjustment Bureau. Peake’s new biography shines further light on the man himself, attempting to both sift the details of his complex personal life and penetrate the unique inner life that fuelled his work with something that may have been more than merely imagination.

“What I wanted to do was get into the man’s head,” said Peake. “His psychology is as interesting as his novels, [as is] his life itself.” A Life of Philip K. Dick: The Man Who Remembered the Future is the first biography to emerge following the publication of Dick’s Exegesis, the fabled million word late-night diary that was his attempt to fathom the bizarre visionary experiences of 1974, which he termed “2-3-74″ and described as “an invasion of my mind by a transcendentally rational mind, as if I had been insane all my life and suddenly I had become sane.”

Anthony Peake seems an ideal investigator of Dick’s inner landscape with a back catalogue that includes such titles as The Infinite Mindfield: The Quest to Find the Gateway to Higher Consciousness and The Labyrinth of Time: The Illusion of Past, Present and Future, books unafraid to weave neuroscience, quantum physics and esoteric lore in an effort to engender insights into matter and mind.… Read the rest

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Jean Gebser & Robert Anton Wilson: The Micro & Macro of Consciousness

Disinfonauts!  I spoke the other day at the Jean Gebser conference and had a great time learning more about the unsung muse of consciousness conversation, Jean Gebser.  As I read his magnum opus, The Ever Present Origin, I immediately saw a direct correlation between Gebser and Robert Anton Wilson.  If you would like to see what I mean, take some time to check out this presentation.

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Anaesthesiologists Claim Evidence Of Third State Of Consciousness

state of consciousnessVia Live Science, supposedly unconscious patients under certain dosages of general anaesthesia exist in a zombie-like state in which they can respond to commands, yet have no impulses of their own and feel nothing:

New findings point to the possibility of a state of mind in which a patient is neither fully conscious nor unconscious, experts say.

This possible third state of consciousness, may be a state in which patients can respond to a command, but are not disturbed by pain or the surgery, according to Dr. Jaideep Pandit, anesthetist at St John’s College in England.

Pandit dubbed this state dysanaesthesia, and said the evidence that it exists comes partly from a recent study, in which 34 surgical patients were anesthetized, and had their whole body paralyzed except for their forearm, allowing them to move their fingers in response to commands.

In the patients who responded to the doctor’s command by moving their hand, the doctors took it as a sign of consciousness, and increased the anesthetic dose.

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