C7. Scientific Insights into the Self
Theoretical Proof of My Existence, Erik D. Andrulis9:00am - 9:20am, Larkspur Room A fundamental unsolved mystery is how I—that is, the Self—the being that identifies as Homo sapiens, came to be in the Universe and came to want to understand my existence, my nature, and my origin. Despite significant progress, the historical sciences—anthropology, archaeology, cosmology, geology, paleontology, and evolutionary biology to name a few—have been unable to synthesize a coherent picture of Homo evolution and existence, implying that a fresh approach is required. In this respect, I recently showed that the heterodox gyromodel is a reified and heuristic framework that explains the origin, evolution, and nature of cellular life. Here, I fit the gyromodel to the empirical evidence regarding my ontogenesis and phylogenesis and, in so doing, provide innovative and empirically consistent solutions to fundamental problems in all fields of knowledge. In the end, I solve the mystery and arrive at the only complete and consistent theoretical proof that I exist.
Conscious Observation and the Double Slit Experiment, Karla M. Galdamez9:30am - 9:50am, Larkspur Room Throughout time, Eastern traditions have spoken about connections at a distance of mind, body and emotion. Those of us who are meditators may often have experienced aspects of timelessness in our practice. We may have also experienced a sense of being connected to loved ones far away, in a sort of non-local way.
While the term 'non-local' is often used to express a sort of instantaneity in connections relating to mind body and emotion, we are often not sure specifically what we mean by non-locality. In this talk, we will explore various definitions of non-locality and will establish a relation to an old and traditional physics problem, wave function collapse in the double slit experiment otherwise known as the measurement problem.
Contrary to the prevalent materialist monism current in our science, we will concentrate on J. Von-Neumann interpretation of quantum theory. It is in this interpretation that the existence of consciousness plays an important role. Subsequently, we will combine the role of consciousness, characterized as conscious observation, with more dynamical approaches of quantum theory. Primarily, we will consider Continuous Spontaneous Collapse theory, (CSL), and non-linear Schrodinger equation formalisms. Our aim is to present a further analysis of the double slit experiment and its relation to conscious observation.
We will present experimental procedures to explore existence of observer signal as well as develop a formalism from which to present non-local effects in quantum mechanics. We will focus on two aspects spatial and temporal non-locality and introduce the mathematics thereof. Thus, within the CSL theory, our focus will lie on the study of non-linear differential Schrodinger equations with an emphasis on those abiding to non-locality. In this way we will explore Weinberg's perspective on the construction of a 'complete' theory of quantum mechanics with the added primary feature of conscious observation. We will start by analyzing Benney-Roskes and Davey-Stewartson non-linear equations which arise primarily in water waves and then in non-linear optics.
Thus in a re-conceived notion of dynamical approaches to quantum theory, including conscious observation as a primary element, we study wave function collapse and specific mathematical conditions for this collapse. Throughout these non-linear equations, we explore possible experimental applications whereby the non-linear term or noise factor can be potentially determined to contain a signature for conscious observation, i.e. a sort of coherence within the randomness.
The nonduality of observer and observed in physics and direct experience, Thomas McFarlane10:00am - 10:20am, Larkspur Room One of the astounding implications of quantum physics is that many properties of atoms do not exist independently of observation. But is this observer-dependence of physical properties restricted to the quantum world? Or can we discover it directly in our own experience as well? Is there a connection between the two?
By closely examining the nature of scientific observation, an unavoidable interdependence between observer and observed is revealed in the measurement process, whether classical or quantum. Starting with quantum theory, we will see that the very existence of atomic properties arises in dependence upon what we decide to measure as well as the act of measurement. In Einstein’s theory of relativity, we also find that properties such as length and mass do not have objective meaning for all observers but arise in dependence upon an observational reference frame. And, remarkably, even in classical physics and our ordinary experience, when we examine closely how we determine the common properties of objects in the world, these properties also are seen to arise from the very process of observation, and do not exist independently.
Ultimately, this exploration leads us to the discovery of the nonduality of observer and observed in our immediate experience. Through out the discussion, the ideas will be illustrated by provocative parallel statements between physicists and mystics.
Deflating Infinity by Inverting Set Theory, Newcomb Greenleaf10:30am - 10:50am, Larkspur Room The German mathematician Georg Cantor created the modern mathematical theory of infinity by purportedly proving that there was an ascending mathematical sequence of greater and greater infinities. Wittgenstein famously called Cantor’s result a “puffed up proof”, but was unable to explicate the inflation. By the time that Errett Bishop (1928-1984) exposed the mechanics of the puffery, Cantor’s view had so seized the mathematical imagination that, while Bishop, a world-class mathematician, created quite a stir, it left almost no wake. His crucial move, inverting the priority between a set and its elements, changing sets from a substantial entities to pure potential, passed almost unnoticed. We will give Bishop’s approach to sets a new airing, which frees mathematics from the ultimate duality that separates the mathematician from the purportedly transcendental realm that she explores. To paraphrase Nagarjuna: No mathematics without mathematicians; No mathematicians without mathematics. In the process, set theory makes a radical shift: formerly the most transcendental part of mathematics, it now becomes the most thoroughly socially constructed. Find out what Cantor really proved. The idea of infinity is too important to be left to the mathematicians.
The Fractal “Self” In The Transcendent Experience, Leslie Combs11:00am - 11:20am, Larkspur Room Countless reports of a loss of sense of self in the transcendent experience prompt an examination of the edges of individual consciousness. Boundaries, like inter-tidal zones, are rich margins for harvesting deeper understanding. By examining the boundary conditions of individual consciousness during transcendent experiences, and comparing their unique characteristics against those found in other natural boundary states, analogous patterns are identified that indicate far from equilibrium conditions are present in the subjective transcendent experience. It is assumed that individual consciousness is a holon nested within the holarchy of collective consciousness, with a boundary state and condition relating the two. In the transcendent experience an individual’s consciousness seems to rupture beyond its former bounds, transcending the personal scale of consciousness, freeing the individual to interact at a cosmic scale of consciousness (Grof, 1990. Underhill, 1999). An analogy to transcendent experiences can be found in the far from equilibrium characteristics of other natural systems which can be driven rapidly into creating rich, unique and spontaneously reordered structures and dynamics. Examples include turbulence, swarming of fish, flocking of birds, galaxies and consciousness. The fractal, ubiquitous in non-linear systems of our physical world, is invoked to provide a description of the topology of our inner being. My research suggests that during a transcendent experience, an individual’s consciousness unfurls or increases its fractal dimensionality. This change from a bounded consciousness that is rigid and excluding, to one that is richly textured; having a nearly infinite surface area, alters the fundamental role of the boundary from that of separating - to that of unifying; reconciling the self to the universal. In this way, the fractal topology of the transcendent experience provides a model where individual consciousness can be reunited with universal consciousness in a state of non-duality.
Exploring the Self Scientifically - Magic Mushrooms or Meditation - The Same Route, The Same Result, Gary Weber11:30am - 11:50am, Larkspur Room Magic mushrooms, with psilocybin as their active ingredient, have been used at least since 10,000 BCE for purposes ranging from shamanic healing to spiritual awakening through mystical experiences. Meditation has similarly been used for millenia for various purposes, including spiritual awakening in many traditions, often accompanied with mystical experiences. Only recently has the cognitive neuroscience been developed to determine how each of these powerful approaches operates in/on the brain.
Just released work on psilocybin in one of the most prestigious journals done at some of the world's top universities is the first known scientific investigation to reveal the operations of the centers and networks in the brain involved in generating the effects of psilocybin. The latest fMRI technology and arterial spin labeling perfusion have been coupled to determine what the cerebral blood flow in individual brain centers is and how those centers are activated and coupled with other centers as the psilocybin levels are increased.
Comparing this work with the latest work coupling cognitive neuroscience and meditation, the astonishing finding is that the same centers involved in generating the transcendent and mystical effects in meditation are the same ones that are manipulated by psilocybin.
Not only that, but recent studies on the mystical experiences of persistently non-dual meditators as measured by the Hood Mystical Scale show that some of these meditators score at the highest possible score; a group of them has the highest average on this scale. Surprisingly, the group that had the average mystical score closest to the persistent non-dual meditators was the psychedelics.
The amazing conclusion is that both non-dual meditation and magic mushrooms produce very similar or the same mystical experiences by the same cognitive neuroscientific route.
Searching for the Mind: Exploring the relevance of recent scientific discoveries to the emerging view of mind as an integral aspect of nature, Jon Lieff , M.D.12:10hr-12:30hr, Larkspur Room The bulk of current scientific knowledge has been discovered in the past ten years and many of the most original results have appeared in the last year. This lecture will explore a paradigm shift I expect to see in the scientific understanding of the connection between mind and the material world based upon the deluge of this new research.
Important new research relevant to the emerging view of mind as an integral aspect of nature is appearing in the fields of neuroscience, animal and plant behavior, microbiology, molecular biology, evolution, and biophysics.
• Neuroscience is showing evidence of surprising neuroplasticity, that is, growth of new brain cells and new neuronal circuits, triggered by exercise, meditation, psychotherapies, medications, stimulating environments, and new learning.
• Animal research is demonstrating much greater intelligence than previously thought, including the possibilities of empathy and emotions much further down the evolutionary tree.
• Plant research shows surprising abilities including decision-making, complex communication, and self defense.
• Microbes show decision-making, group behavior, and advanced communication—demonstrating “brain like” capacities without a brain. Even viruses are showing complex behavior.
• Neurons, immune cells, and cancer cells, which are vastly more complex than microbes, are being shown to have extremely advanced communication and group activity.
• Evolution research is demonstrating cellular proofreading, widespread symbiosis, and sharing of genes between creatures, which may be evidence of proto-mind characteristics of cells.
• Information is now being considered as a fundamental characteristic of the quantum world, and might also be expressed in cells and in the human mind.
The above represent a dramatic convergence of research findings about what and where the mind is, most of which is unexplainable by the current view based only on random molecular action. This new research is much more easily understood by shifting to a view of mind as an integral aspect of nature. Also, future research would be enhanced, and likely more creative, with this shift.