Foundations of Mind VII
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Sean Ó Nualláin
The "Foundations of Mind" series (O Nualláin 2014a, 2015, 2016a, 2016b, 2017, 2018) which began in 2014 is now the most downloaded series of conferences proceedings in the history of modern science of mind and possibly alt science in general. Perhaps not coincidentally, it is also the most various and here we review it. It is fair to say that the project took on a life of its own and far exceeded my relatively humble plans for it as I sat in my garden in Normandy in late 2013.
As ever, this collection features a wide range of papers from the rehabilitation of the ether by Rubik and Jabs that has perhaps been presaged by Nobel laureate Wilczek's notion of the "grid" to a revisionist history of the field in physics by Meucci; moving from physics, Chris Langan continues his life project of meta-level thinking and writing; Shinninck et al. explore the field in a context defined by Sheldrake; we continue to publish systems thought, as we do crossover from psychoanalysis to spirituality.
Our meeting with gestalt therapists in Italy bore fruit as expected with work on quantum mechanics and psychoanalysis and less expectedly Islamic spirituality; Cynthia Larson deals explicitly with the Wheeler "20 questions" as reformulated by Stapp. As ever there is a concern about health and some lost papers of the great Richard Strohman and Walter Freeman are interpreted to presage a new science of metabolism and health.
My papers attempt to synthesize these and others' diverse thrusts. In this introduction I review the contributions we have made to the foundations of mind, foundations of physics, foundations of biology, and science/religion dialogue over the history of these conferences and point several paths forward. Consciousness studies is seen to emerge from consideration of the foundations of mind and its relation to the world. In particular, cognitive processes typically admit of the time intervals appropriate for the sampling speed of consciousness in tenths of seconds.
At a certain point, mind breaks free from its fetters in biology with observer status requiring that the laws of physics exert a top-down influence on biology. The fact that the brain is now capable of arbitrary levels of hierarchy changes the dynamics of biological fields at lower levels of the hierarchy. The observer is described with physics concepts like relativity and measurement in quantum mechanics; again, the sampling speed of consciousness can be achieved through the quantum zeno effect as Stapp has shown.
The overarching goal remains to ground higher-order speculation about healing, mentation and metabolism in insights and observations that are attested cutting-edge science often from the world's greatest universities. It cannot be long now before a hierophant, perhaps from the community of creation spirituality, generates a powerful new expression of what it is to be in the world defined by these new discoveries.
Fred Alan Wolf
What does quantum physics tell us about the nature of reality, specifically the parts of reality we do not directly perceive called hidden variables? One may think it could tell us a lot because of our enhanced technological sensing abilities that delve into the realms that quantum physics covers so well. Surprisingly, it seems to surround us in a deeper mystery rather than reveal more of nature's secrets. It seems that we cannot escape from philosophical consideration when dealing with what is hidden in quantum physics. In Part I we will look at how Epistemology and Ontology bear upon Hidden Variables. In Part II we will consider Hidden Variables in the light of Contextuality, and Non-Classicality. Inevitably questions of subjectivity and objectivity arise in dealing with states of observation. How should we think about these states? Perhaps it is a question of the meaning associated with our knowledge of a state-that is, a question of ontology or epistemology. The issue of ontic and epistemic states is particularly important when considering hidden variables in quantum physics because, as one may argue, the interpretation of quantum states as either ontic or epistemic will naturally lead to different assumptions about how reality is constructed; if it is constructed or not. It also raises the question of what attributes we are able to observe simultaneously and that brings contextuality into the discussion. If it turns out that reality is constructed contextually what does that imply about ontological realism? If on the other hand reality is constructed non-contextually what does that imply about ontological realism? Many implications can arise when considering these questions from a quantum physical point of view. In this paper I shall discuss how quantum physics provides some answers to these questions by considering quantum physical states and their measurements.
Keun-Hang S. Yang, Menas C. Kafatos
The Orthodox Interpretation of quantum mechanics, as developed by many physicists, particularly John von Neumann, addresses the role of measurement, available choices and response of the quantum system to questions posed by an observer in specific quantum laboratory experiments. As such, it is, more consistent and clearer than other interpretations of quantum mechanics and it provides an account of the interactions of observers with the external world. However, in order to explore whether quantum mechanics plays a role in the brain, which is the primary issue, one has to examine the applicability of Hilbert space structure as a valid geometric description of neurodynamics. Here, we re-visit previous work involving the orientation selectivity of neurons, which constructed a type of statistical distance function, in agreement with quantum formalism. This is proportional to the usual distance (or angle) between orientations of the neurons. The equivalence between the statistical distance and the Hilbert-space distance was developed before. As such, it gives rise to the possibility of reanalyzing the issue of measurement and information processing in the brain function, what is termed geometroneurodynamics. Several issues of this geometrical approach are examined and work that needs further development identified, such as measurement and observation, what is Nature and who the observer is, all of course relevant to functions of the brain. Extending Orthodox quantum mechanics to neurodynamics may be the ontological opening to the relevance of universal non-dual Awareness, examined in previous works.
The nature of time is yet to be fully grasped and finally agreed upon among physicists, philosophers, psychologists and scholars from various disciplines. Present paper takes clue from the known assumptions of time as — movement, change, becoming — and the nature of time will be thoroughly discussed. The real and unreal existences of time will be pointed out and presented. The complex number notation of nature of time will be put forward. Natural scientific systems and various cosmic processes will be identified as constructing physical form of time and the physical existence of time will be designed. The finite and infinite forms of physical time and classical, quantum and cosmic times will be delineated and their mathematical constructions and loci will be narrated. Thus the physics behind time-construction, time creation and time-measurement will be given. Based on these developments the physics of Timelessness will be developed and presented.
This paper explores how process philosophy — and in particular an optimalism process philosophy that includes free will, such as Henry Stapp's realistically interpreted orthodox quantum theory — proves to be an excellent fit for quantum theory that answers the philosophical question "Why are things the way they are, instead of otherwise?" Viewing reality as a matter of optimalism is one of four practicable responses to this question, which requires linking Nature to existence. Henry Stapp's realistically interpreted orthodox quantum theory meets this requirement by asserting that when a question is asked, "the thought itself is the thinker," in keeping with the views of James and Whitehead. In this process, an ensuing succession of questions arising in the minds of observers is received and responded to by Nature that chooses and implements responses in accordance with Born's Rule in a physically described universe represented by evolving quantum mechanics states.
Sean Ó Nualláin
This paper makes two self-confessedly ambitious proposals. One is a theory of mind and world with an inventory of possible relations between the two of such generality that sensorimotor behavior, potentially conscious cognition, and quantum mechanics fall out s special cases. The second is that the variety of neural codes is as multifarious as that of the domains in which mind functions; alternatively put, each cognitive "context" can be viewed as a field. Where cognitive "context" is lacking — à la quantum mechanics — the result is the quantum field theory of researchers like Schwinger.
This paper makes also makes the radical claim that dynamical systems theory provides solutions to problems plaguing neuroscience, rather than simply attractive models. It starts with the microscopic level, that of single neurons. A biologically realistic neuron model as a harmonic oscillator is shown to allow neurons do pseudo-Fourier transforms. While it is already known that spike timing becomes naturally causal in this model, we have also implemented a C++ simulation showing that it can operate on a raw power spectrum, and learning can be formulated as adjustment of delays. In short, the neural code at the microscopic level is, as Karl Pribram thought, the Fourier transform.
The mesoscopic and macroscopic (EEG) levels, which are at times connected in Freeman's writing, cater for the missing piece of "intentionality" i.e., how mind "intends" — points to — things in the world. It is argued that nonequilibrium thermodynamics provides a good model here. The vocabulary of dynamical systems, starting as we already have with the periodic attractor of the harmonic oscillator qua pendulum, is proposed as a first approximation for what we need to do at the mesoscopic level.
That will finally bring us to the symbolic level, at which we experience, talk to each other, and do math. It is argued that formalisms that cater for coordinate free flows are more appropriate here than any others. Clearly, tensor calculus and lie groups will prove useful. We also consider physicists who have eschewed cognitive neuroscience as a failure and, with some brilliance, argue that physics ideas like pilot waves will prove crucial. While this will be the most speculative part of the paper, this area is developing rapidly and quietly like all successful revolutions.
The need for revolution in modern physics is a well known and often broached subject, however, the precision and success of current models narrows the possible changes to such a great degree that there appears to be no major change possible. We provide herein, the first step toward a possible solution to this paradox via reinterpretation of the conceptual-theoretical framework while still preserving the modern art and tools in an unaltered form. This redivision of concepts and redistribution of the data can revolutionize expectations of new experimental outcomes. This major change within finely tuned constraints is made possible by the fact that numerous mathematically equivalent theories were direct precursors to, and contemporaneous with, the modern interpretations.
In this first of a series of papers, historical investigation of the conceptual lineage of modern theory reveals points of exacting overlap in physical theories which, while now considered cross discipline, originally split from a common source and can be reintegrated as a singular science again. This revival of an older associative hierarchy, combined with modern insights, can open new avenues for investigation. This reintegration cross-disciplinary theories and tools is defined as the "Neoclassical Interpretation."
Sean Ó Nualláin
This paper has several different aims. The first is to extend the "zero power" hypothesis that the health benefits of meditation are energetic in two ways. The first way involves engaging with the mindfulness movement; the second is extending the "zero power" hypothesis to consideration of entropy. The mindfulness movement may be considered a discipline of presence including conscious states not normally viewed as meditative and we consider these as practicing presence as we explore a synthetic view of consciousness.
Recent analysis of the thermodynamics of brain metabolism is engaged with, and the fact that the brain consumes an order of magnitude more energy than its weight should warrant is investigated. The attenuation of this demand by the synchronized gamma oscillations that are a signature of both meditation and consciousness is proposed, and the Carnot cycle is supplied as an explanation for how low-entropy energy may become accessible to the rest of the organism by meditation. This is turn may have substantial health benefits.
Before arriving at the conclusion, there is an attack on that incident of archness in Francis Crick's writing called the "central dogma of molecular biology". The issue of how gene expression can be changed by metabolic factors leads to discussion of the foundations of biology. Meditation, it is argued, allows relatively permanent changes in gene expression, along with openness to quantum effects that might seem a natural consequence of a thermodynamically quietened biological system.
It is fair to say that followers of the Abrahamic religions have, for better and often for worse, demanded more from their religion than mere meditation. In the final section, we discuss this. We leave the door open to imprecatory prayer, as ironically quantum mechanics, the most precise of sciences, in certain very limited contexts allows the observer to determine states both in the present and past.
The standard theory of languages has two levels, one centering on the study, teaching, and application of natural languages, and the other on formal languages and formal systems as applied throughout the mathematical and empirical sciences, in analytic philosophy, and for computer programming, software engineering, artificial intelligence, and related technologies. On both of these levels, standard language theory is dualistic, defining languages in isolation from their domains of discourse and treating attributes in isolation from their objective instances while omitting important properties and functions ordinarily provided or executed by language users, automata, or physical systems on which they appear to supervene. This decoupling of languages from their universes, and from necessary linguistic functions such as display, processing, interpretation, and communication, has profound epistemological bearing, limiting scientific knowledge by precluding the linguistic formulation of any verifiable comprehensive description of reality. This paper proposes that in addition to the two existing levels of standard language theory involving natural and formal languages and systems, the theory of language be recognized to possess a third "metaformal" level on which languages and their universes are "wrapped" in a uniquely structured, totally self-contained metalanguage, the Metaformal System, which restores missing linguistic functionality while using a supertautological intelligibility criterion to generically couple languages with their universes on a fundamental level of shared structure and dynamics, thereby restoring the potential for a verifiable comprehensive and fully connected understanding of the reality we share.
Nicola Luigi Bragazzi, Hicham Khabbache, Marco Perduca, Bruno Neri, Fabio Firenzuoli, Gabriele Penazzi, Mário Simões, Riccardo Zerbetto, Tania Simona Re
In the last decades, one of the psychedelic substances which has gained high attention for its implications in several para-psychological phenomena (including out-of-body states, deep changes in sensory perception, mood, and thought, travels in "hyperspace", and meetings with disincarnate entities, as well as other "breakthrough experiences") is dimethyltryptamine (N,N-DMT, or simply DMT). High dose DMT-containing plants (like Psychotria viridis, in Quechua language Chacruna or Chacrona) are one of the two principal ingredients of the Ayahuasca, the visionary Amazonian brew reported to induce a range of paranormal experiences, but it can be found as well in a huge number of different natural sources, even some of animal origin — e.g., the Sonoran desert toad, in the form of 5-methoxy-N,N-dimethyltryptamine or 5-MeO-DMT. It was Rick Strassmann (born 1952), a medical doctor, psychiatrist and clinical psycho-pharmacologist, who had the virtue of giving a second birth to the academic interest in scientific research of psychedelics after the post-70's age of obscurantism lead by the American prohibitionist position on this field. Strassman is also the person who named this compound "the spirit molecule", in order to suggest the deeply psycho-spiritual implications concerning this substance. Here, we overview the scientific basis and evidences supporting the association between DMT and the pineal gland.
Beverly Rubik, Harry Jabs
The aether, proposed to be a subtle primordial substance, was once thought to permeate all space and provide a substrate through which electromagnetic waves, such as light, traveled. It is a powerful explanatory concept that has roots in ancient indigenous knowledge and helped unify our understanding of the physical world for centuries. The Michelson-Morley experiment is often credited as being the death blow to aether, but this is not exactly so. These experimental results were not nil, but showed approximately 25% of the expected 30m/s speed of an "aether wind" from Earth orbiting the Sun. The aether was abandoned largely because of Einstein's Special Relativity Theory, which contradicts an absolute frame of reference. Nonetheless, Einstein came to accept a new version of the aether to explain parts of his famous theory of General Relativity.
Although the static aether of the 19th century was abandoned, with the advent of quantum mechanics, new dynamic models of space were developed. Space was viewed as a quantum plenum full of energetic potential resulting from Planck's blackbody radiation. Indeed, space has measurable physical properties that imply the existence of a subtle substance herein called the "neo-aether." Matter can be considered a unique dynamic state of the "neo-aether." A rudimentary consciousness may be rooted in this deep substratum of existence.
Historical highlights of the aether concept and the "neo-aether" are described here. There is the Akasha of Vedic philosophy; the luminiferous aether of Huygens; Maxwell's theory of molecular vortices; the zero point energy of quantum theory; the dark energy of cosmology; the quantum potential of Bohm; and metaphysical perspectives.
Whereas 20th century physics was largely caught up in mathematical verbiage, the "neo-aether" is a physical model that provides causal explanations of observed phenomena including non-locality and electromagnetic wave propagation through space. One implication of the "neo-aether" is the possibility of a unified field theory in which particles, fields, and even sentience originates.
Phillip Shinnick, Lawrence Porter, Joseph Maize
Mathematics, proper language, instrument measurement, logic, skepticism, materialism, reductionism and an assessment of other scientific works as been the way since the French Revolution. Field theory in physics opens an opportunity to go back to natural philosophy and empirical observation swallowed by current events in science. Sheldrake's morphogenetic resonance from evolutionary biology fits field theory's necessary subject/object singularity and a bridge between genes and evolution. Empirical observation for science means eyes open. Over thirty years eyes closed research observation gives images which are more stable during research periods and do not repeat themselves during non research periods. However, some non-repeating individual images show up in art during the last five hundred years confirming human morphogenetic resonance "image habits" in humans over time. Instrument images show similarities to non-repeating human images; Born's images of an atom, a galaxies from a space telescope, gold ions colliding, six iterations of a set of states [x,y] passed through the logistic map and an oscilloscope image reading of a tornado. Changing weather patterns by Qigong and assessing organ fields in the body shows human influences to nature and the self through lines of essence. A patient with a serious painful spinal injury created a line of essence with animal spirit for healing.
Systems thinking is a holistic thinking which indicates that our planet is a self-organizing living system with inherit ability to sustain life, also, human being is interconnected and inseparable part of this living system. The main question is how human being which is the byproduct of an amazing creative process — from a single cell to current human — has seemingly lost this inherent ability and practices unsustainable activities?
The answer could be in Linear thinking and self-consciousness process:
In the early stages of human development human beings started to use their hands and vocal system to increase their ability to cooperate with each other. They used sign language for short-range communication and vocal projections for long-range communication. They mimicked the sounds that other animals made to attract harmless animals and distract dangerous ones. Combining sign language and vocal projections eventually created a subjective virtual world of information; an abstract concept, separated from real objects. The separation of subject from the object started us down the road to abstract thinking and the linear perception and thinking of self-consciousness. Thus, we have elusively experience ourselves as independent, separated from the living network. We therefore attempt to protect our separated self from the rest of the universe. Linear thinking ends up being self-defensive, self-protecting, self-assertive, dominating and sensitive to liability management violent events and negative news.
When we analyze human body as a living system we notice that subconsciously our brain is in full synchrony and corporation with our body network in performing any simple action. But consciously through linear logic our brain illusively separate itself from body network and exercises self-assertive, and dominant relationship with the network to satisfy its short-term desires and entertainments — could be addiction to sugar, coffee, drug, information or other. Then we apply the same attitude in our relationship with earth, other species, and even among human network. which results in a dominate and competitive attitude toward the other members of the web of life.
The paradigm shift begins by recognizing that our brain is a living system capable of self-organizing according to the feedback loops provided by observing our thoughts and actions with the memes and values of the living system. Through this process our brain begins to acknowledge that the idea of a separated and independent self is only an illusion. It realizes that our self-existence, long term health and functionality require a sustainable relationship of cooperation and partnership with the body network and indeed with web of the life.
Digital age is characterized by exponential rate of change, uncertainty and trending away from predictability and stability toward the emergence of a new system. The emerging paradigm shift requires a holistic approach intrinsic to spiritual tradition, as well as to nonlinear theories such as quantum mechanics, systems theory, networking theory, chaos theory and fractal geometry. It will unify science and spirituality, right and left brain, masculine and feminine, and provide universal memes and values applicable to any relationship or process at any scale.
Jung's individuation process, the central process of human development, relies heavily on several core philosophical and psychological ideas including the unconscious, complexes, the archetype of the Self, and the religious function of the psyche. While working to find empirical evidence of the psyche's religious function, Jung studied a variety of subjects including the Eastern liberatory traditions of Buddhism and Patañjali's Classical Yoga. In these traditions, Jung found substantiation of his ideas on psychospiritual development. Although Jung's career in soul work was lengthy, throughout, he aimed to steer clear of metaphysics. Patañjali's metaphysics, on the other hand, are straightforward, and his ontological commitments are evident. Because Jung's ontological commitments were not explicit, his theories, when seen through Patañjali's lens, confuse ontological questions with epistemic issues. As a result, when comparing the Jungian and Patañjalian notions of the Self, Jung's insightful ideas seem to be constructed upon a considerably shaky foundation. Yet, utilizing the exceptionally consistent ontological and epistemological commitments of Patañjali Yoga, as well as the objective measures of affective neuroscience, brings credence to the innate aspects and instinctual nature of Jung's archetype of the Self, and assists in answering the question of whether the archetype is innate or emergent.
Psyche is described by Homer as the energy of life and not as it is now understood, synonymous with the virtual organ named mind. Starting from the etymology of psyche it is possible to discover that the field of study of psychoanalysis is very close to that of quantum physics. In their correspondence Jung and Pauli had already guessed how the reality described by quantum theory is very similar to the description that psychoanalysis makes of the subconscious. Observing the ability of psychotherapists to interact with this inscrutable world could offer new insights to physics. The latter could finally undertake studies that lead to a theory and therefore a mathematical function that can include the psyche variable.
Nicola Luigi Bragazzi, Hicham Khabbache, Ignazio Vecchio, Mariano Martini, Riccardo Zerbetto, Tania Simona Re
Generally speaking, human life is characterized by an array of experiences, which, both in health and disease, can have a spiritual/religious dimension. In the last decades, spirituality/religiosity has attracted a huge body of research and neurotheology or spiritual neuroscience is emerging as a modern multidisciplinary field aimed at understanding religious experiences and practices, as well its impact on well-being, with a focus on mental health, and its potential therapeutic implications in the treatment of neuropsychiatric disorders. For this purpose, neurotheology combines a variety of approaches and theoretical frameworks, deriving influences from theology, divinities and religious studies, philosophy, sociology, cognitive science, neuroscience, psychology, and anthropology. Available scientific evidences seem to suggest that Islam and Sufism (prayer and meditation) can contribute to the achievement of higher consciousness states.