Up@dawn 2.0

Thursday, February 16, 2012

The United Mind

In my last post I talked about how we humans decide what is moral because we ourselves are God. I was being a little more literal about us being God than you may have thought. My idea is based on Carl Jung's theory of the collective unconscious.

The idea is that beneath our own individual consciousness there lies a unified consciousness/will that actively constructs what we call reality. This collective is like a network of our minds connected by the power of will. What we call physics is a collectively agreed upon set of rules to make sense of things and to interact with one another in an orderly fashion. Gravity exists because we agree that we don't want to just float out into space and so on.

To help understand this, think about our dreams. When you dream, you are temporarily cut off from the network and your mind attempts to construct a reality on its own. By itself, your mind is not powerful enough to construct a sensible reality. This is why our dreams lack that "solidity" of the collective reality. All of our brainpower working together is much more powerful, and because of the balance of concurrence and rejection of ideas, we can settle on a reality that makes sense and feels real.

I found a video on youtube that sums this idea up fairly well, though it's kind of hard to follow at times. http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=qAjC81MUe_I


  1. This actually coincides a good deal with my own ideas about the metaphysical right now. I had read some of Jung and studied some Buddhist scholars and texts recreationally, but, when I got deeper into the study of physics, it all started to come together.

    I will not pretend to understand the intricacies of quantum mechanics as well as the individual who made that video you linked to (though I certainly could have directed it better - that was a serious argument for the hemispheric differences between brains), but I kind of understand the concepts after a semester in modern physics and some subsequent journeys into the works of Schroedinger, Pauli, Dirac, Feynman, etc...

    After trying to find a way to reconcile some of the stranger claims of quantum physics, I found Amit Goswami, a preeminent quantum physicist. He wrote "the" textbook on quantum mechanics that has been the standard since 2003. He proposes the very same ideas in that video. I should like to find the book written by Pauli and Jung as soon as possible.

    In the meantime, I think you may find further information or validation for this view at amitgoswami.org.

    We started to discuss the idea of "Consciousness causes collapse" in class one day, and the conversation quickly diverted away from the principles of quantum physics to the b.s. that is "The Secret" and other "Law of Attraction" snake oils, but that's not what Dr. Goswami is talking about, and it seems like it wasn't what Jung or Pauli were talking about.

    The idea, to me at least, is that we can find a way to change the paradigm in both science and religion if we can understand these truths about the world itself. There is proof that more than the material world exists if you look at some of the real empirical science done by Dr. Goswami and his associates.

    Religion doesn't have to deny science any more than science has to deny the immaterial world.

  2. Goswami is one of the talking heads in the film "What the #$*! Do We Know?" You're sure it's not all a load of "quantum flapdoodle," Steven?

    I'd love to know what you or anyone thinks about this review from Skeptic magazine:

    "WHAT DO YOU GET WHEN YOU COMBINE bits of quantum physics, brain science and the channeled prophecies of a 35,000 year old god/warrior named Ramtha? The film, What the #$*! Do We Know?, is a fantasy docudrama cult hit that has found national distribution and is playing to full houses across the country..." http://www.skeptic.com/eskeptic/04-10-01/

  3. I have seen that movie, and I agree that most of what it says is flabdoodle. I do think the point of the movie, though, is more to evoke questions than to provide answers. Dr. Goswami is only one of an ensemble of thinkers in that movie, and, from what I remember (from an inebriated viewing a few years ago), there was not a unifying chorus of opinions. The ideas of quantum physics are confusing and profound. Like I said, I only have a limited knowledge of how it is all supposed to work. The problem comes when people (like me) who don't understand it as well as Wolfgang Pauli or Richard Feynman or Amit Goswami try to interpret it in a "simple" way or exploit it for profit or novelty (like "The Secret"/"Law of Attraction" hooey/ or even, to a point, the "fantasy docudrama"). The idea, though, at its core is what some ancient Eastern religions and many of the Buddhist texts say, and that agrees with Jung: we're all one. The universe, each individual, and our consciousness are all part of the same entity. Goswami has called it "God", "consciousness", "a higher existence", and other euphemisms, but, what appeals to me more than the connection to spirituality is the connection to science.

    The experiment that got me excited about this in the first place was first performed in Mexico City at the University of Mexico, but it has been reproduced twice successfully since. Two subjects were brought together and instructed to meditate with the intention of communicating without signals. After meditating together, the two were separated and put in electromagnetically impenetrable Faraday chambers. Both wearing EEG caps to measure brain activity, only one was shown flashes of light. These flashes of light produced a distinct series of action potentials in not only the brain of the subject who was shown the light, but the same distinct activity was recorded in the other participant simultaneously. This is either a profound discovery in science or a very cool parlor trick.

    When you consider the quantum attributes of superposition, where one particle can exist in two places at the same time, and of entanglement, where one particle seems to be linked to another it has come into contact with regardless of proximity after the contact (think Butterfly effect, but instantly), this doesn't seem so crazy. Then, when you start adding other, empirically confirmed facts about quantum behavior like wave collapse due to conscious observation (Schroedinger's cat), and the curious behavior of photons that only behave the way we observe them, it doesn't seem a stretch even scientifically to say that there is some "supernatural" component to our reality.

    I don't know exactly what is to become of this knowledge. I don't consider it an argument for a particular religion or practice. I do think that if we explored the idea that we all collectively make our reality the way it is, it would make a strong case for people to take responsibility for their own actions more, and stop blaming and/or crediting an anthropomorphized deity bent on vengeance and servitude.

    I don't BELIEVE that any of this is true, but it is the idea that makes the most sense to me: 'Magic' explained by well-reasoned (and brilliantly imaginative) scientific thought. One of the most attractive things about it to me is how it ties back to the Tibetan Book of the Dead and other ancient traditions that have spoken this way for centuries. There are also a lot of similarities with very early Gnostic Christian societies and how they interpreted the Gospel before the Council of Nicea.

  4. Interesting. It might be useful to think about this stuff in the light of an upcoming essay in the Blackford anthology by Graham Oppy, "What I Believe." He denies "that mind is a ground-level ingredient of the universe" or that "quantum mechanics is a true theory that postulates a key role for consciousness..."

    But what the bleep does he know? Or me?