Re: Theos-World RE: Evidence for mental events breaking physicalspeed limit
Nov 25, 1999 01:56 PM
Dallas, Grigor, and other interested theosophists and scientists,
With respect to the information given by Grigor and the pertinent questions
asked by Dallas (posted below)--rather than answer them individually--for
starters, I thought that you all might be interested in a recent dialogue
between myself and other scientists corresponding through the
interdisciplinary scientific Journal of Consciousness Study (JCS- online)
(Incidentally, this is one of more than several dozens of my letters
published on JCS-online over the past 3 years that attempts to introduce
scientists to theosophical fundamental truths in their own terms: This
effort has resulted in more than 2,500 hits to my ABC web site in the last
year alone, as well as to untold thousands of scientific research hits to the
SD [through Blavatsky.net] as a result of my continued cross references.)
In a message dated 11/22/99 6:21:05 PM, Anthony_Sebastian@msn.com writes:
>Peter Lloyd, you write:
>>"...Rahul [Banerjee] is proposing to analyse an *experience* into
>>*cognitive* processes. This is like analysing a colour picture into
>>monochrome grey dots: it's a reductive category-error in Ryle's sense.
>>To get a colour picture, you build it up with coloured dots. To get a
>>qualia-rich experience, you build it up from simpler 'micro'-experiences,
>>not from cognitive processes."
What is a micro experience, if not the result of a cognitive process? The
concept of building up of an image from micro dots of color and shades of
gray applies primarily to image transformational processes such as in the
transmission and recording of printed and television/movie images, as well as
to images transformed from the retinal arrays to the reconstructed brain
images we ultimately perceive.
It's obvious that the inner picture we actually "see" is a total gestalt
experience which appears to our conscious awareness as an immediate
holographic reconstruction of the entire original object scene's reflected
image--which, at the first intermediate step in any such transformation, had
to be broken down into individual pixels, whether digitally, chemically, or
by means of the individual rods and cones on the retinas. The resultant
perceptive experience also has characteristics of holographic, 3-dimensional
depth that is very difficult to explain by sequential analytic processes.
Thus, this initial image breakdown into "dots" and their further
transformation into the root of the holographic image we actually perceive,
occurs entirely in both the brain and the mind, and implies that both
perception and cognition are interrelated and are simply a gestalt process of
holistic consciousness... Limited, of course, by our particular point of
focus (convergence) as we intentionally shift our attention to different
parts of the already perceptively complete image reconstructed in the
brain-mind fields. Cognition, which is a function of the brain-mind,
however, could very well occur AFTER this image reconstruction process is
completed and initial perceptive awareness experienced.
>Yet, with gray dots, you can get richly textured, information-rich pictures,
>including written language with all its colorful splendor. You may be
>selling cognitive processes short in ruling them out as the mechanism of
Agreed, but they are certainly not the whole picture.
>Analyzing experience into cognitive processes may not be as illogical as
>you claim. What you need first is a 'conception' of experience in terms of
>The problem may lie in a too narrow restriction of the current conception
>of.,'experience' as 'conscious experience.' Once you understand experience
>primordially a non-conscious activity, things begin to clear up for a seeing
>a cognitive basis for conscious experience.
How can experience, which is a function coincident with awareness as well as
cognition (related to both mind and memory), be non-conscious? How can we
experience (whether subliminally or wakefully) without referring the result
of our awareness of such experience to cognitive thinking?
Even if such cognition is below our level of wakeful conscious awareness, it
is still an experience of consciousness, per se. It appears that both
subconscious experience as well as thought must be coincidental, and,
therefore, together, they constitute the basis of cognition--whether or not
we are wakefully conscious or subliminally conscious (what we mistakenly call
"unconscious"). Perhaps, the real problem is our confusion of the words
consciousness, cognition, and awareness, let alone our inability to describe
their mechanisms through reductive analysis.
>For example, consider a non-conscious experience of an external object as
>consisting of receiving information about the object and processing and
>reacting to that information as biology dictates. In words, consider it
>as cognitive functioning. Now try to imagine what it would be like for a
>system so experiencing an object non-consciously if, at the same time, it
>received, processed and reacted to the information about its engaging in
>There is no reason a priori why cognitive functioning could not itself be
>subject to concurrent cognitive processing. So there is no reason a priori
>why a system could not be cognizant of the activity of its cognizing some
>external reality, say. The system then not only cognizes the apple but at
>the same time cognizes that it is cognizing the apple. The apple is not
>just perceived but perceived as being perceived. There could be the most
>basic variety of conscious experience.
>Do you think we have exhausted the possibilities whereby conscious
>experiencing can be explained in terms of cognitive functioning?
Taking this as a rhetorical question, I would say, of course not. Consider
the possibility that the first replicate image after leaving the retinas is a
reconstructed interference pattern in the brain's EM field produced by the
synthesis of all the minor fields generated by the individual synapses
electromagnetically reflecting the coherent point-source vibratory patterns
received and transmitted by each rod or cone. If we also consider that
perceptive awareness is the universal function of the ubiquitous zero-point,
and that one such point represents our individual consciousness (as is
intuitively apparent)... And, further, that there are intermediate zero-point
fields of different dimensionality or frequency phase orders (ref:
superstring theory) that inductively resonate with the brain field --then it
becomes obvious that our "conscious awareness" is the product of all these
transformations and is a unitary process of both perception and cognition
that does not depend upon either the sequential analysis of micro
experiences, nor does it depend on any secondary or underlying awareness of
Perceiving an image, then, just is what it is... An immediate perceptive
awareness of the entire reconstructed holographic field of view in which we
can, at will, select any point in it as the focus of our attention, and
secondarily, our cognition-- which, in effect, is simply a series of
brain-mind processes independent of awareness, but coincident with
it--whether wakefully attentive or subliminally inattentive (or, so to speak,
"subconscious," rather than "unconscious"). (It seems we still haven't come
to terms with our terms.:-)
Of course, this does not refer to the conditions prevalent when we are
subjected to deep degrees of unconsciousness, e.g., anesthesia--when nerve
paths to sensory organs have been entirely blocked. However, even in such
cases, there would have to remain some degree of awareness or subliminal
consciousness, since the brain would have to be aware of the beating of the
heart and other autonomic functions in order to maintain its 'living'
function as a self guided, individual and autonomous organism. Could it be,
then, that all the organs and organisms that make up our entire body organism,
have some degree of independent consciousness in the form of subliminal
awareness (related to their zero-points)?
With respect to our visual system, there appears to no more parsimonious
explanation of both the mechanisms of perception, or the experience of the
qualia at any particular image point of focussed attention, than the one
described above. This possibility of the holographic nature of wakeful
conscious (and subconscious) awareness, if true, would not require any
reductive scientific theory to explain cognition--other than the theories of
QM and, perhaps, superstrings, applied to the *physical* actions on the level
of electrochemical correlates of the brain's neurology as well as the
multidimensional correlates of the cosmic zero-point field energies, as they
relate to both the thought processes in the malleable mind field and the
formation of the brain field's pre-perceptive and precognitive holographic
image (interference) patterns.
Perception as well as cognition, then, could be a unitary process effecting
all the primary brain and secondary intermediate fields between the sensory
mechanisms and the awareness... One of which may be the *mind* field that
could then be considered as the root of the cognitive processes. Cognition,
per se, then, might be described as consisting of perceptive 'thought'
processes dealing with a malleable, intermediate field of holographic
information on one or another level or dimension of awareness. In other
words, being aware of our mental thoughts with relation to the awareness of a
visual or other sensory image (either directly or referring to memory) could
be considered as two different levels of consciousness with respect to an
apparently single center of perceptive awareness. i.e.; Since the zero-point
is ubiquitous as well as contiguous with all other zero-points in the
scientific "vacuum" of space, and since each field has its own zero-point
center of origin, awareness would be capable of altering its state between
mind and memory fields as well as the ability to intentionally direct its
holographically reconstructive, coherent ray of intent (which must be
entirely reflective) in any spatial direction. All this, Implying that
cognition is a function of consciousness and that the brain is simply the
neural image transducer and control input-output "machinery" between
consciousness (as awareness) and the sensory mechanisms of the body. To make
this a bit clearer, it should be noted that the following premises are some
of the axiomatic bases of these theoretical assumptions:
1) The zero-point (Laya point*) is located at the root source of all cosmic
energy and is ubiquitous and congruent throughout multidimensional space.
2) Awareness and qualia are the inherent receptive functions of the inert
zero-point (which is expressed as phenomenal consciousness when associated
with living, homeostatic organisms--themselves composed of radiant and
non-radiant mass-energy fields in more or less stable configurations*).
3) Holographic formative image information is carried and directly
transformed analogically in Nature solely by inductive resonance between
cyclic wave front interference patterns of radiant energy fields of differing
spectral frequency orders or dimensional phases.
4) All coherent rays of energy at whatever level of frequency phase order
within the parent cosmic energy field of origin, are entirely reflective to
and from their initial zero-points of origin.
5) All matter-energy fields are both coadunate (although not consubstantial)*
with, and entirely transparent (although refractive in varying degrees) to
zero-point fields and their radiant energies.
Can anyone think of a more parsimonious description of a system that combines
both the answer to qualia as well as the mechanisms of consciousness in
consistent relationship to biology, physiology, transpersonal psychology,
biochemistry and post modern physics?
(Not the moderator... Funny coincidence, huh?/:-))
*Ref: Secret Doctrine - The Synthesisi of Science Religion and
Philosophy, H. P. Blavatsky,1888 (www.blavatsky.net)
List Moderator: Len Maurer <email@example.com>
jcs-online is a service of the Journal of Consciousness Studies
In a message dated 11/22/99 10:25:44 PM, firstname.lastname@example.org writes:
<< Nov 22
Thanks for this valuable information.
I have gleaned from the study of Theosophy the following and
would ask to have it examined and critiqued:
It has been shown that the production of any act is preceded by:
1. A need or desire.
2. Imagination and planning as to how to obtain that object.
3. Visualization by the mind.
4. Planning the necessary steps to implement usages -- several
5. Consideration of alternatives and also,
6. Considering the ethics and morality of the proposed actions
7. Sending an impulse from MIND to brain.
8. Reception of such impulse by BRAIN. (Brain neural activity)
9. Brain organizing and selecting neuro pathways to secure the
necessary multiple cooperative acts of various muscles.
10. Final action or speech on the PHYSICAL PLANE. And continued
actions and reactions.
All steps from 1 to 7 are subjective, and non determinable
The is not any reception of sensory input, nor any sensory output
(either reactive or spontaneously voluntary) which does not
originate as a SUBJECTIVE event.
OBJECTIVITY is the manifestation on the physical plane of
measurable change or action that can be analyzed.
There are at least 5 areas where input is received (sound, smell,
taste, feeling and seeing). Similarly there are five methods of
originating actions the hands and feet make 4 and the MIND is the
5th the supreme coordinator for each being.
The nature and location of this "supreme coordinator" remains to
[ Example: we use electricity and its partner magnetism in many
ways. But we do not know the nature of either. We give names to
actions and have erected theories to explain to ourselves with
our present knowledge how these originate and "flow."
But are those the final realities? What is aether? What is
Light, Heat, Time, Space ? Why is Nature all around us? Who and
what are we? What is CONSCIOUSNESS? Where does INTELLIGENCE
come from? What is INSTINCT ? and so on.
One might say that "naming" something does not necessarily
"explain" it. ]
From: Hazarapet@aol.com [mailto:Hazarapet@aol.com]
Sent: Monday, November 22, 1999 10:39 AM
To: Theosophy Study List
Subject: Evidence for mental events breaking physical speed limit
There is some interesting new research about to be published within the
next two years. The question that has been experimentally tested
is whether all mental events are physical or not, or rather, is
there physical evidence for there being non-physical processes.
Now obviously we know little, in science, about the phenomenology
of mental events. But we don't have to know. All we need to know
is the processing speed of the human brain. If we find that a
human can complete a mental task, such as a pattern recognition or
problem-solving task, that has been designed, per hypothesis, as
one that could not be completed in a given amount of time if all
the "mental processing" of it was a physical process, then there
is some indirect physical evidence of "mental events," so to speak,
not bound by the physical "speed limit," so to speak. Again, without
getting too technical, a few clarifications might be in order.
The expression "processing speed" is vague. Since events in the
brain are not that well mapped (hardly at all), how can we coherently
speak of processing speed. An analogy with computers may help.
When speaking if the "speed" of a computer, one is speaking either
equivocally or one is speaking about one of two separate things.In
computer engineering, "speed" is either "processing speed" or
"through-put." Processing speed is a measure of how quickly any
task is completed, from start to finish, by the CPU. Through-put
is how many tasks a computer can perform in a given time. Now,
you can increase throughput (but not processing speed) by adding
CPUs for parallel-processing. Given more processors, a computer
can complete more tasks (doing more than one at once) even though
the processing speed of each CPU remains the same. But if one
designs a faster processor (i.e., one with a faster processing speed),
one can increase both processing time and throughput. Now there
are other factors involved on a computer's "speed." For example, I/O
devices hamper "speed." Why? Because a signal takes a certain
amount of time to transverse a certain distance. The distance to
and from the primary I/O devices, namely keyboard and monitor,
cannot be practically closed (if humans are going to use the computer).
So, the time it takes, on average, for signals to transverse that
distance to and from cannot be shortened significantly. Similar
constraints apply to accessing CDs, Disks, and tape. Miniaturization
has allowed an increase in speed simply for the simple fact that
we are talking about a smaller space and thus time for a signal
to transverse between components. The old vacuum tube or
even transistorized computers had not even a ghost of a chance
of being as fast as today's machines because of the distance/size
of components through which a signal travelled because longer
the distance the longer the time. There are some new emerging
speed constraints with the issue of how miniaturized can we
get with silicon. Silicon was chosen because it retains its
semi-conductive properties at a microscopic level (i.e., in
effect, two conducting paths can be extremely close together
without "short-circuiting" each other - to speak roughly).
But the calculated limits of how small a silicon chip can get
before its semi-conductivity breaksdown is already know and
the hunt for a new semi-conductive material is underway (although
it will be some time before this becomes a real worry). But, it
will always remain an invariant limit, no matter how much
miniaturization there is, that the time it takes a physical
signal to transverse any amount of space, no matter how
small, has an upper limit (i.e., speed of light).
So, what does all this reflection on computers, speed, and
distance have to do with the brain? Plenty, the brain is a given
size. Its neurons are of a given size. The length of the neural
nets from brain to body is of a known given size. Compared
to the modern cpu, the brain, neuron, and nervous system
are rather large. So, the time it takes a signal to physically
transverse a distance is longer if the distance is longer. But
we need to look at material also. A nerve fiber consists of
a mixed solution of ordinary salt (sodium chloride). So,
there is sodium, potassium, and chloride ions in the
nerve fiber. Sodium and potassium ions are positively
charged. Chloride ions are negatively charged. Given
that there are more chloride ions, the rest state of a nerve
fiber is negatively charged. A nerve signal is a region of
charge reversal flowing through the fiber. When a signal
reaches a synaptic knob, it emits a neurotransmitter that
travels to the next neuron to its dendrite or soma. Anyway,
in human, this network is insulated by the fatty substance myelin
so that signals can travel without much interference even between
neurons. Given these materials, the speed of a travelling neural
signal, in any and all neurons, is 120 meters per second. So,
we can say that the "processing time" of a neuron is this speed.
The brain might have a faster through-put if it had something
like a parallel processing arrangement. But still, assuming
that that might be the case, a minimum amount of time
can be calculated based on spaces signals have to travel
at 120 meters per second. So, given that number, tests
can be preformed even at our limited level of knowledge.
So, for example, there is a minimum amount of time that it
takes for a signal to transverse the optic nerve from retina
to brain, and so on. Given a vague knowledge (but enough)
of how the brain is organized (in terms of charge patterns
during kinds of activity) and even taking into account the
possibility of something like parallel processing in the brain,
and despite our huge ignorance about much of how the brain
works, we still know the time a given signal takes to transverse
a certain physical distance. With this knowledge alone, despite
all the things we don't know, a group of physicists and
neurophysiologists were able to come up with tasks that it
would be physically impossible for the brain to complete
within a given amount of time as well as events that should
be too fast to be a registered event for the brain. Again, the
question was are there non-physical mental events. On the
assumption that everything was physical, that mental events
were physical (even if we don't know how they are neurally
realized), certain assigned tasks could not be accomplished
in a given amount of time.
Without getting into someone else's research, they studied
advanced meditators (who had been found in late 70s and
early 80s to have ability to increase "information-processing
speeds and problem-solving speeds and for the mathematically
trained, computational speeds because while the early stages
of meditational practice attempt to become more focussed
and aware without thought, distraction, etc., at the advanced
level the awareness part of mind and the problem-solving,
conceptualizing, analyzing, and reasoning part are
re-integrated in a way that mutually enhances these opertations.
Awareness becomes sharper and clearer as if the logical part
were a lens while the logical part is clearer, faster because
less distracted, and tighter in its exactitude in tracing a
line of implication). They also studied advanced meditators
who were advanced martial arts masters.
What they found was that in some instances, given the
speed of 120 meters per second for a neural signal, given
the length a signal would have to transverse from eye to brain,
across physical distances between parts in brain (even on
the assumption of parallel processing), and length of neural
connection between eyes, brain, and hands and feet (for
martial artists' tests), the response time and or
information-processing time to a task or problem or stimulus,
took less time than it should have if all processes involved
were physical. Something happened or some phase of
whatever was going on inside their heads violated, so to
speak, the physical "speed limit." Most conclude that
that since everything physical obeys the "speed limit"
and/or the "speed limit" defines the physical that there
were some non-physical events that took place in these
tests. There is a British physicist that thinks otherwise.
He claims that some physical events DO violate the
physical speed laws (i.e., quantum events in EPR
experiments). Penrose has commented that this might
not necessarily be evidence of non-physical mental
events, but rather, that some mental events or some
aspects of them might be quantum events displaying
some of the properties of the EPR experiments. But
in my opinion, this is even a stranger view, in its
ramifications, than admitting the existence of the non-
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