Monthly Archives: May 2013

Going Beyond the “Yes-No” Computer

Biocentrism is a new “theory of relativity” or potential “theory of everything” — rethinking our view of reality relative to our biology – and finally inclusive of consciousness. According Dr. Robert Lanza and Robert Berman, the authors of ‘Biocentrism’: How Life Creates the Universe“, Life is primary, not the accidental occurrence of a random and lifeless universe.

Our biology therefore is the basis for our notion of reality, and our experience (which science has not accounted for) include a Consciousness that seems to exist outside of Space/Time – an infinite intelligence.

Let’s try to understand this experientially. We all use computers today, with software that “works” in the real world.

Let’s more deeply examine the computer analogy. We use a binary computer – only two values – 0 and 1 – the next value in the sequence which we think of as “2” is 10 in the binary system. 3 in the binary system is 11, 4 is 100, so that only the symbols “1” and “0” hold value. This is the power of “0” – we do not need infinite symbols to count until… the end…

For calculation we use the decimal system – we have separate symbols for 1 – 9, and then the next value is 10, and so on.

So why do we use the binary system in our computers? The most obvious answer is that each calculation is an electric switch, which is either on or off. This allows it to be electrically “switched” according to software instructions within the silicon chips that calculate at massive speed.

If you think of a light switch – there is no dimmer, or three level switch, which might represent a “trinary” system. That would be too complicated and expensive to manufacture.

(A “trinary” belief system – what a concept: The Father, Son and the Holy Ghost?)

It also turns out that “our” brains run on a binary system – sometimes known as “dualism”. We “see” things generally in opposites – Yin/Yang, masculine/feminine, on/off, good/bad or yes/no.

(So perhaps we created the computer software “in our image?”)

Language provides us with finer shades of meaning; instead of black and white, words let us think in areas of “gray”, but again our language is structured as binary – subject and object (and noun and verb).

This dupes us into “thinking” we comprehend reality as it is. But there is no such structure in nature – there are no subjects and objects – there is only movement. Nature, or Life, never stops. As Buckminster Fuller wrote, “I think I am a verb.” For a really clear presentation of this, I suggest watching almost any video by Rupert Spira.

So as we examine nature from a Biocentric perspective, and begin to integrate a sense of the meaning of Consciousness, the first thing we must take into account is the limitations imposed by our own dualistic (yes/no) brain – and its limited thought structure.

If we consider that a binary system of only two symbols is obviously restricted (we already know of another system of calculation which uses ten symbols before the Zero – our decimal system), can we begin to imagine as system with NO restriction.

Not a binary system, not a decimal system, but a system beyond the limitations of our thought entirely?

That would be the beginning of a recognition of the scale of Consciousness.

It is interesting to comprehend this in the realm of “prime” numbers. Primes are numbers only divisible by themselves and “1” and as you get larger their frequency obviously diminishes, but theoretically there would be an “infinite” number of prime numbers (there would always be something higher).

In a recent “thought experiment” on this topic I pointed out that with the help of supercomputers (still calculating using an on/off, yes/no, dualistic and binary system (like our brains), “the largest prime number has been calculated, each time as a result of more processing power. The record is currently held by 243,112,609 − 1 with 12,978,189 digits.”

If you try to conceptualize this it may give you a headache. (I suspect it would strain the processing power of your brain – but not the processing power, presumably, of Consciousness – stay with me here…)

Consciousness as has been speculated is beyond the space/time limitations of our brains – and truly “Infinite”.

Consider other so-called infinite constants—Pi, or the relationship between the radius and circumference of a circle – 3.14 etc. and Phi, or the “Golden Mean” or 1.618 – which is the ratio of the famous Fibonacci sequence of numbers where each equal to sum of the previous two numbers – each imperfectly (not a “whole” number) expressing a perfect relationship found in nature.

(Both relationships are also, apparently, expressed in many ancient monuments including most famously the Great Pyramid—could they be a sign of a deeper comprehension of Consciousness as Primary?)

To us, as Deepak Chopra has said, Infinite is “just a concept” of our yes/no brain for something truly unfathomable. Try grasping infinite by going out and looking at the stars and trying to figure out what is “outside”. You cannot mentally do it. It strikes you in your heart, gut and body.

In his recent Workshop on “What is Enlightenment?” Michael Jeffreys made the interesting point that Infinity “is not just one more thing–higher or bigger” – such as the next largest prime number or decimal place, and then the next one, and then just one more…

Infinite would = ALL. EVERYTHING. That is Consciousness.

Compared to our own supercomputers, or even our brain, both running binary “code” – and remember that our DNA is also “code” – Consciousness would be beyond any limitations of a binary, decimal or million or trillion-based system.

The “base” of Consciousness would literally be incalculable.

Our science, limited also by dualistic and binary thought, has finally come up against this on the quantum level, where space/time makes no “sense” without an Observer – or the reference point of Consciousness –the present moment.

To truly understand Nature and Reality, we must (as Biocentrism suggests) begin to comprehend the “scale” of Consciousness, or the basis for our very existence – and of course the word is merely a pointer to the reality of what Life is… “biologically” or “organically”.

The question becomes, can our current “religion” (belief system) of science, which assumes our existence as a given and absolute perspective (because Consciousness is too complicated to consider), begin to work objectively with this scale of being?

After all, the Infinite does exist. Look into the sky at night. And look into yourself and notice what has been “seeing” everything. It is not your thoughts or your emotions.

As Eckhart Tolle says, it is something the mind cannot understand (as a binary yes/no) system.

It is “no-thing”

It is what some have called God or Source. And it is what science and Biocentrism are beginning to comprehend as an infinite intelligent energy that is simply here and EVERYTHING: Consciousness.

 

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Biocentrism – the New Relativity

Recently I was introduced to the work of Robert Lanza, a respected biologist and researcher in stem cell therapy who is also an executive with Advanced Cell Technology, a biotech company in Massachusetts.

Although he may not refer to his concept as “biophysics,” Lanza effectively opens the floodgates to a scientific discussion of the main obstacle facing science, philosophy and psychology today:

“There is nothing in modern physics that explains how a group of molecules in a brain creates consciousness. The beauty of a sunset, the taste of a delicious meal, these are all mysteries to science — which can sometimes pin down where in the brain the sensations arise, but not how and why there is any subjective personal experience to begin with.

And, what’s worse, nothing in science can explain how consciousness arose from matter. Our understanding of this most basic phenomenon is virtually nil. Interestingly, most models of physics do not even recognize this as a problem.”

Deepak Chopra refers to such aspects of experience as “qualia”, and echoes Lanza’s remarks in terms of conventional science’s reluctance to address the subject of consciousness – or the ground level of our actual experience.

Interestingly the TED conferences, where Lanza has also spoken, recently removed two lectures by other speakers who speculated about the nature of human consciousness in ways their colleagues deemed “unscientific.”

Of course, even a cursory knowledge of Quantum Physics tells us that experiments on a molecular level have shown that our measurement or observation of a phenomenon is an integral part of its manifestation – we cannot take ourselves out of the process and view it “objectively.” (Lanza discusses the famous “slit experiment” also seen in “What the Bleep” that demonstrated that an electron can act as a particle in one situation, and as a wave in another, depending upon observation).

I addressed this issue in a blog I wrote some time ago proposing, lightheartedly, a new theory of “Bio-Relativity” where reality is based on a formula such as M = C/P – where Mind is a function of consciousness based on physiology. I made the point that it is easy to speculate on the different reality experienced by a dolphin, that “sees” through sonar, or a dog, that “sees” through nostrils thousands of times more sensitive than our own.

Dr. Lanza uses the term “Biocentrism” and argues eloquently for an opening within the scientific community to accept the obvious fact that our own consciousness is the lens through which we see everything – so that the religion of scientific objectivity is unfortunately revealed as flawed.

Everything is truly open to question when this reality “lands”, as my friend Michael Jeffreys likes to say.

Michael goes so far in “deconstructing” what we think we “know” by showing that all we really see are colors and shapes—calling something a “pen” for example already introduces “an overlay” of conceptual judgment that the pen itself is not.

In fact, what IS really out there, or “in here”? Michael tells the story of watching a video of a young boy singing “Amazing Grace” on YouTube, as a tribute to his mother who died of cancer, and how it brought tears to his eyes.

When he “came back” Michael realized that the “reality” of what had happened, and evoked such emotion, was the movement of a set of pixels on his computer monitor—nothing more.

All of the emotional content was really supplied by himself. Someone else might have reacted to the video completely differently or not at all.

I recently had a similar insight through a different set of pixels. Financial advisors have convinced me that without taking a bit of risk in the stock market, I will die poor if I live past a certain age. So, I have made some small speculative investments in companies represented by letters like “AAPL” and now, every morning, I can watch how my mood can be affected by seeing the numbers next to those symbols—if the color is green I am happy. Red, not so much.

In this way it becomes obvious that we literally (and I say that deliberately because language is such a key part of it) – we LITERALLY create our own word and the judgments about it that form our “qualia” or experience.

In therapy I began to understand my conditioning, for example, around money being safety, such that a set of numbers on a computer screen could make me feel secure or anxious.

If I pulled back, and observed my “Self”, I quickly realized that my day to day (or present) experience is no way reflected by that number on a computer screen – just as Michael Jeffreys had us realize that we our “selves” shaped our own reaction to a set of pixels moving on a screen.

Taken to a logical conclusion, everything and I do mean EVERYTHING is truly “us” – or our “Consciousness.” This is what mystics mean when they “merge” with the All – by deconstructing their selves they are left with only one Mind or Intelligence that is EVERYTHING.

The common reaction to this is, “but how can you live like this?” To me it is enormously helpful to objectively begin to witness how my conditioned “I” shapes my experience, like the suffering I can endure if AAPL goes down. But the world itself has not changed one iota. If I hug my cat and put my attention on her, the stock market is no more.

A famous quote that gives context to these realizations is “We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.” – T. S. Eliot – from his work, “The Wasteland”.

That is the problem for this kind of work – when we begin to see the “overlay” we begin to lose interest in what is “out there” and like Dr. Lanza, focus our attention on our “Selves”.

Others may see this is self-absorbed; often they want us to take great trips or go on adventures, but to us, the greatest adventure is to discover, as Eckhart Tolle says, the “structure” of our thoughts instead of working with their “content.”

Some have called Dr. Lanza one of the great scientific minds of our time, and with his impact on biological research, and the work of others in the area of neuroscience, I do believe that inroads can be made in truly understanding “the nature of Consciousness” – even from the “inside.”

In the meantime it is helpful, when stressed, to remember the immortal words of the comic strip Pogo, “We have met the enemy, and he is us.”

Thinking of Food as a Software Program

It’s the premise of this blog that consciousness is not “like” computer software as a metaphor, but rather it IS a computer program in its real existence as mental intelligent energy.

The source code for “our software” is found in DNA, which also acts as a storage center (hard drive) for the software which we “run” as “Us”. (Click the link for a Wall Street Journal article on the findings).

So what do we know about software, from our own experience?

Well we already know that based on written symbols (code) a different set of actions (programs) can launch and run, resulting in different sets of experiences – in such a way the computer simulates “human” thought.

So what about our sense of “Self”? The feeling about “us” that we take without questioning is “real”?

Consider this —

Can thought arise out of matter? Can self, soul, consciousness, “I” arise out of mere matter? If it cannot, then how can you or I be here? This is a profound question raised by neuroscience as it studies our hardware – i.e., the brain and nervous system (which I like to call an awareness system).

In I Am a Strange Loopneuroscientist Douglas Hofstadter argues that the key to understanding selves and consciousness is the “strange loop”—a special kind of abstract feedback loop inhabiting our brains. The most central and complex symbol in your brain is the one called “I.” The “I” is the nexus in our brain, one of many symbols seeming to have free will and to have gained the paradoxical ability to push particles around, rather than the reverse.

How can [such] a mysterious abstraction be real—or is our “I” merely a convenient fiction? Does an “I” exert genuine power over the particles in our brain, or is it helplessly pushed around by the laws of physics?

Let me digress to the teachings of a mystic and philosopher, G.I. Gurdjieff, who also suggested that we have “three brains” (intellectual, emotional and physical) and that we actually process (digest) three types of food: air (as breath), nutrition (actual “food”) and impressions (thoughts/feelings).

P.D. Ouspensky, another philosopher who popularized portions of the Gurdjieff work in his seminal work, In Search of the Miraculous, describes the nutritional system (all three types of foods) as forming different “I”‘s or selves until they are integrated through intense self observation and psychological work.

His work suggests that under proper circumstances, Impressions (received through the senses) are converted into the finer energies or substances needed for Higher Intellectual or Higher Emotion centers to develop within the organism – but these conditions do not exist naturally at our current level of being.

Due our inner fragmentation into multiple “I”‘s or centers, the shock necessary for the proper processing of impressions is consistently thwarted by the various ego and mental illusions that distract the organism. Our current state of being prevents and obstructs us in from summoning the consistent attention necessary for the proper processing of Impressions to take place naturally.

Another way to describe this is that as a complex organism we have a main “operating system” that we consider ourselves – which “grows” as we derive our conditioned identity through our parents, peers and “education.”

But Gurdjieff/Ouspensky suggest that this “normal” sense of self is illusory – actually a series of ego and mental illusions, that interfere with alignment with our true nature – consciousness – or a proper connection to higher intellectual and emotional “centers” – Life itself.

Evidence of this can be found by simply loading a different set of “programs” as “real food” – namely energetic input through nutrition that is “healthy”. I “experimented” with his recently when a friend suggested I change my diet in the morning (when I felt sluggish and negative) with a different set of chemicals listed here:

Daily Shake for breakfast

  • 1 banana
  • 4 strawberries
  • 1 spoonful blueberries
  • 1 spoonful goji berries
  • 1 teaspoon maca powder
  • 1 tespoon acai powder
  • 1 teaspoon cacao powder
  • 2 glasses of coconut water
  • piece of ginger
  • teaspoon honey
  • 3 shakes of cinnamon powder

What I believe happened as a result is that my operating system of Ego was modified sufficiently to see myself as less “separated” or differentiated from nature, and consequently more lucid and energetic.

While my DNA (software code) in the nuclei of my cells remains the same, its “activation” has been altered chemically – different software is running within me.

This concept of environment (Life) or energy input activating software (like a mouse click on the computer) is the new field of Epigenetics and also, as Hofstadter’s work suggests, the current trend in neuroscience.

The Newtonian materialistic universe has been replaced by Quantum Physics; energy (nonmaterial reality – including thought and intelligence) – also known as “software” – is part of our organic/biochemical “nature” – and we can feel its influence.

I suggest that you also think of “chemistry” and “biology” in terms of software – and the periodic table of elements as software “code” for how this “program” of Nature “operates.

Some of these chemicals when combined as “molecules” are classified as “organic” – but what does this mean?

It simply means that a different level of programming is operational – higher conscious energies are at work – Consciousness “lives” through their manifestation and expression. (Wikipedia describes the table as a “tabular display” of the (known) chemical elements – if you compare it to “sequenced” DNA it is just our own English symbols for Life and Nature – it is not Nature itself – it is “code” for Nature – or software).

Within “our” consciousness we have developed an artificial and basically arbitrary set of programs that we think of as “Me”.

Most important, this illusory operating system of a single, separate self apart from Nature/Life can be over ridden by a new layer of programming.

The result is a deeper connection with Life and a sense of “joy” – not the ephemeral “happiness” that the mass media promises through material gain, but an energetic connection that runs experientially deeper and that begins to soften the egoic sense of “Me”.

This softened sense is less prone to anxiety and suffering because it begins to “trust Life” – it surrenders “control” because it begins to realize that “I am not inc charge of everything” – in fact, you can “do” very little in many, many circumstances.

It is interesting to speculate where this separated sense of a fixed, solid Egoic Self came from – is it the natural result of an evolved greater brain more able to survive through mental activity – as scientists would have us believe?

Or was there actually a “Fall of Man” – as the bible and some religion suggests, and might that have been an actual bit of genetic “tampering” with our organism to increase suggestibility through our Ego – and more readily control our actions?

I do not pretend to have the answer to these questions – and in fact I think they are more profoundly effective as deep QUESTIONS than as facile answers.

As open questions they again activate levels of software, in our brains and bodies, that more directly connect us to Life and decrease our sense of separation and ultimately the fear of death.

“Lord my body has been a good friend

But I won’t need it when I reach the end”

Cat Stevens (“Miles from Nowhere“)

It is precisely this deeply sensed fear of the extinguishing of our sensory and mental processes that increases the control of the mass media—through a fear of violence (terrorism) or sense of lack (not measuring up to standards).

These are the negative” impressions” Gurdjieff described in terms of reprogramming our three brains (consciousness) and again separating us from Life (higher centers).

As my friend Michael Jeffreys says, “don’t be a victim [under outside control] – become a ‘scientist'” and actually experiment with these energies.

You can see the same results with meditation and yoga as you do with nutrition – and they are actually new software programs not like a computer – but really and truly – in alignment with Life – truly higher energies that lead to a lessening of separation and an increase in vitality – which is again, another word for LIFE.