Skip to comments.ON A RESONANCE THEORY OF THOUGHT AND SPIRITUALITY
Posted on 08/02/2003 4:43:59 PM PDT by betty boop
The following theory is proposed to explain the observed phenomena of thought and spiritual/mystical experience/creativity:
(a) Thought is the subtlest emergent entity from the human brain. As of now, though it is taken to arise from complex biochemical (neuronal) processes in the brain, we have no means of detecting any physical aspect of thought.
(b) All sensory experiences (light, sound, smell, taste, sound) result from an interaction between an external agent (photon, phonon, etc.) and some aspect of the brain.
(a) It is proposed that, like the electromagnetic field, there is an extremely subtle substratum pervading the universe which may be called the universal thought field (UTF). This may even be trans-physical, i.e., something that cannot be detected by ordinary physical instruments. Or it may be physical and has not yet been detected as such.
(b) Every thought generated in the brain creates its own particular thought field (PTF).
Theory based on the above hypotheses:
(a) Just as EM waves require the complex structure of the brain to be transduced into the experience of light and color, the UTF requires the complex system of the human brain to create local thoughts. In other words, when the UTF interacts with certain regions of the brain, thoughts arise as by-products.
(b) Interactions between PTFs and brains generate other PTFs. Indeed every thought is a different reaction-result to either the UTF or to a PTF.
(c) There is an important difference between UTF and PTF. UTF does not require a material medium for acting upon a brain. But a PTF cannot be transmitted from one brain to another without a material medium, such as sound, writing, signs, etc.
(d) In some instances, as with molecular resonance, certain brains are able to resonate with the UTF in various universal modes. Such resonances constitute revelations, magnificent epic poetry, great musical compositions, discovery of a mathematical theorem in a dream, and the like, as also mystic experiences.
(e) This perspective suggests that there can be no thought without a complex brain (well known fact); and more importantly, that there exists a pure thought field (UTF) in the universe at large which may be responsible for the physical universe to be functioning in accordance with mathematically precise laws.
The following parallels with other physical facts come to mind:
(a) Phosphorescence & luminescence: When radiation of shorter wavelengths falls on certain substances, the substances emit visible light immediately or after some time. Likewise when the UTF falls on a complex cerebral system, it emits thoughts of one kind or another.
(b) One of the subtlest entities in the physical universe is the neutrino, which does not interact with ordinary matter through gravitation, strong, or electromagnetic interaction. Being involved only in the weak interaction, it is extremely difficult to detect it. The UTF is subtler by far than the neutrino, and may therefore (if it be purely physical) it may be far more difficult to detect.
So that's my analysis of the article: pick a hypothesis that won't get cut to ribbons by Occam.
Hi wwcj! Please be patient with me! This article by Prof. Raman is the sketchiest, bare-bones presentation of a speculation on consciousness as a universal field. It's great merit (from my point of view) is that, while recognizing the physical basis of consciousness in biological entities, it does not make consciousness an epiphenomenon (or simple by-product) of that physical basis exclusively; i.e., brain activity. The Universal Thought Field (UTF) and the Particular Thought Fields (PTFs) of individuals are able to interact on this model. Personally, I disagree with Prof. Raman's statement that PTF-to-PTF communications require physical media such as writing, language. The UTF itself may mediate this sort of communication.
As to defining what consciousness is, as I mentioned there seems to be a tendency among Eastern European scientists today to just generally regard anything that falls under the head "consciousness" as a spiritual phenomenon because they want to make plain its non-physical nature.
Of course, over here if you say "spiritual," everybody starts thinking "religion," and then you usually get into the same-old silly dust-up between atheists and believers, and the thread blows up. I hope that will not happen here. For while Prof. Raman's paper certainly does not rule out religious belief or religious experience, as a physicist, such speculations go beyond his pay grade. They are not his topic here.
I'm working on a more extended reply, wwcj. Boop will be back later. Thank you so much for writing!
Post-Gita religion is something else, social in intent, a set of effective rituals, purely mechanistic behavior. Pre-Christian Mediterranean religion, if it was indeed religion by our modern understanding, was highly symbolic ritual, individual in intent. Christianity allows both of these approaches simultaneously. The spiritual entity is a religious object, but not exclusively religious. The spiritual entity can be seen as a material thing as proposed in the essay at the top of this thread, the essence of this material thing yet to be determined.
It is marvelous to know that someone else has been thinking through the same things as me, on the basis of seemingly similar experiences and their reflection, and pretty much gets to the same place I get to. I thought your essay was simply beautiful. Thank you so much!
p.s.: You have also "set up" the thinking of another person whose insights on these subjects I hope to incorporate into a reply in progress, Hungarian astrophysicist Attila Grandpierre -- who really "puts flesh" on Raman's "bones."
[If I can ever get to write it!]
In The Nature of Personal Reality (one of many Seth books) some of the "Consciousness" topics discussed are:
The conscious mind, ego as an offshoot, as ever-changing, evolution of, function of, inner knowledge and, matter and, meeting of unconscious and, physical body and, preconceived ideas and, spontaneity.
There is also a good deal of information available at
I second bb's endorsement of your very insightful post.
Prof. Raman's "On a Resonance Theory of Thought and Spirituality" is an extraordinarily compact and simple outline of a theoretical "picture" of the structure of consciousness regarded as a universal principle. A friend told me that the paper needed serious reworking because of its spareness of detail, ambiguity, and apparent lack of relevance to scientific questions. On the other hand, I don't imagine that Prof. Raman intended to write about a fully-fleshed-out theory, merely to indicate the general outline or form that some such future theory might take.
In his 1999 article, "The Nature of Man-Universe Connections," Hungarian astrophysicist Attila Grandpierre fleshed out the physical details of something that looks very much like Prof. Raman's general outline. For he, too, is interested in the problem of consciousness and its universality, and wonders what its physical structure might look like.
What Prof. Raman calls Universal Thought Field is, for Grandpierre, the ultimate vacuum field, the fundamental quantum field or substrate in the universe that generates all the other fields. Its preeminent quality is consciousness, intelligence, perception. It is thus, in a certain sense, "alive." Indeed, Grandpierre grounds the life principle in precisely this ultimate field, just as matter is subject to it because this "ultimate vacuum" is the source of all the physical fields that govern the behavior of matter. Similarly, it structures the psi-field (knowledge, intellect, perception, awareness, feeling -- consciousness, mind [which includes the unconscious]). Grandpierre is presenting a "picture," built up on present-day physics and astrophysics, which shows:
|...that an organizing principle has to be at work at the origin of the solar system and at the ultraresonant interactions between the planets and the solar core. The developed-brain approach to the Universe indicated that there may exist an EM and quantum-vacuum coupling between Man and the Earth, Man and the Sun, Man and the Universe. Moreover, it is indicated that the Sun shows a fundamental openness and ultrasensitivity, which presents it as showing a fundamental life-phenomenon known as perception. Perception is an interaction in which a stimulus enters into the perceiver, which transforms it by its own (biopsychological) laws, selects the information by its own interpretation, and reacts to the selected, developing an answer which energetically is amplified in a 'cosmic' rate R = EÚin/EÚout > 10^10. What is the reason for this 'cosmic rate' amplification? I suggest that the reason is to amplify the information that is important to the Universe as a whole, since the higher rate at which it is amplified, the more easy to transfer it to other macrosystems for further information processing. In that sense the ultrasensitivity of living beings is a participation in a cosmic information processing. In this way we reached a cosmic interpretation of the most fundamental life phenomenon.|
This evokes Raman's suggestion of the inter-relationality of UTFs and PTFs (mutually responsive and co-acting) and between PTFs (ditto).
On the physical basis that Grandpierre presents -- and it is so extraordinarily detailed as to beyond the scope of this writing -- "one can construct the following chain of events for an interaction between the mind and brain":
|In the first step the information is contained and mediated by the vaccum field. These vaccum waves may interact with electromagnetic waves in giving them their information in the second step. The electromagnetic waves then may interact with the biomolecules of the brain, like sunshine interacts with chlorophyll molecules transferring the energy of the sunlight into chemical free energy. Form this available chemical energy the activation potentials of the neural networks are built up. Nevertheless, all four steps could be simultaneously influenced by the vacuum waves.
The frequencies of the vacuum waves obtained here are remarkably close to the observed frequencies at cell divisions. This circumstance suggests that the way vacuum waves interact with material waves can be a resonant phenomenon. The vacuum waves may trasfer their energies and information content to material waves at the same frequencies. The real energy transfer could be necessary only at the onset of some material processes in an upper level of the mind. Here, I suggest a picture in which the different levels of our minds may work with progressively more subtle material carriers, while the deepest one works with vacuum waves without any net energy transfer taking place in the end, because the energy taken out from the vacuum may be put back by the brain itself when reading important information from the psi-field. It could be the reason why only living organisms with a significant free energy content are able to react on the basis of the information read-out.
Grandpierre notes, "The different vacuum waves couple us in a different scale to the cosmos and to our bodies and brains, while the electromagnetic and electron waves present couplings between our environment, our brains, and local neural processes. These couplings to different scales of the outer world represent couplings between our different mind levels, simultaneously. In this context, it is important to note, that these outer sources of information -- the Earth, the Sun, the stars, and the Universe as a whole -- do show a whole range of generalized organic processes."
In the end, Grandpierre's essay calls urgent attention to problems involving the evolution of cosmic and biological consciousness. The picture that emerges is that "Man and Universe maintain multi-level, dynamic, direct connections." Which is hardly surprising, since physical science has said that the universe is constituted by various fields that structure the activity of their relevant particles. If this view is true, then Man participates in the universe at all levels of his being by virtue of his participation in all its active fields.
I'll conclude with Grandpierre's own summary of his article:
|Important evidences are presented that may serve for founding research into the cosmological evolution of cosmic and biological consciousness. A picture is outlined in which Man and Universe maintain multilevel, dynamic, direct connections. Not only the formation of the material of solar system is regulated by a cosmic organization activity, but there are cosmic fields like gravitational, electromagnetic, scalar-EM, Higgs, and scalar massless cosmic fields involved in the cosmic regulative processes. The cosmic biological and psychological effects influence significantly the biological and psychical, collective and individual organisational processes. The cosmic connections between Man and the Universe do not represent a one-sided action, but a mutual, meaningful, life-given interaction, in which Man is also an active participant....|
In the end, the Universe is a singular, living thing constituted by an active organising factor, "which expresses an activity related to material 'objects,' but the substance of which does not exhaust in physical principles but extends towards much deeper realms of existence."
That is to say: To Mind; Will; Life; and (ultimately, on my speculation) Love.
Maybe so, but not even at such an elevated level as the simplest bug. The universe and the stars and the sun and the earth and the weather on earth and on down in scale to atoms appear to be dominated by stochastic processes that follow the laws of thermodynamics. These should not be taken as any more than having the potential to support life processes--organic processes.
The non-physical mind interacts with the physical brain....maybe.
Really you do surprise me, RightWhale. Do you really think such a "minimalist" point of view could possibly accord with/account for the astonishing riot of multiform beauty that is presented to our eyes (and our minds) every day we draw breath on this Earth?
Sooner or later, science will come out and say that thought creates matter as others have been saying for ages. Then they can prove it or disprove it. If God created us in his image, then we, too, are creators...on a lesser scale.
I can accept the possibility that there are aspects of the physical world that are yet unknown, but I challenge you to propose a theory of how non-physical interacts with physical.