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Karl Jaspers Forum ^ | August 21, 2001 | Varadaraja V. Raman

Posted on 08/02/2003 4:43:59 PM PDT by betty boop


by Varadaraja V. Raman

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.

Prof. Varadaraja V. Raman
Physics Department, Rochester Institute of Technology

Target Artcle 39
by Varadaraja V. Raman
18 June 2001, posted 21 August 2001

TOPICS: Culture/Society; Philosophy
KEYWORDS: brain; consciousness; faithandphilosophy; mind; quantumfields; spirit; spirituality; thought
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To: js1138
Mathematics is an activity of humans. Humans are physical.

Humans are spiritual. Micrsoft Windows is not a floppy disk.

81 posted on 08/03/2003 6:21:03 PM PDT by AndrewC
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To: AndrewC
I'm not really trying to win or score points here, just express a point of view. Whatever we are has a body, which according to the church I was raised in, will be resurected. Why?

I can certainly certainly imagine less messy embodiments than what we curently inhabit, but anything I can imagine would have the look and feel of physical existence. This is presumably a limitation of my imagination rather than a limitation of what is possible.
82 posted on 08/03/2003 6:55:06 PM PDT by js1138
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To: betty boop

The Sense of Being Stared At

An Interview with Rupert Sheldrake from the Seattle Post Intelligencer 1st April 2003


83 posted on 08/03/2003 7:00:26 PM PDT by dennisw (G_d is at war with Amalek for all generations)
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To: js1138
Whatever we are has a body, which according to the church I was raised in, will be resurected. Why?

Because of Thomas.

84 posted on 08/03/2003 7:05:24 PM PDT by AndrewC
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To: Alamo-Girl
The extra time dimension

A second timelike dimension would have to be folded up to very small size like the other extra dimensions. If the second timelike dimension were similar to the first in size, just orthogonal, it would make too many things possible. If all things are possible, then evolution is dead and change is impossible, so there is a phenomenological contradiction. OTOH it would eliminate the need for the Big Bang.

85 posted on 08/03/2003 7:11:26 PM PDT by RightWhale (Destroy the dark; restore the light)
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To: RightWhale; betty boop
Thank you so much for your post!

Indeed, the compactification of extra spatial dimensions is an artificial construct.

For instance, under ekpyrotic cosmology, the inception dimensions are deemed parallel and thus, there is no big bang.

Likewise, in 5 dimension space/time such compactification is not necessary:

Welcome to the homepage of the 5D Space-Time-Matter consortium. We are a group of physicists and astronomers working on a five-dimensional version of general relativity. Our work differs from Kaluza-Klein theory (the basis of superstrings) in that we do not assume compactification of the extra dimension. This means that new terms (those involving the 5th coordinate) enter into physics, even at low energies. In 4D spacetime these can be interpreted as matter and energy. We move them to the right-hand side of the 4D field equations and take them to describe an induced energy-momentum tensor. In fact, we have shown that no 5D energy-momentum tensor is required. 4D matter of all kinds can arise as a manifestation of a higher-dimensional vacuum. This is one way to realize Einstein's dream of transmuting the "base wood" of matter into the "pure marble" of geometry -- that is, of unifying the gravitational field, not just with other fields but with its source.

Generally speaking, the objection to extra time dimensions is the aversion of converting from a time line to a plane. Causation is essential to physics as is timeline order (this before that, that after this.)

If our time dimension is a plane and not a line, the past, present and future are all seen at once and the cause/effect can be inverted to effect/cause.

Therefore, IMHO the artificial aversion of science is a prejudice which may stand between us and truth.

86 posted on 08/03/2003 8:25:38 PM PDT by Alamo-Girl
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To: betty boop
Thank you so much for your post! I agree with your assessment of the f-theory article. The other one was much more informative!

A-G, what I'm wondering is whether the primary field of universal consciousness/primary substrate of natural being may be virtually outside of human space-time altogether. Yet still very much within the scope and range of human intelligence....

Precisely! And that is exactly what your extra time dimension introduces to the mix.

I enjoyed "Constraints on Extra Time Dimensions" very much. I definitely noticed how the authors decided to "file-off" something they had seen as belonging to a hypothetical "time-brane" -- an additional hypothetical time dimension beyond the 3S + 1T four-dimensional space-time that we human beings are steeped in since birth -- to account for certain inconvenient "leakages" from the matter side of physics. (I gather.)

Precisely! That's why I became so excited. Your speculation fits a number of mysteries - including accommodating the consciousness field outside 4D physics and potentially evidencing the same via dark energy.

I was also very intrigued by the authors' analysis of "gravitational self-energy." Good grief, I didn't realize that issues relating to the propagation of charges remain such open questions today. The implications for integrating gravity into any Unified Field theory must be staggering in consequence.

Absolutely! That is what underscores the quest for quantum gravity and the structure of space/time at the quantum level.

IMHO, they will find the answer to the quantum riddle in geometry. And that answer will come not from quantum mechanics but astrophysics - cosmology and astronomy!

87 posted on 08/03/2003 8:34:46 PM PDT by Alamo-Girl
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To: betty boop; Alamo-Girl; unspun; Phaedrus; ALS; Doctor Stochastic; RightWhale; RadioAstronomer; ...
You said: Am writing an article on the physical basis of consciousness ... and you said, This article from Prof. Raman is an extraordinarily elegant outline of where I think I want to go with this.

Your article is going to be about consciousness; Prof. Raman's article mainly addresses "thoughts," (whatever he means by thoughts). There is a great difference between, "thoughts," and consciousness. Our thinking is certainly conscious, but my kitty is conscious, but doesn't think. I assume you will be careful to make this distinction which Prof. Raman does not.

If you would be so kind, you might tell us what you mean by consciousness. I'm not asking you for an explanation of how it works, only what you mean by that term. Does the word "qualia" fit your notion of what the content of consciousness is?


88 posted on 08/03/2003 9:46:06 PM PDT by Hank Kerchief
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To: AndrewC
Point taken, but the problem of interaction between matter and non-matter is not my invention. I forget who first formally posed the problem, but its been around for centuries, and I don't think it's easily brushed aside.

I think the problem is even more interesting now that physics is dealing with "dark matter" and "dark energy" -- phenomena that defy traditional concepts of what is physical, and yet they exist.

Is anyone prepared to assert that dark matter and energy are non-physical? We know them only because of their subtle and elusive effects on the structure of the universe. How would any hypothetical non-physical substance that interacts with matter differ conceptually from these phenomena? If something interacts with matter, it will come under the perview of physics, regardless of whether it fits traditional concepts of matter.
89 posted on 08/04/2003 5:45:36 AM PDT by js1138
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To: betty boop
A nifty idea, but it doesn't really allow us to say anything new except "I have this idea." :p

Don't misunderstand, I don't want to be a stick in the mud, but if it can't be quantized, it isn't very useful as far as science goes.

For example, if this UTF has a field nature, it should also have a particle nature too, which is used to transmit the effect. For it to be a useful theory, it needs to answer questions like: What is the particle's mass, what is the range of this new force, what is the speed of propagation, and so on and so forth.

90 posted on 08/04/2003 5:58:31 AM PDT by Constantine XIII
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To: js1138
Point taken, but the problem of interaction between matter and non-matter is not my invention.

I think you need to be a little careful with your terms. Matter/non-matter interaction is an everyday thing, I think that what you and many other people might mean is natural/supernatural interaction. That is a completely different question.

91 posted on 08/04/2003 6:02:19 AM PDT by AndrewC
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To: Physicist
92 posted on 08/04/2003 6:05:17 AM PDT by Constantine XIII
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To: AndrewC
I don't think I'm mis representing the question. You refer to ideas as if they exist independently of their embodiment. Interesting if you can cite an example.
93 posted on 08/04/2003 6:06:06 AM PDT by js1138
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To: Ichneumon

You can construct a spirituality out of auras and supernatural beings. Of you can call them fields and detached consciousnesses. It's important not to confuse the use of physical nomenclature with physics.

94 posted on 08/04/2003 6:17:01 AM PDT by Right Wing Professor
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To: Constantine XIII
Constantine XIII, thank you for your post. Grandpierre elaborates the physics in his article, "The Nature of Man-Universe connections," which you can read here:
95 posted on 08/04/2003 6:30:54 AM PDT by betty boop (We can have either human dignity or unfettered liberty, but not both. -- Dean Clancy)
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To: js1138
I don't think I'm mis representing the question.

Energy is non-matter. Matter/energy interaction is not a mystery.

Now if you want an example of something using something that is not-matter, then I propose that all examples of Microsoft Windows be destroyed except for one compressed, encoded file. That one encoded file is beamed, using any frequency you wish and compatible with transmission, at any remote galaxy. Upon completion of the transmission the remaining file is erased along with the decoding key. Does Microsoft windows exist?

96 posted on 08/04/2003 6:34:44 AM PDT by AndrewC
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To: AndrewC
Energy is non-matter.

That's news to me. I could have sworn matter and energy are interchangable and that there was a famous formula defining the equivalence.

Now about the little windows thought experiment. Does a text exist if the only copy of it resides in the form of an unbreakable cipher, for which the key is lost? I would argue that this is equivalent asking if a flammable object exists after it is burned. If an object cannot be reassembled, it does not exist, at least not in any usual sense. If the hypothetical message can be decrypted, then it exists.

97 posted on 08/04/2003 6:52:13 AM PDT by js1138
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To: js1138
That's news to me.

If you wish to play word games leave me out.

98 posted on 08/04/2003 6:53:36 AM PDT by AndrewC
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To: AndrewC
I'm not playing word games. I'm trying to find out why folks think there is some non-physical aspect to consciousness. I think there is some misunderstanding about what the word physical means to science.
99 posted on 08/04/2003 7:11:07 AM PDT by js1138
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To: Hank Kerchief; Alamo-Girl; Phaedrus; ALS
Hello Hank! Prof. Raman's article deals with the subject of consciousness primarily from the human scale, if I might put it that way. That is why there is such an emphasis on "thought."

What Grandpierre suggests, however, is that consciousness is a far more generalized and pervasive phenomena that all "living systems" possess, even quite "humble" ones, such as an amoeba. Here's an interesting selection from Slavoj Hontela that elaborates this idea:

"Let us to observe the behavior of an Amoeba in the microscope’s visual field. We can see there an Amoeba, of Proteus species, slowly moving by stretching out its pseudopodia, looking probably for food. We place now with a glass pipette close to her few powdered pigments of a dried Chinese Ink. The amoeba stretches one of her pseudopodia to a pigment grain closest to her (evidence of a chemotaxic reaction or ability !) and involves the grain into her pushing it down to the nucleus where the digestive vacuoles are present. It is certainly interesting that the pigment transported through the pseudopodia towards the nucleus, doesn't yet touch the nucleus capsule when obviously the Amoeba recognized the undigestibility of the Chinese Ink pigment, the further transportation in the direction to the nucleus stops and the foreign body is quickly pushed back and finally eliminated from the Amoeba's body.

"From this observation it is possible to make already several conclusions:

"1) The amoeba was able to recognize and approach the foreign body which might be its potential food,

"2) A. was able to mobilize her pseudopodia giving them the appropriate message to approach this pigment and engulf it.

"3) With a certain delay which was obviously necessary to process the information related to the characteristic of the foreign body and the realization that it is indigestible follows another set of messages and the pigment was eliminated.

"We have to presume there were neuro-biological elements equivalent to those of more developed organisms and obviously there were present a appropriate number of genes ....

"The second phase of the observation experiment was even more interesting because it brought to the evidence the proof of the presence of memory. We have removed the pigment from the underlying microscopic glass dip, we put there a new drop of clear water and again placed there another pigment grain of Chinese Ink. The Amoeba stretched the pseudopodium to the closest pigment but did not touch it and, in contrary pulled back from the pigment grain. Obviously it preserved the memory for the identification of the indigestible pigment!

"It would be an exaggeration to speak about the mind or thinking but the period of might be 30 seconds which were passed by between the pigment taking and eliminating it; evokes the impression that the Amoeba needed a certain time to process the obtained information, i.e., it was 'thinking.'"

Grandpierre's definition of "perception" is probably the most generalized WRT the meaning of consciousness in its unversal sense:

"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...."

Qualia is a very useful precept; but it seems to have a somewhat limited application (i.e., referring preeminently to human subjective states).

100 posted on 08/04/2003 7:23:10 AM PDT by betty boop (We can have either human dignity or unfettered liberty, but not both. -- Dean Clancy)
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