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Your Brain Is Not Your Mind: An Exploration of the True Nature of Consciousness

Saturday, September 9, 2017 9:58
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By Marcus T Anthony, PhD

Our knowledge of the nature of the objects treated in physics consists solely of readings of pointers (on instrument dials) and other indicators. (Therefore) what knowledge have we of the nature of atoms that renders it at all incongruous that they should constitute a thinking object?(Thus) science has nothing to say as to the intrinsic nature of the atom. – Sir Arthur Eddington.

What do we really know about the intrinsic nature of consciousness and its essential role (if any) in the nature of cosmos? Probably a lot less than many would assume. There is no question that our knowledge of brains has expanded massively in the past century. But what does all this data about brains really tell us about consciousness? Not a great deal, I suspect. Yet mainstream psychology and neuroscience continues to ignore the obvious implications of the question: “Are brains and minds the same thing?”

Instead, these discourses tend to ignore the question, replacing it with an unquestioned presupposition: mind equals brain. Worse still, much of science still tends not even to bother with consciousness, intention, and the importance of the role of the perceiver. Ironically, the scientific detachment that was born of the awareness of the fallibility of first-person perception has typically led to the dismissal of the role of mind in nature, evolution and cosmos.

Galen Strawson in a well-known paper entitled “Realistic monism: why physicalism entails panpsychism” points out some of the logical inconsistencies in materialist science. Strawson is incredulous at the denial of personal experience which lies at the heart of the materialist worldview that still dominates much of science, especially biology, psychology and neuroscience. This, he states, is akin to the denial of “the existence of experience.”

At this we should stop and wonder. I think we should feel very sober, and a little afraid, at the power of human credulity, the capacity of human minds to be gripped by theory, by faith. For this particular denial is the strangest thing that has ever happened in the whole history of human thought, not just the whole history of philosophy. It falls, unfortunately, to philosophy, not religion, to reveal the deepest woo-woo of the human mind. I find this grievous, but, next to this denial, every known religious belief is only a little less sensible than the belief that grass is green.

Strawson is correct. What is it about first-person experience that science is so afraid of? What has created this absurd rejection of the “I”?

We could of course run through the history of science in the past several hundred years, talking about the necessity to challenge religious authority on matters of reason, and the subsequent discrediting of theology or mysticism in providing adequate explanations of most mundane things (it has to be admitted). We could also talk about the rise of more sophisticated ways of knowing such as calculation (e.g. Newton), classification (Darwin), analysis (Comte) and experimentalism (Hemholtz) by the mid nineteenth century. And we could acknowledge the massive impact and success of technologies which arose from that – the microscope, telescope, computer and so on – and how these in turn generated exponential increases in our capacity to “perceive”, collate and analyse data.

Out of all this a new culture, a new paradigm, a new way of looking at life and cosmos emerged. Materialism was a defining feature of this science. In this schema, things – including people, animals and minds – were at their very basis material objects, regardless of what properties or behaviours they exhibited at a macro-level.

All this has been widely discussed by philosophers of science, as have been the many challenges to such a reductionist approach to knowledge. Those challenges have always been around, of course, with perhaps the emergence of quantum physics early in the nineteenth century representing the most pronounced challenge. And yet even today materialism – and the denial of mind – remains strongly embedded in many of our sciences.

Strawson’s paper argues that any rational take on the relationship between cosmos and mind has to admit at least a “micropsychism”, if not quite the idea of panpsychism (that consciousness is present in all things, to some degree). He states that “realistic physicalists… grant that experiential phenomena are real concrete phenomena… and that experiential phenomena are therefore physical phenomena.” He argues that everything concrete is physical and everything physical is comprised of physical ultimates. Conscious experience is part of that concrete reality. Therefore consciousness is an intrinsic aspect of cosmos.

Although I do not specifically define myself as a panpsychist, clearly the idea is quite compatible with the existence of the non-local mind. If there is at least a little bit of mind found in all things, it helps to explain how it is that minds can perceive of things that are not readily perceptible with the eyes, ears and other sensory organs. I believe the latter is now undeniable. I base that conclusion upon three sources: my own extensive experience with expanded and non-local mind; first-person insights gleaned from the world’s great wisdom traditions and recorded for posterity; and upon the scientific data which has been gleaned from psychic research for more than a century.

What lies at the heart of the debate is the mind-body problem. Even if one rejects the evidence for psychic phenomena and the extended mind, we still have the issue of how we get consciousness from brains. How does conscious experience arise from the firing of neurons? Implicit within the mechanistic paradigm is that consciousness IS the firing of neurons. Because if it isn’t, then what is it?

A key issue is how to explain why it is that our experience of mind is so utterly different from what we experience when we look at, say, a brain in a vat, or an fMRI scan of neuronal activity. Clearly there is something very qualitatively different between brains and consciousness. What exactly does that difference represent, and what is the relationship between these two things?

The question has not been adequately addressed in neuroscience. As Lawrnece Le Shan points out in his wonderful book “A New Science of the Paranormal,” there is an explanatory gap which lies at the heart of the mind-equals-brain model. We have sensory inputs, we have electrical signals and we got them neurons firing and then… wala! Thought, sensation, consciousness.

Such is one of several very, very big “miracles” that go unimaginably unexplained within modern science. The other two big, big problems which I can point to are how the cosmos arose out of the nothingness that lies at the moment before the Big Bang; while the third is the puzzle of biogenesis. How did life arise from lifeless matter? For the last query, reductionism arguably works for the bio-machinery of the organism, but fails miserably to account for the rise of consciousness.

And after all, the most wonderful and surprising aspect of life is consciousness, at least as it exists in multi-cellular organisms such as we human beings. An explanation for the emergence of life which fails to account for the origin of consciousness is a bit like an account of airplanes without bothering to mention that they tend to fly. Such “explanations” are ultimately merely descriptions.

Lawrence Le Shan points out an obvious double standard with a common criticism of psychic research. In the latter critique, it is incredulously stated that research into phenomena like ESP, telepathy, precognition and so on fail to provide an adequate explanation for how information might travel from one place or mind to another place or mind without some mechanical process to mediate that transfer (note: the idea of “travel” is highly problematic in regard to non-locality).

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Source: http://www.phoenixisrisen.co.uk/?p=14653

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  • goastdale

    2Thess 2:10..because they received not THE LOVE (Agape)of the truth, that they might be saved. 11. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie:

    123’s of true Christianity v popular & damnable heresies

    #1 “ONE” not triune: ……PART 4 & 5 HOW MANY GODS ARE THERE FOR THE ONE GOD TO TALK TO?? Who was Jesus praying to??!?…. The real question should be … How does having multiple different persons keep this one God/being/entity from praying to himself?! (The trinitarian “schizophrenic” “god-head”) The Trinitarians want to have their cake and eat it too as the saying goes. On the one hand they need to say they only worship one indivisible God being/ entity but on the other hand they feel the need for some reason to keep Jesus or God from praying and talking to himself by dividing him up into different persons!?! It never occurs to them that that since there is only one indivisible God to pray too and Jesus is that indivisible God come in the flesh that he would need to talk to himself as to show us how to live, suffer, pray and die for our/ flesh) benefit not his!?!….. So while Trinitarians are quick to complain that God was not talking to himself at Christ baptism or in Gen “let us” they ignore the logical demands of their own theology! If Jesus is the ONE GOD in flesh and the Father is the SAME ONE GOD in heaven then Trinitarianism demands THE ONE GOD is talking to HIMSELF the same “being”! Claiming that God is multiple different persons as the reason for why God is not talking to himself (because God is three different “selfs”) only demonstrates that what they really worship is in fact not a ONE GOD who talks to himself but three different god “selfs”/ and they all talk to each other! When they speak about who God was talking and praying to, they are quick to say “the other person, NOT HIMSELF!” But if you ask them how many gods do they pray to then they will say “ONLY ONE”!?! They expect you to believe that those three different persons are THE ONE GOD-BEING” which is like calling three different cars “THE ONE VEHICLE” (they are text book examples of prov 26:12)
    Mark 12:28…Which is the first commandment of all? 29. …Hear, O Israel; THE LORD OUR GOD IS ONE LORD: 30. And ………..this is the first commandment….. 31. And the second is….. IF YOU CAN’T GET THIS “FIRST OF ALL COMMANDMENTS” RIGHT, ALL THE REST OF YOUR “FAITH” AND PREACHING ON LOVE & SIN IS MOOT
    PART 6: THE ANTI CHRIST….WHERE? WHERE?….EVERYWHERE!!! …..IT”S YOU O TRINITARIAN!
    “WHO” it was (what person) that came “IN THE FLESH”, IS THE DETERMINING FACTOR IN WHAT IT MEANS TO BE “ANT-CHRIST”! Even Islam claims Jesus was the Jewish messiah/Christ who was to come in the flesh) they all deny “WHO” it was (what person) that came (to be the Christ) in the flesh!?!…….To deny the father is to deny the son because they are one and the same person that came in the flesh!
    JOHN 14: 8-20 ….Note Isaiah 9:6. For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: …: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counseller, … the everlasting Father ….The son, father/Holy Spirit are all the same person, NOT like two different persons working together even as “one flesh” ….The “oneness” between Christ and the father is not comparable to a man & his wife, for only a fool would say “When you have seen me you have seen my wife, how sayest thou then, Shew us your wife?” Notice they asked to see THE FATHER and the response was Jn 14:9 ..“HAVE I BEEN SO LONG time with you, and yet hast THOU NOT KNOW ME, Philip…..Now image some fool trying to claim that statement if you asked to see his wife!?!!? You want to see the FATHER but have I been with you but you don’t know me!?!?!
    Jn 14 continued….…………..17. Even THE SPIRIT OF TRUTH; (Jn 14:6 I AM the way, THE TRUTH,) whom the world cannot receive, .. for HE DEWLLETH WITH YOU, (present tense/standing next to them in the flesh) and SHALL BE IN YOU… (future tense “In them”) 18. I will not leave you comfortless: I WILL COME TO YOU (future tense “In them”) Jesus himself here makes the point that the same person who was the HOLY SPIRIT that would come was standing next to them but lets them know “I will come to you again to be Inside of you”
    The whole point to Gal 3:20.a mediator is NOT A MEDIATOR OF ONE, (HEIS) but GOD IS ONE. (HEIS) again, point blank, identifies the number of persons of God! The “but” points out the contrast between multiple persons in a mediation party v the “one” of God. God is not like a mediation party with multiple different persons. …..”the express image of his person” ( the person of God; singular not plural).Any attempt to lay claim otherwise is willful ignorance and delusional nonsense
    TRINITARIANS CONFESS JESUS /THEY ARE NOT POLYTHEIST BUT ARE MONOTHEIST LIKE A LIAR & THIEF WHO “CONFESS” THEY DO NOT LIE OR STEAL The simple fact is that just because you confess or deny that you are in an adulterous relationship and denounce all forms of adultery has nothing to do with whether or not it is in fact adulterous! .. …A rose by any other name is still just a rose AND calling it a water lily does not change the definition of what a water Lilly or a rose is either!…No, Trinitarians confess & preach literally …”ANOTHER JESUS” 2 Cor 11:4
    - Like a thief in your house caught stealing your things insisting he was not there stealing “I CONFESS I am NOT stealing”. You just do not “properly understand” what he is doing/saying. Further, since you never had a “proper understanding” of what he is doing/saying you have no business accusing him since you do not even know what you are talking about in the first place. It is with and in your own ignorance that you base your “false accusations” & “ad homonym attacks” against him…… Ridiculous of course it is ……2Thess 2:11; Titus 1:16; 2Tim 3:5;
    …… should have given you a hint, harking back to Satan in The garden…God said you will die…Satan comes along and states no you will be more WISE……today .God said He is one; but Satan’s children come along and say no three is more WISE and humble in the face of God’s grandeur only “a mystery” that can be understood “in faith”. God uses head and right arm to explain the distinctions between father and son.. However, the Trinitarian heretics say to the effect: “NO, that is just a figure of speech, or that is not what God really means. What God is really saying is that God is three different persons”. Fools, hypocrites and blind guides, God said he was One and by your traditions and vain imaginations have taken the words of God and made them of no effect, refashioning God into your image!
    You can download the complete FREE book from
    https://www.scribd.com/doc/305367608/The-Trinity-Heresy
    OR
    https://www.academia.edu/23463667/THE_TRINITY_HERESY
    or
    http://www.globethics.net/gtl/10920799 THE TRINITY HERESY

    #2 SECOND COMING Thou Fool! “I come quickly” so “Hold fast
    till i come”… NOT …“in another 2000 yrs I might be coming soon any time now, so hold fast”!?! …those that deny the second coming of Christ in the war of AD70 are practicing a damnable heresy in denying the lord that bought them ( 2Peter 2:1-2 ;2Tim 4:8/ you cant love an appearing you deny& the context is the 2nd coming not the first)… Mat 7:23..”I NEVER KNEW YOU” …..Mat 10:33. But whosoever shall deny me before men……..sound familiar?…. If I said I am coming to your house in this generation when these things happen but no one knows the day or hour what fool would think I might be coming in 2000 years latter!?!? ..2 Tim 4: 4. And
    they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be TURNED UNTO FABLES.
    Christ promised that only HIS PEOPLE would see him ….John 14:19. Yet a little while, and THE WORLD SEETH ME NO MORE;….. [2 Cor 5:16 Wherefore henceforth know we no man after the flesh: yea, though we have known Christ AFTER THE FLESH, yet NOW HENCEFORTH KNOW WE HIM NO MORE….(here the Context of John 14 is his second coming)…..continued…..but ye see me: because I live, ye shall live also. 20. AT THAT DAY .. 21. He that hath my commandments, and KEEPETH THEM, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and WILL MANIFEST MYSELF TO HIM……(again taking note “as he is” or 1Jn 3:2)
    22. Judas saith unto him, not Iscariot, Lord, HOW IS IT THAT THOU WILT MANIFEST THYSELF UNTO US AND NOT UNTO THE WORLD? 23. Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, HE WILL KEEP MY WORDS: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.( Rev 3:20) 24. He that loveth me not.. (1Cor 16:22)…. KEEPETH NOT MY SAYINGS: ( REV 9:16-20)
    REVELATION 1:7. Behold, HE COMETH WITH CLOUDS; and EVERY EYE SHALL SEE HIM, …. There are two point to be made here (1) this is a partial quote from OT (Zech 12:2&10; also note Rev 16:15-17 & Zech 14:1-3 with Joel 2:28-3:1,2,12,16 et al) note the context it IDENTICAL to Mat ch 24/ Lk 21/ Mark 13 et al….you know, where Jesus described his second coming with the destruction of Jerusalem!?!?!!?…. (2) there parallel here with ………….Exodus 24:10. And THEY SAW THE GOD OF ISRAEL : and there was under his feet as it were a paved work of a sapphire stone, and as it were the body of heaven in his clearness. 11. And upon the nobles of the children of Israel he laid not his hand: also THEY SAW GOD, and did eat and drink………..But Christ said….. John 1:18. NO MAN HATH SEEN GOD AT ANY TIME; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him. A person can see with their understanding and or see with their eyes…. It can see “seen” for certain that everything that Christ described was seen by the folks of that day in His coming but do they perceive that was him? …So what Christ said is true every eye saw him but the world does not see him….. With the eye they and folks still today can see everything Christ described to have taken place, but they do not “keep” ( believe and understand) his words as such they do not see him nor shall they ever.
    The saints who have physical died faithful in the flesh (every man in his own order) are changed in the blink of an eye & caught up to sit on that Great white throne ( this congregation of the saints is the body of Christ that folks will answer to at the judgment and these saints will judge all men who cannot see Christ along with the rest of the world……Folks think they are waiting to see Jesus but they will NEVER see Jesus himself they will only see the body of Christ condemn them the saints judge the world (Rev 3:21; 1 Cor 6:2 et al) the saints are the body of Christ…that is the only part of Christ they shall see….only the saints shall see God face to face…..most peoples idea of the second coming & day of the Lord and the judgment is completely wrong https://www.scribd.com/doc/308485609/Day-of-Lord-Not-24-Hours-I-Come-Quickly
    Full book here:
    https://www.scribd.com/doc/305366745/Revelation-the-First-Gospel-of-the-Kingdom
    or
    http://www.globethics.net/gtl/5455069 Revelation The First Gospel of The Kingdom
    or
    https://www.academia.edu/23464127/REVELATION_THE_FIRST_GOSPEL_OF_THE_KINGDOM

    978-1-4907-0590-3 (SC ISBN)

    #3 There is a sharp contrast between THREE groups :
    (1) “PREDESTINED DAMNED” who were NEVER written in the book of life ………..Rev 17: 8 WHOSE NAMES WERE NOT WRITTEN IN THE BOOK OF LIFE FROM THE FOUNDATION OF THE WORLD, …as contrasted …EPH 1: 4. According as he hath CHOSEN US in him BEFORE THE FOUNDATION OF THE WORLD
    (2) “MANY CALLED”= ONLY and ALL SAINTS (those who come to Christ) are written in the book of life … Philippians 4:3… ……Rev 21:27; (Only saints are Called and elect; Rom 1:6-7 et al) This is THE CHRUCH and ONLY these can have their names blotted out of the book of life ….….Heb 12:23 to the general assembly and CHURCH of the firstborn … WHICH ………are WRITTEN in heaven,
    (3) THE FEW CHOSEN: Those saints who were alive in group #2 who are now physically dead. They died “faithful” these are the FEW that were chosen faithful…….Rev 3:5. ……; and I
    will not BLOT OUT HIS NAME OUT OF THE BOOK OF LIFE, (Ps 69:28) …. These are the FEW that are CHOSEN and now that they have died and are saved then “once saved THEY CAN NEVER BE LOST”
    Predestination….its true..its all true…download here
    https://www.scribd.com/doc/306868420/Most-True-Christians-Go-to-Hell
    http://www.globethics.net/gtl/10920800 Most true Christians go to hell
    https://www.academia.edu/25217564/Most_True_Christains_Go_to_Hell

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