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Why Consciousness Is Not the Brain - Page 2

Author // Larry Dossey, MD

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Why Consciousness Is Not the Brain
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British philosopher Chris Carter endorses this analogy. Equating mind and brain is irrational, he says, as listening to music on a radio, smashing the radio’s receiver, and thereby concluding that the radio was producing the music.

To update the analogy, consider a television set. We can damage a television set so severely that we lose the image on the screen, but this doesn’t prove that the TV actually produced the image. We know that David Letterman does not live behind the TV screen on which he appears; yet the contention that brain equals consciousness is as absurd as if he did.

The radio and TV analogies can be misleading, however, because consciousness does not behave like an electromagnetic signal. Electromagnetic (EM) signals display certain characteristics. The farther away they get from their source, the weaker they become. Not so with consciousness; its effects do not attenuate with increasing distance. For example, in the hundreds of healing experiments that have been done in both humans and animals, healing intentions work equally well from the other side of the Earth as at the bedside of the sick individual. Moreover, EM signals can be blocked partially or completely, but the effects of conscious intention cannot be blocked by any known substance. For instance, sea water is known to block EM signals completely at certain depths, yet experiments in remote viewing have been successfully carried out beyond such depths, demonstrating that the long-distance communication between the involved individuals cannot depend on EM-type signals. In addition, EM signals require travel time to get from their source to a receiver, yet thoughts can be perceived simultaneously between individuals across global distances. Thoughts can be displaced in time, operating into both past and future. In precognitive remote-viewing experiments—for example, the hundreds of such experiments by the PEAR Lab at Princeton University—the receiver gets a future thought before it is ever sent. Furthermore, consciousness can operate into the past, as in the experiments involving retroactive intentions. Electromagnetic signals are not capable of these feats. From these differences, we can conclude that consciousness is not an electric signal.

Then what is it? My conclusion is that consciousness is not a thing or substance, but is a nonlocal phenomenon. Nonlocal is merely a fancy word for infinite. If something is nonlocal, it is not localized to specific points in space, such as brains or bodies, or to specific points in time, such as the present. Nonlocal events are immediate; they require no travel time. They are unmediated; they require no energetic signal to “carry” them. They are unmitigated; they do not become weaker with increasing distance. Nonlocal phenomena are omnipresent, everywhere at once. This means there is no necessity for them to go anywhere; they are already there. They are infinite in time as well, present at all moments, past present and future, meaning they are eternal.

Researcher Dean Radin, whose presentiment experiments provide profound evidence for future knowing, believes that the nonlocal events in the subatomic, quantum domain underlie the nonlocal events we experience at the human level. He invokes the concept of entanglement as a bridging hypothesis uniting the small- and large-scale happenings. Quantum entanglement and quantum nonlocality are indeed potent possibilities that may eventually explain our nonlocal experiences, but only further research will tell. Meanwhile, there is a gathering tide of opinion favoring these approaches. As physicist Chris Clarke, of the University of Southampton, says, “On one hand, Mind is inherently non-local. On the other, the world is governed by a quantum physics that is inherently non-local. This is no accident, but a precise correspondence.... [Mind and the world are] aspects of the same thing.... The way ahead, I believe, has to place mind first as the key aspect of the universe.... We have to start exploring how we can talk about mind in terms of a quantum picture.... Only then will we be able to make a genuine bridge between physics and physiology.”

Whatever their explanation proves to be, the experiments documenting premonitions are real. They must be reckoned with. And when scientists muster the courage to face this evidence unflinchingly, the greatest superstition of our age—the notion that the brain generates consciousness or is identical with it—will topple. In its place will arise a nonlocal picture of the mind. This view will affirm that consciousness is fundamental, omnipresent and eternal—a model that is as cordial to premonitions as the materialistic, brain-based view is hostile.



Pathways Issue 36 CoverThis article appeared in Pathways to Family Wellness magazine, Issue #36.

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