Tag Archives: philosophy of mind

The Consciousness Files, Peter L Nelson: Seeing Beyond the Ordinary

 

http://mindfutures.libsyn.com/rss (click to go to the podcast page)

This is the very first episode of The Consciousness Files, where I regularly chat with some of the world’s most interesting thinkers, feelers, seers and be-ers. The subject is the human mind and its limits (if there are any).

My very learned and perceptive guest on Episode 1 of The Consciousness Files today is Dr. Peter L Nelson – author, psychologist and seer. Peter is an explorer of non-ordinary awareness, a very similar notion to what I’d call integrated intelligence. In Peter’ case, this allows him to directly know someone’s psycho-emotional state and the forces that shape it.

Peter began his scientific career in the early 1960s, exploring perception and consciousness. Later he became a social scientist and focused his research on how people create a picture of reality, including the visions of mystics and the highly intuitive, who seemed to be able to see directly into the minds and thoughts of others, as well as the last and future.

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I stumbled upon Peter a year or so ago, when I read his wonderful book, The Way of a Seer. Peter’s explanation of how he employs integrated intelligence is incredibly insightful. There are a lot of philosophers and scientists who cover this topic these days, but not so many who actually know how to facilitate the art of the seer, and who have extensive personal experience of using it.

I caught up with Peter a few days ago. In my chat with him you will find out why he threw in a perfectly decent and potentially promising career as neuroscientist, why he believes that Rupert Sheldrake is wrong about morphic fields, and how reading a letter sent ten years into the future changed his life forever.

Please enjoy the show!

Marcus

Peter’s web site:www.socsci.biz

Royalty free music by www.bensound.com.

 

PODCAST TIMELINE

3:57 What is a seer?

4:30 There is a non-ordinary stream of consciousness which seers can tap into.

4:50 The difference between a “psychic” and a “seer.”

5:50 “How did you become interested in these other ways of knowing, given your science background?” Peter tells the remarkable story of how he was inducted as a seer.

6:40 Peter re-tells of a dream he had as a young man, of flying over rolling hills. He immediately recognised the place as Devon, England. He came to this realisation the following evening at a movie. He then had a very strong urge to travel to England.

10:00 While working as a graduate programme in neuroscience, Peter meets a wealthy woman, who helps take him to England.

12:30 Peter quits the programme and flies to England with the woman.

12:50 Peter decides to look up two groups in England which were interested in the psychic domains.

15:40 The psychic medium tells him to “go to the other place.”

18:00 Librarian says she has some interesting notes from a trance medium, Peter refuses.

18:45. Librarian again insists he sees the notes, reads him incredible details of his life.

25:00 She offers to train him.

26:10 Example of Alice (his teacher) reading his and another woman’s mind. (Good example of mind reading).

27:10 There are two streams of perception. Inwards and outwards.

28:50 Difficulty in social adjustment, offending people. Alice taught him.

31:00 Peter had to learn to keep quiet, and avoid scaring others with his perception.

31:00 While appearing on a German TV show Peter accidentally shocks a contestant by revealing facts about his brother’s suicide.

39:30 He had to learn how to properly articulate what he saw in others as a seer.

40:30 The nature of fields, biofields. These are not the four known fields of nature.

42:40. You have to learn to feel the field. Only a higher order system can detect the field, e.g. a human being.

44:40 Fields define living things. We impregnate things with our fields, such as a place where a person dies violently.

47:40 Peter critiques Rupert Sheldrake’s morphogenic fields. e.g. How a fertilised egg becomes a blastula, does not require fields.

53:00 Why Deepak Chopra is on the wrong track.

54:00 What I’m interested is the psychology of attention. I’m not interested in training psychics.

54:30 Discussion about attention. Fixed attention vs expanded perception.

Why fluid attention is very important.

59:50 This is very useful for any people in problem solving fields.

1:03:00 Our society teaches us to pay attention to certain things, esp competition, making money and so on.

1.04:30 Education. We don’t train for attention. Students are shaped. High achievers are usually highly fixed. But this is useful for certain things.

1:05:40 Steve Jobs and his fixed perception

1:07:30 Peter recounts his Albert Einstein dream, and how it influenced him to question whether special relativity theory is theory of perception?

1:11:30. Why theorising is arrogant,

1:14:40 Peter states that we can never really know the world. That’s outside of human knowing. He interested in engaging experience deeply.

1:17:10 Is there an evolutionary process with consciousness?

1:18:10 “What is the benefit for humanity in developing our capacity for seeing?

The Consciousness Files Podcast has Arrived!

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The Consciousness Files has arrive! Expect not just the unexpected, but a fun and entertaining discussion, as I (Marcus T Anthony) chat with thought leaders from around the globe about these exciting developments.

  • What will the future look like once we expand our conception of consciousness to include the extended mind and integrated intelligence?
  • What changes can we expect in science, education, business and society as a whole?
  • What practical applications are we likely to see, including high-tech, low-tech and no-tech?
  • What role will artificial intelligence play?
  • Who are the men and women who will drive the ideas and innovation?
  • What will it take to trigger the revolution?

These are the exciting questions which underpin The Consciousness Files podcasts.

The extended mind is a term used to describe consciousness which expands beyond the brain and is entangled with other people, place and times. Once dismissed as the stuff of fantasy, delusion or sci-fi, the extended mind is now a subject of genuine scientific interest.

Integrated intelligence is a term I have developed to describe the deliberate application of the extended mind in solving problems, great and small.

My belief is that there is now enough evidence to take these ideas seriously, while popular interest is at an all-time high.

The wisdom and information gleaned from my guests will be used for my book project, The Future of Consciousness.

You will find links to the podcasts below even as they are completed, beginning around mid-June 2016. Individual posts for each podcast will also appear here on my homepage and on my mind-futures.com blog.

So tune in and raise your own consciousness level! The Consciousness Files promises to be a real trip!

PS. If there is anyone you would like me to interview in this field, please feel free to suggest him or her in the comments section, below. Or just email me: marcus@marcustanthony.com.

Marcus

Episode 1: Peter L Nelson. Beyond the Ordinary

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How Not To Simulate a Brain While Wasting A Billion Dollars

Take a look at this fascinating TED talk by Henry Markram. The talk is about six years old, and he outlines how we can build a mathematical simulation of the human brain by mapping all the neurons and their interconnections. Once we can do this we will be able to simulate consciousness, he says. It may also help us find answers to mental disease and mental degeneration.

Markram was involved in developing a simulation of part of a rat’s brain. Now he’s on to people. Not long after this talk Markram was given 1.3 billion dollars by the European Union to turn this dream to reality over a period of one decade, via the Human Brain Project.

The thing is, as you watch the talk with any critical capacity, it is easy to see that there are numerous guesses and unquestioned presuppositions posited about the way the brain functions, and about the nature of consciousness. The computer metaphor appears again and again and again, as if it is unquestionably true that the brain operates like a computer. If you get the founding principle wrong, there’s not much chance anything else is going to go right.

That mathematical description will yield the secrets of consciousness is about as valid as believing that positing a simple equation to describe two oranges tells us the nature of oranges. OR 1 + OR 2 = 2OR. All you really have is an abstract representation of a couple of pieces of fruit.

And little did go right in the Human Brain Project. In 2015 Markram was fired as the project head, after the entire project became a “brain wreck” a mere two years after it began. The whole story is testimony to how far into delusion both neuroscience and popular perceptions about the brain have descended. Fancy computer graphics reify the delusion.

It is a giant ego fall. We just don’t know very much about the brain, and very, very little about consciousness.

Maybe it’s time to start asking some new questions.

Are You Ready For the Coming Consciousness Revolution?

As I write this I am sitting in a street-side cafe in Bangkok. It’s the Landmark Hotel cafe, actually. I wish I could say that I am staying at the Landmark, but alas I find myself resident at the less resplendent Belaire Hotel, just across bustling Sukhumvit Road.

It’s very busy around these parts. The area is a sea of noisy traffic – old buses, taxis, mini-vans and tuk-tuks idle past. On the narrow footpath just below me, people – mostly western tourists – stroll past, their relaxed pace a measure of their leisurely holiday-mindedness.

Bangkok is rather crazy, with no apparent order. Street vendors pop up like mushrooms every few metres, and I have to wonder whether anybody regulates anything around here. Certainly, I have seen no uniformed police or other officials during my time here.

It’s madness, and yet this great leviathan of a city has its own perfection. There’s a kind of serenity in the hustle and bustle of life in this politically-turbulent Buddhist country.

As I sit here, cooling my body and mind with an ice-coffee, I watch the show roll on by. And I am contemplating the nature of time, space and free-will. And there’s a reason why I am deep in such existential thoughts. For I just came from my hotel, where I was following the result of an international cricket game played between Australia and New Zealand. The game played was part of the World Cup of cricket, so it was a major sporting event for the two antipodean nations. But for me there was something else about the game that was far more profound.

The thing is, precisely one week ago I awoke early in the morning and had a premonition about the outcome of the game. I often have these kinds of premonitory visions, as I have previously stated in my writings. The premonition of the game wasn’t so much a dream or a mind-movie. It was more a flash of immediate knowing, where information is pumped into the brain – from who knows where. In such experiences the knowing is immediate. It often requires no verbal input or sequencing of events. It’s just arrives uninvited, like a mysterious stranger knocking at your door than just as suddenly vanishing into the night.

The content of the vision was very clear. It indicated that the upcoming Trans-Tasman game of cricket would be a very exciting game. Australia would come very, very close to winning. Indeed, at the last minute they would be on the verge of victory. But ultimately NZ would snatch victory.

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Since many of my readers are North American, I won’t distract you with too many details of the game. As it turned out, today Australia batted first and posted a paltry 151 runs. In cricket terms, this is pathetic. Therefore when New Zealand began their innings (teams only bat once) I was feeling a little annoyed. It looked like my premonition was not going to unfold. The New Zealand batsmen raced away and were charging towards an easy victory, before they had a massive batting collapse. This meant that right at the last minute they were looking like losing. But I knew better. As the match reached its exciting crescendo I knew exactly who would win. NZ. And they did – by the narrowest of possible margins, one wicket.

I’ve had premonitory dreams and visions up to one month before sporting events. So it really does beg the question. Is the future already set? Is there really any such thing as free will? After all, players on a sporting field are making all kinds of choices. Some are well-considered, while others emerge from finely conditioned reflexes or pure inspiration. Yet if in the big picture the game is already won and lost before the first ball is kicked or hit, how can anyone really be making any choices at all? It’s a philosophical conundrum that would confound Confucius.

It gets juicier. The implications move well beyond the philosophical. What does the existence of premonitions tell us about the nature of time, space and consciousness itself?

Currently in psychology and neuroscience the dominant intellectual position is that there is no free will. This is based primarily upon one famous experiment. In the 1980s Benjamin Libet showed that our neurones fire a fraction of a second before we think we make a decision.

Despite this, and despite my experience with precognition, I believe that free will does exist. In fact, I believe that activating its full potential is central to human existence.

But there is nothing in mainstream science which accounts for human premonitions. Premonitions are considered “paranormal”, and not taken seriously. This is because they aren’t thought of as normal. Some have pointed out that this is circular reasoning.

So anecdotes and experimental evidence which pertain to seeing or sensing the future are rejected a priori, and often ridiculed. Yet millions of people continue to experience what they believe to be premonitions; and many also claim “paranormal” cognitive experiences related to ESP – intuitions that seemingly operate outside of localised space and time. I like to call this range of cognitive functions Integrated Intelligence, because I believe that they are a valid aspect of human mental life, and that they can enhance our mental capacities.

The scientific taboo against serious discussion of these matters is more than just a pity. It’s a cultural tragedy. For as we deepen our awareness and begin to fully understand that mind has non-local properties, it inevitably changes our worldview. Even more profoundly, it transcends our relationship with time and space. When we permit a full range of mental experiences to unfold, we begin to realise our deep connection to the world, to nature, and to other human beings.

Ironically, it is the philosophical and experiential refusal to allow such understandings that prevents so many of our academics and leaders from perceiving these things directly.

As I sit here, typing these words by a chaotic street in South-East Asia, there is a kind of deep tranquility which fills me as I simply allow what is happening around me, both in time and space, to be exactly what it is. This is the state of surrender that so many mystics have poeticised down through the ages. And therein lies our greatest capacity for free will.

And it’s a state that is not available to those who live within the delimited mechanistic representation of time and space which has come to dominate economically developed societies the world over.

I have no doubt that one day soon science will catch up with all of this. Although the precise pace and timing of the shift is unclear, I believe we are already in the initial stages of transition. The time will come when the evidence for Integrated Intelligence will outweigh the outmoded arguments of head-centric academics. Then slowly we will begin to correct this gargantuan cultural blind-spot which today has so deeply damaged the human psyche. Just think of how society will change, how people will occupy spaces in cities, town and in rural settings, once this deeper awareness filters into our hearts and souls. Science too, both as procedure and culture, will be forever different.

The transformations will be profound.

How such a future might look we cannot be certain. Perhaps, though, one can intuitively feel it.

What exactly are the limits to Integrated Intelligence? How might such an expansion of consciousness impact our lives, our societies, and our education systems? Our world? That is what I continue to explore with The Coming Consciousness Revolution project. I invite you to accompany me along the way, via these e-spaces which connect us all. If you would like to be a part of the project, please email me, marcus@marcustanthony.com, and I will keep you posted via my monthly newsletter. Or simply join me here as I blog regularly about related ideas, events and people. It promises to be a great adventure.

Marcus