Thursday, February 11, 2010

Half-Baked Brain Farts

Sometimes I’m reluctant to release these half-baked brain farts, but then again, that’s what makes this blog so interesting. “What’s he going to say this time?”

I have noticed that Adyashanti seems to have a dismissive attitude about non-awakened consciousness and thinking in general. This is no doubt appropriate for one of his level of spiritual attainment. But I’m just a hobby scientist, and am still fascinated by that kind of stuff in my modestly unawakened way.

Rather than blithely dismissing them as “illusion,” I tend to see thoughts and the “false sense of self” as phenomena every bit as “real” as the secretions of the liver, and worthy of the same level of investigation. How fascinating that synapse activity can generate such a complicated range of effects that can persist over a lifetime!

I believe that the “ego,” or “false sense of self,” is the output function of a set of automatic programs that have their root in neuronal activity within the brain. There’s nothing new there. What’s new is my brain fart (I used to call them “insights” but am slightly more modest now) that these programs can overlap at unpredictable times. Which makes the situation far more complicated. Rather than discrete entities outputting one at a time, or several at a time, it’s more like a constantly shimmering mass. Which can be beautiful to behold, but very confusing to the experiencer.

For a long time it has seemed to me that the “phenomenal world,” or “3-D reality,” is but the tip of the iceberg. Science does a splendid job of learning about the tip, but it’s the rest of the iceberg that allows the tip to operate as it does.

Consider DNA. It has always seemed to me that the DNA molecule cannot possibly contain enough information to encode all the genetic effects that are obviously passed from generation to generation. For example, different breeds of dogs not only look different, they behave differently. It has always seemed to me that it’s asking a lot of a mere molecule to transmit something as subtle as behavior across the generations.

And consider the brain/mind system. The brain is amazingly complicated as it is. Add the mind into the mix, and the level of complexity is enormous. I have always considered that the brain, rather than being a “freestanding unit,” is more of a “receiver” (to use a crude analogy) tuned in to the “rest of the iceberg.” This is the only way I can see the required complexity making sense.

Science has now come to understand that our Universe is almost entirely composed of dark matter and dark energy which cannot be directly observed by our senses or our instruments. (Only 4.6% of our universe is “ordinary matter.”) This is not to say that dark matter/energy are the “rest of the iceberg” that I’ve been talking about. Who really knows what the “rest of the iceberg” really is? But one thing’s for sure: even science is now telling us that there’s far more to our universe than we ever suspected.

Which is what the mystics have been telling us all along.


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