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Metaphysics & Psychology

A Physicist’s Explanation of Why the Soul May Exist

By Tara MacIsaac, Epoch Times

Henry P. Stapp is a theoretical physicist at the University of California–Berkeley who worked with some of the founding fathers of quantum mechanics. He does not seek to prove that the soul exists, but he does say that the existence of the soul fits within the laws of physics.

It is not true to say belief in the soul is unscientific, according to Stapp. Here the word “soul” refers to a personality independent of the brain or the rest of the human body that can survive beyond death.  In his paper, “Compatibility of Contemporary Physical Theory With Personality Survival,” he wrote: “Strong doubts about personality survival based solely on the belief that postmortem survival is incompatible with the laws of physics are unfounded.”

He works with the Copenhagen interpretation of quantum mechanics—more or less the interpretation used by some of the founders of quantum mechanics, Niels Bohr and Werner Heisenberg. Even Bohr and Heisenberg had some disagreements on how quantum mechanics works, and understandings of the theory since that time have also been diverse. Stapp’s paper on the Copenhagen interpretation has been influential. It was written in the 1970s and Heisenberg wrote an appendix for it.

Stapp noted of his own concepts: “There has been no hint in my previous descriptions (or conception) of this orthodox quantum mechanics of any notion of personality survival.”

 

Why Quantum Theory Could Hint at Life After Death

Stapp explains that the founders of quantum theory required scientists to essentially cut the world into two parts. Above the cut, classical mathematics could describe the physical processes empirically experienced. Below the cut, quantum mathematics describes a realm “which does not entail complete physical determinism.”

Of this realm below the cut, Stapp wrote: “One generally finds that the evolved state of the system below the cut cannot be matched to any conceivable classical description of the properties visible to observers.”

So how do scientists observe the invisible? They choose particular properties of the quantum system and set up apparatus to view their effects on the physical processes “above the cut.”

The key is the experimenter’s choice. When working with the quantum system, the observer’s choice has been shown to physically impact what manifests and can be observed above the cut.

Stapp cited Bohr’s analogy for this interaction between a scientist and his experiment results: “[It’s like] a blind man with a cane: when the cane is held loosely, the boundary between the person and the external world is the divide between hand and cane; but when held tightly the cane becomes part of the probing self: the person feels that he himself extends to the tip of the cane.”

The physical and mental are connected in a dynamic way. In terms of the relationship between mind and brain, it seems the observer can hold in place a chosen brain activity that would otherwise be fleeting. This is a choice similar to the choice a scientist makes when deciding which properties of the quantum system to study.

The quantum explanation of how the mind and brain can be separate or different, yet connected by the laws of physics “is a welcome revelation,” wrote Stapp. “It solves a problem that has plagued both science and philosophy for centuries—the imagined science-mandated need either to equate mind with brain, or to make the brain dynamically independent of the mind.”

Stapp said it is not contrary to the laws of physics that the personality of a dead person may attach itself to a living person, as in the case of so-called spirit possession. It wouldn’t require any basic change in orthodox theory, though it would “require a relaxing of the idea that physical and mental events occur only when paired together.”

Classical physical theory can only evade the problem, and classical physicists can only work to discredit intuition as a product of human confusion, said Stapp. Science should instead, he said, recognize “the physical effects of consciousness as a physical problem that needs to be answered in dynamical terms.”

 

How This Understanding Affects the Moral Fabric of Society

Furthermore, it is imperative for maintaining human morality to consider people as more than just machines of flesh and blood.

In another paper, titled “Attention, Intention, and Will in Quantum Physics,” Stapp wrote:  ”It has become now widely appreciated that assimilation by the general public of this ‘scientific’ view, according to which each human being is basically a mechanical robot, is likely to have a significant and corrosive impact on the moral fabric of society.”

He wrote of the “growing tendency of people to exonerate themselves by arguing that it is not ‘I’ who is at fault, but some mechanical process within: ‘my genes made me do it’; or ‘my high blood-sugar content made me do it.’ Recall the infamous ‘Twinkie Defense’ that got Dan White off with five years for murdering San Francisco Mayor George Moscone and Supervisor Harvey Milk.”

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Metaphysics & Psychology

‘The Matrix’ turned out to be a metaphor for transgender people and gender identity

Director Lilly Wachowski has confirmed fan theory that the Matrix trilogy is about transgender people and gender identity. Interviews with the filmmaker, in which she reveals the meaning and metaphors of films, published on YouTube -channel, the Netflix Film Club.

“I’m glad people talk about The Matrix films through a transgender lens. I like that these movies turned out to be close to trans people who come up to me and talk about how these films saved their lives,” she admitted.

Wachowski emphasized that she is happy that the original idea of ​​the film has surfaced in fan theories:

“It was our original concept, but the world – I mean the film company – was not yet ready for this.”

The Matrix is ​​a trilogy of sci-fi films from 1999 to 2003. It tells about the struggle of surviving people with intelligent machines after the death of human civilization. 

The trilogy has grossed $ 1.6 billion worldwide. The directors were brothers Lawrence and Andrew Wachowski, who then changed sex and became Lana and Lilly Wachowski.

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Metaphysics & Psychology

Cell migration: is there another personality inside you?

Perhaps you believe that your body and mind are yours alone. In fact, you are a fusion of many organisms – possibly including another person, says BBC Future.

Once upon a time there was a very simple description for human origins: a man and a woman met, had fun, and then – relatively quickly – a tiny fertilized egg turned into a screaming newborn baby.

Everything was very clear: the man was half father, half mother, but 100% owned by himself.

However, this simple story has become quite complicated over the past decades. As it turned out, in addition to the genes passed on to us by our parents, we are home to an extensive set of viruses, bacteria and even, possibly, other personalities.

Moreover, if you have a twin, particles of it are likely to be present in your body (including your brain). And they are not just present, but, possibly, capable of influencing your behavior.

A monster named toxoplasma

“People are not individuals, but superorganisms,” says Peter Kramer of the University of Padua. “A huge variety of organisms are constantly fighting for power over our body.”

Co-authored with Paola Bressan, Dr. Kramer recently published an article in the scientific journal Perspectives in Psychological Science that urges psychologists and psychiatrists to consider the possible impact of this factor on human behavior.

For some, this will be alarming news, but scientists have long known that the human body is a jumble of different organisms.

Gut microbes are capable of producing neurotransmitters that alter our mood ; some researchers even speculate that microbes can influence a person’s appetite, forcing us to consume their preferred food.

And infection with a parasite called Toxoplasma gondii can kill you in some cases. By infecting a rat or mouse, this microbe changes the consciousness of the host in such a way that he ceases to be afraid of cats and even reaches out to their habitats – for reproduction, Toxoplasma certainly needs to get into the cat’s body.

However, Toxoplasma can also infect a person in the same way, as a result of gaining control over human behavior: some of those infected become prone to unnecessary risks, while others are more likely to develop schizophrenia or suicidal depression.

Meanwhile, despite the potentially dangerous consequences of infection for humans, about a third of all meat sold in Britain is infected with this parasite . “We need to end this,” says Kramer.

Twins are closer together than they might seem

Thus, it becomes clear that we are not necessarily entirely responsible for our own behavior.

This alone is enough to make a person doubt the usual perception of their own identity, but the thought that our brain is inhabited not only by tiny microbes, but also by other human beings, becomes really uncomfortable.

Siamese twins, who share a common brain for two bodies, are the most graphic illustration of this, Kramer says. However, even ordinary, non-fused twins may have common organs that they are not even aware of.

During early embryonic development, cells of twins or triplets are able to migrate from one embryo to another.

Previously, scientists believed that this happens very rarely, but it turned out that such a scenario is very common. So, about 8% of non-identical twins and 21% of non-identical triplets have one, but two blood groups: the blood of one group is produced by their own cells, and the blood of the other is produced by cells migrated from the twins.

In other words, they are “chimeric” or hybrid organisms. Moreover, the matter is not limited to blood – a similar situation is observed with cells of various organs, including the brain.

This hybridity in relation to the brain can have very serious consequences.

For example, it is known that the relative position of different parts of the brain is very important for its normal functioning.

The presence of foreign tissue in the brain, for the development of which foreign genes are responsible, can disrupt its architecture.

This can explain, for example, the fact that twins are very often left-handed – it is believed that the distribution of motor functions between the right and left sides of the body depends precisely on the organization of the right and left hemispheres of the brain. Perhaps it is hybridity that upsets this balance.

Even if you have never had a twin in your life, it is possible that your body still contains cells from another human being.

It so happens that two embryos fuse into a single whole at the stage of early development. As a result, the cells of one embryo enter the tissues of another and, at first glance, develop without deviations. However, they carry the genetic information of another person.

“You may feel like you are one, while there are foreign cells in your body – so there were two of you since birth,” says Kramer.

There was even a case when a genetic study found that a woman is not the biological mother of her two children.

The opposite also happens – the cells of the older child remain in the mother’s body and, after the conception of the younger child, move into the embryo.

Whichever way this happens, it’s entirely possible that another person’s cells can cause the brain to develop in completely unexpected ways, says Lee Nelson of the University of Washington. She is studying the possibility of the mother’s cells entering the baby’s brain.

“Depending on the number and type of cells, as well as in what period of embryo growth they migrate, there are different scenarios for the deviation of the child’s brain from normal development,” says Nelson.

As it turned out, even adults are not immune to the penetration of other people’s cells into their body.

A man is in a woman

Several years ago, Nelson and William Chen of the University of Alberta, Canada, decoded genomes taken from female brain slices. They looked for signs of a male Y chromosome.

In about 63% of the samples studied, the researchers found male cells. “We didn’t just find male DNA in the female medulla – it was present in several parts of the brain at once,” says Chen.

In other words, women’s brains were stuffed with male cells. According to scientists, the stem cells of a male child somehow overcome the placenta barrier and enter the mother’s brain.

Interestingly, according to some reports, the presence of male cells in the brain of women reduces the likelihood of developing Alzheimer’s disease in the latter – although exactly why this happens remains a mystery.

Some researchers are even starting to wonder if the baby’s cells may affect the mother’s mood during pregnancy.

Our knowledge of the human “superorganism” is still very fragmentary, and many of the implications of such a symbiosis are now discussed only in the form of theoretical calculations.

The purpose of Cramer and Bressan’s paper was not to provide clear answers to the questions at hand, but to educate other psychologists and psychiatrists about the many organisms that make us who we are.

“We are not able to fully understand human behavior, considering a person as only one individual, – notes Kramer. “It is necessary to consider it as a collection of organisms in order to understand why we behave in one way or another.”

For example, scientists often use the study of twins to get closer to understanding human behavior.

However, the fact that even non-identical twins could exchange fragments of brain tissue at the stage of early development casts doubt on the purity of such experiments.

Caution must be exercised when using the findings of twin studies to study diseases such as schizophrenia, which can be caused by inappropriate brain architecture, warn Bressan and Kramer.

However, do not worry about foreign organisms in our own. After all, it is they who make us who we are.

“For better or worse, we’re going to have to share the body with these ‘immigrants,’” Nelson says. “And I think the pros of this cohabitation outweigh the cons.”

By David Robson

Source BBC com

PS: The phenomenon of subpersonalities has long been studied in the psychological literature. Now classical science has come close to this question.

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Metaphysics & Psychology

Consciousness Affects Reality: Repetition and consolidation of experience?

Dr. Joe Dispenza was one of the first who began to study the influence of consciousness on reality from a scientific point of view. His theory of the relationship between matter and consciousness brought him world fame after the release of the documentary “We Know What the Signal Does.” 

A key discovery made by Joe Dispensa is that the brain does not distinguish between physical and mental experiences. Roughly speaking, the cells of the “gray matter” absolutely do not distinguish between the real, i.e. material, from the imaginary, i.e. from thoughts.

Few people know that the doctor’s research in the field of consciousness and neurophysiology began with tragic experience. After Joe Dispenza was hit by a car, doctors suggested he fasten the damaged vertebrae with an implant, which could subsequently lead to lifelong pain. Only in this way, according to doctors, could he walk again. But Dispenza decided to quit taking out traditional medicine and restore his health with the power of thought. After only 9 months of therapy, Dispenza could walk again. This was the impetus for the study of the possibilities of consciousness.

The first step in this direction was communication with people who experienced the experience of “spontaneous remission”. This is a spontaneous and impossible from the point of view of doctors healing a person from a serious illness without the use of traditional treatment. During the survey, Dispenza found out that all people who went through a similar experience were convinced that thought is primary in relation to matter and can heal any disease.

The theory of Dr. Dispenza claims that each time, experiencing some kind of experience, we “activate” a huge number of neurons in our brain, which in turn affect our physical condition. It is the phenomenal power of consciousness, due to the ability to concentrate, that creates the so-called synaptic connections – connections between neurons. Repeated experiences (situations, thoughts, feelings) create stable neural connections called neural networks. Each network is, in fact, a certain memory, on the basis of which our body in the future reacts to similar objects and situations.

According to Dispensa, our entire past is “recorded” in the neural networks of the brain, which form the way we perceive and feel the world as a whole and its specific objects in particular. Thus, it only seems to us that our reactions are spontaneous. In fact, most of them are programmed with stable neural connections. 

Each object (stimulus) activates one or another neural network, which in turn causes a set of certain chemical reactions in the body. These chemical reactions make us act or feel in a certain way – to run or freeze in place, rejoice or be upset, become excited or fall into apathy, etc. All our emotional reactions are nothing more than the result of chemical processes caused by established neural networks, and they are based on past experience. In other words,

The basic rule of neurophysiology is:

nerves that are used together are connected.

This means that neural networks are formed as a result of repetition and consolidation of experience. If the experiment is not reproduced for a long time, then the neural networks break up. Thus, a habit is formed as a result of regular “pressing” the buttons of the same neural network. This is how automatic reactions and conditioned reflexes are formed – you have not yet had time to think and realize what is happening, and your body is already reacting in a certain way …

Our character, our habits, our personality are just a set of stable neural networks that we can weaken or strengthen at any time thanks to a conscious perception of reality! By focusing consciously and selectively on what we want to achieve, we are creating new neural networks.

… Previously, scientists believed that the brain is static, but studies by neurophysiologists show that absolutely every smallest experience produces thousands and millions of neural changes in it that affect the body as a whole. In his book “The Evolution of Our Brains, the Science of Changing Our Consciousness,” Joe Dispenza asks a logical question: if we use our thinking to cause certain negative states in the body, will this anomalous state eventually become the norm?

Dispenza conducted a special experiment to confirm the capabilities of our consciousness. People from the same group daily pressed the spring mechanism with the same finger for an hour. People from another group had only to imagine that they were clicking. As a result, the fingers of people from the first group got stronger by 30%, and from the second – by 22%. 

Such an influence of purely mental practice on physical parameters is the result of the operation of neural networks. So Joe Dispenza proved that for the brain and neurons there is no difference between real and mental experience. So, if we pay attention to negative thoughts, our brain perceives them as reality and causes corresponding changes in the body. For example, illness, fear, depression, a surge of aggression, etc.

Another conclusion from Dispenza’s research concerns our emotions. Stable neural networks form unconscious patterns of emotional behavior, i.e. a tendency to some form of emotional response. In turn, this leads to a repeated experience in life. We step on the same rake only because we don’t realize the reason for their appearance! But the reason is simple – each emotion is “felt” due to the release of a certain set of chemicals into the body, and our body simply becomes somewhat “dependent” on these chemical combinations. Having realized this dependence as a physiological dependence on chemicals, we can get rid of it. Only a conscious approach is needed.

Of course, despite the studies of Dispenza, official science is distrustful of his claims. But why wait for official approval from scientific minds, if now the results of these discoveries can be applied in practice? The main thing is to realize that thought is capable of changing the physical world.

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