Thursday, June 13, 2013

The Mind/Brain Question

Once again Devorah travels to the future and thanks to the current issue of the Smithsonian, connects with the brilliant cosmologist Lisa Randall. They talk about what Lisa Randall calls the “mind/brain” question and Devorah calls the Covenant and the Scrolls distinction.

“Is the mind and consciousness the product of the brain, all our thoughts nerochemically determined, or is the mind not a slave of the physical brain and somehow capable of free will? Or can we never answer that question?”

“I think our experience as human beings existing simultaneously in the spiritual, mental, emotional and physical aspects has answered that question,” Devorah said. “Mind and consciousness, the Covenant, subsumes the brain. All four aspects are real, but exist in the context of the One Mind, One Consciousness.”

“I agree,” Lisa Randall said. “One mistake we scientists make is to think and frame questions in either/or terms, either we’re conscious or we’re not. I think there’s a spectrum of consciousness, a continuum, and it’s interesting to study that, the difference between a plant and a dog, a dog and a baby, etc.

“Inspiration – the mind/spiritual aspect, is needed in geometry just as much as in poetry. My best work arose from an insight. An insight doesn’t necessarily mean a new truth. Sometimes it’s just a new way of looking at things. And to me, that’s why the mind/brain question is so interesting. Some say, human consciousness is not capable of comprehending the mystery of its own nature.

“I say, ‘maybe it is, maybe it isn’t’, but we can probably understand a lot more about it even if we don’t ultimately understand it. And second, we haven’t been trying to answer this question scientifically for a long time.  We understand a lot of things now that we didn’t understand before. And this one’s terrifically hard, because we don’t even know what we mean by consciousness.”

“I guess I think it’s amazing that we know as much as we do. And why should everything be so much like us that we can figure it out? We want to be open to what is beyond our limited ego selves – which is 99% of everything – and feel the sense of wonder and awe at experiencing the cosmos and the extra dimensions in our minds. String theory postulates that there are eleven dimensions. Impossible to imagine? Perhaps, but both thrilling, frightening and ultimately fulfilling to try….”

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