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Second Posting :) , Cognitive Bias and GaiaTheory

May 30, 2011

I was trying to think what to blog about, being new to the blogging thing… I’ve decided I may as well start off where I started in my first post.

I met my now deceased friend some years ago at a psychedelic-trance party, at a rose farm.

It was to say the least somewhat of a blissful event, listening to the morning set,  wandering, misted by light reticulation among the roses…

Without doubt our conversation was among the best of my life, it was therapeutic in unexpected ways, nlp if you will. Although the content was interesting, content was irrelevant, the nature of the interaction style transmitted a deep state of spiritual contentedness and ecological consciousness.

A different mode of conversation and way of being, thinking, feeling. I went away thinking ‘man that is one of the coolest people I have ever met’,  new to psytrance I acquired a naive expectation that the global psytrance culture was full of people like him.

By a technical definition of IQ,  my friend was a genius, with deep ecological awareness.

He had spent time as a forest blockader, protecting old growth ecologies, had grown up in an amazing ecosystem, and had a natural passion for ecology, local and global.

He knew most local life by sight, knew of special places in the forests, rivers and oceans, respected indigenous cultures, and had spent enough time in the forests to be able to observe and relate the amazing behaviors and personalities of many different critters. This was not academic knowledge, but a deep, mature compassion, a sense of personal love, and personal importance.

I experienced him as very spiritually aware person, there seemed to be a side to him that functioned at a deeper or higher level of consciousness than day to day ordinary states of awareness.  If you were on the same level he loved it, but if you were caught up in the mundane, the egoistic, the zeitgeist story, his habit was to create dissonance, not connecting and being uncomfortable for people to be around. Unless or until you then chose to raise your level of awareness, into a deeper, more present state.

Gaia theory, the idea of the planet as a vast self regulatory system, with us as cells, in much the same way our body is composed of discrete entities (cells) is something I have begun to understand in a spiritual sense, from my own experiences of interactions with life at certain places in non-ordinary states of awareness, however like indigenous peoples and some ancient religious have stated, the planet is more than just a self-regulating system, the ecosystem seems to be conscious.

Gaia, Alex Grey 1989 oil on linen 96 x 144in

In this sense, the mystical/religious sense, our consciousness and the universe are part of an interactive system, both inextricably linked, reliant on each other for function and meaning, irreducibly one.

One body.

When my friend died there were a number of unusual natural phenomenon that occurred, the week after his death there were a large number of extraordinarily beautiful spiders, moths, crickets, that came through his home and were seen or landed on many of his closest friends, none of us had ever seen any of these before, nor since.

We scattered his ashes at the mouth of an inlet system that led to the ocean where he had spent a lot of time surfing, fishing, and hanging out. On the way out there we saw a sea eagle sitting in a tree, we saw two dolphins in the place where the ashes were scattered, the moment the ashes hit the water the water developed deep rips and the tide started ripping it out into the ocean, on the way back, the sea eagle was carting a fish.

These phenomenon in and of themselves are not extraordinary, perhaps our observation of them as unusual and auspicious is nothing more than cognitive bias, or perhaps they were an expression of a higher principle of consciousness, arising from the spiritual life of my friend.

While it’s a fairly palatable hypothesis that the planet might function as a self-regulating organism, it’s quite a leap from that to the hypothesis of the planet as conscious.

What scientific evidence might there be for that hypothesis?

What is consciousness? and how can we demonstrate that the planet does or does not possess it?

Consciousness is considered in many current western debates to be nothing more than an epiphenomenon of the brain, mediated by chemical signalling and inherently electrical in nature.

What evidence is there for phenomenon resembling this in nature?

All life is chemical, all life interacts chemically with its environment, all life possesses and mediates electrical potential.

All life is subject to and generates electromagnetic fields. Electromagnetic fields, depending on their nature, can stimulate magnetic, electrical, and chemical activity. Both in the brain, and in any cellular or inanimate material. http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/a-new-method-to-measure-consciousness-discovered/  (update)

Many scientists see consciousness as resulting from an interaction between these fields and the so-called material substance of the brain and body. An idea that is not new, as Patanjali. the founder of yoga stated -(in reference to the human bioenergy field); “its seven fold layers hold supreme knowledge of consciousness”.

While this is a nice potential starting point for the exploration of the planet as a conscious entity, it does not demonstrate the kinds of conscious response that we would expect from self-regulating sentient systems. Nor does it directly demonstrate the kinds of immediacy or interconnected sentience of individual composite systems(entities) that generate a super-conscious Gaia as discussed by indigenous Peoples. Indeed it is generally assumed that most life lacks sentience.

Is this true? And is there any evidence that information can be transmitted, chemically, electromagnetically, or by means as yet unknown in order to effect our conscious volition or sentience?

Perhaps, after all, with a question this interesting, there is no shortage of scientists willing to explore, if they can acquire funding.

While it would be insanely boring to turn this blog into a literature review discussing all of the varied science and scientists who have explored these ideas, ill have a quick look on youtube and find something worth watching.

The short media presented bellow is from a documentary about plants, if you like it, have a look for and watch the rest! –

From the materialist, reductionist, secular, atheistic perspective that dominates much of our cultural dialogue,  the idea of sentience or consciousness beyond that expected of a mere material epiphenomenon,  is not considered to be “scientific”.

This is an interesting assumption if we consider the relative abundance of well respected scientists in senior positions at major academic or research facilities, who have published phd or phd equivalent studies into the varied aspects of human consciousness that decry this assertion.

The following is an extended lecture by senior scientist Dean Radin, who discusses this exact phenomenon, and provides a brief overview of a handful of peer-replicated experiments that provide empirical evidence for psi phenomenon.

These are very cool very interesting science experiments, but are they more than just intellectual amusement? how can or should these findings effect our personal perspectives, emotions, thinking, living and experience of life? Are these just amusing, or can they be impactful? How can these new perspectives change our lives?

 

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