I have this annoying habit of asking for a definition of spirituality when people tell me that they are not religious but spiritual. I get some interesting responses - some very good ones too.
My favorite was "doing the right thing even when I know I don't have to." But this still implies that we have the awareness to know what the right thing is as opposed to our own subjective interpretation of the right thing.
Truthfully, I just don't think I am self-aware enough to judge the validity of the concept Universal Consciousness or One Mind but I do know that others have put it forward eloquently as well and certainly you present your case well enough to grab the readers attention.
I was reading up on Schrodinger's interpretation of oneness in response to your post and found this particularly telling:
"This life of yours which you are living is not merely a piece of this entire existence, but in a certain sense the whole; only this whole is not so constituted that it can be surveyed in one single glance. This, as we know, is what the Brahmins express in that sacred, mystic formula which is yet really so simple and so clear; tat tvam asi, this is you. Or, again, in such words as "I am in the east and the west, I am above and below, I am this entire world."
There is no kind of framework within which we can find consciousness in the plural; this is simply something we construct because of the temporal plurality of individuals, but it is a false construction... The only solution to this conflict insofar as any is available to us at all lies in the ancient wisdom of the Upanishad."
He goes on to say that the Vedanta teaches there is no multiplicity of selves but that everything that happens is part of a universal consciousness. Well, if Schrodinger is of this mind who am I to argue ;-)?
I would be very interesting in reading more on the experiment where neurons were separated and yet still stimulated by distant interaction one to the other. I googled it but could find nothing concrete. Is there a link to this research?
I am not sure if you were aware of this but there has been very interesting inferences on consciousness derived from observation of conjoined twins here in BC. The two girls share a thalamus a part of the brain that has traditionally been associated with consciousness. When one drinks, the other has the sensation of taste.
"Their brain images reveal what looks like an attenuated line stretching between the two organs, a piece of anatomy their neurosurgeon, Douglas Cochrane of British Columbia Children’s Hospital, has called a thalamic bridge, because he believes it links the thalamus of one girl to the thalamus of her sister. The thalamus is a kind of switchboard, a two-lobed organ that filters most sensory input and has long been thought to be essential in the neural loops that create consciousness. Because the thalamus functions as a relay station, the girls’ doctors believe it is entirely possible that the sensory input that one girl receives could somehow cross that bridge into the brain of the other. One girl drinks, another girl feels it."
From a purely deconstructionist point of view, one could argue that this implies a purely physical source of consciousness derived from neural connections in the thalamus- a physical connection that both girls share due to their conjunction in that area of the brain. What does this connection imply for the way consciousness and the sense of self are constructed? Or are both girls experiencing a part of the Universal mind in unison?
I wondered what your opinion on this would be? At least, it is fascinating reading. Here is a link to a NY times article on the girls:
~Hunter S. Thompson