It is our pleasure to welcome Arne Klingenberg, author of Beyond Machine Man: Who we really are and why Transhumanism is just an empty promise, as our featured author for December. In his book, Arne takes the reader on a deep dive into what it means to be human, the root of our inherent flaws, the nature of consciousness and the possibility of living a life beyond fear. In his article here, Arne explores some crucial questions on the puzzle of who we are and how our brains function.
Interact with Arne on our AoM Forum here.
Who are we? Are we our DNA or is it all in the brain? Are we our conscious minds, an unconscious one or both? What is the real nature of consciousness or the root cause of racism? Do we have free will? Are we our emotions and do egos actually exist? What does neuroscience really say about us?
Are we mere actors in a giant computer simulation? Will we ever upload our minds or memories? And will transhumanism eventually cure all disease and solve the problem of our mortality?
The answers to these and many more related questions may very well surprise quite a few readers, even those well versed in cutting-edge science and philosophy. For Machine Man, to even ask such questions is actually rather silly, or perhaps outright stupid. Because they claim to know the answers already anyway, at least in the big picture. But do they really?
Throughout history and regardless of color, culture and creed, the ruling classes have applied more or less the same techniques to control the people. Besides the application of brute force or the mere threat of it, we are manipulated by a plethora of psychological methods that have been refined throughout the ages. Sophisticated technological tools and toys work wonders in manipulating our thoughts, beliefs, and behavior. All to the point where perhaps only relatively few people notice what is actually happening to us.
Shame, guilt and the playing of the blame game are classic tools of manipulation. Instilling fear in a population has proven to be an effective control mechanism. And so is applying peer pressure of many kinds. Repeating enormous lies that often contradict themselves is a favorite pastime of our rulers. And then there is narrative control.
We all just love to read, hear and watch great stories. Sad or morbid ones, funny and uplifting kinds, romantic dramas, scary and shocking tales, highly-paced thrillers. Whatever it may be. We are all storytellers in our more or less prominent ways.
And those people and institutions who get to tell the official stories of what is supposed to be real in life and what is not, have an obvious advantage over anybody else. History itself is often just another story too, mostly written and told by the winners. After all, dead men tell no tales. And of course, the telling of tales includes archaeology, science in general, and the various fields of academia. Experts that dominate the narrative.
What is not allowed to be true, cannot be true, even though it is. Or, “He who has the gold and pays the scientists makes the rules.
Sadly, science has become ever more political and commercial, to the point of outright corruption. Yet the mechanisms of framing a story for propaganda purposes are just the same as they ever were:
- We are free to ask any questions, as long as they are within this narrowly defined framework.
- We are free to research anything, as long as we only study this approved material.
- We are free to come to any conclusions, as long as they firmly fit into the accepted paradigm.
It reminds me of Henry Ford who said: “Any customer can have a car painted any color that he wants so long as it is black.”
Here, I can only offer you glimpses of the many inherent fatal flaws in Machine Man science and philosophy. But first, allow me a couple of housekeeping notes. To spice up this article, I will add quite a few quotes from the actual book, and as above, present them in both bold and italic print. Also, please note that there are 77 pages full of reference notes, sources and links, so I won’t list any here.
Now you may wonder, “Who exactly is Machine Man?”
Machine Man or Homo Machina: People who think that they are their body – ruled by a more or less intelligent brain, aided and abetted by a better or worse set of DNA. This is the purely materialistic perspective, incessantly propagated and promoted by academia, governments, and the mainstream media. According to reductionist Machine Man, “We are just smart animals.”
This is the story the elite likes to tell and sell. Nowadays, it is the generally accepted truth. But is this narrative correct or is it just another way of controlling their subjects, to forever stay immensely wealthy and totally in charge of it all? That may sound like a silly question or outlandish proposition. At first. But the evidence shows differently.
Partially right but incomplete knowledge usually leads to very wrong conclusions, and sometimes, incredibly insane ideas.
Some members of the ruling classes know full well that their physicalist stories (“everything is physical”) are not really the full and true stories. Just like their mainstream news, they lie by the omission of facts or the distortion of truths. Other elitists however actually fully believe their own stories; they really do think that they are the enlightened ones. And that anyone questioning their dogmas presented as science is neither very intelligent nor highly educated. As they are or claim to be.
Real science is never really settled even though nowadays it is claimed to be by basically corrupt politicians controlled by selfish billionaires for nefarious political and economic purposes; they just love to parade their personal selection of questionable scientists in public while completely ignoring or outright censoring the many real experts who say otherwise.
Most likely, since you are reading this here on GrahamHancock.com, you are a fellow seeker of truths. Graham Hancock sure is. Like every real scientist is.
For open-minded scientists, it’s still a wild world out there where not much of anything is really settled.
A true scientist always follows the evidence, no matter where it may lead. Even if it leads to very different conclusions than the ones acceptable to the gatekeepers of truth in academia. And even if they would contradict previously cherished and widely published positions. Or ultimately, even if they would lead to one getting fired from a cushy job.
All proponents of the Machine Man explanation of life have philosophical, political or profit motives to keep promoting their fantasies.
What could possibly be the motive to hide the very latest full-spectrum view of science about who we really are? Quite simply, it is far easier to manipulate and control people when they feel weak and meek, a bit insecure, almost afraid to be alive, wanting to be protected, and clamoring to be led to safety, than to boss around the truly strong and self-confident who are not particularly afraid of anything, having mastered the origin and ultimate of all fears by actually knowing who they really are.
The fewer of us who know who we really are, the more fears we will collectively have as a culture.
Now let’s start to gently rattle the narrow cage of Machine Man thought and inquiry and look a bit closer into the assorted absurdities of the absolutist views of Homo Machina.
Anomalies essentially prove that the impossible is indeed possible.
According to purely materialistic doctrine, all of the most amazing anomalies portrayed in Beyond Machine Man are just not possible. But obviously, these things all really do happen and indeed, are well proven and documented to happen. So what is the solution or explanation of close-minded (or bought and paid for) academia?
When confronted by such amazing anomalies, such incredible deviations from what is believed to be normal or possible, Machine Man scientists choose to simply ignore it all; they basically bury their collective heads in the sand and hope that the problem, or challenge to their way of thinking, will just go away. By simply not talking about it.
Let me quote just a few examples:
In the chapter Brain Matters, we have discussed individuals who have only half a brain or no real (detectable) brain, and yet they have no memory deficits or problems in any way. They live normal lives. How could that be possible if our memories were just a function of our brains?
Could we live without a brain and still function normally? That really sounds like a silly question, doesn’t it? And yet, it does happen. It is a well-established medical fact: there are people who function perfectly well, essentially without having a brain!
One such example was documented in a neurological study consisting of over 600 brain scans: a university student with a measured IQ of 126 who graduated with a first-class honors degree in mathematics, without having hardly any discernible brain matter at all.
Sounds crazy, right?
The fact is that there are people living absolutely regular lives without having many or any brain cells. And yet they are able to function perfectly normally in society, indistinguishable from anyone else; they have families, jobs, and so on.
Here’s another inexplicable deviation from what is said to be normal or indeed, possible:
Terminal lucidity is yet another anomaly that points to another location of both our mind and memories, beyond our mere physical brains. And beyond the current reductionist theories of Machine Man scientists.
What is terminal lucidity, you may ask?
Throughout history, nurses taking care of patients in hospitals, hospices and nursing homes have reported this (for Machine Man) inexplicable phenomenon. It refers to the sudden return of full mental clarity and memory to patients with heavily deteriorated brains shortly before they actually pass away.
That too may sound like science fiction but actually is a scientific reality.
Terminal lucidity or final clarity would be impossible if the brain were indeed necessary for the mind to function, or if the brain created the mind because these brains were severely damaged and did not function anymore as shown in both brain scans and actual experience.
Let’s quickly mention just one more medical anomaly that confounds the narrative:
The placebo and nocebo effect proves both optimists and pessimists right.
What is the “official” explanation of this well-studied phenomenon? And the immediate follow-up question that begs to be answered?
So if Machine Man is right and the placebo or nocebo effects were just functions of the brain, why would the brain ever want to believe something that is detrimental to its overall health?
Nowadays, most people know that the placebo effect can really heal. Increasingly, people also become aware of the reality of ‘medical hexing’: healthy patients who were mistakenly informed that they will die within three, six or twelve months, did indeed pass away in the ‘allocated’ time frame they were given. Autopsies later confirmed that there was nothing physically wrong with them.
Oops. Here are some cases that are physically impossible according to medical doctrine:
Patients who were suffering from osteoarthritis of the knee – a real physical ailment resulting from the breakdown of joint cartilage and the underlying bone – were cured when a simple superficial skin incision was made rather than any actual surgery performed. And yet the positive results obtained were the very same as with any of the patients who did go through the real procedure.
That sounds rather insane. What about this:
And likewise for patients with angina pectoris. Dr. Leonard Cobb Jr, a cardiology specialist and Professor Emeritus, performed pretend surgery by merely making a small incision on the surface of the chest. He found that it equally increased the blood flow to the heart muscles of patients as when he actually did carry out the full surgery (by tying knots in the arteries).
But the science is settled, right? Or so they say in officialdom.
Surely, it all looks a bit like magic, but that of course does not exist in the playbook of Machine Man. Alright, let’s not invoke or talk about magic. Or religion and the like. So is it a matter of mind over body? Well, according to materialistic doctrine, there is no such thing as the mind. Such beliefs are merely wishful thinking or superstitions by the unenlightened.
Nevertheless, mind doctors still treat our minds… Do they well and truly know what they are talking about? Well, partially yes, but mostly, not really. Can we actually measure mental diseases or ailments of any kind? No, we can’t.
In summary, neuroscience cannot determine if or where there is something physically wrong in the brain or a particular area of the brain when a patient suffers from a mental problem like depression or anxiety, and so on.
Just briefly, let me correct another fallacy, without going into the details of it all:
The continually proclaimed and therefore widely believed story about a chemical imbalance in the brain that needs to be corrected is pure fiction; there is no scientific basis or factual evidence at all. Actually, the very opposite is true: these drugs are causing an imbalance of neurotransmitters in the brain.
Yeah, but top-notch neuroscientists know all or a great deal about our brains, right? No, they don’t. What about all the beautiful colorful pictures of an fMRI brain scan we see depicted all the time in the media, don’t they prove that specific brain activities can be assigned to the specific cognitive experiences of an individual person?
It is not at all clear what we actually see or the reasons why.
Really? Yes, really. Of course, in the context of this short article, such claims sound a bit far-out and even fantastic. Yet once you’ve read it all and examined the actual science, including the imaging technologies used, the many assumptions made, the assorted problems involved, or the various errors introduced, that is the truth:
Neuroscience to this very day knows next to nothing about how our brain really works and nothing at all about our mental processes; what happens when we think and analyze, feel and dream, are aware of our environment or conscious about our inner life, when we consider complex matters or make difficult decisions, and so on.
So who do they say we are?
By the verdict of today’s science, we are said to be uninvolved virtuous victims who are pushed and shoved around by the mysterious spasms of our brains, respectively the unknowable intentions and machinations of the unconscious.
So there really is an unconscious mind? Well, not really…
Believing in a non-existent unconscious simply reveals the not knowing about how the mind and our memory fundamentally works or who we really are.
Many professional mind doctors are likely to find this statement outrageous or worse. The New Age community too is unlikely to like it, to put it mildly. But it is very important to get this right because much is at stake. Like our happiness and peace of mind. So it would be smart to seriously examine the evidence and make a little effort to follow the full reasoning I’ve presented.
Real science however does not and cannot show proof of any kind that a materially real or mentally imagined subconscious or unconscious mind actually exists. Neither a neuroscientific ‘Zombian’ version nor the mythical one proposed by psychoanalysts.
Do Machine Man scientists understand what consciousness is, how it is created, or where it is located and so on? No, not at all. But they still do claim to know the big picture:
Despite their complete lack of knowledge and understanding about the very basics of consciousness, Machine Man still insists with a religious fervor that is cloaked in the mantle of science that consciousness can only arise out of particles that have no consciousness.
So, do we have free will? What are the conclusions of modern-day neuroscientists? They say, no, there is no free will. Full stop. Their ironclad (but wrong) verdict is based on a very whimsical and supposedly scientific experiment that I took great pleasure to take apart from a variety of angles. Here, let me reveal a cheeky summary of their thoughts and theses:
It really should read like this: The brain’s illusory creation of a subconscious mind later informs yet another illusion, the conscious mind, of the decisions it took. Got it? It’s simple really, once you get used to confused thinking.
That may sound a bit harsh, mostly because it is out of context, yet it would nevertheless be quite well deserved once we look at what they say they do know and compare it with what they really know. It’s a bit like reading the fine print.
Limiting our minds makes the possible impossible.
As a little by the way, my book really needs to be read with a good sense of humor, sometimes even a bit of a dark one. And smiling and winking faces would also need to be introduced here and there, but both editors and publishers would surely frown upon that. 🙂
You may already be somewhat curious to know where transhumanism fits into the diverse topics discussed, some seemingly a bit disconnected at first. What is it all about and how close are transhumanists to realizing their dreams? To the first question:
Transhumanism after all is a project of the elite continuing the ancient occult pursuit of becoming immortal gods and ruling happily ever after.
And the glib short answer to the second question is:
Ultimately, transhumanism is just an empty promise by people who are mortally afraid of dying.
In Beyond Machine Man, I’ve introduced Homo Digitalis as being the transhumanist subspecies of Machine Man, simply because transhumanism is the modern continuation of the physicalist paradigm; it is the latest incarnation of their fervent hopes and dreams to prolong their lives and eventually, live forever.
Never mind the details, Homo Digitalis hopes to perpetually enjoy highly augmented forms of cybersex and other superlative sensual and intellectual delights. Besides totally awesome physical prowess. To forever lord over the ordinary folks that can’t possibly afford any such things. Sorry, but regular folks just have to keep dying. After they’ve finished a lifetime full of hard work, that is. Doing the things robots can’t do yet. Or will refuse to do because it would simply be beneath them.
So do they really pose such a grave threat to humanity as nowadays countless articles and websites imply? The short answer is actually, no. But it is a long story…
Homo Digitalis believes that they are the most rational people ever. They claim to only believe in what science says. Yet amazingly, most actually don’t seem to know what neuroscience really says about who they are.
And that is just for starters. Before we’ve started to look into more of the details of other aspects like biotechnology, including genetic engineering and pharmaceutical therapies. Or artificial intelligence, robotics and bionics, memory transfer, brain-computer integration, and so on. Just quickly, as we have to come to an end:
Ultimately, knowing who we really are is not about who is right and wrong but a deciding factor about how free and happy we are while we are here.
Furthermore, in the big picture:
Knowing who we really are has the potential to unite the deeply divided, to break the curse of racism, and solve the many social, economical and ecological problems still plaguing us today.
I hope that you have enjoyed this little episode of life Beyond Machine Man. And I’d be happy to hear your thoughts once you’ve read it all.
Last but not least, a big Thank you! to the legendary author Graham Hancock and his daughter, Leila Hancock. It is a great honor and pleasure to be featured here as an author of the month. So the last quote is dedicated to Graham, the endless explorer of both the worlds within and without:
There is not much difference between a real scientist and a true mystic after all; they equally share the genuine longing, deep passion and continuous search for finding ever deeper truths.
Arne Klingenberg is a rather reclusive philosopher, economist and author. For (a little) more information, see ArneKlingenberg.com
21 thoughts on “Beyond Machine Man: Who we really are and why Transhumanism is just an empty promise!”
I agree with you that the role of DNA (the blueprint of the human machine) in heredity and adaptation to current life circumstances is overrated. The digital memory of DNAcomplemented by an analog memory which exists in form of RNA and proteins. This additional memory is more flexible and adaptable than DNA, with which it interacts. The science of epigenetics shakes up the dogmas of classical genetics, which traces everything back to DNA. Man is not an unchangeably composed machine, but a living, i.e. adaptable organism. In conclusion: Life and consciousness are complicated, but nevertheless remain materialistically explicable.
Hi & Thank you, Aloys, for your astute and considerate comments. Please note that there are crucial factors even beyond the current understanding of epigenetics, as hinted at in the article re the placebo and nocebo effects, and elaborated further in chapter The DNA Question (and elsewhere). Let me add a quote here:
“In conclusion, are we our DNA? Or partly foreign DNA? Are we the recipes or assembly manuals of our proteins, the instructions of a cookbook? Just strings of deoxyribonucleic acid that are only partially useful, highly repetitive, widely damaged and arguably badly designed, besides somewhat changing and controlled by the whims of our environment, respectively our behavior and lifestyle choices?”
Re your conclusion, I hope to hear your thoughts again once you’ve read it all and examined the supporting evidence too. Maybe, you’d actually change your mind on this? 🙂
Hi Arne, I have a hard time to believe in effects without cause. To my opinion, all placebo effects can be attributed to real physiological effects. Gene expression is a complicated regulatory situation and can be influenced despite placebo delivery. E.g., cerebellum (hypothalamus) controls gene expression epigenetically by hormon release. Thus, indirectly also non-drugs can cure you. As Heidegger said: You are what you think to be.
Hi Aloys, I sure agree with you that every cause produces a corresponding effect, and vice versa. And pointed it out repeatedly in various contexts. Not sure what you meant by: “To my opinion, all placebo effects can be attributed to real physiological effects.” Did you mean that they can be attributed to physiological *causes*? The examples mentioned in the article demonstrate that sham surgery still produced the desired physiological response of curing an actual physical ailment. What caused this extraordinary and inexplainable healing? You mention the release of hormones… Well, there is something that must come before any such action like the release of hormones, enzymes or other epigenetic expressions… Who or what is it?
We are much more than our thoughts or who we think we are, Aloys… to illustrate that a little bit, let me add yet another quote:
“Thoughts come and go, floating by like clouds in the sky. Some are white and bright, others more dark and gloomy. We can let the thoughts drift by and simply observe them. We can focus on one or observe several thoughts at the same time, sometimes really getting into a specific one, then choose another one, dismiss what we don’t want to pursue, or keep thinking about what we like or need to think about.”
To claim “unconscious mind does not exist” is a direct contradiction to the very simple fact of the sleep state – which every person is fully aware of. You cannot become an “enlightened” (or whatever you want to call it) person simply by redefining the related terminology to your own personal definitions. Everyone narrates the description of the world to themselves in a way that paints themselves in the best light possible – as this is the most typical form of ego and self-reflection. By the same token, throwing out all terminology and definitions and claiming that “consciousness doesnt exist” is not a radical understanding at all – but rather yet another obsessive digression of semantics into further narrative expositions.
When you fall asleep, you become unconscious. Your mind still exists and is still active. This is your unconscious mind at work – i. e. *SLEEPING*. Neurologists have further designated various brain-wave activity which corresponds to various states of unconsciousness, such as alpha, delta, REM, and so on.
Dreams are derived from the unconsciousness. Dreams are also an easily observed and recorded phenomenon.
Plenty of people can make plenty of claims for plenty of things. Talk is cheap. Your actions prove who and what you really are.
The kind of “conscious awakening” which is outside of and prior to all societal conditioning is a struggle on all levels of being. That is the entire basis of its value. It is not “automatic” and is not something that occurs without sustained conscious efforts over many years. Most people understand the simple fact that you cannot simply call yourself a “Dr.” until you go through the years of study and work to acquire a Phd. Its a bit like that, except far more difficult and thus far more rare – as you have indicated.
Thank you, Josh, for your educated arguments, none of which I agree with or accept as actual evidence or science (for the reasons discussed in my book). I understand why you say what you say, as it is mainstream thinking and has been for over 100 years. It is the status quo. And yet it is not only wrong, but causing lots of real problems. For example, let me quote:
“Sadly, the schizophrenic belief in a non-existent unconscious has turned many people into schizophrenics, and will continue to do so.”
There are countless millions of people who believe that they need to reprogram their unconsciousness. So many go as far as believing that their non-existent unconscious mind is 33’000 more powerful than their conscious mind… things like that. It is tragic.
It is understandable that many if not all of the conclusions reached in Beyond Machine Man can be upsetting to those who have a vested interest in the only doctrines deemed to be acceptable. After all, a great deal of money and many academic reputations and professional careers are at stake. Well, that doesn’t bother someone who really seeks to know what is actually true or not. And sometimes, having earned oneself a PhD only means having to unlearn a lot of nonsense before one can move on and beyond it.
You may say that I only play semantics, but you have obviously not read my full train of thoughts or studied all the evidence presented. And yes, talk is cheap. But spending years researching and writing a book of 85’000 words (plus 15’000 in research notes & links) is probably not. Maybe that qualifies as “actions prove who and what you really are”…
Also, please don’t quote me for things I’ve never said (“consciousness doesnt exist”) as that is, well, you know what.
A quick note re your comments about ego and so on: again, I fully understand where you come from; this too is mainstream thinking and has been for a long time. I’ve covered this subject at length, but here, let me just add another perhaps uncomfortable quote from the book:
“Why do fanatical ego-bashers always have the biggest egos?” 🙂
Re “conscious awakening” not being “automatic” and requiring “conscious efforts over many years”: this may indeed be so for some or even many people, however and as documented, there are also those who have instantly come to know who they really are, without effort of any kind…
Also, please note that certain anomalies demonstrate that “we can actually control our thoughts even while our bodies and brains are asleep.”
And lastly, another little quote for your potential amusement:
“In the meantime, in sharp contrast and not at all surprising, Machine Man psychologists are literally afraid of their brains.” 🙂
interesting discussion. So far, I still believe in my arguments. Hormones are (also) released in the cerebellum, i.e. in the brain. Also the mental state stimulates the release of hormons. By this we stumble immediately across a physiological effect which triggers protein synthesis. Thus, the feigned miracle is not a miracle, but a mental activity which leads way to chemistry and subsequent DNA expression
The example of clouds is interesting and enlightening. Clouds – like thoughts – are archetype for chaos and probability. Difficult to describe the full interaction and to predict events, but both – chaos and probability – don’t violate the correlation of cause and effect. I truly believe, there is no other world than the physical. Miracles are as yet misunderstood effects.
Sure, Arne – you can deny that “sleep” exists. You can claim that people do not go to sleep at night. Im sure that really helps the “rationale” of your argument. Of course, none of what you say is true, either. It is quite easy for either of us to make any claim whatsoever, regardless of how true, untrue, logical or entirely illogical and ridiculous it may be.
However, I didnt expect to refute your arguments for your own sake. I am simply discussing these things with my own “rationale” in this public space, for the sake of the public.
Have a nice day!
Josh, you sure like to put things into my mouth which I never said (like ‘sleep doesn’t exist’), and that is not particularly nice. Also, c’est le ton qui fait la music: It’s not what you say, it’s how you say it. Your various innuendo did not come across as friendly or in the spirit of a serious discussion. To put it mildly.
However, I’ll repeat one quote from Beyond Machine Man, already quoted in the article:
“Real science however does not and cannot show proof of any kind that a materially real or mentally imagined subconscious or unconscious mind actually exists. Neither a neuroscientific Zombian version nor the mythical one proposed by psychoanalysts.”
That is the fact whether you like it or not. Or as I put it:
“The (still) many disciples of Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung would now surely protest and disagree. Vehemently.” Well, that is quite obvious, as we can see here! 🙂
“Freud initially talked about the subconscious mind, but later changed the term to the unconscious mind. Both he and Jung popularized the concept, without offering scientific proof of any kind; they speculated that unconscious processes must exist simply because we do have dreams, laugh about strange jokes, or reveal the truth through slips of the tongue.
And sorry, that is not a joke. Oops, that must have been your author’s slip of the tongue!” 🙂
The fact that we sleep does not prove the existence of an unconscious mind, Josh. But if you really want to believe that you are unconscious while you sleep, that is fine with me, and perhaps you really are. In my previous response, I’ve already mentioned certain anomalies that demonstrate that “we can actually control our thoughts even while our bodies and brains are asleep.”
There are other explanations that make far more sense, once you understand the big picture view of how our mind and memory works (including our emotions and feelings) and who we really are.
I know that nowadays, psychologists just love to call themselves neuroscientists, but most are not even remotely close to deserving that title (and I’ve gone into the juicy details in my book). But let me go on:
“Actually, scientists don’t really know why we humans have dreams or why we need to sleep. It goes against a core principle of evolution: when we sleep we are most vulnerable to attack. There are as usual many theories, but also as usual, there is no real understanding or conclusive evidence for any of them since we don’t understand the brain or consciousness.”
Brain waves as measured with an EEG (electroencephalograph) do not reveal what really happens in our brains as they only measure the electrical activity generated by neural firing in the surface areas over a period of time and cannot penetrate our brains to any depths. As mentioned in the article, even with actual fMRI brain scans, “It is not at all clear what we actually see or the reasons why.” Again, I go into the juicy bits and pieces of this quote in my book. In short, EEG brain waves do not prove the existence of an unconsious mind. Nor can they explain what we actually think or how we feel or anything particularly meaningful about our consciousness, even though many like to make such claims by ascribing them mythical meanings.
Dr. Peter Fenwick, a well-known neuropsychiatrist (quoted in my book) says that ‘an unconscious state is when the brain ceases to function.’
Another little fact you may want to look into, Josh, is that “modern neuroscience cannot explain what unconsciousness really is, what it means to be unconscious.” Let me add another quote from a few paragraphs later: “We all know that general anesthesia is used to induce unconsciousness in patients before and during surgery. And here it gets interesting: there are dozens of anesthetic gases and volatile liquids but doctors don’t actually know how or why they work.”
I’ll finish this post with yet another quote regarding the non-existent unconscious mind, a schizophrenic belief that causes a great deal of unhappiness and all kinds of mental and real-life problems:
“There is simply nothing or nobody in our brains who exercises greater power, or has outright control, over who we really are. All such talk is just talk and theory only. Pure imagination, wild speculation or just wishful thinking (a.k.a. psychological projection), without a shred of evidence. This is the scientific reality.”
Thank you again for your thoughtful contribution, Aloys, and a pleasant discussion. I fully agree with you that our minds stimulate the release of hormones, and much else. And actually, I’m not at all suggesting causes to be miracles or the like. The following quote (for example) illustrates this: “The placebo effect is proof positive of the power of our beliefs”
We are not talking about religious beliefs, and defined beliefs to be “thoughts that we hold to be true.” These can be thoughts of any kind about any subject. Including the belief in physicalism… So yes, there sure is mental activity that causes further action and subsequent changes. You will however need to answer the question of who or what is the mind? Where does it come from, how is it made? What does it consist of and who’s in charge of it? Furthermore, I’ve already mentioned in the article that according to Machine Man science there is no such thing…
Let me add two short quotes in this regard (in a much longer and far wider discussion about the brain, mind and consciousness):
“Who is it who believes? According to the beliefs of Machine Man it is the brain. To them, all thoughts are just the result of the brain’s electrical or biochemical activity.”
“Does the brain really believe anything at all? Can pure lumps of flesh, blood and matter think both rational and irrational thoughts, and then decide to believe that some thoughts are more true than others? And if so, for what purpose? What are the reasons why?”
I know, so many questions… and for the answers, I’ve put forward ten major theses for my readers’ kind consideration.
Great to hear that you liked the example of clouds, Aloys, and to learn about your thoughts on this. I fully respect your belief, and as mentioned toward the end of the article, ultimately it is not about who is right or wrong (or the respective percentages thereof), but about how happy we are. Of course, that includes peace of mind. And being able to overcome one’s fears…
Wow! I so want to read your book. I’ve been a facilitator/mentor and taught workshops in spiritual and psychic development. I’ve also explored shadow and shaman realms. I’m not afraid to read and learn well researched and intelligent non-mainstream perspectives that allow me to contemplate a deeper perspective of who I am or not. Very intrigued, Patricia
That’s great to hear, Patricia, thank you! You are obviously very open-minded and therefore a real mystic, a.k.a. a genuine seeker and experiencer of truths. And since you are highly conscious and well versed in the subject matters, I would be particularly interested to hear your thoughts once you’ve read it all, either here, in the AoM Forum or directly by email (my full name at gmail). Best wishes, Arne
I’ve appreciated this article. Transhumanism is based in this false narrative tied into this mechanistic, reductive, “man of science” system. World 48 battlefield.
Wondering of you thoughts on Ian McGilchrist’s work with the brain?
Thank you for your comment and question, UUitness, and great that you can see through the empty promises of Homo Digitalis, the transhumanist subspecies of Machine Man!
I have not read any of Ian McGilchrist’s books, but now upon your prodding, I listened to his TED talk, visited his website, and read a few articles and Wikipedia pages. I can only offer you a few preliminary observations: while I’m sure that Dr. Ian has a lot of important and valuable things to say, in the big picture he seems to fully subscribe to the physicalist Machine Man explanations of the brain. For example, he believes that ‘thought originates in the right hemisphere, is processed for expression in speech by the left hemisphere, and the meaning integrated again by the right’, and ascribes various functions and characteristics to the brain that are actually mere theories, not proven neurological facts. (And that is besides his thoughts about an imaginary hemispheric imbalance and linking it with all kinds of cultural and psychological implications.)
Two of the anomalies mentioned in my article already show Dr. Ian’s beliefs as expressed above to be wrong; other ones described and documented in my book further dismantle core beliefs of current neuroscience. Let me add an excerpt for your perusal; please focus in particular on the last sentence which by itself disproves the part about speech processing in the left hemisphere:
“Hemispherectomy is an operation where one half of the brain (a cerebral hemisphere) is surgically removed, disconnected, or disabled. Since 1923, it has been successfully performed hundreds of times. And perhaps best of all, this rather radical surgery does not affect who we really are!
A patient’s personality, memory, or sense of humor is the same as before. There is no part that has suddenly gone missing. Relatives and friends will still instantly recognize the person and be able to continue their previous relationships just like before the operation.
At worst there are only minimal changes in cognitive function (concerning the mind). But normally, patients show actual improvements; they test above average in intelligence tests and have otherwise increased intellectual capacities. Like superior language skills, despite the removal of the left hemisphere which is believed to contain the classical language zones.”
Furthermore, I’ve examined at length the many problems with neuroimaging like fMRI brain scans and why “It is not at all clear what we actually see or the reasons why.” I’d sure love to hear his, or in general, neuroscientists’ replies to the theses put forward in Beyond Machine Man about the real functions of the brain, what to make of the mythical meanings ascribed to brain imaging, my conclusions about today’s latest efforts in brain mapping, what time delays really are about and what they aren’t, what the mind is and what it isn’t, respectively its transmission mechanisms to the brain, and so on.
Holographic Universe by Michael Talbot covered so many of these cases. But tragically most people have no clue of the more fantastical phenomena since schools and media never mention them. The Afterlife Institute (http://www.greaterreality.com/) presents almost identical findings as Kilingenberg.
On the mystical side, SETH Material (Jane Roberts) proposes that a massive collective intelligence is the cause of physical formulation. “Even the seasons came to be by minds of the past” – maybe a botched paraphrase… SETH material mentioned the part about the unconscious/subconscious being a belief that SLOWS a person down needlessly.
Then there’s Ian Lawton (Genesis Unveiled). He has compiled the better channeled material along with the afterlife studies… REMEMBER that even if fallacies or aberrations exist (or can be created) in something such as Seth material or the thousands of similar themes of NDEs/OBEs, it doesn’t falsify the major premises. For instance, 10,000 people who died and returned to life claim KARMA is a lie, it doesn’t exist, meditation doesn’t matter, we are all beautiful souls and the ego is totally good and perpetual (with some lifetimes)… reincarnation is a choice, not a necessity… THESE are things that the current New Age or eastern mystics have trouble swallowing. NO chakras? No karma? Bad habits are okay? I don’t have to destroy the self to melt into the Great Infinite?
The anomaly in 10,000 cases, maybe three people experience a terrifying vision of hellfire and Jesus… WHY? Now there’s a reason for nature… we don’t know why.
Or a person is in love with a deity, say the Catholic Mary, and even weep and cry with sweet feelings in their heart… in time they forfeit the belief in their chosen god/goddess (the image of God), yet the realness/experience of the time happened.
Talk about hormones, what is the cause of a person crying streams full when praying to a god?
The SELF enabled the belief in god, the validations, the miracles, and such perceived, visions, etc. even the hormones that lead to the release of tears during the devotee’s prayers.
SETH Material, suppose 1000 pages are good and useful but 20 pages get into stuff the reader feels historically incorrect… WHY?
Suppose: An illuminating insight, conditioning my mind to consider that it can alter behaviors or learn anything on a whim (my will) doesn’t require years of subconscious programming will facilitate accelerated changes in my being and abilities. But this “Seth” entity also says that Jane Roberts and her husband were special elders alongside the real Jesus in a distant lifetime.
Infinite worlds, timelines, energies, conscious activity, information, individually and collectively, all interwoven with our real nature ( the afterlife one that continues doing what you are doing now at the moment of physical death) must make room for variety, an art that shows us we love peace and kindness but also war and slaughter (video games anyone? Historical warfare? Movies?)
The real nature of mind is not frequency based; it’s something much deeper. Though even referring to this nature as “soul” might not help us scientifically, for there may be a means of measuring this phenomena and its functions.
This convergence/confluence of afterlife research, reality creation, and the case studies provided by Arne is promising validation there’s a reason to forge ahead if one is compelled. The trick is to constantly discard assumptions.
Hi Jacob, thank you for your both eclectic and interesting comments and references. You are of course right about many amazing mind-blowing phenomena that are not being talked about, for reasons outlined in my article. I’ve only read a little bit about the Holographic Universe theory and that was quite many years ago. Since ‘holograms are three-dimensional images projected into space with the aid of a laser’ (from Michael Talbot’s book description), we’d have to ask who or what projected such an incredibly complex hologram, from where, and why? There are other theories that propose that we are living in an imaginary world. Actually, it is an age-old theory going back at least five thousand years.
In Beyond Machine Man, I’ve written at length about the computer simulation theory promoted by Elon Musk, based on Prof. Nick Bostrom’s trilemma. Let me share an introductory quote to this subject:
“Digital Man (or Homo Digitalis) generally believes in Homo Machina philosophy, however there are growing numbers who also seriously believe that we are not made of matter but digits; that we are merely simulated players like the characters or avatars used in a computer game. They believe that our entire reality here on planet Earth and indeed, the universe itself, is one giant holographic computer simulation.”
To me, it is a subject that needed to be covered in the context of the two main topics (Who we really are and why Transhumanism is just an empty promise), and I had a lot of fun dissecting it in sometimes rather morbid detail… 🙂
About the SETH Material you’ve mentioned, good to hear that it confirmed my conclusions about a fictionary unconscious or subconscious mind; such erroneous beliefs not only slow people down, but they can completely derail a person to the point of them becoming schizophrenic, and really messing up their lives.
I had a first look at what Ian Lawton is saying, and on his homepage, read this third of his fundamental three tenets: as an adult you’re creating or attracting every single thing you experience via the ‘Law of Attraction’. That surely is the belief of many adherents of New Age philosophy, ever since it became popular with ‘The Secret’ movie. And it is, (only) partly true. While there are many popular misconceptions about what karma really is (and I’ve written about it all in every one of my books), to say that it doesn’t exist, goes against basic facts.
Let me illustrate this a little bit with the following quote:
“Issac Newton formulated it in his third law of motion as ‘actio est reactio’, Latin for ‘action is reaction’. Every force or action on one object is followed by a reaction on another. The energy is always of equal magnitude, but going in the opposite direction, going back to its origin. Or, every action causes a counteraction. Nothing and nobody can escape this mechanism. Even if we may think so, or don’t want to remember the facts of a matter.”
And yet another one:
“Cause and effect too knows no boundaries, neither in time nor in space or location.”
Here’s a third-party quote featured in my book:
“Science has found that nothing can disappear without a trace. Nature does not know extinction. All it knows is transformation.”
Werner von Braun, pioneering aerospace engineer and space architect.
Yes, it sure is okay to have bad habits, but in excess, they may not be healthy and conducive to a happy life… 🙂 Meditation, or focused attention of the mind, is not a must do thing, but it’s nevertheless a smart practice as much can be gained from it. Many of these benefits are well researched and documented.
Re ‘I don’t have to destroy the self to melt into the Great Infinite?’: The notion that we have to do that comes from a misunderstood idea of who we are and what ego really is… And I have covered this in more detail in my book. Regarding the latter, let me just add this quote:
“Why do fanatical ego-bashers always have the biggest egos?” 🙂
Jacob, I’m pretty sure we’d have some really interesting conversations if we ever met in person, perhaps while indulging in some bad habits! 🙂
Concerning the Karma discussion, NDE’rs in general don’t claim that karma doesn’t exist. What most of them claim in relation to the subject is that there is no outside authority that rewards or punishes a person for his deeds in life. According to the way they explain it, it’s not that there are no deep, long term consequences to different kinds of behaviors and patterns, but that these consequences arise intrinsically from the path each person chooses to take.
I’ve a brother with hydrocephalus and partner with epilepsy, also have worked with others with brain injuries and disabilities, very very few with severe conditions are able to live entirely (or close to) ‘normal’ lives.
Anyone who suggests otherwise probably lacks personal experience and is certainly cherry picking the few outlying or misrepresented cases.
The challenge with this kind of world view is that it’s pretty much impossible to evidence most of it in a way acceptable to most people, it requires faith.
Thank you for your comment, Stuart. You are right that I have no personal experience living with a relative with hydrocephalus. Please note that I don’t say that *every* person with hydrocephalus is able to live a perfectly normal life, but that they do exist. Like the one quoted:
“One such example was documented in a neurological study consisting of over 600 brain scans: a university student with a measured IQ of 126 who graduated with a first-class honors degree in mathematics, without having hardly any discernible brain matter at all.”
Of course, my book goes into far more details of the matter, and as repeatedly noted, all quotes are by necessity out of context. Nevertheless, the above study was conducted by a British neurology Professor in a ‘long series of systematic scanning’ (said another British neuroscientist and Professor), and the results were, quoting again from Beyond Machine Man, “categorized into the following four groups: a) almost normal brains b) 50-70% of the cranium filled with CSF c) 70-90% filled with CSF, and d) where 95% of the cranial cavity was filled with cerebrospinal fluid.”
“Less than 10% of the studied cases were in the last, most severe category. Half of the people in this group were seriously retarded, yet the other half had IQs higher than the average 100.” [CSF is short for Cerebrospinal fluid]
These are scientific facts. One point I’m making about the many different kinds of anomalies discussed is that they indeed prove the impossible to be possible. Which means that a great many scientific theories are simply wrong, even though they are considered to be true in a most absolutist way. Inconvenient facts are simply ignored by mainstream science and medicine. Let me add another short excerpt from chapter Brain Matters:
“Another most amazing fact is that there is no medical explanation as to why people with this condition are able to feel sensations like hot and cold, have a sense of touch, can speak and understand spoken words, hear and see things, or have full motor control – when the areas thought to be responsible for these functions are devoid of neurons, and instead, are only filled with cerebrospinal fluid.”
Related to your idea that there is no evidence for an unconscious: I have had on several occasions noticed as I was emerging out of sleep/dream state, that it seemed I was having multiple dreams or threads of thought at once, and when I awoke those were all dispersed. So, I conjectured that waking consciousness is unitary, or mostly so, when you fall asleep you return to the multiple thread level of consciousness. You might even think of it as like a pyramid shape, during our waking time we’re at the unitary apex of consciousness.
Thank you for your interesting observations, Thomas. And please excuse my late response as I didn’t see the notification. You’d probably agree that the mind can be our best friend or worst enemy, and everything in between, at different times and to various degrees… It is a great tool once we, the who we really are, know how to properly use it. And indeed, we can be(come) aware of and follow multiple mental threads at the very same time.
We really need to differentiate between different states of consciousness and awareness (not exactly the same thing!), and the differing degrees of our mental focus or diffusion together with the object(s) of our attention. The following quote may illustrate the latter a little bit more:
“People with widely scattered minds are more likely to become victims of hypnosis, brainwashing or other forms of conditioning than those who can stay highly aware and sharply focused.”
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