(Global Heart | Esther Haasnoot) What is consciousness and where is it located? An Interview with Shelli Renée Joye about her new book: “The electromagnetic brain”.
What is consciousness and where is it located? In The Electromagnetic Brain, Shelli Joye bravely bridges science and alternative views by revealing the intersection of consciousness studies. Consciousness is much more than just an isolated function of the individual brain and its neurophysiological activities. Joye’s thorough research shows that consciousness is linked to the electromagnetic field that not only encompasses the entire universe but is deeply involved in its creation of matter and the material world. This is a wonderful book for anyone who likes a deeper understanding of how everything in our world is interrelated.
An Interview with Shelli Renée Joye about her new book: “The electromagnetic brain”, by Esther Haasnoot for Global Heart
Esther Haasnoot: The tacit assumption in Western science has been that consciousness depends solely upon the brain and its neurophysiological activities. Might it be that we are looking for the source or sources of consciousness in all the wrong places?
Shelli Renée Joye: Yes, and this reminds me of a song some years back called “Looking for Love in All the Wrong Places.” Western science is based upon repeatable observations that are made in time and space (the space-time domain), and there have been a lot of assumptions made in following that research paradigm. Voltage change measurements that are made of the brain’s dynamic activity have been correlated with different states of consciousness, leading to the (unproven) assumption that these dynamic voltage waveform changes are the sources of consciousness, that they somehow create consciousness. This leads to the supposition that if we could somehow create a machine that would generate such voltage changes in some sort of constrained field, we could create consciousness in a machine. Under this assumption, the bulk of scientific research, rather than seeking for possible sources of consciousness beyond the electrical activity of neurons, is currently one that focuses on mapping the brain’s neuronal interconnections and recording changing electromagnetic field voltages within these neurons. Some scientists (Daniel Dennet) even suggest that consciousness does not really exist, that it is just an epiphenomenon (a byproduct) of the voltage changes. But that begs the question as to what “intelligence” designed or evolved neurons and their electrical activities. Material science has “blinkered” itself, much as one does a horse pulling a carriage, and a wider field of vision-speculation-research is not even considered.
Esther Haasnoot: If a holographic system of consciousness is operating in the universe, the mind may be viewed as a local computer, but consciousness is that which operates the computer-mind. Do you see the universe as “a giant cosmic field of consciousness” or a complex hologram with multiple dimensions, filled with meaning, self-organizing? Is consciousness something beyond that of the nervous system and brain?
Shelli Renée Joye: Yes, I agree with Pribram and Bohm that the universe is an enormous holographically projected system of intersecting electromagnetic waves that carry (and project) information into space-time. Bohm said that “consciousness is basically in the implicate order,” and the Pribram-Bohm hypothesis states that this One consciousness, from within the implicate order, projects the ten thousand “things” we see in our space-time universe (Bohm’s “explicate order”) holographically, through innumerable intersection patterns of information-laden energy projected out from “within” the implicate order that exists everywhere below the smallest possible dimensions of space, below what is called the “Planck length.” So yes, though I would state it slightly differently by saying that “the universe is a complex hologram with multiple dimensions that is a projection from an implicate (transcendent of space-time) order that is consciousness itself, and that is filled with meaning and is constantly self-organizing.” Consciousness is definitely something beyond that of the nervous system and brain (after all, which comes first, the chicken or the egg?).
Esther Haasnoot: Rupert Sheldrake talks about “telepathy-like connections between organisms”. He concluded that telepathy is a normal part of animal communication and that they communicate via an electromagnetic field or via morphic resonance. He also describes that the exchange of information through groups of similar morphic units, via morphic fields, form a collective memory. Can you tell us a bit more about that?
Shelli Renée Joye: My answer will be a bit truncated as it took 447 pages to discuss this more fully in my book Sub-Quantum Consciousness. I completely agree with Sheldrake’s hypothesis of “morphic resonance.” His idea is also congruent with Teilhard de Chardin’s “noosphere” and Carl Jung’s “collective unconscious,” (though I would call it “collective consciousness.”) Several scientists, including Sheldrake, discuss this in my new book in which a dozen scientists point to the electromagnetic field itself as the carrier, source, or “thing” of that which we call “consciousness.” My studies as an electrical engineer mapped the ways in which information can be transmitted and received throughout our space-time universe. But more importantly for me, particularly when I began to focus upon the study of consciousness, was what I learned of the Fourier Transform. This equation presents the fundamental relationship bridging our space-time domain with a transcendent (timeless and spaceless) frequency domain, or as the physicist David Bohm called it, the “implicate order,” as contrasted with the “explicate order” which is our more familiar space-time universe.
Almost all modern electronic digital devices have been developed through use of the relationship mapped by the Fourier Transform, which takes signals of information that exist in space and time and transforms them into a dimensionless frequency domain where calculations are extremely straightforward, calculations that are almost impossibly complex if one tries to do them in our non-linear space-time domain. But material scientists tend to be quite myopic in that they and engineers are mostly interested in getting the calculations and predictions correct, and they are unfortunately not interested in the underlying ontological understanding of “what’s going on here,” (i.e. they do not spend time thinking about what might be the implications for reality in the relationship of space and time with a non-spatial, non-temporal domain). David Bohm, though brilliant, was seen as a “black sheep” among theoretical physicists because he, like his friend and mentor Albert Einstein, was more interested in trying to understand what was really going on in the universe and why, rather than in just using equations to solve problems in electro physics and radio engineering.
Jumping now to the heart of your question, much as there exist many many “channels” of radio broadcast information going on simultaneously, so too there are many “channels” of consciousness broadcasting, receiving, and exchanging information throughout the universe in space-time. One can “tune in” to a specific single channel and “tune out” all of the others, much as one can “channel surf” broadband media stations. But the basic map given us by the Fourier Transform shows us that all of these channels are also existing within the implicate order, the frequency domain, a region that has no space and no time. Accordingly, everything within the implicate order, all information, is superpositioned, which means it is all available within this timeless realm and is never lost. Information from space-time is continually transformed through resonance into the implicate order, where it accumulates and is not lost. Think of information falling into the “event horizon” of a black hole. Physicists state that this information is “lost forever” but I believe (and Bohm and Pribram also stated) that it is lost to space-time but NOT LOST within the implicate order.
The Vedantic tradition of the “akasha” or the “akashic records” (as well as the futurist-philosopher Ervin László’s recent books) as the eternal storehouse of all information-knowledge that has been collected within the implicate order from time immemorial. Teilhard de Chardin goes further than Bohm and Pribram by telling us that death is not the end to our personal cognitively experienced self. In an essay he completed a week before his death on Easter Sunday in 1952, Teilhard talks about “Breaking the Death Barrier,” and supported by many of his innumerable essays, Teilhard says that when one once again merges with God, this unity does not mean that our individually experienced personas are lost, but that “unity differentiates” and diversity increases interconnectivity. From a theological perspective, his idea is that we all contribute to the rich experiences of God, we are all “paintbrushes of God.”
So how does morphic resonance work? Well, say the first butterfly learns to fly. That butterfly’s experience and new skillset are not lost when the butterfly dies, but the information is already stored in the frequency domain, in the implicate order, along with the butterfly’s life experience. Since the information within the implicate order is non-local, it is available everywhere within the implicate order, which itself pervades all of space, at the center everywhere, at the bottom of space, just below what is called the Planck length dimension of 10-35 meters. So suddenly all of the butterflies in the world have access to this new skillset called “flying.” Each individual butterfly resonates with the unique frequency signature or bandwidth within the implicate order that is the ”butterfly channel” and that works as a template to project and to guide the construction and repair of future butterflies. The same idea supports Teilhard’s conjectured “Noosphere,” which is the unique broadband “channel” of collective human consciousness, and which incidentally, can be contacted directly by each living human given the right set of circumstances (meditation, contemplation, entheogenic drugs, etc.)
I know this is perhaps too much information maybe, or not enough, and of course words are very poor instruments in trying to convey these cosmological maps. But once you have a basic grasp of the map things begin to fall into place as the model is corroborated by innumerable accounts of mystics and psychonauts in a wide variety of cultures and epochs.
Esther Haasnoot: In László’s cosmology, the universe is the interaction of these two dimensions, the A-dimension and the M-dimension. Laszlo’s use of “A” in naming his A-dimension stems from his use of the term akasha, an ancient Sanskrit term (ākāśa). He describes the Akashic or A-field as interconnecting all things in and between all dimensions, nonlocally, in a fractal series of multiverses. How does the Akashic record (soul dimension) relate to the material dimension (space-time dimension, M-dimension, material world)?
Shelli Renée Joye: I believe I’ve mostly answered this when I addressed the previous question. László’s cosmology is quite congruent with David Bohm’s if the take László’s “M-dimension” as Bohm’s “explicate order” (the material world that we see in space and time), while László’s “A-dimension,” the akasha, is Bohm’s “implicate order” or the electrical engineering “frequency domain.”
The basic cosmological process can be seen as a continuous flow or cycling between the two domains, with information from space-time flowing into the implicate order (perhaps through the mysterious force we call gravity) at the center of each “point” in space, while the explicate, space-time cosmos, is projected out from the implicate order and into the explicate order. The One consciousness that is the implicate order uses its accumulated information-knowledge to compute the next iteration of material configurations (“objects” such as quarks, photons, protons, etc.) as holonomic projections into space-time regions.
Esther Haasnoot: The American clairvoyant Edgar Cayce, known as “the sleeping prophet,”, also used “akashic records” to describe the source of ideas with which he claimed to have connected during his deep trance and sleep states. Could you say that when we are inspired to compose music or write a book, for example, we are attuned to the akashic record?
Shelli Renée Joye: My short answer is, “definitely.” All creativity flows from within the implicate order. Artists and writers often talk about “getting in the flow” or “channeling their Muse.”
David Bohm stated this quite clearly in 1980 regarding the experience (and creation) of music:
“In listening to music, one is therefore directly perceiving an implicate order. Evidently, this order is active in the sense that it continually flows into emotional, physical, and other responses, that are inseparable from the transformations out of which it is essentially constituted.” *
Esther Haasnoot: Cosmologists do believe that long before there was matter in our space-time universe there were electromagnetic fields in the form of dynamic plasma. If everything is energy in essence what can you say about matter? Is matter then the condensation of energy, the harder the matter the slower the vibration of energy?
Shelli Renée Joye: In a way, yes, you could say that matter is a “condensation of energy,” but I feel it would be more accurate to see matter as a holonomic (three-dimensional holographic) projection of electromagnetic energy waves intersection at various frequencies as they are “broadcast” out from within the implicate order at the spherical center of every point from which they originate. I don’t think “the harder the matter the slower the vibration of energy” is correct, but would say something like “the hardness of matter” is a function of a greater confluence of intersecting wavelengths of electromagnetic energy at that particular region. The higher the frequency, the greater the energy. Conversely, higher frequencies imply smaller wavelengths. There is a reciprocal relationship.
Esther Haasnoot: The Taoist “yin-yang symbol”, with black representing yin and white representing yang, is a symbol that reflects the inescapably intertwined duality of all things in nature. Do you think this symbol captures the essence of a cosmological process?
Shelli Renée Joye: The “yin-yang symbol” that was intuited by ancient Chinese Taoists (and perhaps even earlier) does capture quite well the cosmological relationship of what we have been speaking of the “implicate order-explicate order” relationship, which is a dynamic that Bohm describes as “enfolding and unfolding.” In fact, if you look carefully at a traditional “yin-yang symbol” you will see that right in the center of the black region is a tiny dot of white, while right in the center of the white region is a tiny dot of black. This is a great visual metaphor or map of the ontological reality of what is happening (according to Bohm, Pribram, the Taoists, and many mystics throughout our planet’s history).
Esther Haasnoot: Franz Mesmer had introduced the theory of “animal magnetism,” the hypothesis that there is an invisible and natural magnetic force that flows within all living things and that with sufficient training and practice, this force can be detected and manipulated to heal and strengthen various regions of the human body. What is your view on hands-on-healing, reiki, or distant-healing? Is this possible from a scientific point of view?
Shelli Renée Joye: It does seem feasible to me that not only hands-on-healing and distant-healing may be efficacious, but that also prayer may be effective and have a “scientific basis,” though I suppose 99% of current professionally trained scientists would dismiss this outright. Particularly if one understands and accepts, at least as a hypothesis, that the Pribram-Bohm holoflux theory (and the yin-yang symbolism) offers a reasonable map of what’s going on (particularly in light of the fact that material science has not yet put forth any other reasonable description of the ontological reality that underlies relationships such as the Fourier Transform that work so mysteriously well for them in calculations).
The mechanism would be one wherein any prayer of perhaps, more importantly, the energy behind any conscious “intention” or “willing” of an individual human consciousness will resonate by identity with frequencies in the implicate order, which have no spatial limitations, then that “prayer” or intention immediately works to put a slight “spin” on the calculations (or dynamics) within the implicate order, resulting in some small but real effect on reality. After all, everything is connected and interconnected especially by the ubiquitous implicate order that underlies (or parallels) space and time. It’s a matter of seeing how one consciousness can “reach out” through the implicate order, via Sheldrake’s morphic resonance, to affect another consciousness that is also connected immediately and unescapably with the implicate order. This also, of course, explains the concept of karma!
Esther Haasnoot: Fascinating research shows how meditating as a group can lower crime rates and create more peaceful cities. This phenomenon is named the “Maharishi Effect”. If meditation can have effects beyond the individual how does that work?
Shelli Renée Joye: The answer parallels the answer to the previous question. Let’s say in terms of Teilhard’s noosphere, a group of individual consciousnesses is focusing on the same general feeling-concept, they are willing or resonating with the same intention, say “peace” or “loving-kindness.” The individual ‘drops’ or frequency packets of consciousness merge and reinforce one another within the same bandwidth range (“channel”) in the implicate order and thus influence to some extent that channel, which is the channel that all humans are currently plugged into (perhaps we should call it the “inner-net”). Thus there will be an influence, a group influence.
Unfortunately, there is a dark side to this for groups that are involved in delusional thinking, hatred, prejudice, lust, etc. You can see it historically in the collective mentality of the many Germans who bought into the Nazi group thinking. You might think of it as a natural collective “being” much as our own consciousness as individuals is actually more of a collective consciousness that is resonating from contributions from many of our “conscious energy centers,” such as our chakra centers or individual organs and subcenters of our brain. We are not really one but we are many. In fact, there are quite a few human individuals who exhibit multiple personalities, or “alters,” which indicate that though we think we are one continuous personality, in fact, there may be varieties of ourselves, each one in “the driver’s seat” at different times, depending on outside stimulation or especially seen in groups, “mobs,” collective movements. At a much higher level of coalescence would be the various noospheric channels. I have a book written by an occultist dated 1878 that talks about the various “heavens.” The book describes a “Indian heaven” and a “Negro heaven” and a “White heaven.” This perspective can be translated to the likely reality that there are various sub-noospheric channels within the human noosphere, ranging from racial group consciousness to political and socio-economic group consciousness “channels.”
Esther Haasnoot: There is urgency in coming to see the world as a web of interrelated processes of which we are integral parts, that all of our choices and actions have consequences for the world around us. How do you see this?
Shelli Renée Joye: We are definitely in a time where it is urgent to foster creatively effective healing and bonding “group consciousness” in the noosphere through morphic resonance. External means are not working (governments, voting, logic, laws) well and cannot easily respond to the plethora of dynamic challenges currently disrupting the ecologies of the planet in so many ways. While material scientists would likely scoff at the idea, it seems apparent that there is an urgent need to come together psychically, to work to build a cohesive positive, creative will in the collective noosphere, to act on a higher integrative level than that of individuals. As someone once said, “If we don’t all hang together, we’ll hang separately.” That is why I would encourage everyone who is in the slightest bit open to these new ideas of cosmological reality, that they begin to develop a regular practice of using their own individual consciousness as a tool to foster the emergence of a planetary force for healing, a channel that will have an effect on all beings and systems on our planet. This may require adopting traditional ways of praying and/or new ways of psychonautic resonance via entheogens, yoga, or other contemplative, perhaps shamanistic practices, but with the intention of forming a cohesive coalition of well-meaning conscious beings coming together to produce a Great Healing of the various dis-eases that have sprung up through the recent unravelling that has been infecting and in many cases destroying our individual human community efforts to heal and to make things better rather than allow them to become worse. There is great hope in working to apply the principles that we begin to realize are possible given the new understandings of our cosmological realities such as the noosphere and the implicate order.
Esther Haasnoot: All processes in natural systems show the deep synergy and interaction both within an individual system and the environment in which it lives. We become more aware of the deep interconnection of all ecological systems between them, and how the collapse of one may trigger the collapse of interconnected systems. Can you tell us something about this “ripple effect”?
Shelli Renée Joye: This reminds me of the “Butterfly effect” in chaos theory in which a butterfly flapping its wings can have an effect on a tornado days later in another part of the country. Everything on our planet is interconnected (everything in the universe, in reality, is interconnected, for how could there be anything totally separate from the one reality if it is considered to be one “uni-verse”?).
For us humans, this goes along with the idea of “unintended consequences” associated with any change in the ecological balance of our world. For example, if the bees all die, major changes will occur because plants depending on bees for pollination will not be pollinated. I once read a science fiction story about time travelers going back millions of years to the Jurassic period, and one of the members of the expedition steps on an insect. When they return to their starting time, the world has changed in innumerable ways.
About the author
Shelli Renée Joye, Ph.D., attended Rice University on a physics scholarship and graduated with a degree in Electrical Engineering. After graduation, she worked with John Lilly on interspecies communication and pursued contemplative practice with Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche. She completed her doctorate in Philosophy, Cosmology, and Consciousness at the California Institute of Integral Studies. The author of several books, including Tuning the Mind, she lives in Viola, California. For more information or to connect with Shelli Renée Joye: shellijoye.net,or to purchase book: Inner Traditions, Amazon, Bol.com.
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