Home > Presentation, St Louis 2014 > Note to Russ Breault

Note to Russ Breault

October 11, 2014

from the conference

imageWhen it comes to prioritizing the uploading of video recordings to YouTube, just remember that Andrew Silverman’s talk, Natural, Manufactured Or ‘Miracle’? was particularly interesting.  I do want to hear it again, soon.

Andrew quickly honed in on the subject of consciousness, more specifically, about what Robert Lanza calls biocentrism. “Without consciousness, space and time are nothing,” says Lanza and he argues that “The universe bursts into existence from life, not the other way around as we have been taught.”

I read the best selling book (Biocentrism: How Life and Consciousness are the Keys to Understanding the True Nature of the Universe). I’m not sold on the idea but I find it fascinating. This is why I sat up a bit more, focused a bit more. Later, when I spoke with Andrew he called the subject mind-centrism. I do like that better.

Back to Andrew’s talk. He quotes Max Planck: 

I regard consciousness as fundamental. I regard matter as derivative from consciousness. We cannot get behind consciousness. Everything that we talk about, everything that we regard as existing, postulates consciousness.

He quotes Erwin Schrödinger

And Andrew cites a paper by Stanford’s Andrei Linde, one of the primary authors of the inflationary universe theory. The cited paper is called Universe, Life, Consciousness. One telling sentence reads:

Is it possible to introduce a “space of elements of consciousness,” and investigate a possibility that consciousness may exist by itself, even in the absence of matter, just like gravitational waves, excitations of space, may exist in the absence of protons and electrons?

What does this have to do with the shroud? It may be a stretch but it should be fun to think about it.

Andrew states (from the abstract for his talk):

Developments in quantum theory and cosmology have led some eminent scientists to postulate that consciousness, awareness and will are far more than incidental products of the material universe but may be fundamental to existence itself.

And wonders:

Could it be that the image on the Shroud might well be the single most important piece of physical evidence to help us discover more about the relationship between mind and matter, the nature of humanity and our relationship to the material universe and to each other?

Could it be?

It is one of those “you had to be there”  talks. You have to see the video. Russ, I will be unfairly impatient.

  1. John Klotz
    October 11, 2014 at 7:01 am

    You have to contrast Silverman’s presentation with an Op-Ed in the times being published tomorrow. http://www.nytimes.com/2014/10/12/opinion/sunday/are-we-really-conscious.html?r

    Prof. Graziano of Princeton tells us the exciting news that science is about to prove that consciousness doesn’t exist but is an illusion created by our brains.

    The scientists who are hard at work trying to prove consciousness is an illusion remind me in a sense of Ptolemy (the astronomer, not the the pharaoh.) He devised an earth centric solar system and to make it work all he had to do was hypothesize a little loop in each of the planets’ orbits around the earth. Scientists who seek to explain away consciousness are engaged in their own Ptolemaic exercise.

    We don’t know all the answers yet, but it’s Teilhard’s explanation of reflective consciousness comes to mind: It isn’t just to know that we exist but it is to know that we know. (I hope I got that right. It’s six AM)

  2. October 11, 2014 at 9:54 am

    When it comes to speculative quantum models of the consciousness, Orch-OR appears to have the upper hand (with the recent discovery of QV in microtubules) and the core elements of that theory clash directly with biocentrism (not surprising, since Roger Penrose is notoriously against the string theory and biocentrism relies on it).

    Although, in the end both models end up proposing the same: that consciousness is a fundamental element in this universe.

    • October 11, 2014 at 12:02 pm

      Seeing my past comment, I believe that it is more accurate to say that biocentrism borrows from string theory instead of saying that it relies on it.

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