The existence of sentient consciousness in the universe is one of the greatest scientific mysteries of all time. The existence of the universe itself, not to mention the development of organic life, is already confounding enough, but scientists still cannot explain why the universe evolved biological mechanisms to subjectively experience itself. The crux of the debate—rekindled in recent years due to new discoveries in quantum mechanics—centers around whether consciousness is a purely physical, materialistic phenomenon that is self-contained, or whether consciousness constitutes a more symbiotic universal force that helps establish the reality of space-time.
For those who stay up late swan diving into cosmic rabbit holes, here are five stunning new theories of consciousness developed by leading physicists and researchers:
1. “Quantum Consciousness,” or ORCH-OR
For a couple of decades, theoretical physicist Roger Penrose and anaesthesiologist and psychologist Stuart Hameroff have passionately advanced a theory of consciousness known as Orchestrated Objective Reduction, or ORCH-OR. The theory posits that consciousness fires from microtubules embedded in the quantum core of our universe, suggesting that consciousness does not arise merely from neurochemical processes of the brain but has a deeper, more primal origin that is intrinsic to the universe.
The theory suggests that our minds can leave behind imprints, residual information, in the fabric of the world around us. Hameroff also believes that this controversial idea of a “quantum consciousness,” that is not dependent on a purely biological substrate, leaves open the possibility of a kind of afterlife.
In January 2014, Japanese researchers detected quantum vibrations in microtubules, providing important corroboration for one of the controversial pillars of ORCH-OR. Consciousness, Penrose and Hameroff argue, is a non-computable force linked to the fundamental geometry of space-time itself.
2. Panpsychism, Universal Proto-Consciousness
Panpsychism is not a new theory but there have been some interesting tweaks and addendums in recent years. Panpsychism is essentially the belief that the universe itself is conscious, that there is a kind of ubiquitous proto-consciousness that permeates the cosmos. As such, panpsychism has traditionally been seen as a philosophical conundrum that is debated in metaphysical circles.
In recent years, however, a growing number of physicists and astronomers have begun viewing panpsychism as a scientific question—a concept that could actually be experimentally tested.
One such physicist, Gregory Matloff, wrote a paper in which he argued that scientists may be able to validate the idea of universal proto-consciousness by looking for “volitional stars” that chart their own paths in galactic orbits. While it sounds absurd, Matloff believes certain phenomena in observational astrophysics, such as Parenago’s Discontinuity, could help confirm panpsychism. Matloff also believes that a new theory of panpsychism could one day replace dark matter.
Other modern proponents of panpsychism include German physicist Bernard Haisch, who presented a theory that harkens back to ORCH-Or, in that it suggests that consciousness arises in a “quantum vacuum” anytime energy flows through an advanced system or structure and neuroscientist and psychiatrist Giulio Tononi who believes that consciousness may not be limited to biological organisms and that integrated information theory would suggest we make a distinction between consciousness and intelligence in the universe.
3. The Participatory Universe
The “participatory universe” theory is sometimes noted as a subset of panpsychism, but it deserves its own entry. Developed by renowned physicist John Archibald Wheeler—who coined the term “black hole” and worked with Niels Bohr on early groundbreaking experiments in quantum mechanics, among many other achievements—participatory universe, or Participatory Anthropic Principle, incorporates ideas from quantum theory to suggest that human observation creates the universe.
More specifically, Wheeler argued that the universe exists in a state of undefined quantum potential until the conscious observer collapses reality down into a single state. In essence, the universe requires the participation of a consciousness in order to have an objective reality. This theory requires really drilling down into the nuances of quantum theory, but it’s worth going down that rabbit hole.
4. The Global Consciousness Project and Retroactive Precognition
The Global Consciousness Project resulted from a series of experiments that took place at Princeton in the 1990s. The researchers there launched a project called Princeton Engineering Anomalies Research (PEAR) and ultimately wrote a book called The Margins of Reality that summarized their findings. After running a number of experiments involving human participants and random number generators, the PEAR team concluded that human intention has a small but mathematically significant effect on physical reality.
Essentially, the researchers believe that human consciousness can impact random information and make it more ordered. The research turned into the ongoing Global Consciousness Project, which collects worldwide statistical data documenting how human consciousness affects random number patterns.
A more recent experiment provided anecdotal evidence for something called “retroactive precognition.” Dr. Daryl Bem conducted an experiment strongly suggesting that humans are more likely to remember something in the present if they memorize it in the future. In other words, you’re more likely to recall something today if you memorize it tomorrow—which takes a minute to get your head around. His paper “Feeling the Future” presents experimental evidence that the human mind can cognitively sense the future in the present, though the exact mechanism remains unknown.
If these studies seem to suggest the reality of some kind of extrasensory perception (ESP) on the part of humans, it would not be the first time this idea was considered. In 2017, the CIA declassified hundreds of thousands of documents confirming that the government experimented with ESP and worked with psychics through the legendary STARGATE program. The CIA conscripted psychics as covert spies during the Cold War, attempting to marshall their ‘remote viewing’ powers to exfiltrate information from the Soviet Union—and Soviet intelligence agents did the same to us. There was a secret psychic Cold War going on that we’re only now learning about.
The documents also confirmed that police departments all across the country regularly hire psychics to solve cold cases and that the method works a shocking number of times.
5. Advanced Intelligence May Encode Itself Into the Physics of the Universe
This is one of the newest and most mind-blowing theories on the list. It is the stuff of science fiction—not something most people would expect to find openly written about by respected scientists.
In an article entitled “Is Physical Law an Alien Intelligence?” the esteemed astronomer and astrobiologist Caleb Scharf explored the idea that advanced alien consciousness may actually be encoded into the fabric of the universe itself. Harnessing theories from modern futurists and the enigmas of dark matter and dark energy, Scharf argues that higher forms of intelligence in our universe may encode living systems into physical law itself and use the energy to “manipulate luminous matter.”
The theory puts a new spin on panpsychism and presents an outlandish explanation for both dark matter and dark energy.
In a way, all of these theories can be said to flow together, describing a new conception of consciousness that transcends the bounds of current science. The fact that many of these theories are championed by renowned physicists and scientists testifies to their legitimacy. The fact is, there is much about this universe we don’t know. However, observations from quantum theory tell us there is a nebulous but fundamental link between consciousness and the establishment of physical reality.
Ann Arbor becomes latest city to decriminalize “magic” mushrooms and other natural psychedelics
(TMU) – The city of Ann Arbor, Michigan, has effectively decriminalized psilocybin or “magic” mushrooms along with other natural psychedelics in the latest sign that public opinion across the U.S. is continuing to turn against prohibitionist policies.
On Monday, the Ann Arbor City Council unanimously voted in favor of a resolution that would make it the city’s lowest-ranked law enforcement priority to the investigate or arrest anyone planting, cultivating, purchasing, transporting, distributing, using or possessing entheogenic plants or plant compounds.
The resolution applies to all psychedelics derived from plants and fungi, including psilocybin mushrooms, ayahuasca, ibogaine, mescaline, peyote and other substances with hallucinogenic properties deemed illegal under state and federal law.
The council also requires the Washtenaw County Prosecutor’s Office to halt the prosecution of those involved in the use of entheogenic plants and plant compounds.
Ann Arbor now joins a growing list of cities including Denver, Colorado, and the California cities of Santa Cruz and Oakland that have decriminalized all entheogenic plants. Other cities including Chicago and Austin are considering similar measures. A ballot measure that would legalize the use of psilocybin in therapeutic settings will also be voted on in the state of Oregon this November.
The move to de-prioritize law enforcement around psychedelics was spearheaded by the efforts of local grassroots advocacy group Decriminalize Nature Ann Arbor, or DNA2.
At the beginning of the year, councilmembers were skeptical about any move to decriminalize psychedelics. Since then, they’ve found themselves convinced by evidence of the therapeutic and spiritual benefits of psychedelics, including for mental health treatment and treating addiction, reports MLive.
Councilmember Zachary Ackerman cited the opening of a $17 million psychedelic and consciousness research center by Johns Hopkins Medicine as proof of “the tremendous potential of these future medicines.” The Center for Psychedelic and Consciousness at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore is currently conducting clinical trials to find out whether the drug is suitable as a prescription drug for the U.S. market.
Councilmember Jack Eaton described the council’s unanimous backing for the decriminalization resolution as carrying on the city’s legacy of backing the local decriminalization of m******** during the 1970s, when the plant was still illegal under state and federal law.
The resolution doesn’t allow for the commission of crimes or any significant violation of state or federal law, and any use of entheogenic substances that pose a threat to public health and safety could require intervention by law enforcement bodies.
In the resolution, entheogenic plants are defined as the full spectrum of plants and fungi that contain indole amines, tryptamines and phenethylamines “that can benefit psychological and physical wellness, support and enhance religious and spiritual practices, and can reestablish human’s inalienable and direct relationship to nature.”
The resolution also states that psychedelic substances can be used to address substance abuse problems, addiction, recidivism, trauma, post-traumatic stress, depression, anxiety, grief, cluster headaches and other debilitating conditions.
“The use of entheogenic plants, which can catalyze profound experiences of personal and spiritual growth, have been shown by scientific and clinical studies and traditional practices to be beneficial to the health and well-being of individuals and communities in addressing these conditions,” it states.
Psilocybin mushrooms are currently considered a Schedule 1 narcotic by the Drug Enforcement Agency.
However, psilocybin – the main chemical component of the mushrooms – was designated as a “breakthrough therapy” by the FDA in 2019 due to the positive results of psilocybin in treating depression, anxiety, addiction, and other mental health problems.
Studies have also shown how a microdose of psilocybin—far from the level needed for a full-blown trip—actually increases the creativity and empathy of participants.
Other researchers have also found that psilocybin has provided effective help to patients struggling to quit other addictive substances such as cigarettes.
The newfound recognition of psilocybin therapy as a valid treatment has eroded old stereotypes of psilocybin as some intoxicating and hallucination-inducing party drug that drives its users insane – a reputation that largely grew out of the hippie counterculture of the 1960s when they were widely known as “psychedelic” or “magic” mushrooms.
The resolution further notes that entheogenic plants have been the basis of spiritual practices by human cultures for thousands of years, yet those who seek them for the sake of improving their health and wellbeing must risk arrest and prosecution to obtain them.
“Decriminalization of naturally occurring medicines is necessary for progress,” councilmember Jeff Hayner said in a press release from DNA2 last week, reports Detroit Metro Times. “We can no longer turn a blind eye towards the wisdom of indigenous peoples, and the bounty the earth provides. I have been moved by the testimonies of those who have found profound relief from the use of entheogenic plants.”
The Esoteric Meaning Behind Neo’s Interrogation Scene in The Matrix
More than 20 years old now, The Matrix is recognized by fans across the world as being one of the most brilliant films in history, most notably for its deeper meaning and esoteric philosophy.
One scene that is particularly intriguing, considering the social climate of today, is Neo’s interrogation by the Agents of the Matrix.
Now, before we dig into the potential hidden meaning here, as I perceive it, and how Neo found himself in this uncomfortable position to begin with, let’s first establish some key points in relation to the overall story line that will help us to appreciate the implications behind this scene a little bit more.
What Does The Character Neo Represent in the Matrix?
Neo in ancient Greek (νέος) means new/young one. This is an important piece of the puzzle to help us understand what the directors of the film are trying to communicate to us. With that said, when we assess Neo’s character in the first film, we find that he is a solitary individual that keeps to himself and is struggling to find deeper meaning in this world by constantly searching the internet.
What Does The Character Morpheus Represent in the Matrix?
Morpheus in Greek mythology is a messenger of the gods. He appears to humans through dreams with the intention of delivering divine Knowledge and Truth. In the Greek mythos, he can appear in almost any form in people’s dreams, which could be because anyone, regardless of race, gender, or outward appearance, can be a messenger of enlightenment and Truth.
The First Matrix Film is About The Beginning of the Journey to Awakening
With the understanding of the deeper meaning behind what Neo and Morpheus’ characters represent in the film, we can now appreciate the intro scene of Neo sleeping (whilst searching for Morpheus) through a different lens of perception and awareness.
You see, Neo sleeping whilst searching online for Morpheus represents the early stages of the Truth seekers journey — “asleep” but still searching for deeper meaning in life — and hoping to find that meaning by seeking out a “messenger” of higher Knowledge and Truth.
Truth is Terrorism in the Empire of Lies
Through his incessant efforts, Neo begins to get closer and closer to finding the elusive Morpheus. This, however, also attracts the unwanted attention of the Agents in the Matrix, which represent the enforcers of the shadow government of this system. Their job is to ensure that no one exposes what the Matrix really is, and how it turns unsuspecting every day human beings into useful resources that it can use and exploit.
The Agents proceed to apprehend Neo and interrogate him, where they make it very clear that they’ve been spying on him and keeping meticulous records of his activities, both online and offline, for quite some time now. As we all know very well today, all around the world intelligence agencies are doing exactly that — tracking what we view online and keeping meticulous records on many of our movements.
The agents, however, do not see Neo as being a major threat to the Matrix system, as he is still in the early stages of his awakening and does not know enough to be a major threat. Instead, they offer him a deal where they will be willing to “wipe the slate clean” on his illegal activities online, if Neo will simply help them track down the man they call Morpheus, who they claim is “a known terrorist” that is “considered by many authorities to be the most dangerous man alive”.
This represents that the single greatest threat to this manipulative system — which is overwhelmingly ruled by deception and exploitation — is any messenger of higher Knowledge and Truth that can potentially awaken those who are still “asleep” to what the proverbial Matrix really is. In fact, one could argue this sort of power struggle has been going on for thousands of years, and is possibly why Socrates was accused of “corrupting the youth” by the ruling class more than 2,000 years ago and subsequently sentenced to death; or why Fred Hampton was assassinated by government authorities in 1969; or, in more recent history, why civilians that were peacefully protesting against Wall Street and the bankers for their part in destroying the world economy in 2008, were targeted by the FBI and even labelled as potential “domestic terrorists“.
Simply put, Truth is terrorism in the empire of lies.
Neo, still being somewhat naïve and unbegun in his journey, rejects the Agent’s offer and demands he get a phone call because “I know my rights!”
To this, Agent Smith retorts, “tell me Mr. Anderson, what good is a phone call if you’re unable to speak?”, which results in Neo’s mouth warping in the most eerie of ways.
This scene represents a lesson that all genuine Truth seekers eventually come to learn — this system is not concerned with human rights nor is it concerned with upholding authentic justice. Instead, it inculcates these beliefs and misperceptions into our minds from a very young age, because it serves to help legitimize its unnecessary existence in the eyes of the unsuspecting public and indoctrinate us as to why we think we need it. But in reality, our government guaranteed “rights” can be taken away from us in the blink of an eye.
In relation to current events, for example, many thousands of people worldwide have been arrested for violating curfew orders; In one Indian state, civilians were told they must take selfies every hour and send it to the authorities to prove that they are staying indoors; in South Africa, some have been fined for not wearing masks while driving their cars; In Boston in the United States, people have even been told that they will be fined if they walk “the wrong direction” down the street; Homeless people in France have reportedly been fined for not staying indoors; Some people have been arrested for attending funerals of loved ones because it violated lockdown orders; Others (including doctors and scientists) have had their right to freedom of speech censored online; In Australia, a pregnant woman was actually arrested in her home for facebook posts that encouraged protesting against the lockdown; According to the International Labor Organization, tens of millions are being pushed into unemployment; and travel all around the world has been severely restricted by these authorities who have taken it upon themselves to be the rulers of this planet by dictating what the rest of us can and cannot do. Whether you agree with these policies or not, these things cannot logically be called “rights” since they are so very easily violated and taken away from us.
There are many other examples that demonstrate how our government given “rights” are more of a comforting illusion than an actual reality, such as the CIA’s secretive Black Site torture programs, which have been done in cooperation with other intelligence agencies and authorities throughout the world. In these programs, people have been kidnapped — without any legal criminal charge or trial — and then taken to undisclosed secret locations where many of them are tortured for many months on end, in ways that are considered to be in violation of international law and basic human rights. The CIA, of course, simply claims they are suspected terrorists. In 2014, however, a Senate Intelligence Committee Report found that at least 26 of the people that were kidnapped and tortured were actually “wrongfully detained”.
Wake Up Neo — You Are the One
Fortunately, Neo manages to escape this unthinkable situation without any serious injury or harm. Soon after, he is contacted by Morpheus, where he is told that he was very lucky that the Agents underestimated his great potential and spared him, because if the Agents had known the great secret that Morpheus knows, then Neo would probably be dead.
Confused by the obvious strangeness of everything taking place, Neo asks Morpheus what the hell is going on, and what exactly is he talking about?? Without hesitation, Morpheus replies to him, “You are the one Neo — You see, you may have spent the last few years looking for me, but I have spent my entire life looking for you.”
This is perhaps the most important lesson the new Truth seeker must eventually come to learn — We are the ones we have been waiting for to change this corrupt world my friends; and we must stop looking for heroes and human leaders to absolve us of this very serious responsibility. Instead, we must all take on the role of Morpheus — which is to awaken as many Neo’s (new minds) as we possibly can, whilst also taking on the role that represents the journey of Neo, by challenging ourselves to become the best version of who we authentically are.
By doing this, we will help to awaken and unleash the unique creative forces of each individual’s problem solving imagination; and we will also find unity in our shared struggle against the injustices, and corruption, of this inhumane system which invariably exploits us all.
If not us, then who? And if not now, then when?
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Americans Are Dropping LSD at an Increasing Rate – And Acid Use “Probably Tripled” in 2020 Alone
(TMU) – As 2020 has clearly shown, life is fraught with existential dread and can often resemble a nightmare for many of us.
If it were just a matter of cabin fever resulting from the coronavirus health crisis, that would be one thing. But this year has also entailed chaos in the streets, economic instability sweeping through our families and communities, not to mention the usual madness that has been raging across the world in recent years.
And if you’ve thought of reaching for some chemicals to escape the madness, even momentarily, you’re hardly alone.
As a recent study has shown, a growing number of Americans are using LSD to escape the deep crisis that our society has found itself in. In fact, the hallucinogen’s popularity has grown exponentially in recent years.
The authors of the study have a very simple explanation for why adults – primarily millenials and Gen Xers – are dabbling or diving headlong into using hallucinogens. Simply put, the world is on fire.
“LSD is used primarily to escape. And given that the world’s on fire, people might be using it as a therapeutic mechanism,” University of Cincinnati doctoral candidate Andrew Yockey explained to Scientific American. “Now that COVID’s hit, I’d guess that use has probably tripled.”
In undertaking one of the first major studies of acid dropping among adults in the U.S., the researchers examined surveys of 168,000 Americans and found that intake of LSD had risen by a shocking 56.4 percent between 2015 and 2018.
And while one might expect that it would be the youth – in this case Generation Z – that decides what the trendiest drug might be, it turns out that Gen Z isn’t so interested in the drug that helped define the hippie an psychedelic counter-cultures of the 1960s and 1970s. In fact, those aged 18 to 25 saw their LSD use decrease by 24 percent.
By a huge margin, Those who tripped the most on acid were adults with college degrees and people aged 35 to 49, whose interest in LSD skyrocketed by 223 percent in the three-year period. Meanwhile, those over 50 saw 45 percent increase while those age 26 to 34 saw an increase in LSD use by 59 percent. Those with college degrees did 70 percent more LSD.
A number of factors have boosted the popularity of the psychedelic substance, well before the current global crisis made us desperate for some form of escape. Researchers believe that one factor may have been the outcome of the 2016 presidential election, which made certain groups seek out the drug in lieu of, perhaps, escaping to Canada.
The rising popularity of microdosing is also a likely factor in the rise of LSD use. Microdosing typically involves taking one-tenth to half of a typical “trip”-sized dose as a means to reduce depression or anxiety, enhance creativity or simply sharpen the mind.
As a psychedelic drug, however, LSD is classified as a schedule 1 substance by the federal government due to the belief that the drug is addictive, dangerous and has no medical value.
While LSD’s popularity is rising over the years it still doesn’t come close to the mid-20th century peak of acid culture, experts say.
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