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Cosmic Consciousness and the Ptolemaic Principle

You Are The Universe cover (Times Square)

If you follow the literature of scientific research in medicine, you may have raised your eyebrows at the list of authors credited in an article that came out in the October, 2016, issue of the journal Scientific Reports. With the arcane title “Identification of altered metabolomic profiles following a Panchakarma-based Ayurvedic intervention in healthy subjects: the Self-Directed Biological Transformation Initiative (SBTI),” the article named 13 of them. They included Eric Schadt, who founded the Icahn Institute for Genomics and Multiscale Biology at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York, and Harvard professor Rudolph Tanzi, co-discoverer of all three familial early-onset Alzheimer’s disease genes, who is said to be a serious candidate for a Nobel Prize. Seeing names like that on a paper describing serious scientific research wouldn’t budge anyone’s brow, but those who read further down the author list could be excused if they did a double-take: included at the end of the list of accomplished scientists was one Deepak Chopra.

Yes, this Dr. Chopra was indeed the same Dr. Chopra who has on many occasions been roundly criticized in the pages of Skeptic magazine, and on many other occasions by those who consider their mission to be that of defending science from myth and misunderstanding. So what to make of this involvement in serious research, and his acceptance by serious researchers? The dictionary defines a skeptic as “a person who maintains a doubting attitude, as toward values, plans, statements, or the character of others.” But a true skeptic doesn’t just challenge the views of others. He or she also challenges the views of him- or herself. And so it was with an open mind that we read You Are the Universe, another collaboration between Chopra and a scientist, this time Chapman University physicist Menas Kafatos. In the book, the authors offer what they purport to be a scientific argument for what they call the “participatory universe,” the proposition that the universe and human consciousness are inextricably linked.

You Are the Universe (cover)

The message of their book is encapsulated in their title. The assertion means that we humans, or we who are conscious beings, are significantly intertwined with what physicists call the physical universe, which they assert is “living” and “conscious,” and responds to human minds. That “the universe” affects humans is of course indisputable, but that human existence changes the universe in some significant manner is not an idea most scientists would accept.

This is not a new idea—as the authors point out, it dates back at least to the Vedic sages of ancient India. Those ancient scholars came to their conclusion, the authors tell us, “by diving deep into their own awareness.” In their day, in the search for truth there wasn’t much more one could do but meditate on such problems. Ever since the scientific revolution, however, we have had available powerful tools for understanding the physical world. As for the mind, “introspection” fell into disuse in the late 19th century as we began to uncover the role of the unconscious, which is inaccessible to introspection. Today, we have powerful brain imaging technologies that more than take up the slack. The authors promise in a sense to update the old Vedic arguments in light of these intellectual advances by employing the ideas and methods of modern science to offer evidence to support their point of view.

The first problem with that promise is that by “support,” the authors don’t mean what scientists usually mean when making that claim about a theory—that it makes predictions that may (or may not) be verified through experiment. Rather, the evidence they propose to offer is that the human universe is better than traditional science at answering nine “ultimate mysteries” offered in the form of chapter title questions: What came before the big bang? Why does the universe fit together so perfectly? Where did time come from? What is the universe made of? Is there design in the universe? Is the quantum world linked to everyday life? Do we live in a conscious universe? How did life first begin? Does the brain create the mind?

If we accept this approach, we face another issue: although some of these mysteries are addressed by science (How did life first begin?), some are not (Why does the universe fit together so perfectly?). Some are even, to a scientist, too vaguely posed to even consider (they ask Do we live in a conscious universe? but provide no clear and verifiable definition of what that means.)

The bulk of the book is a discussion of these nine ultimate mysteries. The objections we just raised aside, in these chapters they generally do a good job of presenting what is known and not known by modern science. The discussion ranges over a wide swath of material, from the intricacies of genetics, to the details of various theories of cosmic inflation. And they rightfully point out some of the limitations of current science. They criticize, for example, the confidence in the validity of string theory that many theoretical physicists hold despite a lack of evidence—a good point. In fact, the large hadron collider in Geneva, where the Higgs boson was discovered, had offered the best and perhaps only (at least for now) possibility of experimental support for the theory, and found none.

And then there is the “fine tuning problem.” That’s the issue that if many of the parameters that appear in our theories are altered by just a percent or so, calculations show that the universe would have evolved quite differently, and in a manner that would not have led to the possibility of life as we know it. That’s not really an issue for physics—the physicist’s job is to figure out and validate the laws, not to worry about what would happen if they were different. But it does present quite a puzzle for the scientific worldview.

The authors also present several phenomena as troubling for science, when in truth they aren’t. They spend much time arguing that something random cannot, without the guidance of a conscious universe, become something “nonrandom.” How could the planet earth, and the life upon it, which is quite ordered, arise from the chaos of space? The problem is presented as if it stumps scientists, but actually there is an easy answer. The second law of thermodynamics says that the disorder of an isolated system can never decrease, but the earth is not isolated. The sun pours energy into it and the earth sends its excess entropy (disorder) into the heavens through the photons that it radiates into space every night, and so its orderliness is not a mystery.

In another criticism of science the authors state that, “to be brutally frank life is a major inconvenience for physics. Biology doesn’t fit into abstract equations.” It’s not clear what the embarrassment is, but in any case, it is not the charge of physics to explain life. Physics is not about biology. There is another science that handles that. It is called…biology. And biology does just fine without abstract equations.

In the era of President Trump and fake news reports it is ironic that the authors offer statements such as “general agreement [in science] is reached by studying the facts and nothing but the facts,” as a criticism rather than a compliment.

When discussing the origins of life, the authors also overlook some interesting recent experiments on the topic, and criticize science for ignoring the question. They present an imaginary molecular biologist who dismisses their ideas with the words, “These kinds of speculations are closer to science fiction than science. They have no evidence to back them up. Sorry.” They imply that the biologist is being closed-minded, but is it closed-minded to reject an idea that is not supported by evidence? In the era of President Trump and fake news reports it is ironic that the authors offer statements such as “general agreement [in science] is reached by studying the facts and nothing but the facts,” as a criticism rather than a compliment.

That brings us to what, from a scientific perspective, we consider to be a central weakness of the book: in their search for truth the authors are clearly biased by their agenda to debunk the view that the laws of nature are not driven by some higher purpose. They make little effort to hide this, saying, for example, “We believe that the human universe must prevail.” (Italics are theirs.) Elsewhere they write, “It is very hard to get the human mind to accept that absolutely everything in nature is meaningless, but that’s what Darwinism, the big bang, cosmic inflation, and the formation of the solar system are all about—stripping creation of human notions like purpose and meaning.” It is ironic that, with that choice of words, the authors, who are themselves biased, seem to be criticizing science for having an agenda. In truth, however, Darwin and the physicists who developed cosmology were not “all about” creating theories in which deeper human meaning plays no role. Instead, they were led, by their experiments and observation, to discover the laws they formulated. Darwin, in particular, started out a religious man, and created his theory while still believing in the Christian God. His wife was also deeply religious. He would certainly have been more comfortable with a theory of evolution that was consistent with that belief than one in which randomness plays such a large role. But good scientists don’t seek to “prove” pre-existing beliefs, they seek to discover the truth.

The point of view regarding the universe that the authors are promoting is nicely summarized by a series of tenets that Chopra often quotes in his public lectures, interviews, and social media tweets and videos (the authors provide a much longer and detailed list in an appendix to the book):

  1. Whenever we use the word “we” or “I” it is consciousness that is being referred to.
  2. Mind/Body/Universe are experiences in consciousness.
  3. Consciousness is that in which all experience occurs, all experience is known, and out of which all experience is made. It is the knowing element in every experience.
  4. Fundamental experience is in the form of sensations, images, feelings, thoughts, perceptions.
  5. Experiences are modifications of consciousness—thoughts and perceptions are modified forms of consciousness.
  6. You cannot separate an object from the perception of it.
  7. Consciousness is non local and therefore formless, timeless, and spaceless.
  8. Humans are a species of consciousness that have created models out of basic experiences or qualia (sensations, images, feelings, thoughts, perceptions).
  9. The real You is not the Body/Mind/Universe (they go together) but the formless being who experiences Body/Mind/Universe as an intermittent stream of sensations images feelings thoughts perceptions.
  10. By objectifying experience we created an external world, learned to quantify it, measure it, tabulate it, create phyla, etc., all human constructs around raw experience.
  11. The goal of existence is to know who we are.
  12. This understanding and experience could lead to a more peaceful, just, sustainable, healthier, and happier world.

It’s hard to argue with such lofty goals. But are we “the universe?” There is very strong evidence that mind and consciousness have nothing to do with the cosmos, but rather are emergent properties of neural activity in the brain. For example, changes in conscious experience can be directly measured by fMRI, EEG, and single-neuron recordings. Neuroscientists can predict human choices from brain scan activity before the subject is even consciously aware of the decisions made. Using brain scans alone, neuroscientists have even been able to reconstruct on a computer screen what someone is seeing. Stroke-caused damage to the visual cortex region called V1 leads to loss of conscious visual perception. Thousands of lab experiments, in conjunction with naturally occurring experiments in the form of brain tumors, strokes, accidents and injuries, confirm the hypothesis that neurochemical processes produce subjective experiences. That is, brain activity equals consciousness. The fact that neuroscientists are not in agreement over which physicalist theory best accounts for mind and consciousness does not mean that alternative theories hold equal standing. And the fact that science doesn’t address some question, or hasn’t yet found answers to certain ultimate questions, is not “proof” of anything.

You Are the Universe contains uplifting prose that may make the deepest pessimist feel like there is hope for our future, and if you want a single highly readable summation of the worldview that Chopra characterizes as the Eastern Wisdom Traditions (Buddhism, Hinduism, Taoism, etc.) and how these relate to modern science, this book should be on your short list. But from a purely scientific perspective we feel that the book’s thesis goes against the grain of the Copernican Principle. Ever since Copernicus knocked us off our cosmic pedestal half a millennium ago, science has demonstrated that the Earth is not the center of the solar system, the solar system is not the center of our galaxy, our galaxy is not the center of the universe, humans are not specially created apart from all other animals, we are not living in the most important time in history, and we are not the be-all and end-all of creation. You Are the Universe seeks to put humans back into prominence. Call it the Ptolemy Principle, the belief, after its namesake, that we are not only at the center of the universe, but that we are, in fact, the universe itself!

The fact that science doesn’t address some question, or hasn’t yet found answers to certain ultimate questions, is not “proof” of anything.

If anything, what science compels us to conclude is that we are not special. In fact, we are just one among perhaps a billion species that evolved over billions of years on one tiny planet among billions of planets circling hundreds of billions of stars in a galaxy that is just one among hundreds of billions of galaxies that, for all we know contain billions of other life forms, all located in an expanding cosmic bubble universe that very possibly is only one among an enormous number of bubble universes. Is it really possible that this entire cosmological multiverse is the result of this one species of conscious creatures? It seems unlikely.

Chopra and Kafatos have made great strides in support of Chopra’s quest to apply science to his worldview. The book is a coherent argument for his point of view and it is informed by much knowledge of cutting edge science. Those who are interested in Eastern philosophy will appreciate the arguments. But those who are closer to the outlook of science will likely conclude that the authors have not made their case. We still believe that we are not the universe. But we are optimistic that science can continue to enlighten us about the universe, and everything in it, including us.

About the Authors

Leonard Mlodinow is a physicist and best-selling author of Euclid’s Window, Feynman’s Rainbow, The Drunkard’s Walk, Subliminal, and The Upright Thinkers. He co-authored The Grand Design and A Briefer History of Time with Stephen Hawking, and The War of the Worldviews with Deepak Chopra.

Michael Shermer is the Publisher of Skeptic magazine, a monthly columnist for Scientific American, and a Presidential Fellow at Chapman University where he teaches Skepticism 101. He is the author of Why People Believe Weird Things, Why Darwin Matters, The Science of Good and Evil, and The Moral Arc. His next book is Heavens on Earth: The Scientific Search for the Afterlife, Immortality & Utopia.

132 Comments

  1. David Dressler, BA, RMT says:

    Neuroscience equates mind with brain, that electrical and hormonal activity within the neurons of the brain give rise to thinking, feeling, sensation, or ultimately that which we call mind.

    But is mind the same as the brain? Some philosophers and others would say no, the mind is non-physical while the brain is physical. Some might say the brain is material and the mind is non-material.

    Others might say that we cannot know that which is non-material but only that which is material.

    I plan to settle this question of whether the mind is the brain, whether it is non-material or material, with one simple question everybody can answer.

    First consider: everything physical, material exists in four diminsions. All matter has extension in space–three dimensions that define its physical form. All matter has mass or weight. And matter has duration or exists or persists in time. If any of these attributes is missing, it is not matter. In fact, we would say if something does not occupy space, it does not exist.

    Now, apply the definition of matter to mind. One obvious activity of mind is thinking. I now pose my universe-shaking question: What is the weight of a thought?

    Clearly, the thought of an elephant weighs no more than the thought of an ant. The “size” of the thought of the elephant is not somehow larger than the thought of an ant. Elephant or ant, they don’t somehow take up more or less space in the brain.

    What this says is that thought is non-material, non-physical because it does not partake of the definition of matter: thought does not take up space or have mass. In fact, thought does not occupy three dimensions, but it does occupy time. There can be long and short thoughts, but they have no material existence because they do not occupy space. If thought is not material, what then is it?

    Clearly, thought is non-material, non-physical. One might even go so far as to say it is metaphysical, beyond the physical. I suggest that thought opens the door to a metaphysical realm existing somehow only in time but not space.

    Most important, this is something everyone can easily verify. What does a thought weigh? Think of a mountain and put your head on a scale. Think of a feather and put your head on the scale. Does your head weigh less the second time? Of course not. Do some thoughts last longer than others? Time them. Of course they do. Is this the way matter behaves? No.

    Scientists will say brain causes thought. No neural activity, no thought. No neurons, no thought. True. But this does not prove the identity of neurons and neural activity, or brain, with thought. It only refers to a connection, not an identity. Even if one would suppose it proves causation–that neural activity causes thinking–then one is left with the annoying question as to how a material process (neural activity) can give rise to a non-material process (thinking). And one has to again acknowledge that thought has not extension in space, no weight, and merely exists in time. And as such is non-material.

    And if thought is non-material, can something non-material be “contained” within the material brain or the confines of the skull?

    • Ronnie says:

      David Dressler,

      A simple question: What does the electrical impulses to my hands while typing, weighs.

      If they weigh nothing, the impulses must therefore be metaphysical?

      If electrical impulses do weigh something due to changes in the mass of molecular charges along the Axons length, a thought will also have mass for the same reason.

      Me thinks your hypothesis can be equated to poor old coyote hanging in the air after running off the cliff, just before its physical body inevitably succumbs to gravity.

      • David Ord says:

        Thanks for the lovely illustration. Frankly, the argument to which you were responding is so facile that, even though I’m a writer and editor, I was at a loss how to answer!

    • Phil Bone says:

      A (very profound) thinker once said : “If a problem ’seemingly’ doesn’t find a solution, you can bet that the question has been posed on a wrong basis”.

      You keep talking about “thought” ..without specifically defining that term in such a way that one can “falsify” your definition (see “falsifiability” in science). It’s not the same thing to say “I think about buying some bread”, and “I think that Aristotle was wrong on such and such point”. It doesn’t imply the same neurocognitive patterns.

      But in any case, you didn’t prove that a “thought” has any independant existence outside the neuronal activity that produces it —activity which, on the contrary, has been largely proven as being an undisputably materialistic process…….

      • Gary Whittenberger says:

        But a thought can be distinct from neuronal activity without being independent of it. When I imagine a red apple, there is something in my brain going on that is correlated with that event of imagination. The two things are distinct, although the former is almost certainly dependent on the latter.

        So M can be distinct from N, or M can be not equal to N, and still M might be fully dependent on N. Let M = a mental event (like imagining a red apple) and N = a neuronal event.

    • John Aalborg says:

      The definition of matter is what is wrong with this view. http://bleepfreepress.com/blog/?p=397#more-397

    • DANIEL GAUTREAU says:

      There is, as the review points out, very strong evidence that mind and consciousness are products of brain activity. So far no one has any evidence against it. Your argument that thought is immaterial is nonsense. It is like saying that, although a baseball has volume and mass, the movement of it is immaterial because velocity has no substance.

    • Michael Lanham says:

      What is the “weight” of a photon? Aren’t they considered massless?(rest mass=0) Yet there is apparently no shortage of these!

    • Gary Whittenberger says:

      In general, I agree with your analysis, especially your distinction of the mental from the physical.

      You ask “Even if one would suppose it proves causation–that neural activity causes thinking–then one is left with the annoying question as to how a material process (neural activity) can give rise to a non-material process (thinking).”

      I don’t think the question you raise here is “annoying.” The answer may just be “That’s just the way it is.” Maybe mental experience just “emerges” from neuronal networks which have a particular structure or complexity. At any rate, it seems that some form of dualism may be correct. Research points to a dependency of the mental on the physical, and I think epiphenomenalism may be correct.

  2. Phil Bone says:

    How come can anybody with the tiniest amount of rational scientific mind.. still accept to include such laughable and stubborn irrational manipulator as Deepak Chopra in any “truly scientific” publication, nowadays ???

    That’s beyond comprehension.

    Based on what’s described in this review of Chopra’s “contribution” to the book, we can see that he continues, again and again, to try to promote the non-scientific but ’mystical’ view that we, as a tiny species on a tiny grain of sand named the Earth, are SOOOO important that we are “consubstantial” with the entire Universe…. which is exactly what thousands of clerics from every eastern or western creed tried to make us believe for millenia.

    What a backward job.

    • Lindsay Briner says:

      Hi Phil,

      I don’t think the authors of this article were laughing, nor would they agree with you. If you read the review, they do compliment the authors quite a bit for a “coherent point of view” backed up by cutting edge science. If you were to check the references perhaps you would be swayed as well. As Dr Chopra has historically made seemingly far-fetched statements, which years latter get verified by legitimate and rigorous scientific publications, unrelated to him. So it would be wise to at least consider what he is proposing in this book.

      • alexander pope, india. says:

        hello lindsay briner,

        yes, a lot of mystic thoughts by mystics have been affirmed by science, later, so as deepak chopra. but the problem here is that one cannot talk nonsense in the expense of mystic revelation. do you want others to BELIEVE mr. chopra? your argument says so.

        once you start to BELEIVE you start to lose your intelligence. what chopra is saying is nothing but the indian vedanta; and one goes deeper into the indian vedanta and its philosophy, you will find aryan supermacy! the unadulterated racism, brahminical rites, the superior caste that is designed to KNOW the super consciousness and all other upper class, upper caste thoughts of superiority. want to know more?

        let me know. saakya muni, other wise known as buddha, negated all the claims by chopra and his predecessors, two thousand years ago!

        the ancient indian rational yoga thoughts have its philosophy once won hegemony over vedantic racist philosophy but lost the battle. dr. chopra is selling by millions this old wine in new bottles.

        pope, kerala, india

  3. Sergei Kuznetsov says:

    To ask whether the mind is material or not is the same as to ask whether a computer program is material or not. Computer program is a code, a piece of information encrypted in certain symbols. In a certain way, information is not material, but it cannot exist without a certain material container (be it hard drive or and electrical wave). So material or immaterial nature of our mind actually offers very little to the discussion of interconnection of our minds and brains. At present we do not really know if our mind is stored exclusively on the hard drive of our brain or our brains form some kind of network and “our mind” is backuped on some kind of cosmic server. :)

    • Lindsay Briner says:

      Hi Sergei,

      Sorry but the neurocomputational model of mind is dated. It’s useful nonetheless, yet “is there a ghost within the machine?” The mechanistic description runs into difficulty when we turn our attention to the driver, which in this analogy would be the “thinking” part of the biological system. How do we explain this in terms of a machine? The driver is like a computer, there is a set of programmed responses to stimuli, and the machine responds appropriately to environmental inputs. Therefore, it appears as though it is intelligent – this is after all an apt description of artificial intelligence – yet we know that it is just pre-programmed responses. Where does the program come from? Even Searle’s biological naturalism from way back in 2004 goes over this; where the machine is not a machine at all, it is a biological phenomena interconnected to all natural life. The relationship of all the working pieces generates a synergetic effect in which the behavior of the whole system is greater than and unpredictable from the sum of the parts. The universe is not an assembly of physical parts, but instead comes from an entanglement of immaterial energy waves. This is all evident by modern interpretations of quantum mechanics. If you do not understand this perspective by reading this book, I also recommend you look into Fritjof Capra and Walter Freeman to get started to move beyond neurocomputation.

      • Gary Whittenberger says:

        Energy waves are immaterial? Huh? Yes, they are not like quarks, but I think they are still material or physical.

  4. Alien Nomad says:

    If you take a pile of bricks and mortar and weigh them, then build a house with them that weighs the same, does that mean that the house is metaphysical?

    You are also assuming that information has weight. There are many things in terms of concepts that weigh nothing. How much does E=mc**2 weigh? Do that mean it’s a metaphysical equation? Even these words. Rearrange the letters into different words or just random letters. What has happened to the original meaning and context? It must therefore exist metaphysically?

    Don’t confuse philosophy with science. Philosophy can be used as a tool of science but, in itself, it holds nothing.

    • Gary Whittenberger says:

      It is popular among some well-known scientists these days to denigrate philosophy, but I think this is a mistake. Science and philosophy come from the same cloth.

      If I tell you to imagine a red apple, am I doing philosophy or science or both? Suppose I monitor your visual cortex at the same time. Now am I dong philosophy or science or both?

  5. Mark LaJoie says:

    Even Deepak Chopra can be partially right, once in a while.
    I am not a thing but a process, and that process is a subset of the one process that is the universe. I am not separate, just as the ripple is not separate from the river, and is indeed a consequence of the hydrologic cycle. In fact, I am also part of the hydrologic cycle.
    And I am a collection of cells. My consciousness is a collection of neurochemical feedbacks. Sociology emerges from psychology, which emerges from biology, which emerges from chemistry, which emerges from physics, which emerges from cosmology.
    So, if I am conscious, then the universe is conscious. I am aware of the universe, and aware of myself as part of the universe, just as I am aware of my brain as part of me. It is all one thing, which I divide for convenience, into parts. But the parts are really flows of matter/energy, vortices gaining and losing in a dynamic pattern that eventually dissipates.
    That the feedback loops that are “me” can effect the universe is the inevitable result of the fact that “I” am not separate.
    Before you dismiss humans as inconsequential consider this:

    Crystal Cabinet
    by Julian Huxley

    “The world of things entered your infant mind
    To populate that crystal cabinet.
    Within its walls the strangest partners met,
    And things turned thoughts did propagate their kind.
    For, once within, corporeal fact could find
    A spirit. Fact and you in mutual debt
    Built there your little microcosm – which yet
    Had hugest tasks to its small self assigned.

    Dead men can live there, and converse with stars:
    Equator speaks with pole, and night with day;
    Spirit dissolves the world’s material bars –
    A million isolations burn away.
    The Universe can live and work and plan,
    At last made God within the mind of man.”

    I stand in awe before my comprehension of myself.

    “Cogito ergo sum!”

    • Phil Bone says:

      Mark –
      Too bad….. Your first statement was so good… (“”I am a collection of cells. My consciousness is a collection of neurochemical feedbacks. Sociology emerges from psychology, which emerges from biology, which emerges from chemistry, which emerges from physics, which emerges from cosmology.“”).

      Perfect.

      Then –unfortunately– you wrote : “”So, if I am conscious, then the universe is conscious.“”

      What a slip-out ! That’s what, in religious terms, one calls.. a (very bold) leap of faith.

      Can you, by any means, demonstrate such an (unsupported) assumption ? Of course, no. It’s just a fallacious ’conclusion’ you drew from your (however correct) premises.

      Can’t you, on the other hand, simply acknowledge that the Universe is just a huge, auto-regulated “cybernetic” ensemble, which doesn’t give a sh.. about the fact that some tiny ants, somewhere on a tiny planet, developed a brain that can produce a tiny bit of cognitive thinking ???

      • Mark LaJoie says:

        I think you missed the point, Phil. Just as the ripple is not separate or separable from the river, a human is not separate or separable from the universe. In “me” and, presumably, in “you” the universe is conscious of itself. It is not a leap of faith. It is simple fact. “I” am process. “I” am chemistry. “I” am physics. “I” am a detail of cosmology.
        The universe is one thing, one process, and “I” am just a sub-process. Would the universe still be conscious without “me”? Would “I” still be aware without my little toe?
        That “tiny ant” is also part of the consciousness of the universe. And the universe “gives a shit” because we do. If you don’t believe I “give a shit”, I will take a crap on your porch.

        • Phil Bone says:

          Mark.
          I quite understood what your point was –Erasmus’s pantheistic views where exactily about the same thing.. Even so far back as in the 3rd century BCE, Aristotle posed that, above every human “psyche” there was a universal//common “Great Mind” into which we would all, theoretically, be participating. Teilhard de Chardin, for his part, called that “the noosphere”….

          Problem is, as with ALL ’meta-physical’ assertions, that they are definitetely NOT useful, in the practical world, in order to advance our real understanding of HOW all these things actually work ! !

          Such fuliginous concepts as “universal consciousness” are of no avail to discover what IS our own human consciousness.

          Or else, YOU people professing such a concept, should tell the scientific community how to begin about researching, concretely, in order to “dig out” real facts that would cast a light on how all that functions ! ! In other words : what scientifically acceptable research protocole do you propose….

          Can you understand that ? As long as you all keep throwing concepts like this one “up in the air”, it doesn’t advance our usable knowledge (e.g.: how to improve learning processes ? how to solve certain “psycho-somatic” diseases ? etc..).

          Postscript : You cannot say : “”The universe is one thing, one process, and “I” am just a sub-process”” , then assert : “”I (a mere sub-process) have consciousness, therefore the entire universe has consciousness””.

          At the very least it is the (well known) arrogant human projection called “anthropocentrism”. At the very worst it is called.. an horrible logical fallacy. :-)

    • Gary Whittenberger says:

      Mark, you said “So, if I am conscious, then the universe is conscious.”

      I think that is a non sequitur. If a part has property X, then the whole cannot be said to have property X since other parts of the whole do not have property X.

      If I am imagining a red apple right now, this does not mean that the universe is imaging a red apple right now.

  6. skeptonomist says:

    I was hoping to find out what “Panchakarma-based Ayurvedic intervention” is and why presumably reputable scientists would be involved with Chopra in allegedly investigating it, but was disappointed.

  7. J. Gravelle says:

    “…that human existence changes the universe in some significant manner is not an idea most scientists would accept.”

    Archived, for the next discussion on the anthropomorphic significance of global cool–, I mean warm–, er, climate change…

    -jjg

  8. Pete says:

    J., you need to realize the difference between “human existence” and human activities. You also need to realize the difference between the universe and a single planet. I’ve yet to hear anybody argue that climate change on earth significantly changes the universe; spaceship earth is another matter entirely.

    • Mark LaJoie says:

      Pete, what is “significant” is irrelevant. A fact is a fact. Significance is just a matter of perspective and opinion. You ignore “insignificant” details at your peril.
      And in chaotic systems, there may be, at certain times and places, a sensitivity to initial conditions. A single quantum fluctuation near the singularity may determine the ratio of matter to anti-matter in the Andromeda galaxy, or whether your newspaper is on the porch or in the driveway. Which of these results would be the most significant to you? Which would be more significant to Stephen Hawking?

  9. Bob from Canada, eh! says:

    After reading this article (and many before this), i cancelled my daily subscription…..to Chopra.

    Now that is a HUGE weight off my mind !! (and off my hard drive!?)

  10. Rod Batschelet says:

    “We are a way for the cosmos to know itself.”
    ― Carl Sagan, Cosmos

    • Gary Whittenberger says:

      Sagan’s statement here is good poetry but not very good science or philosophy, in my opinion.

      A universe cannot know itself because it doesn’t have the requisite structure and function. But parts of that universe (some organisms) can know themselves and know parts of the universe.

  11. Mary Goetsch says:

    Other philosophers and philosophies have proposed the idea of a participatory cosmos: Carl Jung- Collective Unconscious; David Bohm- Implicate Wholeness/Order; Rupert Sheldrake- Magnetic Resonance; the Hindu religion in general; String theory in general. By definition, we can’t access those higher dimensions to make observation, so we can’t know if subject observation will collapse a wave function (if human being influences the cosmos).

    It is more and more true more work remains in science. As technology advances, however, the more limitations come into view. Note: “latest astrophysical measurements… cast doubt on the …inflationary theory of the early cosmos.. Scientific American lead article, February, 2017.

    • Aurora Carlson says:

      Yes Mary, I agree that the idea of a participatory universe isn’t new, and it makes me think of Wheeler whose style is an inspiration for me.

      https://futurism.com/john-wheelers-participatory-universe/

      We can’t access those higher dimensions with our thought, from the subjective observer, it’s true, but we can access them if we learn how to. We can’t go to the source of thought by thinking of it, only by learning how to let go of thought and retain awareness. Then we can come back to the personal mind and try to put that experience in thought and word as well as we can. This is the purpose of the technique of meditation.

      • Mary Goetsch says:

        Meditation is not new, either. What is new is that scientists know the detail of the brain activity changes. There are quicker ways to alter one’s state through various drugs, some legal and some not. The Christian religion is strong on “emptying oneself;” the art of giving and selflessness can bring the same fruits as meditation. Instead of meditating techniques, I play music as an avocation. To promote my business, I note that parents and adult individuals go out of their way to take music lessons.

  12. Murrell Mathis says:

    The comment in the review “good scientists don’t seek to “prove” pre-existing beliefs, they seek to discover the truth” was once true. But I think the “global warming, climate change” argument with all the falsified data, ignored data (that doesn’t support the belief), leaked emails and the call by the true believers for censure of scientists that do not go along with the concept has caused me to lose faith in today’s leftist, politically correct scientific research.

    • Ken Farnsworth says:

      You are wildly off topic. Nevertheless, please identify which data was falsified? Which data was ignored? You are alleging massive fraud, which would be actionable. Science is self-correcting eventually, so you would be doing us all a great service.

      • Murrell Mathis says:

        Just one out of many examples of collusion: U.S. Weather Service Cooked Global Warming Data To Push Paris Climate Agreement
        Katie Pavlich
        |
        Posted: Feb 08, 2017 12:00 PM
        Science Fiction: U.S. Weather Service Cooked Global Warming Data To Push Paris Climate Agreement

        A whistleblower and former senior scientist at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which falls under the jurisdiction of the Commerce Department, is accusing his agency of cooking the books on global warming data in order to push the United States into the Paris Climate Agreement. The agreement cost American taxpayers more than $500 million and was entering into by President Obama without Congress last year.

        According to NOAA’s website, the agency is supposed to keep Americans accurately informed with reliable information about the climate around them.

        “NOAA is an agency that enriches life through science. Our reach goes from the surface of the sun to the depths of the ocean floor as we work to keep citizens informed of the changing environment around them,” the website states. “From daily weather forecasts, severe storm warnings, and climate monitoring to fisheries management, coastal restoration and supporting marine commerce, NOAA’s products and services support economic vitality and affect more than one-third of America’s gross domestic product. NOAA’s dedicated scientists use cutting-edge research and high-tech instrumentation to provide citizens, planners, emergency managers and other decision makers with reliable information they need when they need it.”

        *Back in 2011, a series of emails from global warming scientists were published and revealed massive manipulation of scientific date to “prove” climate change hypothesis. The scandal was so large, it became known as “Climategate”!

        Three themes are emerging from the newly released emails: (1) prominent scientists central to the global warming debate are taking measures to conceal rather than disseminate underlying data and discussions; (2) these scientists view global warming as a political “cause” rather than a balanced scientific inquiry and (3) many of these scientists frankly admit to each other that much of the science is weak and dependent on deliberate manipulation of facts and data.

        Global warming isn’t science, it’s science fiction.
        Share this on Facebook

    • Gary Whittenberger says:

      If you had faith, then you were on the wrong track anyway. Get back to the evidence and the consensus of experts who have spent their lives studying the evidence, and then you will reach proper conclusions about global warming.

  13. Mike Lampton says:

    The observable universe is about 13 billion years old. Mankind is far more recent! So, how can the universe be dependent, in any way, on mankind?

    • Dr. Sidethink Hp. D. says:

      the universe was created for “Man” who was created in God’s image and likeness.

      end of argument

      Dr. Latero Sidethink Hp.D.
      Dept, of Trooth
      BobDobbs University
      Sneeze Hollow TN

      • Phil Bone says:

        You”re right. End of any sentient and rational thinking.
        Bravo.

        • Dr. Sidethink Hp. D. says:

          Dr Elmo Snerd done told me that yew Atheeeists is the ones who is ir rat ion al . becuz yew hate religious folks

          hee otter no as more folks like him than yew egghead soodo skeptics

          so there!! neener neener

          • Phil Bone says:

            And…. in “normal”, comprehensible English… what are you trying to express, my little child ?

            Come on.. Don”t be shy. You can do it !

      • Gary Whittenberger says:

        There was no God talk in the review article, so it’s kind of irrelevant.

        Nevertheless, neither the universe nor man was created by God because God doesn’t exist!

    • Aurora Carlson says:

      Mike, that argument does not hold if you understand that the consciousness discussed in You Are the Universe is not seen as a product of the human brain as physicalists have agreed to consider it, but it is awareness itself, underlying the existence of all sentient and non-sentient beings and of timespace itself.

      In the book, the authors explain consciousness in many ways, and have dedicated an entire annex to detailing the behaviors of consciousness.

      • Gary Whittenberger says:

        Aurora, you claim that “…consciousness…is awareness itself, underlying the existence of all sentient and non-sentient beings and of timespace itself.”

        I think you have it all backwards. Consciousness depends on brains. There is much research to show this.

        Do you not believe that energy-matter in space-time would exist if your particular consciousness did not exist?

  14. Justin T Zimmer says:

    I wouldn’t go so far as to say, flatly, that we are not the universe. If the universe is all matter and energy, then that includes us, and if that matter is energy and energy is motion and what is moving is the universe, then it’s all an integral “thing” and therefore I am the universe or at least an ephemeral pattern of a very tiny part of it. I manipulate other patterns of energy directly and other patterns of consciousness (patterns of patterns) indirectly and should that effect carry then my pattern of consciousness (parts of it at least) might outlast my physical pattern (body). Ripples in the Universe as one commenter put it. But, as the flame gutters when the candle is spent, lest that candle give flame to others, the flame dissipates into chaos.

    Thus, I am the universe, but the universe is not me. Consciousness is a local anomaly in a great expanse of action without thought. Therefore, it is precious, at least to those physical patterns who have it. As are all rare and insignificant things.

    • Gary Whittenberger says:

      You said “Thus, I am the universe, but the universe is not me.”

      I hate to tell you, but you aren’t the universe. You are but a very small part of the universe.

  15. Annie Hall says:

    Sergei –
    “At present we do not really know if our mind is stored exclusively on the hard drive of our brain or our brains form some kind of network and “our mind” is backuped on some kind of cosmic server. :)”

    Very funny :) aka, Galactic Clouds Computing, all these massive Chopra thoughts finally explaining the dark matter. :)

    Mark-
    “So, if I am conscious, then the universe is conscious.”

    (Yes, Phil, “what a slip-out!”)

    In the universe of psychology, that sentence is called a projection.
    In the politically correct universe of the authors, that is called the Ptolemaic principle.
    In the universe of infants, it is phrased as “everything revolves around my belly button.”
    And in the universe of common sense, may I quote Woody Allen:
    “if you’ll excuse me, I’m due back on Planet Earth.”

    • Mark LaJoie says:

      Is a living cell in my body me? How about my hair? Is that me? My placenta was part of me, but died shortly after I was born. The food I eat is not me but becomes me, and the waste I excrete was me but is no longer me. I am process, metabolic paths and feedback loops.
      All those metaphorical universes you disparage are not THE universe, which is reality and also contains the unreal which manifests as delusion and illusion.
      The universe is conscious. Some of that consciousness is aware of itself, but not completely self-aware of its true nature, just as many humans are ignorant of much of the universe, and of their own natures. Are the cells of my vermiform appendix aware of my brain?
      However mistaken I may be about the universe, whatever my illusions and delusions, I know that I am a part of it, as my brain is part of my body.
      What I am changes from day to day, even from minute to minute, a dynamic pattern, like a whirlwind that cannot be separated from the wind that contains it.
      That’s just the facts, ma’m, even if they offend your “common sense”. The universe does that. See, for instance, quantum theory.

      • Phil Bone says:

        Mark Lajoie (at 1:41 pm)
        Here you go again, uttering blunt statements without providing any factual demonstration supporting what comes out of your brain…..

        In science, it doesn’t work, just to sanctimoniously utter : “”The universe is conscious. Some of that consciousness is aware of itself, but not completely self-aware of its true nature“”, then get off the place, buy a pack of cornflakes in the nearest supermarket…. and think you’re done with it.

        As you seem to be very very er.. intimate with this Universe of ours, what “it” is “aware” of about its own “consciousness” –OR NOT– (wow !), no doubt you won’t have any difficulty to explain to us, poor ignorant chaps, how galaxies, for example, possess what we humans call “consciousness” ???

        Thanx.

        –By the way : a single cell in your body is NOT “you”. It is PART of you. At best we could say that the entire collection of your cells “are” you –but even that wouldn’t reflect reality, as “you” are much more complex than the mere addition of your cells (you have also metabolic processes, neuronal interactions that make you unique, etc.. –you mentionned them yourself).

      • Gary Whittenberger says:

        You said “The universe is conscious.”

        That is a false claim based on a confusion of part and whole.

        The universe is not conscious, but a very few parts of it are.

  16. Jack Sarfatti says:

    I agree that everything Deepak Chopra has to say about physics and the universe is at best “not even wrong” in Wolfgang Pauli’s sense and at worst comic silliness worthy of the late Professor Irwin Corey. That my fellow physicist Cornellian Menas Kafatos has sold out to this pseudo-physics is sad to behold and is more evidence for the failure of the educational system described by David Hillel Gelernter in his book “America Lite.”

    • Aurora Carlson says:

      Take heart, you are not alone :) I hear Galileo’s fellow astronomers felt just like you when they proclaimed his work to be “foolish and absurd in philosophy, and formally heretical since it explicitly contradicts in many places the sense of Holy Scripture.”

  17. bruce says:

    I’m sorry to stoop so low but I can’t help adding:
    Man to hotdog vendor: “Make me one with everything”.
    Man gave vendor $10 and asks: “Where’s my change”?
    Vendor: “Change can only come from within”.

  18. Richard H. says:

    If you think that something “non-physical” exists, tell us what it would be made of/consist of. If the thing in question exists, it has to be made of *something*, right? Otherwise, it’s nothing. Non-physical means not made of physical stuff, which equates to nothing, which equates to non-existent.

    • Lindsay Briner says:

      You missed the point! Everything is made of everything else. “You are the universe” via inextricably interconnectedness of everything. You can find more technical explanations of this when investigating quantum gravity.

    • Aurora Carlson says:

      Actually Richard, the universe being made out of nothing is a conclusion many scientists have arrived at. The only discussion is what that nothing is. For materialist scientists, it means “we don’t know”. For consciousness scientists, it means … consciousness :)

      As to non-physical being non-existent… do not intelligence, sadness, love, imagination exist?

      • Richard H. says:

        Of course. But you are confusing what we call abstract terms with non-physical. These things exist physically as neurochemical products in the brain. They were nonexistant before brains evolved to produce them. You are trying too hard to believe in magic.

        • Ronnie says:

          Good point Richard.

        • Aurora Carlson says:

          Richard, I would say that believing that brain (a thing) produces intelligence is equal to believing in magic :) You seem to do that just fine, without even trying :)

          • Phil Bone says:

            Aurora — I’m sorry for you, but it seems that the more you keep replying to scientifically and rationally-based posts, the more you drown into delirious assertions !

            Now you state that “BELIEVING” that the brain is producing intelligence is akin to showing “magical thinking”…..

            First, your use of the term “believe” is, in this case, completely inappropriate. Scientists dont “BELIEVE” things. Either the scientific explanation of a process or a phenomenon is “in tune with reality”, either it is proven false, or “not yet” completely carried out.

            In this context, the use of the word “belief” is just an erroneous and religious-based statement.

            Second — You seem to miss the point that, in fact, it’s the way ’round : the most recent layer of our brain actually produces higher and most complex thoughts, and , thenafter , it so happens that WE call that “intelligence”.

            Nothing magical in that.

            So please… try to turn your way of thinking upside-down once more, so that you could start thinking properly back again, ’cause you are worrying us very very much :-))

      • Phil Bone says:

        Aurora — You made a point when you said that sadness and imagination “exist”. However, they only “exist” as mere human concepts (translated into human words), right ?

        But here, we are talking about something whose proponents claim it really exists of and by “itself” in the outside world —-i.e.: outside the brains of the people that claim it exists ! That’s a much more complex equation, wouldn’t you think?

        Then, talking about the (so-called) initial “nothingness”, you state : “”For consciousness scientists, it means … consciousness””. Well….

        First, can you explain what a “consciousness scientist” is ? It looks like the term just popped out of your mind. Where are they ? Are there many of them ? Do they have an “International Directory”, so we can contact them ??

        Second : Contrary to the “materialist” scientists (i.e.: all the normal, rationally-thinking scientists), who, as you correctly mentionned, just say “at that very moment, we dont know”, you seem to defend a definitive answer : it’s “consciousness” which was there before this Universe came into reality. Alright.

        Now, as you state such an “explanation”, I will just ask you the same question I ask theistic people who, for their part, profess the -very similar- belief that “god” was there before the initial singularity :

        — Ok ok. Then.. where did this “consciousness” of yours take the trillions of trillions of trillions of tons of matter and energy that compose our Universe, as we see it all around us ???

        I’m rather interested to see what you’ll answer to that.

        • Aurora Carlson says:

          Hi Phil!
          You mention “mere concepts” and you seem to regard them as different from “really exists of and by “itself” in the outside world —-i.e.: outside the brains of the people”.

          You think like a typical positivist, which is one of the many types of theoretical background. Any constructivist would tell you that “the outside world” is made entirely of concepts and handling that world depends on how people create, delete and handle the concepts themselves.

          Consciousness scientist is a concept meant to describe researchers in the field of the science of consciousness. In other words, people who study that which holds and gives rise to all concepts. I am glad if I have introduced a new concept to your world :) Google science of consciousness, you will find an interesting domain of research with many different perspectives.

          I am smiling at the way you call materialist scientists “normal, rationally-thinking scientists”. If you read a little philosophy of science you will see that there are many types of rationally thinking scientists, and if you read some sociology you will realize that what is called normal differs depending on who is looking.

          Ah… and now to the exciting stuff :) You ask: “where did this “consciousness” of yours take the trillions of trillions of trillions of tons of matter and energy that compose our Universe, as we see it all around us ???”

          My answer is that all the trillions of tons of matter you see are *right now* in consciousness. An ant is in consciousness, as are the 200 billion (x10?) galaxies in the universe. The Big Bang is a concept in consciousness, as is the impossible concept of “the time before time began”. The sensation of fingers meeting the keyboard is in consciousness, as is the smell of coffee. Physics is a branch of science in consciousness, as is mathematics and sociology. Time itself, dear friend, is in consciousness…

          I know you have lost me, but to reconnect, maybe you’d like to tell me what your answer is to “what was there before the big bang”, and maybe also what you see as the dead end of that view, if you see any. And you can always read Deepak and Menas’ book to see how they look at it all.

    • Aurora Carlson says:

      Phil Bone,

      How kind of you to worry about me! A hug from me to you, it’s always good to be cared for! :)

      But Phil, I used the term “belief” because that’s what it is. I know your image of science is that of a fortress of knowledge based on the solidity of matter, and I can sense how comforting it must be to slam your hand on the table and say: this is real! I can also understand how convinced you are that science has it all figured out… but hey… I care for you, so I am telling you new things :)

      I am saying that the belief in matter as the creator of consciousness is magical thinking, and that it’s pretty funny for anyone not caught in that story to see how sweetly naïve materialists are. We know that the brain produces thoughts you say… and I say- no you don’t.

      No one has any idea how that could happen, no one is even close. You are telling yourself that if you put some carbon, hydrogen and a few more elements together, for that’s what the brain is, they will magically start to write poems and have conversations if you wait long enough? Does carbon think?

      Yes, there are plenty of correlates, we know exactly what part of the brain shows activity with different type of thoughts, we know how the chemical and electrical activity works, but we *don’t* know how that could give rise to the inner experience of a red apple, or the smell of a fire log.

      We know there is activity. We know there is a whole world of experience. We do *not*know that brain activity *produces* our experience of the world. Correlation, not causation. Yes, many assume causation, without examination, and to those I refer to as pure believers, often as dedicated to their irrational worship of matter as the Creator as people who have picked some religious myth to believe in.

      The scary part is that you don’t know it’s a myth, you take it for undisputed reality. That’s why I say what I say… so that you maybe realize that your belief is not undisputed, and maybe start thinking about it a little, question it, be a little bit skeptical of it.

      Edward Witten, string theorist compared by some to Einstein and Newton, said: “I think consciousness will remain a mystery. Yes, that’s what I tend to believe. I tend to think that the workings of the conscious brain will be elucidated to a large extent. Biologists and perhaps physicists will understand much better how the brain works. But why something that we call consciousness goes with those workings, I think that will remain mysterious. I have a much easier time imagining how we understand the Big Bang than I have imagining how we can understand consciousness… “

    • Gary Whittenberger says:

      I think the answer to your question is here:

      “4. Fundamental experience is in the form of sensations, images, feelings, thoughts, perceptions.”

      Look at your hand now. Imagine a red apple now. Notice some noise in the background now. Those separate mental events are the kinds of things of which consciousness is made.

      And yet, all these mental events seem totally dependent on correlated neural events.

  19. Dr. Sidethink Hp. D. says:

    “Ever since Copernicus knocked us off our cosmic pedestal half a millennium ago”

    Copernicus was a wiseguy dork whose ideas had no validity in the worldview of the times.

    The “Proof ” of his conjectures rests in the acceptance of
    Newton’s Law of conservation of angular momentum.

    Problem is that Issac didn’t live until about 100 years after Cope’s ravings

    Robert Bellarmine was guilty of rational decision rather than blind obedience to the bogus bureaucrats posing as the Gaurdians of God’s TROOTH.

    This is a rave in opposition to the blinded bigots breaking bones patting themselves on the back for being enlightened to Condemn Catholcs of Clonish Loyalty to a bogus institution on the basis of stereotyped bigotism themselves and Broncos suck.

    Dr S

    • Phil Bone says:

      “Dr” Sidethink HP —
      Does trolling in rational-thinking forums of discussion –and thus, covering yourself with ridicule– procures you pleasure ? DEEP pleasure ? In this case, you’re quite welcome to continue making us laugh as long as you want, with this bogus and stupid propaganda recently (few years ago) put forward by the croaking and retarded men-in-black-robes…..

      Copernicus built his theory after MANY MANY years of observations he conducted himself with a scientific –i.e.: rational– mind. Something that nobody had ever done before to this degree. Thus, he was the first one to SOLVE the problem of “apparent” contradictions in the orbiting curves of the planets.. if these planets and the sun were to revolve around the earth.

      That evidently implied that the earth was NOT at the center of the world. Your retarded and obscurantist “cardinal” didn’t apply any “rational thinking” –a thing he was utterly incapable of doing– when he started repressing, torturing and burning (remember Giordano Bruno) the proponents of this new paradigm.

      He was definitely a dumb and stubborn backward bigwig in the Vatican. But he was crafty enough to understand that , if this new “weltanschaaung” started sneaking in every scholar’s brain in Europe, this would turn out to become very very very dangerous for the then-untouchable catholic DOGMA –therefore : the then-untouchable POWER of the then-untouchable catholic church, as it stupidly proclaimed that the earth –therefore : MAN, the “cherished” creature of its fictitious “god”– was at the center of the universe.

      Get learned.

      • Dr. Sidethink Hp. D. says:

        thanks for the feedback….

        I used to do this gig on Talk Origins as a member of the Church of the Subgenius.

        Many ( certainly not an overwhelming majority ) of the people on this Skeptic group can’t take being challenged to their dogmatic excuse for skepticism.

        I really don’t think that ” Christians” are brainwashed clones to satellite signals that the Bavarian Illuminati are sending from the Vatican.

        The reason I became a “lapsed ” Catholic is that I couldn’t play Bass Guitar with my fingers crossed

        I can’t help wonder about folks who profess Christianity yet disagree with most everything in the Nicene Creed which they can’t recite .
        But I also like to throw stuff at clonish Anti Catholics who get off on condemning gentlemen of great scholarship who were perhaps victims of the “Veldtenshaung” as compared to their own soi-disant Freedom.

        It would help if Skeptic would discuss books or viewpoints about science deniers instead of resurrected bling by Deep Chuck Chopstick.

        Bob Pease

  20. Aurora Carlson says:

    Dear Leonard, dear Michael,

    I wonder if it had been easier to get the message of the book if after opening the cover, one would find one single sentence:

    “The entire universe is in consciousness, which is everyone’s self.”

    It is strange to me that you do not see the obvious- your right hand, Darwin, any scientific theory, Chopra and the second law of thermodynamics are ALL in consciousness. Every thought, word, sound, every idea, every sensation, every sensory impression… in short everything we call “me” and “the universe” is nowhere else but in consciousness.

    Your consciousness. Your personal consciousness, which is the same undivided consciousness every conscious being shares.

    The problem for you, I think, is that you confuse consciousness with the thinking process. Your thoughts may be personally yours but the consciousness, the awareness that is aware of those thoughts is not limited to a person. Consciousness is universal, it is conscious as all and any of us.

    I have heard you both say that Deepak has taught you to meditate. That is, I believe, where understanding will come from. The day you transcend your thought process and discover consciousness itself you will know exactly what this book is saying. Your sensory perceptions are tricking you, your theories are fascinating you… and it’s all right, they are meant to :) But unless your attention turns away from the movie and back unto its source it will never discover the projector, and life will continue to seem to be random and mechanical.

    With all my heart, I wish you self-discovery.

    • Phil Bone says:

      You write : “”The problem for you, I think, is that you confuse consciousness with the thinking process.””

      Well…. The problem for you, is that… consciousness IS part of the “thinking process” ! There’s no discussion about it !

      Unless you deny that (what you call) the “thinking process” is located in the brain, it’s very simple to prove it :

      I come right in front of you, I take a big bludgeon, and I hit you on the leg. It hurts, doesn’t it ? Good –I mean : bad. :-)

      But nothing else happens, right ? Just a big bruise.

      Now, I hit you right in the middle of your skull. What happens ? You “lose” something, don’t you ?

      Well.. can you remind me how that something is called, in English ?

      Consciousness IS evidently PART of the “thinking process”. QED.

      • Aurora Carlson says:

        Hello Phil Bone :)

        Well… it’s not that simple. I am sorry, but I am about to do something that is probably blasphemous to you, in your words “deny that (what you call) the “thinking process” is located in the brain”.

        Like most neuroscientists, you seem to not realize that correlation is not the same as causation. It’s quite strange, when you think of it, how this simple but fundamental issue is ignored or brushed under the carpet by so many. Yes, there is neural activity in the brain when thinking occurs in the mind, but that is correlation. There is no evidence of causation, just an automatic belief in it.

        Your example of how consciousness vanishes when the skull is crushed is as logical as saying that the music vanishes when the radio is crushed. Music doesn’t vanish, but it is no longer expressing itself through that particular radio.

        Also, we could have a discussion about the difference between thinking and consciousness, but I believe it is an advanced subject and we haven’t yet agreed on the basics. So we’ll leave that for another time, ok?

        Wishing you a good day and lots of great music!

  21. Lindsay Briner says:

    Fo so long we’ve studied the brain, with no mention of consciousness. It seems obvious. Perhaps too obvious, such as “hidden in plain sight.” When we do science, where is science happening within the conscious minds of the scientists. So where does science come from and where does it take place? Within consciousness! As Dr Chopra explains perfectly. I think any skeptic is stuck in their conditioning of the standard model, and this book challenges what we have grown to know so well. But why not consider it’s innovative applications in a world where we clearly need more hope? Personal experience is the only thing we know to be real and true, qualia. Without experience, we do not have awareness nor the ability to observe nor the ability to produce science. This “participatory universe” in which in Dr Chopra & Dr Kafatos so eloquently explain, is less radial when considering rigorous considerations into the perennial philosophy, such as transpersonal psychology, and integral approaches to cognitive neurosciences.

    • Ronnie says:

      Dear Lindsay,
      It would behoove you to read Pennycrook et al “On the Reception and Detection of Pseudo-Profound Bull***t”

      • Lindsay Briner says:

        Hi Ronnie,

        Thanks! I checked the article out and it helped confirm the bullshit & the fundamental limits & failures of reductionism and the ontological irreducibility of consciousness.
        It verified that when we develop systems of finding truth, the criteria must be true across all various methods on the nature of truth that are valid via epistemology, phenomenological truth integral to logical truth.

  22. deepak chopra says:

    The universe is an experience in consciousness. That includes mind body and universe as a unified activity . Mind body and universe are human concepts used to explain the raw experience of qualia –sense perceptions. images feelings and thoughts.
    Best –deepak

    • Dr. Sidethink Hp. D. says:

      does that come with fries?

    • Phil Bone says:

      Dear Deepak Chopra…..

      Does it ever come to your mind, that strolling around in forums of discussion and/or in conference rooms, gushing out sanctimonious statements like the ones you just wrote in the comment above.. without EVER bothering to rigorously demonstrate by A+B the mechanisms that are supposed to be at work in your airy worldviews.. completely disqualifies you as part of the scientific community, to which you want to belong so dearly ??

      Best -Phil.

      • Aurora Carlson says:

        Hello again Phil!

        I’m sorry to interrupt your conversation with Deepak Chopra, but reading your conclusion that his statements disqualify him from being part of the scientific community, I would just like to let you know that in that case, you also need to disqualify many others.

        Take Max Plank for example, who you might know is one of the fathers of quantum physics. He said the following:

        “As a man who has devoted his whole life to the most clear headed science, to the study of matter, I can tell you as a result of my research about atoms this much: There is no matter as such. All matter originates and exists only by virtue of a force which brings the particle of an atom to vibration and holds this most minute solar system of the atom together. We must assume behind this force the existence of a conscious and intelligent mind. This mind is the matrix of all matter. “

        Don’t forget to evict Schrödinger too, he kept saying things like this:

        “Consciousness cannot be accounted for in physical terms. For consciousness is absolutely fundamental. It cannot be accounted for in terms of anything else.”

        Wheeler will have to go too, even if he was at Princeton when he wrote this:

        “ ‘It from bit’ symbolizes the idea that every item of the physical world has a bottom—a very deep bottom, in most instances, an immaterial source and explanation, that which we call reality arises in the last analysis from the posing of yes-no questions and the registering of equipment—evoked responses, in short all matter and all things physical are information-theoretic in origin and this is a participatory universe.”

        There are many more, and you will have to throw them all out from science if you want to consider your view as the only one qualified. Good luck!

      • alexander pope, india. says:

        hello phil,

        what chopra preaching over the years is pure unadulterated idealism of indian kind; that, the universe is determined by consciousness. hence, consciousness becomes superior than existing reality, facts, objects, or even molecular existence. indian philosopher and indian monk, SANKARAN, who was associated with the righteousness of brahmanical rites, declared the same in his adwaitha philosophy, that, the universe is MAYA; it only exists in our consciousness, and in reaity the universe is maaya, a feel, an illusion, and not objective; a subjective feel.

        what chopra is selling in millions and making in millions in dollars is liquid cash; and not consciousness alone….but material wealth.

  23. Vynson says:

    Chopra is a purveyor of pseudoscience and there’s enough glitter in the snakeoil to attract those who prefer shiny nonsense to facts. But there is not a shred of evidence to support the notion that consciousness is anything more than the perfectly physical neural network of the brain. The idea of the mind being other than a functioning brain is really just a clumsy assertion that we have souls and from there we are back to reincarnation and assorted nonsense.

    We do not have brains. We are brains.

    • Lindsay Briner says:

      Hi Vynson, wow these are quite bold statements to make! If what you say is true, why then is the hard problem of consciousness the 2nd largest open question in science? If what you state as true were actually true, there would be no open question. Yet, the question remains open. I believe the authors of this article would disagree with you as well, sorry to say. Perhaps read the book and check the references and make sure you really understand the ontological primitive from which Dr Chopra & Dr Kafatos are working from before making such bold statements? Although if you have done this already and have specific questions where you are stuck, I would be happy to help, as I am sure others would too.

  24. Solongo says:

    Yoga time 🤣——0.2 2.0

  25. Robin Payes says:

    I love that thoughtful, rational people can offer differing points of view and have a civil discussion. I wonder what Shermer and Vlodinow would say about Einstein’s observation that “We cannot solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.” To me, this speaks to the notion of the “higher” mind, or awareness. Where does awareness come from: is it an object in the brain? Or is the brain simply a receptor that’s attuned to this awareness that is not found in time and space? I remember reading Barbara Bradley Haggerty’s book, Fingerprints of God, and thinking that perhaps we have another sense beyond the five known senses that allows us to wonder, create and perceive not objects, but ideas. We seem to be attuned to this. Just like the brain has receptors for endorphins, opioids and cannabinoids, it may also have a channel for the nonphysical . Perhaps it hasn’t quite been measured yet like these other receptors, or maybe it is not measurable as it opens the channel to the metaphysical world.

    So is the brain the source of mind, or more like a channel for mind to enter into human awareness?

    When Einstein said, “We can’t solve problems using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them,” was he adjuring us to think with some other brain–or to tap into what some call the “higher mind,” and isn’t that the source of scientific discovery, creativity, awe and wonder?

    I wonder.

    • Aurora Carlson says:

      I love your thoughts Robin! Wondering can take us all the way to that which is wondrous. From there, we can make the whole world shine!

  26. Annie Hall says:

    Deepak Chopra wrote:
    “The universe is an experience in consciousness. That includes mind body and universe as a unified activity . Mind body and universe are human concepts used to explain the raw experience of qualia –sense perceptions. images feelings and thoughts.”

    This describes philosophical idealism, which asserts that direct and immediate knowledge can only be had of ideas and mental pictures. It is ‘all in our heads.’
    Fair enough, but then one should not bring up scientific references into this metaphysical view.

    There is no place either for metaphysics or for religion in science, because they are not based on observable facts, but on beliefs without evidence.
    Science and technology are based on philosophical materialism, i.e. on physical facts, which can be observed, measured, repeated, analyzed, modeled and eventually explained via proven scientific theories, including the biology of our evolved animal brains.

    • Phil Bone says:

      Everything is said. Bravo.

    • deepak chopra says:

      “Facts” are species specific modes of knowing in consciousness. Animals have subjective knowing through sensory experience without “empirical ” measurements

      • Dr. Sidethink Hp. D. says:

        Although it might not apply to yerself, Mr, Chopstick

        the message is clearly
        “science sucks and so do you if you if you follow it”

        This viewpoint is clearly made in the “50’s Berkeley cult
        film “Wizards”

        It seems to me that we have clearly regressed into an
        intellectually Dark “New” age since.

        Anti-science will accelerate the coming War for control of diminishing resources

        Pope Bobby II
        69th Clench of the Stark Fist of Removal
        Reformed Church of the Subgenius

      • Roy Niles says:

        Ridiculous. Animals are conscious of what they sense, or they wouldn’t be able to make responsive choices. We all, as biological creatures, use trial and error intelligence as well, but humans are much better at consciously determined communication.

    • Aurora Carlson says:

      Hi Annie Hall!

      You write: “There is no place either for metaphysics or for religion in science, because they are not based on observable facts, but on beliefs without evidence.”

      I know what you describe is the view of materialist science, but if we are to stay within that view, then at least physics has reached a dead end. It has arrived at the place where empirical evidence no longer is possible and we are watching what I presume you still call “scientists” engaging in philosophy and suggesting theories that cannot be tested.

      I don’t know if I can post links here, will try, but if not, I recommend you read an article in New York Times titled “A Crises at the Edge of Physics”.
      https://www.nytimes.com/2015/06/07/opinion/a-crisis-at-the-edge-of-physics.html?_r=0

      If materialist science has arrived at its outer edge, isn’t it time to start looking at what is beyond matter?

    • Lindsay Briner says:

      Hi Annie, I believe the authors of this article state, “The book is a coherent argument for his point of view and it is informed by much knowledge of cutting edge science” with no mention of metaphysics. Although I do see the point you are making from a reductionistic ontology, yet it is also good to stay up to date on the “cutting edge” science which Dr Chopra & Dr Kaftans reference before critiquing as metaphysics. Also, I would recommend Dr David Chalmer’s book Metametaphysics to help conceptualize these emerging scientific views into the context of mind-brain.

  27. John Richards says:

    Nullius in verba

  28. Mieke van der Poll says:

    Know thyself………..

    It all is beautifully expressed in the many many different qualities by which humanity has portrayed itself up till now.

    It will be expressed in many many more because the human race is utterly creative in its endeavours to explore themselves :)

    Homo Ludens is the next step………in consciousness :)

  29. Debbie Washington says:

    Thank you for this article. Deepak Chopra stole all of Maharishi’s ideas. He is a Hindu, mantra maker.
    I appreciated this article. I am not the universe! Thank you for that enlightened conclusion.
    I am constantly surprised that this sort of thing needs to be said.

  30. Richard H. says:

    It is reasonable to think that the human brain, a product of the universe, may not be capable of fully understanding every facet of the universe (Reality). That does not justify making up alternate realities based on wishful thinking.

  31. Menas C Kafatos says:

    Thank you Robin Payes, Aurora and all for participating in the discussion. We are all after all searching for the truth, aren’t we? And dialogue and taking opposite points of view is to advance human knowledge, including science. These dialogues go back ages. Although not identical, such as different world views between Plato and Aristotle. Between Einstein and Bohr, etc. Some in this list seem to think that philosophy is useless. It would be good if they explored (and read?) some great philosophical works. At the time of Newton, what we now call science was then called natural philosophy. It is well known that the origin of scientific inquiry in ancient Greece was tied to philosophy. In my book “The Conscious Universe” published in a couple of editions since 1991, Nadeau and I explored the issues associated with the quantum view of the cosmos. We concluded that consciousness cannot be proven as an external object (I don’t mean neural correlates in the brain, correlates are NOT the same as experiences or qualia). But in the end, it just might be the simplest thesis to hold.

    The great founders of QM, all of them, were concerned with the same issues that are brought up in the book. Would some of the “science zealots” responding here, also dismiss them? Good luck!

    For sure I am not denying science. I am a scientist with 300+ peer reviewed publications and lots of grants. Some people who attack academic institutions in this discussion group, also reject peer review process in their postings. And they claim they have solved the problem of consciousness. Are they doing science?

    What I am saying is that science is often misunderstood for classical ontology. For sure they are not the same. The book You Are the Universe argues for a new science. It would be good if you all read the book! At least Shermer and Mlodinow did!

    Thank you.

    • Richard H. says:

      Dr. Kafatos,

      I’m currently doing research for a book with the working title: “Reality 101: What’s Real, What’s Not” on which I’ve consulted with a number of physicists.

      Why can’t the physical neural correlates BE the experiences or qualia? Isn’t that the most reasonable thing to conclude? Why add an extra level that there’s no evidence for?

      Are you assuming that both a physical and non-physical realm exist–the old dualism idea that’s been extant since Aristotle and before?

      If you are saying that experiences or qualia are NON-physical phenomena, what would they be made of/consist of? Anything that exists must consist of *something*, right?

      What else is there for stuff to be made of/consist of other than physical particles at the most elemental level?

      Doesn’t “non-physical” mean not made of physical stuff, which would equate to nothing, which would equate to nonexistent?

      Respectfully, Richard

      http://www.richard-harkness.com

  32. Annie Hall says:

    Aurora –
    You said:
    “If materialist science has arrived at its outer edge, isn’t it time to start looking at what is beyond matter?”

    It seems that talking about ‘the end of science’ doomsday has been around for at least a century.

    I don’t see discussions about the validity of proposed scientific theories, be it about quantum field theories, string theories, multiverses, etc, as a challenge to the scientific approach. Yes, proponents of various theologies and philosophies might use the disputes to claim that any of their intellectual musings are just as valid. But it is not so.

    To be credible, a scientific theory, if it has no way of being shown that it is represented in either observation or experimentation, must at least WORK in the real physical world.
    If it turns out there is no way ever to test it, it should not be called a scientific theory, but just a proposed theory in the field of physics based on mathematics (but not on philosophy, theology, or personal hunches.) In the fields of theology, personal and prophetic visions, anything goes. In modern philosophy dealing with views of the world, not ancient
    ‘natural philosophy’, which was science and philosophy combined, anything goes as long as one can use syllogisms correctly.

    Speculations in science and technology are always healthy and may lead to new discoveries, novel experiments and instrumentation, as long as one keeps asking questions, keeps an open mind –without too much leakage :), — keeps a skeptical mind, and never accepts any dogma, scientific or otherwise, without convincing evidence.

    • Aurora Carlson says:

      Annie,

      as I and many others see it, the “end of (materialistic) science” is a discussion that is here to stay, because materialistic science has indeed reached a dead end when it comes to any attempt to help human beings understand the nature of their own existence and of the universe they inhabit, and thus evolve.

      We could go on indefinitely cheering on the good scientists who are measuring pieces of matter and comparing notes, but sadly, we are running out of time, because without proper understanding of ourselves and our world, we are destroying our species and our planet.

      The type of materialistic science you represent prides itself on being open-minded, when the truth is that it is completely unaware of the irrationality of its own ontological assumption and the closeness of its point of view. Materialists have built a shiny tower – on nothing but sand, because their premise that matter gives rise to consciousness is no more than an assumption, defended with inexplicable arrogance. There are dead ends galore in such a world-view and it is not open-minded to refuse to acknowledge that theories of science are of many types and science is not only for materialists other than in their own very limited universe.

      Social scientists are shaking their heads at the grip materialism still has on natural sciences… but honestly, we cannot just let materialists be, because their arrogance is affecting us all. By stopping real progress, materialist science is keeping our educational and social institutions still when we should all be moving forward full speed.

      Materialist science is indeed better than religion, but just barely. It is still just stories based on myth- yes, myth, I repeat that. Religious fantasy says that a bearded man in the sky made the world, scientific materialism fantasizes about carbon and hydrogen randomly starting to crack jokes and they are both calling these fantasies facts. Well… isn’t it time to do what consciousness science asks us to do- turn around and research that which is fantasizing so wildly (and I don’t mean the brain)?

      Millions of people are already doing just that, discovering a more real identity, establishing the new paradigm despite your calls of scientific sacrilege, and you might find yourself very lonely very soon… but it would be so much easier for us all if you cooperated with evolution instead. You have everything to win.

  33. deepak chopra says:

    Classical skepticism rejects consciousness as fundamental. Radical skepticism rejects matter as fundamental.

    • Lindsay Briner, Neurohacker says:

      Matter is nonmaterial, it is an interpretation of sense experience in consciousness. It is time for Michael Shermer and Leonard Mlodinow to become radial skeptics as Deepak suggests to overcome the superstition of matter!

  34. Derek Whitney says:

    The Universe is comprised 100% of energy.
    Of which approximately 4.5% is form.
    99.5% is non form energy.
    All form / matter ultimately arises from the non form energy.
    Nobel Prize winning scientists Max Planck, Albert Einstein and others affirm this.
    But science is fixated on human thought being able to think it’s way to ultimate truth, when it seems, this is not where the truth lies.
    Recently, in 2016 French scientists discovered that a single cell organism, with no brain and no nervous system was able to demonstrate complex memory…multiple times in multiple ways.
    No scientist has ever been able to point out where a single thought or memory is located in the human or any other brain.

    What I propose is this…..that Deepak Chopra and the ancient wisdom traditions point to the ultimate truth that the mechanism that ‘The Universe/Source/God’ (call it what you do) gathers what Einstein carefully called ‘the vast unlimited intelligence that sits behind and within all of the natural universe and that, by comparison with which, all human thought is of complete insignificance’ is by inserting itself within each and every form that is created and the lived ‘Feltness learning’ ie: the invisible, sensitive, intelligent energy learning that is experienced is what informs the evolution of the universe forward.

    This would explain the missing link in Darwin’s Theory of Evolution. There is no genetic matter in a mother or father duck that can gift the next generation of duck slightly wider webbed feet, but the process that would explain this is that the Universe lives and retains the learning in the invisible, sensitive, intelligent energy that was the essence of each of the parent ducks and uses this learning to tweak the DNA codes for the next generation of duckling to better adapt to it’s environment.

    I am currently writing a book called ‘Feltness’ based on an insight received under the stars on Lennox Head Beach in Australia that more comprehensively addresses this truth.

    But science, as we know it, will never acknowledge what cannot be observed and this is the problem…even when the truth is literally carried at essence, within each of the scientists who deny it.

    • Dave the Inscrutable says:

      What missing link is that? Evolution can be observed and modeled without recourse to postulating an invisible, sensitive, intelligent energy. DNA is the medium of another informational entity; but such an entity apparently operates without consciousness by any ordinary definition of the word.

  35. deepak chopra says:

    If empirical evidence is the only valid proof of “reality ” then how do you directly empirically validate the existence of mind ? What does the intensity of love or passion measure out in units of mass and energy ? Be a radical skeptic !

    • Aurora Carlson says:

      I guess materialist scientists will have to do without mind :) It pretty much feels like that’s the case!

  36. Dave the Inscrutable says:

    An excellent discussion, albeit we shall never (I think) penetrate the difference in kind between matter and consciousness. Conscious beings ever unable to really ‘prove’ anything pertaining to non-consciousness (except under carefully defined terms).

    So to specify that the universe is conscious seems irrelevant, lacking useful meaning. Entities should not be multiplied unnecessarily, recommends good old Occam.

    But consciousness appears to be an informational entity, like mathematics, which is designed to investigate and solve problems. The impulse to take this to infinity – to demand an absolute, eternal answer – is therefore a feature of consciousness. But this powerful feeling does not prove that any such absolute exists.

  37. Derek Whitney says:

    As Albert Einstein once carefully and wisely guided:
    ‘It would be possible to describe everything scientifically, but it would make no sense and be without meaning, as if you described a Beethoven symphony as a variation of wave pressure.’

    The ultimate truth, to which Deepak and Menas’s book helpfully points, is a truth which can only be ‘known’, from the knowing that resides beyond thought, in the ‘Feltness energy of the Universe’ that each and all are, at essence, but which is elusive to only thought. The skeptics and scientists would come closer to knowing by spending much more time alone in, silently in awe of and closely observing nature, not from thought, but from feeling and being. This language doesn’t resonate with them because they are lost in the vortex of thought, which is a two sided thing, it can be helpful, but is also a blocker to deeper knowings.

    As 3 of the greatest thinkers of all time, each, completely oblivious at the time, of the others stated:

    Confucius: ‘A man’s intelligence is in direct proportion to his awareness of his own ignorance.’

    Einstein: ‘The more that I have learned, the more I now realise how little I know.’

    Socrates: ‘I know that I am intelligent because I know that I know nothing.’

    Self knowledge, Oneness of everything knowledge, which is not provable by science, but is knowable by ‘awareness of being’ is the miracle truth which sits within Deepak and Menas’s book, that has also been pointed to by ancient wisdom traditions (Lao Tzu’s Tao Te Ching an excellent example) and the arising scientific evidence that points to the same ultimate truth includes the information shared by retired Physicist Tom Campbell that in his study of cells of humans, animals and plants he found that unambiguously the cells of all forms of life on Earth ‘optimally perform when placed in an environment of harmonious co-operation.’ On a cellular level, each and all are made to harmoniously co-operate and in doing so, to cellularly/energetically flow.

    Living from awareness of the ‘Feltness energy of the Universe’ that we each and all are, and that we gift ourselves cellular flow/optimal health only when being P.U.R.E. ie:
    ” P=perfect,
    U=universal
    R=relationship
    E=energy, in every relationship context we experience , that is with all other humans, with animals, with the ocean, rivers, with trees and land, with the air….we gift ourselves and the planet healthy, optimal flow…basically a kind of Heaven would ensue.

    But at present, as a species, going with human thought intelligence over what Einstein rightly called ‘the vast unlimited intelligence of the natural universe, that, by comparison with which, all human thought is of complete insignificance.’….going with human thought, this lack of reverence and the ‘species level’ non alignment with Source/the Universe, sees us on the same trajectory as the dinosaurs, which started their 10 million year habitation of Earth small in number and stature and as plant eaters, then grew in variety, stature and demands on the planet, ultimately becoming carnivores and the most destructive form on the planet before being ‘dispensed with’, as a I believe they had become counter to ultimate Source / Universe intention, which, based on the cellular energetic evidence appears to be a harmonious flowing co-operation across all species.

    Ghandi once wisely said…’The Earth provides enough for each man/woman and child’s need, but not their greed. Observing animals in nature, they only take what is needed for survival, there is no ‘killing / destruction for profit or other non natural motives.’

    Only re-alignment to the ‘vast unlimited natural intelligence of the Universe’ can save us, as a species from ourselves. Human thought (science) will never achieve this and we are running out of time, as our destructive powers increase daily at an alarming rate.

    But we do have, in fact, we ARE…all that we require to achieve unlimited peace, equanimity, joy, creativity, harmony, flow, play and Love globally…if we could stop thinking, being and doing what we are not naturally created to be and ‘just each be’ the unique ‘once in eternity’ gifted form creations that we are, sent here to use our form gifts to be ‘of service to the universe’, live in co-operative harmony with everyone and everything, as guided by our energetic cellular flow, and in the process of being, experiencing an incredible, loving and abundant daily life.

    Thank you Deepak and Menas for your book and I have been encouraging people to keep an eye out for the movie and book here in Australia. We can only try as you are, while living in a mainly unconscious human universe, accept and observe what is, while doing our best to ‘be Love’ and guide others to being same.

  38. Derek Whitney says:

    Here is the link to the scientific media release of evidence of a single cell organism, with no brain & no nervous system, demonstrating memory: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/04/160427081533.htm

  39. Richard H. says:

    Many of these posts show a common and fundamental misunderstanding of “energy.” If you misunderstand what energy is right out of the gate, you’re going to get wronger and wronger as you go.

    Spoiler alert: Energy is mass multiplied by velocity.

    Energy is a physical phenomenon. Simply put, energy is associated with physical stuff in motion.

    Think of getting conked on the noggin by a thrown baseball. The ball’s energy is suddenly transferred to your skull with jarring results. The amount of energy carried by the baseball is determined by the ball’s mass (weight) and velocity. This energy does not exist apart from the baseball that generates it–it’s a property of the moving ball.

    Energy is not an entity unto itself. It is not something that stuff can be made of, or consist of.

    To say something is made of energy is like saying it’s made of velocity. It is nonsensical.

    This basic misunderstanding of energy (and Reality) is promulgated all over the web by “spiritual”-oriented sites spouting wishful-thinking bunkum such as “we are all made of energy.”

    It’s human nature to want to believe such stuff. Your best self-defense? Disappointing as it might seem, just keep your feet firmly planted on good ol’ terra firma.

  40. Derek Whitney says:

    Pointing towards the true awareness that resides beyond thought, to anyone who is rooted in form and thought processing, which is most skeptics and scientists, is futile.

    As one who devoted 50 years to thinking and ‘provable, fact based conclusions’ – I can only be deeply grateful to the Universe/Source/God for gifting me the journey required to go beyond thought.

    For it is only there that the real truth can be found.

    Behind the human curtain.

    I accept that this comment may not resonate with most on here and sincerely wish 100% of the contributors and readers peace on their respective journeys.

    While being comfortable/joyfully at peace living with knowing of the divine (same) truth espoused by Lao Tzu, Socrates, Marcus Aurelius, Jesus, Buddha, Rumi, Tagore, Albert Einstein, Beethoven, Deepak Chopra, Eckhard Tolle, Wayne Dyer and other luminary humans worth listening to….it is also the same truth spoken by the wind, the trees, the ocean waves, the stars and the birdsongs and other sounds of nature….for those still connected enough to see/hear and feel it, from the sight, hearing, feeling and knowing that lies beyond human thought and sense perceptions.

    It is fascinating, miraculous, unlimited, powerful, universal, cosmic, Loving truth…and it gifts everything.

    But it is Lost via thought.

    & only Known via being.

    There’s the rub.

  41. Roy Niles says:

    Shermer, s usual, argues that “mind and consciousness have nothing to do with the cosmos, but rather are emergent properties of neural activity in the brain”

    This statement is as ignorant as those made by Chopra have clearly been.
    Emergent properties are either explainable or illusory. But the trial and error systems of intelligence that biological systems use are NOT illusory and ARE explainable. And such “conscious” explanations, if nothing else, should at least seem logical.
    To be conscious is to be aware, and when we observe the apparent randomness of universal activities, we also observe that randomness is reacted to with persistent purposes. Universal laws, for example, act predictively, as do chemical and physical reactions.
    What should this signify to an intelligent human? Perhaps that we may well be the latest users of an ever evolving competitive and cooperative set of intelligent systems. Systems that are, and arguably must have always been, self evolving. No emergent gods or spirits needed.

  42. Annie Hall says:

    All well said and done, but you would not be expressing your concepts of internalized universe or of projected externalized sentient selves in the space time of two days and many miles apart, sitting at a keyboard, free from diseases, if it had not been all provided for by scientific discoveries and experiments, and technological applications and inventions, achieved solely because of empirical materialism and the controlled objective methods of scientists, who all the while on their spare time enjoy a Beethoven sonata while smelling the roses and looking at the stars.

    Pffew, that sentence was long.

    • Aurora Carlson says:

      I would not enjoy anything if it weren’t for consciousness :)

      And if it weren’t for the stuckness of materialism, I would not experience a global mad chase for all that materialists value at the expense of all that is truly valuable. I would not experience an infinity of meaningless and destructive technological tools, created because we can but not because we care. I would not experience an environment made toxic and barren because of the blindness and greed that come with considering life a random meaningless occurrence. I would not experience a medical science that poisons and hurts the entire system while cutting away and chemically numbing the part, addressing material symptoms with no awareness of real causes. I would not experience wars over pieces of land or heaps of money. I would not experience hierarchical, discriminatory systems built on the premise that we are walking lumps of matter, nor heart-broken people treated that way.

      I could continue to make this list bigger, but you know, size doesn’t matter. If you’ve got it, you’ve got it already.

  43. alexander pope, india. says:

    super consciousness is a false philosophy exported from india to the west in the twentieth century by pseudo yoga gurus who quoted texts from the vedic period of indian history. universal consciousness is associated with this rehetoric, as well as the popular spiritual slogan, mind over body.

    you are the universe, is from the early upanishad texts from india, author unknown. it does not ever support the later super consciousness of human in any way. on the contrary, you are the universe, just simply imply that you are a part of the universe, the BRAHMAM, or the infinite energy flow. brahmam is the energy which can see, feel, touch, taste and etc, as well as the things we cannot see, touch, taste and feel, the reality.

    further more, you are the universe, destroyed all the notions about a super force, god. on the contrary, you are the universe, emphasized on reality, brahamam, the infinite energy, and totally negated an omnipotent god, or super consciousness or a superior force in design and creation.

    but what deepak chopra follows is the philosophy and spiritual flowery rehetoric of the vedic period of indian history where upper caste brahmins, who boasted they were the superior aryan race to rule others, and who introduced wretched caste system, untouchability, henious explotation, concentration of wealth and race supermacy to masquerade reality. saakya muni, other wise known as buddha, waged a war on indian racism by negating a superior force or god or super consciousness.

    one has to note that hitler who declared himself as the adovocate of aryan supermacy annihilated millions in his diabolical quest for aryan supermacy. ideas proposed by deepak chopra is not only preposterous but also it contains a dangerous political doctrine.

    • Aurora Carlson says:

      Wow Alexander Pope,

      this is the great gift of awakened beings, they make extremists from all directions jump up, accusing of fakeness and pseudo. Some shout pseudo-science, others pseudo-yoga :)

      In the middle of it all, the awakened being is laughing, trying to help us realize that we are fake scientists and yogis, accused of fakeness by fake scientists and yogis, in a fake world, because it’s ALL a story *in consciousness*!!!

      Deepak is awake, haven’t you seen him wear the “Authentic fake” T-shirt? But all those scientists and yogis jumping at him… Only people who are asleep take themselves and the movie seriously. I’m whispering gently… wake up? :)

  44. Derek Whitney says:

    Hi Alexander

    With all due respect, what you have stated about Deepak is devoid of truth and only demonstrates that you currently are unable to see/process/understand the deepest truths to which Deepak & the ancient wisdom traditions have lovingly and helpfully pointed.

    Mainstream science is currently in the same place.
    It cannot see/process/understand what Deepak and Menas are sharing, because the laws, tools, processes it utilises ie: observable data and very limited ‘human thought’ is, at best, equipped to study around only 4% of ‘what is.’

    True ‘knowings’ it seems reside within the ‘Feltness energy’ of the Universe that we each and all, at essence are. This 2016 scientific finding that a single cell, no brain, no nervous system organism demonstrated complex memory points to the same: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/04/160427081533.htm

    If we believe science, thoughts and memory reside in the brain. Yet science cannot point to where a single thought or memory resides in any brain.

    I have no doubt, that if we can survive long enough as a species, which based on currently global developments and observations is very questionable, but if we can survive for another 20-50 years, I have no doubt that the truth contained in the title and content of Deepak and Menas’s book ‘You are the Universe’ will be more widely accepted for the miracle and historically alluded to by ancient wisdom traditions, Lao Tzu, Socrates, Marcus Aurelius, Jesus, Buddha, Mother Theresa, Albert Einstein, Rumi, Tagore, Mozart, Beethoven, Eckhardt Tolle, Wayne Dyer and other luminary humans truth that it is.

    As long as the thinkers who believe human thought overrides the Universal intelligence dominate, we, as a species are in life threatening trouble. Only awakening and re-aligning to the miracle truth of who and what we are, that is, to the natural Universal Loving Nature – can save us from ourselves.

    It is fascinating to observe the difference in opinion between the ‘thinkers’ and the ‘knowers.’ The thinkers are leading us on a path to self destruction and the knowers are only interested in ‘being Love.’

    Which offers all the best future? Is not difficult to answer.

  45. alexander pope, india. says:

    hello derek,

    thank you for your comments. much appreciated. in fact, your comments make people like me to realize how certain orators can pull others to a stupendous theory over and over, again and again.

    i do not want you to feel offended; my intention is not debate but dialogue. had you been interested in a discourse you would have replied to my text rather than telling me one guy in philosophy is the messaiah; sounds dogamatic. i put several historic facts.

    you put mother theresa and jesus and buddha in the same plate. what literature you have in genuine about jesus? NONE. and what about buddha? NONE. we have certain texts supposed to be written by jesus disiciples. people swallowed this religious testimony for centuries. but, in the sixties of the last century it was proven that new testment was greek pundits, commissioned by roman empor. we absolutely do not have a single original text about the real jesus.

    in the case of buddha, the same. buddhist literature was destroyed by late vedic racist, and set fire to the universities that taught, buddhism in india. what we know about buddha is the produce of chinese dynasty writers, who went all against the principles of buddhism; such as, suppression, concentration of wealth, and etc.

    i am afraid to say that you are so naive and do not want to use your reasonable faculty. you like to BELEIVE in things, because, you liked the feel, the triumph, the experience after reading a book. that’s all.

    on brain, neural actions, and etc etc, i do not care. i tried to propose a historic fact. but you choose to beleive things that excites you. sorry. i would like to add that please listen to the dissent notes. check those texts thoroughly and see if the dissent notes contain any thing good. but it is a laborious activity.
    thanks.pope.

  46. leo vuyk says:

    Indeed there is reason to assume that there is multi-universal consciousness.
    Descartes “I think therefore I am ” should change into:
    “We think therefore we are”
    see:
    Democratic Free Will and Telepathy in the Instant Entangled Multiverse.
    http://vixra.org/pdf/1612.0026v2.pdf

  47. Sree says:

    It is laudable that Mlodinow and Shermer approached this book with an open mind, after being bewildered to see so many “brand-name” scientists choosing to collaborate with Deepak. And arguably they did, since they provide generous praise to many aspects of the book. But it seems to me that their openmindedness stopped short when challenged on certain basic pillars of their worldview. A true skeptic, or investigator, would have worked harder (in my opinion) to understand what those eminent scientists saw in Deepak’s perspective, even if they didn’t agree with it.

    The closing sentence of the review had me scratching my head. If Ptolemy only claimed to be the center of the universe, a book with such a plainly-stated title clearly can’t be Ptolemaic. No, it’s a post-Copernican perspective. It really is a simple paradigm shift – like shifting our focus from the engrossing movie to the screen on which it’s being projected. Of course, it’s only simple *after* you have made the shift. Till then, we’re in full ‘suspension of disbelief’ mode. Some of us have been watching this movie for so long that we’ve forgotten how to disbelieve.

    The skeptics have their guns trained the wrong way.

    • Aurora Carlson says:

      Sree… you clearly see the screen behind the movie :)

      I too smile at materialists who are bewildered by the praise and stellar collaborations Deepak has. Instead of taking a sincere look at a deeper perspective, they cling to the known and limited, to the comfort of “solid” matter. It’s only their perspective that is solid, solidly stuck :)

      Oh well. I know it’s not easy, nor simple, to see the screen behind the movie, and if you have started to do so, it’s not easy to dare point to it in the middle of a crowd of people mesmerized by the movie. Deepak has never been afraid to speak up, but I think that many others are.

      So I do respect Mlodinow and Shermer, because they are actually trying, even if with much trepidation. I saw them both at the Sages and Scientists symposium last year, and that’s a fantastic step. I respect people who dare step into the unknown, and I try to remember how afraid I too was once upon a time. Funny, yes, as funny as when humans were afraid to fall off the planet … but totally understandable. I forgive myself and all of us for moving forward slower than we want to!

  48. Markko says:

    Oh well, long read but still absolutely no clue what is consciousness. As I understand situation is exactly same as some 5000 or even more years ago and development from since is zero. Only more speculations which only mean something to the person who speculates.

    • Steve C says:

      You’re spot on. Humans have been defining consciousness in metaphysical or “spiritual” terms for a very long time because no one has ever presented evidence based upon the scientific method. Thus, it’s simply speculation. A dog has more self-awareness than a child under the age of two. So does that mean dogs have consciousness but two year old’s do not? In all probability, what we think of as consciousness is nothing more than our perception of our brain’s electrical activity.

  49. alexander pope, india. says:

    hello marrko,
    consciousness is the sense of awareness of living organism, or objects that has life. consciousness die with the body. no matter, no consciousness. all notions and theories on an omnipotent consciousness is nothing than an omnipotent god, creator, and all the nonsense associated with it; such, as super consciousness, maaya, or, the universe is an illusion explained by indian philosopher, sankaran. both vedanta and adwaitha philosophy were the official philosophy of indian upper castes, brahmins, the clergy and kshatriya, the ruling class to exploit indian mass, by unleashing untouchability and racism. why?

    indian racist vedanta who introduced casteism and untouchability and henious exploitation over the indian masses produced the doctrine of superior race and aryanism, and also superior thought and superior consciousness. vedanta philosophy invited rational attack by indian yogis of rational nature; saakya muni, other wise known as buddha, decimated vedantic discrimination and racist claims and superiority of upper castes over down castes and preached the redistribution of accumulated weath.

    according to dr. chopra, the universe exists in human consciousness. it is good to say that i make millions by selling my books, a material activity from which chopra benefits hell of a lot money. money does not exist in one’s consciousness! so, , as universe. chopra, a terristrial being exists, eats, and it is no illusion, the maya, as explained by indian adwantha philosopher, sankaran, the real guru of mr. chopra.

    all claims of a superior consciousness is an appratus for superiority, control, and all thoughts on universe exists in one’s consciousnes is fallacy, and all superconscious people love money and good living…

    • Aurora Carlson says:

      Alexander Pope, you can’t have read “You Are the Universe” nor any other books by Dr. Chopra. Nothing you wrote has any relatedness with the ideas presented in the book. You probably come from a background where superior and inferior are the lens through which people interpret the world, but the perspective presented in the book is about realizing that belief systems, any belief systems, including the hierarchical system you describe, are simply constructs in consciousness.

      What Drs. Chopra and Kafatos imply is that we are not the labels we give ourselves and each other, and if anything, their message is deeply liberating and egalitarian. It would be nice if you stopped projecting and read the book instead.

  50. Markko says:

    I am aware of dictionary definition of consciousness and I should have been more specific because I referred in my mind to that omnipotent/superior/consciousness of universe.

  51. Aurora Carlson says:

    Here is an article written by Deepak Chopra which I think is a great answer to the review and also to other ideas brought up by those who call themselves skeptics, but are actually physicalist believers. It is titled “Reality Poses the Ultimate Challenge to the Skeptics”:

    “Anyone who has had the audacity to question mainstream science soon runs afoul, particularly in the blogosphere, of hard-line skeptics. Whether they are simply insistent or outright aggressive, the skeptical viewpoint has long been founded on a simple principle. Reality is what lies before us, in the three-dimensional world “out there” that’s verified by the five senses. If you can see it, feel it, touch, taste, and smell it, the thing in question is real (making provisions for scientific instruments like telescopes and microscopes that extend the naked eye).

    No amount of argument shakes the skeptic’s credo, and so it’s refreshing that they are being upended, not only by metaphysics or deeper investigation into consciousness–all of which gets dismissed as woo-woo, but by science itself. With the discovery of so-called dark matter and dark energy, which either obeys none of the laws of nature that apply to ordinary matter and energy or else conforms to those laws in a hidden way, the primacy of the visible universe has shrunk alarmingly. Every solid object in the cosmos, including interstellar dust, is barely the cherry on the top of an ice cream sundae, because only a fraction of 1% of creation is constituted by ordinary matter and energy.

    This common-sense objection to the physicalists, as materialists now prefer to be called, doesn’t shake their faith utterly, because it might be possible to redefine matter and energy in such a way that the old model of “if you can see it, it’s real” won’t collapse. But other challenges to physicalism are more radical, which is why skeptics need to follow their credo to the nth degree and apply it to themselves. There is almost universal agreement among physicists that the universe emerged from a pre-created state that is a void, known as the quantum vacuum state. This void offers no empirical data. The world’s most powerful high-speed particle accelerators can barely budge any data from the quantum vacuum state, whose existence is so abstract that one might as well call it totally mathematical, i.e., mental.

    If your foundation of reality is mental, it’s obvious that the five senses have long ago ceased to be reliable (skeptics tend to overlook that among the greatest quantum pioneers a century ago, everyday matter and energy had already been thoroughly dismantled). The notion has long existed, as first evidenced by Heisenberg, that elementary particles have no set qualities; instead, nature delivers measurements tailored to the expectations, experimental setup, and observational bias of human beings. There are no fixed qualities of space, time, matter, and energy that exist “out there” without being extrapolated from human experience. These topics are covered extensively in a new book You Are the Universe I co-authored with physicist Menas Kafatos.

    If you want to be radically skeptical, look with doubt upon a basic fact like the big bang, which we say in human time took place 13.8 billion years ago. With so much agreement on this fact, how could anyone be skeptical? The reason lies deeper than the clock ticking away on the shelf. The big bang has no known origin when you get to the finest level of time and space, known as the Planck scale. At this level, which is measured in trillionths of a second, the emergent universe is about to be born. Its birth wasn’t a bang, for obvious reasons. One, there was no sound, and two, explosions require a place and a time. The Planck scale precedes time and space (granting that “precede” makes no sense without time already existing).

    In this pre-reality, if we can call it that, the universe originated everywhere at once, and contemporary theorists speculate over whether the same is true today as well. You can argue, from various viewpoints like eternal inflation, that the existence of matter and energy, whether at the subatomic scale or on the massive scale of galaxies, is a process that never ceases. Besides being timeless, it is also dimensionless. The whole notion of the quantum vacuum state, which is ground zero for reality, can be mathematically tinkered with so that the void has no dimensions, infinite dimensions, or a specific number in between. In a word, reality at its core is inconceivable, and trying to model it with mathematical formulas may serve a certain purpose abstractly, but even diehards like Stephen Hawking concede that current theory may be far removed from reality.

    Skeptics should be chewing on the current imperfect and very malleable state of cosmology before they point accusations at anyone else. The defense of common-sense physicalism is not only outmoded by about a hundred years, but it amounts to an article of faith and a superstition, the very things the skeptic movements is dedicated to oppose. In an era of radical skepticism, should it ever arrive, a post-physicalist perspective could be of tremendous benefit to everyone.”

    The above article can be found here: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/reality-poses-ultimate-challenge-skeptics-deepak-chopra-md-official-?trk=mp-reader-card

  52. Markko says:

    So, more speculation. Instead of speculation can you give me a way to feel that thing which is beyond material world. Method which is consistent, works most of time and works same way with different persons. Saying that there is something out there but every person feels and comprehends it differently gives absolutely nothing useful for person who can’t feel it same way. Deepak and you can rant all you want about something which maybe exists somewhere but all it is is rant/speculation if you can’t give me same experience that you have.

    • Aurora Carlson says:

      Markko, are you addressing me?

      If so, then allow me to thank you for your point of view, which I find very important. I am one of those people who have the experience of the self and do not believe that anyone can intellectually understand unless they have it too, so I fully agree with you.

      I’m talking about a very simple experience of the self beyond the layer of thoughts, emotions, sensations, perceptions. It is an experience that I am convinced everyone can have, it’s just that we are conditioned since very early on to ignore it, meaning ignore that background layer of being, and only focus on and consider real that which is the object of experience. It is like never having noticed the screen and projector because from early on, we are conditioned to focus on the movie and stay busy with the plot.

      That said, there are methods to softly but surely dissolve that “attention glue” from the movie of life (thoughts, emotions, sensations, perceptions) and let awareness naturally settle onto itself, in order to realize itself. For me, it was regular long-time mantra meditation that did it, but there are other types of meditation and also reflection, introspection and many other techniques used for this purpose in different traditions. Even science is a way to arrive at a point where the movie doesn’t make sense anymore and you simply have to look differently, but as I see it, the intellect can only go so far.

      But the thing with these techniques is that you can’t just hear about them, or discuss them… you actually have to practice, to do it, so that your awareness can truly start freeing itself. Many people who are engulfed in the plot of the movie of life consider such practices a strange or even ridiculous (non)activity, convinced and moved as they are by the dramas. But those who have some kind of intuitive skepticism regarding what we have so long called “reality”… those people often become intensely involved in the quest for the real reality, especially when amazing things start happening :)

      So to conclude, I absolutely agree with you that discussions can not give the experience. But discussions can and do help, because they help us compare notes and question the norms and maybe dare step into the unknown.

  53. Markko says:

    You know what happens when I kind of meditate (be still, empty your head and so on). I always fall asleep. So I kind of fail with that awareness thing. And even when I can accept that person can feel something(awareness or whatever) it still is only personal experience and there is no thing out there where you can go with bunch of people same time.

    • Aurora Carlson says:

      Markko,

      if you fall asleep when you sit to meditate that just shows that you need more sleep- the body takes what it needs first. If you fix that you will be able to meditate in another way, eventually.
      As to your remark that it is only personal experience and not a physical place to go to together with others- I would not call that “only”. It’s not a physical place but a state of awareness, and it includes a whole bunch of people, actually all of them, and all else. It includes everything and everyone, just as the screen includes the whole movie. And one more thing: it not only includes the whole movie, it can also change it. That’s the exciting part.

  54. Markko says:

    You don’t know when and in what situations I have tried so don’t assume that my body needs sleep. You are wrong. And if you claim that your awareness contains other people and things and you can change it then it would be easy to verify your claim. Go in there, make some mark only you know and let other people describe it. Or talk to them and then come back and others can verify if he/she knows what you talked there. Then there would be some proof that its not only in your head and its not your personal experience.

  55. Gary Whittenberger says:

    I disagree with Chopra on several of his basic tenants and disagree with Shermer and Mlodinow on some of their commentary. However, I agree more with Shermer than with Chopra.

    Chopra says: 2. Mind/Body/Universe are experiences in consciousness.
    GW: No, “mind,” “body,” and “universe” are also concepts derived from consciousness.

    Chopra says: 6. You cannot separate an object from the perception of it.
    GW: Yes, you can. For example, an electron is considered an object although you can’t perceive it. Most perceptions are of objects, but all objects are not contents of perception.

    Chopra says: 7. Consciousness is non local and therefore formless, timeless, and spaceless.
    GW: Only one of the four claims here is true, i.e. that consciousness is formless, but the other three are false. Consciousness is the flow of experience and thus occurs in time. A particular consciousness is dependent on a particular brain, and this brain exists locally in a space.

    Chopra says: 11. The goal of existence is to know who we are.
    GW: Existence has no goals. Persons formulate goals. We know who we are.

    Shermer and Mlodinow first said “There is very strong evidence that mind and consciousness have nothing to do with the cosmos, but rather are emergent properties of neural activity in the brain.” and then after citing some research said “That is, brain activity equals consciousness.” The first claim seems correct but contrary to the second. I don’t think consciousness or mental activity can be an emergent property of neural activity and equal to that neural activity at the same time. Seeing a red apple is just not the same thing or equal to the firing of a set of neurons in the brain, although the former may be dependent on the latter.

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