It is fair to say that our global civilization now finds itself at a critical crossroads of development, in terms of natural resources, material systems, and modes of thinking -- a physical and psychical criticality. It thus becomes imperative that we orientate our perceptive faculties in favour of the potential evolutionary transformation of human consciousness. In recent years our western societies, at least, have developed in detriment to conscious evolution. This is one of the major reasons behind the cultural failings of our critical times. There has been little preparation, discussion, and research into how humanity, both physically and mentally, can deal with great change when it disrupts both scientific and religious belief systems. In our material age there is a tendency to dismiss spiritual concerns as realms of fantasy; likewise, those people of spiritual leaning often dismiss science as being inadequate to guide us into the future. Thus, a great amount of our energies have been channelled into creating an unstable and radically polarised world. What is required, however, is a reconciliation of the scientists with the humanists (C.P. Snow's "Two Cultures") and a combination of research and energy into stimulating a progressive understanding of the evolutionary trajectory of our species. In the worst case scenario we could face a process of devolution; it is my contention, however, that this will not be the case. Part of our dilemma, though, rests in our blindness over how our mental and perceptual faculties operate.
The human brain is a collection of nerve cells that operates like a multi-layered frequency receptor. Due to initial conditionings early on in life, each receptor becomes wired to perceive a particular wave frequency. As the brain's receptors tune-in to a particular pattern of frequency waves, a "pattern recognition" response is received by the brain and interpreted according to the perceptions allotted to the frequency. In other words, the act of tuning in involves picking up familiar frequency patterns out of the ocean of frequencies that surround us constantly. By tuning into the same patterns again and again we are reinforcing a particular reality-set. We are thus tuning into a consensus reality pattern unconsciously and forming our perceptions continually from this. Unfamiliar patterns often get ignored since they do not fall within our receptor remit. Perceptions are thus formed moment by moment as the brain constantly scans the bands of frequencies that surround us; yet we are often unaware that we are filtering from a limited set of perceptual patterns. However, if this pattern-recognition behaviour does not evolve over time, our perceptual development is in danger of becoming stalled. The result is that we become fixed -- or trapped -- within a particular reality. This is why human development requires that we move through various paradigm shifts in order to evolve our collective thinking/perceptual patterns. In other words, our development rests upon simultaneous biological and psychical processes. According to noted consciousness researcher Gopi Krishna, the "maturing of the nervous system and the brain is a biological process, depending on a host of psychic and material factors."
The vulnerability of this process is that we become too accustomed to particular perceptual patterns and ignore other sensory inputs or influences. Also, as a species we have been collectively uninformed about methods obtainable to shift among various frequency bands and patterns. This knowledge has been available within various wisdom traditions (such as shamanism and occult and mystery schools) yet kept out of the public domain. The end result is that we become fixed and dogmatic in our sensory "beliefs" and cling desperately to the small section of reality that we perceive as the whole. Yet the human brain, and nervous system, is flexible enough to shift between frequency patterns and to interpret "realities" beyond the consensual pattern. In past generations many mystery schools considered humankind too immature to undertake such training -- hence the need for rigorous and strict initiation rituals and testing. This embargo on such knowledge and techniques has helped foster the domination of materialistic science to the point whereby we are taught to dismiss subjective and intuitive impulses and experiences. However, it has now become an evolutionary necessity that our dominant reliance upon material pursuits be balanced with an increase in consciousness research that supports the significant role of a "shared mind": in other words, collective empathy.
There has been much talk on the Internet as to the emerging paradigm of the "global brain" and of the growth of planetary empathy. Systems philosopher Ervin Laszlo defines the global brain as "the quasi-neural energy -- and information -- processing network created by six and a half billion humans on the planet, interacting in many ways, private as well as public, and on many levels, local as well as global." On this physical level there is already a great deal of information-exchange occurring at ever-increasing speed. Emerging social networks (such as Facebook and MySpace) and collaborative news sites with large commentary base (such as The Huffington Post) are also developing empathy-at-a-distance between worldwide users. In this context there is already underway a transformation in the relations between a significant number of people in the world. Yet now hard science is taking these developments further by positing that people are increasing not only their emphatic relationships with each other but also their entanglement. This view has recently been corroborated by neuroscience with its finding of "mirror neurons."
A "mirror neuron" is a brain neuron that is activated ("fires") when a living being (such as humans and other animals such as primates and mammals) observes the action of another. In other words, if an individual watches another person eat an apple, then the exact same brain neurons will fire in the person observing the action as if they themselves were performing the act. Such neuron behaviour has been found in humans to operate in the premotor and inferior parietal cortex. This phenomenon of "mirror neurons" was first discovered by a research team in Italy in the 1990s when studying the neuronal activity of macaque monkeys. This discovery has led to many notable neuroscientists to declare that mirror neurons are important for learning processes (imitation) as well as language acquisition. In more modern general terms we might also say that this capacity is what ties a person in sympathy and empathy to another's situation. It may also explain why people become so emotionally attached to events on television, and even cry in response to watching someone crying on the screen. In this way we are emotionally entangled through a mirroring of brain neuronal firing. When we also consider that our bodies are entangled through a quantum field of electrical bio-photon resonance, it explains how we are affected by and from others -- via wave/field interference. This information is significant when considering a shift towards heightened empathy between people both near and at-a-distance (via digital communications) as well as the potential for catalyzing future abilities for telepathic communication between individuals. Our bodies then, as well as our brains, appear to function like receivers/decoders within an information field that is in constant flux. We can refer to this form of "field awareness" as quantum field consciousness, or simply as quantum consciousness (because quantum implies non-local field effect).
However, the manifestations of this quantum-field affect (often referred to as the abstract, or "soft," realm of imaginative insights and visions) are usually left to the eccentric artists, mystics, and fringe creative innovators. Much of our modern minds have been denied their left-right brain full working and pulled into a tight left-brain rational functioning that operates as mechanical, linear, competitive, and narrow. The abstract right-brain, with its magical world of creative visionary thinking, has been mostly sidelined and laid to rest. Much of this right-brain activity was the source for indigenous wisdom, shamanic practices, and similar traditions that western materialistic thought has sought to ignore over the years. Often our own intellectual training conditions us to think of such "magical practices" as primitive, barbaric, and worthy of little more than western colonialism and/or re-education. Yet we in the "civilized" West, with our left-hemisphere-dominated brain, live in the everyday world of material things and external attractions. We often picture ourselves as existing as separate forces, as islands in a chaotic sea of physical and natural impacts, and at the whim of random neutral influences. Yet we now know that this is not the case, as new DNA research and "hard science" is showing.
To be continued next time...