Tag Archives: John Eccles

How the Universe Solved the “Hard Problem”

sit space

By Deepak Chopra, MD

For some inexplicable reason the most common element in every possible experience–consciousness–has kept itself a secret. How the human brain produces consciousness–if it does–is an age-old question, currently traveling under the name of “the hard problem.” Philosopher David Chalmers, who coined the term, says, “There is nothing that we know more intimately than conscious experience, but there is nothing that is harder to explain.” This is especially frustrating because we all depend upon consciousness for everything. If we were unconscious, the world would literally disappear in a puff of smoke. This obvious fact implies something that isn’t so obvious: Maybe consciousness and the world appeared at the same time.

A cosmos devoid of consciousness isn’t conceivable, and yet the reason for this exists completely out of sight. Think of sunlight. Obviously the sun can’t shine unless stars exist. There are few secrets left to discover about how stars form, what they are made of, and how light is produced in the incredibly hot cauldron at the core of a star. The secret lies elsewhere. As sunlight travels 93 million miles to Earth, it penetrates the atmosphere and lands somewhere on the planet. In this case, the only somewhere we’re interested in is our eye. Photons, the packets of energy that carry light, stimulate the retina at the back of the eye, starting a chain of events that leads to the part of the brain known as the visual cortex.

The difference between being blind and being able to see lies in the mechanics of how the brain processes sunlight—that much is clear. Yet the step in the process that matters the most, converting sunlight into vision, is totally mysterious. No matter what you see in the world—an apple, cloud, mountain, or tree—sunlight bouncing off the object makes it visible, but how? No one knows. The secret of sight is totally immersed in consciousness itself. Without being conscious of light, photons are invisible. Yet it is mistaken to say that light becomes bright in the brain through some physical process, because the brain has no brightness, either. It is as dark as outer space. Because there is no light in the brain, there are no pictures or images, either. When you imagine the face of a loved one, nowhere in the brain does that face exist like a photograph. Continue reading

Physics May Stonewall, But Reality Doesn’t


By Deepak Chopra, MD, Menas Kafatos, PhD, Bernardo Kastrup, PhD

In a recent blog posting, physicist Lawrence Krauss defended the notion that the physical universe is objectively real. To think otherwise, he says, is nonsensical. “Deepak Chopra, for example, keeps implying that quantum mechanics means that objective reality doesn’t exist apart from conscious experience.”

Krauss seems to suggest that the notion of a mental universe is naively entertained only by non-physicists. However, nothing could be further from the truth. Over the past couple of decades, experimental evidence in favor of a mental universe has been mounting, as argued by Prof. Richard Conn Henry in none other than Nature magazine (Vol. 436, 7 July 2005, p. 29), in an essay suitably titled “The Mental Universe.” After a particularly significant experiment published in 2007, Physics World went as far as to say that “quantum physics says goodbye to reality;” that is, to an objective reality outside mind. Krauss, as a physicist, should presumably be aware of these seminal developments in his own field. Yet he curiously chose to use his authority to paint a very different scenario: “The truth … is that consciousness is irrelevant to the act of measurement,” he says confidently.

This is an old story, of trying to stonewall on behalf of a current belief system that allegedly is so obviously true, only an ignoramus or naïve thinker would disagree. The flat Earth was such an idea long ago. Krauss’ version of the flat Earth comes down to solid objects that exist “out there” beyond the tip of our noses. He labels as “nonsensical” the contrary idea, that reality is possibly entirely mental. Continue reading

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...