Measurements prove that only what passes through the filters in our brain can penetrate our consciousness. Only when synchronously firing nerve cells react to an object in our field of vision does a reality appear that has been manipulated, processed and correctly interpreted by our brain – a reality in whose centre we ourselves are located.
Our soul – Just a concert of electrical impulses?
When we feel, think and remember and become aware of ourselves, it is because a choir sings in our head in the same beat. A chorus of cells that simultaneously send out electrical impulses in our cortex and have to pass our thalamus – before our attention – our awareness of a thing – is generated. Our ego is born when our brain creates an idea of the world and our existence in it from billions of stimuli.
Doesn’t this mean that there could be things in the world that we cannot see because our brain does not focus our attention on them? With the new findings of brain research, the old philosophical question of what came first – form or content, chicken or egg, world or meaning – is becoming topical again.
The torn man
For a long time man was understood as a being of body and mind. This dualistic concept was essentially influenced by the Greek philosopher Plato, who believed that a disembodied and immortal soul is trapped in our body – a non-material being that is not subject to the laws of physics – different from our body. This belief of the dichotomy continued into modern times. The French philosopher René Descartes also believed that man consists of two entities – one spiritual and one physical.
More and more scientists today can no longer do anything with the dualistic world view. This image represents the spirit as something magical – yes, metaphysical. This assumption does not fit into a world order in which everything is subject to physical laws. That is why some scientists have recently been formulating increasingly bold theses that abolish this boundary between body and mind.
Everything has a soul – The end of the division
This idea is called panpsychism – but what does it mean? The idea is so radical because it challenges all the limitations of current scientific ideas. Strangely enough, it is precisely current brain research that convincingly substantiates the advantage of the view that all matter is animate: the question of how consciousness arises from unconscious matter would no longer need to be asked – in a world view in which all material already contains the property of being conscious. In this order of the world, matter particles are imagined as mental beings with physical forces. Even the smallest particles in our brain have mental properties in this world view – at least in rudimentary form. Everything and anything in this theory is imbued with spirit.
For our brain, this would mean that there are many forms of consciousness there at the same time, attracting each other to fire together and thus creating an image of the world with us in its center. Revolutionary – because until now science has only ever described the outer form of matter, but not its inner nature. Physics can observe and measure – but it cannot describe what matter is in itself, why it behaves measurably.
The life in life
Mind, soul, consciousness, I – with ever new concepts the philosophers have tried to grasp the mysterious inhabitants of human bodies. For thousands of years confused that an immaterial spirit can take possession of a body. This kept raising questions: How does the world within us – the web of thoughts, feelings and perceptions – relate to the world outside – of other people, trees, mountains, animals, seas and so on?
Today, the body-mind question has become the terrain of brain researchers. For them, the mass in our heads is the matter in which they want to unearth feelings, thoughts and sensations. The panpsychists among them also get support from physics: The mathematical physicist Roger Penrose, for example, believes that the origin of our consciousness can only be explained with the help of completely new, not yet discovered physical laws.
“Every star, yes – the entire galaxy could have consciousness.” Gregory Matloff, Physicist, New York City College of Technology
Analogous to Matloff’s idea of the universe, the world does not exist in our brains from independent fragments either. Everything in the brain seems to be connected to everything else. From this connection arises our spirit, which can recognize our world like a work of art in all its beauty. If the pan-psychists are right, the question remains how many of these units of consciousness in our minds will bring about a higher and unified spirit? How do the nerve cells have to link up so that our consciousness can develop from them?
And – if we think a step further? Could we humans, for our part, again be parts of a larger common consciousness?
Hearts in sync!
In an experiment, a team of Swedish researchers proved that in choral singing, the heart of all singers beats in sync after only a few bars. When they sing, their hearts begin to beat in unison. In addition, deep, regular breathing makes it sometimes faster and sometimes slower, as the researchers report in the journal “Frontiers in Neuroscience“.
Do brains also fire in unison?
Professor Ulman Lindenberger from the Berlin Max Planck Institute for Human Development is a developmental psychologist. In an experiment with professional guitarists, he dealt with the question of whether the brain activity of musicians also synchronises when they play together. For this purpose they played a melody together, as synchronously as possible. The researchers then used a brain scan to see whether the brain activity also showed a match. The evaluation of the EEG protocols showed that this might well be possible. The 2002 studies by management professor Sigal Barsade support this assumption. She found out that while people are listening to a speech together, they react in the same way at certain points. Basarde assumes a kind of emotional connection between people.
If the cells in our cortex send out electrical impulses at the same time and thus create our consciousness – what can we humans create if our hearts beat in the same rhythm and our brains fire in the same rhythm?
The all-pervading consciousness – Neo-Geo-Centrics
So-called neo-geocentrics claim that the entire cosmos is permeated by consciousness – and this consciousness is perhaps even the spark that triggered the big bang. Neo-geocentric thinking has always lurked on the fringes of science, but with the call for a whole new science that accepts consciousness as fundamental and not just a by-product of the brain, everything is changing:
From the way we understand the glow of the stars in the night sky – as well as the way we understand the voices in our head.