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Re: Theos-World RE: Evidence for mental events breaking physicalspeed limit

Nov 25, 1999 01:56 PM
by LeonMaurer

Dallas, Grigor, and other interested theosophists and scientists,

With respect to the information given by Grigor and the pertinent questions 
asked by Dallas (posted below)--rather than answer them individually--for 
starters, I thought that you all might be interested in a recent dialogue 
between myself and other scientists corresponding through the 
interdisciplinary scientific Journal of Consciousness Study (JCS- online) 
(Incidentally, this is one of more than several dozens of my letters 
published on JCS-online over the past 3 years that attempts to introduce 
scientists to theosophical fundamental truths in their own terms:  This 
effort has resulted in more than 2,500 hits to my ABC web site in the last 
year alone, as well as to untold thousands of scientific research hits to the 
SD [through] as a result of my continued cross references.)  

In a message dated 11/22/99 6:21:05 PM, writes:

>Peter Lloyd, you write:
>>"...Rahul [Banerjee] is proposing to analyse an *experience* into
>>*cognitive* processes. This is like analysing a colour picture into
>>monochrome grey dots: it's a reductive category-error in Ryle's sense.
>>To get a colour picture, you build it up with coloured dots. To get a
>>qualia-rich experience, you build it up from simpler 'micro'-experiences,
>>not from cognitive processes."

What is a micro experience, if not the result of a cognitive process?  The 
concept of building up of an image from micro dots of color and shades of 
gray applies primarily to image transformational processes such as in the 
transmission and recording of printed and television/movie images, as well as 
to images transformed from the retinal arrays to the reconstructed brain 
images we ultimately perceive.  

It's obvious that the inner picture we actually "see" is a total gestalt 
experience which appears to our conscious awareness as an immediate 
holographic reconstruction of the entire original object scene's reflected 
image--which, at the first intermediate step in any such transformation, had 
to be broken down into individual pixels, whether digitally, chemically, or 
by means of the individual rods and cones on the retinas.  The resultant 
perceptive experience also has characteristics of holographic, 3-dimensional 
depth that is very difficult to explain by sequential analytic processes.  
Thus, this initial image breakdown into "dots" and their further 
transformation into the root of the holographic image we actually perceive, 
occurs entirely in both the brain and the mind, and implies that both 
perception and cognition are interrelated and are simply a gestalt process of 
holistic consciousness... Limited, of course, by our particular point of 
focus (convergence) as we intentionally shift our attention to different 
parts of the already perceptively complete image reconstructed in the 
brain-mind fields.  Cognition, which is a function of the brain-mind, 
however, could very well occur AFTER this image reconstruction process is 
completed and initial perceptive awareness experienced.  

>Yet, with gray dots, you can get richly textured, information-rich pictures,
>including written language with all its colorful splendor.  You may be
>selling cognitive processes short in ruling them out as the mechanism of

Agreed, but they are certainly not the whole picture.

>Analyzing experience into cognitive processes may not be as illogical as
>you claim.  What you need first is a 'conception' of experience in terms of
>cognitive functioning.
>The problem may lie in a too narrow restriction of the current conception
>of.,'experience' as 'conscious experience.'  Once you understand experience 
>primordially a non-conscious activity, things begin to clear up for a seeing
>a cognitive basis for conscious experience.  

How can experience, which is a function coincident with awareness as well as 
cognition (related to both mind and memory), be non-conscious?  How can we 
experience (whether subliminally or wakefully) without referring the result 
of our awareness of such experience to cognitive thinking?  

Even if such cognition is below our level of wakeful conscious awareness, it 
is still an experience of consciousness, per se.  It appears that both 
subconscious experience as well as thought must be coincidental, and, 
therefore, together, they constitute the basis of cognition--whether or not 
we are wakefully conscious or subliminally conscious (what we mistakenly call 
"unconscious").  Perhaps, the real problem is our confusion of the words 
consciousness, cognition, and awareness, let alone our inability to describe 
their mechanisms through reductive analysis. 

>For example, consider a non-conscious experience of an external object as
>consisting of receiving information about the object and processing and
>reacting to that information as biology dictates.  In words, consider it
>as cognitive functioning.  Now try to imagine what it would be like for a
>system so experiencing an object non-consciously if, at the same time, it
>received, processed and reacted to the information about its engaging in
>that activity.
>There is no reason a priori why cognitive functioning could not itself be
>subject to concurrent cognitive processing.  So there is no reason a priori
>why a system could not be cognizant of the activity of its cognizing some
>external reality, say.  The system then not only cognizes the apple but at
>the same time cognizes that it is cognizing the apple.  The apple is not
>just perceived but perceived as being perceived.  There could be the most
>basic variety of conscious experience.
>Do you think we have exhausted the possibilities whereby conscious
>experiencing can be explained in terms of cognitive functioning?

Taking this as a rhetorical question, I would say, of course not.  Consider 
the possibility that the first replicate image after leaving the retinas is a 
reconstructed interference pattern in the brain's EM field produced by the 
synthesis of all the minor fields generated by the individual synapses 
electromagnetically reflecting the coherent point-source vibratory patterns 
received and transmitted by each rod or cone.  If we also consider that 
perceptive awareness is the universal function of the ubiquitous zero-point, 
and that one such point represents our individual consciousness (as is 
intuitively apparent)... And, further, that there are intermediate zero-point 
fields of different dimensionality or frequency phase orders (ref: 
superstring theory) that inductively resonate with the brain field --then it 
becomes obvious that our "conscious awareness" is the product of all these 
transformations and is a unitary process of both perception and cognition 
that does not depend upon either the sequential analysis of micro 
experiences, nor does it depend on any secondary or underlying awareness of 
being aware.  

Perceiving an image, then, just is what it is... An immediate perceptive 
awareness of the entire reconstructed holographic field of view in which we 
can, at will, select any point in it as the focus of our attention, and 
secondarily, our cognition-- which, in effect, is simply a series of 
brain-mind processes independent of awareness, but coincident with 
it--whether wakefully attentive or subliminally inattentive (or, so to speak, 
"subconscious," rather than "unconscious").  (It seems we still haven't come 
to terms with our terms.:-)

Of course, this does not refer to the conditions prevalent when we are 
subjected to deep degrees of unconsciousness, e.g., anesthesia--when nerve 
paths to sensory organs have been entirely blocked.  However, even in such 
cases, there would have to remain some degree of awareness or subliminal 
consciousness, since the brain would have to be aware of the beating of the 
heart and other autonomic functions in order to maintain its 'living' 
function as a self guided, individual and autonomous organism.  Could it be, 
then, that all the organs and organisms that make up our entire body organism,
 have some degree of independent consciousness in the form of subliminal 
awareness (related to their zero-points)?

With respect to our visual system, there appears to no more parsimonious 
explanation of both the mechanisms of perception, or the experience of the 
qualia at any particular image point of focussed attention, than the one 
described above.  This possibility of the holographic nature of wakeful 
conscious (and subconscious) awareness, if true, would not require any 
reductive scientific theory to explain cognition--other than the theories of 
QM and, perhaps, superstrings, applied to the *physical* actions on the level 
of electrochemical correlates of the brain's neurology as well as the 
multidimensional correlates of the cosmic zero-point field energies, as they 
relate to both the thought processes in the malleable mind field and the 
formation of the brain field's pre-perceptive and precognitive holographic 
image (interference) patterns.  

Perception as well as cognition, then, could be a unitary process effecting 
all the primary brain and secondary intermediate fields between the sensory 
mechanisms and the awareness... One of which may be the *mind* field that 
could then be considered as the root of the cognitive processes.  Cognition, 
per se, then, might be described as consisting of perceptive 'thought' 
processes dealing with a malleable, intermediate field of holographic 
information on one or another level or dimension of awareness.  In other 
words, being aware of our mental thoughts with relation to the awareness of a 
visual or other sensory image (either directly or referring to memory) could 
be considered as two different levels of consciousness with respect to an 
apparently single center of perceptive awareness. i.e.;  Since the zero-point 
is ubiquitous as well as contiguous with all other zero-points in the 
scientific "vacuum" of space, and since each field has its own zero-point 
center of origin, awareness would be capable of altering its state between 
mind and memory fields as well as the ability to intentionally direct its 
holographically reconstructive, coherent ray of intent (which must be 
entirely reflective) in any spatial direction.  All this, Implying that 
cognition is a function of consciousness and that the brain is simply the 
neural image transducer and control input-output "machinery" between 
consciousness (as awareness) and the sensory mechanisms of the body.  To make 
this a bit clearer, it should be noted that the following premises are some 
of the axiomatic bases of these theoretical assumptions:

1) The zero-point (Laya point*) is located at the root source of all cosmic 
energy and is ubiquitous and congruent throughout multidimensional space.
2) Awareness and qualia are the inherent receptive functions of the inert 
zero-point (which is expressed as phenomenal consciousness when associated 
with living, homeostatic organisms--themselves composed of radiant and 
non-radiant mass-energy fields in more or less stable configurations*).  
3) Holographic formative image information is carried and directly 
transformed analogically in Nature solely by inductive resonance between 
cyclic wave front interference patterns of radiant energy fields of differing 
spectral frequency orders or dimensional phases.
4) All coherent rays of energy at whatever level of frequency phase order 
within the parent cosmic energy field of origin, are entirely reflective to 
and from their initial zero-points of origin. 
5) All matter-energy fields are both coadunate (although not consubstantial)* 
with, and entirely transparent (although refractive in varying degrees) to 
zero-point fields and their radiant energies.
Can anyone think of a more parsimonious description of a system that combines 
both the answer to qualia as well as the mechanisms of consciousness in 
consistent relationship to biology, physiology, transpersonal psychology, 
biochemistry and post modern physics? 

Leon Maurer
(Not the moderator... Funny coincidence, huh?/:-))
*Ref: Secret Doctrine - The Synthesisi of Science Religion and 
Philosophy, H. P. Blavatsky,1888 (

List Moderator: Len Maurer <>

jcs-online is a service of the Journal of Consciousness Studies


In a message dated 11/22/99 10:25:44 PM, writes:

<< Nov 22

Dear Friend:

Thanks for this valuable information.

I have gleaned from the study of Theosophy the following and

would ask to have it examined and critiqued:

It has been shown that the production of any act is preceded by:

1.  A need or desire.

2.  Imagination and planning as to how to obtain that object.

3.  Visualization by the mind.

4.  Planning the necessary steps to implement usages -- several

methods ?

5.  Consideration of alternatives and also,

6.  Considering the ethics and morality of the proposed actions

(legality ?).

7.  Sending an impulse from MIND to brain.

8.  Reception of such impulse by BRAIN.  (Brain neural activity)

9.  Brain organizing and selecting neuro pathways to secure the

necessary multiple cooperative acts     of various muscles.

10.  Final action or speech on the PHYSICAL PLANE.  And continued

actions and reactions.

All steps from 1 to 7 are subjective, and non determinable


The is not any reception of sensory input, nor any sensory output

(either reactive or spontaneously voluntary) which does not

originate as a SUBJECTIVE event.

OBJECTIVITY is the manifestation on the physical plane of

measurable change or action that can be analyzed.

There are at least 5 areas where input is received (sound, smell,

taste, feeling and seeing).  Similarly there are five methods of

originating actions the hands and feet make 4 and the MIND is the

5th the supreme coordinator for each being.

The nature and location of this "supreme coordinator" remains to

be determined.

[ Example:  we use electricity and its partner magnetism in many

ways.  But we do not know the nature of either.  We give names to

actions and have erected theories to explain to ourselves with

our present knowledge how these originate and "flow."

But are those the final realities?  What is aether? What is

Light, Heat, Time, Space ?  Why is Nature all around us?  Who and

what are we?  What is CONSCIOUSNESS?  Where does INTELLIGENCE

come from?  What is INSTINCT ? and so on.

One might say that "naming" something does not necessarily

"explain" it. ]

Best wishes,


-----Original Message-----

From: []

Sent: Monday, November 22, 1999 10:39 AM

To: Theosophy Study List

Subject: Evidence for mental events breaking physical speed limit


There is some interesting new research about to be published within the

next two years.  The question that has been experimentally tested

is whether all mental events are physical or not, or rather, is

there physical evidence for there being non-physical processes.

Now obviously we know little, in science, about the phenomenology

of mental events.  But we don't have to know.  All we need to know

is the processing speed of the human brain.  If we find that a

human can complete a mental task, such as a pattern recognition or

problem-solving task, that has been designed, per hypothesis, as

one that could not be completed in a given amount of time if all

the "mental processing" of it was a physical process, then there

is some indirect physical evidence of "mental events," so to speak,

not bound by the physical "speed limit," so to speak.  Again, without

getting too technical, a few clarifications might be in order.

The expression "processing speed" is vague.  Since events in the

brain are not that well mapped (hardly at all), how can we coherently

speak of processing speed.  An analogy with computers may help.

When speaking if the "speed" of a computer, one is speaking either

equivocally or one is speaking about one of two separate things.In

computer engineering, "speed" is either "processing speed" or

"through-put."  Processing speed is a measure of how quickly any

task is completed, from start to finish, by the CPU.  Through-put

is how many tasks a computer can perform in a given time.  Now,

you can increase throughput (but not processing speed) by adding

CPUs for parallel-processing.  Given more processors, a computer

can complete more tasks (doing more than one at once) even though

the processing speed of each CPU remains the same.  But if one

designs a faster processor (i.e., one with a faster processing speed),

one can increase both processing time and throughput.  Now there

are other factors involved on a computer's "speed."  For example, I/O

devices hamper "speed."  Why?  Because a signal takes a certain

amount of time to transverse a certain distance.  The distance to

and from the primary I/O devices, namely keyboard and monitor,

cannot be practically closed (if humans are going to use the computer).

So, the time it takes, on average, for signals to transverse that

distance to and from cannot be shortened significantly.  Similar

constraints apply to accessing CDs, Disks, and tape.  Miniaturization

has allowed an increase in speed simply for the simple fact that

we are talking about a smaller space and thus time for a signal

to transverse between components.  The old vacuum tube or

even transistorized computers had not even a ghost of a chance

of being as fast as today's machines because of the distance/size

of components through which a signal travelled because longer

the distance the longer the time.  There are some new emerging

speed constraints with the issue of how miniaturized can we

get with silicon.  Silicon was chosen because it retains its

semi-conductive properties at a microscopic level (i.e., in

effect, two conducting paths can be extremely close together

without "short-circuiting" each other - to speak roughly).

But the calculated limits of how small a silicon chip can get

before its semi-conductivity breaksdown is already know and

the hunt for a new semi-conductive material is underway (although

it will be some time before this becomes a real worry).  But, it

will always remain an invariant limit, no matter how much

miniaturization there is, that the time it takes a physical

signal to transverse any amount of space, no matter how

small, has an upper limit (i.e., speed of light).

So, what does all this reflection on computers, speed, and

distance have to do with the brain?  Plenty, the brain is a given

size. Its neurons are of a given size.  The length of the neural

nets from brain to body is of a known given size.  Compared

to the modern cpu, the brain, neuron, and nervous system

are rather large.  So, the time it takes a signal to physically

transverse a distance is longer if the distance is longer.  But

we need to look at material also.  A nerve fiber consists of

a mixed solution of ordinary salt (sodium chloride).  So,

there is sodium, potassium, and chloride ions in the

nerve fiber.    Sodium and potassium ions are positively

charged.  Chloride ions are negatively charged.  Given

that there are more chloride ions, the rest state of a nerve

fiber is negatively charged.  A nerve signal is a region of

charge reversal flowing through the fiber.  When a signal

reaches a synaptic knob, it emits a neurotransmitter that

travels to the next neuron to its dendrite or soma.  Anyway,

in human, this network is insulated by the fatty substance myelin

so that signals can travel without much interference even between

neurons.  Given these materials, the speed of a travelling neural

signal, in any and all neurons, is 120 meters per second.  So,

we can say that the "processing time" of a neuron is this speed.

The brain might have a faster through-put if it had something

like a parallel processing arrangement.  But still, assuming

that that might be the case, a minimum amount of time

can be calculated based on spaces signals have to travel

at 120 meters per second.  So, given that number, tests

can be preformed even at our limited level of knowledge.

So, for example, there is a minimum amount of time that it

takes for a signal to transverse the optic nerve from retina

to brain, and so on.  Given a vague knowledge (but enough)

of how the brain is organized (in terms of charge patterns

during kinds of activity) and even taking into account the

possibility of something like parallel processing in the brain,

and despite our huge ignorance about much of how the brain

works, we still know the time a given signal takes to transverse

a certain physical distance.  With this knowledge alone, despite

all the things we don't know, a group of physicists and

neurophysiologists were able to come up with tasks that it

would be physically impossible for the brain to complete

within a given amount of time as well as events that should

be too fast to be a registered event for the brain.  Again, the

question was are there non-physical mental events.  On the

assumption that everything was physical, that mental events

were physical (even if we don't know how they are neurally

realized), certain assigned tasks could not be accomplished

in a given amount of time.

Without getting into someone else's research, they studied

advanced meditators (who had been found in late 70s and

early 80s to have ability to increase "information-processing

speeds and problem-solving speeds and for the mathematically

trained, computational speeds because while the early stages

of meditational practice attempt to become more focussed

and aware without thought, distraction, etc., at the advanced

level the awareness part of mind and the problem-solving,

conceptualizing, analyzing, and reasoning part are

re-integrated in a way that mutually enhances these opertations.

Awareness becomes sharper and clearer as if the logical part

were a lens while the logical part is clearer, faster because

less distracted, and tighter in its exactitude in tracing a

line of implication).  They also studied advanced meditators

who were advanced martial arts masters.

What they found was that in some instances, given the

speed of 120 meters per second for a neural signal, given

the length a signal would have to transverse from eye to brain,

across physical distances between parts in brain (even on

the assumption of parallel processing), and length of neural

connection between eyes, brain, and hands and feet (for

martial artists' tests), the response time and or

information-processing time to a task or problem or stimulus,

took less time than it should have if all processes involved

were physical.  Something happened or some phase of

whatever was going on inside their heads violated, so to

speak, the physical "speed limit."  Most conclude that

that since everything physical obeys the "speed limit"

and/or the "speed limit" defines the physical that there

were some non-physical events that took place in these

tests.   There is a British physicist that thinks otherwise.

He claims that some physical events DO violate the

physical speed laws (i.e., quantum events in EPR

experiments).  Penrose has commented that this might

not necessarily be evidence of non-physical mental

events, but rather, that some mental events or some

aspects of them might be quantum events displaying

some of the properties of the EPR experiments.  But

in my opinion, this is even a stranger view, in its

ramifications, than admitting the existence of the non-


Grigor Ananikian


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