Sunday, 29 September 2013

Part 1 of 3. That Which Appears To Be Vs. That Which Is.

The problem with Newtonian era science is that it put the entire world into nice little labeled compartments as observed. And dismissed anything that didn’t fit into those compartments as being an isolated anomaly caused by something external; however with the advancements in science and technology. Led to emergence of Quantum physics, through which we now see Nature of Reality, in a different light. Where anomalies aren’t dismissed, and the universe is looked upon as one complex system.

If Quantum Physics is to be believed, which it must be. Taking into consideration the thousands of experiments conducted over the last 70 years that validated it. The picture it paints is a very weird one, something that seems to make no sense and is counter-intuitive.

While we see the world as being logical; seamless; solid; based on action and reaction, Nature of Reality is anything but!

Our senses are very useful, they help us to navigate and interact with the world. We humans perceive the world through our senses, these senses have been the only way we could ever experience the world. However useful our senses fail completely, when we start asking the fundamental questions regarding the nature of reality.

We have no notion of anything else existing, especially since we have never been told not to trust our senses. Why wouldn’t we trust our senses? It’s the only way we can perceive.  

The world as it appears to be through our senses Vs. The world as it is.

The world we see, feel, hear, touch, smell is a figment of our imagination. The real world doesn’t look or behave in the way; we experience it through our senses.

It is very important to note that our brains are incredibly powerful, and can create things that don’t really exist.

An example would be a person with a psychological disorder that has an illusionary friend. He can talk to, hear and touch his friend like he can with any other normal person. How can this be? How can an illusion be touched? Well if you realize that it’s the mind that touches and not the hand. It can be!

Psychology, Neurology and philosophy have known about this for a very long time, that it is the brain that sees and not the eyes. What this means is the fact that all our experiences—all our perceptions, sensations, dreams, thoughts and feelings—are forms appearing in consciousness (our mind). When we dream, we can see things, but our eyes are closed. It’s the mind that sees.

When I see a tree it seems as if I am seeing the tree directly, but science tells us something completely different is happening. Light entering the eye triggers chemical reactions in the retina; this produces electro-chemical impulses, which travel along the optical nerve to the brain. The brain analyses the data it receives, and then creates its own picture of what it thinks is out there. I then have the experience of seeing a tree. It is very important to note that, what I am actually experiencing is not the tree itself, only the image that appears in the mind, as I perceive it to be. We have no idea what the tree in reality looks like.

It also interesting to note, that it takes the brain about 1/10 of second to process this data. Meaning instead of seeing a live feed, what I am really seeing is a recorded video, playing in my mind. This is true of everything I experience. Everything we know and perceive. Every color, sound, sensation, every thought and every feeling, is a form appearing in the mind (consciousness).

Neurons are nerve cells. Each of our brains has billions of neurons, which are inter-connected with each other, to form a Neuro-net. Its how all the information in our brains is connected and structured. This is what it would look like magnified.

As powerful as our brains are there is a limit, to how information we can process in each second. To overcome this limitation, an editing center was required, so that the important information can be filtered out. Over millions of years of evolution; our brains have come up with an editing center called Reticular Activating System (RAS). Where our sub-conscious mind edits all incoming sensory information (vision, hearing, touch, taste, smell) according to what it perceives to be important and noteworthy. Whatever sensory information it believes to be important, is passed to the conscious mind. What ever it believes to be not important is edited and not experienced consciously. On an average a human takes in 2 billion bits of information, but can only process 2,000 bits. That’s means we are only aware .0000001 percent of all the incoming data. Reticular Activating System (RAS) of the brain is responsible for what is included in this .0000001. Just imagine what we are missing out on, due to this processing limit and filtering process.

This is why our senses can’t be relied upon to accurately understand the world, which the entire 100 percent.

For example you are driving and see 200 people standing at a bus stop, among them is beautiful woman, your brain quickly scans this data, the beautiful woman is flagged and experienced by our conscious mind. At the end of day you’ll remember is the beautiful woman, while the199 people will be filtered. The good news is that RAS is reprogrammable, through neural plasticity.

Also known as neuroplasticity, is the changing of the structure, function and organization of neurons, or nerve cells, in response to new experiences. It specifically refers to strengthening or weakening nerve connections or adding new nerve cells based on outside stimuli. It is responsible for all learning.

 The golden rule by which Neuro-plasticity works is neurons that fire together wire together. More they fire together, stronger the connections get.  
While Neuro-nets that don’t fire eventual grow weaker and die.

An example of neuroplasticity, let say you love your neighbors’ dog (tommy). Which would mean that in your brain, “neurons encoded with love” would have a direct connection to “neurons encoded with memories of tommy”. If one day you saw you’re friend being savagely attacked by tommy. You suddenly experience tremendous fear and hate towards tommy. Neuroplasticity would get to work, and create connections between “Neurons encoded with fear and hate” and neuron encoded with tommy”. Every time you see tommy now, you fear going close to it. The connection between tommy neuron and love neuron wouldn’t fire together anymore, hence degraded and eventually die. While connection with hate, fear and tommy fire together and would grow stronger.

Neuro-plasticity is at work every second, with each thought, our brains are rewiring and creating new pathways. What ever we pay attention to, whatever we want/desire, think about gets programmed into the RAS, through neuro-plasticity.

Once we are aware of neuro-plasticity, we can employ it. By controlling our emotions and thoughts we can re-wire our brains completely. The brain doesn’t differentiate between good or bad. What ever you do, it will re-wire to get better at. And change who we are. The more you do it, the better you get!

So pay attention to what goes on inside our head. Just imagine what we can achieve when we think the right thoughts based on the right understanding. Sky is the limit!

Next we must realize that our eyes can only see what we call the visible spectrum of light, which is tiny portion of the entire spectrum of light. We see the world full of colors, but in reality colors don’t exist. What we see as colors, are different wavelengths of visible light. When light of certain wavelength hits the retina in our eyes, cells that are sensitive to that specific wavelength send a message to the brain. The brain then interprets these different wavelengths as different colors.

If we could see the rest of the spectrum, the world would look completely different than it looks in visible light! Even just adding either x-ray or ultraviolent spectrum would completely alter our view. Our bodies and things that we think as solids would become see through.

We cannot only see light, but also can feel light. When we step into the sun, we can instantly feel the heat of sunlight. What we experience and think of as heat, is infrared light/thermal radiation. Similarly when we touch another person, and feel their warmth what we experience as warmth, is the thermal radiation being emitted from their body. Yes, all matter can emit and absorb light. Including us humans, we are emitting light just like the sun/ light bulb. Here is what I look like when viewed from a thermal/infrared camera. 

Blue means cool, green cooler, red is warm/ hot. As you can see the world and people would look completely different, if we could view in infrared spectrum.

Interestingly there are been number of well-documented cases of blind people, that can see. They don’t see the same picture as us, but can visually spot movement.  You can search “Dr. V.S. Ramachandran and Blindness” to know more about these cases.


Similarly the ears can only hear, 20 Hz and 20 kHz, hence most of the sounds that go into our ears, aren’t even registered. Next time you hear nothing and your dog goes crazy it could be due to the ultrasonic waves that we are unable to hear. If we could hear the subsonic frequency, we could hear the earth constantly humming at 7.83 Hz. It is estimated that about 2 percent of the population can hear this hum, due to defects in ears, especially in old age.

How earth sounds from the space- NASA Voyager.

Sound of the sun

Sonic frequencies are infinite.

Touch and what we touch: Matter

While you are sitting and reading this, you can feel the chair/bed/ground. It appears to be solid to us. But is it?                             
The solidity of matter is an illusion; there is nothing solid about it. In fact it has been proven that physical matter is 99.999999% empty space!
I know what you guys are thinking, how can this be? “I can feel the chair I’m sitting on and the ground beneath my feet.” “I can touch and feel the textures.” I don’t doubt that you can’t feel it, I feel it too. I doubt what is it “that” we are actually feeling.
Here is thought experiment to better illustrate what I mean.
“Imagine a visit to a science city. One of the rooms there has powerful magnets all over the floor, with south pole (or negative charge) facing up. There are also special boots with magnetic soles that have South Pole facing down.
Now a volunteer is first blind folded and then asked to put on the special magnetic boots. He is then send on a walk in the room, as he walks into the room the south pole of the shoes and south pole of the floor start repelling each other. To everyone looking through the window this person would appear to be walk on thin air. But the blindfolded person with the magnetic boots, when asked would say that he has been walking on either a normal floor or feels a cushiony carpet floor.”
What this person is feeling beneath his feet is the magnetic repulsion, and experiences this repulsion as a solid.
 Anyone who has ever played with magnets is aware of this force.
Believe it or not but this actually what is happening when we are walking around. 

So how & why do we get the experience of touching a solid object - when there is nothing solid about matter itself?
The whole experience of the solidity of matter arises from the mutual repulsion of negatively charged electron fields.” 

What this means is that, nothing ever touches anything, right now while you’re sitting in your chair/bed, you are actually hovering over it. Just as in the thought experiment. The electrons (negatively charged particles) in your body and the electrons in your bed are both pushing away/repelling against each other. This repulsive electron field is what gives us the experience/sensation of touch a solid. 
What we are feeling/touching/rubbing against isn’t really what we think it is. We can never really touch anything, just glide over other matter. If this repulsive electron field was some how removed we would just fall through the entire planet and drift into space.

When we add all of these facts up, we realize what we believe to be reality is just a delusion. An incomplete picture! There much more going on than what “appears to be” through our sense.

You may question why should you care and how does this apply/relate to you. What was the point of you knowing all of this?

What is more important that which appear to be or that which is?

The mistake we make is to assume that what we see/experience is real. We suffer a delusion when we believe the images in our minds are the external world. We deceive ourselves when we think that the tree we see is the tree itself. The tree itself is a physical object, made of physical matter—molecules, atoms, sub-atomic particles. But from what is the image in the mind constructed? Clearly it is not constructed from matter. A perceptual image is made up of the same "stuff" as our dreams, thoughts, and feelings; it is made up of consciousness!
I can go on and on about this, and dismiss each of our sense. However I am sure you get the idea.

If you want to learn more about “what is”, as oppose to “what appears to be”. You need to rely on unbiased data from science, and its implication. Introspect within your self. There is much to learn from science and spirituality, it will shock and amaze you. Science and spirituality are both saying the same thing, in their own unique ways. 

At the end of this journey, a new understanding will dawn upon you. That will change you and your world forever.