The Internal Model of Perception

Inner science is a non-religious investigation of the science of perception. It has to be ‘non-religious’ because it follows the ‘no hypothesis’ methodology associated with modern scientific enquiry. This approach is not in itself a judgement against religion, or the religious mind-set. On the contrary, it is the acknowledgement that religious methodology follows the ‘yes hypothesis’ and is the exact opposite of the scientific mind-set. Theology presents an already ‘complete’ vision of the universe, where it is assumed that theism is correct (and self-evident), and that all humanity has to do – from generation to generation – is simply to study this body of theological knowledge, conform to its strictures, and apply those strictures to everyday life. There is no questioning of the root validity of theistic thinking, and no comprehension that it has been a human mind that has ‘assumed’ theological thinking into being. This is because all theology is believed to have originated not from the human mind that first conceived it, but has rather ‘manifested’ from the divine-will of a primarily ‘unseen’ theistic entity. If people find comfort in this type of thinking, that is their right – just as it is an equal right (I would hope) not to find solace in such an approach to understanding reality. From a scientific position, it seems a matter of where one places their conscious awareness – whereas from a religious position, it is a matter of ‘belief’ or ‘non-belief’, ‘theism’ or ‘atheism’, etc.

The above programme is not religious, but entirely scientific in nature (exploring the ‘internal model’ narrative). It investigates the human brain, the human mind, perception and reality. It does this from the study of reality in the form of organic and inorganic matter. The brain is an isolated organ that exists in the skull, which is entirely cut-off from the outside world. It does not directly sense anything in and of itself, and possesses no ability to sense any stimulus in and of itself. The brain communicates with the outside world through bioelectrical impulses that are received from the senses which mediate with the external world. However, all the sensed data, regardless of its nature, be it sight, noise, smell or touch, etc, arrives at the different filtering parts of the brain in exactly the same format – namely that of bio-electrical impulses. In a process that is still not entirely understood, the brain converts these impulses into what might be called the recognisable and tangible senses. All this data serves to form an all-round image of the outer world – an outer world that the brain never directly perceives – but which is assumed to exist in the manner through which it is perceived. This situation is historical and directly related to the requirements of human survival as manifest in evolutionary development. Human beings perceive exactly as much of the physical environment that they need to survive, and nothing more. This would suggest that despite a working model of the external world that all human beings share, we cannot be exactly sure what the external world is really like in all its aspects. We may assume that the external world exists independent of the mind that perceives it, simply because the human brain from which the mind emerges, is itself composed of a material substance. Human perception constructs an image of the outer world that is functional for human survival, but which is probably incomplete in its ability to ‘sense’.

Although a working reality is generated in the human mind by the human brain, this does not mean that the outer world is an illusion that is generated from within the mind. Internal perception should not be conflated with the processes of ‘creating’ the world that is being ‘perceived’. The world exists independently of the brain and mind that perceives it, and remains unchanged in its deepest aspects by the act of general human perception. Here, a distinction must be drawn between general human ‘perception’ (which is instantaneous), and ‘observation’ (which is deliberate and in the case of science, governed by strict laws of conduct). This is despite the fact that a ‘vision’ of the outer world is generated within the brain and mind, and that it is difficult to ascertain the exact accuracy of this construction. This is probably the original meaning behind the Yogacara School of Buddhism which has been generally misconstrued as assuming that all that exists, is the inner world of ideas. The inner world of ideas definitely exists, but it is a product of a physical body that interfaces with an independently existing external environment. This is important research, but my personal opinion is that there must be a correlation between inner perception and the outer world that is sensed, and that the traps of ‘idealism’ ‘psychologism’ must be avoided to retain scientific objectivity. I suspect that human perception of the environment is ‘correct’ and ‘accurate’ – even though it might be incomplete. This is because it is unlikely humanity would have survived if its perception of the material universe was fatally flawed.

 

Assessing Baryonic Matter, Dark Matter & Dark Energy – the Building Blocks of Existence

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The current state of human scientific knowledge suggests that the majority of the physical construction of the universe is actually comprised of a substance that cannot, as yet, be directly observed using the most advanced technology and methodology. The majority of ‘stuff’ in the universe (multi-verse) certainly cannot be detected with the naked human eye – but it can be predicted to exist through the correct and disciplined use of the human intellect and imagination. Imagination is an important part of advanced scientific thinking, but its function is often down-played or ignored when scientific processes develop into sound theories that nolonger require ‘speculation’ to fill-in the gaps in knowledge. Of course, this might be because the human capacity to ‘misuse’ the imagination can get in the way of the scientific method, and lead the entire process away from the desired objective. Whatever the case, the constitution of the universe (multi-verse) currently looks like this:

a) 4.9% ordinary (Baryonic) matter

b) 68.3 dark energy

c) 26.8 dark matter

Human beings have evolved around perceiving the 4.9% of material stuff that comprises their immediate environment, although it is speculated that dark matter and dark energy may well be everywhere. If this is correct, then it is curious that throughout human evolution, the ability to ‘see’ these material substances was not developed – probably because the perception of these substances had no direct impact upon human survival. Another way in which these ‘unseen’ substances are known to be present is through the effect they appear to have on objects moving through what was once thought to be ’empty’ space. There appears to be a ‘gravitational’ effect on objects moving through apparently ’empty’ space that should not be happening if space was in fact ’empty’. The human intellect has devised mathematical formula to demonstrate the ‘presence’ of these still ‘theoretical’ material substances. Although the Buddha and a number of ancient Greek philosophers used their minds to state that in all likelihood perceivable matter could be comprised of ‘atoms’, it has been the development of scientific technology (as an extension of the human mind), that has allowed for the perception of sub-atomic particles, and for the detection of different types of matter and energy. The following documentary presents a very good over-view of the current state of human knowledge in this area:

The Connection Between the Perception of Inner and Outer Space

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The Buddha’s ideas are very similar in nature to many of those generated by the philosophers of ancient Greece. Like those ancient Greek philosophers, the Buddha used his mind in a very ‘modern’ manner, and developed a logical and rational view of existence. Again, like the ancient Greeks his thinking reflected, the Buddha developed his mode of pristine thought out of the religiosity prevalent during his lifetime. The Buddha’s life dates are uncertain, but he is thought to have lived (by Western scholars) around 2,500 years ago in ancient India, and around 3,000 years ago according to the traditional scholarship preserved within Chinese Buddhism. I have speculated elsewhere, a tentative theory that Emperor Ashoka [304-232 BCE] (and his ministers) may have developed a peaceful and wisdom-loving (secular) philosophical path, that denied the relevancy and reality of an ‘Indian’ militant Brahmanism, an Indian religion that threatened to confront and over-throw Emperor Ashoka’s ‘foreign’ rule. A passive and meditating Buddhism could have been developed by merging certain Brahmanic elements (such as the yoga of meditation), with various aspects of Greek rational thought. A candidate for the Greek input for the Buddha’s mode of thinking could be the system of thought as developed by Epicurus (370-270 BCE). The similarities between the Buddha’s system and that of Epicurus are so obvious and staggering that I am surprised that this link has not been recognised in the past and studied with a greater depth. Of course, playing devil’s advocate, I have suggested that the ancient Greeks influenced ancient Indian thought, and that Emperor Ashoka ‘created’ Buddhism out of an admixture of Indian and Greek traditions. This is purely a speculation on my part, using the rational facility of my mind. It could also be that the Buddha’s mode of modern thinking was developed hundreds of years before a similar manifestation occurred in ancient Greek (spreading to Greece from ancient Indian through trade and cultural exchange). Another theory is that a ‘new’ way of using the human mind was an evolutionary development that spread ‘species-wide’ across many human cultures that had no direct (or indepth) contact with one another. The use of the rational mind (as advocated by the Buddha and ancient Greeks), is essentially a ‘free’ and ‘unhindered’ mode of thought that lies at the basis of modern science when channelled in a certain manner. This means that ‘free-thinking’ requires various modes of constraint to direct its energy into specific forms of creativity – with perhaps art for art’s sake being its most ‘free’ expression, and scientific endeavour being its most structured and disciplined.

Epicurus was taught by Nausiphanes, and their root-master was Democritus. Democritus was a genius who – without access to microscopes (or even advanced mathematics) – used his ‘rational’ mind to determine that existence is comprised of ‘atoms’ that move around through ’empty space’. Today, through the use of advanced technology and mathematics we know that this is scientifically correct. This would suggest that Democritus had an experience no less important than the enlightenment of the Buddha, as it radically redefined humanity’s perception of reality and existence, and yet generally speaking, there are no temples containing statues of Democritus, or people applying a meditative method to replicate his mode of thought. Democritus stated that atoms moved through space in a determinate manner – but Epicurus modified this idea by stating that atoms – although moving in a definite manner through space – also possessed the ability to suddenly ‘deviate’ or ‘swerve’ in a different direction for no apparent reason. This is how Epicurus explained how unusual events happened, whilst things seemed to unfold in similar patterns. Thousands of years later, Epicurus was proven right when Heisenberg produced his ‘Uncertainty Principle’ in 1927. My point here, is to explore how space and matter is perceive within (and by) the human mind. The Buddha and the Greeks said similar things about form and void. Epicurus – like the Buddha – rejected the relevancy of religion. Both seem to suggest that gods might exist in a deluded sense, but do not exist in an ultimate sense (as many people thought). Epicurus stated that even if gods existed, they had no interest in humanity, and after-all, as there are only atoms and space that define existence, the gods themselves must be comprised of atoms just like humans, and probably subject to some-type of ‘death’ or ‘demise’. For Epicurus – who understood that life was comprised of many sufferings and different kinds of pleasure – death is the absolute end of existence for the individual because the body has ceased to function and its atoms fall apart. There is no transmigration to a heaven or a hell, or rebirth into another living form. The Buddha agrees with this, but allows for a certain ‘delusional’ existence where rebirth occurs and physical death is not the end of existence. However, when full enlightenment is attained, then all rebirth (and karmic retribution) comes to an end – and yet the Buddha clearly states time and again the reality is comprised of empty space within which physical reality manifests. In other words, empty space is not ’empty’ in essence, and physical matter does not occur in a ‘dead’ vacuum.

The Buddha and ancient Greeks were able to use their minds to ‘see’ reality in such a way that modern science has confirmed their basic assumptions to be correct. Both Epicurus and the Buddha seem to suggest that this is not just an ‘objective’ understanding, but also the product of a profound subjective experience. It could be that the Buddha and Greek philosophers like Epicurus were able to manifest a rational mind premised upon subjective experiences that had been previously interpreted in a ‘religious’ manner – an approach rejected by ‘rationalists’. The following is a fascinating scientific documentary about empty space – which is not ’empty’:

 

The Material Basis of Quantum Mechanics

Quantum theory is an extrapolation of quantum mechanics. Quantum mechanics is the study of the construction and functionality of low level physical matter. It is not a theology, a metaphysics or a spirituality. Without quantum mechanics – that is the mathematical analysis of low level physical matter – there can be no quantum theory. Quantum theory in its strict scientific manifestation, has been taken by idealists and adapted and adopted to serve all kinds of disembodied thinking – effectively the process of distorting hard material science to justify theological thinking – or the exact opposite of what scientific thinking is supposed to be. The reason this happens is because the implications of quantum mechanics (essentially the paradoxical idea that light energy can behave as either a ‘wave’ and a ‘particle’ – but never at the sametime), suggests that low level reality is different from that of macro reality as described by classical physics. As classical physics serves most human needs within macro reality (i.e. the everyday world), the low level world of quantum mechanics gives the impression to the ordinary mind that there are two radically different realities functioning simultaneously. This suggests ‘nothing is certain’, and this idea has been incorrectly used to allow for theology to be used as a consequence of this paradox – but this is illogical. Theology is not a product of science and remains ‘unscientific’ from beginning to end – and this remains the case regardless of the extent of the development of scientific understanding. The way the human mind is used to develop science, is very different from the manner in which the mind has been used in the past to develop theology (with its accompanying mythology that its theistic content was somehow developed ‘outside’ the mind that conceived it). The reality is that the micro (low level) world of quanta (or small pockets of energy), and the macro world of everyday life do reconcile – albeit in a manner that is not yet fully understandable to the rational mind. This is an ongoing process of scientific development and discovery. Even if it is allowed that human perception somehow ‘adds’ to the phenomenon being observed – there is no evidence that this process exists outside the world of physical matter. This would suggest that ‘consciousness’ (used as a back-door into science by religionists), is not an entity ‘separate’ from matter (like a theological ‘spirit’ or a ‘soul’), but is rather part and parcel of an integral aspect of material existence. Whatever consciousness is – it does not lie ‘outside’ of the realm of material existence. This is because it is incorrect to associate ‘consciousness’ with a theological concept of ‘soul’. Why this happens is curious, because even within theological teaching, it is clear that a ‘soul’ is very different from humanity’s ‘ordinary’ conscious awareness. Modern science does not speculate beyond the logical analysis of physical existence – whereas the entire premise of theology is that it speculates about what might lie beyond the boundaries of material existence. Both systems of thought are completely different and cannot be reconciled without one over-coming and subsuming the other. The theories that underpin quantum mechanics are scientific and not theological. Conscious awareness – regardless of its origin, nature and functionality – is not a ‘spirit’ that stands in opposition to physical existence. Therefore, it logically follows that quantum mechanics – regardless of its paradoxes and implications – cannot be used as a substitute for theology. Once the material basis of human consciousness is fully understood and appreciated, an in-depth study and analysis of its implication and functionality can be ‘scientifically’ pursued outside of the limitations that theological understanding suggest and impose. Without firmly separating the study of evolutionary consciousness from theology – the true extent of the power of the human mind will not be fully understood.

Other Dimensions (In There)

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The human mind possesses three distinct aspects of operation. Not only can it sense the present, that is the existential circumstances physically surrounding it, but it also possesses the ability to ‘remember’ the past, and ‘speculate’ or ‘plan’ for the future.  This can be expressed as:

  1. Memory of past events (through the use of imagination).
  2. Awareness of present events (through direct sensory perception and cognitive interpretation).
  3. Speculate about future events (through the use of imagination).

Using this model of assessment of mind activity, the function of ‘imagination’ appears to be used at least two-thirds more than direct perception. This is because awareness of the present does not occur in a cognitive vacuum, but is dependent upon past experience (and conditioning), and on certain cultural and social ideas about what is expected as a desired trajectory of future events. The perception of the present for most people, therefore, is entirely dependent upon past experience, with the caveat that present experience also serves as a possible basis for perpetuating past experience, or indeed changing it in the future (through ‘new’ experiences). The activity that the average person experiences in their mind. i.e. light and dark, images of various kinds, feelings, sensations and emotions, as well as will-power and direction of thought, etc, are all termed ‘qualia’ and relate to the totality of the personal experience of consciousness. An interesting point to consider, is that of just ‘why’ the human mind developed the abilities to think in three-dimensions, and what its possible use. For instance, what possible evolutionary challenges in the past, served as the foundation for not only ‘matter’ becoming imbued with ‘life’, but also for that living matter to a) become ‘aware’ of its own presence, and b) extrapolate from that awareness, what the past must have been like, and what the future might be like.

Of course, the activities and experiences associated with debate, law and politics, etc, demonstrate that the agency of human ‘memory’ is not always ‘correct’, and even if past details can be recalled collectively, not everyone doing the recalling, necessarily ‘agrees’ upon the ‘meaning’, ‘intention’, or ‘direction’ of those events being remembered (as interpretation is a matter of opinion). This is where human cultures have devised various methods of arriving to somekind of an agreeable ‘consensus’, so that everyday culture and society can proceed in an expected direction, but what of other realities? Do other realities exist? Mathematics and advanced science suggests that there might well be other realities ‘out there’, but the capacity for the human mind to ‘imagine’ and ‘think’ guarantees that all kinds of different realities can exist within the human experience of consciousness. An interesting question is to the validity of these inwardly generated states of being. Are these inner states as real, for instance, as the table and chair in-front of you now?

Such a question is valid because its answer helps define ‘truth’ within a certain context. A person who believes in a religion, or some other type of explanatory mythology, will also assume a priori that what they think they know, is the ultimate (and most precious) understanding of the universe, that is made more so by a lack of corroborating evidence on the physical plane, and the ‘disbelief’ exhibited by those who exist outside of that particular thought community. The fact that there is no evidence, and that others do not experience reality in the same manner, suggests that whatever these altered states of consciousness might be, they cannot be considered the ‘only’ manner in which reality can be perceived or interpreted. Does this understanding ‘invalidate’ these altered states? Not necessarily, as the evolutionary reality of these states must suggest some beneficial purpose for humanity – beyond the usual bounds of conventional belief systems. Yes, it may be true that a particularly ‘fundamental’ religious view was relevant perhaps 500 or 1000 years ago, or that theistic religions in general operate through an ‘inverted’ mind-set (mistaking thoughts in the head for physical objects in the external world), but in reality, the modern human mind is able to operate on a number of different planes at once, sometimes exhibiting ‘inverted’ and ‘non-inverted’ tendencies in quick succession (a number of modern scientists, for example, profess a religious faith, etc). The point is that the human brain’s capacity to think in three-dimensions should not be limited to, or defined by, the logical absurdities associated with conventional religious worship, or peculiar states generated inwardly. It may be the case that subjective human consciousness could well develop the ability to directly perceive objective material reality – without the intermediary of mathematics – but such a state would be rarefied and lie outside of conventional science and religion.

Other Dimensions (Out There)

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The main stumbling block with analysing the idea of witnessing another reality, is ensuring that what is experienced, is not a product of the malfunction of the human brain, and its ability to perceive, cognise or interpret. An individual could be suffering from any number of internally generated psychological and physiological conditions, that interfere with the usual process of sensing the material environment. Such divergence away from normal function in the brain (and body), obviously leads to an internally generated view of the physical world, that does not actually exist ‘out there’. If a group of people appear to share a ‘visionary’ experience, it cannot be rejected out of hand, that all concerned are suffering from a perceptual ailment, or that the group is engaging in a ‘cult-like’ activity involving peer pressure, mutual conditioning, and interpretive reinforcement (i.e. a group hallucination). From a scientific perspective, these issues cannot be ignored whilst attempting to establish the theoretical principle of the existence of different planes of reality. Of course, belief systems effect how the world is perceived simply because that is one of their primary functions, but ‘belief’ does not necessarily equate to correct perception or interpretation of reality. Although theoretical physics postulates that other dimensions may exist (i.e. ‘String Theory’ and ‘Quantum Theory’, etc), these realities are mathematical probabilities, and not the product of sensory observation in the usual or mundane sense. In other words, the only manner in which these realities have been understood to exist, is through the use of numbers as cognised by the human brain. This is very different to the structure of religious or spiritual visions of other realities, which always appear to be like this (mundane) reality – but ‘ideal’ in nature. This can be ‘ideally’ good or bad, depending upon belief ad circumstance, but there is no scientific reason why other dimensions should be in anyway ‘familiar’ to human beings and their cognitive sensory array (which has evolved within a particular environment), or even ‘perceptible’ to the human mind in the ordinary sense.

Teaching Evolution Effectively to Transform Human Understanding

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Evolution is an established academic fact, but as this is a new field of research, Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution through natural selection is an unfolding process that requires modification as new evidence comes to light. Unlike the ready-made teachings associated with religion, academic theories are in many ways a work in progress. Theology, with its central premise of a divine entity, does not require improving – only understanding and accepting, because such a teaching premised upon the authority of tradition, does not require updating or changing. In fact, any attempt to alter or modify theology is met by the various established churches with the charge of ‘blasphemy’. However, science is not at war with religion as certain academic or religionists would have the world believe, as each understanding of reality is distinct and not reliant upon the other. For dogmatic religion, science premised upon the collection of objective evidence is anathema, whilst for established science, religious belief is irrelevant – this is why the two realms of interpretation really have no connection. What is required in today’s progressive classrooms is a greater emphasis upon evolutionary theory, and the clarity of thought this brings humanity. This should not be a problem for religion, as such institutions teach exclusively theology in their churches with no reference whatsoever to modern learning and understanding. This being the case, it should be established under law that the school classroom is secular – whilst religious teachings remain the sole enterprise of religionists and their specialist theological centres of learning – with no confusion or conflating of the truth. Believing in religion is not a problem, but such a belief should not be used to ‘high-jack’ the secularist agenda of rational and logical thinking. A problem prevalent in the US (but less so in Europe due to Socialistic-type education systems), is that of religionists deliberately pursuing a path of conflict by attempting to infiltrate the institutes of established sciences, and through the strictures of theology, seeking to dislodge the rational agendas being taught. This is an attempt (primarily by the religious right), to replace secular ‘logic’ with theological ‘faith’. This is a battle that does not exist. Religionists are perfectly welcome to continue to pursue their theological path, and in so doing, should leave the academic community alone to pursue its rational agenda. In today’s post-modern world, it is secular science that is making the world a better place to live for the entirety of humanity – differing economic systems not withstanding. If a religionist truly believes in the theistic entity that lies at the heart of theology – then that faith should be so strong and unshakeable that systems of modern logic will not affect it at all. This principle can be seen in the lives of professional scientists that retain a religious faith in their private lives, but which keep the two dimensions entirely separate. Children and young people must understand how a rational and logical mind functions, and this must be conveyed at a young age, primarily through a secular education system. In this way, the stupidity of a lack of critical thought will be avoided. The following video demonstrates the cultivated stupidity of a young American who uses the language and conventions of a modern education to ‘attack’ evolutionary theory. The lack of understanding is palpable and reflects the current ‘anti-intellectual’ agenda being pursued in the USA. What this individual fails to see, is how his own mind is operating. He cannot help but make a fool of himself by ‘projecting’ onto Darwinian evolutionary theory, the limitations implicit in his own religious belief system. Perhaps the greatest ignorance is not understanding how our own minds work. The academic Laurence Krauss is lecturing superbly here – and his progressive performance makes a mockery of the ignorant commentator’s attempt to belittle and ridicule:

 

Seeing Beyond Bourgeois Nationalism

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Nationalism separates human-beings into the false mythic categories of nation states.  This illusion is set in place through the use of deliberately conflating differences in language and culture with perceived differences in physical appearance.  Once physical differences are inalienably linked with culture, the ground-work for racism is established.  Instead of acknowledging that distinct human populations are the product of diverse manifestations of adaptability within different climatic and geographical conditions, the myth is perpetuated that the ‘differences’ are in fact directly related to skin-colour.  Human groupings are then encouraged by an exploitative socio-economic system to perpetually conflict with one another to see which racial grouping is ‘superior’.  Of course, the real point of this is to prevent human groupings from coming together and over-throwing the exploitative socio-economic system that exploits them in this way.  The psychology of perpetual conflict prevents the human mind from ‘seeing’ beyond its limited conditioning and gaining insight into the true conditions surrounding its existence.  If this true knowledge is gained, then the old socio-economic model would be abandoned for one more in keeping with the actual needs of human existence.

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