Thursday, April 22nd, 2021

The Idea That WILL Change Everything

Published on December 20, 2013 by   ·   No Comments


Marcus T Anthony, PhD, is Director of MindFutures. He refers to himself as a futurist, intuitive and life alignment coach. He is the author of Discover Your Soul Template and his website

Some time ago I picked up a copy of John Brockman’s This Will Change Everything: Ideas That Will Shape the Future. The volume contains a collection of short essays by more than one hundred influential scientific and philosophical minds, including Daniel Dennett, Paul Davies, Richard Dawkins, Steven Pinker, Freeman Dyson, and Rupert Sheldrake. Each of these people was asked the following question:

“What will change everything? What game-changing scientific ideas and developments do you expect to live to see?”

Naturally, respondents brought forward a wide range of subject matters including synthetic biology, robotics, the benefits and dangers of artificial intelligence, quantum computing and the discovery of alien life.

But what interested me during my reading was getting a sense of what these one hundred brightest minds thought about the nature of consciousness; and in particular about the extended mind and related ideas like telepathy, remote viewing and so on. For me this was a good opportunity to gauge how open mainstream science is to what I call “the great mind shift” – the time when the non-local nature of mind will become mainstream in science and psychology.

The answer is that the vast majority of writers in This Will Change Everything not mention the subject of the extended mind; and those that did framed the issue in a paradigmatically bounded way, dismissing it with contempt.

In his essay entitled “A Change in Who we Are,” Paul Zachary Myers, associate professor of biology at the University of Minnesota, writes that one major shift:

… is coming from neuroscience. Mind is clearly a product of the brain, and the old notions of souls and spirits are looking increasingly ludicrous. Yet these are nearly universal ideas, all tangled up in people’s rationalisations and ultimate reward or punishment and in their concept of self.

The great irony here is that the belief that the brain produces mind is an unexamined presupposition of modern neuroscience, and has no direct evidence (although there is a clear correlation between brain states and both perception and behaviour).

Zachary Myers goes on to write:

This will be our coming challenge: to accommodate a new view of ourselves in the universe that isn’t encumbered by falsehoods and trivialising myths. That’s going to be our biggest challenge: a change in who we are.

Zachary Myers’ statement represents a further irony because entanglement (spooky connections at a distance in quantum physics) and the extended mind threaten modern biology’s founding presupposition of the mechanistic nature of life; which I predict in time will be shown to have both mythic and “false” elements. The mechanistic paradigm – the idea that the universe is hung together like a great machine and all life is essentially mechanical – is an invisible narrative which underpins much of modern science and especially neuroscience. It is the verification of the entanglement of mind and nature that will most certainly challenge our notions of who we think we are.

The restrictive thinking displayed in This Will Change Everything suggests that current mainstream science tends to acknowledge the concept of entangled minds only where machines mediate the process. Of the few scientists willing to discuss ESP in the book, all invoke the necessity of a machine interface as an explanatory mechanism. Kenneth W. Ford, for example, believes that we will soon be able to read signals from brains—but only with machines. Ford writes:

We can probably safely assume that the needed device would have to be located close to the brain being read… We could let Mind Reader, Inc, make and market it.

Such thinking appears to be driven by what I call a “money and machines” mentality, and is suggestive of the way that science has become embedded within – and restricted by – the commercialisation of science and education.

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