Questions and Quotes

Below are questions our users have posed with responses by experts or significant luminaries in our area of study.

Why is this project important?
What’s a stake here?

Because we desperately need a new concept of what a human being is if we are to learn how to stop killing each other and poisoning our only planet. The old reductionist worldview has not enabled us to do this. The emerging worldview is of an increased sense not only of sentience, but of interconnectedness.
Leslie Combs, PhD

 

The way we organize society literally rests, in many ways, on our understanding of consciousness, and the prevailing paradigms are limiting the culture’s progress. It is that simple and that profound.
— clinical psychologist and author David Feinstein, PhD

What is consciousness?
Or can anyone explain consciousness?

Consciousness poses the most baffling problems in the science of the mind. There is nothing that we know more intimately than conscious experience, but there is nothing that is harder to explain.
David Chalmers, PhD

I’ve found consciousness to be the most interesting because it raises a baffling problem: how does the three- pound lump of neural tissue inside my head give rise to the awareness that I call me? This “mind-body problem” has been hotly debated by philosophers for thousands of years, and it remains one of the foremost unsolved puzzles in science today. What is consciousness, where does it come from, and what’s its purpose? No one knows.
—  from Dean Radin’s Real Magic

I regard consciousness as fundamental. I regard matter as derivative from consciousness. We cannot get behind consciousness. Everything that we talk about, everything that we regard as existing, postulates consciousness.
— Max Planck, 1931

What is the “reductionist” view of consciousness?

Nobel laureate Francis Crick (1916–2004) couldn’t have put it better, when he famously quipped that the mind—the self-aware, subjective aspect of the brain—is “nothing but a pack of neurons.” Crick asserted that all mental activity, all of “your joys and your sorrows, your memories and your ambitions, your sense of identity and free will, are in fact no more than the behavior of a vast assembly of nerve cells and their associated molecules.
— somewhat adapted from Radin’s Real Magic

Why do we do it?

So why do we do it? Why do we spend our time studying these most elusive phenomena? The usual professional rewards rarely seem to come our way. Instead of fame, fortune, promotions, awards, and honorary degrees, we usually find ourselves involved in controversy, debts, job insecurity, and the admonition that we are wasting our time.
Stanley Krippner, PhD

Has the mainstream thinking about anomalous experiences changed?

Twenty years ago, only lunatics who were on the fringe of scientific inquiry would even begin to argue that quantum physics, for example, or events at the quantum level, have any relationship whatsoever to consciousness or have any influence on the brain whatsoever. Now we’re seeing a sea-change in thinking about consciousness. Now the reductionist paradigm is collapsing.
Leslie Combs, PhD

Are we headed towards a paradigm shift?

…scientific revolutions are inaugurated by a growing sense, again often restricted to a narrow subdivision of the scientific community, that an existing paradigm has ceased to function adequately in the exploration of an aspect of nature to which that paradigm itself had previously led the way. In both political and scientific development, the sense of malfunction that can lead to crisis is a prerequisite to revolution.
— Thomas Kuhn, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, 1996; pg 92

There’s a small body of consciousness researchers who are using the term “non-local consciousness,” meaning consciousness that’s not limited to what we can see and feel and hear right here and right now — people who are able to get information at a distance, even people who are able to get information from the future… this of course is ridiculed by the so-called hard scientists of consciousness research, but more and more people doing experiments with non-local consciousness are getting results that stand up pretty well….
— Stanley Krippner, PhD

“Understanding consciousness is a real key I think both to understanding the universe and to understanding ourselves. It may just take the right, crazy idea.”
— David Chalmers, PhD

How do I donate to the cause?

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