An Autonomous Agent

exploring the noosphere

Category: brain (Page 2 of 4)

DMT: The Spirit Molecule – Rick Strassman, M.D.

Terence McKenna’s experiences with the DMT molecule piqued my already curious mind. Talking with Elves? Hyperspace travel and other dimensions? Mystical visions? Was McKenna a deranged urban shaman luring others into the world of psychedelia? I decided to investigate by first reading a book. This was Rick Strassman’s, DMT: The Spirit Molecule. It is based on Strassman’s own research with human subjects on the effects of the DMT molecule from 1990 – 1995.

After finishing the book, I had a strong intuitive sense that McKenna was correct. Travelling to other dimensions, having a mystical experience, and talking to other beings are hallmarks of a DMT trip. The DMT molecule is a sort of high octane fuel for the brain which allows a higher level of conscious reality. Perhaps even accessing new forces and energies unknown to current science. Think of the 1820’s and 1830’s and the eventual realization during that period that the world is saturated with electromagnetic forces and fields. Then scientists found that the actual functioning of their brain relies on these forces which were previously unknown. Physics helped lead to discoveries in biology. Perhaps this time, the flow of discovery will be reversed — from biology to physics.

If DMT is the fuel, then the brain is the motor, the engine for visiting and travelling to indescribable places. In many ways the human body is the most sophisticated piece of technology which exists on this planet. It’s no wonder that many call it a temple. Perhaps it’s this natural technology which will enable humans to discover how to really travel to the stars. Or perhaps with better understanding of the DMT molecule we will more fully understand what it means to live and exist as a conscious being.

Brain biotechnology, in particular the pineal gland, may hold the key to understanding the holographic universe of Bohm. He was interested in which part of the brain played the role of accessing the holographic universe. Might the primary instrument be the pineal gland?

I was surprised to find, after reading many books on evolution, that no one really mentions the fact that our ancient common ancestors in the ocean, and eventually on land, had three eyes. The pineal gland, according to evolutionary biologists is today’s analogue to this ancient third sense organ. Indeed, many species today have what is called a Parietal eye. See the Tuatara and the Triops and many extinct species as well. This is a functioning organ in the human brain (technically not part of the brain — it forms from cells on the roof of the mouth) which has roots as a sense organ. Is it “sensing” today? Why has evolution migrated the organ to the center of the brain with immediate access to our nervous system? And what might be its function as  piezoelectric device?

I would highly suggest reading Strassman’s book to enjoy the amazing experiences the volunteers described (as best they could). Even reading their experiences gave me chills and a sense of healing. This is a fascinating area of research and perhaps a new age of human existence will be born from it.

Beautiful 3D Brain Scans

Fascinating video showing scientists mapping the brain’s neurons in 3D.

Big Think Lectures and Interviews

Steven Pinker talking about how language helps scientists understand cognition.
Steven Pinker: Linguistics as a Window to Understand the Brain

Nicholas Christakis talks about important revolutions in understanding the social sciences.
Nicholas Christakis: The Sociological Science Behind Social Networks and Social Influence

Benoit Mandelbrot interview, talking about fractals.
Big Think Interview with Benoit Mandelbrot

Richard Dawkins interview, talking about evolution and other related topics.
Richard Dawkins – Evolutionary Biologist – Big Think – discussing a multitude of scientific topics

First time I have heard about Stewart Brand; really smart and wise guy.
Big Think Interview With Stewart Brand

Human Decision Making Ability, Optimal Control

Before humans first landed on the moon, NASA scientists and academics spent years devising a solution to the moon landing problem. The problem is that humans are physically incapable of making correct logical conclusions under stochastic conditions not consistent with human evolution. A human would quickly get lost in the flood of information processing required to land a craft going 25,000 mph. The solution: programming a computer to make the landing control decisions. In other words, for the first time in human history the helmsman on the ship of exploration was not human. In other words, it was the computer which landed us on the moon. So, how are we really supposed to comprehend, “One small step for man. One giant leap for mankind.”
As a general conclusion, for things that require such decisions at such speeds or with huge numbers of parameters we need computers. In order to properly maintain a society as large as humans, there will come a time when we will have reached a limit to sustainable growth due to reaching the limits imposed by evolution on human decision making abilities. That time has already occurred. In order to continue to grow, we will have governments which rely on computer decisions to correctly sustain large numbers of people. However, this will raise the interesting situation in which the president or ruler of a country will be faced with a decision – it could be a political or social. Does he/she accept the outcome of the computer’s calculation or his own, human solution.

I guess nothing I have written should be surprising or new. However, my point is that governments of large nations are not really entirely run by humans. So we can’t entirely blame public officials;  rather, some of the blame should be on algorithms inside the computers which helped make those decisions.

Thinking, Fast and Slow – Daniel Kahneman

A friend recommended that I read Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman. Since the book appears to be extremely popular, I guess my curiosity is piqued and I will have to give it a read. Perhaps it develops sociobiological concepts introduced by Edward O. Wilson in On Human Nature.

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