I am doing my neuroscience bachelor right now, i have always been interested in and fascinated by eastern philosophy and lately i started to meditate on a regular basis. While I was having one of my contemplating sessions, i stumbled upon a thought that struck me and kept me thinking for a week now.
We know from quantum theory that matter consists of literally “nothing”. We only perceive matter as it is (chair, mother, water) because over the cause of evolution it happend to be advantageous for us to perceive things in their apparent state rather that in their “real” state, i.e. we don’t see trillions of electrons swirling around billions of nuclei. Furthermore, from the quantum information theory developed in the 1950’s it is known that basically everything in this universe is intertwined, you cannot change a particle without changing another one that might be light years away. In other words: everything is one. Now, looking at neuroscience, modern non-invasive techniques have allowed to make the statement that the self is nothing else than a really unstable concept produced by our brains. We actually are our brains. If we change our brain chemistry, either by taking in substances or by meditation etc., you change your whole personality (I’ve actually already written papers on the neurological effects of meditation as well as 2 other ones on consciousness in humans and animals, whoever is interested, i’ll gladly foreward it to you ;)). That reality is a mere illusion produced by our minds should be well known, i just mention it for the sake of completion. The thing now that blew my mind was that i experienced the aforementioned phenomena on my self by doing several DMT hits. I experienced it all: ego death, complete bliss, visually shift into another dimension…the second thing that blew my mind even more was that these relatively new scientific insights were already written down…for 2500 years….in the bhagavad gita. its all in there. self and reality as an illusion. meditatation as a way to “free yourself” (neurologically speaking as a tool to reduce anxiety and to live in the present), the ideo that everything is one and the concept that “nothingness” is basically all there is.
I wonder now: how do quantum physics, neuroscience and psychedelic experiences refer to each other? how are they connected? I am deeply convinced that they share something, a hidden key to the ultimate knowledge or something. Why do psychedelics give us pleasant, eye opening and mind altering experiences? how did psychedelic substances come into being in the first place? Why do we have receptors in our brain that allow these substances to interact with them? Why is sitting silently and doing nothing such a strong tool of altering nerve wiring in our brain? How does matter (via quantum effects) produce immaterial phenomena like thoughts????
What do you think about all this? i can barely sleep because i know, I KNOW that there is more to all this that we know. It’s “only” about asking the right questions. What are your questions you don’t have an answer to (concerning what i just wrote)? For my master programme i really would want to combine neurochemistry (which i coud do i stockholm) with psychedelic research, but i dono how to do that yet. If there is anybody out there with similar interest or plans, dont hesitate to contact me! ;)
Aith, looking foreward to some interesting ideas, then.
A very interesting subject I must say!
I am in my second year in the gymnasium, so I probably do not have the same insight in quantum physics as you do, but I know a lot. I have been thinking about the same thing. We know that our actions in life is caused by inputs from our surroundings, but the human mind and the idea of thoughts is still a huge mystery.
When you think about it, it does not really make sense that anything at all even exist…
I really like your question ” Why do we have receptors in our brain that allow these substances to interact with them?”, it really made me think.
I guess that this will be a mystery for a long time. In my head, this is the only thing that could point to the possible existence of a “god-ish” power that lies behind everything we know of and can imagine. As Einstein said: “The more i learn, the less i know”. This is really some mind-blowing stuff. I think you should keep studying, and let me know the answer when/if you find it! ;)
@nobody, There are many big name researchers and doctors who study the science of the soul, or the unknown that rests within ourselves. I too have thought about the connection between hallucinogens and the science of the spirit. DMT especially is considered a ‘technology’ that is used to experience multi-dimentional spaces and the beings that inhabit them, us included. However, in todays world the idea that there is something more to us than we know is not widely accepted but it is gaining ground. I’m excited to see people like you studying neuroscience and contemplating the vast possibilities that hallucinagenics can produce with that same science. The truth is, i’ve found, is that there is a missing link, missing information long forgotten, and the fact that we, as humans, aren’t mentally evolved to grapple with the fact of the soul (lack of ego, connection to the spirit, connection to the universe etc.).
I too believe that the eastern religions actually point to the truth of the mind, and of our being. I too believe, from personal experience (religious and drug induced) that the mind can be re-wired and basically programmed to experience life as all the complex equations, relationships, and patterns that is the true universe. It’s kind of the act of breaking down and deluding the illusions and delusions that we are conditioned since children to create. If you research into the minds of children age 3-6 on average almost all of them you will come across with have some kind of undoubted faith of a ‘God’, and the true nature of the mind and life itself until they are all taught to suppress those thoughts and doubt their own answers.
The fact of the matter is, in my opinion, is that we do not know enough about the hidden keys of life, even our own DNA down to the dreams we can create and the connectivity of every living organism in this life and beyond. What lies above us, our true potential, is the secret to the tradition of experiencing alternate realities on psychedelics; to dig deeper into the unused potential of our minds.
I am more than interested to read your papers, so please forward me everything you got. I’ll dig up some of my old theories to share as well!
I’m interested in neurochemistry, psychology, and the changes induced by meditation and psychedelics. Lucky for you, by the time you finish your PhD (I recommend) you will be able to do this. At the moment it is VERY hard to get funding for this – but it is possible, and growing.
The very odd thing is, though, with this, is that it is really impossible to test and “prove” anything via the scientific method – because in psychology and our perceptions dictate the outcomes, therefore, a very complicated and repetitive feed-back loop appears if your try to analyze how perception changes things, or how reality is basically within the mind.
All we know and all we can really “study” and “prove” must be based on parallel observations – that is, when a person drops a ball, no matter if you’re sad or mad or happy, the ball is going to hit the floor.
However, in this type of research, if one is looking to prove that you can alter reality via your consciousness – you realize that there is no way to prove this, because reality has been altered – therefore everything is new, yet still compatible with another perspective.
An example is hard for me to think of but I will try:
If you believe that you perceive things more negative as well as things manifest in reality as more negative when you feel negative there is no way to prove this to anyone else, because it is only applicable to your own perception.
What pains me greatly is that when I get lost in negativity reality changes literally things change. People look different, the sky isn’t the same, and many other things are completely different than if I’m happy / normal. Yet, this change is only internal – but manifests outside. My experience – of these different looking people has no effect on someone else’s perspective of them (or seemingly very little) so how can I ever prove that this is in fact, happening?
Good luck with your research :)
@nobody, this is an amzing post with amazing content and very neutral pov that i enjoyed a lot. This is where i have been mentally for a while now. Its kind of like when you see videos of soundwaves and the beautiful patterns it creates or like the Fibonacci sequence we can see all over the earth, once i saw a demonstration of the way electricity dispurses and it lookes exactly the way roots of a tree would dispurse. So are these all hints of a single pattern beneath all this “matter”. Also i had read about a study , i believe in japan , that put photosensors in a completly sealed room and then had ppl remote view(OBE) in to that room and the photon sensors increase by like 120,000. That put the idea in my head that what if thought or conciousness is light, i could be wrong but i dont think photons are conisder as matter. ANOTHER thing i have been reading about and is very interesting is how everything is made of like electromagnetic vibrations and slower vibrations equal solid matter. And if your read about the pineal gland and how it potentially activates a electromagnetic forcefield that filters out all other frequencies except the highest one and that maybe be what happens when you have multi-dimensional experience or religous experience. Or if you look at the brain as a antenna for consciousness that is being generated from somewhere else(how is it that a 100% brain dead person lacking electrical impulses in the brain can have a multi-dimensional experience and remember images and feelings after coming out of a coma if consciousness was generated in the brain )
@chodebalm, never heard about it, will google it, though ;). Thanks for the input!
@logicalliberty, ” it does not really make sense that anything at all even exist…” you are indeed right. it doesnt make sense at all. we live and we die. we all will be forgotten one day. BAM. But does it have to make sense? When you play poker and you end up with a royal flush, do you think about the meaning behind it or are you just happy and enjoy the experience, the very moment? ;)
@connerj93, interesting thoughts, thanks for sharing! I would just need an address to send my essays to, can’t attach any files via private messages. I could possibly copy/paste them but they are each 3000 words long…
@ijesuschrist, on your epistemological considerations: I think it’s all about the question of objectivity/ objectivity. You’re right, you cannot prove to anyone that you experience everything more negative when you are in a negative mood. That’s because it’s a complete subjective impression. ” if one is looking to prove that you can alter reality via your consciousness – you realize that there is no way to prove this”. Here I do not agree. You can objectivate (sorry, dont know if thats the correct english translation :P) your measurments. For a matter of fact, if you wanna know how perception changes under the influence of alcohol, you put a test person into an fMRI ( a non-invasive method i was talking about earlier on), let him drink a couple f beers and observe what changes with regards to the brain activity/metabolism. What you will observe is decreased activity in the cerebellum, the part of your brain that is responsible for motor control and coordinated movement. With this observation you can explain why you have a hard time walking home after you had your final exams. By contrast, you woulndt be able to observe any changes in brain activity when you wanna test the altered perception when you are sad (because, like i said, its completely subjective and therefore not testable)
@theboss7607, interesting stuff, do you have more iformation on the pineal gland story and the japanese study? complete articles would be insane ;)
@nobody, have you heard of some monks that go up to the mountains to meditate and they just disappear? I’m not motivated enough to but you should look into these stories. Just a suggestion. Great post! I feel like this is a more educated version of what i ponder. ~namaste
@theboss7607, “how is it that a 100% brain dead person lacking electrical impulses in the brain can have a multi-dimensional experience and remember images and feelings after coming out of a coma if consciousness was generated in the brain”
When put that way, it sounds impossible… however, you are making the assumption that the brain dead person is having those “experiences” while brain dead, when in fact, its possible that they are confabulating those experiences after the fact (after their brain activity starts up again). That the jolt of activity back to life and subsequent thoughts they have could very well create a false experience that is being mis-perceived as occuring while they were brain dead.
Just because someone thinks they experienced something at a certain time, doesn’t mean they actually did.
From personal experience, I remember gaining consciousness back after passing out once, and distinctly remember being overwhelmed by the sheer number and speed of thoughts that went though my mind in the seconds it took to fully come back and realize where I was. It was astounding how I “experienced” what seemed like 15 minutes worth of thoughts in maybe 5 seconds… I can only imagine what is going on in the mind when coming back from being fully brain dead and the kinds of experiences that could create.
@nobody, This is a great post, I’m not familiar with quantum physics or neuroscience, but you stated two things,
“from the quantum information theory developed in the 1950′s it is known that basically everything in this universe is intertwined, you cannot change a particle without changing another one that might be light years away”.. and, “If we change our brain chemistry, either by taking in substances or by meditation etc., you change your whole personality”
So I’m curious, how much, if any part of the world around us is physically changed ((not just perceptually changed)) by meditation// change of perception? ((assuming there is a link between quantum physics and neuroscience))?
Also I would be very interested in reading your paper on the neurological effects of meditation!!
@alljuicedup, Sorry, I was at work on the phone and in rush triple my bad.
First of all at this point I think we are talking about potentialities of consciousness.
To rephrase what i was saying about the 100% brain dead example. I was referring to this dude http://www.nydailynews.com/life-style/health/neurosurgeon-offers-proof-heaven-article-1.1192481 who had zero activity in his brain electrically was in a coma then came back and lived to tell about his very very vivid and DMT like (to a tee even tho he doesnt recognize that) multi-dimensional experience that explained shit to him. Therefore this is complex information that was able to be conveyed to an experience yet he never felt as though he was an entire being or a being at all just consciousness. For example being a speck on a butterfly rather than the butterfly its self.
“you are making the assumption that the brain dead person is having those “experiences” while brain dead, when in fact, its possible that they are confabulating those experiences after the fact (after their brain activity starts up again). That the jolt of activity back to life and subsequent thoughts they have could very well create a false experience that is being mis-perceived as occurring while they were brain dead”
I would say if you’ve ever had a psychedelic experience in which you knew something with out conveying it but just felt it and then knew it you would understand. But also back to the potentialities if there are experiences like what you explain at the least and at the most what i explained then wouldn’t that at least be enough to recognize what really is reality if it is so easily manipulated. That is the crazy part. We could be all matrixed and shit be plugged in to a computer running unbelievably complex models and the worst part arrows point there a lot.
Also time is local to the perceiver if you can remove the perceiver and become the perceived then what purpose would there be for time. Wanna blow your mind contemplate a state of timelessness ……would it be eternity in a instant?
@nobody, Now I know you’re the one in school for this stuff, and I am not, but I would like to argue a few points with you.
One: “We know from quantum theory that matter consists of literally “nothing”. We only perceive matter as it is (chair, mother, water) because over the cause of evolution it happened to be advantageous for us to perceive things in their apparent state rather that in their “real” state, i.e. we don’t see trillions of electrons swirling around billions of nuclei.”
For one, matter is not “literally nothing,” it is mostly nothing, but there are still atoms that make up matter. Evolution is not what causes us to see things as things instead of atoms. That is simply perception. My example is a mosaic. From far enough away, you can’t see the tiles, you only see the mosaic. The atomic “tiles” are just too small for humans to see. We see the whole mosaic.
Two: “That reality is a mere illusion produced by our minds should be well known, i just mention it for the sake of completion”
Unfortunately we’re not the ALMIGHTY HUMAN. We exist for a merely moment on the grand scale. After you, I, and everyone dies, the universe will continue onward.
There’s a reason no one considers himself a Berkeley-ist.
Three: “how do quantum physics, neuroscience and psychedelic experiences refer to each other? how are they connected?”
My response to your question is that I don’t believe that they are. Quantum physics examines the mechanics of atomic and sub-atomic particles. Neuroscience is the study of the nervous system. Psychedelics are tools used for recreational and introspective purposes.
Lastly, keep in mind that Quantum Physics is a vastly undiscovered and primitive field of science, and psychedelics allow you to see into YOURSELF, not some “true” celestial dimension.
But that’s just my opinion.
@nobody, haha i could not agree more, life is this greatest miracle of all time, and in stead of worrying about if ones finals will be good enough, or if one will ever get a girlfriend, one should just enjoy the ride and take everything that comes with it! Don’t worry, be happy ;)
Wow your post is so brilliant, and the response is even better… quantum physics, relativity, dimensions, trancendental meditation, neuroscience, vibrations, frequencies, neuroplasticity, cell memory, sun gazing, DMT, pineal gland, law of attraction, karma.. all exquisitely and inextricably intertwined…. Spirituality meets Science… what a match literally made in heaven… and suddenly everything makes sense… and simultaneously…. nothing makes sense…. How are we still living in this crazy society.? people like you restore my faith in sentient beings, there is hope when random people are having these conversations. thanks to all of you!!
Please please send me your papers i would so love to read them,
many thanks and blessings to all
in regards to the psychedelic experience, i believe that these substances are essentially tools to be used in order to speed up the process of evolution and understanding. i think that what actually happens when under the influence of psychedelics is that it unlocks the door, so to speak, to higher consciousness, similar to what meditation does. since everyone and everything is connected, these substances allow you to dive into that essence and get a taste of what the universe really is, along with our connection to it. they allow you to feel the oneness that is everything, in contrast to when you’re sober and just believe in this oneness. i hope this made sense lol also, i have a few friends who are studying neuroscience and also psychology and chemistry related fields with this same mindset, while also reading more and more about others across the world, and i for one am very optimistic and extremely excited for the future of the human race
Wow, thank you all so much for your inputs and thoughts! Very much appreciated! For the ones who are interested in reading my essays, @lesterdeguzman, @lizzie, @jneggleston, @marinkaren, @myotherself, @connerj93, or whoever else, i created a google.docs file. Feel free to comment and share! I will comment on the questions and comments posted above later on when i come back from uni, gotta defend my synthesis of a potential new psychedelic drug i synthesized in lab haha. later!
I’ll upload the one on human consciousness later on as well. And yes, “cogito ergo sum” is my favourite introduction to all neurophilosophical essays ;)
@nobody, Great post man, wonderful insights!
If you want more information, or a wider context to put all of this in, you can check out Darwin’s Pharmacy by Richard Doyle. I am currently reading it for the second time. One of the best books I’ve ever read on consciousness, evolution, psychedelics etc.
Check out to get a tatse of it: http://www.acceler8or.com/2011/06/the-interwingularity-is-here-sex-psychedelics-interconnection/
@nobody, hey, I would love to read the papers you mentioned since this is a topic of great interest to me.
@martijn, thank you for that link! I live for this kind of stuff, and the article had many gem quotes, including this one: “In the very early stages of this project, I got the opportunity to travel down to Peru as part of an audio documentary about ayahuasca tourism. The contract actually read that I was to travel down and “trip balls.” “
@logicalliberty, That’s actually a fallacy.
Energy, as I was taught in physics, is the ability for a unit to do work.
Richard Feynman says: “It is important to realize that in physics today, we have no knowledge what energy is. We do not have a picture that energy comes in little blobs of a definite amount.”
Einstein never said Energy = Matter. The equation is Energy = Matter * (The speed of light)^2
I can’t say I’m an expert in relativistic physics, but I believe that it is impossible for matter to be nothing.
Nothing is nothing, space (for the most part) is nothing. But matter is matter, and matter is not space, so therefore it is not nothing.
Have you done any research on Cantor’s sets?
His and others discovery that between 0.1 and 0.2 there are an infinite amount of possibilities?
You can disappear in the abyss of decimal places. Like pi. It’s infinite.
It doesn’t end. So how can it exist?
If it has no end, how can it occupy space?
Have you seen the video where the camera goes out from a guys hand to the powers of ten and then goes straight back into it? His hands molecular makeup looks identical to that of the universe as outer space..
The molecules in his hand grip together like solar systems and galaxies…
@facets, for example we say that matter is associated with atoms and we know that atoms are about 98% nothing then what does that mean about matter. And yes you still have 2 % well if someone told you something was 98% nothing 2 % something ppl will tend to say it is nothing
@nobody, This post is extrordinarily interesting to me for one because this past weekend, my boyfriend had a small party and I drank way too much alcohol and began questioning life (which I’ve found that I do when I have more alcohol in my system than should be). But, I found myslef lying in bed, looking at a a window with white blinds and thinking to myself how strange it is that we live in homes with windows and blinds. How strange it is that we need food to survive, or that we walk on two legs, or that we kiss for affection, speak for communication, and think and feel as if we are important individuals when really, we are nothing. It honestly freaked me out a little, considering the fact I was insanely drunk very well may have had something to do with it, but I couldn’t help but feel pointless. Then after a while, I manipulated my mind back to being okay with life and the way things were and told myself it is what it is and its all I know. But, still there in the back of my mind I had that small, infinite wonder of why?. I really enjoyed this post and the fact that there are many others that have thought and wondered about this insignificant perspective of life and out easilly changing/altering minds. I would also love to read anything else you have written about this sort of thing as well. I find it extremely intriguing :)