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Hanlon's Razor
Resonance and Spirituality:  an alternate explanation
by John Arrowwood

This essay is reproduced by permission from John Arrowwood's blog,
Thursday, February 23, 2006. Copyright 2006 John Arrowwood.

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Resonance and water - photography by Elan Sun Star
Photography, Elan Sun Star
 

Hanlon's Razor — an aphorism akin to Murphy's Law, advising: "Never attribute
to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity."


  • Chakras
  • Astral projection
  • Kirlian photography
  • Energy healing
  • Psychic phenomena

Is it gullibility to believe that such things are real? Is it arrogance to believe that such things are fantasy? What's the truth?

The reality is, people don't believe things without a reason to believe them. So if something sounds crazy, the first thing to ask is, "Why do you believe that?" Their belief may well be a logical conclusion based on valid observation of very real phenomena.

That doesn't mean that their conclusion is correct, mind you. It just means that there may be a germ of truth lying behind it. As they say, most legends or myths are founded on reality. I propose that most of these far-fetched ideas about spirituality are much the same:  misguided attempts to explain something that really exists.

Take the old theory that the world is flat. There was a reason that they believed that the world was like a plate, and that if you went too far, you would fall off. The reason? Because they knew that things disappeared from sight if they went too far away. Some people erroneously concluded that the reason was that the world was flat. They lacked the experience to be able to draw the correct conclusion: that the world is a sphere.

In the case of a 'psychic' phenomenon, I suspect the same principle is at work. Something is really happening. But just what is happening is a far cry from what the 'experts' in the field claim is happening.

First of all, what do they claim is going on?

Let's take a look at the people who have been doing this stuff for centuries. Spiritual masters in India have long claimed that occupying the same space as our physical body is a 'spiritual' body. The new-age folks refer to it as an 'astral' or 'subtle' body. As such, it is a body, just like the physical body, just made out of something else. And with very interesting properties.

Why do they make such a claim? You can't see it with your eyes. You can't measure it with a tool. So how can they claim that such a thing exists?

Well, before we answer that, let's open our minds a bit by saying that man has a history of not believing things that he has never seen before. "If I can't see it, I don't believe it." Well, you can't see radio waves. But they exist. We know they exist, because if they didn't, we wouldn't get our morning dose of borderline humor in the mornings on the way to work. That cell phone in your pocket would be a pointless hunk of plastic. But if you were to go back in time 200 years and tell people that you know how to build a device that lets you communicate with people on the other side of the world, instantly, what do you think they would have said?

Don't feel bad, it's human nature. Progress is made by people suspending their natural disbelief and actually investigating. And that is what this article is about.

So, why do they claim the existence of a 'subtle body'? It's not because they found one lying in the street somewhere. It's not because they have pictures of one. It's because they have experienced things which have led them to that belief. Now, just like the people of old who experienced the sinking of a ship over the horizon, there is the distinct possibility that individuals who have these experiences draw incorrect conclusions. So what might be the correct conclusions?

Before we answer that, I propose that readers familiarize themselves with some concepts. This article would be far too long if I were to go into detail about any of them, so I will limit myself to a brief summary of each:

Quantum Physics
Basically, below the atomic or molecular level, matter doesn't behave the same as it does on a ballistic level. Newtonian physics no longer seems to apply. Scientists have resorted to a 'probability' model. Realize that a 'probability' model means that they don't actually have a working model for how it works; they only have statistics about what might happen. Some scientists are beginning to realize that the reason for this has to do with the fact that there is a variable which they can't control in their experiments:  the influence of the thoughts of the experimenter on the outcome of the experiment.

Masaru Emoto
His work, while controversial, seems to show that the form that water molecules take as they freeze can be influenced by the thoughts that are directed at the water prior to its reaching the freezing point. While his work is more aesthetic than scientific and rigorous, there is most likely something going on there.

Resonance
A good example of this is children on a swing. Give them a slight push. They go out, and come back. Then they go forward again. If, as they are going forward again, you give them another slight push, most of the energy from the first push is still present, and so the second push adds to the first. Repeat this and soon the child is swinging far higher than your individual pushes would allow for. And begging you to stop!

Resonance amplified - photography by Elan Sun Star
Photography, Elan Sun Star

Resonance is the key to acting at a distance, such as Radio. And the key to resonance is Timing.

Now, before we continue, let us dispel a myth. Science doesn't know everything. Truth is, there are fundamental things which we all know about, but which science doesn't really understand. Gravity. Electricity. Magnetism. Light. All things we see on a daily basis, and yet while we assume that man understands what they are and how they work, the truth is, we don't. All we know are the observable tendencies. We do not have a complete and accurate model of how or why. We only know what it does. But 'what' is more than enough to let us do fantastic things.

Now let us discuss a possible explanation for the observations that have resulted in the development of the 'spiritual' teachings that have been with mankind for so long.

O

Sensory Superposition
There is an interesting phenomenon called synaesthesia. Basically, inputs from one sense end up mixing together in the brain with another sense. One hears color. One sees sounds. The experience is very real. But the truth is, one isn't actually seeing what is there. One's experience of the world is being altered within the brain by some other experience of the world.

This principle is the basis for many sensory illusions. Whether it takes place in the eyes or the brain, we still see something that isn't really there. But there is a reason we see it.

The conscious part of the mind works, neurologically speaking, as a focusing feedback loop. Signals get reflected back at their source. Interestingly, it works on the principle of resonance. If the signals are in synch with the related signal, it amplifies them. If they are out of phase, it suppresses them. If they are not in synch, then they pass through each other, unmolested.

So, if we concentrate our conscious attention on a particular part of the body, we will amplify the signals from that part of the body, and everything else seems to go quiet. But like a microphone with automatic gain in a quiet room, the random noise gets amplified, too.

Well, the brain is never quiet. The part of the brain you are focusing on is not the only part that is working. Now, if signals that are ordinarily very weak are passing through the same space as the part of the brain that is being focused on, those weak signals, not normally able to be observed, might very well get amplified to the point where they are visible.

As a prime example:  If you sit perfectly still and do not move your eyes even a little bit, while staring at an unmoving scene, within a few minutes your vision will start to go dark. That phenomenon is the origin of the term 'snowblind' (in a non-drug-related sense), and is the same principle behind why you don't normally feel your watch on your wrist, and why smells seem to 'go away' after a while. If a signal isn't novel, the brain tunes it out.

During that time, I have experienced something interesting:  waves of color washing in front of my eyes. I've found that when I will it to change directions, it does. When I think of my body glowing, the lower part of my vision seems to actually glow. For the longest time, I drew the same conclusion that the new-age group did:   that I was seeing some kind of 'spiritual' body.

But unlike them, I have had another experience which has enabled me to know more fully what was really going on:  One time, while just staring, my eyes went dim and the waves started to wash across my vision. But this time, I wasn't staring at a blank wall. This time, there were areas of light and dark visible in front of me. Interestingly enough, those 'waves' were interacting with the areas of high contrast! What I was seeing was all taking place in my brain! Synaesthesia not between senses, but the overlaying of underlying processes of the brain on top of my normal physical senses!

So what of Chakras? A rotating vortex of energy associated with various places in the body. What might they really be? Might they be the same phenomenon? As individuals focus on a particular area of the body and lock their attention there without letting it move, the same dimming effect would take place, causing most 'ignored' sensations to fall away; the sensations in the area of the place that is being focused on will be amplified. With time, subtle (there's that word again) signals that are also passing through that part of the brain might get amplified along with it, and might superpose themselves over the top of what is actually being perceived.

Remember, the conscious mind works as a feedback loop. The bigger the loop, the longer it takes to move through the loop. And remember, it works on the principle of resonance. Bearing that in mind, what is the structure of a Chakra? It's a vortex. That is, a funnel. Or, in other words, a bunch of circles of various diameters. Now think about it—the smaller the loop, the faster it travels. The closer to the body, the smaller the circle. There seems to be a correlation between distance from the body and size of circle. Could it be that the 'circle' is really just the feedback loop mechanism of the conscious mind? That the 'vortex' is just a map of how the mind shifts as it shifts its focus of attention to various distances from the center of the body?

O

Resonance and Remote Sensing
So, it is very possible that what is termed the structures of this subtle body are really just the structures of the pattern of neurons firing within the brain of the individual who is being highly self-observant. But that doesn't explain so many other things. What about Astral Projection? Remote Viewing? What about Emoto's work with water crystals?

To answer that, I draw your mind back to radio. Here's how it works. Electrons moving in the broadcast antenna move in a cyclic pattern. That motion creates some kind of wave (the nature of which is unknown) which propagates through space at the speed of light. If the other antenna is resonant to the first, then the waves will cause the motion of electrons in the second to match that of the first, just like the child on the swing. By modulation of that signal, information is conveyed across space.

Here is something to consider:  If one were to modulate the receiving antenna, it would impact the broadcast antenna as well. While we don't typically employ the principle, the communication is in fact a 2-way communications mechanism.

In the mind, neurological signals travel not unlike the electrons in an antenna. Electrical signals are generated, making it all too likely that electromagnetic signals are being generated.

Understand that electromagnetic signals may not be the actual mechanism at work in these phenomena. Gravity, for example, seems to work at a distance at speeds that approach instantaneous. And there may well be other phenomena not yet observed which are even closer to instantaneous. And it is not too much to consider that the brain, by its actions, tends to generate such signals. But for the sake of this discussion, let us consider electromagnetic waves as an adequate metaphor for what may be actually happening. Do not make the mistake of thinking that I am insisting that they are actually what is happening.

Now, suppose for a moment that as individuals observe a thing, they employ their senses to model the object that they are observing in their mind. Suppose that the model in the mind is not entirely abstract, that there is a definite correlation between the pattern of motion of neurons firing in the brain and the structure of the thing being observed. If this is so, then as the person observes more and more about an object, the 'model' of that object would become more and more resonant with the actual object. And by the same mechanism mentioned earlier, everything other than what is being focused on falls away and the signals relating to the object of focus get amplified.

Now suppose what would happen if there were a resonance between the signals in the brain and the object being observed. The resonant sympathetic vibration can act as a two-way channel of communication. If there are things about the object being observed that were not perfectly modeled, that information would very likely be sent back along that channel. The model, then, would be slightly modified by the reality in which it is in resonant sympathetic motion!

The implications of this are that if one were to build a sufficiently accurate (i.e., resonant) representation of a thing or a place, then as that model falls into step with the thing being modeled, the model itself will begin to be molded by the actuality of the thing being modeled. This would allow one to sense things at a distance!

And this is exactly what appears to actually happen. In Buddhist teachings, people can focus attention on an object, wiping all other things from their mind. When they have wiped away all else, they will begin to see the object for what it truly is. When this happens, the observers know more than what their physical senses are telling them.

It is this writer's contention that not only is this phenomenon real, but that it is not magical. That it is not beyond the ability of man to understand, and in fact that we can understand it; we simply haven't applied ourselves to the task.

O

Science of Spirit
So here we are, with a model of how things might actually be working. This model is consistent with known principles, without having to invoke heretofore-unknown substances (spiritual matter). And without necessarily invoking anything outside of what is otherwise mainstream knowledge!

So what would be the next step towards increasing human knowledge about the truth of these 'psychic' or 'spiritual' phenomena? Is it getting more people to experience it so it gets acknowledged? While that may be a useful step, as it may motivate people to work on the problem, what we really need is a way to create objective and verifiable experiments. With that, we can really start to sway the minds of people at large. People will finally believe that the world really is round...

The work of Dr. Emoto was a step in the right direction. But he has been criticized (perhaps justifiably) for a lack of scientific discipline. And there is an inherent limitation to what he has done.

So here is what we need to do:  We need to find a way to test our theory. It's as simple as that.

Here's the challenge:  How do we test it?

Let me start the ball rolling:  We need a system capable of being modeled in the brain, and which is subject to alteration. A dynamic system where subtle physical changes can be manifested at a level where they can be observed by the eye of the one participating in the experiment.

Here's a thought. Picture a screen. On it are colors, patterns of light and dark. The origin of those patterns is the application of a formula on the inputs of some kind of sensor. If the formula used is well designed, then as the mind maps and models the pattern, it will in fact be forming a map of the sensor itself. Then, using subjects with proven ability to enter into that mental state of meditation wherein the 'suchness' of an object is detectable, repeatedly use this setup to test for the ability to deliberately influence the pattern on the screen.

Any other ideas?

O

Comments to Win Wenger | Post a response on John's blog


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