"You are that vast thing
that you see far, far off
with great telescopes."
― Alan Watts
When groups of people notice alternate
histories, such as a missing giant museum dinosaur, we may be seeing
evidence of quantum phenomena occurring on a macroscopic scale. Over the
past seventeen years that I’ve been researching alternate
histories, I’ve received thousands of emails containing
fascinating first-hand reports of such shifts in
reality—including the sorts of things now popularly referred to
as Mandela Effect, Glitch in the Matrix, and different timelines.
Regardless what people call this phenomenon, it’s clearly
becoming better known. The topic is now being covered more widely in the
news media in stories published this past year in Seventeen
New Zealand Herald, and The
Globe and Mail—mostly thanks to so many people noticing the
peculiarity of their beloved children’s books having
mysteriously changed from Berenstein Bears to Berenstain Bears.
Some of the earliest documentation of celebrities being alive again after
having previously been reported dead appeared in the July 2005
RealityShifters, some five years before the "Mandela Effect" meme first
caught the public’s fancy in 2010. This got me to wondering what
Nelson Mandela was doing back in 2005 when the first celebrity alive again
survey was conducted—since nobody at the time mentioned him as
being a prime example of the Alive Again (aka "Mandela Effect") phenomenon.
Some of us might have missed the BBC News coverage of Mandela’s
speech in February 2005 at Troflagar Square—or perhaps at that
time, some of us never would have seen that news coverage, because we
didn’t happen to be in that reality. What those of us who notice
alternate histories can do to help sort things out is keep track of an X,
Y, Z timeline where Z is the date we record an incident (such as Nelson
Mandela dying a second time) that we first became aware of at Y (such as
December 23, 2015) involving something that happened at X (such as back in
the 1980s) that now strikes us as being rather unusual after-the-fact.
An interesting aspect of observing alternate histories is that seldom does
everyone agree on past events. For example, The Bolton News
ran a story in 2006 describing how town members were split roughly
50:50 on the matter of whether their town museum featured a large dinosaur
prominently displayed in the Natural History section back in the 1960s.
Those who remembered the dinosaur were understandably concerned about where
it had gotten to, while those who didn’t remember there ever
being any such dinosaur couldn’t understand why people were
making such a fuss. And
a subsequent Bolton News story reported that the town eventually
purchased a dinosaur skeleton, mostly in response to "the sheer volume of
people asking what had happened to the dinosaur."
One of the things worth noting along with the increasing awareness of
alternate histories is mounting evidence that it seems unlikely there is
one absolute reality—and more likely that we each experience
something akin to a local reality. Quantum physics depends upon
consciousness, and participation by an observer—leaving us to
ponder the exact nature of consciousness, and how we can observe the
observer. Rather than assuming there is some objective truth "out there,"
we are increasingly recognizing there may be many possible truths, many
Did you know that I share new
experiences, tips, stories, and inspirational ideas at Facebook, Twitter
and YouTube? I look forward to seeing you there!
Love always, Cynthia Sue Larson
email Cynthia at email@example.com
(1) Spiritual Life Coaching
(2) Upcoming Events
(3) Intriguing Articles, Interviews, & Films
(4) Your Reality Shift Stories
(5) Questions and Answers
(6) Reviews that Shift Your Reality
(7) Join in the Discussion
(8) Noteworthy Web Sites & Ezines
Could you benefit from help facing a challenging issue in
your life? Would you like clarity regarding an important decision?
Could you use some help shifting your reality?
Are you curious to know your divine gifts?
Are you ready to feel energized? If you answered yes to any of these
questions, you can benefit from Spiritual Life
Coaching with Cynthia!
Contact Cynthia at firstname.lastname@example.org
to set up a life-enhancing
telephone consultation today.
""I can't thank you enough for your guidance. Before we met I was pretty
negative about myself. I found out in our visit, that the negative energy I
was carrying wasn't mine. It was as if I was infected by another person's
darkness. Thank you thank you thank you. I feel like myself again, which is
reflected in relationships with all people around me."
I would love to see or hear from you if you can make it to my upcoming
Foundations of Mind: Science as if Being Mattered 19-20 May 2016 Sproul Room, International House 2299 Piedmont Avenue, Berkeley, CA
Join the conversation at the third annual Foundations of
Mind conference, featuring talks by speakers including: Arnaud Delorme,
Ashok Narasimhan, Beverly Rubik, Cynthia Sue Larson, Edward Frenkel, Fred
Alan Wolf, Henry Stapp, Jacob Needleman, Leslie Combs, Menas Kafatos, Neil
Theise, Peter Russell, Seán Ó Nualláin, Shelli Joye,
Wolfgang Baer and more. http://www.FoundationsOfMind.org
15-22 Oct 2016 Royal Caribbean Oasis of the Seas Cruise into Spirit with me in the Eastern
Imagine how good it can get when you set sail on a cruse
with me, Cynthia Sue Larson, and dozens of
respected spiritual teachers on the "Cruise Into Spirit" Seminar-at-Sea!
We’ll weigh anchor from Ft. Lauderdale next October 15th,
visiting tropical ports including Nassau, St. Thomas, and St. Maarten
through the 22nd of October 2016 on the Royal Caribbean cruise
ship, Oasis of the Seas. Royal Caribbean is my favorite cruise line, and I
love enjoying time between ports of call out by the pool, and on past Royal
Caribbean cruises I’ve enjoyed
watching flying fish dance above the sparkling blue Caribbean
Now is the perfect time to book your reservation;
remember that we feel happiest when investing our time, money
and attention in experiences, much more than things; and feeling good about
the future boosts happiness substantially, too. When you put these together
with enjoying interesting ideas, places, activities, and people, you've got
"Cruise into Spirit," which sets sail in the Caribbean just over a year
from now. Please mention my name, "Cynthia Sue Larson" when registering
for seven days of pampering your mind, body, and spirit in gorgeous
Schedule an Event with Cynthia!
Would you like to invite your friends to attend a talk or
workshop in your home or for your group? Some local groups have been amazed
at the breadth and depth of information I present, and the way I engage
with audience participation. If you live in
Northern California and are interested in finding out how to organize
such an event, email Cynthia for further information at: email@example.com
Cynthia's schedule of events for this year is posted online at:
(3) Intriguing Articles,
Interviews, & Films
Earliest Examples of
the Mandela Effect
There’s a common assumption in our modern western
world that there is one shared reality, that can be factually verified
through time and by people all around the world. This assumption may seem
so obvious to be not worth mentioning–except that
it’s quite possible that it’s untrue.
One of the things I’ve been tracking over the past 17 years by
collecting first-hand field reports of reality shifts and alternate
histories, is that just as we would likely all agree that there are many
possible futures each of us might encounter, there are apparently also many
possible pasts. Recent news reports of newly popularized memes such as the
so-called “Mandela Effect” reported by Fiona Broome
in 2010 and the “Berenstein Bears” reported by a
blogger named Reece in 2012 are but two indicators that the public is
becoming aware that history doesn’t always remain the same.
Throughout all of recorded western history, any time that people heard of
someone having died, only to later find out they were actually still alive,
we tended to consider it something akin to simple mistaken identity, such
as American author Mark Twain once reported when writing in 1897 in a note
to Frank Marshall White, “the report of my death was an
exaggeration.” Most people interpreted discussions about someone
supposedly having died and later recognized as alive as some kind of
confusion, or mistake. Yet according to my research and surveys as reported
in my book, Quantum Jumps, 27% out of 567 survey respondents reported that
yes, they have “seen dead people and animals alive
again.” If so many people are now reporting they’ve
experienced this, what are the earliest documented cases of this
phenomenon? In a small sample size survey conducted in 2005, I reported
that nine celebrities at that time were noted for having been reported dead
by reputable sources, only to subsequently be reported very much alive
again. In a note we might find interesting now, but that didn’t
seem surprising at the time, nobody in the summer of 2005 mentioned Nelson
Mandela. Back in July 2005, the celebrity heading up the “Alive
Again” list was Bob Keeshan, an American actor who played a TV
character known as Captain Kangaroo. A whopping 26% of those surveyed at
that time recalled that Bob Keeshan had died before 2004, and then died
again in January 2004. The next most-often remembered “alive
again” (aka “Mandela Effect”) celebrities
back in 2005 included: Jane Goodall (15%), Larry Hagman (15%), Bob Hope
(10%), Jack Palance (10%), Bea Arthur (5%), Ed Asner (5%), Walter Cronkite
(5%), and Mariel Hemingway (5%). You can read the full blog post on this
topic posted at: http://wp.me/pbqQk-OZ
You can watch the YouTube video at: https://youtu.be/pYbUI5NQIkI
What if the world we see isn’t actually the true
reality? Donald Hoffman talks with Cynthia Sue Larson about his interface
theory of perception, in which what we typically assume to be
“out there” is not necessarily reality–but
rather something akin to the desktop user interface on a computer. And just
as we don’t need to execute machine language commands in order
to send an email or delete a file, biological evolution has been proven to
favor perceptual fitness over truthful completeness and accuracy of
perception. As Hoffman writes, “to experience is to construct,
in each modality and without exception,” and new findings in
quantum physics and quantum biology increasingly provide scientific
evidence to show this is true.
Donald Hoffman is a professor of cognitive science, computer science, and
philosophy at the University of California, Irvine. He is the author of
more than 90 scientific papers and three books, including Visual
Intelligence: How We Create What We See. He received his BA from UCLA in
Quantitative Psychology and his Ph.D. from MIT in Computational Psychology.
Donald received a Distinguished Scientific Award of the American
Psychological Association for early career research into visual perception,
and the Troland Research Award of the US National Academy of Sciences for
his research on the relationship of consciousness and the physical world.
Martial arts Master Barry Harmon talks with Cynthia Sue
Larson about pressure points, Ki, healing, and self
defense–including some of the most important aspects of Ki and
pressure point principles. Harmon describes how he first became interested
in pressure points and martial arts, and how personal self defense has much
more to do with protecting oneself from disease and bad lifestyle. Harmon
shares some surprising aspects of Korean history, including how monks were
able to successfully protect Korean peasants and villagers from Mongolian
invaders, and the artistic and scholarly side of ancient Hwarang warriors.
Master Barry Harmon is a teacher, an acupuncturist, a speaker, a master in
the martial art of Kuk Sool Won, and author of the books, “The
Power of Pressure Points,” and “5,000 Years of Korean
Martial Arts.” He earned his B.A in Psychosomatic and
Alternative Healing from San Francisco State University, and holds national
and state level certification as a licensed acupuncturist. Now a ninth
degree black belt in Kuk Sool Won, Barry Harmon became the first American
master in this martial art after training with Grandmaster In Hyuk Suh in
South Korea. http://kuksoolwoncl.com/
Would you like to share some of your experiences with reality shifts,
quantum jumps, and alternate histories in a documentary movie?
Francesco Paciocco is a filmmaker looking to hear stories of people
shifting into parallel universes/realities for a future project.
He’s talking to people to hear all angles of this subject,
including scientists, spiritualists, and everyone in between. Feel free to
visit his website at
http://www.francescopaciocco.com and contact him by email at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
My Son’s Car & Greenway Changes
Redmond, Washington, USA
I've had several examples of alternate histories through the
years, experiencing this phenomena seems to be speeding up for me. In other
words, more examples happening closer together than before. By the way, I
wasn’t counting the Berenstein Bears or Thanksgiving on my list
until now! That’s two more; I didn’t pay attention to
world politics, otherwise it might have been three for three! Thank you
again, there is comfort and reassurance here, two very good things. Two
days ago, our household was talking cars, and my son mentioned having had a
Honda at an earlier time. This stunned me, because he has lived with me the
entire time and I have absolutely no recollection of a
Honda—that the only car he has ever bought was the Chevy. (I
also recall driving him around a lot, because he didn’t have a
car for a long time.) Also, there is a greenway in town that
wasn’t paved in the middle, then it was paved in the middle;
presently it is not paved. Do you know why examples might be
‘speeding up’? Thanks for getting back to me on this;
it is appreciated. And thank you for putting the word forth regarding all
of this. We’re part of the mystery. Every time I've tried to
make sense of this phenomena, I've ended up at your site, so recently I've
figured out that I'd best become a subscriber and read your books! Perhaps,
collectively, some sort of evolution is taking place regarding noticing
this phenomena. For me, it was happening before I heard anything about it.
I had to really seek to find your site the first time, which was a couple
of years after the first instance of reality shifting occurred for me that
I noticed, it was when several instances occurred during a short period of
time two years later. (The first instance had to do with reading someone's
book who is heavily into metaphysics, only to hear her say a different name
than the name that was in the book when I read it. The name in question
was of her deceased daughter. I figured at the time, it could be anything
because of her metaphysical involvement and let it go.) Also, I have
received a fair amount of energy work from more than one source. Thank you
so much for what you're doing putting forth Reality Shifters, conveying
your lucid dream on the gift mp3 helps to make more sense of this phenomena
that's taking place.
Note from Cynthia: Your experiences of the city meridian
sometimes being paved and other times not, and your son remembering a
having had a Honda at an earlier time that is not part of your memories of
family cars are excellent examples of reality shifts. Thanks for letting me
know you had some trouble posting your comments on my Berenstain Bears blog
post; hopefully it is possible to post your comments there, and you just
experienced some kind of technical glitch. In response to your question
about why this phenomenon seems to be speeding up, it seems to me to be
related to an overall increasing awareness of such things as alternate
histories that helps individuals notice these shifts as more and more
people are recognizing such things as the so-called "Mandela Effect" (aka:
"Alive Again" phenomena) and the Berenstein/Berenstain Bears.
James Woods Alive Again
Charlottesville, Virginia, USA
The Mandela Effect has been presenting itself so frequently
this year I can’t even keep up with all the names. But movie
critic Gene Shalit, actors Max von Sydow and James Woods, plus wrestler
Rick Flair are all at the top of the Alive Again list this year. Another
recent addition is Tonight Show trumpeter Doc Severinsen, and now I am
absolutely dumbfounded to learn that Ed Asner is alive again. An
acquaintance that was poo-pahing my recollection of the Berenstein Bears
spelling controversy just a few months ago was recently converted when he
learned that singer Tom Jones is alive. My friend says he has a clear
memory of hearing about TJ’s death on TV news many years ago,
and remembers having conversations with others about it at that time. As
for James Woods: I happened to be at my girlfriend’s house one
day back in the fall when a James Woods movie was on TV. She said something
about him being one of her favorite actors which I found surprising because
even though I knew I’d seen his face in lots of stuff I
wouldn’t have even known his name. Either the very next day, or
perhaps two days later, I happened to hear on the car radio that James
Woods had died. I immediately called Linda to tell her the news and we
talked about what a coincidence this was. That night we had dinner at my
house and both of us saw mention of James Woods passing with the typical
brief bio on that evening’s national news. So fast forward a few
months back around Christmas, Linda was at her family’s house
when a movie with JW came on TV and she said something about him having
died recently. Her relatives disagreed and checked on the internet
— and according to all current sources he is indeed alive. Of
many experiences I’ve had with the Mandela Effect this was the
first time it was shared in real time with someone else.
Note from Cynthia: Thanks so much for sharingyour experiences
with some celebrities you've noticed alive again this year, including: Gene
Shalit, Max von Sydow, Doc Severinsen, Ed Asner and wrestler Rick
Flair--and most especially James Woods. I can empathize with how meaningful
it is for you that your friend Linda also recalls that James Woods had
previously passed away--yet now he's alive. Shared alive again experiences
are truly memorable, and they help us confirm that something rather unusual
has just occurred--and it's not a simple case of confusion.
Extraordinary Experience with Grid and
Fort Lauderdale, Florida, USA
Herewith my experience I had on Saturday evening 23rd April
2016, around 11.45 ish pm.
My wife and I had just come back that evening from Bahamas (8pm) and my
partner from our musical group picked us up at the airport. As we were
playing at an early 7am charity event, we decided that it would be best if
he slept at our place. We watched a movie and when it finished, we (my
partner and I) decided to go to our dock and have a night cap (11.30pm),
as we live on a lake and the view is very cool. It was full moon and we
were looking at the stars, which was actually very visible that night. We
chatted about upcoming events, saw quite a few planes leaving Ft Lauderdale
airport and flying over us at that late hour. Didn't seem normal. For some
reason we both thought that the planes were looking a bit weird, almost
like drone shape, but we left that at that.
As we were sitting there, I looked over the lake and noticed that in the
far distance past the trees and houses across the lake, there was like a
bunch of small stars, almost like street lights from afar, but all bunched
together. As I am looking at it, I decided to stand up to see if I could
see it better, and as I stood up, in front of me at the edge of our dock,
there was this like squared fence with lighted dots scattered in no
particular order on it and also another fence across the lake on the other
side. It was almost 3D like. It covered the whole lake I could see. So the
first thing that went through my mind is that my contacts are all screwed
up, as this sometimes happens on stage and the lights can play tricks on
your vision, especially when I sweat from performance. As I sat down again,
I remembered that I didn't have any contacts in my eyes, as I hadn't worn
them for a whole week while on vacation.
Sitting there thinking what is going on with me/my eyes, I saw in the
moonlight these bugs, almost like dragonflies, and wondered why there were
so many flying around this time of the night on our dock. There are
dragonflies on the lake but never at night do we see them. I then asked my
partner if he can see what I am seeing and told him about the fence too. He
said no. I then stood up again and immediately the fence was there. I
walked to the edge of the dock, told my partner what I am seeing, and then
I tried to slowly push my hand through this fence, almost like in the
movies scenes to the other side. As I was about to make contact with it, it
moved away so that I couldn't/didn't touch it. It then dissolved/broke up,
and all the "particles" formed like a swarm of little birds and started
flying over me. I sat down and again asked my partner, but he saw nothing.
There was like a blanket of these amazing flying birds constantly flying
over us in one direction, never ending, front to back, and I sat in
wonderment looking at this scenario. I kept explaining to my partner what I
was seeing. I tried to put my hand into the flying blanket of small birds,
but again they moved away. Throughout my experience I couldn't touch them.
I tried several times that night.
I felt there was a connection between the "fence" and the "dragonflies" as
they were really one and the same and every time I tried to touch them,
they would move away and breakup and all join together in a group that
almost looked like a swarm of bees. Then they would start flying towards
me, rather fast I might ad, and over my head into the dark behind me. So
yes, they were definitely connected. Same species.
I'd just like to explain their reaction when I tried touching them. They
never moved away quickly, but more like fish moving away from your hands
when you try and touch them in the water. Nothing frenetic but rather like
slow motion. Think of two magnets when the 2 positives face each other, and
try as you might, they just won't touch each other because of the opposing
force between the two points. That's what it felt like for me. Just
couldn't touch them, try as I might.
There was an endless amount of flying small birds/dragonflies. It was
almost like it could carry on for as long as I wanted them to. They
definitely worked together.
As for the dragonfly part of it, that only happened right at the beginning
of my experience. From there on they became the small flying birds most
of the time that night.
The experience lasted anywhere from around 35-45 min. The only reason it
ended was the fact that WE went to bed because of our early 6am wakeup
call. At that time I felt it could go on all night if I wanted it to carry
on. I felt THAT connected. I also felt I can see this again when I wanted
to and even told my partner that too. Unfortunately that hasn't happened
again, and believe me, I've tried to get back there. Hopefully it will
happen again somewhere along the line.
I tried to see if there was a way I could get my partner to see them too
and told him to concentrate on the moon and he'll see there is like an aura
around it, and every time I looked at it, these small birds would come
flying down to me and over my head and it felt like it came from the moon.
He never did get to see what I was seeing that night, but he knows my story
I told him we better get to bed after about 45 min or so (early gig), and
as I stood up, it started raining, but not earth rain, the other
"dimension" rain. I looked at the dock, and remember just thinking this is
amazing. I see the rain, but no wetness on the dock. Sometimes it rained
harder, sometimes almost drizzling, but clear as daylight. I tried touching
the flying birds again with both hands up in the air, and then they stopped
and regrouped and turned into this school of small fish and started coming
by me/us as if in the ocean, changing direction and formation all the time.
I described it all to my partner. Every time I got close to the edge of the
dock, the fence would appear again. It almost felt like "they" were playing
with me and it developed to the point where I was almost guiding them with
my hand movements. Very difficult to explain, but I can show you in real
life what I'm talking about. I also felt very amazed and happy that I was
experiencing this without any fear whatsoever.
When we decided to go to bed the first time, that's when the "rain" came.
It was almost like "they" were trying to keep me there by doing this, as it
was a most amazing sight for me. It worked. We stayed longer and a little
bit later on we eventually got up to go bed.
As we were walking up the stairs of the dock, it really started "raining"
hard. I still told my partner that it is really raining hard now in this
place where I am. Walking away from the dock towards the house, I stopped,
looked back and there were the birds still flying over the moonlit dock. I
walked back to the top step of the dock and then they came again and flew
over me. I felt they wanted me to stay.
I turned around, we walked back into the house and it was over. I do wonder
if they would have still been there had I gone back then. I certainly felt
that they would be there by the dock waiting for me.
That in a nutshell was what happened. The thing I also know about it all
was that I was totally conscious of my earthly surroundings throughout it
all, explaining as it happened. It was almost like another world has joined
up with us/me and I was in it too, living both sides. Just for the record,
I have NEVER had any experience like this before in my life, so this is a
huge WOW factor for me.
Now the thing that got me was that the next day I went on the internet and
started checking my experience out and if there might be some explanation
or similar experiences out there. What do I come across—a
picture, almost identical to the fence/squares I'm trying to describe that
I saw. I'm attaching the link for you:
The only difference was there was no big bright light in the middle of it,
and the dots were not blue, but white, but the same scattered all over. The
fence itself was not bending inwards like on the picture, but solid down in
front of me, but exactly the same as in the picture. I don't ever recall
seeing this picture before. I have also seen other similar ones since
searching on the internet.
Apologies for so long a story, but I wanted to tell it as accurate as
There is one thing I left out and that is that my right ear had blocked
while on holiday swimming in the ocean and was still totally blocked when
this happened. I don't know if this might have anything to do with what I
saw, but when I saw the picture on the net, that got to me. I have also
read a similar story about the "bugs" flying around experience. I felt the
experience, saw it clearly, was blown away, and for the first time in my
life I'm thinking "outside the box".
Note from Cynthia: Wow, what a remarkable experience! I love how
connected to this other realm you felt at the time. Thanks so much for
sharing your beautifully detailed description of what transpired the other
night that was such an unusual, remarkable experience for you! I am
especially intrigued by the way you saw a kind of vanishing-point-grid
pattern as well as the groups of small flying things.
I've not (yet!) had an experience like yours, though I have certainly had
numerous unusual anomalous experiences.
I have synesthesia, which means that I associate (in my case) colors with
letters in the alphabet. I am not going to go into detail because I am not
some neuroscientist who could explain, so please look it up if you wish to
know more. Anyway, I specifically remember reading the Berenstein Bears
when I was younger. The spelling was Berenstein, because the color of the
word was Brown-Green-Purple-Green-Orange-Yellow-Light
Green-GREEN-Pink-Orange. If it was Berenstain, it would have red in place
of the green and the word would be brown red overall (because a is a strong
color). The word, though, has always been brown green in my memories.
Thank you for sharing your synesthetic memory of remembering the
“Berenstein” Bears for the brown-green color, which
is very different from how you would remember
“Berenstain” as overall brown-red. I’ve
shared some research about synesthesia (“sensing
together”) in my book, “Aura Advantage," with
interesting insights about the way most children experience synesthesia,
and how many famous musicians and composers (such as Franz Liszt) also have
experienced synesthesia. So I’m especially pleased to hear from
you, and very grateful for you to share your experience with the colors of
"Berenstein” and "Berenstain."
Bad memories and bad deeds hound us throughout life even when good memories
and good deeds greatly outnumber those bad ones.Can you suggest, how to
shift to wipe the slate clean.
Prayer and meditation work best for me for teaching myself how to let go of
negative emotions and memories. Some people also find lucid dreaming and
hypnosis (and self-hypnosis) helpful.
I remember Mandela dying prior to his most recent death, but it
wasn’t in jail or in the 1980s. I remember hearing about his
death from cancer in Fall of 2001 in my senior English class. I was
astonished to hear that he was alive when reports of his poor health
circulated right before his “real” death. My husband
also recalls hearing about Mandela dying from cancer (not in prison) likely
around the same time I do. I wonder if some people who think Mandela died
in prison are actually getting Mandela mixed up with Steven Biko. Most
Americans aren’t well informed on South African civil rights
leaders. Also, the film Cry Freedom might have played a role in the
problem. I know their names are very different, but some people are
ignorant and still others are just racists who may think all black men look
alike. Just an idea for you.
Thanks for sharing what you recall regarding Nelson Mandela dying from
cancer in Fall 2001. There can be more than one or two alternate histories,
and your memory of Mandela dying of cancer in 2001, while I recall him
dying in jail many years before that and again recently are part of this
tapestry of ever-changing pasts. I personally wouldn’t confuse
Biko with Mandela, since Peter Gabriel wrote the song
“Biko” that was part of his 1980 album, and a song I
heard fairly often when it first came out and through the 1980s. I do agree
with you regarding the importance of making sure, when considering the
possibility of alternate histories, that people aren’t simply
confusing people or facts.
How do you react to people who don't believe in parallel universes? Do you
ignore them or try to tell them?
I'm interested in talking with just about everyone, with respect for their
experiences and point of view.
Some people are closed-minded, even if they call themselves "skeptics,"
what they often mean by that term is non-believers in anything they can't
see. Pointing out that everything worth living for is invisible--such as
love and compassion--doesn't often do much good. Nor does pointing out that
while they might actually believe that they are conscious, there is no way
to measure or scientifically predict consciousness.
If someone tells me they don't believe in parallel universes--but they seem
interested in some of the new research they might have heard me mention
having to do with quantum biology, quantum cognition, or quantum
cosmology--then I expand the discussion to include some of the points being
raised on my radio show, "Living the Quantum Dream," and my book, "Quantum
Jumps." Living the Quantum Dream http://dreamvisions7radio.com/living-the-quantum-dream/ Quantum Jumps http://www.QuantumJumps.com
With love and thanks,
All materials reviewed by Cynthia Sue Larson have been
received as complementary review copies. While many materials are received
for review, only the best get the benefit of receiving mention in
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Consciousness and the Social Brain
by Michael S.A. Graziano
Michael Graziano is a professor of neuroscience at Princeton University who
outlines his fascinating Integrated Information Theory as "awareness is an
attention schema." This summary of the central concept at the heart of
Consciousness and the Social Brain gives us a basis by which to explore the
numerous intuitions, cultural myths and research studies providing us with
insights and clues. What makes this topic both interesting and challenging
is the way that while we can fill volumes with detailed information about
representations in the brain--the information content of awareness has not
been so extensively studied. Graziano explains this research gap as being
due to most researchers assuming that awareness is not composed of
information, but rather is assumed to be something more. And on this point
of awareness being something more than mere information, many of us who
meditate and attain levels of consciousness in which we notice that we are
not our thoughts--that we are not our emotions--but rather we are the
awareness of one who is having thoughts and emotions.
When Graziano suggests that "awareness is indeed a chunk of information
constructed in the brain," what he's getting at is that not only is there
information content to consciousness, but our brains also construct a set
of information that allows us to conclude that we are aware of the content.
This raises the question of, "What is the information that defines
awareness itself?" which Graziano explores with us. And as he takes us on a
journey describing how we can model our own mental states and the mental
states of others in mechanistic fashion that as he puts it "contains no
magic" and can be built into an electronic circuit, he notes that we
nonetheless end up finding that the theoretical description of a conscious
mind starts sounding more and more like our intuitive sense of
introspection--that "consciousness is both an observer of the world in us
and around us, and also a controller." And just how, exactly, this all
works, can start to be envisioned as an informational model whose depiction
directly alters the very thing it depicts.
As a self-admitted atheist, Graziano describes consciousness as an
epiphenomenon, and ends up stating, "I seem to be saying that a puppet can
be conscious. A tree can be conscious. A hunk of rock can be conscious.
They can all be conscious in more or less the same sense that a human is
conscious. The reason is that, according to the attention schema theory,
human consciousness is not quite what we think it is. It is not something a
person has, floating inside. It is an attribution. It is a relationship
between an attributer and an attributee." What Graziano is saying is that
awareness helps track and predict attention, which helps us better predict
the behaviors of all around us. So at this juncture, Graziano pulls back
from where he'd seemed for a moment to be heading toward pantheism to say
that consciousness should only be attributed to actual biological beings
with complex brains--not to plants, animals, or the elements.
I love how Graziano's ideas can provide a means by which social cohesion
might be better attained (provided we are properly respectful of other
peoples' philosophies and beliefs). While Graziano expresses bewilderment
at people who view the world from a spiritual perspective, he nonetheless
recognizes there likely are evolutionary and beneficial reasons for this
common built-in preference for spirituality. And some of us will not share
his view of consciousness as an epiphenomenon, yet we will see value in the
information theory aspects of his world view.
I recommend this book for anyone intrigued by the ideas of consciousness,
awareness, and attention, and for those seeking to better understand where
neuroscience may be heading next.
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