The totality of our existence can be understood in terms of the following four domains i.e. material, interpersonal, personal and transpersonal.
Sigmund Freud wrote about a hundred years ago that there cannot be psychology without biology, meaning the mind is an epiphenomenon of the brain, connecting the material with the rest three. And a corollary to that would be that the mind can be fully understood through scientific investigations. Out of this notion grew an understanding that every thought had a molecule in our brain, and medicine one day will be able to solve all our psychological problems.
The recent research, described as Panpsychism, is turning this notion upside down. Hedda Hasell Morch argues that “Rather than fret over how the hardware of brains gives rise to the software of consciousness, we could find peace by reversing the order.” that the hardware of the brain is written by the software (consciousness) of the mind.
However, the hard problem of consciousness so far has been how to explain our subjective experiences, and some scientists have come to the conclusion that a part of the mind can’t be studied scientifically as it doesn’t follow the scientific laws. Panpsychism has made the easy problem of consciousness hard and the hard problem of consciousness easy. It has opened a way to study the hard problem differently but made the problems of studying physical matter difficult.
This is consistent with the ancient Hindu and Buddhist ideas that – the whole of the body is inside the mind, but the whole of the mind is not inside the body. Patanjali yoga sutra states, “the mind is not a projection of the body, but the body is a projection of the mind. The mind doesn’t follow the body, but the body follows the mind.”
Panpsychism postulates that consciousness is embedded in matter itself, as a fundamental property of the universe, and is present in each and every material object. Our understanding of the material world has changed in recent decades as a result of the advances in quantum physics.
Tam Hunt asks whether electrons may be conscious, and Johannas Kliener, a mathematician and physicist, appearing on the cover of May 2020 New Scientist has asked – is the universe conscious? Quantum mechanics tells us that particles have determinate positions only when measured. Philosophers such as Alfred North Whitehead have also drawn on the indeterminacy observed by quantum physics to defend Panpsychism.
One can find similar knowledge in ancient Indian scriptures, declaring that consciousness pervades everything. God is omnipresent and all being are connected with each other through the medium of energy fields, and that energy fields of the animate and inanimate objects are in constant interactions with each other. If we have lived at a certain place for long, we leave behind our vibrations which can be felt by someone else when they visit the place, hence the ideas of pilgrimage. Suggesting that bits our consciousness are retained in the physical matter. That’s why CEOs don’t like when someone else habitually sits on their chair to work.
Some people are not comfortable with the thought their photographs are in possession of someone else, as if it was a bad omen, and harm will come to them. There may be some truth in that if the other person is not your well-wisher. If they are cursing you with your photo in front of them or your mental image in their mind because it’s going to be more powerful.
However, the opposite of it can also be true, your photo in possession of a well-wisher can do you some good. When they are wishing you well and praying for you and your photo is in front of them or your mental image is in their mind their prayers will be much stronger. In meditation traditions, they encourage you to wish people well by keeping their image, which could be visual or auditory, in your mind as it can make your wishes stronger.
Perhaps that is the reason why in British society people keep the photograph of their family members on their office desk, a way of remembering their loved ones and looking at their photos can make the love grow stronger. It is a different matter that divorce rate and child neglect is higher amongst nations where such things are practised. Or perhaps keeping the photo in front of them is a reaction to reinforce their feelings for the loved ones.
Jung has mentioned in one of his YouTube videos an example of a king who was terminally ill, and just at the point of his death, the clock in his room stopped ticking. Sometimes an object related to the person breaks down when there is a beak in one’s feelings towards that person, or there is a break in that person’s feelings towards you.
I saw my father saying goodbye to the house he had lived in for fifty years by kissing a pillar in the porch area when it was sold. I also bid farewell to my car when I left for England in 1996 as if I was saying goodbye to a friend. Perhaps there is a consciousness in there making us do those things.
Killian fox has described strange happenings in the British Museum – such as heavy doors opening spontaneously soon after being locked, sudden drop in temperature, the sudden sound of footsteps, music or crying when no obvious source can be found. One night a security guard was passing through the African gallery in the basement and paused before the figure of a two-headed dog, the guard believed that this 19th-century wooden Congolese fetish bristling with rough iron nails possessed some mysterious power he felt an irresistible urge to point a finger at this object, as he did so the fire alarms in the gallery went off, a few days later the guard returned to the gallery a few days later, and pointed a the two-headed dog, again the alarm sounded. add from the same article- people have an irresistible urge to touch museum artefact knowing it’s illegal. The camera has captured object in the British Museum that did not exist in the Museum – attributed to the presence of Orb, noted even in the CCTV. Exhibition – Germany memories of a Nation – ran from October 2014 to January 2015, white coloured orbs moving around in the museum – a white wartime gate from the concentration camp at Buchenwald which bore the motto “Jedem das the Seine” meaning – to each what he deserves. The Orbes appeared each night until the exhibition ended. The guard said when Germany went they went. objects hold energy – it’s something everyone is comfortable with.
Along the same lines, one can see that cleanliness of one’s environment is an extension of their mind, the conflict-free consciousness instinctively engages with the surroundings and start cleaning, as if the object or space was inviting you to clean it, this happens at the pre-cognitive level, Just as a mother hands start caring for the newborn instinctively, no thinking is involved
I used to make fun of a family member who used to look after gadgets the way one looks after one’s children. My argument was that every device or electronic gadget has a lifespan and there’s no point making a constant effort to extend their lifespan the way you do with human beings. But I can now see the wisdom in treating the objects that we use every day with love, as without them life will become very difficult.
Jung used to say that physical objects in your environment have a way of hiding themselves from us at certain points in time. The thing is lying in front of you, but you can’t see it at a certain point in time but after a few hours, it’s sitting there right in front of you looking at you mockingly, inviting you and showing their intention to participate in your life. Obviously, we can’t attribute all such happenings to Panpsychism, as problems with our attention can also contribute to it. Jung’s assertion that things hide from us may not apply in many situations, it may be that our consciousness was taken up entirely by our own conflicts, emotions and perceptions of some other object. It is often seen that after deep meditation or a healing therapy session one suddenly becomes aware of objects, which were already there in the surroundings, in a unique way. This happens as a result of a part of our consciousness, after becoming free of the conflicts, starting to notice very subtle details in the surroundings – The veins in the leaves of a plant, flowers looking more vivid, the grain of the wood in the furniture starts shining through the filters of our perception, individual threads in the fabric of the clothes one is wearing, the minute imperfections of the paint on the wall become noticeable, etc.
Sometimes I wonder how much energy is hidden inside the transparent air that surrounds us – the radio waves, television broadcast, Wi-Fi connection, High voltage electricity that is known to cause health problems if the house is near electrical installations, prayers that people send out to their gods, divine grace the descent from above onto us, light waves that enable us to see things, an emotion that travels from one person’s mind to that of another just by looking at them, the energy that gets transferred to a newborn when the mother starts singing a lullaby to him etc. The physical environment is imbued with so much energy, and it is difficult to think that the contents inside the body and the ones outside the body are impervious to each other
Quantum physics tells us that the very process of observation of the phenomena, object or activity changes its characteristic. It’s very much like watching a child, the child knows that he is being watched, changes his behaviour. With the child you can still observe his natural behaviour if you make sure that he is not aware of it. But with the physical environment the psychic energy of our attention that touches the energy of a material object immediately starts interacting with the vibrations of the object and changes its characteristic.
Applied to human interactions we find that simply by the way we approach a person changes their behaviour towards us, not just by our outward behaviour, but our mental attitude towards the person even though the actual behaviour is not manifest yet, affects the other person attitude.
A few years ago there were some reports that keeping your mobile phone in the pocket close to your chest can affect your heart, and keeping it next to your face while sleeping can affect your brain is, as the mobile phone is constantly emitting energy. I am not sure what became of that research. One can also imagine the opposite of it as well.
There are also reports that with some people their electronic gadgets don’t last very long, whether it is because of the impact of that person’s energy field affecting the functioning of the energy patterns within the device or just a physical abuse of the material device has not been studied scientifically.
- Morch, H.H., Is Matter Conscious? Why the central problem in neuroscience is mirrored in physics., in Nautilus. 2020: New York.
- Hunt, T., Electrons may well be conscious. Nautilus, 2020. June 9.
- Goff, P., Panpsychism is crazy, but it’s also most probably true, in Aeon. 2017, Aeon Media Group: Australia
- Fox, K., Are Ghosts haunting the British Museum, in 1843 Magazine. 2020, The Economist Group: United Kingdom.
© Kishore Chandiramani, Consultant Psychiatrist
Emotions Clinic, Education and Training Centre Cic, Staffordshire, England