There’s still no technology in the world that lets you listen in on someone’s thoughts. But scientific advances are making it easier than ever to measure, interpret, and reconstruct brain activity. Add that to a growing market of wearables with mind-reading sensors, and there are more ways to map our brainwaves than ever before.
With more opportunities to track brain activity comes more opportunities to mine that data. That’s not necessarily a bad thing outright, but it raises some privacy concerns: who owns brain data? fMRIs are already starting to get used as lie detectors, and it’s not unreasonable to expect police and other actors to use cognitive data in the future to gauge whether someone is innocent or guilty. It’s time to talk about how much control we should have over what’s in our brains.
At the World Science Festival, neuroethicist Paul Roote Wolp stressed how important it is right now to set up ground rules to protect cognitive privacy. Wolp believes that people should have absolute control over the information in our skulls, even with warrants for the contents of our brainwaves.
“I’m for an absolute right to cognitive privacy,” he says. “What does the right to privacy mean if it doesn’t mean the absolute right to the content of my own thoughts?”
It’s the early days, but technology that uses brainwaves is well on its way to becoming mainstream. Samsung has been prepping a mind-controlled tablet interface that uses an EEG hood since 2013, and there’s already a slew of devices that use neural-monitoring technology, from Emotiv’s high-tech research EEG headsets to Necomimi Brainwave Cat Ears.
When people use these technologies, the data footprints they leave behind will contain deeply personal information. EEG can be used as a unique personal identifier, for instance. With neuro-gaming and mind-controlled devices taking off, it’s time to have a discussion about the ways companies and governments can use the brain-based data these technologies generate. Sure, cat ears you move with your mind are whimsical, but if Ncomimi sells your brainwave data, that’s not so cute.
Aside from commercial uses, Wolp and others are concerned that government agencies and law enforcement will attempt to make cases against people based on what their brainwaves reveal. Right now, fMRI lie-detection is still in sketchy legal territory, but if the technology advances, there could be scenarios like the one described in the video, where a potential terrorist is “interrogated” by reading and analysing their brain waves.
Brainwave-reading technology is enormously valuable, and can help us understand how our brains work and how diseases of the brain work. It’s inevitable that we will continue developing these technologies. But it’s important not to forget that fighting for a reasonable expectation of privacy is necessary as we develop tools that could help people data-mine minds.
In the early decades of the 21st century scientists, and various independent researchers, have been blazing trails into new frontiers. The mechanical models of the universe are being sloughed off and a fresh, revolutionary vision has emerged.
They are proving that we are physical, biological and electromagnetic (EM) beings, living in a tapestry of naturally generated, oscillating EM fields. Throughout the 19th and 20th centuries science mostly focused attention on the biochemical side of the human body and brain.
That paradigm, however, is changing quickly and radically.
There is an acknowledged, but as yet little understood, relationship between the solar wind, lightning, the ionosphere; and the Earth’s standing wave (Schumann Resonance) with human brainwaves and consciousness.
In fact, an amazing, interlocking synchronicity exists between these phenomena, which clearly reveals just how interwoven the threads of life, the earth’s EM pulse, and awareness truly are. A research team led by Australian university professor Irena Cosic published a paper the author herein quotes with permission.
“A continuous extremely low frequency (ELF) process is present in the geomagnetic field. Resonant oscillations in the ionosphere of the Earth and oscillations in the plasmasphere and the magnetosphere are caused by the solar wind… ” (1)
To break the model down into easily understood graphic images, picture this: A bolt of lightning strikes the earth, (about 2000 thousand do every day producing 50 strikes per second) the lightning discharges hit the ground. Then the waves bounce up to the ionosphere and are reflected back to the ground creating an oscillating EM field, between the surface and the ionosphere.
Over the course of geological time, the daily lightning strikes set up a standing wave — which Tesla suspected and actually measured first in 1899 — but today is called the Schumann Resonance after a mathematician who predicted the phenomenon existed, which researchers verified in the early 1950s.
This standing wave has an extremely low frequency (ELF), 7.8 Hz. Now here is where makes the bolt of lightning metaphor, for a stroke of genius, very real. The peak of the alpha brainwave is also 7.8 Hz. That means that the human brain is precisely tuned to the earth’s resonant EM field, generated by electricity.
It is very important to keep in mind the fact that this natural resonant, energy field has an extremely low frequency. By contrast most artificial sources of electromagnetism operate in much higher frequency ranges. For example Tesla set the AC electrical grid to function at 60 Hz. Radio, TV, microwave are much higher.
The ELF waves are very slow and very long compared to the higher wavelengths; from 1 to 100 Hz. These waves are subtle, which is illustrated by the fact that the range of frequencies that comprise human hearing extend from 20 to 20,000 Hz. We cannot hear the lower parts of the ELF band, though human brainwaves extend from 1 to about 30 Hz.
It is therefore interesting to discover that natural systems are based upon the ELF wavelengths. So far, we have examined the earth resonance — which our brains are in synch with — and found they are both attuned to an extremely low frequency rate.
Now we turn to another natural, earth current called thetelluric current. While the Schumann Resonance is a standing EM wave oscillating between the earth’s surface and the ionosphere, the telluric currents are geo-magnetically induced waves that flow across large areas at or near the surface.
These currents appear to be caused by interactions between the solar wind and the magnetosphere, as well as solar radiation effects on the ionosphere. The wavelengths of the TC currents are also in the ELF range.
Telluric currents have been used to measure the electric potential on the Earth’s surface at different points. This has allowed the calculation of the magnitudes and directions of theme, and at the same time helped to establish the Earth’s electrical conductivity.
If much of this is new information to you, it is a lot to assimilate, so let’s pause for a moment to reflect. Think about it. We humans are ELF receivers and transmitters, our brains are finely tuned to this naturally generated and sustained, global, electromagnetic field.
Next, alongside that we are generating an artificial EM field as well that is not in the ELF range. We will consider that more toward the end of this article. But first, let’s take this to an even deeper level in terms of the earth-brain resonance and human consciousness.
“The peaks of the resonant characteristic of the system…reside approximately on 100, 21, 14.1, 7.8, 5.7, 4, 1, 0.1 and 0.001 Hz . The most common geomagnetic frequency is 7.8 Hz and plants, animals and humans living in such environment are known to benefit from it.”(2)
That paper was focused on a number of interesting phenomena, but the human brain-wave pattern was not its chief focus. The author’s noted the geomagnetic frequencies of the Schumann resonance quoted above; at this point I shall insert the fact that the human brainwave range precisely matches them.
In fact, the band extends from the Delta (brainwave) 1-3, Theta 4-6, Alpha 7-13, and Beta 14-21 (cycles per second).
Neurological studies tell us that the brain is made up of billions of cells, neurons, which use electricity to communicate with each other. The combination of millions of neurons sending signals at once produces a spectrum of intense, electrical activity in the brain.
That electrical activity is detected using sensitive medical equipment, i.e., an electroencephalogram (EEG), which measures the activity over areas of the scalp. So in essence, an EEG takes readings of the voltage fluctuations, which are the product of ionic current flows within the neurons of the brain.
So what exactly does science mean by the term brainwave?
From the above we can see that EEG activity therefore reflects the summation of the synchronous activity of thousands, or even millions of neurons, that have similar spatial alignment. When the cells are thus moving in synch, their ions line up and create frequencies (brainwaves) which can be detected.
Picture waves on the ocean as they gather momentum, form and move in undulating, synchronized, rhythmic patterns. That is a rough analogy.
Several of these oscillations have characteristic patterns, all in the ELF band described above. They have been identified from the lowest to highest: Delta, Theta, Alpha, Beta and Gamma. Their differing spatial distributions are associated with different, and very specific states, of brain functioning.
Our brain activity is regulated by these well-defined brainwave patterns. In fact we have to cycle through them every day in order to maintain health and function in the world.
Delta is the slowest band of brainwaves as it is also the slowest, lowest band of the Earth’s (EM) resonant field outlined above. When you are in the delta frequency band, your body is resting, asleep, healing and resetting its internal clocks on the autonomic level.
Theta is the next level up the scale. We can identify this state as being semi-conscious, when we are falling asleep or in a light sleep. It also predominates during very deep relaxation, as in a trance or hypnotic state. The theta band is also conducive to a receptive mental attitude good for positive affirmations and subliminal, self-programming.
Alpha comes when we simply close our eyes and relax, much has been made out of “achieving” alpha, when in fact it is a completely, automatic brainwave state. Feel stressed…close your eyes, take a few deep breaths and alpha appears. As noted above, the alpha and Schumann Resonance peak(s) are in unison at 7.8 Hz. Take a walk in nature, relax, alpha.
Beta Hz occurs when we open our eyes, have a cup of coffee and feel wide awake. This is the primary mental state most of us are in during the day and, in fact, all of our waking lives. This brainwave is where we reference ‘consensus reality’. It is the norm so we take it for granted but don’t underestimate its importance.
Keep in mind that you can’t lose these brainwave states or the conscious (unconscious) states they produce; each is an intrinsic feature of the brain as much as software is to a computer’s operating system. In fact, it would appear that the Earth’s EM field acted as the waveguide for the evolution of the human brain-consciousness.
We did not create these brainwave patterns, which regulate awareness and sleep. You can however, learn to be aware of and manipulate them through yoga, tai chi, and learning deep relaxation techniques. It is interesting to note that we move up the brainwave scale from infancy to puberty.
There is a reason that infants and toddlers seem to be “spaced-out” and/or sleep a lot. It is largely due to the fact that their brains are mostly limited to the Delta and Theta ranges. Do not imagine that their brains are functioning just like yours, because they aren’t.
Even Alpha does not begin to predominate, in most kids, until about the age of eight. Yet in modern civilization we are forcing our children to read, write and intellectualize at earlier and earlier ages. Why…and is it really of benefit to them and to society in general?
In much earlier times children would not have been fully into Beta until puberty. As with our electrically-driven, high EM saturated industrial civilization we are imposing an artificial environment on our children´s development, and ourselves, at a very deep level.
A final point to bring into the intrinsic order of life and how we are embedded into it is phi, the Golden Ratio. When we examine the numerical series of the Schumann Resonance and corresponding human brainwaves, 1, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21…we find the Fibonacci series.
This mathematical series was created by an Italian mathematician in the 13th century. What is of interest is that the formula for arriving at phi is contained in the series.When we divide 5 into the next number 8 we arrive at 1.6.
Thereafter each subsequent division of the lower into the next higher number moves closer to phi, which is an irrational number 1.618 similar to pi, 3.14. The importance here is that phi has been found throughout nature in such diverse things as the spiral whorls of sunflowers, the DNA helix and the shape of galaxies.
“Biological life has always taken place in a sea of naturally occurring EM radiation of cosmic, atmospheric and geomagnetic origin, which can be categorized as terrestrial or extraterrestrial radiation…” (3)
This reveals that there is a deep connection, a universal unity to life, which human consciousness resonates with in a precise, measurable way. We could say that the earth-brain resonance, as reflected in phi, is God’s signature…