The Direct-Intuitive-Nonlocal Mind: Another Foundation for Knowledge?
by Ede Frecska on November 28, 2010
Nonlocal information about the physical universe offers the missing link between objective science and subjective experience, including consciousness and spiritual experiences. Based on the principle of nonlocality and with the “quantum array antenna” of subcellular, cytoskeletal networks, the brain can be resonating with the whole universe. The brain may contain the whole Cosmos like a quantum hologram, and the perennial wisdom of “As above, so below (or: As within, so without)”, “The kingdom of Heaven is within you”, or “Look within, you are the Buddha” creates the appropriate perspective. The cytoskeletal matrix can be the mediator of the Jungian ‘collective unconscious’, and cytoskeletal quantum holography can explain a very common but obscure phenomenon known as ‘intuition’.
Ritual ceremonials and other spiritual practices based on the integrative forms of altered states of consciousness (ASCs)—an integrative ASC leads to healing in contrast to a disintegrative one such as psychosis or drunkenness—elude neuroscientific explanations based on classical cognition. Classical cognition can be conceptualized as a ‘perceptual-cognitive’ way of information processing characteristic of ordinary states of consciousness. This information processing utilizes the local aspect of the universe and is contrasted with another way of obtaining knowledge, which is based on nonlocal connections denoted here as ‘direct-intuitive’.
The ‘perceptual-cognitive’ mode is neuroaxonally based, relies on sensory perception, cognitive processing, and on symbolic (visual, verbal, logical-language) mediation. This form of information processing is an indirect mode of achieving knowledge compared to the ‘direct-intuitive’ way. In accordance with the indirect nature of its processing, this mode splits the world into subject and object, and then performs its modeling. The linguistic feature makes this mode transferable from individual to individual but at the same time limits it to be culturally bound. The ‘perceptual-cognitive’ mode of information processing has been evolved for the purpose of task solving, represents a “coping machine” at work, and reaches its peak in Western scientific thinking.
The introduction of a nonlocal, ‘direct-intuitive’ channel is necessary for an ontological interpretation of integrative ASCs, such as the shamanic or mystic states of consciousness. We may assume that this mode of accessing knowledge is based on subcellular, cytoskeletal functions, provides direct experience (no subject-object split), and is not bound by language or other symbols. It is practically ineffable, non-transferable. Since the ‘direct-intuitive’ channel lacks linguistic-symbolic mediation, it has universal characteristics, shows more transcultural similarity, although culture-specific interpretations exist. This may be why mystics get better agreement comparing their “data” than do materialistic scientists. I am not arguing here for the ontological validation of every experience in ASCs, but for a few, very informative experiences that constitute the integrative ASCs.
The ‘direct-intuitive’ perception of the world carries a high degree of uncertainty, needs rigorous training for its highest development – as in other fields. It takes decades to train an indigenous shaman or Buddhist monk because the ‘direct-intuitive’ route into the realm of “non-ordinary” consciousness is seemingly capricious, its denizens are unpredictable, and our ‘perceptual-cognitive’ mind is unprepared to face its challenges. What can be nourished can be atrophied as well; the latter happened in Western civilization and the ‘direct-intuitive’ channel has become “The Forgotten Knowledge”. It might have been the source of ancient myths. Giving credit to mythical knowledge also means that the teachings of ancient myths and wisdom traditions should be considered as a starting point for the development of modern scientific theories, and deserve to be treated as “working hypotheses” in applying the scientific method.
The ‘perceptual-cognitive’ foundation of knowledge is a result of the brain’s interactions with the local aspects of the universe. The ‘direct-intuitive’ perception of the world derives from the nonlocal features of the Cosmos. In other words: the local universe of the classical, Newtonian worldview is the reality of our ordinary consciousness, based on the ‘perceptual-cognitive’ process. On the other hand, the brain’s interfacing with the nonlocal universe generates the reality of “non-ordinary” states. Moreover, as will be outlined below, the ‘direct-intuitive’ way is also the source of the subjective component of our consciousness. My main point is that intuition, consciousness, and non-locality are interwoven.
The basic principles of the second foundation of knowledge (the direct-intuitive-nonlocal) can shed light on peculiar features of consciousness on what various cultural views and wisdom traditions attribute to it. For example, the indigenous Arawate people of the Amazon state that in the jaguars’ perspective they are the people and we are the jaguars. In essence, jaguars are conscious beings. Aside from questions of ignorance, how can rational thinking make sense of such a statement? How come that there are traditions which connect consciousness with beings and inanimate objects other than the human brain? The following passage may help to interpret these concepts and the principles of panpsychic and hylozoic views
As a starting point I refer to Ervin Laszlo (2007), who had the notion what I wish to build upon: “What we call ‘matter’ is the aspect we apprehend when we look at a person, a plant, or a molecule from the outside; ‘mind’ is the aspect we obtain when we look at the same thing from the inside.” For me it means that if we use the ‘perceptual-cognitive’—the “outsider” approach—then everything is seen as an object without consciousness. How do we relate to our brain from inside, how do we perceive our own consciousness? Naturally, we cannot see, touch, smell our own or others’ mind. We are left only with the other approach, the nonlocal, ‘direct-intuitive’ mode of knowing, that is the method of looking at things from the inside. The intuitive apprehension is the way for us to recognize that we are conscious. All of us have a direct, intuitive knowledge of our own consciousness, and not a perceptual one.
At the base of the yet dominant Newtonian-Cartesian worldview stands Descartes’ Cogito(I think, therefore I am). It presupposes another question: ‘How do I know about myself?’ Turning Descartes’ coin to the other side: “I am aware of myself, therefore (or because) I am intuitive.” That means I have a way of getting knowledge without the senses, without using local processes of nature. This leaves me with the other, the nonlocal mode of apprehension.
My conclusion may sound trivial, yet carries non-trivial consequences. ‘Direct-intuitive’ is a way we relate to things from their inside. In the eye of the “insider”—as Ervin Laszlo pointed out eloquently—we always sense the presence of consciousness. Consequently, intuition, nonlocality, and consciousness seem to be intimately related. We can have intuitive knowledge without awareness of its source. However, if we are aware of its origin then we can attribute consciousness to the source in nascendi. In this regard Stuart Hameroff is right: subneural structures (which serve as the interface for the ‘direct-intuitive’ mode of information processing) mediate consciousness. I would add: these structures mediate not only our consciousness, but the consciousness of every entity to which we relate intuitively.
What follows next is a generalization: The same way I attribute consciousness to myself, I can attribute it to everything else via the ‘direct-intuitive’ approach, since consciousness arises during the intuitive process. Our perceptual reality consists of material objects, while the world of intuition is filled with conscious entities. Animals, plants, even rocks or the whole universe are conscious. They can be felt to be that in an integrative ASC, which has the ‘direct-intuitive-nonlocal’ approach as its modus operandi. The eternal philosophical debate over the priority of consciousness or matter seems to me to be transcended by the recognition of the reality of nonlocal and local processes. Consciousness and matter are attributes that depend only on the way we obtain our knowledge.