Is neuroscience doomed to go round in circles?
Mark Humphries
12710

Here is an oft-used analogy: you have a TV set. It produces all these amazing images and sounds, with ongoing narratives in soap operas and news bulletins and fake news bulletins. Now suppose you start taking the TV set apart, wondering at the source of all this amazing activity and information that comes pouring through the set. You find regularities, circuitry tuned to various frequencies, bandpass filters, more and more patterns. And you get convinced that if you could only get inside the ICs, inside the capacitors, inside the coils, you’d maybe begin to understand the “deep structure” of the different narratives that come pouring through the screen and speakers.

This is the exact state of modern neuroscience. And it is this exact state which has brought the total and absolute alienation of science from the vast bulk of the population, especially when it comes to the neurosciences. *We know* that we are spiritual beings. *We know* that the brain is a “reducing valve” that accommodates our spiritual perceptions within the sensory apparatus of a human being living on planet Earth, with all its physical limitations and boundaries. We see only a tiny spectrum of what is out there, but we see it for a reason, and that reason is attached to our human destiny on this planet. If you are spiritually attuned, you are * literally * tuned into your own “wavelength” in the cosmic frequency mash. You cannot keep conscious for more than a couple of days, because you can only survive by diving back into the subconscious realm where you have access to your full spiritual being. The dreams you bring back are fragments — translated into the language and imagery of the 3D brain — of the full spiritual reality you experience in sleep. You can watch the whole evolution of the entire cosmos in a few moments with your spiritual eye in deep sleep, and then have a dream of water going down a sink.

Rudolf Steiner describes all of this. This is the “science” that you are missing — he called it “Spiritual Science”, and was adamant that it would start breaking through into mechanistic science around about now. Which is why articles like this are such a revelation of the times.

Let me tell you one prediction Steiner made, and you can check it out for yourself. He says: the idea that the brain is a kind of central “exchange” (this was in the 1920s, before computers) that sends out an electrical message to the hand, telling it to move, is complete nonsense. He says: they talk of two kinds of nerve, one sending out instructions to the hand, the other receiving sense impressions from the hand. He says: this is total nonsense, there is only one kind of nerve. The nerve signals that you think are telling the hand to move, are *only there as sensory nerves* telling the brain where the hand is and what it’s feeling. He says: the signal to move the hand is a *will impulse* that comes from a completely different system of the spiritual being. In animals, it comes from the group soul; in humans, from your own individual ego or higher self. That will impulse engulfs the entire body at one moment, and results in the hand moving, as then *experienced* by the brain, which is the physical instrument — the TV set — that interprets the signals coming in from the spiritual self, the mind, if you like. Next time you engage your willpower to get out of a warm bed on a cold morning, you can experience the whole process, and watch your conscious brain be amazed as your feet finally hit the cold floor. Wash the dishes and observe a miracle every day.

Now, they have discovered that the “decision” part of the brain seems to trigger only after a movement has been made. A lot of people think this is proof that free will is nonsense — the best example I can think of is the cartoonist Scott Adams, in his Dilbert books he makes a great deal of the fact that human beings are basically dolts with no free will, and any justification they may have for their deeds is just post hoc rationalisation.

Yet this finding — that the brain only reacts after the movement — is precisely in line with Steiner’s description, and also his statement that mechanistic science would start bumping into contradictions that would force it to consider the existence of the spiritual. What the mechanists — of course, because this is all they are looking for — take as conclusive evidence that we have no free will, is actually complete proof of the existence of free will, literally, an autonomous will system that is able to engage the body and brain as an instrument to work in this 3D world in which we are stuck.

The correct view of humanity is simple: we are a *technology*, a machine that bridges the spiritual with the physical. We are not here by accident, and if you look hard enough inside yourself, you will find the reasons you are here (Steiner maintains that before your reincarnation, you are shown a clear tableau of your mission in the next life. You can argue, but do you have spiritual vision? If so, you won’t argue; if not, is arguing from ignorance really a tenable position?) You inherit and inhabit a body, but you are not that body, or that brain. It’s an instrument vouchsafed to you, for you to pay back karmic debts and build up the spiritual fabric of the universe, not least with the amazing music, dance, and poetry that humans under stress and war manage to produce. The neuroscientists do not even have the faintest idea what consciousness is, what an “idea” is, let alone an “ideal” that one lives by and that motivates one’s will throughout one’s life. Your “science” is not even stillborn. Go and read Steiner’s central work, he always said it was by far his most important single book, “The Philosophy of Freedom”, and find out what it looks like, when you realise that thinking is a *means of perception*: the perception of ideas, which exist in a non-material plane, the universal world of concepts. The philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein got it exactly right: “Don’t think, just look”. And the physical brain is just a means of engaging these concepts within the 3D world. Language is only adequate to the material world; language cannot grasp the spiritual realities, not of a view of the sunset, the scent of a flower, or the planning of a wedding. Language can only hint at things beyond; in this world, it just makes sure the guests are arranged properly at the table, so that the spiritual discourse you envisage can unfold.

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