Posted on: July 9, 2014
By Deepak Chopra, MD
In science, problems get solved faster when the pot begins to boil. Dormant questions need motivation, which is why I posed a million-dollar challenge to anyone in the materialist camp who could demonstrate how matter turns into mind. (Please see the two preceding posts, which set up this provocative issue.) In the wake of the challenge, a stir was indeed created. The general public isn’t aware that 99% of neuroscientists, biologists, and physicists interested in the mind-brain problem assume without question that the brain creates the mind. This is one of those assumptions that, once exploded, seems ridiculous in hindsight. It’s not exploded yet, but we’re getting closer. Consider what it means to say that your brain creates your mind. Somewhere in the fabric of time, floating molecules of hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen, and carbon, the basic elements in organic chemistry, organized a complex clump of molecules that learned to think, to take in the three-dimensional world, and finally to become aware of what they were doing. This seems like a totally untenable position to me, and to a growing body of scientists who are adopting a far different view, that mind came first, bringing with it the organizing power to evolve the structure of the human brain.
Posted on: June 11, 2014
Join Deepak Chopra, Rudy Tanzi, and others at the Aspen BrainLab at the Paepcke Auditorium, Aspen Institute, Aspen, Colorado. Topics to be covered:
Posted on: June 11, 2014
By Deepak Chopra, MD.
It may sound odd at first, but there are ways to improve the chances that God will answer your prayer. In the first two posts we saw that the whole subject of prayer is filled with assumptions and preconceptions. Once they are cleared away, a prayer turns out to be a special kind of intention. Therefore, the rules that apply to intentions, which are rules about consciousness, apply. Your prayer will be answered, or not, depending on events happening out of sight – but not out of mind. The mind furnishes the mechanics of making any intention come true.
This quick summary will raise eyebrows if someone denies that the inner and outer worlds are connected. (See the two previous posts for the reasoning behind the union of these two domains of reality.) The world’s wisdom traditions don’t run into this obstacle, which is peculiar to modern materialism. Yet in a way it’s good to start with a blank slate. What makes any intention come true? Three vital elements are at work, as mentioned in the first post of this series:
1. How deep into the mind is the intention coming from?
2. How steady is your focus?
3. How fluid is your intention?
Posted on: April 21, 2014
By Deepak Chopra, MD
In the pursuit of knowledge about the universe, recent discoveries have pushed earlier than the Big Bang, bringing physics to the point when the early universe was doubling in size every hundredth of a trillionth of a trillionth of a trillionth of a second. Such fine-scale measurement is awe-inspiring. The technicalities of how a Cold Little Swoosh preceded the Hot Big Bang was lucidly presented in a New York Times article by the noted cosmologist Max Tegmark. He explained for us laymen why physicists are so excited about the discovery of gravitational waves that originated so early in cosmological time, another victory for the predictive powers of quantum field theory.
One is left with the impression that science has now delved much deeper into reality, getting closer to the origins of the universe and therefore our own origins. However, there’s an analogy that seems relevant here. If you wanted to know the reality of music, would you study a radio as it broadcasts a Mozart symphony, taking it apart and delving into the atomic and subatomic structure of its transistors, or would you study music as a creation of the human mind?
The answer seems obvious, and yet by dismantling the cosmos down to trillionths of a second, physics is basically dismantling a mechanism, like a radio. This leaves aside the unassailable fact that like music, our entire knowledge of the universe arrives through subjective experience. We are immersed in reality, not detached from it. The exciting discoveries of cosmology keep advancing along an objective track when it’s well known in quantum physics that objectivity has definite limits. Whatever cosmology is discovering, it may very well not be reality itself.
Posted on: April 17, 2014
By Deepak Chopra, MD
Behind the mask of matter, something more mysterious is happening in the universe.
To get at the mystery, let’s follow the path a hydrogen atom might take over the thirteen billions years or so following its creation. First it drifts out into space in a completely disorganized, random fashion, bouncing around like an infinitesimal feather on the cosmic wind. Some atoms keep on doing this until they form clouds of interstellar dust. But this atom falls into a stronger gravitational field and becomes a building block for a star, which takes primitive atoms like hydrogen and helium and transforms them into heavier, more complex elements. Through a series of nuclear reactions our particular hydrogen atom becomes part of the element known as iron, the heaviest metal formed inside stars.
The life span of this star comes to an end in the dramatic death throe known as a supernova, an enormous explosion that scatters iron atoms throughout the nearby regions of the cosmos. Our original hydrogen atom no longer exists as such, but its component parts are being drawn toward another star, hundreds of times smaller: the sun.
By this point in the history of the universe, the sun has already thrown off enough matter during its birth pangs that rings of dust have settled into orbit around it. This dust is clumping into planets and our iron atom, pulled in by gravity, joins the planet Earth. At its core, the Earth is thought to be up to 70 percent molten iron, but our atom arrives late enough to settle onto the surface of the planet, which is around 10 percent iron.
Ten billion years have now passed. Many iron atoms have undergone random interactions with various chemicals, but ours is still intact. More time passes. It ﬁnds itself drawn into a spinach leaf, which gets eaten by a human being. Then our iron atom becomes part of a molecule thousands of times more complex than itself, a molecule that has the ability to pick up oxygen and throw it off at will: hemoglobin. Hemoglobin’s ability to perform this trick turns out to be crucial, because another molecule, this one millions of times more complex, has managed to create life. It is known as DNA, and around itself DNA is gathering the building blocks of life, known as organic chemicals, of which hemoglobin is one of the most necessary, since without it, animals cannot convert oxygen into cells.
In our story, one primal hydrogen atom has undergone incredible transformations to get to the point where it can contribute to life on Earth, and every step of the way involves evolution. Since all the iron on Earth was once part of a supernova (plus some iron deposited when meteorites collided with the early planet), the journey from the Big Bang can be observed and measured. Yet our iron atom has still another transformation to undergo. It has entered the bloodstream of a human being—you or me, perhaps—to become part of a sentient, thinking creature, one that is capable of looking back on its own evolution. In fact, this sentient creature created the notion of evolution in order to explain itself to itself. A primal atom has somehow become thoughtful.
Courtesy of War of the Worldviews by Deepak Chopra and Leonard Mlodinow.
Deepak Chopra, MD, Founder of The Chopra Foundation, Co-Founder of The Chopra Center for Wellbeing, coauthor of Super Brain with Rudolph Tanzi and for more information visit The Universe Within. Come to the Chopra Foundation Sages and Scientists Symposium 2014.
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