CHOPRA FOUNDATION NEWS

  • Is a Mind-Element Needed to Interpret Quantum Mechanics? Do Physically Undetermined Choices Enter into the Evolution of the Physical Universe?

    Posted on: July 15, 2014 | Comments: 0

    By Deepak Chopra, MD and Henry Stapp, PhD  

    Pick at random any TV show about the universe, and the visuals will be dominated by a black void sprinkled with billions of galaxies. Such images give the impression of a vast emptiness foreign to human existence. Our bodies would perish within minutes of stepping into outer space; our minds struggle to grasp cosmic riddles that extend beyond the limits of time and space. But visual images are misleading, because they miss the most crucial element in the universe, an element that suddenly and unexpectedly humanizes it.

    This crucial element is mind.

    Over a century ago, the quantum revolution opened the way for cosmic mind. The founders of quantum mechanics needed to account for huge differences between their mathematical model of the universe, which is composed of fields of potentialities, and the universe as we perceive it, which is composed of solid objects and events that actually happen. To achieve a reconciliation the founders assumed that reality was composed of two parts, mind and matter, which interacted with each other according to some new laws that they specified. This departure from the prior (classical-physicalist) assumption that mind was a mere side-effect of brain activity was such a startling proposal that it basically split physics in two, with one camp (the physicalists) insisting that matter alone, plus an element of quantum chance, determines every physical property of the universe, and the other camp embracing mind as the key to certain otherwise unexplained mysteries. For several decades now the first, physicalist approach has been ascendant in the minds of many working physicists. But the advance of neuroscience, coupled with the difficulty of accounting in purely mechanical terms for complex behaviors of living organisms, has ignited renewed interest in the possibility that our minds may not be the useless and causally ineffectual appendages that the classical-physicalist dogma has proclaimed them to be.

    In what way does the universe display mind-like behavior? Once you admit that this is a legitimate question, the answers are many. Too many, one might say, because there is no consensus about what mind is, and so speculation can run wild. Some thinkers point to the incredible fine-tuning of the various constants that must mesh in order for spacetime, matter, and energy to exist: how did this fine-tuning come about? Other thinkers point to the inability of randomness to account for the emergence of DNA and life on Earth. Still others cut the Gordian knot and declare that the human mind is enough to support the existence of cosmic mind–every person is the cosmic mind writ small (or it could be the other way around: universal mind is the human mind writ large).

  • Getting Zombies Excited (It Takes a Million-Dollar Challenge)

    Posted on: July 9, 2014 | Comments: 0

    By Deepak Chopra, MD

    390 - Zombie Front   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.

  • Skepticism and a Million Dollar Challenge (Part 2)

    Posted on: July 2, 2014 | Comments: 0

    By Deepak Chopra, MD.


    skeptics

    When I made a video offering a million dollars to anyone who could explain how the brain produces the appearance of the three-dimensional world, I didn’t have a publicity stunt in mind. I wanted to draw attention to consciousness research, which has been burgeoning out of sight of the general public. For a long time consciousness has been taboo in the scientific community. The reasons aren’t hard to fathom. To explore consciousness means delving into subjectivity, the personal inner world. Science deals in objectivity, data, and hard facts.
    There is no substantive reason why science shouldn’t go on a journey inward, but resistance was strong. All kinds of things occur in our inner world that scientists are reluctant to confront, including spirituality, art, morals, emotions, and so on. There’s a general assumption today that all of these activities can be reduced to brain functions, and only then will mind be subjugated to the scientific method and its demand for data and hard facts.

  • Skepticism and a Million Dollar Challenge

    Posted on: July 2, 2014 | Comments: 0

    By Deepak Chopra, MD

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    When public perception is skewed and distorted, it’s important to push back. I’ve found myself doing this in the arena of skepticism. Without a doubt we live in a skeptical age, and it affects everyone. To doubt is a tool for finding truth, but like every positive value, there are pitfalls. Skepticism, of the kind advanced by characters as diverse as James “The Amazing” Randi, Richard Dawkins, Laurence Krauss, and Jerry Coyne, does far more harm than good.
    We’re confronted with a strange mixture of bedfellows: an aging stage magician, an Oxford professor on the rampage against “the God delusion,” an astrophysicist, and a biology professor at the University of Chicago who sees himself as a gadfly against pseudoscience. Behind them marches a ragged band of atheists, scientists, blogosphere pests, mischievous troublemakers, and sincere doubters.
    What makes this movement particularly strange is that there is no real need for it to exist. Secularism and science won the day long ago. Does anyone seriously believe that our current problems arise from too much reliance on faith in God? Church attendance has been in decline in the U.S. and every other developed country since the 1950s. Other than serving as an outlet for malcontents, the skeptical movement’s posture of holding back the tide of ignorance has little basis or utility. They aren’t converting the believers to atheism. In the face of actual harm done by religion (e.g., the rise of jihadist Islam, the pressure against stem-cell research, the prejudice against gay marriage on the religious right), skepticism has a very small, even insignificant role to play.

  • SBTI

    Posted on: July 2, 2014 | Comments: 0

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The Chopra Foundation's Mission is to participate with individuals and organizations in creating a critical mass for a peaceful, just, sustainable, and healthy world through scientifically and experientially exploring non-dual consciousness as the ground of existence and applying this understanding in the enhancement of health, business, leadership and conflict resolution.

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