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February 10, 2011


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I have a theory that our dualism (that we think of "me" separate from the body), and our projection of that concept into God, spirit, soul, etc., comes from a particular aspect of our neural wiring, the same aspect that gives us reflexive self awareness.

More specifically, the brain is FULL of feedback loops (many of them inhibitory feedback loops, where something further "downstream" feeds back to turn OFF something upstream).

I think "consciousness" is one of the effects of these loops. And I think that we can, subtly, feel/sense that our thinking and experience is the result of some post-processed event. I think we can subtly feel/sense some of the original information before it gets processed through those various loops.

In a related note, I think "deja-vu" is when we sense both the pre-processed event and the post-processed event .25-.5 seconds later (which is why it feels so familiar, and why we can't do anything to change it).

So, the feeling/sense that what we perceive consciously is some after effect, combined with the more subtle feeling/sense of whatever the "raw (or raw-er) data" was, extrapolated, leads to the feeling of a separate "me." And that separation is then projected onto everything else.

Some day, I hope I'm proven right, only so I can rant "See! I was saying that YEARS AGO!" ;-)

What it all eventually comes to mean is that when "you" die, you do not die, because there was never a "you" to die in the first place. It just becomes increasingly improbable that the organism can construct (if you will) an image of itself that is at odds with what it actually is.
What remains after death is nothing. Not EVEN nothing. Just reality, or the condition that always pertains no matter what. It pertained before the big bang, it pertains during the aftermath of the big bang, and it shall pertain after the effects of the big bang have subsided.

That condition has no concerns whatsoever.


Could you explain the mechanism of the loops?

Do you think there can be an artificially intelligent consciousness?

This is where it starts to get interesting.


It's just like it sounds... a chain of neurons where one connects back to a previous point in the chain.

And an inhibitory loop is where the one that connects further back stops that "earlier" one from firing.

Joy Hirsch at Columbia University -- http://www.fmri.org -- has mapped a few specific loops, one that shows how what you think affects what you can perceive (the "thinking" part feeds back and inhibits the "perceiving" part).

Thanks Steven,

Could you explain how a neuron combines to form a chain? What would be the previous point of this chain? Likewise, what would be the mechanism that allows an inhibitory loop to connect further back and engaging in stopping earlier ones from firing?

I found this information,

Because sensory cognition, such as seeing and hearing, are not conceptual, they do not make appearances of truly existent “this”s and “that”s. They make appearances of non-true existence – appearances of what do not truly exist as “this”s or “that”s. Moreover, seeing and hearing neither perceive nor believe in appearances as truly existent “this”s and “that”s . Seeing and hearing perceive appearances only of what do not truly exist as “this”s or “that”s. What does this mean?

Seeing and hearing occur for only a millisecond. During that millisecond, we see mental aspects resembling only sensibilia, for instance collections of patches of colored shapes, which appear non-truly existent as “this”s or “that”s. We hear only the sounds of consonants and vowels, which also appear non-truly existent as “this” or “that” word with “this” or “that” meaning. Only with conceptual cognition, which follows immediately afterwards, do we mentally synthesize the colored shapes and imagine a face as a whole, for example, which is an appearance of a truly existent object “this” or “that.” Only with conceptual cognition, do we mentally put together the sounds of consonants and vowels and verbally think a whole word and a meaning, which is an appearance of a truly existent “this” or “that.”

Thus, sensory cognition falls in the category of nondetermining cognition, since it does not ascertain its mental aspects as an object. It does, however, distinguish characteristic colored shapes within the visual sense field, for instance – because the aggregate of distinguishing (recognition) accompanies each moment of experience, including nonconceptual cognition. Nevertheless, sensory cognition does not distinguish the mental aspects of those colored shapes as a conventional object, such as a table – and, moreover, as a truly existent table. That type of distinguishing accompanies only conceptual cognition.

This mechanism of time displacement doesn't explain deja vu. The chief feature of deja vu is a specific experience that is unmistakebly paranormal (for want of a better word).

If these memory glitch theories were correct, they should be happening all the time. Why don't they?

I can personally tell the difference between something that seems familiar and a genuine deja vu. Confirmation bias plays no part.

There are lots of theories about the Near Death Experience but clearly no unanimous conclusion. Usually skeptics say it can be reducible to lack of oxygen and simple things like this. But anybody that has done even minimal research knows that these kind of explanations are far too simplistic and contradicted by many cases.

David, I'm not aware of any evidence that any near death experience has involved a demonstrable out of body event. Researchers are looking into this, but so far haven't found that people actually are experiencing anything nonphysical.

So I'm wondering what the cases are that you say contradict a neurological explanation of near death experiences.

Aside from the anedotal accounts constituting evidence for an out of body event, of course there is no demonstrable evidence - yet. Dr Sam Parnia is conducting the AWARE study in the UK and according to some early data cardiac arrest patients are having OBEs. His study involves placing some pictures out of view of the hospital beds that can only be seen from above and there is no news yet that any of the patients have identified the pictures but it will have to wait until next year when the study is concluded. But besides that it is somewhat silly to think that someone dying is going to be interested in some picture on a ceiling which they haven't been told about in advance.

I don't think an OBE contradicts neurological explanations at all. They just don't fit in with them completely.

What i meant was that all of the scientific skeptical explanations for the NDE fall short of fully explaining the NDE in its totality. I used the example of oxygen deprivation. If you research this with a quick google search i'm sure you will be able to locate a debunking of this theory. If you cannot do that and ask me to find it for you, i can do that.

Again, Roger, this is pretty simple:

The process of cognition is not one neuron leading from, say, your finger, to your brain, where you "feel" sensations. There are a number of steps along the way: in the spinal cord, in the brainstem, in the mid-brain, in the neo-cortex. At each of these points there are "junctions" where some neuron(s) "receive" the message and then fire, sending a signal further down the chain.

And, again, some neurons "double-back" and send signals further back along the chain.

Also, the "paranormal" feeling is just a feeling. There's nothing inconsistent with my deja-vu model and having that "paranormal" feeling.

Imagine, for the fun of it, if deja-vu came with a "floating" feeling, or an itch. The specifics of the affect that occurs with the event is not only irrelevant but, truly, meaningless. Again, it's just a feeling.

And, no, my "glitch" theory is exactly that: a glitch. Normally we don't get a simultaneous awareness of the pre- and post-processed experience. Our minds/bodies have intermittent events all the time -- these things don't work perfectly.

Brian wrote:

It's all physical. Natural. Brain-based. As is meditation. As is everything, so long as we are alive in a human body. Repeat: as is everything.

What is physical composed of? Energy.
What is natural (nature) composed of?

What is a brain composed of? Energy.

What is energy?

Reminds me of the song by Air Supply "Making love out of nothing at all"

Hear the one about the scientist who told God he could also create life out of dust. God said, "fine, let's see you do it"....the scientist bent down and scooped up a handful of dirt, and God interrupted him, saying: "nope, get yer own dirt".

Thanks again Steven,

I'm not asking about your 'glitch' theory.

Discuss, in your own words, the mechanism of how a neuron(s) "receive" the message and then fire it. Focus on this only. Begin with what a neuron, exactly is.


I'm starting to wonder if you're kidding me. And, in fact, this will be my last comment about this. I don't have the time to give my version of a biology class.

If you want to know what a neuron is, and how neurons fire and "communicate", check http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neuron


A neuron (pronounced , also known as a neurone or nerve cell) is an electrically excitable cell that processes and transmits information by electrochemical signaling.

--So, what is the mechanism, as how 'information' is processed and transmitted through electrochemical signaling?

Steve, give an example of a piece of(neuron based)information. Then, explain how it is processed and transmitted through electochemical signaling. What does the signaling mean?

its sajan from punjab india i want to say one things there is powers of kal or negative power which insist yu for that if yu talked abt god it dont need conclusion or explanastion anly believe believe because there are power jesus was power present master are power yu talked abt religare scam 254 millions i tell u only one things master also have there private living business from this business they earn money if they invest this money there is no wrong thing in that this money is used for spiritual purposes only


first of all, you have posted your comment in the wrong place. the topic of this blog article (above) has nothing to do with sant mat, rssb, kal, or religare. so you obviously are not paying attention.

you stated:

"there is powers of kal or negative power"
-- where is the proof of that?

"if yu talked abt god it dont need conclusion or explanastion anly believe believe"
-- you can believe if you like, but don't tell others to believe.

"because there are power jesus was power present master are power"
-- what power? where is the proof of that?

"abt religare scam 254 millions i tell u only one things master also have there private living business from this business they earn money if they invest this money there is no wrong thing in that this money is used for spiritual purposes only"
-- how do you know how the money is used? and how do you know where they got the money in the first place? how do you know that "there is no wrong thing"? you don't know.

http://adf.ly/2FvCb life after death

I am really glad to read this blog daily since I am sure many of us have a lot of questions and curiosity for life after death. Ego does not want to accept that we are nothing.. we are only brain and everything disappears after physical body death
I have read a lot of after death experiences stories..I do agree that all could be brain or neuron activity, lack of oxygen, secretion of endorphins etc. How come some of them describe in detail events or people that are very far from the place where NDE happen. How the brain by itself has the capacity to see , hear so far..
It happens that I am a doctor from Greece and I am initiated in Sant Mat from Ishwar C Puri since 2 years ago and I practice meditation. I do always have the same questions and concerns about what is true and what is illusion especially after reading your blog daily. I do admire your knowledge, honesty, courage and all your research since it is helping many people to answer their questions about non physical and physical matters. Also to work with their questions and insecurities without following blindly any cult or theories that comfort their fears and passivity in this life. I do apologize for my long post..

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