The Evolutionary Mind: Conversations on Science, Imagination and Spirit: by Ralph Abraham, Terence McKenna, and Rupert Sheldrake


Consciousness: The Final Frontier
A Review by Sarah Fox

This volume collects a series of conversations — termed “trialogues” — which took place over several years between three exceptional thinkers. Though working in different fields—Ralph Abraham is a chaos mathematician and computer graphics pioneer; Terence McKenna (who died in 2000) was a psychedelic explorer, ethnopharmacologist, and time theorist; and Rupert Sheldrake is a biologist who developed the theory of “morphic resonance” — the three were close friends and shared many common concerns. They moved their private conversations to the public arena in 1989 at the request of the Esalen Institute in California, and over the years they met frequently at various locations, resulting in the first trialogue volume, Chaos, Creativity, and Cosmic Consciousness. This second volume, sadly, will be the last of the published trialogues due to the untimely “departure from the corporeal plane” of McKenna, the group’s obvious Firekeeper.

The conversations recorded in this collection read more like a sequence of manifestos, and share none of the flavor of a live conversation. They are wide-ranging, erudite, achingly articulate, and entirely focused, although perhaps intellectuals of this magnitude really do talk with such remarkable fluidity. The primary impetus for discussion is, as the title suggests, evolutionary psychology — each participant addresses a shared suspicion that human evolution will occur most significantly at the level of consciousness, and all concur that this evolution will happen not over millennia, or even centuries, but swiftly and soon. Essentially, according to these three, human evolution will likely entail a complete transcendence from history, and quite possibly from any concept of time.

McKenna sees humans as representing a peculiar species influenced by an “attractor pulling in the direction of symbolic activity.” In the chapter called “Time,” McKenna elucidates that the attractor, with which we are colliding, is:

“an object that we cannot precisely discern, lying just below the event horizon of rational apprehension; nevertheless, our cultural east is streaked with the blush of rosy dawn. What it portends, I think, is an end to our fall, to our sojourn in matter, and to our separateness. It lies so close to us in historical time, by virtue of our having collapsed our options in three-dimensional space, that you need only close your eyes, have a dream, take a shamanic hallucinogen, practice yoga, and there you will see it. It’s an attractor that’s been working on the species for at least a million years. I maintain that it is actually a universal attractor, and we represent a concrescence of complexity that is truly transcendental….The ride to the end of history is going to be a white-knuckled experience.”

McKenna conceives of this end of history, this “last thing,” as “The Eschaton,” a kind of black hole whose basin will provoke a violent break from any boundaries, including the boundaries between life and death: “truly beyond ambiguity, beyond syntax.” All three suspect that “time is speeding up…there isn’t much left.” Nevertheless, the prospect is not handled necessarily with pessimism. McKenna again: “We are literally packing up and preparing to decamp from Newtonian space and time, for the high world of hyper-dimensional existence.” Abraham favors a fractal model for understanding the phenomenon of boundaries. “Chaos and cosmos must be properly balanced for a healthy social system,” he claims, and “an openness to all attractors…based on a cosmology in which the stream has the same morphology as the heavens, which have the same morphology as some mathematical object” could ensure the “stability and longevity of a culture as well as the health of an individual.”

As to “when” this meeting with the Eschaton may take place, McKenna theorizes “December 21, 2012.” This date happens to coincide with the ancient Maya calendar’s “end of the 13th b’ak’tun” which many have surmised predicts the apocalypse. However, McKenna came by his theory through science, evaluating historical data, how it produced curves in ebbs and flows of novelty in time, and basing his prediction on “spiral closure.” Like most Maya scholars, McKenna too sees this end date as representing more of a “new beginning” than an absolute end. Yet his vision anticipates a fatal global crisis. Sheldrake, on the other hand, sides with a more Utopian, sustainable prediction, arguing for a period of total transformation involving “first of all, psychedelics; secondly, the revival of animism; thirdly, mathematical objects visible to all through computers; and fourthly, communication with the stars.” This vision, in Sheldrake’s mind, will culminate in a time in which “the kingdom of heaven is realized on Earth.”

In the chapter “Between the Apocalypse and Utopianism,” Sheldrake, Abraham, and McKenna explore ways of defining the impending transformation through a triad of their individual specialties, respectively scientific utopia, chaos utopia, and psychedelic utopia. They view two traditions — the Utopic, described as triadic and virtuous, and the Millennarian, described as spontaneous and apocalyptic — and attempt to locate their own trinity in an overlap between these two. Elsewhere they discuss fractals, psychic pets, skepticism, psychedelic revival, and everything else, and always towards the potential for intersection.

All three heartily conclude that consciousness is the final frontier, and is where our human future lies. There is no question that the book delivers radical, mind-blowing encounters on every page. Yet the form of conversation lends a spirit of generosity to the rendering of very complex ideas — the reader is placed in the role of eavesdropper, leaving her free to take sides, but also encouraged along by an absence of pedantics in favor of friendly and collaborative conjecture. While not culminating in any ultimate, mutual determinations, the existence of these trialogues assures the evolution of the ideas within them — all readers will feel stimulated to spawn their own impassioned conversations examining consciousness and its potential. http://www.powells.com//review/2006_12_31


The Brilliant minds of Terence McKenna, Rupert Sheldrake and Ralph Abraham come together to speak about the Evolutionary Mind.
Terence McKenna – The Evolutionary Mind 2/7

Do Our Thoughts Have the Power to Heal? ~ Edgar Mitchell and Marilyn Schlitz

<a href="http://http://player.vimeo.com/video/14588870?title=0&byline=0&portrait=0

Do Our Thoughts Have the Power to Heal? from Institute of Noetic Sciences on Vimeo.

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Visionaries: Edgar Mitchell and Marilyn Schlitz
Marilyn Schlitz, President of IONS and Edgar Mitchell Astronaut, Scientist and Founder of the Institute of Noetic Sciences are featured in this excerpt from Feature Length Film “The Living Matrix – The New Science of Healing” by emaginate. Marilyn and Edgar explain the science of exploring the emotional and empathetic elements that may effect healing. Noetic Science explores these and other components of Consciousness and Inner Knowing.

Don’t Kiss Them Good-Bye (Paperback) by Allison Dubois (Author)

Book Summary of Don’t Kiss Them Good-Bye
From the professional medium and profiler who inspired the hit TV series “Medium” comes a memoir filled with fascinating stories of her encounters with “people who have passed” and her adventures assisting various law enforcement organizations.

Her visions have helped solve crimes; her instincts have helped find missing people.
She can predict future events and read your mind.

When she was six years old, Allison’s deceased great-grandfather came to her with a message for her mother: “I am okay, I am still with you. Tell your mom there’s no more pain.” Allison shared his comforting words with her mother and thus began a lifetime of creating connections between loved ones and those they have lost.

In this stunning book, Allison shares fascinating stories of her encounters with people who have passed and her adventures as a profiler for various law enforcement organizations. With wit and compassion, Allison shows us what it is like to live with these special gifts and talents and also tells about her struggle to live a normal life as a devoted wife and mother. She shows how learning to accept her own gifts has helped her accept the unique gifts of others and how her compelling desire to relieve the pain of others has helped to define her own life, a life committed to the search for ultimate truth.

Medium – Allison DuBois Interview PART 1

Medium – Allison DuBois Interview PART 2

Medium – Allison DuBois Interview PART 3

THE TRUTH BEHIND MEDIUM:
Real-life Allison DuBois explains her first ‘paranormal’ experience and how she goes along with that unusual gift.

Video credit: extracted from the Sci-Fi Channel.
Medium – Allison DuBois Interview PART 4

Born To Be Good: The Science of a Meaningful Life ~ Dacher Keltner

Reviewed by Matthew Gilbert

A newly released study published in the January 2009 issue of the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology argues that such facial-emotional expressions as smiling are not learned social responses but originate from an “evolved, potentially genetic source and that all humans, regardless of gender or culture, are born with this ability.” This finding no doubt put a smile on the face of Dacher Keltner, professor of psychology at the University of California, Berkeley, who has devoted the better part of his professional life to disputing the scientific gospel that human beings are hardwired exclusively for selfish and survival-oriented behavior. Keltner calls this “only half the story,” and presents the other half in his new book, Born to Be Good. Here he asserts that because we are born with an innate capacity to experience such positive emotions as joy, compassion, and gratitude, we are equally hardwired to be sociable, cooperative, and naturally supportive of others, for “bringing the good in each other to completion.”

And in this belief Keltner is in good company, for as he explains in the book, no less an authority than Charles Darwin determined that there are continuities of facial expressions—and thus emotion— between animals and humans that reveal a reflexive social instinct with evolutionary purpose, finding that he presented in his best-selling book, Expression of the Emotions of Man and Animals. His data were based on extensive observation of both humans and animals, including detailed descriptions of emotions both negative and positive.

In making his case, Keltner draws liberally, though not exclusively, from Eastern philosophy, in particular from the Confucian concept of jen. Confucius was the father of the Golden Rule (“never impose on others what you would not choose for yourself”); jen—roughly translated as “human benevolence”—was considered the centerpiece of his philosophy. Keltner entwines the concept of jen with the scientific wizardry of neuroscience to come up with what he calls “jen science,” the study of pro-social emotions. As a growing body of research shows, life-affirming behaviors stimulate the immune system and the brain’s pleasure centers. And when one’s jen ratio is high—more positive emotions and actions than negative ones—one’s life starts to feel more meaningful.

Keltner makes it clear that the emphasis is not on achieving happiness—the only emotion that has been extensively studied up to this point. Happiness, he says, “is a diffuse term. It masks important distinctions between emotions such as gratitude, awe, contentment, pride, love, compassion, and desire—the focus of this book—as well as expressive behaviors such as teasing, touch, and laughter . . . By solely asking ‘Am I happy?’ we miss out on the many nuances of a meaningful life.”

And while Keltner acknowledges that humans have innate capacities for both altruistic and selfish behavior, to embrace another or club them over the head, he emphasizes the importance of our capacity to choose. In choosing “good” behaviors and actions over “bad,” he says, we catalyze not just our own well- being but also the good in others and ultimately contribute to a transformation in collective consciousness.

In addition to Darwin, Keltner names several other people who have influenced the development of scientific approaches to the study of human emotion. Among them is Nobel Prize–winning economist Thomas Schelling, who proposed in his 1963 book, The Strategy of Conflict, that emotions are “involuntary commitment devices” binding people together in beneficial relationships. Keltner is especially grateful for the work of pioneering psychologist Paul Ekman, whose decades-long cross-cultural research on facial expression is credited by Keltner to have seeded a new field of study called affective science. Over time this research has found empirical support for three observations about emotions that apply to all human beings: (1) they represent our deepest commitments; (2) they are wired into our nervous systems; and (3) they underlie our ethical judgments and moral conscience.

Eschewing the purely empirical efforts of many laboratory researchers, Keltner asserted in a recent IONS teleseminar that “science is only as meaningful as the applications it leads to.” In the case of Born to Be Good, the science he speaks of has that potential, making a strong argument that while there will always be room for the fittest, social intelligence and “the survival of the kindest” may represent the ultimate evolutionary triumphs.

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