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Science for consciousness. Five reasons for failure and five ways to make it a success.

There are five important reasons why scientists are so far not successful in their endeavor in developing a Science for Consciousness.

First, the attempt demands personal transformations of the scientists, as highlighted1 by the problem of I-Me-Mine. It is a triangular guard within the core of the "self" of any human being and so also of a scientist. While science remains a human enterprise, most of the scientists are prisoners of their arrogant, adamant, and almighty "I," besieged, battered, and bothered "Me," and a clutching, clinging, clasping "Mine" (ABC of the problem). Knowing this, it is not difficult to explain the abundance of scientism and scientific materialism. The "dwelling" in consciousness is likely to transform the investigators to have an actualized "I," buoyant "Me," and compassionate "Mine." (1) The question is, are we prepared for this personal transformation?

Second, consciousness occupies the subjective realm while science works with the objective. It is next to impossible to express some of the profound subjective (first-person perspective) experiences into objective (third-person) perspective. To put it into the second-person perspective often is not easier, either. Here, one gets stuck with another triangular guard made by They-You-Me! Probably, it represents a lower version of the causally interacting triangle of World-Brahman-Self as found in Upanishadic non-dualism. It also reminds us of the causally interacting triangle of Data-Theory-Control Beliefs system (2) in any scientific process. One is expected to go through an inside-out (and outside-in) phenomenon while penetrating through this triangular guard. This is supposed to happen when one crosses the boundary of the system under investigation. Are we equipped to take up this severe strain?

Third, present science works within the boundary of the universe that is, in turn, determined by the boundary of the cerebral cortex. Most scientists, even some of those bestowed with a scientific imagination, find it difficult to accept the existence of multiple universe(s). Multiple universe(s) is an open-ended theory for cosmology and astrophysics. The parallel of it in the discipline of neuroscience is the theory of supracortical consciousness. (3,4) To have an open brain engaged in transcortical holographic and/or nonlocal communication without any compromise with the integrity of the brain is equivalent to dealing with multiple universe(s) in a system of the Multiversity. This no-boundary concept demands a radical revision of the framework on which present science works. Are we ready for this?

Fourth, present science has been working under the umbrella of three inviolable constants, (3,4) namely, the velocity of light (Einstein), Planck's constant, and the Entropy barrier. It is difficult for an explorer of consciousness to describe, document, and publish in mainstream science journals something that does not work under the umbrella of these three constants. Nothing can move faster than light is the dictum of Einstein and it sets the limit for classical mechanics and its extension in Relativity. There is always a gap between the observer and the observed and the energy is made up of and released in discrete quanta. This basic concept leads us to Planck's constant that sets the limit for describing the events that are merely confined to the quantum plane of nature. Cybernetics works under the umbrella of the entropy barrier. Information exchange is prohibited across this barrier. Einstein's constant excludes simultaneity of events. Planck's constant excludes continuity of events. The entropy barrier excludes the possibility of the identity of events. It seems that these three constants guard the Cosmological Pleasure Triangle (CPT) of the deepest recess of nature! (3,4) In the domain of nature of consciousness, the events are quite often simultaneous, continuous, and even identical. Therefore, it is likely that the nature beyond these three constants is the nature of all natures, Mother Nature. As fire cannot be studied dissociating from its burning properties, similarly consciousness cannot be explored leaving behind its nature. Mother Nature could also be described as the kinetic facet, mobile pole, and executive front of consciousness. Mother Nature-Consciousness may thus be visualized as a "biune" model of Reality. The task ahead is, therefore, to have an access into this nature of consciousness and to find out as how to "perforate" this CPT. Ananda, the divine ecstasy; the root of all consciousness is seemingly experienced only thereafter!

All four of these reasons seems to spring from one single reason, the fifth reason that the scientists do not wish to see through the phenomenon of "death." For them, death is the end of all existence. It is the final terminus for all endeavors of mankind. All inquiries stop at the doorstep of death. Death has been traditionally visualized as a metaphysical issue and never as an issue for science.

So, what could be the way out if we are serious about developing a Science for Consciousness? Followings are a few suggestions. We could:

1. Look beyond the constants set by Einstein, Max Planck, and the Entropy barrier. The question is how? By exploring nonlocal communication--types I, II, and III. Nonlocal communication type I dissolves the barrier of space, type II dissolves that of time, and type III, if it exists, dissolves the barrier of both space and time. Recent documentation of nonlocal communications types I and II by science and the proposition of the existence of nonlocal type III poses a challenge for the velocity of light, Planck's constant, and the entropy barrier, respectively.

2. Learn to see through Death. The question is how? Scientists are already familiar with near-death experiences. They are required to explore transcendental death experiences, transformational death experiences, and the experience of being reborn within the same body. These profound experiences could be recorded in both first- person and third-person perspectives. For near-death experience, it has already been done. For the other three phases, too, it is not impossible to do. When the brain passes through the entire spectrum of the death terrain, creative emergence is expected to be abundant. This may help to discover the missing pieces of the puzzle.

In this context, Savitri of Sri Aurobindo (5) could be a very useful text to offer guidelines to scientists for conducting research in this direction. At the cell biology level, the study of the phenomenon of "apoptosis" and the mechanics of "malignant transformation" could be useful models for unraveling the mystery of death and its transcension.

3. Begin exploration of uncertainties at various levels. There is no uncertainty or indeterminism perceived in the classical world of nature. In the quantum world, according to Heisenberg's uncertainty principle, it is not possible to specify precisely and simultaneously the values of both members of particular pairs of physical variables (properties) that describe the behavior of the quantum system. The paired properties are canonically conjugate to each other in the Hamiltonian sense, e.g., position and velocity or, angular momentum and angular position, or the energy of the particle and the time at which it is measured. At a deeper terrain of nature, at the terrain of formation of a black hole, uncertainty could be observed between properties and the very existence of the object. The fusion of quantum-language (Q-language) and metaphysical language (M-language) begins here. The uncertainty in the next recess of nature is empirically exemplified at the level of the boundary of the universe where uncertainty in observation could be recorded between existence and no existence. At the level of the Multiverse, uncertainty plays between non-existence and new existence.

These four levels of uncertainty depict four different depths of nature. Uncertainty is an issue of Science. It can be measured. On the basis of presence or absence of the perceived uncertainty for an observer-dependent reality and then on different levels/kinds/ degrees of uncertainty, the total spectrum of nature may thus be divided into five planes, namely, classical world (plane I); quantum world (plane II); terrain of elementary phenomena dealing with life and death (black hole formation, etc.) (plane III); plane of Mother Nature (plane IV); and plane of consciousness (plane V). Every plane is supposed to have its special causal mode (mechanics) run by a specific currency (energy, information, etc.). Movement from one plane to another demands inter-conversion of currencies. It can be done efficiently should an appropriate banking system exist in nature.

The phenomenology of consciousness (depth phenomenology of will, intention, purpose, etc.) revolves around the biune structure of Consciousness-Mother Nature. The plane of elementary phenomenology (plane III) is the bridge between depth phenomenology of plane IV and V and the surface phenomenology of quantum (plane II) and classical worlds (plane I).

Uncertainties are overcome at appropriate levels by means of "biologization"/ "systemization" of relevant information by an informationally open system. If there are four levels of uncertainty there is all likelihood of having four levels of quality of information. The proposition amounts to an extension of currency of conventional information vertically further or deeper within. There may be some special type of information like qualified information or vital information that can radically change the life situation (live-information). (3,4)

4. Look beyond, and cross the boundary of the universe. But how to do this? It is the most difficult job for a seeker, explorer, or an experimenter of consciousness. It demands inside to be out and outside to be in. The only way to survive in this process is to surrender--surrender properties, surrender clothing of self. It would be an active and total surrender to unconditionality. Multiple universe(s) would be visible only then! The physics in these parallel universe(s) could be different in almost every respect, be it force, charge, mass, or dimension. Cosmology and Astrophysics are required to invent new equations of relationships. Our universe is then no longer unique for its space, time, or purpose. The center is then not the universe. The central position is occupied by the Essence of Multiversity.

Assimilation of the concept of Multiversity dissolves the uniqueness of the universe we inhabit almost the same way the Copernican Revolution demolished the unique position of the Earth in the cosmos.

5. Reconcile and connect brain-bound consciousness with the brain-independent consciousness. The question is how? Reconciliation of brain-bound and brain-independent consciousness happens in life when one stems the tide of death, discontinuity, and uncertainty. In the mystical tradition it is done through self-consciousness. Development of self-consciousness seems to be the first step of nature in her attempt to free consciousness from the shackles of the brain, from the confines of neural entanglement, from the cage formed out of neural networking. What emerges in the process is not consciousness but freedom of consciousness from the structure (and function) of brain. In continuation of this ongoing process of search for more and more freedom, the mystics realize that self-consciousness could be used as a tool to unify brain-bound consciousness with brain-independent consciousness. Though he begins with a "classical self" he relies more on his "quantum self." In the course of this journey, the self sheds off its classical properties and then also the quantum properties. In plane III, it gets de-conditioned from elementary phenomena. Radical transformation takes place in plane IV. In the process, self's nature becomes Mother Nature and the self is realized as Consciousness.


(1.) Austin, J. H. (1998). Zen and the brain. Massachusetts: The MIT Press.

(2.) Wolterstorff, N. (1984). Reason within the bounds of religion, 2nd ed. Grand Rapids. MI: Edermans.

(3.) Mukhopadhyay, A. K. (1995). Conquering the brain. New Delhi, India: Conscious Publications.

(4.) Mukhopadhyay, A. K. (2000). The millennium bridge: towards the mechanics of consciousness. New Delhi, India: Conscious Publications.

(5.) Aurobindo, Sri. (1970). Savitri. Pondicherry, India: Pondicherry Ashram.

A.K. Mukhopadhyay

All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi.

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Author:Mukhopadhyay, A.K.
Publication:Frontier Perspectives
Date:Mar 22, 2002
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