the prophetic brain
Let's begin with the notion of an ensemble density — a probability distribution of the states you or I can occupy. Imagine I had 100 million copies of you, at different times in your daily life. If I could measure all your sensory states, I could construct a sample density or histogram that reflected the probability of your being in any particular state. Critically, for you to exist, the number of states you occupy must be small in relation to all possible states. For example, your temperature will always be in a certain range. Mathematically, this means your ensemble density has low entropy. Here, we meet a characteristic of adaptive biological agents (like you and I) in that they seem to resist the second law of thermodynamics (a universal tendency to disorder) by minimizing the entropy of their ensemble densities. What does minimizing entropy mean? It simply means that you will, on average, avoid surprising or improbable states (i.e., you will not find yourself at the bottom of the ocean or suddenly engulfed in flames). Though arcane, this implies something quite fundamental: To exist, you must avoid surprising states.
Pray and meditate enough and some changes in the brain become permanent. Long-term meditators — those with 15 years of practice or more — appear to have thicker frontal lobes than nonmeditators. People who describe themselves as highly spiritual tend to exhibit an asymmetry in the thalamus — a feature that other people can develop after just eight weeks of training in meditation skills. "It may be that some people have fundamental asymmetry [in the thalamus] to begin with," Newberg says, "and that leads them down this path, which changes the brain further."
"Religious belief is not just a mind question but involves the commitment of one's body as well," says Ted Kaptchuk, a professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School. "The sensory organs, tastes, smells, sounds, music, the architecture of religious buildings [are involved]." Just as the very act of coming into a hospital exposes a patient to sights and smells that are thought to prime the brain and body for healing, so may the act of walking into a house of worship.
___plant psychologykevin kelly on mind:
However, we could also say that the platform is simply evolution, and that in its seventh kingdom, life converges. On Earth there many species, but only one life. All life on earth is running the same OS. So we could say: on earth, many species, one evolution. And if, as Dyson argues in his book, evolution is a type of slow distributed intelligence, then we already have many species, one mind.
But the "one mind" of evolution is not at all like the One Mind of a global superorganism. The One Mind is a composite of many minds. That is a kind of mind we don't have a word for yet. This mega-level mind does things that no mere mind composed of non-minds can do.
There is something engulfing within the nature of a mind. A mind wants to devour, to suck in other intelligence. It seeks out other intelligences and wants to meld. We see that in the fierce impulse to share on the web. Human minds, at least, want to enter into other human minds. We yearn for telepathy. A mind inherently wants to expand. The logical destiny is One Mind.
In the abstract, natural evolution is an exploration of a possibility space. It is a way for an adaptive system – in this case life – to search for new survival forms in the universe of all-possible forms. It tries this or that form, round or long, slow or fast, with legs or with wings. It whips up any design that will keep the game of searching going. Most forms it encounters live only a short time. But over eons the system of life settles on very stable forms – on the planet earth, those stable forms might be tubular guts, plant leaves, bi-lateral symmetry -- which permit life to keep searching for more forms. Each natural innovation which life "discovers" becomes a platform to discover more innovations. In this process, life expands the variety of living forms and its power to keep evolving.
___amish = cognhakers?
* 1) They are selective. They know how to say "no" and are not afraid to refuse new things. They ban more than they adopt.
* 2) They evaluate new things by experience instead of by theory. They let the early adopters get their jollies by pioneering new stuff under watchful eyes.
* 3) They have criteria by which to select choices: technologies must enhance family and community and distance themselves from the outside world.
* 4) The choices are not individual, but communal. The community shapes and enforces technological direction.
The principle of magic: In other words, we will actively sample sensory data so that it conforms to our expectations; we will constantly alter our relationship with our environment so that our expectations become self-fulfilling prophecies.