Contemporary Scientific Knowledge Fund
as the Basis for Evolutionary Mentology
The knowledge fund emerging out of the scientific and technological revolution in the 1960s served as a crucial input in our inquiry into EM. Initially there were three Scientific fields in particular—Microelectronics, Microbiology and Astrophysics—which provided us with the first chunk of facts and information on the basis of which we were able to make our core propositions. Of course over the course of our inquiry we have been using inputs from many new fields of Science, which were either offshoots of these areas or connected to them. Fields like Information Technology, Nanotechnology, Evolutionary Sciences, Brain and Mind Sciences, and Particle Physics. We could clearly see the implications of the growing knowledge and applications coming from these fields for transforming human internal existence and external environment.
Advances in Microelectronics
Through developments in Microelectronics, beginning with the invention of the transistor in the 1950s and then ICs in the 1960s, we could concretely identify science and technology as a new means of production transforming both the nature of human productivity and the production process itself.
The most revolutionizing applications of Microelectronics in this period have been the computer and telecommunication technologies, popularly known as ‘information technologies’, which have today become a big industry. Increasingly high speed data processing (in computers, etc.) and insanely expanding data storage alongside shrinking size (of processing components and products) and lowering costs have been ground breaking achievements in this area. This made available these technologies on a massive scale to individuals and social entities all over the world, to the extent that they have become indispensable for all kinds of production activities.
The increasing access to and widespread use of these technologies not only increased labor productivity but also changed the nature of production in the form of increased automation through computer aided designing, manufacturing and robotics. This led to labor becoming more intellectual and less manual. It is a fact that producing automation and operating it requires intellectually dynamic and creative labor instead of manual. Hence the quality of labor becomes more important than quantity.
The above shift does not only translate into the fact that individuals involved in it become rich. Its most significant implication is that for the first time in human history it becomes possible for man to produce more than his material needs and desires. The tools of science and technology in the hands of a highly productive workforce have made this a clear possibility in our time. The hitherto socio-cultural, political and economic history of man has been driven by the logic of ‘scarcity’ due to his incapability to produce more than his needs. And this has been the basis of his adversarial and conflicting interactions (exploitation, manipulation and controlling of other human beings, amassing of wealth, land, capital, etc.). However, with this new possibility the underlying basis of all this vanishes. When human beings are able to produce more than what they need then on what basis will they produce the currently unending conflicts and contradictions both within and amongst themselves.
At present contemporary man is unable to sense the real potential of these new means of production, because they are restrained and constrained by existing means and methods, institutions and positions of power. Their optimum utilization, and realization of their full potential will require the removal of two (among others) very critical obstacles. One at the human level and the other on the material plane.
On the human plane, we will need to remove the reigning management model for harnessing these new means of production, which in our view require a complete change in the nature of management. It will have to be rational management based on rational communication and consensus because now it will be dealing with engineers, PhDs, and other educated workers and not uneducated manual workers. Achieving this will not be a problem for an educated and aware workforce who knows the whole picture due to information sharing at all levels and is thereby able to participate intelligently in the production process. For them rational planning, allocation of resources, job distribution and handling other components of production will no longer remain an issue.
Currently however, this is not happening because of the irrational constraints of the pre-existing system operated by individuals who have a kind of addiction and compulsion of not letting go of their existing positions of power and privilege. The potential of the new means of production are a threat to them (and the old system) so they keep trying different means and strategies to inhibit the process of their maturing and optimum operation.
The other important factor which is preventing us from producing more than our needs is production of energy. There have been improvements but no revolution in this area. Efficiencies have increased and new alternative sources of energy have also been explored and developed, but by and large the mainstream sources and their existing methods of production remain intact and dominant. Sources like wind and solar power do not have the capacity to produce energy on a scale required for the level of productivity we are proposing. Cold fusion is one source with potential to unleash an unprecedented revolution in energy production but work in that area is stuck. Its theory has been worked out by scientists and also experimentally verified in the laboratory but they are still unable to build fusion reactors on a large scale.
If cold fusion along with other alternative and better (in terms of cost and environmental benefits) sources of energy, become a reality it will have huge economic and social implications. If the cost of energy falls to one-hundredth of its existing value and the automation process also matures then employment and manpower concerns will not remain what they are at present. Man will no longer need to work for money, power, status, domination, etc. He will be in a position to use his advanced mental capabilities for new agendas arising out of the new objective reality he confronts—the existence of plenty.
With a revolution in energy production and a rational management to harness the applications of science and technology the journey from ‘scarcity’ to ‘plenty’ will no more remain an idea but become a reality. Once ‘scarcity’ is replaced by ‘plenty’ then our existing politics, economics, culture, individual nature, temperament, habits, values, motivations, etc. will no longer remain the same. We will find ourselves in a different world without the old realities.
The real issue contemporary man confronts is that on a large scale the educated people are not letting go of the old realities (mental and external) and recognizing the new emerging ones that need to be promoted and brought closer to us. Especially when the they go in our favor by destroying the basis of our miseries and ignorance. We are suggesting therefore that contemporary man should take note of this situation and intelligently intervene in it.
Developments in Microbiology and the Brain and Mind Sciences
The second area of progress having major implications for transforming human mental and social life in future was the growing scientific discoveries and knowledge in the fields of Microbiology, related areas like Genetics, Evolutionary biology, and the Brain and Mind Sciences. Knowledge coming from these areas was unveiling the mystery of creation and functioning of living things including human beings at two levels, i.e., in terms of their biological form and mechanisms, and also their brain and mental processes (the hitherto area of darkness for man).
Evolutionary biology together with Molecular Biology, Genetics and Paleontology was discovering historical facts and processes relating to origins and evolution of living things going up to Homo Sapiens and eventually human beings in the period of civilization. With this knowledge, enigma regarding human origins began to diminish, and one could see how contemporary man (biological and mental) was in fact a part and product of evolution of living things in Nature.
Furthermore, Molecular Biology and Genetics combined with Computational Sciences were coming to grips with the fundamental mechanism determining formation, functioning, reproduction and evolution of living things—the genes. The understanding of genes as design programs or ‘algorithms’, that guide and control all these processes of living things, has been developing at a very fast pace in these disciplines. Correspondingly our capability for manipulating and redesigning genes through Genetic Engineering has also been growing. It has not only increased productivity of our food sources manifolds, and enabled us to make more effective medicines but aims to provide us in future with the capability to successfully create our different biological organs and probably the whole human being, without resorting to the natural process of reproduction.
The more radical implications of the above Sciences became discernible in connection with rapidly growing knowledge about the working of the brain and mind, especially in the fields of Cognitive Science, Neuroscience and Artificial intelligence. All these fields are interdisciplinary and interactive and have provided us with very important information (of facts) and knowledge about brain/mind in general and the human brain/mind in particular. For instance knowledge from Cognitive Science not only enabled us to understand the concrete functioning of various mental functions through computational models and experiments using tools of Psychology but also informed us how genes guided their development.
The numerous facts and details coming from the work in Neuroscience on the brain and neuronal processes based on advanced tools like EEG, MRI, PET, etc., revealed the integral connection between the various mental functions and the different brain areas. This reinforced our proposition that mind was not a supernatural phenomenon but an objective process arising out of the brain. Similarly, Artificial Intelligence made us see parallels between the basic structural and functional logic of computers (in terms of software, hardware, data input and processing) and logic operating in mental processes. We began to understand how the mind would be working in similar ways with brain and genes as hardware and mental processes as software/programmes for perception, data processing/problem solving and then doing.
Altogether these Sciences were allowing us to view the human mind as a natural phenomenon having logical mechanics to its structure, evolution and functioning and not something apart from rest of Nature.
While inquiring into the possible energy constituents of mental processes we connected particularly with the work in Particle Physics and Astrophysics, especially on the area of fundamental energy processes, the building blocks of our known and unknown universe. This made possible positive speculations about the energy forms constituting mental processes of our feelings and thoughts. We were able to infer that these phenomena would be operating as formations of massless and therefore undetectable pre-big bang energy forms organized through the mechanics of the brain. Logically speaking, mental processes could not be made up of the electro-chemical processes of the brain because the amount of work they do (in terms of data storage and processing related to perception, emotions, ideas, intellect, etc.) and the speed at which it is done is not possible with these relatively slow and heat producing electro-chemical processes. In our view therefore, they could only be made up of these massless energy forms and not the known heavier ones like electrons, what to speak of atoms or molecules.
So we were actually standing at the threshold of the practical prospect of understanding the physics of mental processes just as we eventually understood physics and functioning of cells through genes. This would include knowledge of their energy constituents, interactions amongst them, with the brain, the outside world and most importantly, the mechanics of conscious and unconscious mental functioning and their causes. In short we would come to know the science of our mental processes.
Once all this knowledge became available to us then our personality or what we view and experience as our individuality would no longer remain a conundrum for us. This does not mean it will cease to exist. After all when we understood the functioning of the different organs of our body to the point of being able to modify them through surgery, their individuality did not cease to exist. In fact we have been able to rectify any malfunctioning that arises in them. The same will be true for our mental formations and processes. Our increased knowledge about them will enable us to modify them at an intelligent level, just like through genetic engineering we can modify genes related to any disease (inherited or otherwise). We will be able to restore capabilities we may have lost either during the course of our evolution or through accidents. And also modify and upgrade our existing mental processes and capabilities, and change those which produce negative consequences in our lives. Thus we will not remain helpless in front of our unintelligently formed temperament and personality, which at present control all our actions, good or bad.
Discoveries in Astrophysics and Particle Physics
A very important knowledge input in EM came from Modern Astrophysics, which developed rapidly after the 1960s, especially in the aftermath of the discovery of cosmic microwave background radiation (in 1964), providing pivotal evidence for the theory of Big Bang. It took us back in time to the origins of Nature and how with the big bang the energy states existing at that time underwent a radical change from infinite density and temperature to a process of gradual cooling. A process which in turn unleashed an evolutionary process starting with the formation of heavier energy forms to stars and galaxies, in short the entire universe we observe today including ourselves. In the wake of this discovery the whole process of the universe/Nature (its origins and journey through various stages) came within the purview of our ‘knowing’. It no longer remained a mystery but became an objectively observable and knowable process.
We were able to understand two things from the above information. One, the universe/Nature was a logical system which had been evolving from one stage to another since the Big Bang and was continuing its journey towards new stages. And we were not separate but an integral part of it, a small branch formed recently. Two, tangible observation of the post-big bang evolution of complex heavier forms (or things) arising from earlier lighter energy forms, became a stepping stone for looking into the pre-big bang phase of the universe. We were able to speculate the existence of various light massless energy forms, all of which would not have gone into producing the big bang and its products. This became the basis for conceptualizing the possible energy forms in terms of which mental processes would be operating. We could now see the connection between these undetectable massless energy forms and the undetectable mental processes.
In our view when living matter and later on the brain was evolved these massless energy forms were brought into use through the mechanics of the brain. Their different organizations in interaction with post-big bang forms became the various mental processes. If that was the case then one could discern an unfolding direction or theme in the evolutionary process of universe/Nature. We could see it as a journey from unconscious energy to conscious energy. With the emergence of mental processes those massless energy forms (which earlier were unconscious) were now becoming conscious. In other words, before human mental processes the evolutionary process of Nature due to being unconscious was contradictory/adversarial but after them harmonious interaction also becomes a part of it. Thus Nature seemed to be on a journey from the dialectic of contradiction to the dialectic of harmony.
Consequently, it was becoming possible for man to now locate the existing stage of his life and also discover his purpose and direction in this process. In fact through the intelligent restructuring of his mental processes he could actually facilitate the journey of the universe from unconscious to conscious energy. He could restructure his mind in a manner that would negate the unconscious dialectical process and help establish the conscious dialectical process. It is through undertaking this process that he would be able to find what he has been searching for during the period of civilization—the meaning and purpose of his existence.
To sum up, through Genetics, Molecular Biology and Brain and Mind Sciences, including AI, we were beginning to understand the human mind—our ideas, feelings, emotions, thinking, imagination, intellectual process, etc. And through the growing knowledge in Astrophysics we were finding the purpose and direction in which we could put it to use.
i. According to Atkinson and McKay (2007, p. 1) “…The integration of IT into virtually all aspects of the economy and society is creating a digitally-enabled economy that is responsible for generating the lion’s share of economic growth and prosperity.”
ii. Here we would like to share the following statistics of labor productivity in the US, with the increased use of information technology. “…Federal Reserve Bank economists Oliner and Sichel (2002) found that the use of computers and the production of computers were responsible for 0.92 percentage points of the 0.89 percentage point increase in labor productivity growth rates between 1996-2001 and 1991-1995.25 The OECD (2004, 96) found that IT (production and use) was responsible for 109 percent of the growth in labor productivity from 1996 to 2002.” (Atkinson & Mckay, 2007. p. 16)
iii. The following quote corroborates what we are saying. “…We have merely used our new machines and energies to further processes which were begun under the auspices of capitalist and military enterprise…Not alone have the older forms of technics served to constrain the development of the neotechnic economy, but the new inventions and devices have been frequently used to maintain, renew, and stabilize the structure of the old order…paleotechnic purposes with neotechnic means: that is the most obvious characteristic of the present order.--- Lewis Mumford, Technics and civilization” (Noble, 1986)
iv. Cold fusion can provide abundant, clean and extremely cheap (almost free) energy to mankind. A video on what is cold fusion and why it requires attention can be viewed on the following link, (Retrieved from: http://coldfusionnow.org/edmund-storms-at-npa-19-what-is-cold-fusion-and-why-should-you-care/ (youtube link) For its transcript click the following link : http://coldfusionnow.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/What-Is-Cold-Fusion-And-Why-Should-You-Care-Albq-Talk.pdf )
v. The scientists working on Cold Fusion in US National laboratories, as a part of an international consortium, are hoping that by 2050 they will have the first commercial fusion energy reactor. (Retrieved from http://energy.gov/articles/lab-breakthrough-neutron-science-fusion-mission (youtube link)). Apart from the failure to make large-scale fusion reactors, we will briefly touch upon another reason for the lack of success in this area. And that is the deliberate neglect of this area by individual scientists, groups of researchers and even Governments and other big funding agencies. The vested interests of individuals and groups including governments in the existing relatively less difficult (with quicker results) areas of energy generation has been one important factor inhibiting more scientists and researchers from entering this area, which requires unending and highly creative intellectual inputs in the face of a high rate of failure during experimentation. Consequently governments have refrained from providing the funding to take this project out of the laboratory and make it a large-scale commercially viable venture. A full report on this can be found on the following two links: (Retrieved from: http://lenr-canr.org/acrobat/StormsEastudentsg.pdf , http://www.infinite-energy.com/images/pdfs/mitcfreport.pdf)
vi. Because as mentioned earlier these were largely formed over the course of civilization on the basis of the adversarial positions arising from ‘scarcity’.
vii. From the cellular level to the whole organism.
viii. Currently through cloning and maybe in future through other means also.
ix. Today, in the aftermath of the successful completion of the Human Genome Project and our enhanced capability of genetic engineering, Scientists are well positioned to acquire (in a not too distant future) a mature capability to modify. (existing life-forms including human beings) and also create new life forms. See the following link of a video on this topic. (Retrieved from: http://www.theguardian.com/science/2010/may/20/craig-venter-synthetic-life-form)
x. Processes of cognition, memory, attention, intelligence, language, ideas, feelings, etc.
xi. Not identically because our minds have many other processes which cannot be explained in terms of computational processes.
xii. Due to mass which translates into inertia
xiii. We know that “Neurons require several orders of magnitude more energy than do other cells; the power consumption of a single central neuron is about 0.5–4.0 nW, 300–2500 times more than the average body cell (1.6 pW) (12)… [and] Since all energy used for brain metabolism appears to be finally transformed into heat (11), intense heat production appears to be an essential feature of brain metabolic activity.” Eugene A. Kiyatkin, 2011, (Retrieved from :://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3149793/pdf/nihms312586.pdf) And we know that regular and fresh blood supply into the brain is primarily responsible for the dissipation of this heat. If metabolic activity in the brain already produces so much heat then if infinite mental activity was also in terms of neuronal electrochemical processes the brain would have logically burned down to ashes. This rationale will be explored in detail in the module ‘Brain and Mind’ of this work.
xiv. "In physical molecules, the information that can be carried is directly linked to a molecule’s available energy…Because thermo-chemical coupling wastes most of the molecule’s energy, the small amount of energy that remains limits the amount of information that can be carried as the signal.” (Lipton, 2005, p.112). If this is so then even the electrical voltages carried by ions (atomic and molecular processes) in the brain could not possibly be carriers of vast amounts of mental information.
xv. Of course, the pre-big bang remained in darkness and was in fact viewed as an area not worthwhile for inquiry. It is only recently that some scientists have started speculating about what was there before the big bang and what caused it.
xvi. Of course we could logically see that the origins of this process were way before the big bang. But the important thing was that its journey after the big bang could now be tangibly observed and understood.
xvii. The details of this will be elaborated in the brain/mind module.
xviii. Not just in terms of experience or awareness but in terms of holistic knowing of mental processes and the logical process of Nature.
xix. With the maturing of human mental processes and consciousness harmonious interaction will become the dominant and driving part of Nature.