Investigating Roots of Consciousness at Foundations of Mind

Written by on September 24, 2015 in Sci-Tech, Science with 0 Comments
Foundations of Mind reception with Cynthia Sue Larson, Seán Ó Nualláin, Beverly Rubik, and Maria Syldona

Cynthia Sue Larson, Seán Ó Nualláin, Beverly Rubik, and Maria Syldona at the Foundations of Mind reception

The Foundations of Mind II conference may be over, but the conversation is heating up.

The Foundations of Mind II conference took place at UC Berkeley this month, featuring presentations by Fritjof Capra, Stuart Kauffman, Henry Stapp, Bob Doyle, Howard Pattee, Jacob Needleman, Walter Freeman, Stuart Hameroff, Jonathan Schooler, Glenn Aparicio Parry, Beverly Rubik, Acacio de Barros, Carlos Montemayor, Len Talmy, Bob Petr, Judy Gardiner, Julia Bystrova, Maria Syldona, Leanne Whitney, Tania Re, Wolfgang Baer, Markate Daly, Justin Riddle, Seán Ó Nualláin, and many more. With three information-rich days of conference proceedings, and ongoing conversations that ran long into most nights, this year’s conference was a veritable feast of interdisciplinary ideas, wisdom and information from around the world.

Videos from the conference presentations will be available through the Foundations of Mind website, and papers will be published in the future, too. People registered through Foundations of Mind are joining in several threads of on-going conversations begun at the conference, and moving forward to explore topics of the quantum paradigm, consciousness, biosemiotics, and higher education.

Cynthia Sue Larson and Fritjof Capra

Cynthia Sue Larson and Fritjof Capra

A Systems View of Life

Fritjof Capra talked about moving from a mechanistic to a systemic network view of life, in which there is a more unified view of mind, matter, and life. “Evolution is no longer seen as a competitive struggle, but a cooperative dance.” Capra described the theory of autopoiesis, which defines biological life as a pattern of self organization within a boundary of its own making. With this definition, Capra pointed out, “plants have consciousness, too!” The Santiago Theory of cognition is a non-representational (non-symbolic) theory that identifies cognition–the process of knowing–with the process of life. Life and cognition are inseparably connected, and perception and behavior do not require a brain or nervous system. The Santiago Theory overcomes the Cartesian division of mind and matter, so that mind is not a ‘thing,’ but instead represents the self-organizing process aspect of life, and matter represents the complementary aspect of structure.

Stuart Kauffman

Stuart Kauffman

Biology and Evolution

Stuart Kauffman pointed out that there is no propositional system to determine the number of uses for a screwdriver. The number is necessarily infinite, since new functions can exist that could not be determined in advance. Functions are important to us, so we have hearts that pump blood, yet biological systems cannot be reduced to physics. Kauffman stated, “What’s propagating is not DNA or genes–it’s functional sufficiencies.” The key point is that new actuals constantly arise that enable–rather than cause–new possibilities. Once a swim bladder develops in a given animal, for example, a new function–buoyancy–begins to exist. And once that swim bladder exists, it’s possible for bacteria to live in that swim bladder. Here we see that reductionism must fail, since biological evolution creates new actuals that nobody can foresee, which were all enabled by what came before.


Gurdjieff View of Consciousness

Jacob Needleman described how George Ivanovich Gurdjieff spoke of consciousness as being pure presence, with many levels. Only when all three minds (mental, feelings, and instinctive)–all three centers of perception–work together can real consciousness begin. Gurdjieff describes the “many I’s” present in each of us, but for most people experiencing this, it comes as a tremendous shock to the ego. Needleman pointed out that, “Man is here for some reason, and everything serves a purpose. What does mankind serve on Earth?” Gurdjieff explained that a transmitting station operates through man’s consciousness, which Earth needs: “Awakened man can change the world.”

Leanne Whitney

Leanne Whitney

Living the Quantum Paradigm

Sky Nelson and Jim Johnston kicked off the conference with dialogue about how it feels to experience synchronicity, love, and connectedness while living in keeping with the quantum paradigm–as physicists themselves. Judy Gardiner talked about dreams and dream symbols, Shiva Meucci summarized key points of focus in consciousness and physics, Cynthia Sue Larson presented the paper, “Quantum Logic is Primary in the Natural World,” Leanne Whitney delved into Patanjali’s concepts of the purusa ontic reality, Jim Johnston talked about quantum dynamic variables, Maria Syldona provided an experience of consciousness from Kashmir Shaivism, and Julia Bystrova presented a poetic transdisciplinary perspective.

A Veritable Smorgasbord of World Views

Walter Freeman

Walter Freeman

Leonard Talmy provided insights into how language structures concepts; Seán Ó Nualláin talked about education, mindfulness and high performance; Justin Riddle led an exploration into the fractal cognitive triad; Jonathan Schooler invited us to ponder how an additional subjective dimension of time might provide a meta-perspective bridging science and experience; and J. Acacio de Barros investigated quantum mechanics by encouraging us to more thoroughly contemplate who has a mind.

Henry Stapp discussed the quantum zeno effect, and the intriguing way that if you keep asking the same question repeatedly and rapidly enough, it stays in the “yes” answer mode. Walter Freeman discussed four steps by which animals create knowledge and meaning from microscopic sensory information. Beverly Rubik described the importance of the biofield hypothesis for appreciating how consciousness is the conductor for the energetic ‘symphony.’ Howard Pattee pointed out that we can’t have just one model that handles everything–we need complementary models. Bob Doyle described the temporal sequence to free will, starting first with “free,” followed by “will.”

Stuart Hameroff at Foundations of Mind 2

Stuart Hameroff

Sebastian Benthall talked with Seán Ó Nualláin about ideas for improving higher education, and the notion of one magisterium. Glenn Aparicio Parry discussed the value of considering original thinking–that which was there first–from an indigenous perspective, in terms of accessing the full continuum of consciousness. Markate Daly described how three moral qualities of trust, reciprocity and care contribute to provide social order. Petr Bob asked whether the non-classical mind exists, pointing out that the binding problem anticipated by Descartes still exists. Wolfgang Baer reviewed the compatibility of physical assumptions with the foundations of mind. Frank Heile presented a three agent theory to explain religion, spirituality, and enlightenment. Jeffery Martin talked about the wonders of transformative technology. Karla Galdamez described experimental apparatus for measuring wave function collapse.

Stuart Hameroff discussed the “quantum pleasure principle,” in which consciousness creates a flow of time. Juan Acosta-Urquidi discussed positive neurophenomenology affects from medicinal qualities of plants. Tania Re described a bridge between anthropology, medicine and physics in the way cultures access different state of consciousness for healing. Yoshio Nakamura shared research findings about mindfulness meditation and nondual awareness. Jerry Gin presented biogeometry tools, materials and ideas. Sperry Andrews discussed humanity’s capacity to share a common sense. Rodney Albert Ferguson brought joyful levity to a spirited discussion about how alive, conscious, and free we truly are.

Fiachra Meek

Fiachra Meek

Music and Socializing at FOM2 Reception

There were lots of opportunities to socialize and connect at the Foundations of Mind party featuring music by a famous young Irish uliieann piper, Fiachra Meek, whose video filmed on an Irish bus recently went viral, with Irish journalists commenting “Only in Ireland.” Fortunately for those of us at Foundations of Mind, we enjoyed hearing many beautiful Irish uliieann songs!

QuantumJumps300x150adCynthia Sue Larson is the best-selling author of six books, including Quantum Jumps. Cynthia has a degree in Physics from UC Berkeley, and discusses consciousness and quantum physics on numerous shows including the History Channel, Coast to Coast AM, the BBC and One World with Deepak Chopra. You can subscribe to Cynthia’s free monthly ezine at:

Tags: , , ,


If you enjoyed this article, subscribe now to receive more just like it.

Subscribe via RSS Feed Connect on YouTube

New Title

NOTE: Email is optional. Do NOT enter it if you do NOT want it displayed.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

FAIR USE NOTICE. Many of the articles on this site contain copyrighted material whose use has not been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making this material available in an effort to advance the understanding of environmental issues, human rights, economic and political democracy, and issues of social justice. We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of the copyrighted material as provided for in Section 107 of the US Copyright Law which contains a list of the various purposes for which the reproduction of a particular work may be considered fair, such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research. If you wish to use such copyrighted material for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use' must obtain permission from the copyright owner. And, if you are a copyright owner who wishes to have your content removed, let us know via the "Contact Us" link at the top of the site, and we will promptly remove it.

The information on this site is provided for educational and entertainment purposes only. It is not intended as a substitute for professional advice of any kind. Conscious Life News assumes no responsibility for the use or misuse of this material. Your use of this website indicates your agreement to these terms.

Paid advertising on Conscious Life News may not represent the views and opinions of this website and its contributors. No endorsement of products and services advertised is either expressed or implied.

Send this to a friend