Although studies have provided much information about the workings of the brain, we have only scratched the surface in our search for understanding what makes us “conscious”.
We know that the brain receives input from our five physical senses, interprets the input, compares it to previously created memories, and draws conclusions. We also know that those conclusions can be subjective, and at times, inaccurate. Nevertheless, the brain’s ability to analyze input at speeds that exceed that of man-made computers is impressive. Computers have been shown to exceed the speed of the human brain, but only when processing a single set of data. The human brain is multi-tasking, analyzing more input than we are consciously aware of from all of our senses, while simultaneously monitoring the functionality of all of our organs. Impressive!
But, where do “original” thoughts come from? How does the mechanical view of the brain as an organic computer explain “intuition” or “inspiration”? How can we have ideas that seem to be unrelated to the input provided by our physical senses?
Much is broadcast over radio waves. We can turn on our radios, select a frequency and listen to our favorite music. Without a radio, we would not be able to hear the music. The radio is a device that can receive and interpret those waves, “translate” them, and produce sound in a range that can then be received by our ears and interpreted by our brain. The result is “music to our ears”.
Granted, this is not a perfect analogy, but our brain serves a function similar to the radio. As a mechanistic device, the brain receives input and interprets it, “translates” it into images that can be processed and compared to stored memories – all for the purpose of making sense of it.
If your radio is turned off or broken, you hear no music. The radio waves responsible for what we call music still exist, but without a device to “translate” them we can’t hear the music. If your brain is damaged, you cannot make sense of the input. The sensory data still exists, but without a device to “translate” it we would be deaf and blind to the world around us.
From this perspective, the brain is a tool whose function is to translate input into a usable form, much the same as a radio translates sound waves. There is no reason to believe thought originates in the brain, anymore than there is reason to believe music originates in our radios.
Unlike the radio, the brain is capable of receiving and translating input from more than one source. We understand that it is equally proficient in translating visual, auditory and sensory input from our eyes, ears and skin. It does not take a great leap to surmise that it may also be capable of receiving input from other sources, if other sources of input exist.
I (and others) have proposed the theory that an external source of information exists outside of ourselves. This is best explained using another analogy.
In most businesses today, personal computers are a standard feature on an employee’s desk or workstation. But most people must share information with their co-workers, so data is not stored on their own computer’ hard drive, but rather on a server that is accessible by many people. When working on a particular problem, some of that data is uploaded to the PC and stored in a temporary memory. In this way, the employee can utilize the combined knowledge of many people and add to that knowledge by altering the spreadsheet or document, then returning it to the communal archive – the server – for all to see. The Internet functions using the same principle by providing many people access to shared information that is stored on servers not owned or maintained by the individual users.
Throughout human history, Man has had the desire to share his thoughts with others. We invented language and written language in order to communicate ideas, the printing press to share ideas with more than just those with whom we could communicate directly, libraries to store and share these ideas, and the Internet to spread these ideas all around the globe! Could we be intuitively creating mechanical methods of communication that parallel something that has always existed, but which we don’t fully understand or something that we have forgotten how to use?
Also throughout human history, there have been some who may have found the key to utilizing this Universal Intelligence. Most have interpreted the experience through the mental filter of Religion, because before Science, everything not fully understood was thought to be “from the gods” – thunder, rain, fertility, good luck, bad luck – but Science has shown us that there are natural explanations for these things. Even today, for the person who is devoutly religious, unexplainable “paranormal” events may be seen as God speaking to him. Others will say it justifies belief in the occult. To most people, it is something that happens from time to time, but not something worthy of much curiosity. An atheist may dismiss it as random firings of neurons, signifying nothing.
Because we all interpret such things through our own mental biases, there is no consensus on what it might mean and Science has not given it serious consideration – yet. But if we could agree on the semantics and agree that all paranormal incidents may have a natural explanation, Science would be better able to investigate.
So, let’s examine some paranormal events from the perspective of the theory of Universal Intelligence. Remember that the theory says our brains are capable of receiving information from an external source, similar to the way a PC receives information from a server, and that our brains can add to the stored knowledge of that external source, making it available for others to access.
Extra-sensory perception (ESP): This is the alleged ability to know what another person is thinking – in other words, mind reading. But what if one person is not reading the mind of another, but accessing the centrally stored data, which includes the contributions made by that other person? From the perspective of this theory, that would be a normal function of our brains. When I use my computer to access a shared document written by a co-worker, I’m not reading his mind, but I AM reading his thoughts!
Out-of-body experience (OBE): A term used to describe the sensation that you have left your body and are seeing yourself from an external viewpoint. Well, that’s the way other people see you, isn’t it? If you can access the shared thoughts of others, it shouldn’t be surprising that you may be able to see what they see. Normal.
Memories of past-lives: Some people believe they lived another life, and can remember things only the now-deceased person would know. When I read the autobiography of a long-dead person, I can learn things that were secrets during his lifetime. If I could access his memories without reading a book, the same would be true, so if all of our thoughts are centrally stored we can all learn those secrets. It is because we don’t consider that to be possible that we’re inclined to assume that the knowledge must be from our own memories. Again, thanks to this theory, the paranormal begins to seem normal.
Communicating with the dead: Do you wonder why the deceased only talk about things that already happened, or things they might have wished would happen? No one ever got a dead person to predict tomorrow’s winning lottery numbers! As with memories of past-lives, this could be explained by the theory. We are accessing the thoughts the person had while they were still alive. Nothing new can be learned from the deceased because they stopped contributing to the store of knowledge when they died. That seems normal.
Science rightly dismisses the paranormal because of the explanations given by those who believe it to be paranormal. If scientists would consider the possibility that the events being described are real, but just misinterpreted, we could progress toward an understanding of the cause. I offer Universal Intelligence as a hypothesis to be examined in the hope that “paranormal” can become an obsolete and unnecessary term.