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Who Are We? Experiments Suggest You're Not Who You Think

Tejwant Singh

Jun 30, 2004
Henderson, NV.
Who Are We? Experiments Suggest You're Not Who You Think

Robert Lanza, M.D.: Who Are We? Experiments Suggest You're Not Who You Think

"Who in the world am I?" asked Alice (in Wonderland). "Ah, that's the great puzzle!" The question may make you wonder about taking time to ponder such philosophical babble. The answer is usually defined by what you can control. A reply might be, "I can wiggle my toes but I can't move the legs of the table." The dividing line between self and nonself is taken to be the skin.

This is reinforced every day of our lives -- every time you fill out a form: I am ___ (your name here). It's such an integral part of our lives that the question is as unnatural as scrutinizing breathing.

Years ago I published an experiment (Science, 212, 695, 1981) with Harvard psychologist B.F. Skinner (the "father" of modern behaviorism) showing that like us, animals are capable of 'self-awareness.' We taught pigeons to use a mirror to locate a spot on their body which they couldn't see directly.

Although similar behavior in primates is attributed to a self-concept, it's clear there are different degrees of self-awareness. For instance, we didn't report in our paper that the pigeons attacked their own reflection in the mirror. Biocentrism suggests we humans may be as oblivious to certain aspects of who we are as the pigeons.

We are more than we've been taught in biology class. Everyday life makes this obvious. Last weekend I set out on a walk. There was a roar of dirt bikes from the nearby sandpit, but as I went further into the forest the sound gradually disappeared. In a clearing I noticed sprays of tiny flowers (Houstonia caerulea) dotting the ground. I squatted down to examine them.

They were about a quarter-of-an-inch in diameter with yellow centers and petals ranging in color from white to deep purple. I was wondering why these flowers had such bright coloring, when I saw a fuzzy little creature with a body the size of a BB darting in and out of the flowers. Its wings were awkwardly large and beating so fast I could hardly see their outline. This tiny world was as wondrous as Pandora in Avatar. It took my breath away.

There we were, this fuzzy little creature and I, two living objects that had entered into each others' world. It flew off to the next flower, and I, for my part, stepped back careful not to destroy its habitat. I wondered if our little interaction was any different from that of any other two objects in the Universe. Was this little insect just another collection of atoms -- proteins and molecules spinning like planets around the sun?

It's true that the laws of chemistry can tackle the rudimentary biology of living systems, and as a medical doctor I can recite in detail the chemical foundations and cellular organization of animal cells: oxidation, biophysical metabolism, all the carbohydrates, lipids and amino acid patterns. But there was more to this little bug than the sum of its biochemical functions. A full understanding of life can't be found only by looking at cells and molecules.

Conversely, physical existence can't be divorced from the animal life and structures that coordinate sense perception and experience (even if these, too, have a physical correlate in our consciousness).

It seems likely that this creature was the center of its own sphere of physical reality just as I was the center of mine. We were connected not only by being alive at the same moment in Earth's 4.5 billion year history, but by something suggestive - a pattern that's a template for existence itself.

The bug had little eyes and antenna, and possessed sensory cells that transmitted messages to its brain. Perhaps my existence in its universe was limited to some shadow off in the distance. I don't know. But as I stood up and left, I no doubt dispersed into the haze of probability surrounding the creature's little world.

Science has failed to recognize those properties of life that make it fundamental to our existence. This view of the world in which life and consciousness are bottom-line in understanding the larger universe -- biocentrism -- revolves around the way our consciousness relates to a physical process. It's a vast mystery that I've pursued my entire life with a lot of help along the way, standing on the shoulders of some of the most lauded minds of the modern age. I've also come to conclusions that would shock my predecessors, placing biology above the other sciences in an attempt to find the theory of everything that has evaded other disciplines.

We're taught since childhood that the universe can be fundamentally divided into two entities -- ourselves, and that which is outside of us. This seems logical. "Self" is commonly defined by what we can control. We can move our fingers but I can't wiggle your toes. The dichotomy is based largely on manipulation, even if basic biology tells us we've no more control over most of the trillions of cells in our body than over a rock or a tree.

Consider everything that you see around you right now -- this page, for example, or your hands and fingers. Language and custom say that it all lies outside us in the external world. Yet we can't see anything through the vault of bone that surrounds our brain. Everything you see and experience -- your body, the trees and sky -- are part of an active process occurring in your mind. You are this process, not just that tiny part you control with motor neurons.

You're not an object -- you are your consciousness. You're a unified being, not just your wriggling arm or foot, but part of a larger equation that includes all the colors, sensations and objects you perceive. If you divorce one side of the equation from the other you cease to exist. Indeed, experiments confirm that particles only exist with real properties if they're observed. Until the mind sets the scaffolding of things in place, they can't be thought of as having any real existence -- neither duration nor position in space. As the great physicist John Wheeler said, "No phenomenon is a real phenomenon until it is an observed phenomenon." That's why in real experiments, not just the properties of matter -- but space and time themselves -- depend on the observer. Your consciousness isn't just part of the equation − the equation is you.

After she left the pool of tears, the Caterpillar asked Alice "'Who are you?' This was not an encouraging opening for a conversation. Alice replied, rather shyly, 'I--I hardly know, Sir...'" Perhaps the Hookah-Smoking caterpillar, sitting there on his mushroom, knew that this unusually short question was not only rude, but difficult indeed.

Robert Lanza, MD has published extensively in leading scientific journals. His book "Biocentrism" (co-authored with astronomer Bob Berman) lays out the full scientific argument for his theory of everything.


1947-2014 (Archived)
Jun 17, 2004
The signature of one of my facebook colleagues is a paraphrase of this quote from the French scientist and mystic, Pierre Teillhard De Chardin.

We are not human beings having a spiritual experience, but, we are spiritual beings having a human experience.
(Pierre Teillhard de Chardin, The Phenomenon of Man, 1881-1955)
Sep 27, 2008
Thanks for this post Tejwant Ji, Narayanjot Ji "Edgar Cayce" and "Helena Blavatsky" mention this topic in great detail aswell as a few other Mystics and Philosophers.


ਨਾਮ ਤੇਰੇ ਕੀ ਜੋਤਿ ਲਗਾਈ (Previously namjap)
Jul 14, 2007
How To Remember Who You Are And Who You Are Not – Living With the “I and I”

by Robert Wilkinson
Who Are You? Do you know why others can make you lose your equilibrium and you find yourself doing strange things? As you know, dispassion, detachment, discrimination, and genuine Goodwill toward others are the antidotes to the sources of suffering. In today’s offering from the venerable Magic of Space we are offered words of wisdom about how to deal with the part of us that gets confused, angry, whirled around, or spun out.

From The Magic of Space, Chapter VII, “The Self – Its Relation to Space and Matter:”
The waves of outward life affect the inner man from all sides, and instead of controlling the outward life, he is controlled by it. The outer forces cannot develop the inner man; it can be developed only by the inner calm of the soul. Outer circumstances can affect only the outer life; they never can develop the spiritual man. One must awaken the new and higher man, the subjective mind, from within. Once the inner self is awakened it becomes the “Ruler,” the “Master Within,” and directs the circumstances of the outer man with sure guidance. As long as the inner self is unawakened, one’s power cannot be developed.
If another than yourself has the power to make you angry, then you are not the master of yourself. This means, of course, that you have not found the ruler within you. You must develop the power within, and then let the impressions of the outer world approach you as you choose, for only after striving for and attaining this power can you reach the desired state. You must learn control of temper, so that you feel no anger or impatience. You must learn control of the mind itself, so that the thought may always be calm and unruffled; and (through the mind) you must learn control of the nerves, so that they may be as little irritated as possible.
This last is very difficult, because when you try to prepare yourself to follow the Path, you cannot help making yourself and your body more sensitive, so that its nerves are easily disturbed by a sound or a shock, and feel any pressure acutely. The calm mind also means courage, so that you may face without fear the trials and difficulties of the Path you have chosen; it means steadfastness, so that you may make light of the troubles which come into everyone’s life, and avoid the incessant worry over little things, with which many people spend most of their time.
It must not matter to you what happens to you from the outside; sorrows, troubles, sicknesses, losses – all of these must be as nothing to you, and must not be allowed to affect the calmness of your mind. They are the results of past actions, and when they come you must bear them cheerfully, remembering that they are transitory. They belong to your previous lives, although some are directly traceable in this life, and you cannot alter them; therefore think rather of what you are doing now, which will make the event of this life and the next life, for that you can alter, and also mitigate the present, if handled correctly.
It will require a good deal of practice to possess always the inward calm, but the greater the effort needed, the more important the achievement. Everything depends upon the inward truthfulness and sincerity with which we think of ourselves and the actions of others. But after the Higher Being is awakened, something else is still needed. If a man thinks of himself as a stranger, it is only himself that he contemplates; he looks at his experiences, to which his mode of life subjects him, and he must rise above them and aspire to a purely impartial point of view, no longer connected with his own individual circumstance.
He must think of those things which concern him as concerning another person, although he himself may swell in entirely different conditions and circumstances. By doing this, he rises above the personal point of view and becomes objective about himself. His attention is directed to higher worlds than those he know in his every-day life. Then he begins to long for those higher worlds, about which his senses and his daily occupation tell him nothing.
In this way he becomes more conscious of the inner part of his nature. He learns to listen to the voices within him, which speak when all is calm; and inwardly he is able to converse with the spiritual world. During this time of meditation he is, for the time being, withdrawn from the everyday world, and no longer hears its voices. All around him is silence. His entire soul is filled with inward calm and contemplation, and converses with the purely spiritual world. This calm contemplation is necessary – he must develop an earnest desire for such calm thinking.
Many highly developed students state that they are unable to communicate with higher Beings, or to converse with the spiritual world, and we would remind them of Jesus’ word, “unless ye become as little children ye cannot enter the Kingdom of Heaven” – and His explanation – “…for the Kingdom of Heaven is within you.” Some intellectual students, we fear, feel that all they need do is arm themselves with several books, adjust their glasses, and sit and wait – and the Beings of other planes, thus notified, will enter the room and introduce themselves.
You can go to the section that immediately follows this part of the book in this post, so if you want a little more, click on the link and read more. One hint - how and when the Masters or any higher Being appears to us is NOT subject to our demands and desires.



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