What Is This “Experience” We Call Being Alive… And How Does It Come About?
September 1, 2009
Okay… So far so good. I hope!?
Oh… By the way… If you want the password to the last post just E-mail/Message me about what you’ve thought so far about all of this, a little bit about what you do, or anything else you’d like to add and I’ll send it over. I’m sorta covering my tracks on that one for the moment… But enough said for now.
Right… Let’s just recap a little on where we’re currently at. So… We’ve just seen how mankind became self aware of what we actually are made from i.e. how the cell was perceived by the industrious work of Van Leuwenhoek, Robert Remak, et al. From this understanding, mankind has researched and experimented with the idea of “animalcules”, refining these basic tenets into ever more accurate analogies, until the very essence of the cell was revealed. We’ve also seen how this knowledge about how the cell works is allowing the Biotech Industry to flourish. An industry that is now providing renewable sources of energy, in environmentally friendly ways and with an ecologically conscience! And before that, we’ve see how the very fabric of matter i.e. all the various types of atoms, up to and including iron, were forged in the hearts of stars, with the rest of the elements (heavier than iron) being pressured together in the blast of their dying supernovas. Then we glimpsed at how the natural force of gravity began to accrete all this matter, once again, back into solid planetary spheres of substantial atomic mass to form the solid ground we stand on today… Positing in the process everything from meteors, moons and dwarf planets, along with the very furnaces of future generations i.e. the suns/stars themselves… And, just the other day, we saw what a monumental task it is to try to understand, in philosophical and scientific terms, how Life came into being.
All in all, pretty awe inspiring stuff…
But… Out of all that… We haven’t really had the chance to understand anything about what it is with this matter, when it comes together in the way that it does here in our bodies, that ‘allows’ us to see what we see, feel what we feel, hear what we hear, understand what we know i.e. what is it that allows us to perceive things in the way that we do: the very mechanisms of perception itself?
Well… As you can imagine, this is no easy task. However… Someone has made a “stab” at this immensely complex subject… And in trying to understand all this, he’s provided one part of the chain that can be iterated into various similar modes, whereby a rough picture of how we function as a big perception machine can begin to be understood. But before we go there… Let’s firstly look at the definition of “perception” as found in the Oxford English Dictionary, so we can aim at the target that we’re trying to hit:
1) the ability to see, hear, or become aware of something through the senses.
2) the process of perceiving.
3) a way of understanding or interpreting something.
4) intuitive understanding and insight.
— ORIGIN Latin, from percipere ‘seize, understand’.
So… Essentially perception is the ability to perceive what is around one’s self through the physical senses i.e. how the body, whether animal or plant, works in order to sense how the environment in changing around itself, and thus react in a way to suite its needs for survival. So… How does this actually occur??? Well… As I’ve mentioned, it’s no easy feat. Why? For starters, the body itself is made of over 60 billion cells, most of which are highly specialized, each performing only one part in a complex orchestration of trillions of chemical and physical interactions, that give rise to what we perceive to be living matter. And it has taken science and medicine hundreds of years of diligent study to, at best, vaguely understand the basic structure of the human body. Not to mention that, without the recent developments in technology over the last one hundred years, we probably would still be non-the-wiser than we were before penicillin and soap came into being.
But with the advent of mass spectroscopy, electron microscopy, X-Ray Crystallography, and some highly advanced non-invasive imaging techniques – like Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Imaging (NMRI) – we have been able to probe the structure of our bodies beyond our wildest dreams, and do so while it is still alive. From all the wondrous studies that the human imagination realized were now within reach, much research has been and still is being conducted, yielding results that most of us have no idea quite how it fits into the big picture… At least not yet, anyway. It’s like a new ending eternal jigsaw… We have only a few pieces, and we can’t just yet piece them together in our minds to see how they precisely join up to make the big picture of us, alive, functioning beings. Though, as the years move onwards, and scientific research delves ever deeper into the unknown, the gaps between the pieces we started out with are providing wondrous detail with the other pieces to the puzzle. And so eventually mankind is beginning to see an underlying order to that system… The system of Life… The system of the Universe… And so we can began to grasp at what exactly it IS that makes a Lifeform “tick” and function in the way that it does.
Here Dr. Bruce Lipton very enthusiastically demonstrates the way in which the Biology Of Perception itself works in the human body.
Pretty neat explanation, eh? While I’m not too worried about Bruce’s central theme here i.e. that through our beliefs we send totally different messages to our cells and reprogram their expression (though I do agree with him about this)… I am very interested in is how he wonderfully explains the workings of this amazingly complex cascade of chemical interplay that occurs 24 hours a day between all the cells in our body, in diurnal, lunar and annual cycles, to produce perception and the reaction of being… And so, with this idea, it provides a great window into beginning to understand the way in which our body functions, and how it perceives on a chemical level. Again, Bruce’s explanation is really only just the tip of the iceberg… But none the less, you can see how the body, and the very matter within this body i.e. all the components of “star dust”, work together in a complex matrix to form perception.
So… Life… I think we’re half-way there. Well. Almost half. What we’re lacking is this distinctly “alive” feeling that we all have throughout our every waking (and even sleeping) hours and moments. Because it’s that feeling… The feeling of what it is to be this amazing self-aware chemical reaction, that constitutes to our experiences of what we perceive to be reality. And it’s a reaction that’s taken over 4 billion years to come together into what we are today – a human being. This reaction, which has needed such a diverse array of other organisms to produce the first ideas of what life could be, as well as providing the building blocks from their dead bodies from which future generations could build themselves from… Somehow… That feeling of being… Of the chemical and physical reactions between the various arrangements of “star dust” that make up our bodies, is what makes us feel alive. And, BOY OH BOY, do we feel it… Undeniably.
Out of all the various types of chemical interplay that occur between all the cells in our body, and the reactions inside these cells i.e. the diffusion gradients of various biological compounds that trigger regulatory internal cellular mechanisms, which in turn either bolster, diminish, re-route or even change aspects of their own internal and external cellular flow, which in turn regulate other bodily organs (which, don’t forget, are nothing more than other clusters of highly specialized cells)… Is a feeling. A feeling that we experience as being alive. Just as Bruce Lipton described, interactions of the “integral cellular proteins” i.e. the proteins which are protruding through the cellular wall of each cell, acting as the brain of the cell, to initiate internal responses to extra-cellular stimuli… OR even the other way around i.e. intra-cellular responses to external cellular stimuli… All of which are usually initiated with molecules… WELL… IT IS THESE CHEMICAL INTERPLAYS that allow cells to switch on/operate and manufacture proteins and/or chemicals that they need to perform various responses with, and thereby continue on with their own well being…
And much in the same way, our own reactions to our surrounding environment all produce cellular responses at various different levels i.e. the eye sees a sharp object approaching the body… The light coming into the eyes, triggers a synaptic flow of ions along nerves, into the brain… This then triggers a response by the brain, as it recognises of what a sharp object can do to the body i.e. damage it… And so the brain produces a “maneuvering” idea in its structure, which is then transferred via chemical interplays between the brain to the nervous system (via the spinal chord), onto the muscles, which twitch in a controlled manner/order, in order to initiate an evasive manoeuvre away from the approaching sharp point. Simple as that! It’s chemical… Nothing more, nothing less. That’s what we perceive to be experience.
Scientists Get First Image of Memory Being Made!!! You better believe it…
All these cells work together, to form the well being of the whole… For one happy, functioning cell, allows for other happy functioning cells, all intertwined in the movement of what we call, and perceive to be, Life… All the various types of reactions, when amassed together, form what We experience as this near constant illusion of feeling, colour, sound, movement, taste and smell… And this experience gives rise to us producing the notions of a so called “Self”… Ourselves. This is “MY” experience! I am aware of it… The sensation of the keys under my finger tips as I type this. These are “My” sensations. Not anyone else. They’re specific to “Me”. “I” feel them, and “choose” how to react to them.
We feel we are an entity experiencing a “reality” that is common place to everyone and everything we experience. In this cyclical flow of chemistry within our bodies, a flow that is tentatively balanced between a highly ordered, complex array of “strange attractors“, all feeding back off one another in order to achieve a balance of such intricate and delicate interplay… That is senses minute changes in chemical imbalances within its system. But, ironically… It’s also very robust and stable… And it is because of this robustness that we are fortunately able to function very well in our equally as intricate and delicate balanced environment, sensing nuances that allow us to interact subtly and with great sensitivity with our environment.
But is this reality we perceive really real? Or is it simply an illusion of sorts? After all, we’ve seen how the atom is in essence nothing near as solid a structure as we presume it to sometimes be… See “The Illusory Atom.” So what exactly is real… And what is illusion?
The answer to that question… I will discuss in another post.
A bit about Bruce Lipton:
Dr. Bruce Lipton is an internationally recognized authority in bridging science and spirit. He has been a guest speaker on dozens of TV and radio shows, as well as keynote presenter for national conferences.
Dr. Lipton began his scientific career as a cell biologist. He received his Ph.D. Degree from the University of Virginia at Charlottesville before joining the Department of Anatomy at the University of Wisconsin’s School of Medicine in 1973. Dr. Lipton’s research on muscular dystrophy, studies employing cloned human stem cells, focused upon the molecular mechanisms controlling cell behaviour. An experimental tissue transplantation technique developed by Dr. Lipton and colleague Dr. Ed Schultz and published in the journal Science was subsequently employed as a novel form of human genetic engineering.
In 1982, Dr. Lipton began examining the principles of quantum physics and how they might be integrated into his understanding of the cell’s information processing systems. He produced breakthrough studies on the cell membrane, which revealed that this outer layer of the cell was an organic homologue of a computer chip, the cell’s equivalent of a brain. His research at Stanford University’s School of Medicine, between 1987 and 1992, revealed that the environment, operating though the membrane, controlled the behaviour and physiology of the cell, turning genes on and off. His discoveries, which ran counter to the established scientific view that life is controlled by the genes, presaged one of today’s most important fields of study, the science of epigenetics. Two major scientific publications derived from these studies defined the molecular pathways connecting the mind and body. Many subsequent papers by other researchers have since validated his concepts and ideas.
Dr. Lipton’s novel scientific approach transformed his personal life as well. His deepened understanding of cell biology highlighted the mechanisms by which the mind controls bodily functions, and implied the existence of an immortal spirit. He applied this science to his personal biology, and discovered that his physical well-being improved, and the quality and character of his daily life was greatly enhanced.
Dr. Lipton has taken his award-winning medical school lectures to the public and is currently a sought after keynote speaker and workshop presenter. He lectures to conventional and complementary medical professionals and lay audiences about leading-edge science and how it dovetails with mind-body medicine and spiritual principles. He has been heartened by anecdotal reports from hundreds of former audience members who have improved their spiritual, physical and mental well being by applying the principles he discusses in his lectures. He is regarded as one of the leading voices of the new biology. Dr Lipton’s work summarizing his findings, entitled The Biology of Belief (ISBN 0-9759914-7-7).
To find out more about Bruce Lipton and his work, please click here.