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Paul Anthony

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PostSubject: Universal Intelligence   Sat Dec 08, 2007 7:40 pm

I've tossed this term out from time to time, but never fully explained it. Since I consider you all to be intelligent, I'd like your opinions of this theory of mine. But I won't be so crass as to ask you to buy my book, so I'm posting an explanation here for your review. Your comments would be appreciated.

Universal Intelligence


The Problem:

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?

The premise:

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 useable 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.

The hypothesis:

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 saw. 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: I’ve always wondered 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.
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PostSubject: Re: Universal Intelligence   Sat Dec 08, 2007 8:24 pm

Well very well stated, and interesting.

But I would need documented evidence of a "paranormal event", I think, before I would consider the need to find the source of the said paranomral event, if you know what I mean.

In other words I think the conceit there is that we accept that paranormal acts have occurred and you have come up with a way to explain them.

But personally I don't accept the conceit that paranormal acts have occurred notwithstanding my acknowledgement that some events do seem to bely coincidence.

Still, an interesting read.
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PostSubject: Re: Universal Intelligence   Sun Dec 09, 2007 9:09 am

I personally don't believe in the paranormal (I'm about as Atheistic as you can get without actually being an Atheist) but I have seen some strange things. Who knows maybe there is something to it. It would be the height of arrogance to say it isn't true just because I have doubts about it. In fact it could be compatible with some of the more bizarre consequences of quantum pysics.

If there is something to it your hypothesis could be a first step in modeling it. But you would have to overcome some pretty substantial problems. For instance how does this interaction take place? Is it dualistic? Is the information purposeful?


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The Paineful Truth

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PostSubject: Re: Universal Intelligence   Sun Dec 09, 2007 10:06 am

Paul Anthony wrote:
But I won't be so crass as to ask you to buy my book.

Uh oh, guess I need to do something about by sig over at PD--someday. Embarassed

Quote :

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?

It's possible it exists, but saying we've forgotten how to use it would be a stretch IMNTBHO.
Quote :

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.

I don't think you're going to get many scientists to agree there is any evidence of the paranormal which we could investigate.

Extra-sensory perception (ESP):

Is there any evidence other than anecdotal or coincidental for ESP? If it exists, couldn't there be people hearing voices, and how would we distinguish that from schizophrenia? Has any of those voices actually conveyed new information?

Out-of-body experience (OBE):

Same problem. Show me someone who witnessed an actual, verifiable event they couldn't have otherwise known while they were out of body.

Memories of past-lives:

Again, show me such a memory that impossible to know otherwise--which, rightly or wrongly, would be very hard to verify.

Communicating with the dead:

Similar to the memories of past-lives

Quote :
I offer Universal Intelligence as a hypothesis to be examined, in the hope that “paranormal” can become an obsolete and unnecessary term.

I believe there is a supernatural, paranormal universal intelligence, but that we are isolated from it in our four dimensions--for a reason. If we had access to all (11, 26, everhowmany) dimensions, we wouldn't be able to process the data or make rational sense of it, or, especially, maintain our necessary separation from the divine, in order to develop ourselves with a free will.

In any case, the argument against the paranormal is the same as any revealed religion, a total lack of verifiable scientific evidence.
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Paul Anthony

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PostSubject: Re: Universal Intelligence   Sun Dec 09, 2007 5:32 pm

The Paineful Truth wrote:


I don't think you're going to get many scientists to agree there is any evidence of the paranormal which we could investigate.

Yes, that is a problem. I'm having trouble getting my fellow posters to agree to it! Brick Wall

Extra-sensory perception (ESP):

The Paineful Truth wrote:
Is there any evidence other than anecdotal or coincidental for ESP? If it exists, couldn't there be people hearing voices, and how would we distinguish that from schizophrenia? Has any of those voices actually conveyed new information?

ESP is a term that has been used to cover a wide variety of phenomena, from "knowing" who is calling when the phone rings to finishing another's sentences. Some of it can already be explained by reference to mirror neurons and empathy, but much of it is still considered paranormal and is, therefore, ignored by the scientific community. Again, I don't think anything that CAN happen is not "normal" - we just don't yet understand the cause.

You make a good point, that it is difficult to separate events that are worth examining from events that are the result of mental illness. As it stands now, even the sane may be viewed as insane, simply because we don't understand how such an event could be real.

Out-of-body experience (OBE):

The Paineful Truth wrote:
Same problem. Show me someone who witnessed an actual, verifiable event they couldn't have otherwise known while they were out of body.

At the risk of diminishing your opinion of me, I will admit that I have had an out-of-body experience. It was....weird! But, there has to be a rational explanation for it!

Memories of past-lives:

The Paineful Truth wrote:
Again, show me such a memory that impossible to know otherwise--which, rightly or wrongly, would be very hard to verify.

Efforts have been made to investigate the validity of the claims made by people living in societies where this is accepted as "normal", but because the "evidence" is so anecdotal and influenced by the cultural acceptance of it, no real scientific studies have been accomplished. IMO, the problem with those studies is that they approach the situation from either: (1) Reincarnation is real, and we must prove it; or (2) Reincarnation is false, and we must disprove it. No one has approached it from the perspective that it may be something else, neither reincarnation nor imagination - something normal.

The Paineful Truth wrote:
I believe there is a supernatural, paranormal universal intelligence, but that we are isolated from it in our four dimensions--for a reason. If we had access to all (11, 26, everhowmany) dimensions, we wouldn't be able to process the data or make rational sense of it, or, especially, maintain our necessary separation from the divine, in order to develop ourselves with a free will.

You may be right, but I imagine when fire was discovered there was probably someone around who said "If we were supposed to have fire, we'd already have it! Let's not upset the gods by doing something that only they have the right to do!" Smile

Science is in the business of extending our knowledge into areas that were once reserved for "the gods".
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PostSubject: Re: Universal Intelligence   Sun Dec 09, 2007 9:36 pm

Paul Anthony wrote:

The Paineful Truth wrote:

I don't think you're going to get many scientists to agree there is any evidence of the paranormal which we could investigate.

So far the only objective "evidence" I've seen for paranormal events is columns of boring numbers. Now there's nothing wrong with statistical evidence, but when the data fall into the low-significance range, they are especially subject to being skewed by slight subconscious biases in interpretation. Hence, I suspect that paranormal experiments tell us more about human belief systems than about natural processes.

Quote :
At the risk of diminishing your opinion of me, I will admit that I have had an out-of-body experience. It was....weird! But, there has to be a rational explanation for it!

You needn't feel too weird. As a child I had several OOBEs, presumably due to oxygen deprivation. But lacking any supernatural or paranormal context---or a vivid imagination, I interpreted them as merely strange dreams. I would float above the bed and look down at my body sleeping, then I would begin to fall into endless blackness. Fortunately, before anything really spooky happened, I would wake-up gasping for breath. Years later I recalled these "dreams" while reading descriptions of "near-death" experiences. Again, it seems to be a matter of prior beliefs and expectations tipping the balance of interpretation.

Quote :
Memories of past-lives:
I have no memories of past-lives---heck I can barely remember yesterday, but apparently it happens all the time in works of dramatic fiction. The function of science, though, is to separate fact from fiction. My guess is that sometimes the perfectionist human imagination seems to prefer the naked truth embellished with a frilly negligee---or perhaps overlaid with an image of Pamela Anderson.

Everybody, I suppose, would like a second chance to get things right that they screwed-up in this life. Just when you are about to grasp the mysteries of life, the lights go out. Reincarnation is not such a bad idea, but---due to the weak evidence---I hold to the beer commercial philosophy: you only go around once, so grab for all the gusto you can. I'm like the football coach who says, "don't plan to win the game in overtime, let's go for the TD".


The Paineful Truth wrote:
I believe there is a supernatural, paranormal universal intelligence,
I view the primordial intelligence as super-natural, but not as para-normal. The latter term seems to imply an exception to the rules, or a gulf between us and G*D, whereas the former, to me, relates mundane normality to a higher conceptual category.


Quote :
Science is in the business of extending our knowledge into areas that were once reserved for "the gods".
My sentiments exactly! I think religious taboos are intended to protect the secrets of the truth-embellishing story-tellers, rather than those of an insecure deity. Some of what we now call "extra-sensory" or "para-normal" may eventually be found to lie on the same continuum with normal and natural phenomena. The "Lord" may be subtle, but not secretive. So it does no harm to God when we pry into dark places; but we do need to be wary of ordinary things that bite.
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PostSubject: Re: Universal Intelligence   Sun Dec 09, 2007 10:12 pm

Quote :
The hypothesis:

I (and others) have proposed the theory that an external source of information exists outside of ourselves. This is best explained using another analogy.

I agree with the "external source of information" hypothesis in general. But I prefer to view it as a cybernetic system, with only the original algorithmic program (creation) as the ultimate source of information. This is slightly different from the radio station or server concept, and more like the internet where each node is both an up-and-down-loader of information. The distinction may be a matter of personal taste, of course.

More pertinent to the paranormal theories, such as ESP, is the concept of Memetics***. It describes a more up-to-date and down-to-earth mechanism for information transmission by way of physical genes and metaphysical memes in an evolutionary context. No hypothetical "universal intelligence" or "cosmic consciousness" is necessary to transmit the data. Each of us is both receiver and transmitter.


***http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Memetics
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PostSubject: Re: Universal Intelligence   Mon Dec 10, 2007 4:51 am

Paul Anthony wrote:

At the risk of diminishing your opinion of me, I will admit that I have had an out-of-body experience. It was....weird! But, there has to be a rational explanation for it!

It doesn't diminish my opinion of you. As a medic I've met lots of people who claim to have had OBEs. And even though I do think there is a rational explanation for them who am I to say what they experianced wasn't real?
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The Paineful Truth

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PostSubject: Re: Universal Intelligence   Mon Dec 10, 2007 9:02 am

Stret is right. I'm not denying OOBE, just any paranormal quality they may have. And I'm also for scientific investigation. Truth, after all, is my guiding light, and only good will come from it in the long run. But since research costs money, there're probably a lot of things higher on the priority list.
Quote :

The Paineful Truth wrote:

I believe there is a supernatural, paranormal universal intelligence, but that we are isolated from it in our four dimensions--for a reason. If we had access to all (11, 26, everhowmany) dimensions, we wouldn't be able to process the data or make rational sense of it, or, especially, maintain our necessary separation from the divine, in order to develop ourselves with a free will.

PA wrote:

You may be right, but I imagine when fire was discovered there was probably someone around who said "If we were supposed to have fire, we'd already have it! Let's not upset the gods by doing something that only they have the right to do!" Smile

Science is in the business of extending our knowledge into areas that were once reserved for "the gods".

I'm not saying we shouldn't look for them, just that we've been isolated here for a purpose. We may learn what the extra dimensions may be, but I suspect they will still be a knowledge barrier just as the Big Bang is--which, I also suspect coincidentally, is when our four dimensions were "extruded".
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PostSubject: Re: Universal Intelligence   Tue Dec 11, 2007 10:39 am

Yes, interesting hypothesis and similar to one that was laid out in a book called "The Living Energy Universe" by Gary Schwartz. Mr. Schwartz is currently conducting research at the University of Arizona into some of the "paranormal" phenomena that you are referring to.

There's some more information about the research here..
http://veritas.arizona.edu/

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PostSubject: Re: Universal Intelligence   Wed Dec 12, 2007 8:10 pm

Quote :
But what if one person is not reading the mind of another, but accessing the centrally stored data,


I also find the various theories of a "World Mind" or "Universal Intelligence" interesting, but I have a problem with some of the terminology, which could be prejudicial. Some New Age theories posit a central transmitter of some kind, dispensing data from a centralized storage bank.

But my understanding of data storage in the brain, and information storage in the material world, is that it is distributed---not centralized. Some cosmologies view the universe as a great hologram, with each part containing information from all parts. I don't know if that is so, but I view the "World Mind" as a great internet with data distributed among millions of nodes----and here's the point*---no single, central node in charge of the whole thing. sunny

Current concepts of cosmology portray the physical universe as having no real center, except perhaps for the long-ago Big Bang singularity. Instead, wherever the subjective observer is located, that is the metaphysical center of the universe for him. Hence, each conscious being is both a node among many and a unique center; a transmitter and a receiver. As Pogo might say, "We have met the Universal Intelligence**, and He is us". geek

Please pardon my nit-picking.


* Pun intended.

** Of course, the super-universal intelligence is The Originator.
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PostSubject: Re: Universal Intelligence   Thu Dec 13, 2007 2:08 am

Gnomon wrote:
Some New Age theories posit a central transmitter of some kind, dispensing data from a centralized storage bank.

But my understanding of data storage in the brain, and information storage in the material world, is that it is distributed---not centralized.

Yes, that sounds almost dictatorial, doesn't it? I blame that on remnants of religions that posit God as a being that micro-manages the universe. As a Deist, of course, I don't see it that way. IMO we are all co-creators, so your idea of a decentralized information system that is shared equally is compatible with my thinking. Thanks for pointing out my poor choice of terminology. Smile
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PostSubject: Re: Universal Intelligence   Thu Dec 13, 2007 2:11 am

Aaron, thanks for the link. That was interesting and encouraging. I shared it on another forum, and got the usual response - "the study didn't involve a large enough number of participants to make the results relevant". Some people are reluctant to give up their biases! But I would like to see a larger study, using the same criteria. Maybe some day. Crying or Very sad
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