Why Are We Conscious? - A Scientist’s Take on Consciousness and Extrasensory Perception
by David E. H. Jones
Hardback 250 pages 2017-06-30 Print ISBN: 9789814774321
List price : $49.95
“This book posits the existence of an ‘unknown world’ which may be similar to the electric and magnetic spatial fields which we can detect with special scientific instruments. Like them, it fills all space. It makes only weak contact with the physical world—which may explain why it has not been detected yet. Dr Jones explores the properties it must have (such as temperature) to coexist with the physical world. One intriguing form of this coexistence is its interaction with that strange aspect of humanity, the ‘unconscious mind’. Dr Jones suggests that the unknown world contains a lot of information. It has a strange, unpredictable interaction with the unconscious mind. Sometimes the unconscious mind injects information into it—this is telepathy. Attempts have been made to communicate with submerged submarines by telepathy, but without reliable success. However, many cases of telepathy have been reported in which remarkably detailed information has been transmitted from one human mind to another, presumably via that unknown world. Another aspect of the unconscious mind is that it often seems to go in for cryptic coding of anything it passes ‘upstairs’ to the conscious mind. Thus sleep-dreams, which must be a product of that mind, rarely describe anything which makes sense to later recollection. Indeed, Freud wrote The Interpretation of Dreams, which led to a whole popular industry of dream interpretation. The art of decoding is rapidly improving, thanks largely to the way government spy agencies are exploiting the computer. Dr Jones hopes that the rapid decoding of unconscious messages will soon become feasible. If so, much scientific and historic information now hidden in the unknown world might be retrieved.”
Dr John Timney - The University of Newcastle upon Tyne, UK
“Everything is made of atoms, and nothing made of atoms should be conscious. Yet we are: indeed, consciousness is the only thing we are aware of. Like Aristotle and Descartes before him, Dr Jones is unable to solve the puzzle. This book, while respecting the findings of physical science, explores his notion that to be conscious you need an unconscious mind. The unconscious mind is itself a strange hypothesis. We all have one, and psychiatrists frequently claim that events or aspects of our personality can be suppressed into it. So, it contains information, though we have no way of telling how much, or of what sort. Brain anatomists have not yet even identified a region of the human brain which might hold it. So, it remains highly mysterious, and Dr Jones is free to speculate about it. He has calculated, for example, that a tiny proportion of human beings can guess about 7% better than chance. This suggests to him that that they are acquiring information from that unknown world. Events which to us are controlled by pure chance (such as much of physics) may be better defined there. Most scientists would disagree, but Dr Jones is exploring hitherto unexamined possibilities. He notes a biological claim that the higher animals also have unconscious minds. In them, such minds are used to store notions that have to be shielded from the rest of the pack.”
Adrin Neatrour - Head of Crinkle Cut Motion Pictures, UK
There are two huge gaps in scientific theory. One, the contradiction between classical and quantum mechanics, is discussed in many publications. The other, the total failure to explain why anything made of atoms (such as ourselves) can be conscious, has little acknowledgement. The main thesis of this book is that to be conscious at all, you need an unconscious mind. The author explores the idea that this mind sometimes makes contact with a whole unknown world, sporadically revealed by paranormal effects, but perhaps discoverable by hitherto uninvented scientific instruments.
The book looks at the notion of the unconscious mind, one of the most important hypotheses of the twentieth century. Psychiatrists often deploy it rather informally, but there is no accepted theory of it. No region of the human brain seems to hold it. The author delves into the notion that the unknown world exists and is very weakly coupled to the physical world. He ponders the properties it may have to allow this coupling, looks at several paranormal effects scientifically and points out that many of them seem to imply brief but dramatic changes of the forces between atoms—a possible effect of the unknown world, unexamined by physical science.
About the Author:
David E. H. Jones is a British chemist and author, perhaps best known for his weekly lighthearted, provocative scientific column, started in the mid-1960s in New Scientist under the pen name Daedalus. In the 1980s he transferred the Daedalus column to Nature and The Guardian, where it continued for many years. He published two books with columns from these magazines, along with additional comments and implementation sketches: The Inventions of Daedalus: A Compendium of Plausible Schemes (1982) and The Further Inventions of Daedalus (1999). He has worked in academia, industry and television. Jones’s most notable scientific contribution as Daedalus is possibly his prediction of hollow carbon molecules before buckminsterfullerene was made, and long before its synthesizers won the Nobel Prize for the discovery of fullerenes. Other than Daedalus, in scientific circles he is perhaps best known for his study of bicycle stability, his determination of arsenic in Napoleon’s wallpaper, and for having designed and flown an experiment to grow a chemical garden in microgravity. In 2009 a documentary film about his work and inventions, Perpetual Motion Machine, was made and shown at the Newcastle Science Festival, 2010.
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