One recent evening, while I was working on new Neurofeedback protocols, it occurred to me that by using EEG, we are taking non-trivial measurements of significant states of mind (attention, relaxation, wakefulness, and so forth) outside of the brain. This notion, that consciousness is something not simply contained within the brain, is at the heart of paradigms of connectedness that reach back through the myths of prehistory and forward to include modern perspectives, such as Jungian psychology and the concept of the Noosphere, as described by Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, in the Phenomenon of Man. There are many references to the conscious connectedness of all life in contemporary philosophical discourse, as well, including Out of Our Heads, the significant work of Berkeley philosopher, Alva Noe. In fact, theories of an extended mindfield are being systematically tested, researched, and investigated by the Institute of Noetic Sciences, the organization founded by former NASA astronaut, Edgar Mitchell.
In our EEG Neurofeedback work, we are measuring microvoltages emitted by the brain, and plotted as waveforms by mathematical algorithms, such as the fast Fourier transform (FFT). These results, verified by a long history of experimentation and research, indicate it is a straightforward procedure to ascertain significant information regarding an individual’s state of mind using EEG data. This information is used to support medical and psychological diagnoses ranging from traumatic brain injury to seizures and epilepsy.
The fact that these sophisticated measurements are taken outside of the brain (for the EEG is a noninvasive procedure, involving electrical contacts placed on the skin), indicates that important aspects of our consciousness are detectable in the environment, and that they are not confined to physical bodies. Our brains emit brainwaves into the environment, which can be scanned and read as significant data in determining our state of mind. http://www.robots.ox.ac.uk/~parg/projects/bci/rev1.html
Additional evidence for the external aspect of consciousness is the discovery of atomic-scale mirco-structures of neurons, which exhibit quantum characteristics. The theoretical foundations for the effects of quantum-level consciousness were posited by the world-renown physicist, Sir Roger Penrose and Dr. Stuart Hammeroff http://www.quantumconsciousness.org/ around the turn of the new millennium. A decade of scientific research on the nature of the field effects of consciousness continues to illuminate our understanding of the unified nature of consciousness as a universal phenomenon. http://www.tribunes.com/tribune/art97/peru1.htm
The illusion of separateness, which is a product of limited senses and materialist beliefs, is giving way to a science of connectedness, in which the experience of consciousness is seen as something that unites us one to another and binds us with all life here on Earth and in the universe. For it is well-known that electromagnetic waves propagate continuously and are everywhere apparent. And the human mind participates as sender, receiver, and processor of electromagnetic phenomena, wave-field dynamics, and quantum effects – many of which occur outside the brain, in the environment at large. We are ineluctably an indivisible part of this overall pattern. It is non-local, entangled, seamless, indivisible, it is one intelligent entity. It is who and what we are…
First Image: “Mind in Universe” by Tullio DeSantis, altered ink drawing, 2011
Second Image: The author doing EEG Neurofeedback research, 2011