Monday, May 14, 2007

How Long is Now

Entangled Beauty
Originally uploaded by SunFlare.
Tolle wants us to stay there. Byron Katie says that that’s “what is.” Adya, what would he say? There is no past or future really?
This is my quick synopsis of how spiritual teachers address the Now.
My question is…
How big is the Now?
Or rather, How long is the Now?

On one hand you might say that it is infinite since an enlightened mind is fixed there and knows it to be all that Is. But, I’m thinking more down to earth.

I think it has to be physiologically constrained, because it takes a certain amount of time for electrical impulses to flow around the brain, and it takes a certain amount of time for chemicals to diffuse. There must be parameters for the Present set down by the body.

For instance, in Libet’s experiments the readiness potential preceded conscious awareness by about half a second. Is that how long the Now is? Is this the ball park we’re playing in - seconds as opposed to minutes or hours or days? Maybe.
Certainly the Now is not a point without dimension.

Most people would agree that a few hours from Now lies in “the future.” Even the desperate, “Wait a minute!” can put things off from Now.
Or is it that “in a minute” Now is usually completed?
Half a second to a minute, it’s all “ball park” to me at this point, psychologically and biologically.

On a subtler level, Professor Brian Josephson, a Nobel Prize-winning physicist from Cambridge University, says "It's not clear in physics why you can't see the future. In physics, you certainly cannot completely rule out this effect." …Virtually all the great scientific formulae which explain how the world works allow information to flow backwards and forwards through time.

So, now I have a corollary question, If we were to be able to receive information from the future – how far would we have to extend ordinary perception for it to become extra-sensory?
I can’t answer that.

I simply bring all this up by way of introduction to a new Blog I discovered today.
Dean Radin writes “Entangled Minds” and you might find a visit to his site stimulating.
Radin is a research psychologist associated with the Institute for Noetic Sciences. In skimming his blog I came across an article on precognition, which suggested to me that perhaps the Now might be on the order of three seconds.

Entangled Minds links to yet another site with an article about premonitions.
Radin hooked up volunteers to a modified lie detector, which measured an electrical current across the surface of the skin. This current changes when a person reacts to an event such as seeing an extremely violent picture or video. It's the electrical equivalent of a wince.

Radin showed disturbing or soothing images to volunteers in a randomly generated sequence. He soon discovered that people began reacting to the pictures before they saw them. They began to 'wince' a few seconds before they actually saw the image.

Hmmmm. It seems somewhat akin to Libet’s results, only this time it’s a totally different “experimental task.” The article had yet another link for me in the person of Kary Mullins.

In my lab we do a lot of something called PCR. The fellow who invented this technique for amplifying DNA, Kary Mullins, won a Nobel Prize for his efforts. Apparently, Mullins took an interest in Radin’s work and was himself tested. Here’s what Mullins had to say, "It's spooky. I could see about three seconds into the future. You shouldn't be able to do that."

So, check out Entangled Minds, or as a first pass check out this entry entitled “I Knew You Were Going to Read This.” It has a link to this article on “presentiment.” It also talks about how fewer people get on plans that ultimately crash than the statistical norm would suggest. For instance,

“The aircraft which flew into the Twin Towers on 9/11 were unusually empty. All the hijacked planes were carrying only half the usual number of passengers. Perhaps one unusually empty plane could be explained away, but all four?”

Apparently, people pick up enough info to somehow avoid these flights.
“You shouldn’t be able to do that.”
But apparently, we do.

The stuff on Entangled Minds should get you thinking. That’s good.

Just don’t let it pull you from the Now. ;) … right.

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