The hierarchical structure of the universal mind

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The hierarchical structure of the universal mind

Antonio Rial, MD, PhD | 2021-09-05

Quote:Spanish science journalist and doctor Antonio Rial delights us with the perspectives acquired after decades studying and communicating science. He regards reality as the image of a hierarchical structure of mental processes, an evolving ecosystem of minds.

Quote:The brain is not evolutionarily designed to know reality, but for the survival of the mental ecosystem of which we are a part. Our species perceives a concrete image of each mental nucleus—such as a plant, a frog, a virus or a protein—but these images are mere representations that help us to interact within our survival program. Except in certain circumstances—drug use, meditation, near-death experiences—our brain cannot access the networks of consciousness that we do not need in order to survive. What Homo sapiens perceives as inanimate stars and galaxies are the images of mental processes that are established at higher hierarchical levels. We do not appreciate them as living systems because our species does not need to interpret them that way to survive. Similarly, if we point a finger at Niagara Falls, the cells in our finger will not capture the wonder that we do perceive as humans. What we interpret as ‘dermal cells’ only experience what they need for their survival and that of their hierarchical order.

Quote:In our species, the continuous transformation of the nuclei of consciousness that we understand as ‘life’ presents itself in the form of cellular mitosis. It follows that the transition to the hierarchy of consciousness that we call ‘death’ should also be empirically detected as some kind of cellular or genetic modification. The question is: are there genes that are activated in the brain just before death and even postmortem? The short answer is yes. At the University of Illinois, Fabien Dachet and his collaborators have proven that genes linked to neuronal activity are rapidly degraded after death, but up to 12 hours after death the expression of 474 other genes linked to microglia and astroglia—other types of brain cells that are responsible, among other things, for repairing brain tissue damage—increases. Dachet explains that it is not surprising that these cells enlarge after death, but we can speculate that this process also constitutes the image of some mechanism of transformation from one hierarchy of consciousness to another.

Quote:The universal mental system as a whole—that which we have historically called ‘God’—will only deal with us as a species insofar as we are a hindrance to the evolution of the mental ecosystems of which we are a part. To use an analogy: our immune system is in charge of destroying bacteria and viruses to maintain the ecosystem of our organism. Each of us is a ‘god’ concerning our liver or our heart, insofar as we can act on these organs to destroy or heal them, intervening in the evolution of their respective ecosystems. We are also ‘gods’ to the other species on our planet. We can destroy them or allow them to survive. And the latter is what interests us so that our ecosystem does not unravel. Respect for nature is part of our intelligent adaptation to avoid extinction.
'Historically, we may regard materialism as a system of dogma set up to combat orthodox dogma...Accordingly we find that, as ancient orthodoxies disintegrate, materialism more and more gives way to scepticism.'

- Bertrand Russell

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