Poch Peralta

Freelance Writer / Blogger,


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Can Consciousness Alter Our Physical World?

Scientific Studies That Prove Consciousness Can Alter Our Physical World
'Everything we call real is made of things that cannot be regarded as real.' – Niels Bohr
'For quite some time now, physicists have been exploring the relationship between human consciousness and its relationship to the structure of matter. Previously it was believed that a Newtonian material universe was the foundation of our physical material reality. This all changed when scientists began to recognize that everything in the universe is made out of energy. Quantum physicists discovered that physical atoms are made up of vorticies of energy that are constantly spinning and vibrating. Matter, at its tiniest observable level, is energy, and human consciousness is connected to it, human consciousness can influence it’s behavior and even re-structure it...'

  • Mar 24 2014: Ignoring the fact that consciousness obviously alters the world by action with our senses/limbs and technology. IN a set of studies done at Princeton it was found that the mind or our intention or desire can in fact alter the world directly without any other extra physical mechanisms, that is no arms legs etc. A typical experiment was of this form: there are 300 people in an audience, they are observing a computer screen which always alternates between two pictures, one of an astronaut and one of a leopard. If observed it can be seen that one picture gradually fades away to be replaced by the other one in a random fashion. By random this means that you never know when the other picture will start to appear. They then asked the audience which of the two pictures they prefer, most said the astronaut. They were then told to concentrate on wanting to see only the astronaut. Concentrating it was found that the pictures continued to alternate randomly until after a few minutes the astronaut appeared and stayed there, and stayed, and stayed for minutes on end without alternating to the other picture. So, consciousness can influence the physical world provided there is a random element involved so that a tiny influence can effect a change.
    • Mar 24 2014: Can't. You said "can" so I have to balance it.
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      Mar 24 2014: 'So, consciousness can influence the physical world provided there is a random element involved so that a tiny influence can effect a change.'

      Now your very good theory confirms the 'collective consciousness' theory of the Yoga gurus---when the masses meditate or 'concentrate' positively to achieve a particular goal.
    • Mar 25 2014: Your post brings to mind the Institute Of Noetic Sciences. I believe they study the effects of global consciousness in random number generators placed all around the world. They claim that "global events", or events that affect the conciousness of people from around the world like natural disasters or something like the death of mandela, coincide with a measurable drop in the randomness of the random number generators. I have read a lot of fairly severe criticism about this method, but I am not educated enough to hold a strong opinion one way or another about its validity. The severety of the criticism brings to mind a quote that I occasionally post though.  

      "Previous generations have been absolutely convinced that their scientific theories were well-nigh perfect, only for it to turn out that they had missed the point entirely. Why should it be any different for our generation? Beware of scientific fundamentalists who try to tell you everything is pretty much worked out, and only a few routine details are left to do. It is just when the majority of scientists believe such things that the next revolution in our world-view creeps into being, its feeble birth-squeaks all but drowned by the ear-splitting roar of orthodoxy." The Science of Discworld by Terry Pratchett, Ian Stewart, & Jack Cohen
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        Mar 25 2014: I think Fritzie's comment is very related:

        'Even in science, a result which is not mainstream may be correct. It is a popular fallacy, though, that a position in science that is not mainstream *must* be correct simply because new findings were all once not mainstream.'
        • Mar 25 2014: Absolutey sir, she is right that though everything science tells us today started outside the mainstream, this doesn't make what is outside the mainstream now necessarily true.

          As always I just try to keep an open mind and acknowledge that "I don't know". Not to sound like a parrot, but how can we grow without an open mind (though a healthy amount of skepticism is probably wise).

          Here is something that Vera Nova posted in another conversation that seems to fit here as well.

          "All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident."Arthur Schopenhauer ,
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        Mar 25 2014: Great quote Jacob. I wish Vera joins us soon.
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      Apr 15 2014: Frank,
      I will like to read the paper on this study if you can kindly provide the link to it I will appreciate it very much.
      From my first reading of your post it seems to imply that when the pictures were shown in a random fashion but the preference was that of the astronaut-and folks concentrated -that "somehow" action at a distance occurred and presto! the astronaut stayed displayed. Now if it was randomized that was bound to happen in a 50/50 ratio spread. how long did it stayed before it started alternanting again? did the pic of the leopard stayed on as much time afterwards? did they look for patterns within the algorythm of their randimizing program? what mechanism-if any did the Princeton investigators refer to to assume that the time the astronaut pic stayed was not a random effect but a causal by product of a collective mindset? something seems amiss.

      Best regards,
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    Apr 14 2014: Poch,
    If our collective mental model & thoughts of reality changes then the universe changes big or small proportional to our thoughts or "collective consciousness" so directed . So-when we believed that the earth was motionless at the center of the universe-that was our reality-(or was it?), then the nature of the Universe big or small did not changed -just our conception of it- Thinking alone cannot change reality. There is no known mechanism for it. But the idea sells Quantum Mysticism books.
    Another plume of smoke is the use of new agers of the "observer effect",if you want to know the location of an electron you need to fire a photon at the electron in order to pinpoint its location (the photon is the measuring tool in this case) what happens is when the photon interacts with the electron it effects its momentum (an interaction that would have occurred with or without a conscious observer), so now we know where the electron is but cannot know what momentum it was traveling at because we effected it's momentum. This is where observer created reality comes into play, we have in effect created or predetermined what would happen by the tools we used and the measurement taken.So "Observer created reality" is simply the tools and the experiment we use will manifest certain realities, it is not really our consciousness that created what happened.
    In the Schroedinger cat experiment, the cat is a perfectly adequate observer of a quantum state, and while we may scratch our heads and ponder on the half-deadness of a cat, the cat itself has no such illusions on that point.

    At Q levels shooting a photon at an electron will definetelty alter the measurement, however if you observe a tiger (unspotted by the big Cat) you are not going to change his behavior(no photons to shoot at macro levels),just passive observation, However, if you went up and poked it I guarantee you its behavior would be affected by this form of observation. No magic man, just nature cruel & beautiful.
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      Apr 14 2014: Your explanation is the best so far Carlos.

      'No magic man, just nature cruel & beautiful.'
      And a deep and beautiful description too!
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      Apr 14 2014: You used the human hand in your illustration of effecting change (poking the tiger). So are our hands considered tools that create reality?
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        Apr 14 2014: Poch,
        Not "create" but rather transform , I don't think that reality can be "created" , Things exists we all agree ( I hope) thus to think on period where nothing "existed"(a philosophical nothingness) is imo pointless, existence becomes then an always necessary condition in this ballpark; Reality existed before human consciousness and without a need of a "creator"... or maybe nature is conscious since we are examining it?! That I leave to philosophers!

        Thanks for your kind words,
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          Apr 14 2014: 'Reality existed before human consciousness...'
          I quote a philosopher: 'Something becomes real only when two people agree it exists.'
          Do you still believe in your statement?
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        Apr 15 2014: Poch,
        Remember when we all physicists agreed on the existence of luminiferous aether? -no more- or when we all "knew' that the world was flat, or Aristotelian physics vs Newton vs Einstein vs now... Now we are all in agreement that crossing an intersection recklessly is foolish so based in a consensus view that is practical for all. A bunch of folks can agree on a bad or good perspective of what reality means or is but that doesn't necessarily makes it real, we all agree that Bambi is cute, but not real, others agree that some religions or races are superior (as a fact) but we know better now (right?) Consensus in reality beyond the practical requires evidence and a methodology to establish best explanations to where to make predictions from and also falsifiable methinks.
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          Apr 15 2014: If you also argued precisely that: 'we all believe that Bambi is a REAL cartoon character yet it doesn't exist', then you would have convinced me better! But I see your point alright Carlos. You have refuted my philosopher's argument. Great job amigo.
  • Mar 25 2014: Here is another example of research into this question, i will look for some criticism of this program and post it in an edit."


    "The Princeton Engineering Anomalies Research (PEAR) program, which flourished for nearly three decades under the aegis of Princeton University’s School of Engineering and Applied Science, has completed its experimental agenda of studying the interaction of human consciousness with sensitive physical devices, systems, and processes, and developing complementary theoretical models to enable better understanding of the role of consciousness in the establishment of physical reality."
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      Mar 25 2014: I prefer to wait for your edit first Jacob. Thanks.
      • Mar 25 2014: “It’s been an embarrassment to science, and I think an embarrassment for Princeton,” said Robert L. Park, aUniversity of Maryland physicist who is the author of “Voodoo Science: The Road From Foolishness to Fraud.” “Science has a substantial amount of credibility, but this is the kind of thing that squanders it.”
      • Mar 25 2014: But there is also this, "Several expert panels examined PEAR’s methods over the years, looking for irregularities, but did not find sufficient reasons to interrupt the work."

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    Mar 24 2014: You will find quite different answers to your question among contemporary physical scientists than you will in popular culture. It is best to be skeptical of claims made in this area, regardless of the terminology people use. For example, the language of quantum physics is frequently appropriated by those who are not physical scientists and understand poorly that difficult subject.

    Even in science, a result which is not mainstream may be correct. It is a popular fallacy, though, that a position in science that is not mainstream *must* be correct simply because new findings were all once not mainstream.
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      Mar 24 2014: '...the language of quantum physics is frequently appropriated by those who are not physical scientists and understand poorly that difficult subject.'
      Now that's a good reason sir to avoid appropriating that high-falluting language of quantum physics if not needed.

      'It is a popular fallacy, though, that a position in science that is not mainstream *must* be correct simply because new findings were all once not mainstream.'
      Excellent and sharp rebuttal sir.
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        Mar 24 2014: I might also mention three TED talks about consciousness. We have Daniel Dennett, Antonio Damasio, and John Searle with posted talks. David Chalmers spoke at TED2014, but his talk is not yet posted

        Damasio is a neuroscientist and the other three philosophers. In the academy research into consciousness and, in fact, the whole science of mind, is studied in an interdisciplinary way, with neuroscientists, psychologists, and philosophers all wrestling collaboratively on the subject.

        It is mainly outside the scholarly community that people have the impression that scholars who study this from different angles are warring factions.
  • Mar 25 2014: Is the human body included in the working definition of physical world in relation to your question?
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      Mar 25 2014: I think that's what Bryan is trying to imply Jacob. And if I'm right, he's right too.
      • Mar 25 2014: Surely our thoughts can affect our bodies. If I meditate I can lower my stress and lower the amount of stress related hormones in my blood stream, conversely if I think of something that angers me my blood pressure will rise. I think one person's beliefs can even affect another person's body. For example if I got Bryan to think that I believed in telekinesis and psychics, his blood pressure would rise as he verbally abused me ha ha. Lets find out.
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          Mar 25 2014: The problem with telekinesis is that it affects physical objects not with minds but with telekinetic's presence. Anyway, those who bend spoons with their minds like Uri Geller is proof enough.
      • Mar 25 2014: I don't actually believe in either, I was just saying that to demonstrate that one person's belief can have an affect on another person. I was counting on Bryan's tendency to get a little aggressive in his responses to things not based in science, ha ha.
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          Mar 25 2014: '...to demonstrate that one person's belief can have an affect on another person...'
          And I think you're right Jacob.
  • Mar 25 2014: Yes. I am hungry. I consciously decide to get food. I eat food. Food has been eaten. Physical world has been altered.

    Or do you mean some kind of mumbo-jumbo neo-magic schtick?
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      Mar 25 2014: How about altering food outside our bodies?
    • Apr 9 2014: Hey I like my magic Schtick. (Sic)
      I didn't realize there was a neo-magic schtick!
      Right now, I'm heading over to The Onion to verify the very-real existence of "mumbo-jumbo."
      :-) jk
      It's all very interesting; probably because I've been convinced I'm conscious & in-control of my mind. Then once the scholars, (Daniel Dennett, Antonio Damasio, John Searle, Ed Yong), put that to doubt I start to lose interest, go play Tetris till I forget it, then 'reset' back in "conscious control." (But I do-then keep a new eye out for better theories of mind & reality.)
      I'm looking into Stan Tenen's Meru Foundation research (meru.org/intro.html). That looks like the best info to me. (see specifically his "car-passing trick")
      There will always be skeptics; personally, I'm skeptical of them.
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    Mar 21 2014: The placebo effect of real.But it seems to be more around perception rather than physically changing the ailment.

    Also at the quantum level there are issues observing things.

    I'd need to see something more compelling on teleportation and remote viewing.

    I note there are studies that show prayer does not work in terms of paying for people to get better without them knowing.

    having said that of you pray for something like good college grades etc just the focus on a goal may help in a practical sense not in any magical way.

    seems to be a mix of science and psuedo science.
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      Mar 21 2014: Most Yogis believe we can improve humanity thru 'collective consciousness'---the masses meditating together for positive changes. But some 'Mentalist' extremists believe in altering physical things mentally. Buddhist gurus are not extremists yet they believe that too. One of them even have evidence of achieving that!
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        Mar 24 2014: I don't know of any compelling evidence that group mediation by yogis or anyone changes anything except perhaps their own outlook and behaviour and brain chemistry etc.

        prayer out meditation would be a very powerful technology if it did alter the external world as some propose
      • Mar 24 2014: "The devil makes work for idle hands." Unless they are meditating.
  • Mar 20 2014: What is consciousness?
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      Mar 20 2014: My own definition:
      Being cognitive and aware of the reality going on.
      • Mar 20 2014: So: can being cognitive and aware of the reality going on alter our physical world? Yes. But you still need your physical body to do the actual altering!
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          Mar 20 2014: Now that's some deep thinking Rodrigo. Although I expect some 'mentalists' to contradict.
      • Mar 20 2014: That was a deeply thought out way of answering without saying "I don't know."
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          Mar 20 2014: lol Ok amigo. I will still think about it.