A new political consciousness

Interesting editorial at Positive News:

When Russell Brand challenged the status quo on Newsnight, he was picking up on a shifting sense of what is possible, and recent successes in international diplomacy are among the signs that he may be right

The controversial video:

“I don’t get my authority from this pre-existing paradigm, which is quite narrow and only serves a few people. I look elsewhere for alternatives that might be of service to humanity.”

And more on the ideas:

Strenthening Our Inner Firewalls

In a world of what William Gibson described as “deliriously multiple viewpoints, shot through with misinformation, disinformation, conspiracy theories and a quotidian degree of madness,”[i] we need to cultivate the power of discernment – conscious attention and conscious inattention. In a hyper-stimulated media world, silence clears the “memory buffers.” Mind clarification must precede mind expansion. Our gullible consciousness responds to any software we put into it.

These moments of silence are the “inner firewalls” against the waves of cultural spam that threaten to inundate us. From this place of deep quiet we can begin to perceive the whole web of illusion, beyond appearances and habitual concepts, to the true state of non-duality which modulates all reality. As media scholar Marshall McLuhan told us 60-years-ago, pay attention to the underlying medium, not the message.

By Steven Vedro author of Digital Dharma. See the full post at Digital Dharma: Metaphors of Consciousness in the Infosphere blog.

Consciousness Confirmed in Non-Human Animals

This is very exciting news: experts and scientists admit non-human consciousness exists and signed a declaration publicly proclaimed in Cambridge, UK, on July 7, 2012. I only learned about it today – has it been reported in the mainstream media?

In short, it means that now it is official: they reached a unanimous decision that humans are not the only conscious beings in the universe, and animals – specifically mammals and birds, but also insects and mollusks – have same brain-mind functions develop a striking case of parallel evolution of consciousness, with similar states of attentiveness, sleep and decision making.

The implications of this finding are huge – and may change for good the way we relate to animals. It is hight time we develop a more respectful and less exploitive relationship with our fellows in evolution.

Check the videos of the conference out: http://fcmconference.org and the full text of The Cambridge Declaration on Consciousness, from which I republish the conclusion:

We declare the following: “The absence of a neocortex does not appear to preclude an organism from experiencing affective states. Convergent evidence indicates that non-human animals have the neuroanatomical, neurochemical, and neurophysiological substrates of conscious states along with the capacity to exhibit intentional behaviors. Consequently, the weight of evidence indicates that humans are not unique in possessing the neurological substrates that generate consciousness. Non- human animals, including all mammals and birds, and many other creatures, including octopuses, also possess these neurological substrates.”

Also, a very good post on Earth in Transition (my source), by Michael Mountain, who says:

“It’s a really important statement that will be used as evidence by those who are pushing for scientists to develop a more humane relationship with animals. It’s harder, for example, to justify experiments on nonhumans when you know that they are conscious beings and not just biological machines. Some of the conclusions reached in this declaration are the product of scientists who, to this day, still conduct experiments on animals in captivity, including dolphins, who are among the most intelligent species on Earth. Their own declaration will now be used as evidence that it’s time to stop using these animals in captivity and start finding new ways of making a living.”

Update: Saturday, Aug 11

As I watch the silence in the mainstream media, I was glad to see this piece just published in Psychology Today: Scientists Finally Conclude Nonhuman Animals Are Conscious Beings. Marc Bekoff says:

It’s said that repetition is boring conversation but there’s now a wealth of scientific data that makes skepticism, and surely agnosticism, to be anti-science and harmful to animals. Now, at last, the prestigious Cambridge group shows this to be so. Bravo for them! So, let’s all work together to use this information to stop the abuse of millions upon millions of conscious animals in the name of science, education, food, amusement and entertainment, and clothing. We really owe it to them to use what we know on their behalf and to factor compassion and empathy into our treatment of these amazing beings.

For my part, I have recently started my journey in vegetarianism, and I really hope to turn out nicely a vegan. Yet, last week I could not resist eating a piece of squid. Now I know it was the last time. Causing any type suffering to animals is against my principles and since I woke up to the fact that eating them is also a way to cause suffering, not only by filling but by feeding an inhumane and greedy food industry where very few profit. With the Declaration, I am now aware that even octopuses and squids are conscious – and like me, suffer too.

Update: August 24

While I have been tracking (non) media reactions and finding plenty of interesting pieces on this:

Katherine Harmon, in Octopus Chronicles, Scientific American, a post that was quickly mentioned in the Atlantic Wire:

What was keeping scientists from accepting the existence of consciousness outside of our own family tree? Simple brain anatomy. Older models of brain activity lodged complex, conscious experiences—like musing about a piece of music or reminiscing about a piece of cake—in our highly evolved cortex. But, as the authors of the new declaration noted, many nerve networks involved in “attentiveness, sleep and decision making appear to have arisen in evolution as early as invertebrate radiation, being evident in insects and cephalopod mollusks (e.g. octopus). Even emotions (or, according to the declaration, their “neural substrates”) are not dependent on an animal having particular brain structures, such as our cortex, after all. In fact, many other neural regions are activated when we emote and “are also critically important for generating emotional behaviors in animals,” the scientists noted.”

Our Heart has a Consciousness of its Own

Many believe that conscious awareness originates in the brain alone. Recent scientific research suggests that consciousness actually emerges from the brain and body acting together. A growing body of evidence suggests that the heart plays a particularly significant role in this process.”

“Heart coherence and social coherence may also act to mutually reinforce each other. As individuals within a group increase psychophysiological coherence, psychosocial attunement may be increased, thereby increasing the coherence of social relations. Similarly, the creation of a coherent social field by a group may help support the generation and maintenance of psychophysiological coherence in its individual members. An expanded, deepened awareness and consciousness results—of the body’s internal physiological, emotional, and mental processes, and also of the deeper, latent orders enfolded into the energy fields that surround us. This is the basis of self-awareness, social sensitivity, creativity, intuition, spiritual insight, and understanding of ourselves and all that we are connected to. It is through the intentional generation of coherence in both heart and social fields that a critical shift to the next level of planetary consciousness can occur—one that brings us into harmony with the movement of the whole.”

Really, really interesting piece of research on the “heart brain” by the Institute of HeartMath with many implications for psychology and health care fields in general! Read on!

On technologies and consciousness

An interesting article in the Noetic Now Journal: Archetypes of the Cloud: Adventures in Cyberspace, by Steven Vedro, author of Digital Dharma: A User’s Guide to Expanding Consciousness in the Age of the Infosphere that uses the technologies of the Infosphere as metaphors on the path of evolving “teleconsciousness”.

As we “become data naked”, deprived of privacy, develop our “collective nervous system” and make our way from the Web to the Cloud, Steven Vedro asks:

Our technologies are the products of our evolving consciousness, and they also change our consciousness. Yet it is from the deeper well of consciousness—from myth and metaphor—that we will draw the wisdom to guide us through this transformative shift. As our communications structures move from interconnected networks to entire environments of distributed (cloud) intelligence, the challenge is no longer “How do I relate to the other beings in this world?” but the transpersonal question of “What are we cocreating in every moment of that connection?”

Like it or not, we are now all connected, and now, with the advancement of Cloud Computing, we have never seen before opportunities to share our resources, intelligence, and creative work with others. I think that is the way that we will change the world at last – but first we need to start with changing ourselves. As I was reflecting yesterday, the digital world is a mere reflection of the physical world, amplified with all its joys and sorrows. Technologies are just tools, neither good or bad. The way we use them is individual choice. Vedro goes on:

This scenario has, of course, a frightening side. In service to our lower selves, these technologies can lead us into a beehive-like world devoid of quiet personal space, where physical nature and even human love are replaced by computer simulations. Global corporations will extend their control to the most remote corners of the planet, where the smallest personal action is tracked in giant marketing databases. But when seen through the lens of metaphor, the very structure of the cloud offers us a path to a very different outcome. Cloud technologies show how people can be not only individual transmitters and receivers—the infinite but separate reflecting jewels on Indra’s web—but also part of a joyously, noisily communicating system. And with that awareness comes the chance to see in the cloud reflections of a paradigm shift in human consciousness: the modeling of a world where we connect not only with every other being but also through that interconnection simultaneously with something greater then ourselves.

digital dharma

Image source: www.tricycle.com

Occupy Consciousness: Essays on the Global Insurrection

Free download!

“Is this movement’s implicit goal to re-engage our humanity? To reach beyond the political, the national and other illusory, temporary concepts and into our true, spiritual nature?”. (and Russell Brand)

Download now for free a copy of OCCUPY CONSCIOUSNESS: Essays on the Global Insurrection, an anthology of essays written by leading figures on the “Occupy” movement that “offer an essential perspective on the true significance of Occupy – not a protest movement essentially, but a harbinger of a new way of being”.

Edited by the Evolver Social Movement – a non-profit project that organizes local communities and raises consciousness about ideas and initiatives that support a new planetary culture – the e-book offers a variety of view points from writers such as Charles Eisenstein, Doug Rushkoff, David Graeber, Starhawk, and Russell Brand.

Source: Integral Options Cafe: Occupy Consciousness: Essays on the Global Insurrection.