Evidence Our Minds Function without Needing a Brain

Consciousness is the basis of reality

Advancements in humankind’s knowledge about consciousness and the nature of reality have now provided evidence that while consciousness has a relationship to the brain, it is not produced by the brain and lives on after the brain dies. It is evidence of the fact that you will never die.

This section of the essay explains why we know that is true.

Researchers Cannot Find Consciousness in the Brain and Have No Viable Explanation for How a Brain Creates Consciousness

The brain has been carefully mapped using CTs, MRIs, fMRIs, PETs, and EEGs to identify which parts of the brain are active when a person is performing activities, engaging in mental functions, and experiencing sensory input. In spite of all the brain mapping that has been done, researchers cannot find localized areas of consciousness or memories in the brain. They also are unable to advance a viable explanation for how the brain could create consciousness. That is known as the “hard problem of consciousness.”

Researchers Have Begun to Look Elsewhere for the Location of Consciousness

Brain researchers are not able to explain how the brain could produce consciousness, where consciousness is located, or how and where life memories are stored, even though the brain has been carefully studied and mapped. That has led to them to look elsewhere for consciousness and memories. Following is a small sample of the many scientists asserting that consciousness has a relationship to the brain but is not dependent on it for its existence.

Stanislav Grof, MD, PhD, Freudian psychoanalyst, assistant professor of psychiatry at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, and Chief of Psychiatric Research at the Maryland Psychiatric Research Center, summarized his conclusion after his lifelong study of the mind and the brain.

My first idea was that [consciousness] has to be hard-wired in the brain. I spent quite a bit of time trying to figure out how something like that is possible. Today, I came to the conclusion that it is not coming from the brain. … I don’t think you can locate the source of consciousness. I am quite sure it is not in the brain―not inside of the skull.[9]

The same conclusion was reached independently by other brain specialists. Sir John Eccles, internationally recognized brain scientist whose work has had a major influence on brain research, concluded

… that the mind is a separate entity from the brain, and that mental processes cannot be reduced to neurochemical brain processes, but on the contrary direct them. And … a mind may conceivably exist without a brain.[10]

Sir Cyril Burt, educational psychologist renowned for his studies on the effects of heredity on intelligence, wrote in his book, The Gifted Child,

The brain is not an organ that generates consciousness, but rather an instrument evolved to transmit and limit the processes of consciousness and of conscious attention so as to restrict them to those aspects of the material environment which at any moment are crucial for the terrestrial success of the individual.[11]

Wilder Penfield was a ground-breaking Canadian neuroscientist and brain surgeon. Penfield operated on over a thousand epilepsy patients while they were awake under local anesthesia. He stimulated their brains with electrodes to identify epileptic regions for surgical resections, meticulously recording their responses to stimulations. During his brain surgeries, stimulation of no part of the brain could cause or impede any of the actions associated with the mind: beliefs, problem solving, decision making, or any of the other activities that happen when a person is “thinking.” After a lifetime of studying the brain and performing brain surgery, Penfield concluded, [12]

Evidence Shows Conscious Awareness and Sensory Experiences Function without a Brain

Since researchers have been unsuccessful in finding the location of consciousness in the brain, we should expect to see evidence that consciousness functions without the brain’s involvement. In fact, that is what occurs. Well-documented phenomena demonstrate that consciousness has experiences and acquires knowledge when the brain could not be involved.

Remote Viewers Experience Things Remote from Their Brains

Remote viewers are able to sit quietly with their eyes closed and focuses on something hundreds or thousands of miles away. The remote viewer has experiences of sight, sound, smell, tactile sensations, movement, spatial perspective, and emotions. The person’s consciousness is having sensory experiences without involvement of the brain or sensory organs.

For several decades at the end of the twentieth century, the CIA had a remote viewing program named Operation Stargate that attempted to use remote viewers to spy on the Russians. To evaluate the efficacy of the psychic activities, the CIA commissioned the Stanford Research Institute (SRI) to perform 154 experiments with 26,000 separate trials over 16 years. At the end of that testing period, Edwin May, PhD, a researcher in low energy experimental nuclear physics, headed a team of researchers that analyzed the experiments and reported to the government. They concluded that the odds against someone merely guessing what remote viewers had described when focusing on a target at a distant location, was more than a billion billion to one. His only explanation was that remote viewers are genuinely having sensory experiences without using their sensory organs and without regard for how many miles away the target is.[13]

Congress and the CIA commissioned a study by the Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC). The result of the study was that Jessica Utts, professor in the Division of Statistics at the University of California at Davis, wrote, “It is clear to this author that anomalous cognition is possible and has been demonstrated. This conclusion is not based on belief, but rather on commonly accepted scientific criteria.”[14]

The Princeton Engineering Anomalies Research (PEAR) Laboratory at Princeton University began conducting its own, independent studies of remote viewing in 1978. They tested remote viewers by having a person travel to a distant location undisclosed to the remote viewer and having the remote viewer identify details about the location. In 334 trials, the remote viewers described details about where the person was with odds against guessing the details of the location of 100 billion to 1.[15]

In another study, Robert Jahn, former director of the PEAR Lab, and psychologist Brenda Dunne conducted 336 rigorous trials with 48 ordinary people who were asked to do remote viewing at distances ranging from five to 6,000 miles. Almost two-thirds of the results were successful at rates that exceeded chance levels, with odds against chance being one billion to one.[16]

Russell Targ, a physicist who pioneered development of the laser, and Harold Puthoff, a physicist who wrote the widely read Fundamentals of Quantum Electronics, conducted experiments on remote viewing to determine whether the phenomenon is valid. In their tests, they had a person whom they called a “beacon” travel to a distant site to see whether a remote viewer could receive mental impressions about the site. The beacon and remote viewer were separated by distances of several miles so there could be no communication between them. The remote viewer was to focus on the beacon, trying to get impressions about where the beacon was and writing or sketching the scenes. They concluded, “Independent judges found that the descriptions of the sketches matched on the average 66 percent of the time the characteristics of the site that was actually seen by the beacon.”[17]

The demonstrated success of remote viewing demonstrates that a person can have sensory experiences with neither the sense organs nor the brain involved. Consciousness could only have these experiences if it is outside of the brain and has functioning sensory sensitivities and memory without the involvement of sensory organs or the brain.

Examples of remote viewing are at https://seekreality.com/the-relationship-of-the-mind-to-the-brain/.

Removing Large Parts of the Brain Doesn’t Affect Consciousness

One of the explanations for the location of consciousness and memories in the brain is the “whole-brain” theory.[18] Because these researchers cannot locate consciousness or memories in the brain but an array of areas light up when consciousness is functioning, they theorize that since it can be found at no specific location, it must be everywhere. However, the results of hemispherectomies belie that theory. The consciousness of many people missing half their brain after surgery functions normally, indicating that their minds must be viable without the need of either half of the brain. The procedure, called a hemispherectomy, removes half of the brain from the patient’s head to alleviate the debilitating effects of disorders that cannot be controlled using any other treatments. A study of 23 hemispherectomy patients found that “Successful functional hemispherectomy significantly improved the cognitive function of patients.”[19]

Some People with Little Brain Tissue Function Perfectly Well

Dr. John Lorber, professor of pediatrics at the University of Sheffield, examined the cases of a large number of people who had little brain tissue because of hydrocephalus, in which the cranial cavity is filled with cerebrospinal fluid so only a thin layer of brain tissue exists. Among the patients having the most severe form of hydrocephalus, with most of their cranium filled with cerebrospinal fluid, many function perfectly normally despite the absent brain tissue.

One student at the University of Sheffield had an IQ of 130 and verbal IQ of 140,[20] gained a first-class honors degree in mathematics, and was socially completely normal, and yet had “virtually no brain.”[21] View a video of Dr. Lorber describing the student at www.earthschoolanswers.com/roger/.

Of the 687 patients whose brains Lorber scanned, 16 persons belonged to this group [extreme hydrocephalus], and half of them were regarded as cognitively normal—that is, they had an IQ of 100 or more.”[22]

Another patient named Sharon had severe hydrocephalus, with virtually no brain tissue. However, in spite of that, she graduated from school, passing every examination she took, had more than average intelligence and was the only girl in the school to receive a graduate certificate in chemistry and only one of two girls to receive one in biology.[23]

View a video of an interview with Sharon at www.earthschoolanswers.com/sharon/.

People Experiencing NDEs Have Sensory Experiences of Things Distant from Their Unconscious Bodies

People in near-death experiences (NDEs) often describe seeing and hearing things during the time their brains are incapacitated and they are comatose, with their eyes closed. Many of these experiences are of environments outside of the room or building in which the person’s body lies. During these episodes, the person’s senses are acutely aware and memory functions perfectly so the sensory details of the excursion away from the body are recalled in exquisite detail.

Maria, a migrant worker brought to Harborview Medical Center’s cardiac care unit in cardiac arrest, near death. After she was revived, she told Kimberly Clark, M.S.W. who had been called to calm Mari’s excitement, that while she was unconscious, she felt herself floating upward out of the hospital. As she rose, she saw, on a third-story window ledge of the hospital, “a man’s dark blue tennis shoe, well-worn, scuffed on the left side where the little toe would go. The shoelace was caught under the heel.” Kimberly searched the ledges of the hospital windows and was surprised to find a tennis shoe precisely where Maria had described it. The shoe was dark blue, had a well-worn scuff on the left side where the little toe would go, and the shoelace was caught under the heel.[24]

In another, similar incident, after an unconscious patient was revived, she described floating above the hospital where she saw a red tennis shoe on the roof of the hospital. A janitor investigated and found a red tennis shoe, just as the patient described.[25] In both instances, the patients were incapacitated, so their brains were not functioning sufficiently to have sensory experiences. And they both had accurate sight experiences of shoes whose sight would have been inaccessible to them if they had been able to see and process sights. Their minds were not in their brains.

For more detailed examination of the evidence that consciousness is not dependent on the brain, read Your Eternal Self: Science Discovers the Afterlife.[26]

Conclusion to the Evidence the Mind Is Not in the Brain​

The facts that neuroscientists cannot find the mind in the brain or explain how a brain could create a mind, remote viewers have sense experiences of things far removed from them, people with parts of their brain removed or with little brain tissue live perfectly normal lives, and people in NDE and OBE experiences have full sensory experiences of distant places when the body and brain are incapacitated, lead to the conclusion that the mind acts independent of the brain. Thus, when the brain dies, the mind that is outside of the brain continues living unaffected by the demise of the brain.

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