Friday, October 20th 2017

What is the origin of inspiration and invention?

In the May 12 issue of the New Yorker magazine, Malcolm Gladwell uses Microsoft heavyweight Nathan Myhrvold as a case study for coincident scientific discovery — and I say, a collective consciousness

revrickey.jpgDAVID RICKEY The ego exists only to function in relationship to the whole system, and the ego functions best when it is consciously aware of itself as part of a larger system.

Inspiration derives from the word, spirit. But it is the latest breakthroughs in science, not necessarily spirituality, that give us the clearest prism for viewing the way inspiration is actually created. Malcolm Gladwell’s recent profile of Nathan Myhrvold in The New YorkerIn the Air: Who says big ideas are rare?— describes a number of instances where two or more people develop almost identical ideas or inventions pretty much simultaneously.
My immediate reaction is that this is evidence for what is called “non-local mind” or “non-local intelligence.”

Larry Dossey

Deepak Chopra and others point out that what seems to be “happening” in my apparently personal mind isn’t really occurring there but, rather, in a “Mind” that is a property of the universe. My mind is more like a receptor that is participating in “Mind”.

Consciousness extends beyond my own brain. A recent book, The Intention Experiment by . . .

Lynne McTaggart

. . . documents a number of experiments that illustrate how intention affects “external” reality. There seems to be a “mind field” that links individual minds to form a kind of “web of consciousness”.
From this perspective, what Malcolm Gladwell describes as “multiples” in his New Yorker piece are really examples where various minds at various places are working on the same question, and there is an implicit communication between them that leads them all to come to similar conclusions.

Teilhard de Chardin

Perhaps there is also greater “mind” — something like the Noosphere propounded in the early 20th century by a Jesuit priest and paleontologist who took part in the discovery of Peking Man.

As I understand it, everything has a degree of consciousness. What we call “inanimate objects,” like rocks, may have only a small level — and dolphins, humans and others have “higher” levels.

These sources of consciousness radiate a field beyond themselves that produces an interconnected web of consciousness that grows synergistically, and then “feeds back” to individual “minds” that are capable of receiving.

As individuals contemplate an idea, they can tap into this larger sphere of consciousness, experiencing a kind of “zap” of inspiration or insight. When members of a “think tank” collaborate, as Gladwell documents, they are facilitating a synergy of fields of intelligence that produce unusual levels of insight.

Gladwell also points out that this “multiples” effect does not seem to happen in the arts, such as music or painting. But perhaps great artists tap into a similar mind-field that is generated by, if you will, “songs of the heart” or awareness of beauty — and then, in turn, are inspired to create expressions of it by “distilling” the mind-field into concrete examples. They’re heralded as great artists because their works resonate with the hearts and minds which constitute the fabric from which the threads of the creation were pulled.

As each of us “individually,” consciously works on a question or — more importantly — tries to expand our awareness, we contribute to the evolution of this web of consciousness.

When communities, such as faith groups or even nations, work at expanded awareness, they have an even greater effect on the web of consciousness, which also “feeds back” to stimulate others to expand. So spiritual growth can happen at an accelerated rate. Of course, the opposite is also possible, that groups and even nations can slow down the growth rate.

The avant garde philosopher: Ken Wilber

Wilber talks about a “Spiritual center of gravity,” a phenomenon where expanded consciousness can actually “pull upwards” on less conscious beings, but also exert a downward pull on individuals who are seeking further growth. Fortunately, it seems that once expansion has occurred, it is very unlikely that regression will happen.

There is also evidence that once a scientific breakthrough has been made in one place, it becomes easier to duplicate it in other places around the globe — the so-called “Hundredth Monkey Phenomenon” (acknowledging that the story at the source of that particular title has been discredited by some).

Rupert Sheldrake

Sheldrake describes this phenomenon in terms of “morphogenetic” fields:

Briefly, the theory goes as follows: Morphogenetic fields carry information only (no energy) and are available throughout time and space without any loss of intensity after they have been created. They are created by the patterns of physical forms . . . They help guide the formation of later similar systems. And finally, a newly forming system “tunes into” a previous system by having within it a “seed” that resonates with a similar seed in the earlier form.

Thus, from this perspective,[for example] the DNA in the genes of a living system (like an oak tree) does not carry all the information needed to shape that system, but it can act as a “tuning seed” that tunes in the morphogenetic fields of previous systems of the same type. Morphogenetic fields are thus the repository of what might be described as genetic habits.

In addition, these same concepts can be used to explain some of the mysteries about human memory. In effect, our brains are not so much libraries as they are sending-and-receiving-stations that leave a continuous trail of experience imprinted in morphogenetic fields, and then “recall” previous experiences by tuning into that trail.

If these ideas are correct, then the “storehouse of memory” is not the least bit private since morphogenetic fields are universally available and continue to exist regardless of what happens to their original source. The only thing that makes our mental processes seem private is that we naturally resonate most strongly with our own past mental states. In other words, each of us broadcasts on a unique channel to which, generally, no one else listens. Yet in principle, someone else could tune into “your” memory and thoughts, and indeed, in practice, we do – as the common experience of “reading” another person’s mind attests.

From: Morphogenetic Fields And Beyond

New research is undermining old ideas of separation

by Robert Gilman, including an interview with Rupert Sheldrake

The key to all of this is the ability to transcend apparent “separateness.”

All spiritual paths teach that the ego’s illusion that I am a separate being is the great barrier to the evolution of consciousness. Whether it be individuals, tribes, nations, or even species, the idea of separateness is falling away, albeit with great resistance.

Scientific research, as well as social, political and economic reality, tells us that we are, as St. Paul’s says, “Members of one body.” Nothing happens independently. All the wars and most of the problems that plague us on this planet could be addressed if we acquiesced to this one shift in awareness. Perhaps we should stop arguing over having, “In God We Trust,” on our currency — and pay more attention to the little words on the eagle’s banner E Pluribus Unum: “Out of many, one”.

All spiritual paths seem to be teaching the same fundamental point: Get past your own ego to get to true wisdom. When we are able to quiet our own “mind” we then can tune into the greater mind. The problem with ego isn’t its existence but its dominance.

When I transcend my ego for a time, tap into the great mind-field of intelligence to gather insights, then let my ego again process those insights into specific solutions to the issues at hand or create a work of art that has my unique stamp on it, then I have done my part to contribute to the whole.

Not only have I solved a problem or created something of beauty, I have also generated new “quanta of intelligence” that enter the great mind to contribute to someone else’s insights. The importance of the ego is its ability to process and make finite. The illusion of the ego is its thinking that that is the beginning and the endpoint.

The truth is that the ego exists only to function in relationship to the whole system, and that the ego functions best when it is consciously aware of itself as part of a larger system.

The purpose of the various spiritual paths is to teach the “technologies of transcendence” – the means for accessing the great mind-field. The problem with most religion is one of “ego”, the belief that its teaching is an endpoint, rather than simply one process. Hopefully we are beginning to break down the boundaries and barriers that separate religious practices so that we can share the wisdom of the technologies they hold. May it be so.

David Rickey is an Episcopal priest, Soul’s Code co-founder and counselor in San Francisco who does a weekly ministry at a residence for the elderly in northern California. Follow David on Twitter.

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2 Comments on “What is the origin of inspiration and invention?”

  1. My thoughts precisely. (Sorry, David, I couldn't resist!) Seriously, this could explain how schools of fish and flocks of birds move in formation as a single "body." On the human level, when the "time is ripe" for a particular idea or cause, perhaps it's partly because the collective mind has touched many of us.

  2. I totally agree with your article that we can tap into a greater consciousness, the "one mind" of God which I believe is the soul essence of everything anyway.....and, you are right it appears when the time is right the group mind becomes one with many ideas of similar nature coming forward. We are here for a reason. Synchronicity. It happens, and when it does you know it. John Rickey

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