Your Brain Might Be a Radio

How "fantastic" stories unlock the nature of consciousness.

| Fall 2014

  • “I am making no certain metaphysical claims here, although I am pointing out that our present ones have erased huge swaths of the human experience and, by so doing, have impoverished our thinking.”
    Illustration by James Gill/CognitiveBiasParade
  • “Western intellectual history has seen immense swings back and forth between Platonism and Aristotelianism: between a philosophy rooted in mystical and visionary experience and an empirical rationalism that bases its knowledge on sense data and linear logic.”
    Illustration by James Gill/CognitiveBiasParade
  • “Eagleman points out at the end of his book: ‘I’m not asserting that the brain is like a radio ... but I am pointing out that it could be true. There is nothing in our current science that rules this out.’”
    Illustration by James Gill/CognitiveBiasParade

"The greatest taboo among serious intellectuals of the century just behind us, in fact, proved to be none of the 'transgressions' itemized by postmodern thinkers: It was, rather, the heresy of challenging a materialist worldview."

—Victoria Nelson, The Secret Life of Puppets (2001)


SCENE 1. Mark Twain was famous for mocking every orthodoxy and convention, including, it turns out, the conventions of space and time. As he relates the events in his diaries, Twain and his brother Henry were working on the riverboat Pennsylvania in June 1858. While they were in port in St. Louis, the writer had a dream:

“In the morning, when I awoke I had been dreaming, and the dream was so vivid, so like reality, that it deceived me, and I thought it was real. In the dream I had seen Henry a corpse. He lay in a metallic burial case. He was dressed in a suit of my clothing, and on his breast lay a great bouquet of flowers, mainly white roses, with a red rose in the centre.”

Twain awoke, got dressed, and prepared to go view the casket. He was walking to the house where he thought the casket lay before he realized “that there was nothing real about this—it was only a dream.”

ken wilton
8/8/2018 6:43:47 PM

Seth Speaks by Jane Roberts says the same about consciousness.

J. Audrey
6/26/2018 9:35:59 AM


J. Audrey
6/26/2018 9:35:14 AM


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