After writing several pieces for Collective Evolution (read them by clicking here or here) about the implications of DNA being code that can be sequenced, and working precisely as our own computer software operates, I was really excited to be able to present these concepts graphically at the recent Science and Nonduality Conference (SAND) in San Jose, California.
This was an opportunity I cherished as it gave me the chance to exchange ideas on a topic that I am passionate about and to see how people reacted to it. Admittedly at this particular venue I was “preaching to the choir” in that many of the attendees already see consciousness as primary. But with neuroscientists and physicists also in attendance I thought that we might discover just how deeply this concept can resonate and open minds to new vistas.
What was dramatic to me was the lightbulb that did seem to go off when I showed how computer code like HTML both resembles and operates via symbol and syntax, just like DNA.
This makes DNA less a “thing” than it is a medium for conceptual truth – or in the words of Silicon Valley – “intellectual property.”
The reality then hit home that this code preceded the presence of humans on earth –it has been “executing” for billions of years. Is its origin possibly explained purely by evolution – could Microsoft Word or Google simply have sprung from something unintelligent or mindless?
An Australian gentleman and I shared a joke. He said a scientist went to heaven and God asked him what he had done on earth. He said that he had created life in a test tube. So God asked him how he did it. “Well,” the scientist said, “I took some dirt and…” To which God replied, “Oh, and where did you get the dirt?”
At a conference that seeks to put forth the notion that a true science must put consciousness first, this makes the “birth” of DNA from an intellectual source (like our own computer software) comprehensible – it no longer requires an “Intelligent Designer” or anthropomorphic God.
Once the presence and ubiquity of consciousness is folded into an Observer-based science, the immense intelligence behind DNA is accounted for (even with ancient aliens).
At the same time greater mystery is deepened. “Where” is this immense intelligence. Is it accessible through our brains and neural networks? Have others in the past (Nikola Tesla comes to mind) accessed it successfully? Is its knowledge being suppressed presently by the powers that be? These issues fueled and energized the conversation.
After the sessions I got into a spirited conversation on the topic with an essayist and environment attorney from Santa Barbara who did not take the extra leap with me; it was “unremarkable” to him that evolution would operate intelligently via natural selection. He said that one day an android would be indistinguishable from a human and that there is ultimately no distinction between what we consider animate and inanimate.
We talked about a Twilight Zone from the 70’s where an astronaut living on an isolated asteroid and only getting mail every few years gets a delivery of a female robot in human form that he educates and falls in love with. I suggested our differences were generational because the audience that saw that episode (before personal computers, cell phones and the Internet) found it inconceivable that the astronaut would be able to connect with a robot deeply and passionately or mistake her for human –even after decades alone in space.
On the other hand, my younger friend found it perfectly plausible that such “artificial” creatures might be indistinguishable from and even superior to us in the future. I’ve been pondering this since that evening and while I can certainly agree that an impersonal intelligence could be a source for a computer program like DNA I still maintain that there is something divinely special behind consciousness, far beyond our own programming capacity and intelligence.
It reminds me of Peter Russell’s question in his presentation at SAND – why do we anesthetize our pets at the vet?
Would the astronaut have needed to give anesthesia to his robot companion if she got “sick” –do we anesthetize our computers before removing malware or a virus?
As Dr. Tanzi described Alzheimer’s as a condition where the self becomes “absent” due to memory loss. We suspect the self-consciousness within us during an operation but living consciousness continues.
But this temporary and apparently fragile self that “lives” through us as consciousness is therefore qualitatively different from what we have programmed into robots and computers.
Immensely intelligent, as Eckhart Tolle says, “Being,” “Consciousness” or “Source” instructs our bodily function like circulation, respiration and elimination, but it is not a “thing” but rather a force or energy.
It remains a profound mystery to be experienced rather than explained.
Furthermore, it is apparently nonlocal –it doesn’t “reside” in our brains but rather surrounds us everywhere as a field that is prior to scientific inquiry or material existence.
This represents a huge leap in our understanding of our own true nature, and of the reality which we take for granted each day as we pursue our habitual lives.