EMERGENT HEALING Paradigm
Emergent Healing Paradigm
EMERGENT HEALING PARADIGM
Asklepia Foundation and ICST - http://asklepia.org
THE EMERGENT HEALING PARADIGM
Progressive Medicine and Healing Arts in the 21st Century
by Iona Miller, Institute for Consciousness Science and Technology, 2003
2. New Physics and the Emergent Healing Paradigm;
3. Embodying the Paradigm; 4. Scientific Revolutions;
5. Metaphysical Research Programs; Appendix, Notes, References
Abstract: All new scientific theories require some unifying idea, and that idea is, by definition, metaphysical -- essentially untestable. New positivism denies the existence of any metaphysical questions, therefore, it cannot be an ultimately satisfactory philosophical solution. Thus, in any metaphysical dispute, strong non-scientific arguments can propose new theories. Further, metaphysical disputes may also become scientific. There can be little doubt that speculative, metaphysical ideas have contributed much to the growth of knowledge. Today's heresies are tomorrow's dogmas. There is a strong intuitive feeling among many healthcare practitioners that we need a new paradigm to undergird treatment philosophy and therapeutic frameworks -- "metasyn" not just medicine.
A holistic Emergent Healing Paradigm is proposed rooted in relativity, quantum, holographic and chaos theories -- our models of nature's own forms of self-organization. It is suggested that emergent healing depends on nonlocal principles and self-organization, as well as on direct causal influences on the mindbody of the organism. It is further suggested that the interactive field present in the healing situation can be amplified intentionally through resonant feedback -- therapeutic entrainment -- to facilitate intervention in the psychophysical healing process. A metaphysical context is provided to justify such a paradigm shift from the purely causal mechanistic healing model. A viable research direction is indicated by examining cosmology, the role of the human family, epistemology, and a mode of ethical reasoning.
Each of us can learn to balance and optimize inner growth, intimacy, physical and spiritual health -- to discover emergence beyond our emergencies.
"The main reason for healing is love." --~Paracelsus
"[Y]ou ought not to attempt to cure the eyes without the head, nor the head without the body, so neither ought you to attempt to cure the body without the soul. ... [T]he cure of many diseases is unknown to the physicians of Hellas, because they disregard the whole, which ought to be studied also, for the part can never be well unless the whole is well." --Plato: Charmides 156e
"[Though] the "clockwork universe" of Newton, Laplace, and Descartes has long been descredited by physicists, its vestiges linger on in the extant thinking of institutions, bureaucracies, economies, universities, software development methodologies, and general zeitgeist." --Munnecke
"All the biologicals are converting chaos to beautiful order. All biology is antientropic. Of all the disorder to order converters, the human mind is by far the most impressive. The human's most powerful metaphysical drive is to understand, to order, to sort out, and rearrange in ever more orderly and understandably constructive ways. You find then that man's true function is metaphysical." --Buckminster Fuller
Today's heresies are tomorrow's dogmas. History has shown this time and again, and the history of science is no exception. That is why our culture has developed a system of academic checks and balances. What used to be called natural philosophy has become our allegedly objective science. We have had science less than 500 years, yet in that time it has transformed much of the world technologically, intellectually and physically. It is inherent in our nature to seek answers to life's fundamental questions: Who are we? Where do we come from? Where are we going?
Metaphysics is the branch of philosophy that investigates principles of reality, transcending those of any particular science. It traditionally includes cosmology, ontology and speculative philosophy. Cosmology is the general philosophy of the universe considered as a totality of its parts and phenomena subject to laws -- the origin, nature and structure of the universe. Ontology is the study of being -- that branch of metaphysics which deals with the philosophical theory of reality, universal characteristics of all reality.
Epistemology relates to "how we know what we know." This branch of philosophy critically investigates the nature, grounds, limits, and criteria of any particular theory of cognition. It helps us analyze facts, thought processes and value-judgments.
The philosophy of science criticizes the "rules of the game" of science, methodological questions. Science is an experimental philosophy whose highest value is empiricism; it includes both theoretical and experimental avenues. This includes the science of medicine and the healing arts. The apparently "new" healing paradigm, which has been under discussion some 30 years or more, is actually a treatment philosophy, rooted in a worldview emerging from our current understanding of the nature of Reality. Like all things paradigms have momentum.
The search for truth in science is sometimes compromised by ideologies. Thus, "truth" is often defined from the perspective of utility or "value," often, for example, determining what gets funded. Truth can be protected by a bodyguard of lies. History suggests that often "objectivity" is well-agreed upon subjective experience. But even subjectivity suggests there is a subject. But our minds encompass all possible perception -- both intuitive and scientific. Still, it is problematical to investigate something that is transcendental to the mind, perception, and our physical embodiment. At this level of abstract speculation (the source of space, time, awareneness, matter), there is no assurance of grabbing onto anything solid, and we start to lose our grip on anything approaching meaning.
So it falls to metaphysics and paradigms to provide the ultimate narratives for the roots of such fundamental processes as the potential for cosmic evolution of forms of energy or matter-energy, the reality of time as cosmic change, the expansion of space, the natural evolution of life, and awareness. As we "unpack" these paradigms we reach a level of atomically unbound energy waves wherein neither molecules nor atoms can form from the quickly appearing and disappearing subatomic flux of particles. We have nothing to hold onto conceptually -- neither "somethings" of which to be aware nor "somethings" to be aware with, in order to focus and limit awareness into conscious minds. Matter, too, originates in unbound energy.
Just like proto-mind, proto-matter is that same "sea of potential energy." In that sea is the potential for both what will be drawn into form as experience and what will be drawn into experience as form. The source of matter and mind is ONE "[non]thing." Well, maybe: but because of the nature of language and reality, we cannot speak or even think of a "single-aspect monism" without creating more aspects in the process.
Understanding of the entire world beyond our own minds is a model based on the evidence of the senses. Much of it is necessarily based on extrapolation.
The problem is, in order to lay the groundwork for a fresh multidisciplinary theoretical framework, we have to explain the philosophical background to the scientists, the scientific background to the philosophers, both to the physical and mental healthcare professionals. In terms of treatment applications, pyschology must be explained to all of the above, and to interested lay-people as well. It is plausible to say that the main goal of psychotherapy is to enlarge the consciousness field modifying both aspects of "meaning" and "energy" (Koreck, 1998).
The wonderful thing about feedback is that all interested parties can, in return, explain it back in their own words, from their own experience and comprehension. By sharing how we have confronted and are resolving these issues in our own practices and disciplines we can contribute to the dialogue. So, we hope to develop some common language and metaphors to bridge the gaps.
Many times truth is defined from the perspective of utility or "value" in science, not objectivity. Objectivity is often well-agreed upon subjective experience, and this can determine, for example, what projects are funded. However, mind is all possible perception -- both intuitive and "scientific." There is a whole spectrum of response even among those sympathic to the holistic perspective, some more conceptually radical than others.
Hence, we've received such comments, (reflecting the effort to integrate a new perspective), as the following:
From a British surgeon: " From what I have read it is exactly the new paradigm which I am currently 'blossoming' into an understanding of for myself. It has been a long journey from studying neuroscience and then being a surgeon and I have little clue how to move forwards on a career level just yet, but it is coming for me."
From a Jungian-trained counselor working with at-risk teens: " The upshot is they do not approve of/understand the dynamic of the way I handle my kids by "being with" them instead of "doing to" them. They see our job (within the medical framework) as being one of "fixing" broken little people. I see my job as getting "along side" young psyches so that I can help them to "fix" themselves. . .Anyway, my point is, the "medical model" that we are working to change actually says more about the evolutionary level of those who hold it than it does about Truth. And I know that I just restated the obvious, but for me, this is a huge chunk of information that I am finally beginning to positively internalize. "
From a Chiropractor working with Energy
Medicine: " The major problem with doing research on the energy medicine practitioner’s ability to detect the patient’s or client’s energy is that the “feeling” of the patient’s energy experienced by the practitioner is not as objective as many in the energy medicine field would like to believe. . . What one feels is dependent on what one is looking for and one’s belief system. This process can be very dynamic as when moving and following a patient’s energy in the field around their body. . .When the practitioner’s intention, as an energy or quantum informational or mind-stuff pattern, resonates with the information received from the patient via the non-local connection, this resonance can be felt or sensed by the practitioner. . . It is this resonance in the practitioner’s own mind and body that is sensed, not any direct energy from the patient. It is a process of finding the “best fit” within the practitioner’s conceptual model to what is happening in the patient based on the information unconsciously received from the patient. It is not an objective process and it is self-confirming. Almost any conceptual model will “work” in the sense of eliciting resonance feedback to the practitioner. Because a healing system works in this context it is not conformational evidence that it is correct.
However, the fact that a resonance response is elicited implies the therapy, in some manner of action, has therapeutic value. The quote from Neils Bohr applies here, "what we observe is not nature itself, but nature exposed to our method of questioning.” When working face to face with the patient, the patient essentially serves as a testing model for himself or herself. For some practitioners this resonance is easier to sense if the process of sensing it is unconsciously coupled to some physical action by the practitioner. The unconscious informational processing that occurs tends to optimize the therapy regardless of the practitioner's belief. "
From a Russian physicist: " Of all the intent-mediated phenomena we are aware of, there is no doubt that self-healing carries the most significant potential, or that (fortunately) it is the closest to becoming integrated into our medical system, thanks to decades of research into the body's neuroimmunologic and electromagnetic control mechanisms. While the substrate of the biofield may continue to defy intuitive understanding for decades to come, we are at the moment in a position to focus quite effectively on the principles regulating psychosomatic modulation and even bioinformation resonance between proximal systems (Gotovski, 2000; Sidorov, 2001). But it is doubtful that we will make meaningful progress along this path until we come up with a working (experimentally-friendly) definition of consciousness - and the great mystery of consciousness is, of course, its apparent non-locality."
From an Indian physicist: "No doubt that functional consciousness is important. But what I mean is that even though functions are based on consciousness they are untouched with it. And so, they are only functional appearances on the existence of consciousness. This follows from the property of consciousness as the singularity. In this new interpretation of singularity as consciousness, paradoxes like '[singularity as] the doorway to other universes,' etc. do not arise. Mind, universe, matter, energy, etc., are just appearances on the existence of consciousness which is again untouched by all the above. And so, everything should be 'apparently' originating from there. Therefore, even though consciousness is present in our reality, this reality is not there in consciousness. Consciousness is existence, our reality is an appearance. There are no achievements implied here. The property of singular consciousness remains whether we achieve the synthesis or not. Singular consciousness denies all schools of thought. . .When singular consciousness exists, the zero to the universe remains as a mere appearance. I have been drawing attention to the ignored singularity or consciousness to physicists from Profs. Amit Goswami to J. A. Wheeler. Responses have been varying from surprise, support, agreement to ignoring."
As we move into the 21st century we need to evaluate and revision how much of this new paradigm we have been able to impliment, not merely conceptualize. As scientists, medical personnel, psychotherapists, pastoral, or alternative healers and counselors, the therapeutic framework becomes essential in determining where we go from here. Many people have a new sense of the importance of integrating spiritual principles with the material world.
Is it too much to ask that we address our infirmities at multiple levels, mobilizing not only medical technology but also the natural healing processes which foster our physical and mental well-being, as well as our spiritual health? Can we ever look forward to a wellness industry? The whole problem is also compounded by dynamic political forces and economic power struggles. All providers vie competetively for their share of the healthcare "pie."
We need metamorphosis, a new foundational vision, a new synthesis -- "metasyn" as well as medicine. Ancient philosophers equated the First Matter with the universal solvent, which dissolves all misconceptions, and called this immediate transformative comprehension the panacea , or Universal Medicine. Who is to say they were wrong in their apparently simple yet profound formulation?
What is at stake is whether, when seeking mental or physical healing, we will continue to promote and be treated by a healthcare industry under a mechanistic paradigm, or, in the healing arts under a holistic paradigm consistent with new science. We have to make science accountable to life. We are much more than a bag of skin containing a biochemical stew. Energy medicine has revealed that we are complex electromagnetic and possibly bioholographic entities. Our apparent skin boundary is quite permeable to these fields. Surely our minds are not confined to our brains, but permeate our psychophysical self in dynamic relationship with the environment.
In the new vision, we perceive ourselves holistically as complex adaptive organisms -- physical, emotional, mental and spiritual -- in intimate interaction with our surroundings. If anything, science has taught us that we need a more subtle conception of what is objectively real than materialism has given us. Something far richer than materialism is responsible for the universe as we know it. In every sense we are seamlessly welded with Cosmos, but we often lose sight of this basic fact, and immerse ourselves in illusions of separateness, of fragmentation. This is the source of existential alienation. The degree of our sense of separation is reflected in our worldview. It basically boils down to whether we see the world as a hostile or friendly place, where we can authentically express ourselves, thrive and flourish, or not.
Conscious or unconscious, each of us has a more-or-less coherent, all-inclusive frame of reference, our subjective view of the world and the sum of our experience. This philosophy of life includes life-giving elements, such as identity, an ethical base, and values which give meaning to our existence. We each grow up within an unconscious totalistic fabric, a naive inherited framework, which remains largely unsynthesized. But we must labor to produce our own unique, personal, and successful worldview that is internally consistent, pragmatically realistic, and personally fulfilling. In ancient times, this essentially spiritual quest was referred to as The Great Work. Jung called it individuation.
This personal synthesis helps us adapt or individuate and perhaps even self-actualize high well-being, or even extraordinary human potential. This comprehensive synthesis is mirrored in synoptic philosophy, which helps us fit the pieces of life into the whole mental jigsaw puzzle. Synoptic philosophy helps us achieve an all-inclusive view of our subject matter, seeing all parts in relationship to one another. To a greater or lesser degree, it erases the mental barriers that separate branches of knowledge in a holistic vision. Taken together, the personal synthesis of a holistic experiential worldview and the cultural synthesis symbolized by the synoptic wheel  is what we refer to here, in shorthand, as "metasyn."
This open-ended philosophic journey has certain milestones:
1). When you have any philosophical question proceed as far as possible with philosophical analysis, clarifying and drawing out all the hidden meanings that you can, dissolving the problem completely if possible.
2). If not, find out what philosophers of the past have thought about the problem.
3). Rephrasing the question in a variety of meaningful ways helps reveal what kinds of information will help solve it.
4). Develop an intuition for asking and reasking questions from different angles until they point to the data that illuminates them.
5). What fields most likely contain information related to the problem? Begin by asking questions about the problem and how it might connect one by one, to the various fields.
6). Go to these promising fields and gather information, looking for conclusions, hypotheses, and models currently used by field specialists. Keep asking questions relating the data to your central problem and cross-relating insights and drawing parallels from these fields themselves.
7). Network and integrate these insights refocusing new ideas on the initial problem to see what understanding and creative insights emerge. Weave these illuminative strands together into a glowing tapestry.
So, to envision our new paradigm we have to paint a multidisciplinary picture. We will draw on philosophy, physics, psychology, medicine, genetics, biology, politics, religion, anthropology, ecology, astronomy, geometry, mathematics, computer theory, economics, the humanities and the arts for our metaphors -- for our vocabulary -- to frame and reframe our questions.
Paradigms underlie the interplay of chaos and order in human culture, at the collective and individual level. They act as lenses through which all sensory data passes before it is experienced as perception. Some perceptions arrive relatively undisturbed while others are subject to immediate characterization and personal value-judgements. The nature of paradigms is such that those who embrace one of the seven typical viewpoints of the paradigm spectrum  are loath to listen to the arguments of those who embrace a different viewpoint, either more or less progressive. They don't have any common ground to serve as a basis for envisioning, reasoning, understanding, or intuition.
The established order, materialism, is entrenched at one end of this imaginal spectrum. Descarte argued for an absolute distinction between mental and material substance, institutionalizing the mind-body problem. Some materialistic positions go as far as denying any ontological or epistemic validity to consciousness, neither recognizing nor explaning anything beyond the functioning of brain circuits (Edelman, 2000). Other materialistic positions insist that although consciousness is generated by physical events in the brain, it is not reduced to them, but emerges from them.
Open-ended visions of an ideal world bracket the far end of the philosophical spectrum. In the polarization of materialism and idealism, all of reality consists of ideas and there is no "material substance" at all. By taking mind as the starting point, idealistic philosophies must take pains to explain matter in their theoretical framework. In this model blank awareness can be equated with the idea of potential energy, and matter is in some sense sentient or intelligent while conforming to the mathematical foundations of physics . Could our experienced reality be a combination of our individual mental creations and some greater Mind's creations, or as some mystics have called it Universal Mind? .
The observer is entangled inseparably with the universe. The span in-between represents the dynamic interplay of chaos and order as old forms break down and new forms emerge. Nature's psychogenic forces manifest in localized quantum consciousness, where subjective and objective are in some sense unified, yet physically based. Most scientists themselves agree that pure materialism is untenable.
But flaws in the materialistic paradigm of science have appeared in recent years. These flaws have grown to a gaping rent, torn across the whole fabric of the materialistic conception of reality. Strained by the conflicts between Einstein and Bohr over the ultimate meaning of quantum mechanics, subjected to further stress in Bell's Theorem, and finally ripped through in recent tests by Aspect in France, the whole cloth of the materialistic picture of reality must now be rejected. (Walker, 2000).
But what are our other options? Reactionaries always find some opponents to struggle against; if an old opponent disappears, they quickly find new ones. Those vested in a conservative perspective are resistant to admitting new or contradictory evidence into their fundamental belief-system. Moderates, or centrists, are generally content with the status quo. Liberals lock in a struggle against conservatism, often to the detriment of formulating their next step forward. Progressives tend to be visionary and/or revolutionary. This is true whether the arena is politics, science, religion, the arts, or wellness. When an old model becomes untenable and crisis ensues, a revolution occurs -- again whether in new paradigm science or new paradigm politics.
The progressive paradigm is holistic and founded in the position that consciousness is a fundamental element of existence. Consciousness is a process not an object. Many physicists now hold this theoretical framework or view of reality (Walker, 2000; Goswami, 1993, 2001; Wolf, 1996; Bohm, 1980). In A Universe of Consciousness , Nobel Laureate, Gerald Edelman (2000) says that, "consciousness can be considered a scientific subject and [that] it is not the sole province of philosophers." Consciousness exists and is now being broached scientifically.
Over the past decade or so, however, something has definitely changed in the relationship between studies of consciousness and the neurosciences. Scientists seem less afraid of addressing the subject unabashedly, several books by neuroscientists have appeared, new journals have been launched, and studies have been conducted in which consciousness was actually treated as an experimental parameter. (Edelman, 2000).
Whether to understand the interconnections of will, to understand the most basic facts in quantum theory, or to discover the beginnings of the Big Bang universe, each path leads to the fact that there must exist a supreme Consciousness out of which everything else springs. It is Consciousness that began everything, that grows matter into a universe of existence; it is Consciousness that unifies and constrains all of us as individual beings; it is Consciousness that orders space and time out of a chaos of random events. (Walker, 2000).
The "new" paradigm recognizes that intuition, in addition to our normal sensory perceptions, is a faculty of discrimination which can be developed. Reaching beyond the dialectic of conservatism and liberalism, the progressive approach is based in viewing human beings, not as discrete entities, but as deeply embedded in the fabric of the universe -- the same essence as the universe. The new vision is 'soulful' while not necessarily promoting a religious notion of soul. It sees each individual as a meaningful mind/body/spirit, a microcosm of the macrocosm. It is thus rooted not only in egalitarian natural law, but in state-of-the-art cosmology, which is one of the four pillars of metaphysics .
It is a radical departure from the conservative view of ourselves as mechanical bodies within a clockwork universe. In that well-established model we are characterized reductively as meaningless cogs in the machinery of the universe, perhaps a source of depression or ennui. The organic process of change (and life processes) is such that as soon as any form congeals, it also begins to breakdown (entropy), to move toward another form. If we examine the universe at its absolute scale (large or small for theoretic and empiricial structures) this is what we find. Old structure must break down before new structure can emerge. Therefore, some sort of 'emergency' often preceeds 'emergence.' This is true in paradigm shift, and it holds true in the organic healing process.
Just as traditional medicine identifies itself with the past through the Hippocratic Oath, this new orientation also draws on the ancient Greek and Egyptian healing cults and our collective taproot back into 50,000 years of shamanic healing culture. Like traditional physicians seek to identify themselves with the Hippocratic ideal, we can embody this paradigm, this philosophy, by embracing a worldview which is seemingly new, but older than history -- medical intuition or spirituality. Only its recent implimentation in modern healing arts is new. It doesn't negate or even supersede the Hippocratic orientation; in ancient Greece both the complementary methods of healing mind, body and spirit were part of the cult of Asklepios.
When conventional means failed, supplicants went to the dream temples to heal their psyches -- their souls -- they entered the Mysteries. These healing dreams (which were never "interpreted" or "analyzed") somehow mobilized the nonrational elements of being and healing often emerged. But the ancient notion of soul was not disembodied; it meant the whole psychophysical organism. Ancient Vedic healers based their treatment in the philosophy that the common essence of humankind and cosmos is consciousness. Altering that primal essence, consciousness, could change one's state of health and well-being. It isn't really a case of activating mind over matter, but mobilizing what undergirds both mind and matter.
What, essentially, is this consciousness of which we speak? Can it be more than our functional subjective awareness, our existential experience -- the result of perceptual input and self-referential internal processing? Consciousness involves the integration of information, not just a passive array of information itself. We might conjecture that what does the connecting to more dimensions is one or more of the known fields: electromagnetic, gravitational, strong nuclear force, and/or weak nuclear force.
Every atom and molecule has all those fields. So, if any of them infuse information into consciousness, there should be a constant flow of information from everywhere there are atoms and molecules, not just the brain. Some still argue that quantum information is local and personal. But perhaps consciousness is the very basis of materiality -- a neutral essence more fundamental than energy or matter -- more fundamental than microstates of the complex functioning of human wetware?
In another corner of the scientific universe, neuroscientists have been trying to close the gap between brain and mind, to show that consciousness is simply an emergent property arising from brain cells, whose behavior can be explained with chemistry, the grammar of molecules and atoms. The mind arises from the laws of matter. So while some scientists are trying to reduce matter to consciousness, others are trying to reduce consciousness to matter. (Johnson, 1995).
David Chalmers, the distinguished philosopher and author of the 1996 book The Conscious Mind, has proposed that consciousness, like energy and mass, is a fundmental property of the universe, and exists to varying degrees in all things. According to Chalmers, consciousness is a universal phenomenon ...However, modern science tells us that light is dead, photons are merely massless "things" -- waves or particles depending on the way you look at them. (Schwartz, 1999)
James Newell (2003) suggests that there may exist an Absolute Consciousness as a field that (1) is always everywhere, (2) integrates information in all brains, and (3) usally makes conscious in individual brains only individual information, but occasionally also non-individual information.
In "Three Paragims for Psychology," Dr. Arturo Aguilar (1998) argues for assigning scale to functional consciousness:
Much of the confusion which exists in contemporary psychology would be greatly diminished if an integration of the main paradigms were to take place. On the other hand, although classical physics is the model science, the concept of consciousness is not necessary for the satisfactory solution of physical problems, except in the field of quantum mechanics; but it may be indispensable for solving most of the psychological problems. What I am proposing is a conceptual metaphor which assumes that all psychological phenomena (i.e. the expressions of consciousness) must be studied from three simultaneous points of view or paradigms: physiological, behavioral and cognitive. . .each class of data should be methodologically treated according to its own corresponding paradigm. Thus, the existence of congruence or consistency between the three aspects of consciousness could be verified and confusing shifts between paradigms could be prevented. Also, locating the system of interest (e.g. emotion) within its proper level of scale (form or kind of consciousness) permits an unambiguous identification of its corresponding subsystems and appropriate context.
Stapp (1993) argues that on the basis of certain mathematical characteristics classical mechanics is not constitutionally suited to accommodate consciousness, whereas quantum mechanics is. These mathematical characteristics pertain to the nature of the information represented in the state of the brain, and the way this information enters into the dynamics. This opens up the interesting possibility of representing the mind/brain, within contemporary physical theory, as a combination of the thoughtlike and matterlike aspects of a neutral reality.
Classical mechanics arose from the banishment of consciousness from our conception of the physical universe. Hence it should not be surprising to find that the readmission of consciousness requires going beyond that theory. The exclusion of consciousness from the material universe was a hallmark of science for over two centuries. However, the shift, in the 1920's, from classical mechanics to quantum mechanics marked a break with that long tradition: it appeared that the only coherent way to incorporate quantum phenomena into the existing science was to admit also the human observer (Stapp, 1972). But the recent resurgence of interest in the foundations of quantum theory has led increasingly to a focus on the crux of the problem, namely the need to understand the role of consciousness in the unfolding of physical reality. It has become clear that the revolution in our conception of matter wrought by quantum theory has completely altered the complexion of the problem of the relationship between mind and matter, (Stapp, 1995).
Western empirical descriptions of consciousness have been due largely to Descartes and Kant. William James and Hermann Weyl have also made important contributions. Consciousness studies is a relatively new field attempting to conduct credible theorizing and research on the topic. It often deals more with the functional aspects of consciousness, rather than its ontological status as a prime mover. But those engaged in the multidisciplinary field speculate on both.
It is often maintained that no-one can define consciousness but there exists a clear empirical description of consciousness as an observation of the space, time and content of our minds (where the content contains intuitions and feelings). Another alternative is to embrace what seems to be an infinity of parallel worlds where there is no need for an observer to reduce probability waves, as in the Many Worlds theories of Everett and Deutsch.
The "many worlds" or "parallel universes" version of quantum physics states that the observer, in observing is actually becoming a part of the observed by noticing and remembering what he or she experiences. If a quantum system is capable of being observed in one of several possible states, then when an observation occurs, the system enters all of these states and the observer's mind splits into a companion state associated with each possible physical state of the system, (Wolf, 2000).
The idealist approach emphasizes a different philosophical value:
In searching for the fundamental basis of physical reality and the nature of the mind, Goswami (1993) has defined consciousness as "the agency that affects quantum objects to make their behavior sensible." In choosing this criterion he hopes to show how mind can effect matter nonenergetically because they share the same essence.
By making the leap from a universe based on bits of matter, to one based in consciousness, he hopes to logically and coherently resolve some of the major paradoxes of physics. He suggests that instead of everything being made of atoms, everything is made of consciousness. If quantum objects are waves that spread in existence at more than one place, as QM has shown, then consciousness may be the agency that focuses the waves so we can observe them at one place. Goswami labels this philosophy, "monistic as opposed to dualistic, and it is idealism because ideas (not to be confused with ideals) and the consciousness of them are considered to be the basic elements of reality; matter is considered to be secondary." Mental phenomena such as self-consciousness, free will, creativity, and ESP are explained anew in this reformulation of the mind-body in a fresh context.
As in both the mystical view and holographic universe (such as that described by Bohm), there is only the dynamic play of one great webwork of existence (Bohm's holomovement). This unified movement, a dance of creation and annihilation, has intentionality. However, Goswami does not propose that consciousness is mind; they are different concepts. In monistic idealism, the consciousness of the subject in a subject-object experience is the same consciousness that is the ground of all being. Therefore, consciousness is unitive. The domain of potentia also exists in consciousness. Nothing is outside consciousness.
Buddha tells us that, "There is an Unborn, Unoriginated, Uncreated, Unformed. If there were not this Unborn, this Unoriginated, this Uncreated, this Unformed, escape from the world of the born, the originated, the created, the formed would not be possible ." But there is this essential ground, and it is possible to "escape" spacetime, according to Buddha.
If the brain-mind is itself an object in a nonlocal consciousness that encompasses all reality, then what we call objective empirical reality is within this consciousness. The one becomes many through self-reference, fragmentation into tangled hierarchies of self-iterating information. The trick is to distinguish between consciousness and awareness. In processes of which we are aware classical models prevail. When we consciously see, consciousness collapses the quantum state of the brain-mind. Unconscious processing does not effect collapse of the quantum wave-function, pinning down quantum entities to one reality. Thus, unconscious processing permits the expression of nonlocal phenomena. (Miller on Goswami)
Consciousness is all things in totality.
Consciousness is reality. Or, perhaps consciousness simply emerges as natural processes unfold, (Satinover, 2001; Layzer, 1990). As we've suggested, the countertheory to emergent evolution is radical reductionism, which asserts that all the properties of complex structure or process are implicit in its components, which is clearly untenable. Consciousness is certainly a reality central to being and accessible to intuition. It is not beyond perception, but rather the means of perception and apprehension. Maybe the claim that no-one can define consciousness is frustration at the fact that no-one can adequately explain "Consciousness," or "Matter," either, for that matter (Green, 2002). 
Of course, it would seem easy to assert that small-scale processes will be described quantum mechanically, and large-scale processes will be described classically. But large-scale processes are built up in some sense from small-scale processes, so there is a problem in showing how to reconcile the large-scale classical behavior with the small-scale quantum behavior. There's the rub! For quantum mechanics at the small scale simply does not lead to classical mechanics at the large scale. That is exactly the problem that has perplexed quantum physicists from the very beginning. (Stapp, 1995).
I have studied a good deal of the newer writings on consciousness and neuroscience as well as those on consciousness and physics and on consciousness and philosophy. In the end, I have thrown up my hands. Perhaps it is my own limitations, of course, but here's what I've concluded: I doubt we will ever be able to show that consciousness is a logically necessary accompaniment to any material process, however complex. The most that we can ever hope to show is that, empirically, processes of a certain kind and complexity appear to have it. Perhaps it is an intrinsic "quality" of matter, like mass. Maybe it's somehow related to the foundational nature of "information." In any event, I have found almost all the writings on this topic singularly confused, filled with the wishful biases of the writers' professions. (Satinover, 2001).
These wishful biases are the unconscious paradigms at work behind the scenes -- the tacit belief systems. In our modern world, science has become our god -- but one that is fallible, that has failed to address our soul and spirit. The medical profession, in lock-step, expunged soul and spirit from its practice in an attempt to separate itself definitively from religion, magic, and superstition.
Science has its own beliefs and superstitions, despite its claim to total objectivity. It has sought to eliminate the undeniable subjective factor of our existence -- that which yields our awareness, our very consciousness of what it means to be human. The old healing paradigm simply isn't in harmony with what modern physics tells us of nature and our own nature. And, physics is the cornerstone of science. Modern medicine can implant an artificial or substitute heart, but can it put the heart back into its own practice, heralding a rebirth of spiritual medicine?
Based on the medical anthropology of cave painting and shamanism literature, consciousness has been a central component of healing since the beginning of human history. Recently, western medicine has re-established a priority of consciousness studies because of the failure of modern linear science to arrest the health crisis. Transpersonal medicine has again established a foothold in healing arts. Generations of distrust in self-appointed charlatans have eroded and almost destroyed the curriculum of skills inherent in consciousness healing. As students begin their educations into these ancient and contemporary skills, they do so under new criteria of being "scientific" if these skills are to earn their rightful place in a medical profession. Yet, the typical designs formulated on linear statistics do not apply to the non-linear characteristics of consciousness. The co-creative nature between consciousness and healing cannot be measured in three dimensions and innovative methodologies have to be developed with a full appreciation of scientific reasoning and the mysteries of healing. (Lawlis).
There is a crisis in the healing arts -- the kind of crisis that leads to paradigm shifts. It is new meaning that changes what we think and believe, as well as our physical experience of the world, both personally and globally. It helps us turn possibilities into realities even though that is often not easy. Crisis science - as described by Kuhn - requires a fundamental criticism of the old paradigm and its meaningfulness. Barrow's Constants of Nature shows that (so-called) paradigm shifts are generally widening and deepenings of existing theories.
The Holistic perspective is such an existing theory undergoing a widening and deepening of its applications. We know intuitively that we are integral to nature, and yet our Western ideology tells us that our consciousness makes us crucially different -- controllers manipulating a largely unconscious world. As scientists and artists we hold up a mirror to nature. Even our creative arts reflect the deep structure of matter and foretell the possibilities for recreating society from the same impulses that share our creativity.
The same powers of creativity that gave birth to the universe and unfolding forms of the natural world are present and reflected in the human mind and imagination. Creativity in nature and mind manifests its power through "authentic exchange," nuances of operations emerging from creative center. In these exchanges, the kinds of emergent self-organization described in complexity takes place, leading to the power of "collective creativity." One manifestatin of this is the power to remold our social institutions including the healing arts.
What's New with My Subject?