An Evolutionary Approach Toward Exploring Altered States of Consciousness, Mind–Body Techniques, and Non-Local Mind
David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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World Futures 67 (3):182 - 200 (2011)
Humans are a part of the complex system including both natural and cultural-technological environment. Evolution of this system included self-amplifying feedbacks that lead to the appearance of human conscious mind. We describe the current state of the understanding of human brain evolution that stresses neurohormonal and biochemical changes rather than simple increase of anatomical substrate for the mind. It follows that human brain is strongly influenced by the state of the body and may operate at various levels of consciousness depending on its biochemical environment created by ingestion of various substances and by specific physical activities. Through the study of the widespread phenomenon of shamanism that uses mind-altering practices we argue that altered states of consciousness and non-local minds are not only real phenomena, but that they are products of natural evolution, valuable for human survival and development. Consideration of altered states of consciousness and broadening of the framework for understanding brain function beyond mechanistic interpretations is necessary to further develop human adaptations and provide a better way of fitting humans as parts of the interconnected system into the global and universal patterns
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