Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Neuroscience of Psychic Phenomena: updated again 2/29/12

source: Reality Sandwich

Much of this information has been covered here already but it's nice to see common sense confirmed by academia for once. Of course, psychiatrists involved with the MK Ultra Project have been well aware of these occurrences for over half a century now but don't expect the documented history of their experiments to be published by the scientific establishment anytime soon. The following article needs some editing but it also publicizes academic research necessary for understanding the nature of military behavior modification programs. Illustrating this point is a quote from the neuroscientist, Diane Hennacy Powell, who was interviewed for the author's radio show: "Unfortunately, psychic research has never received adequate funding and the situation is even worse today in this economic climate. Some of the most compelling research was supported during the Cold War by various branches of US military intelligence, which felt that it could not afford to let the Russians become more advanced in this area. Some of this research was declassified in 1995 and there is still a wealth of information that is classified".

In this episode of Esoteric Voices, Diane Hennacy Powell talks about her research into the neuroscience of psychic phenomena. It started with her seeing a patient who started giving her a psychic reading that contained too much accurate information for her to ignore. She wondered how it was possible for people to know these types of things, and why there was a higher incidence of it occurring with people who are usually described as mentally ill.

One of the problems with researching psychics from a neuroscience perspective is that they are wary of having their brains scanned and risking exposure to radiation. What Powell did to overcome this was to look at already existing brain scans of patients who had higher incidents of psi experiences, which included people diagnosed as being bi-polor, having symptoms of ADD, or autism as well as people who have had head trauma, vivid dreams, or synesthesia.

Powell wrote a book called The ESP Enigma which reported her findings into the nature of consciousness. She found that psychic people tend be have more dominant right brains, and to that they have more activity in their limbic system, which is related to dreaming and emotional processing. She also found that DMT tends to activate the limbic system, and that it's present in our pineal gland or Third Eye, it's the active ingredient of ayahuasca, and that it's usually secreted during out-of-body or near-death experiences. more...

also related:

The ESP Enigma: The Scientific Case for Psychic Phenomena by Diane Hennacy Powell offers a 'science-based' look at psychic phenomena.

source: The Daily Telegraph of London, via

In layman-friendly style, Dr. Diane Hennacy Powell, a practicing psychiatrist, neuroscientist, and contributor to the Institute of Noetic Sciences, posits that the world is in the middle of a paradigm shift in its understanding of consciousness...From that jumping-off point, Dr. Powell combs through decades of published studies, experiments, investigations by the CIA, anecdotal evidence of psychic experiences, accounts of prophetic dreams, work by famous psychics such as Edgar Cayce, and the conclusions of Carl Jung and Albert Einstein on consciousness and the illusion of time...Psychic phenomena appear to be real and a potential in everyone, Dr Powell concludes, and she places blame on Western culture’s left-brained dominance for its failure to function more intuitively and psychically...And this psychiatrist, who also trained at the Institute of Psychiatry in London and served on the faculty of Harvard Medical School before going into private practice, can hardly be labelled a New Age loon. As she puts it, “[T]urning a blind eye to psychic phenomena is no more an option than refusing to believe that spacecraft landed on the moon simply because we cannot explain the physics that made such a feat possible.”

Sunday, February 26, 2012

More Than Human? The Ethics of Biologically Enhancing Soldiers

By Patrick Lin, via The Atlantic

Our ability to "upgrade" the bodies of soldiers through drugs, implants, and exoskeletons may be upending the ethical norms of war as we've understood them.

If we can engineer a soldier who can resist torture, would it still be wrong to torture this person with the usual methods? Starvation and sleep deprivation won't affect a super-soldier who doesn't need to sleep or eat. Beatings and electric shocks won't break someone who can't feel pain or fear like we do. This isn't a comic-book story, but plausible scenarios based on actual military projects today....

As you might expect, there are serious moral and legal risks to consider on this path. Last week in the UK, The Royal Society released its report " Neuroscience, Conflict and Security." This timely report worried about risks posed by cognitive enhancements to military personnel, as well as whether new nonlethal tactics, such as directed energy weapons, could violate either the Biological or Chemical Weapons Conventions...what's needed is an upgrade to the basic human condition. We want our warfighters to be made stronger, more aware, more durable, more maneuverable in different environments, and so on. The technologies that enable these abilities fall in the realm of human enhancement, and they include neuroscience, biotechnology, nanotechnology, robotics, artificial intelligence, and more.

While some of these innovations are external devices, such as exoskeletons that give the wearer super-strength, our technology devices are continually shrinking in size. Our mobile phones today have more computing power than the Apollo rockets that blasted to the moon. So there's good reason to think that these external enhancements someday can be small enough to be integrated with the human body, for an even greater military advantage.

Ethical and safety issues

Established standards in biomedical ethics-such as the Nuremberg Code, the Declaration of Helsinki, and others-govern the research stage of enhancements, that is, experimentation on human subjects. But "military necessity" or the exigencies of war can justify actions that are otherwise impermissible, such as a requirement to obtain voluntary consent of a patient. Under what conditions, then, could a warfighter be commanded (or refuse) a risky or unproven enhancement, such as a vaccine against a new biological weapon? Because some enhancements could be risky or pose long-term health dangers, such as addiction to "go pills", should military enhancements be reversible? What are the safety considerations related to more permanent enhancements, such as bionic parts or a neural implant?
Military-civilian issues

As history shows, we can expect the proliferation of every military technology we invent. The method of diffusion is different and more direct with enhancements, though: Most warfighters return to society as civilians (our veterans) and would carry back any permanent enhancements and addictions with them. The US has about 23 million veterans-or one out of every 10 adults-in addition to 3 million active and reserve personnel, so this is a significant segment of the population. Would these enhancements, such as a drug or an operation that subdues emotions, create problems for the veteran to assimilate to civilian life? Would they create problems for other civilians who may be at a competitive disadvantage to the enhanced veteran who, for instance, has bionic limbs and enhanced cognition?

In contrast, cognitive and physical enhancements aim to create a super-soldier from a biomedical direction, such as with modafinil and other drugs. For battle, we want our soft organic bodies to perform more like machines. Somewhere in between robotics and biomedical research, we might arrive at the perfect future warfighter: one that is part machine and part human, striking a formidable balance between technology and our frailties.

In changing human biology, we also may be changing the assumptions behind existing laws of war and even human ethics.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

US Miltary funds research into neurological processes involved with compromising core values

Given the disturbing history of military behavior management experiments, research into the neurological basis underlying the abandonment of core personal values will undoubtedly be applied in mass psychological warfare, particularly within the domain of the mainstream media. In light of widespread disapproval of the ballooning defense budget, militaristic propaganda of this variety has become necessary for convincing both the public and military service members that mass civilians casualties, reinforced by torture and the suspension of habeas corpus, are the only ways to ensure domestic security.

source:Science Daily, via Cryptogon

The Price of Your Soul: How the Brain Decides Whether to 'Sell Out'

ScienceDaily (Jan. 22, 2012) — A neuro-imaging study shows that personal values that people refuse to disavow, even when offered cash to do so, are processed differently in the brain than those values that are willingly sold.

Sacred values prompt greater activation of an area of the brain associated with rules-based, right-or-wrong thought processes, the study showed, as opposed to the regions linked to processing of costs-versus-benefits.

Berns headed a team that included economists and information scientists from Emory University, a psychologist from the New School for Social Research and anthropologists from the Institute Jean Nicod in Paris, France. The research was funded by the U.S. Office of Naval Research, the Air Force Office of Scientific Research and the National Science Foundation.

"We've come up with a method to start answering scientific questions about how people make decisions involving sacred values, and that has major implications if you want to better understand what influences human behavior across countries and cultures," Berns says....Research participants who reported more active affiliations with organizations, such as churches, sports teams, musical groups and environmental clubs, had stronger brain activity in the same brain regions that correlated to sacred values. "Organized groups may instill values more strongly through the use of rules and social norms," Berns says. more...