What Is the Brain – physical, chemical, electrical, holographic or digital?

What is the Brain? That’s the question I asked myself when I started this website.

I started with the physical brain and found two seemingly opposing, but equally appealing models. One, the Triune Brain, was an evolutionary brain composed of a rudimentary reptilian brain, a mammalian brain and a primate brain with a fourth brain, the frontal lobes being in the early or mid-stages of development. Then there was the split brain theory. That’s the brain that is split down the middle, with the intuitive brain on the right side and the logical brain on the left.

I haven’t discussed it yet, but the chemical brain is the one that the shamans and other consciousness explorers tinker with using a variety of substances like peyote, LSD, DMT, ayahuasca and other psychedelics (or entheogens, if you like).

The electrical brain is the one you tap into when you listen to brainwave entrainment tracks. This brain is all about electrical activity and frequencies. Most of the time we’re only fully conscious when we’re operating in the beta frequency band. However, with practice, we can become conscious while dreaming or even while in deep sleep. Some people have even been able to find ways to exit their bodies by tapping into the right frequencies. This seems implausible until you dig a little deeper and I’ll get to that soon, so bear with me.

Holographic Universe

The Holographic Universe, by Michael Talbot (Amazon affiliate link)


Confused by all the unanswered questions about the brain, a brilliant neurophysiologist came up with the theory of the holographic brain. I’ve written a little bit about that, so rather than repeat myself, you can read about it here.

My Big Toe

My Big Toe, by Thomas Campbell (Amazon affiliate link)


About a week ago, a reader suggested I look at a talk given by Tom Campbell, author of My Big TOE. I had never heard of him before, but after listening to the first 9 segments of his presentation on Youtube, it made all the effort I’ve put into this site worthwhile. Tom Campbell’s “TOE” (Theory Of Everything) is that we have digital brains and live in a digital universe. I haven’t had the opportunity yet to watch the other 9 segments, but the first 9 have given me more than enough food for thought for the past week. I’m just going to share a few of my thoughts with you here.

The expression, “the brain is like a computer” has always annoyed me because it’s got it backwards. A computer is a pale reflection of the brain and tragically inferior, so I was a little put off at first when Tom Campbell suggested that we live in a digital universe, but soon he converted me to his way of thinking.

Back in about 1983 I took a short course called “Introduction to Computer Programming.” I remember very little about it, but I do remember learning that computers use a binary numerical system composed of ones and zeroes. Of course, all the computer code in the world is useless unless it is converted into electrical signals and that’s exactly what a computer does. From memory, zeroes are negative and ones are positive. Put together in sequence, they make up the logic of the system, the pixels on the screen, the sounds we hear through our headphones, the letters I am typing here, etc., etc. The word “bit” is short for “binary digit” and as we all know, the more “bits” you’ve got, the more computing power you have.

A couple of weeks ago, I had an assignment about salt lamps and how they work. The theory is this: carbon dioxide is composed of positive and negative ions. As Wikipedia says:

An ion is an atom or molecule in which the total number of electrons is not equal to the total number of protons, giving it a net positive or negative electrical charge.

Salt lamps are said to work by producing more negative ions than positive ones, thus cancelling out the debilitating effects of the excess of positive ions in the stale air of an office or other polluted environment. Be that as it may, the connection between bits being organised into bytes, megabytes, etc. in order to compute information and the fact that electrical activity organises information in the phenomenal world is compelling, to say the least.

Take it a bit further, to the quantum level and, as too many quantum physicists have pointed out, light waves exhibit the properties of a particle only when they are observed. When they are not observed, they have both wavelike qualities and particle-likee qualities, with the potential to “become something” if they are observed. This is the kind of thing Campbell talks about and when you listen to him, it seems laughingly obvious that we do live in a digital universe.

Journeys Out of the Body

Journeys Out of the Body (Amazon affiliate link)


I wasn’t quite ready for it, though, when he said that the subjective universe was  infinitely larger than the objective universe. Then it all became clear when he mentioned in the fifth segment of the series that he had studied with Robert Monroe, author of Journeys Out of the Body, and had visited alternative realities hundreds of times and had verified the reality of his experiences. This was no idle boast, either. It was his job as a physicist to both explore out of body experiences and devise ways to verify and replicate them. You can read his story on his website, MY BIG TOE. Click the link and you will be digitally taken to his “About the Author” page.

After listening to Tom Campbell speak, any lingering ideas you may have that this world is the only “real world” will vanish. He is just too logical and, more importantly, has too much experience at exploring alternative realities to dismiss. Personally, I was MOST impressed by the fact that he is aware that his Big TOE is a metaphor only. Every theory and every belief system we have is a metaphor, including quantum physics. If a practising physicist understands this, I reckon he must be on to something.

Brainwave Entrainment Software

I’m sure I’ll be writing more about Tom Campbell’s Big TOE. In fact, it’s hard for me to stop now. However, I’m going to dust off my Neuroprogrammer brainwave entrainment software and let Tom explain himself to you. I’ve embedded his entire Youtube presentation below. It’s over an hour long, but you can always listen to it in segments as I’m doing. It takes awhile for him to warm up, so give him some time. You’ll be glad you did.

ps: What is the brain? It’s all of the above: physical, chemical, electrical, holographic and digital. Or none of the above. Use your own metaphor.

Being There Now with Be Here Now

I ran across Eckhardt Tolle’s bestseller, The Power of Now the other day. It’s an interesting book and highly recommended, but that’s not what this post is about. As soon as I saw the title, I went on a trip back in time, to when Ram Dass’s Be Here Now was the Now book of the moment. That’s what this post is about.

I met Ram Dass back in about 1969 or 70, after his guru, Neem Karoli Baba told me to go see him in Nainital, a beautiful city in the foothills of the Himalayas. I didn’t hesitate to go, but it wasn’t for the obvious reason – that Ram Dass was famous. In his incarnation as Richard Alpert, he was famous as the infamous (in conservative circles) Harvard professor who, along with Timothy Leary, helped popularize LSD. When he  traveled to India seeking enlightenment, he was introduced to Neem Karoli Baba and subsequently became Ram Dass. It’s a long story and one he tells best himself. If you want to read his story, check out his website.

The reason I did as directed was simply because Neem Karoli Baba told me to. I had only gone to see Maharaji out of curiosity, because he happened to be in Vrindaban at the same time I was, but after just one brief visit, I was already under his spell, if that’s the way to put it. There was just something about him. He shattered my preconceptions about what a guru should be like, but remained compelling to me in spite of my firmly held yoga purist’s convictions and prejudices.

I went to see Ram Dass as told and found him to be a really nice guy – warm and friendly and unpretentious. I also met some other devotees of Neem Karoli Baba. They came in all sorts of personality packages, but I found them refreshing. At the time, the world of Western Hinduism as I knew it was the world of yogic discipline. My summer job at the time was teaching hatha yoga and meditation at a retreat in the foothills of the Sierra Mountains. Maharaji’s followers didn’t seem “spiritual” at all. They just liked to hang out with Maharaji. No, they lived to hang out with him. I could relate to that, though I couldn’t quite put my finger on the reason why.

This will be a very long blog post if I don’t get to the point. The original title of this post going to be, “A Journey into Darkness.” It was going to be about how I let myself be driven by fear for a good portion of last week and the terrible realization that this and other negative emotions – everything from despair to greed, anger and pride – seem to be the driving force behind so many people’s entire lives. I’ve been aware of this intellectually for years, but the other day it hit me like a sledgehammer.

There were remnants of fear in my consciousness this morning when I sat down to work. I was going to bang out a quick blog post and then get back to work. Because I had been reminded of Be Here Now, I thought I’d google Ram Dass and see what he was up to. Then I randomly clicked this link and my eyes fell on these words from Neem Karoli Baba:

“The real contentment comes only when there is no desire, no hankering in your mind for anything. How can you say that you have got everything and do not want anything more when you are holding an empty vessel in your hand? You might be saying this with your mouth, but there would always be the worry in your mind about how the pot could be filled, always looking from side to side with the expectation that somebody will come and fill it up. Well, how can you call this contentment? When one sees that when the pot before him is full to the brim, it is emptied, and when it is empty, it is refilled of its own – that is contentment. If anyone wanted to give him anything, he would show that the pot was full already. What would he do with anything more? Even if he wanted to share it with others, where would he put it? This is the real contentment and it comes only through the grace of God. When you have full faith in Him, full reliance on Him, when you can surrender everything to Him, then that grace comes to you by itself – you do not have to ask for it or make any effort. Such is the value of faith in God.”

Neem Karoli BabaNeem Karoli Baba doesn’t look much like your stereotypical guru. He didn’t act like one, either. The only words of spiritual advice he ever gave me were, “love everybody and eat jalabis” and, when I asked him if he was my guru, he gave me an emphatic “No!” Jalabis are delicious Indian sweets, by the way, not a mysterious psychedelic drug. Make of his words what you will, they have been with me ever since that day.

I want to go on writing forever about the year I spent in India. To say it was magical would be an understatement. It’s time to close now, though. Thanks for visiting.

notes: I originally posted this about 2 years ago. I’m the guy with his hand on his hip at the top of the photo. It should be obvious who NKB is.