Beyond the Split Brain

I received some very interesting correspondence from Neil Slade after last week’s post. For one thing, he reminded me about the Curious Case of Jill Bolte Taylor, a neuroanatomist who had the “great good fortune” of being able to observe her own stroke in progress. I’ve tacked on her TED talk about it below, noticing that over one million seven hundred thousand people have viewed it. Obviously, the split brain is a subject of interest and her story is so extraordinary, it’s worth saving and listening to from time to time. In a nutshell, her stroke virtually destroyed her entire left brain and she came to the realisation that:

I am an energy being connected to the energy all around me through the consciousness of my right hemisphere. We are energy beings connected to one another through the consciousness of our right hemispheres as one human family. And right here, right now, all we are brothers and sisters on this planet, here to make the world a better place. And in this moment we are perfect. We are whole. And we are beautiful.

This wasn’t my first introduction to Jill Bolte Taylor and I mentioned her in my Sea of Joy chapter, The Split Brain, which, thanks to Iain McGilchrist, now needs further revision. One thing JBT taught me was that my attempts to get a nice balanced view of the brain were doomed to failure. Worse, as McGilchrist points out, the brain is not symmetrical. I love symmetry, so that is an unsettling revelation.

Anyway, as I wrote in The Split Brain:

The contradictory characteristics of brain behaviour have been a source of great embarrassment to some researchers, who have clung tenaciously to the idea that the brain is a compartmentalised construction and nothing more.

My concluding words were, “It is here that we have to leave the lump of grey matter behind and start surfing the Holographic Brain“. If a holographic brain sounds like a bizarre concept to you, please read the entry, because you’ll need to be able to accept it as a possibility before you move on to Thomas Campbell and his Big TOE. Campbell’s TOE (Theory of Everything) is that we live in a digital world or rather, all our perceived realities are digital realities. The more I listen to him, the more compelling his arguments become. For an introduction to Tom Campbell and his Big TOE, read my blog entry, Thomas Campbell,  William Blake and John Lennon: A Strange Symbiosis and watch the video attached to it.

And that brings me to the point of this entry. Note how I wrote “the more  compelling his arguments become” above. To “argue” is a distinctly left brain activity because it’s verbal in nature. There’s a huge problem with any verbal “argument” (whether benign or hostile): arguments are not grounded in reality or, as Iaian McGilchrist pointed out about the left brain, yield “a world that is ultimately lifeless.” Campbell presents his arguments in order to help us begin the process of disentangling ourselves from the narrow scope of our left brain, intellectual thinking processes and imagine alternate realities. That process of imagination is a right brain activity and hence is more holistic, balanced and ultimately realistic.

Personally, I think amygdala tickling and other visualisation techniques work simply because they are imaginative techniques. Whether or not the science is precisely correct is beside the point. The science helps, because we are so trapped in our illusory Newtonian, mechanistic world, we need an escape route and a compelling argument provides that route. Jill Taylor Bolte was lucky because she was a true believer in the world of matter and her stroke was a “stroke of insight” into the infinitely larger world of the “right brain” (in quotes because that is an illusory concept itself).  Most of the rest of us have to take a slower route, since our “left brain” is like a magnet pulling us back to earth.

Tom Campbell is interesting because he has explored many worlds, but doesn’t view any of them as particularly important. What he stresses again and again is the importance of LOVE as the ultimate reality that animates all temporary realities. As Walt Whitman wrote and is echoed by both Campbell and in JTB’s words quoted above:

And I know that the hand of God is the promise of my own,
And I know that the spirit of God is the brother of my own,
And that all the men ever born are also my brothers, and the women my sisters and lovers,
And that a kelson of the creation is love

(more than) Enough said. Enjoy the video:

Thomas Campbell, William Blake and John Lennon: A Strange Symbiosis

Tom Campbell

Well, I’ve finally finished listening to all 18 segments of a Thomas Campbell lecture. I still like him, but don’t feel like I’ve learned anything new. I think he would agree that it is not his intention to teach anything new: his intention is to get his listeners to explore consciousness in their own way, through personal experimentation and exploration.

William Blake

At the same time I was listening to Tom Campbell, a quote from Wm. Blake kept popping into my head, but I couldn’t remember all of the words. Finally, I paused the video and googled the few words I could remember: “or be enslaved by another man’s.” This is the result I got:

“I must create a system or be enslaved by another mans; I will not reason and compare: my business is to create.”

My curiosity sated, I went back to listening to Thomas Campbell. He did have a lot of interesting things to say and it was fascinating to see how he had come to so many realisations using the language and symbolism of physics. To me it was a demonstration of the truth of the old adage, “Many paths lead to the same goal.”

Towards the end of the video I had just about convinced myself that I had nothing else to say about Tom Campbell’s Big Toe other than to point out that he points out that he deliberately gave his book the title, My Big Toe instead of The Big Toe. The reason he did it was to emphasise that he was not advocating following his path, but encouraging others to follow their own. Then, as if by magic, very near the conclusion of his presentation, during the Q&A session, he said this:

“You must develop your personal big picture from your personal experience.”

Let’s compare this with what Wm. Blake wrote, 200 years ago:

“I must create a system or be enslaved by another mans; I will not reason and compare: my business is to create.”

Jacob's Ladder, by Wm Blake

Wm. Blake was a visionary artist. Tom Campbell is a physicist. They occupy different mythological landscapes but find common ground in the same ultimate reality. If you wade through Blake’s poetry, you find that behind the darkness in the struggle between good and evil is light and love. After wading through Campbell’s presentation, I discovered his ultimate message was the same:

Question: “You say that by eliminating fear and ego and lowering entropy you become love?”

Answer: “Yes. Consciousness is love. Spirituality is love.”

So there you have it. How many times does it have to be said, by how many teachers, before we get it? As Thomas Campbell and William Blake say: ultimately we have to create our own system and follow our own path. Why? As Campbell says with a shrug: “That’s just the way the system works.”

Just one more thing before I go. I’m a big advocate of brainwave entrainment, because it is an easy and relatively safe way to experience altered states of consciousness. Tom Campbell learned to leave his body partly by using brainwave entrainment technology. He happened to use Robert Monroe’s Hemisync program. In fact, I think he helped develop it. Does he advocate Hemisync? He was asked this question towards the end of the lecture. Basically, he does advocate learning and practising meditation, but using brainwave entrainment or learning to leave the body are optional. When asked, “Does entering other realms lower entropy?” his reply was short and to the point: “It does not. It’s not important.”

As John Lennon said: “All you need is love.”

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.