Saturday, 1 June 2013

Belief- Powerful Tool To Mend Reality

Belief creates the actual fact.      -William James 

Reality! What is reality? Right now, you are reading this on a computer or somewhat related devices such as laptop, smart phones, tablets etc. You see letters and pictures on the screen of the device but are they real? My answer is ‘yes’ as well as ‘no’. ‘Yes,’ because you are seeing it and ‘no,’ because what appear as letters and pictures on the screen is actually projection of pixels on screen which are controlled by ‘on’ and ‘off’ of logic switches in processor. To render something on screen, such as a letter, the processor has to tell each pixel to be light or dark, or in case of color displays, what color to be. 

Do you know how you see color? Ganglion cells in the retina receive input from many color sensitive photoreceptors and produce sequences of electrical spikes that go to the brain. The sequence of spikes is a code that represents the image that falls on the retina and is transformed into the experience of color and shapes. The concept of ‘qualia’ may be interpreted as an interface which converts these electrical spikes into experience. It is the brain that registers a specific frequency of light and the experience associated with it we name as specific color. In the words of Sir John Atkins, a noted neurobiologist, “I want you to realize that there exists no color in the natural world or sound, nothing of this kind, no textures, no patterns, no beauty, no scent; the only reason a rose is red that you have a nervous system that registers a specific frequency of electromagnetic radiation or light as certain experience that we called red.”

In light of science, as revealed by quantum physics, the Universe is a field of zero-point energies where reality emerges from it and merges in it as reality pops in field of pixels in bitmapped display screens. Thus physical theory became converted from a theory about 'physically reality', as it had formerly been understood, into a theory about human knowledge. This view is encapsulated in Heisenberg's famous statement: “The conception of the objective reality of the elementary particles has thus evaporated not into the cloud of some obscure new reality concept, but into the transparent clarity of mathematics that represents no longer the behavior of the particle but rather our knowledge of this behavior." The observed physical world is described rather by a mathematical structure that can best be characterized as representing information and propensities: some information about all the possible choices is simultaneously present in the quantum state, and the possibility that any one of the mutually exclusive alternatives might be pertinent. Whichever choice the experimenter eventually makes, the associated set of predictions is assumed to hold.

Quantum theory of the general nature and rules of behavior of the reality in which our human knowledge is imbedded opens door for belief as a powerful tool to mend reality. Quantum theory often entails that an act of acquiring knowledge in one place instantly changes the theoretical representation of some faraway system. The quantum non locality of nature suggests the way to the development of a rationally coherent theory of nature that integrates the subjective knowledge into an objectively existing and evolving physical reality.

The reality making effects of belief could be seen in the cases of mental disorder. In schizophrenia, a patient could see persons in real 3D view as we normally see but these persons do not exist for others. Schizophrenic see as well as talk with them as real but the passing by would see schizophrenic talking himself. A schizophrenic could hallucinate in any sensory modality:  visual, auditory, olfactory, gustatory, tactile, etc.

Multiple Personality disorder or now called Dissociative Identity disorder is a bizarre syndrome in which two or more distinct personalities inhabit a single body. In people with multiple personalities, there is a strong psychological separation between each sub-personality; each will have his own name and age, and often some specific memories and abilities. Frequently, for example, personalities will differ in handwriting, artistic talent or even in knowledge of foreign languages. Clinicians reported isolated cases of dramatic biological changes in people with multiple personalities as they switched from one to another. These include the abrupt appearance and disappearance of rashes, welts, scars and other tissue wounds; switches in handwriting and handedness; epilepsy, allergies and color blindness that strike only when a given personality is in control of the body. Some multiples have to carry two or three different pairs of eyeglasses to accommodate their alternating personalities. One multiple, admitted to a hospital for diabetes, baffled her doctors by showing no symptoms when one of her non diabetic personalities was in control. There are cases of women who have two or three menstrual periods each month because each of their sub-personalities has its own cycle.

Dr. Bennet Braun, a psychiatrist at Rush-Presbyterian-St. Luke's Medical Center in Chicago documented a case in which all of a patient's sub-personalities were allergic to orange juice, except Timmy. When Timmy drinks orange juice he has no problem but if other sub-personalities drink orange juice, the result is a case of hives. The hives will occur even if Timmy drinks orange juice and another personality appears while the juice is still being digested. What's more, if Timmy comes back while the allergic reaction is present, the itching of the hives will cease immediately, and the water-filled blisters will begin to subside. 

Such remarkable cases of mental disorder are leading scientists to assess how much psychological states can affect the body's biology, for better or worse. The researches and discoveries of such patients offer a unique window on how the belief could mend reality. Anything less than reality is hope not belief. Hope needs faith to transform itself into belief which is equivalent to reality.

Let me tell you about a paranormalist, Uri Geller, who is well known for his trademark performances of spoon bending. He gained notice for demonstrating psychokinesis, dowsing, and telepathy. His performance included bending spoons, describing hidden drawings, and making watches stop or run faster. Geller said he performs these feats through will power and the strength of his mind. Magicians have said that his performances can be duplicated using stage magic tricks. A number of scientific experiments was conducted on him with varying results but could not confine him into the boundary of psychic or magic.

The power of belief is also reflected in many achievements. Arnold Schwarzenegger, former professional bodybuilder, actor, producer, director, businessman, investor, and politician who won the Mr. Universe title at age 20 and went on to win the Mr. Olympia contest seven times. He served two terms as the 38th Governor of California from 2003 until 2011. Schwarzenegger believed in power of ‘belief.’ He once said “I envision myself being there already - having achieved the goal already. It’s mind over matter.”

Morris E. Goodman had air crash in March, 1981 and ended in a hospital completely paralyzed, couldn’t drink or even breathe. The doctor told that there were no hopes and the only thing he could do was blinking his eyes rest of his life. He believed he would walk by Christmas that year. He practiced visualizing himself walking out of hospital on his two feet. First, he had hope then he added faith to it to transform hope into belief which eventually turned out into reality. He did walk by that Christmas.   

It's the repetition of affirmations that leads to belief. And once that belief becomes a deep conviction, things begin to happen.
-Muhammad Ali 


17 comments:

  1. Again, a very interesting post. Somewhere in each human we have the "will" to overcome which we cannot understand. Why? What is our drive for either success or failure. Mentally most humans are just infants. Most of us lack the complete understanding of what we are capable of mentally and therefore we accept the thoughts and wills of others. Again, I would have to ask why.

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  2. A lot of interesting and unknown stuff for me Ravish. Never heard of the Ganglion cells and now I know what they are. Arnold Schwarzenegger is an extremely inspiring figure. Dreaming and imagining you are there helps you so much more to reach your goal.
    This article would have taken a lot of research ravish. Good job :)

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    1. Thanks Vidya for complying the request and such sweet appreciation :)

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  3. Wow! Solid content. You sound so full of knowledge. I can never write so well.
    A great read!

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    1. Indrani, it's your greatness that is reflecting through these kind words. Thanks for the inspirational appreciation.

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  4. Such a nice post Ravish, it is very much true that belief is a very powerful tool which can mend anything...

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    1. Thanks Alok for acknowledging the fact :)

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  5. Truly a gem Ravish ! Specially about Sir Atkins's there is no colour.... just like there is no reality... it all depends upon perception... like your examples of Multi Personality disorder-ed people.... and to think that their body - a physical thing, reacts according to the personality they are in !
    In Arnold's words- Truly Mind Over Matter ... post :)

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    1. Kokila, I simply wonder how words obey you! How you convey the same message in very few words for which I've too use lots of words in paras! :)

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  6. Super research put forth by you Ravish. Strong topic to discuss and your examples and study cases strengthen it the most. I liked the example of a mental disorder and allergy to orange juice. This is truly a read it to believe it post. Very good work.

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    1. Thanks Shweta. Your encouraging words mean a lot. :)

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  7. Super Awesome Post :)
    Hats off to u !

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    1. Thanks Ananya for such appreciation. It truly reflects your kind nature. :)

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  8. Faith does play a great role in human life. In fact, my latest post is on the role played by superstitions.

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    1. As I see, there's a difference between faith and belief. And as far as superstition is concerned, nothing is outside it. I mean how a dimensionless point could be the fundamental basis of multidimensional spacetime?

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  9. Well Well Ravish, Very interesting read and you presented it with intelligence... Good work done...:)

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  10. Thanks Priyashi for such sweet words :)

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