The Journal of Nonlocality

May 2012




THE MIND-MATTER MAPPING PROJECT


Lian Sidorov, Liam Gray, Erik Schultes, Adam Curry, Zachary Jones

International Consciousness Research Laboratories
211 N. Harrison St., Ste. C, Princeton, NJ 08540 USA


OPEN LETTER



Bending an existing paradigm to accommodate new facts has always been a process fraught with inertia, higher-than-justified resistance and violent rebounds. To say that the study of nonlocal, consciousness-related phenomena faces a similar challenge today is an understatement. Although many prominent scientists would agree that simple reductionism has failed to produce an adequate explanation for some of our most important questions, such as the hard problem of consciousness or the foundations of quantum mechanics, few of these scientists are ready to accept a change in our set of axioms, particularly the possibility that consciousness may be an elemental, rather than emergent component of reality.

As a result, researchers in the field of mind-matter interactions find that they not only need to struggle with the limitations of our current scientific tools to make sense of their data, but also to fight for the legitimization of this data with a mainstream science community that is unwilling to accept its conceptual challenges. And yet, as daunting as this position seems at the moment, it is also an exhilarating one – for rarely in the history of science have we been faced with such unknowns. From ever-expanding entangled systems to remote perception and fieldREG effects, the evidence for nonlocality and mind-matter interactions keeps flooding in; but if this data cannot be plotted within our current system of coordinates, how do we begin to find our way toward a new one? 

 

CURRENT PROBLEMS FACED BY EXPERIMENTAL PARAPSYCHOLOGY

1.      Lack of visibility in the mainstream scientific community, which results in a limited expertise field funneling ideas and resources into our research program

2.      Severely curtailed financial and technical resources

3.      A significant credibility issue, which is reinforced by publication bias, institutional politics and social and scientific conceptual frameworks which are too narrow to accommodate these empirical findings. It is easier to sweep the data under a proverbial rug of pseudo-skepticism than to deal with the conceptual upheavals that it its acceptance would require.

4.      Fear. The psychological, social  and intellectual repercussions of accepting these empirical facts are overwhelming for vast numbers of people, which means that an experiential, rather than a purely intellectual approach may be necessary in order to cross this barrier and modify the existing paradigm.

 

PROPOSED APPROACHES

1.      Connect ideas with technical resources and experimental volunteer pools (Research Network). Identify most promising research directions based on Idea Futures Market (see http://hanson.gmu.edu/ideafutures.html) and help to funnel funding toward these projects through membership dues or other pools set aside for such purposes on a voluntary basis.

2.      A Mind-Matter arXiv-like database of experimental proposals and pre-prints extending the typical spectrum of consciousness research literature to include developments in areas such as biophoton research, genetic regulatory systems, qigong and other intent-based healing techniques, placebo effects, entanglement and foundations of physics research. 

3.      Using Semantic Web analytical techniques and smart search engines to automatically identify patterns and correlations across related subfields. Indexing existing mind-matter literature to generate standardized vocabularies and  databases of nano-citations that integrate seamlessly with new  mainstream search engines, eliminating previous publication filters and increasing the visibility of this research.

4.       A sustained outreach effort to engage the broader science community based on research and applications that resonate with mainstream interests

 

 


 

PROJECT COMPONENTS

 

 

 

 1.  RESEARCH NETWORK

We propose the establishment of a world-wide, cross-disciplinary  network of researchers, technical experts and volunteers committed to a sustained, active participation in this exploratory effort. The goal of this collaborative project would be to index all relevant questions and research leads; create a searchable roster listing each member’s background, interests, technical expertise and access to laboratory resources; to  develop  new experimental models; share expertise and equipment resources;  mentor on and critique study methodology; make inroads into mainstream applications; and publish  all such developments in one centralized, searchable database which would be highly visible and readily accessible online.  Given the scarcity of funding and resources available for mind-matter projects, we must try to do more with less. The ability to capture ideas, connect experimental proposals to available resources and create a formal venue for the publication of such proposals  would  ensure that no good ideas remain stillborn for lack of opportunity and that proposed studies can be critiqued and  methodologically strengthened at the earliest possible stage.

 

Advantages:

1.      Faster, nimbler, task-oriented working groups sifting through empirical data to identify potential patterns across various mind-matter phenomena and design new testable hypotheses, experimental models or applications.

2.      Establishment of skills/expertise networks so that proposed experiments can be carried out by those with the capability to do so

3.      Team members will be known to each other, develop ideas in password-secured “virtual labs” and publish their proposals collectively in the Journal of Nonlocality and other ICRL Technical Bulletins, which will be posted regularly.

   

Membership Structure

- Membership will be by invitation or application review (to demonstrate relevant background and level of interest). Member profiles including publications, interests, technical expertise and equipment access will be searchable on our website in order to facilitate collaborative efforts, mentorship and peer feedback.  

- Teams will be organized to develop semantic web vocabularies in order to enable smart search and data mining algorithms (nano-publication model); collect and index relevant literature according to these new semantic web criteria; develop new exploratory directions and experimental models; and establish working contacts with mainstream groups sharing possible interests in this research

- All members must commit to active participation in the project and sign on to one of several teams.  Teams will be anchored by coordinators whose job is to collect and post submitted references and ideas, moderate their Group Forum section and steer new proposals/experiments toward publication in the Journal of Nonlocality. Multiple coordinators may anchor any given group, in order to minimize the individual burden but maximize the expertise.

- To maintain membership one must contribute a minimum of four indexed literature references per month (articles to be indexed will be assigned by coordinators). This is a minimum degree of involvement designed to keep the information flow and discussion active within the group, and to keep members in touch with their project. Members are encouraged to contribute additional references and ideas and to participate as volunteers when needed for online or other proposed  experiments, so that we can generate data promptly and efficiently.  



Working groups will be assembled around a number of basic cross-disciplinary questions, as follows (more research directions to be defined later):

 

1. Probing the role of Meaning in mind-matter interactions (target ID in remote viewing; issues of displacement; strength of PK effect). Use the tools of parapsychology to probe the foundations of Quantum Mechanics (measurement problem).

2. Becoming proficient in the language of the interface (creating applications-specific abstract vocabularies; data integration: context, meme complexes and tasking intent; other tools of RV navigation) 

3. Intersecting Minds: multiple observers and consensus reality. How does the intent of multiple participants align to create a target identity in remote perception or skew probabilistic processes in remote perturbation? The effect of bonding, weighted influence (ie are some participants more heavily invested and how does that compute in the overall effect); expectation; decline; sheep and goats; data fingerprintig; error propagation; which way does the information flow?  

4. Physiological and psychological remodeling (strengthening psi - long term effects of meditation, belief filters, biofeedback technologies, types of visualization etc) 

5. Possible signatures of entanglement (biophotons/EM pulses; physiologic and metabolic markers) 

6. The genetic interface: organism coherence, biophotons and their role in genetic/physiologic regulation; biological transducers of remote intent; cracking the placebo code 

7. Positioning intent in time: synchronicity, expectation, delayed effects and causal flow. Is psi always goal-oriented? Finding the best fulcrum point to apply intent 

8. Analytical methods in remote perception data processing: multiple operators, fuzzy set theory and other approaches 

9. Mass threshold effects (see Rupert Sheldrake's studies and the Global Consciousness Project); designing large scale experiments 

10. Methodological mine fields: causal loops, blindness, expectation and other rabbit holes.   



2.    NEW PUBLICATION AND DATA MINING MODELS 

 

We propose the creation of an open, searchable database of article pre-prints (including experimental proposals and reports, case studies and testable hypotheses) modeled on the existing  arXiv.org  but dedicated to nonlocality, mind-matter interactions and relevant mainstream fields. Examples of such mainstream topics include (but are not limited to) work in quantum entanglement and computation, foundations of physics, biophysics, genetic regulatory mechanisms, placebo effects, intent-based complementary and alternative medicine, neuroimaging and scientific studies of internally-deployed attention states such as meditation.  In addition, an open repository of planned experiments, their methodology and results could be created as proposed by Jonathan Schooler (NY Times, Jan 7, 2011) to increase transparency and the ease of replication.

It is our hope that this would allow researchers to post their proposals and data rapidly, in a visible and centralized forum, allowing us to expand the current empirical funnel to a much broader spectrum of research sources. Since it typically takes years between the inception of an experimental idea and the completion of the study (with most ideas likely abandoned due to lack of time, training, funding or opportunity), we feel that being able to claim authorship of an experimental model despite other practical limitations would encourage scientists to develop and discuss new approaches - thus enhancing  transparency and the rapid dissemination of new empirical data and concepts, accelerating the pace of development far beyond the current peer-review system.

One final but critical question remains, which is of course assigning validity to the citations included in our database. In the absence of peer review and adequate replications, the benefits of such an approach may be obscured by its inherent limitations. To circumvent this objection we recommend implementing a ranking system where each citation is assigned a validity code based on its source – from peer reviewed specialty journals to individual, anecdotal and case study reports, even  “community  confidence level” that can be voted on/earned after a certain number of forum contributions. In this manner, a search query return could easily be filtered according to the strength of evidence desired. 

 

As an additional R&D incentive, we have created the Mind-Matter Mapping Prize, to be awarded yearly to the best experimental proposal, as voted by our project members.


3.   REACHING OUT TO MAINSTREAM SCIENCE


We will make a sustained effort to reach out to the broader science community through projects that resonate with mainstream research questions and applications, that may assist with providing answers to these questions and that will hopefully stimulate individual scientists to learn more about the techniques and theoretical frameworks we are proposing.


Examples


Remote Viewing:

-          Develop specialized training /vocabularies geared to particular fields of research in order to sensitize viewers to the perception of processes and features particular to their area of investigation

-          Create a pool of intractable questions in science and assign these as targets to a group of expert remote viewers,  then openly post the RV data. The hope is that enough currently verifiable information will be produced to generate an interest among those mainstream scientists focused on these questions to persuade them that there may be an “insight advantage” to learning RV.  


Placebo/ Healing Effects:

-          Look into biophysical models of genetic regulation, correlations between subject EEG/physiological markers of meditative states and the biophoton profiles of in-vitro targets; explore long-term physiological changes with qigong and meditation; use in-vitro sample biofeedback to test the effectiveness of different visualization techniques on biological targets and find ways to technologically enhance these effects.

 

 

If you are interested in becoming a member, volunteering for administrative positions (including IT projects) or submitting material for publication in the Journal of Nonlocality, please contact Lian Sidorov (liansidorov@gmail.com) or our parent organization (www.icrl.org).  Your feedback is critical to the success of this effort and we look forward to your suggestions. 


Thank you.