Sunday, December 20, 2015

Short treatise: "On Awareness and Souls"

On Awareness and Souls
By Brendan Bombaci

Creative Commons License


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Self-awareness stems from awareness.

Awareness stems from reactions.

The basis for biological reaction is chemical.

The basis for chemical reaction is atomic.

Atoms interact energetically with dark matter/energy
in rarity, and do so with insubstantial and sporadic, non-patterned fashion.

All atomic energy can be tracked and measured.

Ultimately then, “awareness” is the reactive energetic attraction and repulsion within and between circuitous forms, and is trackable with instrumentation.

Increasingly complex circuits, from molecules upward, allow
 increasingly compartmental and hierarchical awareness.

In many mammals and, now, in artificial intelligence, this facilitates greater memory capacity and logic computation beyond solely genetic and instinctual reactions; such "higher" intelligence is individualized and intuitive.

Personality and emotion manifests from this evolved capacity.

1: In religion, “souls,” “spirits,” and "gods" have personality.

2: They are decreed as eternal,
originating either always and/or after the passing of life.

3: Some – prophets, mediums, shamans, e.g.,
claim to speak with them.

All of these three latter, religious concepts, are false
by the preceding facts because: (1) awareness may technically be eternal, as it stems from atoms and their energy which may only be transformed and never destroyed, but
self-awareness and personality are corporeal,
so, if there is any kind of “soul,”
it is the entire cosmos of energy and not anthropomorphic at all;
and (2) we can measure energy fields in environments and have established already that supernatural entities are non-existent in general, let alone emanating from or nearby a recently deceased individual, corroborating or at least theoretically supporting (1).

Awareness is omnipresent.  It is not vertebrate life alone experiencing awareness, but the organic, the chemical, the mineral, the atomic interactions, in everything, as the reactionary fundament of action.

Only the self-awareness, the self-consciousness, of higher mammals and of birds, is unique.  And it is impermanent.

There is no invisible afterlife plane.  Awareness is already eternal.  We merely provide it, at the heights of biological life (perhaps yet unknown to humans), compartmentalized circuitry to recognize itself via the myriad ways it can exist.

To experientially realize this - to embody this - in contemplative exploration or otherwise-achieved ego dissolution, is to reach the Nirvana of Vedantist philosophy, or, rather, enact Moksha.


These collective thoughts are scientifically articulated notions resonating with Samkhya philosophy...
*Image from aumyoganayurveda.com, added to this article 2 December 2016.

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Poem: "Return"

Return
(Copyright Brendan Bombaci)

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We come, we play, we dance the day,
We share, we dare, we whisk away,
We’re bold, we’re told, until we are old;
We grow to know we reap what we sow.
For fame or fortune, for glory or glee,
We follow our muses so studiously.
But all in all, when around us may fall
Our friends or our loved ones, it grips us, the call
To remember our purpose – the basis, and goal:
To find and be there for who makes us whole.
For it time it does fly, and good life is an art,

But we cannot forget that it’s born from the heart.

Poem: "A Plea for Reason"

A Plea for Reason
(Copyright Brendan Bombaci)

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a



“We are what we eat,” as it goes, but it’s not often
that we heed hidden meanings in such prose, not forgotten
by the few with utmost reverence for the present and the here;
freedom can be yours if you only lend an ear.

If it is that we grow and we live from our consumption,
taking precious energy from all forms, for the production
of our bodies and our thoughts, then it only stands to reason
that all else takes from us in reciprocal cohesion.

With that being the case, we can derive that our bodies
are not the “soul traps” that the cardinals have lobbied
the tyrants everywhere to relate to the masses,
for to ease their submission on the way to death and taxes.

No, it is the case that our energy is shared
with our friends, with loved ones, with nature everywhere.
So while we’re here, we are one. We should treat each other so,
for when we’re gone, we are none but food on which to grow.

There is nothing lost in this, there is beauty, there is bliss,
because life is so much more without fear of the abyss.
Strength, it comes from knowing that you still can live forever
through your family, your creations, & your actions (absent never).

The marvel, it abounds and is plenty. Why ask more?
Even with its hardships, there is always good in store.
The promise of a place made just for us appeases ego,
the self-concerned defender, the survivor only greed knows.

It’s all so very simple – deeming real what is illusion –
for power lies in magic when you are one in the collusion:
social leverage is affirmed, with common threads we are the same,
there is comfort when your team has the most players in the game.

So what started as a salve has become a medication,
a placebo asking nothing but avoidance (for salvation):
close your eyes, say “I’m sorry,” while the world is needing care,
but “worry not your head, child, as Heaven pays your fare.”

“All is fair in love and war,” “it’s dog eat dog,” you know.
Then how on Earth are we much better, than a murder of crows?
Morals need no religion, for good and bad, you see,
are only the result of deliberate empathy.

Caring starts with an inkling, so simple – pristine –
that what makes us all different, we all use – a machine –
to break free from the prison of life’s primal instinct
and become gods amongst the creatures – new, stronger links.

The machine, we call it culture, and it makes us who we are:
individuals from ideas, from nurturing, from the stars.
Without such care, we’re nothing, as evolution has made us
dependent upon love and reason, capable to take us

anywhere we wish to go, and to give us cosmic power
to live forever, create new life and embrace the hour
that is upon us now, stemming from Enlightenment
and not from proto-thinking that has served the fight, the end.

As we have no souls, since our energy, unbound,
is not created or destroyed and always can be found,
and since there is no Heaven or mystic arbiter,
it’s up to us to spread the wealth and be glorious on Earth.

Friday, September 18, 2015

Sensational Differences of Binaural & Percussive Entrainment Methods

Sensational Differences of Binaural & Percussive Entrainment Methods
By Brendan Bombaci

Abstract
The reason binaural beats do not typically work upon EEG coherence in human individuals is this: although binaural beats create extra low frequency tones, they are sine waves (very smooth, without “spikes”) rather than percussion or staccato notes. The effect is exactly the same as hearing a musical chord of two notes separated by stereo.  This is exactly why so many university scientists use Audio-Visual Stimulation (AVS) which is a method using flashes or impulses, whereas drone- and-sweep binaural beats have not proven clinically effective: unlike impulses or percussive sound, even though the ELF binaural tone is perceived by the listener, it will not automatically cause EEG coherence to the beat frequency.  The main problem with audio brainwave entrainment albums available today, then, is that they are too “soft.”  To boot, the binaural tones therein are often muddled with interference patterns caused by concomitant vocal meditation guidance, music, nature sounds, and more.  The predominant authorities on binaural brainwave entrainment worldwide, who would say otherwise, have been for-profit businesses with no affiliations to academia or medicine.  Their methods have never been properly published, and their results have never been peer reviewed, so result repeatability is nonexistent as yet.  Binaural beats are still useful, none the less.  They alter brainwave amplitude and are also recognized as relative to the way that blind people “see,” in that they create a sort of rotating or oscillating 3D image in the mind.  These facts provide the basis for more promising future research in the psychophysiological effects of binaural beating.

Literature Review
In that binaural beats are ubiquitously reported to have psychological and/or physiological effects, it is important to realize what they actually do.  In the most recent clinical study,
EEG signals were acquired from 13 healthy subjects. Five-minute BBs [binaural beats] with four different frequencies were tested: delta band (1 Hz), theta band (5 Hz), alpha band (10 Hz) and beta band (20 Hz). We observed RP [relative power] increase in theta and alpha bands and decrease in beta band during delta and alpha BB stimulations. RP decreased in beta band during theta BB, while RP decreased in theta band during beta BB. However, no clear brainwave entrainment effect was identified.” [Gao at al. 2014]
So, usefully in their own right, they might increase either calm or energy depending on the frequency utilized.  A prior but still recent study found no EEG entrainment effects or personality test changes at all with either Theta or Beta brainwave-relative binaural beat frequencies applied to 31 subjects (Goodin et al. 2012).  Perhaps more interestingly then, and veritable as it is generally recognized by the psychoacoustic community as an effect relative to the way that blind people “see,”
"It is easy to see that the location [of the perceived sound…] will depend on the interaural time delay, which in turn depends on the direction of the incoming sound. Two tones, a mistuned interval apart, fed into seperate ears, may "foul up" the crosscorrelator: The gradually shifting phase difference between the two tones...will be interpreted by this mechanism as a changing difference in the time of arrival of the left and right auditory signals, hence signaling to the brain the sensation of a cyclically changing sound direction! This is why two pure tones forming a mis-tuned consonant interval, presented dichotically with headphones, gives the eerie sensation of a sound image that seems to be ‘rotating inside the head...’ [Roederer 1975].” [Moore 1983]

Steady-state (punctuated, not oscillating) patterns in audio, light, touch, or electrical charge, can evoke brainwave responses in human beings.  With auditory stimuli, this is proven to work with beat frequencies of 1-40hz, where direct frequency matching occurs between 1-5hz, a peak in the Delta band of 3-4hz occurs with Alpha band stimuli between 6-8hz, and brainwaves rise to between 20 and 26hz when stimuli of 14-44hz are presented – the latter being a brainwave range that also occurs in absence of steady state stimulation (Will and Berg 2007). In as much, Theta and Alpha band responses are difficult to produce.  Coherence is the term used to describe the listener’s capacity to become neurologically entrained by these potentials.  Studies in “Brainwave Entrainment to External Rhythmic Stimuli,” using percussive beats, have been performed by a research team in Stanford University’s Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics (CCRMA), and, according to one report,
“coherence in the eyes-closed baseline reflects the number of synaptic connections between recording sites, and the strength of these connections (Thatcher 1992) […and] coherence has been shown to be lower in Alzheimer patients, comatose subjects, and in brain-injured subjects, while it is higher in mentally retarded persons, during sleep, and during epileptic seizures.” [Frederick et al. 2004:3, emphasis added]
Higher coherence while sleeping, particularly, indicates that conscious mentations and sensory distractions keep the stimuli from working well.  So it would seem that to be in good neurological health, and in either a focused state or sleeping, is to be more susceptible to the effects of external rhythmic stimuli.  Altogether, we can extrapolate that other sounds, music, or speech added to the audio program/test are likely to disable its effectiveness, in that they would create dissonance in otherwise directed attention.  The Rhythmic Entrainment Intervention (REI) program, initiated by the Strong Institute (2015), was cited by Stanford University after the above research for being a credible audio brainwave entrainment program retailer. 

Although the Centerpointe Research Institute (CRI), one of two major binaural brainwave entrainment companies in the world, has many sources regarding binaural beat recognition and physics on its website, most of them being non-academic (i.e., without peer review), though some are written by degreed individuals (CRI 2015).  An example of dubiousness in their assertions is from their credentials page which states how
Research by Dr. Lester Fehmi, director of the Princeton Behavioral Medicine and Biofeedback Clinic, and perhaps the foremost authority on hemispheric synchronization in the brain, also confirms that hemispheric synchronization and brain entrainment can be induced by binaural beats.” [Harris 2008]
To some feeling of betrayal, closer observation reveals that this particular ‘clinic’ is but an LLC, and has no affiliation with Princeton University, despite the name.  It is actually not an academically or medically affiliated organization at all.  No less, Fehmi’s research specialization is on meditative intentionality towards controlling biorhythms (Princeton Biofeedback Center, LLC 2015), which introduces a major confounding variable to studying the effects of binaural beat application.  The Monroe Institute offers some seemingly more trustworthy credentials with an article from Brady (1997):
“Originating in the brainstem's superior olivary nucleus, the site of contralateral integration of auditory input (Oster, 1973), the audio sensation of binaural beating is neurologically conveyed to the reticular formation (Swann, Bosanko, Cohen, Midgley & Seed, 1982) and the cortex where it can be observed as a frequency-following response with EEG equipment... The word reticular means 'net-like' and the neural reticular formation itself is a large, net-like diffuse area of the brainstem (Anch, et al. 1988)… The RAS regulates cortical EEG (Swann et al. 1988) and controls arousal, attention, and awareness - the elements of consciousness itself (Tice & Steinberg, 1989; Empson, 1986).” [Monroe Products and Hemi-Sync.com 2015]
This is a well assembled assessment, however the goal of EEG entrainment is ultimately to entrain, and, this declaration is only hypothesizing that the EEG response registers in one part of the brain.  They, like the Centerpointe Institute, offer no peer reviewed sources exemplifying repeatable brainwave entrainment results (Monroe Products and Hemi-Sync.com 2015b).

Why tout something as promising as energy modulation and spatial awareness training with binaural entrainment as an EEG entrainment device?  If binaural perception is literally introducing into our minds a shape or scene which is unaltered in experience from subject to subject… the investment should be in revealing what exact acoustical waveforms (shapes) are created within those ranges.
“Cymatics, the study of wave phenomena, is a science pioneered by Swiss medical doctor and natural scientist, Hans Jenny (1904-1972)... For 14 years he conducted experiments animating inert powders, pastes, and liquids into life-like, flowing forms, which mirrored patterns found throughout nature, art and architecture... What's more, all of these patterns were created using simple sine wave vibrations (pure tones) within the audible range... So what you see is a physical representation of vibration, or how sound manifests into form through the medium of various materials.” [MACROmedia 2008]
Cymatics has been proven to work on a three-dimensional scale as well as such two-dimensional platforms, of course, but not (publically provided) in such chambered forms as smoke or metal fume. That sort of medium may provide us the answers we are seeking regarding the true nature of what “shape” exactly enters the human brain when binaural beats are heard.  It would be interesting if, as with increasing complexity of cymatic formations with increasing frequencies, with more complex the standing acoustic waveforms (given complexity with unique timbre), physiological and psychological evoked responses become more complex (the latter of which could be measure by changes in logical or creative/abstract thought).  There is promise in this.

Citations
Brady, Brian D.
1997    Binaural-Beat Induced Theta EEG Activity and Hypnotic Susceptibility. Research Papers. American Journal of Clinical Hypnosis 43(1):53-69.
CRI
2015    Scientific Research Validates Holosync’s Benefits. http://www.centerpointe.com/articles/articles-research. Accessed 18 September 2015.
Frederick, Jon A., PhD, et al.
2004    EEG coherence effects of audio-visual stimulation (AVS) at dominant and twice-dominant Alpha frequency.” Journal of Neuropathy. http://www.mindmodulations.com/resources/Study-frederick-avs-coherence.html. Accessed 18 September 2015.
Gao, et al.
2014    Analysis of EEG Activity in Response to Binaural Beats with Different Frequencies. International Journal of Psychophysiology (94)3:399-406.
Goodin, P., et al.
2012    A High-Density EEG Investigation into Steady State Binaural Beat Stimulation. PLoS ONE 7(4):e34789.
Harris, Bill.
2003    The Science Behind Holosync and Other Neurotechnologies. Centerpointe Research Institute. http://www.centerpointe.com/about/article_downloads/research.pdf. Accessed 18 August 2008.
MACROmedia.
2008    Cymatics: Insights into the Invisible Realms of Sound.” http://www.cymaticsource.com/cymaticsbook.html. Accessed 10 September 2008.
Monroe Products and Hemi-Sync.com
2015a  Binaural-Beat Induced Theta EEG Activity and Hypnotic Susceptibility. Hemi-Sync, by Monroe Products. http://www.hemi-sync.com/hemi-sync-technology/research-papers-articles/binaural-beat-induced-theta-eeg-activityand-hypnotic-susceptibility/. Accessed 18 September 2015.
2015b  Research Papers. Hemi-Sync, by Monroe Products. http://www.hemi-sync.com/hemi-sync-technology/research-papers-articles/. Accessed 18 September 2015.
Moore, Richard F.
1983    A General Model for Spatial Processing of Sounds. Computer Music Journal 7(3):6-15.
Princeton Biofeedback Center, LLC
2015    Publications. http://princetonbiofeedback.com/resources/publications/. Accessed 28 September 2015.
Stanford.
2008    BEERT.  Stanford University CCRMA (Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics). http://www.stanford.edu/group/brainwaves/2006/research.html. Accessed 15 Aug 2008.
Strong Institute
2015    REI Custom Program FAQ. Rhythmic Entrainment Intervention (REI Institute). https://www.stronginstitute.com/rei-custom-program/. Accessed 18 August 2008.
Will, Udo, and Eric Berg

2007    Brain Wave Synchronization and Entrainment to Periodic Acoustic Stimuli. Neuroscience Letters 424:55-60.