Episode 21: Joseph Chilton Pearce - The Biology of Transcendence: Part 3 - The Evolving Heart
Joseph Chilton Pearce – The Biology of Transcendence: Part 3 – The Evolving Heart
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Duncan Campbell: From time immemorial, beginning with indigenous counsels and ancient wisdom traditions, through the work of western visionaries such Plato, Galileo, and quantum physicist David Baum; mutually participatory dialogue has been seen as the key to evolving and transforming consciousness, evoking a flow of meaning; a dye of flows of logos meaning beyond what any one individual can bring through alone.
So, join us now as together with you, the active, deep listener, we evoke and engage in ‘Living Dialogues’.
Duncan Campbell: Welcome once again to ‘Living Dialogues’. I’m your host Duncan Campbell and with me, I’m delighted to have Joseph Chilton Pearce, author of ‘Crack in the Cosmic Egg’, the national best-seller ‘The Magical Child’, and ‘Evolution’s End’. And most recently, ‘The Biology of Transcendence’, which will take his very innovative and paradigm-shattering insights into yet another level.
I would say, Joe, that in this particular dialogue, what would be particularly interesting, would be to follow on your previous descriptions of the evolution of our brain, from the reptilian through the mammalian, through the neo-cortex and finally to the pre-frontal lobe aspects over the course of human evolution; and bring us up-to-date with the latest in, what is now called Neuro-cardiology, which shows why as a species we’re poised now to finally escape the trap of a culture that has led to cycles of violence throughout history.
Joseph Chilton Pearce: Neuro-cardiology to me is one of the most exciting, single fields that have opened up in the 20th century. Rudolf Steiner, the founder of Waldorf Education and a great big German scientist – he had a PhD in Sciences from a German University; who was also kind of a seer and a prophet. He had insight. He had intuition. And Steiner said, back 100 years ago, that the greatest discovery of 20th century science…, of late 20th century science, would be that the heart is not a pump, but profoundly more than that. And that the greatest challenge, 21st century humans would have, would be to allow the heart to teach us to think in a new way. And that’s precisely the position we’re in right now. It’s why I’m such a passionate promoter of Waldorf’s education, and of the Institute of Heart and Math; for instance, the work that they’re doing in Boulder Creek California; A fantastic group of people, quietly working for 35 years now on the relationship between the brain and the heart.
Neuro-cardiology from about 1996, when the first major textbook was produced by Oxford University Press, Neuro-cardiology is a study of the brain in the heart. It’s the discovery that about 60 to 65 percent of all the cells in the heart are neuro cells, functioning exactly as the cells in our brain do. There is no difference between them. They function in Neuro-ganglions, the same neuro-transmitters, the same dendrites, and axons, the same glial cells pumping the calcium ions into them and so on, that you find going on in the brain.
The heart is a very large organ. And the brain in the heart is a very large part of the heart itself. Now what’s…, the significance of that is the discovery by John and Beatrice Lacey, 30 something years ago, under a grant from the National Institutes of Health. And they did 30 years of research on this; is that there is a direct and unmediated neural connection between the heart and the brain in our head. Now which brain in our head is critically important. The heart is connected by unmediated neuro-connections – long axons, running directly from the heart to the limbic structure, the emotional cognitive brain in our head, the o-mammalian brain, the brain of love and nurturing memory, immune systems and so on. Not the neo-cortex, the brain of thinking, creativity and intellect, but the ancient mammalian brain of nurturing, love, care of your species and so on. Now, the Laceys discovered that there was an ongoing, 24-hour a day dialogue between the heart and the brain; the brain in the heart and the brain in the head. And what is this dialogue? It has to do with the well-being with the whole living organism. Our well being. The heart has an intelligence; a profound and far older intelligence, than we have in our brain. The heart’s intelligence is devoted to one thing – our well-being, both as an individual and as a species. And it moves at all times, for well-being of the individual and the individual species. Now, this in itself is a tremendous discovery to make. They ignored the academic world. The scientific world completely ignored the Laceys when they made this discovery. And it’s been called some of the most beautiful neurological work ever done in neuroscience, and yet totally ignored. Why? Because it proposes that the heart is a source of major intelligence in the human being – something our great saints and poets have always said down throughout history; something that all of us know intuitively within us. And if we haven’t felt those great intuitive surges from the heart, we’re just half dead. Now, to bring this into the academic world is proving to be very difficult. Why? Because, the academic world…, so far the scientific world is based on 19th century Cartesian, kind of Newtonian physics ideas.
That’s only part of the discovery about Neuro-cardiology. The other is that the heart is a major endocrine gland of the whole system. It produces hormones which profoundly affects the operations of the brain and every organ of the body, and is, in the last analysis, the major orchestrator of all the hormonal systems in the body. It does this through the brain, and directly with the body itself.
But the most exciting single part of the heart is the third factor. The heart produces an enormously powerful, electromagnetic field, which travels out from the heart, in the form of a Taurus – that’s a particular mathematical physical form. It’s kind of a donate…, donut-shaped force with a di-pole or an axis, which is virtually identical to the electromagnetic field produced by the earth and by the sun itself. The heart produces that exactly that same type of electromagnetic field, which goes out from the heart and out to a distance of some 12 to 15 feet away, after which we know it continues, but we don’t have the instrumentation to detect it at that point. So, you have the heart as an enormous electromagnetic generator. And what is this electromagnetic spectrum? Primarily, radio waves, and this is what you see spilling out on your electrocardiogram…, in these waves, and you see the amplitude and so on. The heart functions at an amplitude of 40 to 60 times greater than the entire output of the brain in our head, and produces this field. Now, this electromagnetic field that the heart produces contains within it, virtually everything that there is. It contains within it, all of the frequencies on which our brain draws, to create the world experience we have. When Carl Preyer, the great American Neuroscientist said, some 30 years ago, that the brain functions by drawing on frequency fields which are not located on time-space. He was exactly right. Those frequency fields are located all around us, in the frequency produced by the heart itself. These are holographic. The frequencies produced by the heart, function the same at any locality. Any tiniest part of it contains the information of the whole. But, so do the frequencies that surround…, the electromagnetic frequencies that surround the earth and the solar system.
Duncan Campbell: So, we’re imbedded in a series of resonant field?
Joseph Chilton Pearce: A hierarchy of resonant electromagnetic fields, in which all the information of the universe is there.
Duncan Campbell: Not unlike the work of Rupert Sheldrake.
Joseph Chilton Pearce: Sheldrake puts it beautifully. Sheldrake saw all this very clearly. That’s why he’s been so frustrated, because he’s seen such a great picture of how things are, and the academic world, as you know, operates about a century behind.
Duncan Campbell: About a century behind. Yeah.
Joseph Chilton Pearce: About a century behind. Now this field of electro of .., Neuro-cardiology though, is pointing up the profound importance of the connection between the heart and the emotional structures of the brain. Now, the newest research into the brain, shows the profound importance of connecting the emotional or the limbic brain, with its connections to the heart, with the pre-frontal lobes. And those connections are established in the first immediate months after birth, and in that critical 9 to 12 month period, and then the toddler period from about 11 to 18 months of age. And it’s during this period, that either we make the connections between the highest brain created by evolution, to transcend all of the limitations created of the other brain structures and rise and go beyond them. That brings critical connection with the emotional brain, and its critical connections with the heart, which is the final link-up in this whole evolutionary process that involves the whole universe. And it’s that part of, what they call, the orbital frontal loop, of the pre-frontal lobes in connection with the emotional brain, which we find is literally side-tracked by the in-culturation…, by the cultural effect, profoundly changing the biology of the brain. And locking us into our defensive mode, into the limitations of an instinctual, reflexive, non-intellectual system as our primary base of operations, which is culture, and the shedding down of the biology of transcendence itself. So, there is a quick, thumb-nail sketch of what’s involved in the biology of the heart. And I think, Rudolf Steiner has been vindicated. And when he says the greatest…, the greatest challenge of humans from now on, will be to allow the heart to teach us to think in a new way. And therein, lies our survival as a species or not. If we can manage that…, if we can break the cultural strangle-hold and allow the heart to teach us to think in a new way, we’ll move beyond the limitations and constraints that confront us right now; which are literally leading us, not only to self-destruction, but also to the destruction of our planet itself.
Duncan Campbell: Thank you so much, Joe, for that particular thumbnail sketch. It was very elegant, and what it suggests to me now, as a topic for a dialogue, is the observation made by a number of visionaries that we are poised at a time in human history to go beyond our polarized ‘black and white’, ‘either-or’ kind of thinking that has brought so many inventions…, brought about the scientific revolution, so called; the Copernican revolution, the Scientific revolution, the Industrial revolution, the Information revolution, the Technological revolution; that ability of the neo-cortex to actually deconstruct reality into component parts and to reconstruct the fragments into a new and imaginative understanding, that gives birth to these kinds of inventions. And you’re suggesting here, a wisdom of the heart; which has been called by many writers and poets that somehow transcends and includes..., that does not get caught into this ‘either-or’ way of thinking. It’s more like what Dream researchers have called, ‘The Message of the Big Dream’, which is a ‘both and’ message, which is that there is some part of our psychic that insists that being caught in that ‘either-or’ polarity, as creative as it might be in the short-run; but wants to take us to a wider inclusive wisdom. And here, I want to ask you once again, with this conformation – very exciting new discoveries in the Western science – of confirming the perennial wisdom of the mystical traditions around the world, what do we do with this new information? We talked in a prior dialogue of how the seduction to try to re-structure culture, reform the establishment of belief systems. Whether they be spiritual, or educational or religious, is a losing enterprise which only gives more energy to what you called culture. So, with these new insights and conformations, Joe, what would be your recommended plan of action for an adult individual who is childless, and for parents who have children?
Joseph Chilton Pearce: Well, the first thing to realize is that the heart has no neural capacity for judging the kind of signals sent to it. This was the first interesting thing the Laceys discovered; that brain is sending the heart the signal, instant by instant, completely without our awareness of what our response to our living situation is. If our response to our living situation is one of joy, peace, love, happiness etc., the limbic system simply sends a positive signal to the brain…, it has not content, I mean, to the brain and the heart. The heart has no way to distinguish the validity or the invalidity of the signal being sent. It simply sends a signal saying, “Hey! Things are pretty good here.” And it responds on a profoundly different way when it gets the signal that things are lousy here. Now, we find that corresponding with that, if the heart gets the signal that things are very bad, it puts into motion a whole system of shifting in the brain structure, so that we shift out of the higher levels of the brain, which lead us to transcendence and emancipation, we might say…, back to where? The ancient survival modes of the brain. You can see it on your brain scans. There is a shift from the pre-frontals and the higher parts of the brain, back to where? The ancient archetypal – a defense mechanism in the reptilian structures of the brain…, instinctual reflexes, survival brain. At the very time when we need higher intelligence more than any other, we have shut it off on behalf of survival. So, that’s in effect, the cultural dilemma that we’re in. Now, what culture screams at us is that we must take care of our survival mechanism…, we must defend ourselves. The Institute of Heart Math has rigged up a very simply process by which we can literally turn the tables on this instinctual reflex in us to defend ourselves, which then robs us of our higher intelligence – the intelligence of the heart…, sends the heart into it’s negative mode to try help to help us in our defense mechanism. Because the heart, again, can’t distinguish between the nature or character of the signals sent to the higher brain. In other words, it can’t judge the reports we give it.
Now, the trick of the whole thing is, can we, as an individual, drop our defense mechanism? Instant by instant, when every instinct and signal within us, is hollering to defend ourselves, can we do the exact opposite? The instinct for survival is our most ancient and powerful intelligence in us, coming from that old, reptilian brain. But it’s not the latest evolutionary intelligence, which comes from the heart, pre-frontal emotional brain link. Now even though, inculturation as Allan Shore’s work…, I’d say even Antonio Damasio clearly spells it out, and Alcanon Goldberg and all sort of other others…., as to how the cultural process, if you look closely…, the cultural process damages and impairs the growth of the orbital frontal loop that connects the newest evolutionary brain and the emotional brain with its heart connections. Okay…, now…, so we’re dealing with a damaged system. Even those of us who are aware of the issue, we’re still dealing with the system that has been damaged by our culture, which makes us all the more susceptible to the fight-flight mechanism, to try to defend ourselves at all costs. But it’s that attempt to defend ourselves that we have to drop. How can we do that? Only through trust, and there we’re in trouble; only through, what you could call, a faith in the life process itself. Or, to be real corny about it, a faith in the intelligence of the heart. But that is something that is available to every single human being. And it’s available in this instant moment right now. That wise guy, a couple of millennia ago, didn’t talk about spiritual paths, at all. He didn’t talk about 8-fold paths, and all these step. He said, “Today is the day, this is the hour, this is the moment.” It’s either now or never. And what do you do in that moment? You drop your defenses and open up in faith and trust in the life process itself. What is the life process? It’s that force that through the green fuse drives the flower, that drives migrating aids…, the spirit of the human…, the true transcended human spirit.
Do we trust it? No!
We’ve been inculturated never to trust that, but to trust our defense mechanisms of prediction and control, that come out of that ancient, reptilian brain structure. So, what we’re talking about is a radical shift of attention here. And that’s what the Jesus way is all about. That’s what dove is all about. That’s what a Christian is all about, and the Bhagavata Gita…, drop your defense mechanisms…, see?
What’re you doing then? Well, it’s like a…, it’s almost like a form of suicide. Castaneda talked about this jumping off a cliff without a parachute. Castaneda understood this (you may not like his way of presenting it…, we might question his literary mode of presentation.) But he understood this very well that, our enemy is our survival mechanism. And the only escape we have, is to accept our death. In effect, that acceptance of one’s death, is what is meant by ‘picking up the cross’. It doesn’t have anything in the world to do with religions and all that nonsense. It has to do with individually, personally, within you…, accepting your death completely without any intellectual façade, and in order to do what? Escape your embedment in that ancient survival brain. Then you find yourself in a world, where everything simply looks differently.
Duncan Campbell: To accept your mortality…, the fact that you will indeed one day die…
Joseph Chilton Pearce: No. I’m not saying that. I’m saying, ‘accept your death in this moment’.
Duncan Campbell: What do you mean by that, Joe?
Joseph Chilton Pearce: Well, let’s say for instance…, the Institute of Heart and Math really taught me this, as much as anything else. Even in Boulder Creek, California, and a brilliant bunch of research people. Karl Preyer is one such…., research people and a whole raft of people working with him.
Let’s say for instance, some drunk comes at you with his clenched fist and fire in his eyes, or even a gun in his hand. What is your first, automatic, instinctual, reflex?
Duncan Campbell: Fight or flight.
Joseph Chilton Pearce: It has to be. Now, the instant you go with that, it means that the highest neocortical structures in your brain and your prefrontals, and so on, buy into that signal from the old reptilian brain, and you have a shift of attention energy from the highest evolutionary structures, back to the ancient ones. So, that the ancient reptilian brain has incorporated the higher brain into its service. We’re not aware of it. It’s the most natural thing in the world. “I’m just taking care of myself. Do you think I’m a fool?” But we have brought into the ancient, reptilian survival drive at that point. What the ‘taking up of your cross’ at that point is, you trust the life process to move for the well being of the situation. Not your own situation…, THE situation…, that is forming around you at that moment. You do what? You drop your defense mechanism. You turn to your heart, you focus on it and you send it a message of something joyful and happy – the exact opposite of what the signal from your sensory system is. You’re higher, creative intelligence and imagination is sending exactly the opposite. Here’s mad dog, rushing at you with it’s jaws barred. I’ve turned to my heart and sent it a signal of something very beautiful…, something of love and joy. What have I done now? I’ve established a bridge and the highest structures of the brain. Bypassed the ancient instinct to the brain, and something different happens. This is how…
For full transcript, please contact Duncan Campbell