The CERN experiment, Einstein and we humans; (Updated- Read more comments)
Posted on November 29th, 2011

by Bodhi Dhanapala

An atom-smashing experiment conducted at CERN (European Center for Nuclear Research) to test the behaviour of matter at high energies and very short impact distances  has reported a surprising outcome. It claims that some neutrinos (these are electrically uncharged particles with almost zero weight) had been detected that seemed to move with velocities faster than light!

Now, according to Einstein nothing can move faster than light, as every object increases its mass as you increase its speed, and ultimately becomes infinitely heavy at the speed of light. Light has zero mass and so it alone can go at the top allowed speed. Neutrinos are very difficult to detect, and most experiments with neutrinos are open to large errors. So this claim may be a ‘red herring’. However, it has raised lots of interest and much speculation.

In the course of a discussion regarding matter and the mind, the question arose as to whether there is  hard-science evidence to show that the mind can move matter. All the physiological (neuro-science etc) evidence we have is that the brain moves the body, and the mind is  an intermediate  giving room for further physiological adjustment of the outcomes. Writers like Daniel Dennette (author of the book ‘The mind’s I, Fantasies and reflections of self and soul) have discussed these matters in popular books.

Professor Ladduwahetty, previously at the University of Colombo suggested that even if there is as yet no hard-science evidence beyond physiological precesses, we should allow for the possibility that such evidence may come in the future, and indicated that  With more understanding as to how Neutrinos behave, we can expect some interesting stuff to emerge on the mind/energy connection.  Right now it is perhaps more in the realm of conjecture and Sci-Fi though!

Indeed, as Prof. Ladduwahetty points out, this is at the edge of science fiction. However we thought it would be worth while following this up with people who have expert knowledge in physics. Hence we wrote to three well known Sri Lankan Physicists, namely, Professor Chandre Dharmawardana, a past Vice-Chancellor of Vidyodaya University,  (currently a Physicist working on the quantum theory and attached to the National Research Council of Canada and the University of Montreal), Prof. Keerthi Tennakoon, who was the Head of the Institute of Fundamental Studies in Kandy, as well as Prof. P. W. Epasinghe, an Emeritus Professor of Mathematics and a student of the world famous Nobel Physicist Abdus Salam. Further more, Prof. Dharmawardana was our Vice-Chancellor at Vidyodaya in the mid 1970s when we were student there, while Prof. Epasinghe was the Professor of mathematics. Dr. Tennakoon was a lecturer in Physics. So they were all our teachers and they have kindly responded to my call.

I include below the triggering remarks of Prof. Ladduwahetty, and the responses of the three physicists.  Our thanks are directed to Prof. Ladduwahetty for her inspiring initiating remarks, and to  Professors Epasinghe, Dharmawardana and Tennakoon for their explanations.

 I believe that their responses are of great interest to the general reader who can make their own judgments, remembering that science is ‘a doubt system’, and not  ‘a belief system’.

Professor Dharmawardana’s reply:
Our job when teaching science to university students is to teach them how to think, and how to see the wood for the trees. We can’t  teach them the last word in science, as there is NONE. But there are basic things that help people to navigate themselves. So I will write around the topic at first so that people can figure out the answers themselves.

Indeed, it is true that scientists in each subject tend to specialize. Most of us physicists do not know enough biology, and most biologists do not know enough physics.   Edward O. Wilson in his famous book “Consilience” wrote “it is not surprising to find physicists who do not know what a gene is, and biologists who guess that string theory has something to do with violins”. So it is important for scientists of different disciplines to get together.

But the situation is worse between scientists and non-scientists. We live in a world where the division is no longer between black and white, or rich and poor, but increasingly between those who are scientifically literate and some-what able to understand what is going on, and the vast majority of “those who are captive within a wall of scientific illiteracy”  (in the words of Wilson); and yet the latter control our media and public policy. So, before we discuss CERN we need to get the background to modern physics in the context of human knowledge.

The first things you need to know are what is known as energy and length scales. The very high energies are associated with large forces, and with very short lengths (remember,  work W is energy, and Energy = force times length)

So very large energies and very short length scales go together. Elementary particles (i.e., subatomic particles) like electrons, positrons,  neutrinos, and the heavier protons, neutrons,  and their constituents (quarks) correspond to higher energies and  shorter length scales.

Next we have the atomic length scales, and atomic energy scales. These are also very high energies and very short lengths compared to bread and butter. Thus we need about a million-billion atoms placed in one line to make one hair-width.

Then  we have the molecular energy scales and molecular length scales. This is our everyday world of food digestion, fermentation, cooking etc. That is where human biochemistry, the brain and biology works. Here we talk of energies in calories and lengths in centimeters or microns.

Next we have macroscopic energy scales, where the engineers take over, and use kilograms and tons  (Kilowatts as the energy scales), and kilometers as the length scale. Then we have astronomical length scales and weak forces like gravitation (which arises in general relativity from the curvature of space-time which makes objects to go in curved paths rather than straight lines).

We will stop here in this discussion and return to the neutrinos.
Before that, we need a bit of physics theory.

Physics says that all phenomena obey the very simple-looking laws of the quantum theory (Heisenberg-Schrodinger-Dirac theory) and the very compact field equations of Einstein which deal with space-time. These two theories are combined side by side (but not unified) in what is called the “standard model”. The standard model was developed by Abdus Salam (Pakistani-English physicist), Weinberg, and Glashow who jointly won the Nobel price  for it. This theory PREDICTS exactly what type of elementary particles (i.e., electrons, quarks, neutrinos etc) should exist. These predictions have all been confirmed, not just qualitatively, but quantitatively (that is why they got the prize); except for a number of NEW particles that have not been seen yet. They are the Higgs Boson, and other special particles. The theory PREDICTS that they will be seen at some yet to be reached  higher energies. The effort of CERN is to reach such energies, which may have prevailed just after the big bang.

The ‘big bang’ is not just an empty  theory but an actual event. Its after-glow can be actually observed by looking out into the night sky with a radio telescope, and  what is seen is exactly what is predicted. So it fits perfectly.

The “big-bang” is not the ‘moment of creation’, but just one “bang” out of thousands of other ‘explosions” that are occurring all the time in space-time; but we can only know about what is happening within our ‘information horizon’ limited by the speed of light.

So the CERN experiment is virtually trying to get close to the earliest big-bang state of the universe. It has to go a long way. But on its way, it should meet these PREDICTED  particles, and possibly, unexpected new effects. It should also bring out new theories BEYOND this standard model which contains Einstein’s model and the Quantum theory. The theory that has been put forward to surpass them is known as “String Theory”. According to Einstein the world has four dimensions. But according to one version of the new ‘String Theory’  the world really has 11 dimensions, with 7 of them folded in (compacted) so that we see only four dimensions. These four dimensions are length, breath, height, and time.

The ‘distance’ measured in four dimensions is the valid, ‘invariant’ way to measure ‘separations’ between events in the world, and this is known as “Lorentz invariance”. Now, when we go to these high energies, and very short length scales, we may begin to see some of this folded dimensions.  Are we seeing such dimensions in the CERN experiment? In my view this is very unlikely, and the most likely explanation is experimental error. It is very hard to do accurate experiments with neutrinos.

The NEWSPAPER BLURBS meant to sensationalize the CERN news is partly HYPE.  If the neutrinos have exposed some new compacted dimension and seen to propagate in a manner which is not according to naive relativity, that is sensational but may be consistent with the expectation of string theory. The question is, is it in agreement with some theory? It is more likely that this is a bit of “noise” coming from doing experiments in a range where no one has any experience.

It need not contradict EINSTEIN’s theory as said in the newspaper reports.  It may extend Einsteins theory (In technical language, we say that a  multi-dimensional space-time metric is used in string theory, instead of the 4-dimensional manifold). Some writers, surely not physicists,  have said that ‘we may have to return to Newton’. That is completely wrong. In fact, Einstein’s theory is verified every day at our (Newtonian)  length scales, each time you use a GPS to verify your location when travelling. The velocity of light is accurately known and I doubt if that would need any revision.  Even neutrino velocities have been measured using neutrinos emitted from Supernova explosions. The new extensions of Einstein’s theory, if actually needed, probably occur only at very short length scales very very different from human energy and length scales.

Now, when we think about life forms and brains, all this is irrelevant to biology because our biological energy scales and length scales are trillions and trillions and trillions and quadrillions of times different from the energy scales created with enormous difficulty inside the CERN accelerator. The latter  are comparable to what is happening inside a thermonuclear explosion.

Since evolution is now an extremely well established theory, it can guide us. We know that the human body, its organs, the hand, the eye, the digestion, the brain, sight, hearing and thought all evolved to cope with daily life and its struggle. They don’t occur at neutrino length scales or inside compacted dimensions at Plank scales, nor are they mediated by Higgs Bosons or high-energy neutrinos that exist in nuclear explosions. Evolution keeps only stuff that it needs to adapt the organism for its life process, and sheds unnecessary appendages. So all aspects of our body are intimately adapted to normal energy and length scales, i.e., calories (and not Giga Watts), and centimeters (and not units measured in the Plank length which is some trillion trillion times smaller than an atomic nucleus. The Plank length is the smallest ‘quantum’ of length possible).

Hence I agree with Prof. Ladduwahetty that the possibility of this experiment having and impact on mind-matter issues is mostly in the area of science fiction and speculation. However, although most physicists prefer  terra firma, there are a  very  small number of physicists, e.g., Roger Penrose of Oxford, and Eugene Wigner, who always felt that the mind was  ultimately necessary to solve the problem of observation in the quantum theory.

The reason for building the Hadron collider in CERN is to generate those extreme high energies, of the sort found in the center of the sun or close to the big bang, where particles interact at extremely short length scales.   Of course  journalists have to put a slant to the news to make the scientifically unconcerned public sit up and take note.

Closing remarks from Prof. Dharmawardana.:
I know from a message I got from Anada Wijesinghe that this discussion is not just about neutrinos and relativity, but also about this question of whether the “mind is supreme or the brain is supreme”. One of the best answers to this was given by the Buddha long ago when he suggested that this is ‘a metaphysical question that ordinary people cannot decide’, and indicated how we should go about our daily lives while leaving metaphysics aside.

Of course today we have more scientific tools than long ago, and some well-trained scientists in well-equipped neuro-science laboratories can look at some such questions. Some metaphysical questions have become physics questions.  But most of us are mere ring-side on-lookers, even if we have students and colleagues working in such labs.

These modern tools have on the whole shown that mental functions can be understood using physiology, in somewhat the same way that we understand that a lotus is made up of the atoms that are found in the mud. However, although the processes occurring in a lotus can be treated at the microscopic level by physiology, the lotus is the “Emergent Reality”, and it has an undeniable distinct reality different from its origins. In that sense, while the mind can be related to the brain by physiology, there is good reason to treat the mind as a “quasi-new emergent system” on its own right. Its behaviour can be ultimately reduced to physics; but an extremely long causal chain is required to connect it to molecular physics and then this connection usually becomes “irrelevant” at human length scales. So we don’t discuss our daily lives in terms of biochemistry (unless some pathology is involved). When it comes to  ethics, biochemistry is probably quite irrelevant.

86 Responses to “The CERN experiment, Einstein and we humans; (Updated- Read more comments)”

  1. aloy Says:

    Neela Maha Yodhaya,
    Is consciousness the mind?. If so, was it floating somewhere before the brain was created?. Perhaps someone must have written about this.

  2. Shan9 Says:

    If you transplant my “brain” with another my MIND will be the same untill I die. Brain transplants have not happened yet but it is possible with the evolution of science just like other organ transplants.

    This explains the “brain” is independent of the MIND. There is enough evidence around us.

    The “MASTER MIND SURGEON” who truly understood the MIND was the last historical Buddha, Gauthama. In fact he rediscoverd what previous Buddha’s before him discovered.. This was through DIRECT KNOWLEDGE which science will only get close but one has to be of PURE mind to access these TRUTHS. Here we are talking Jhana territory which scientists have no clue unless they themselves follow the Eightfold Noble path. Very few achieve this as many cannot let go of their EGO to penetrate this sublime TRUTH.

    There are people living in this very world who have attained these levels.

    Here is some background to the “brain” being independent to the MIND.

    The bottle contains the beer, but the bottle DOES NOT produce the beer…
    The brain contains consciousness, but the brain DOES NOT produce consciousness

    Problem with some scientists is, their EGO is so big and would not accept anything that challenge their ARROGANCE!

    The people who have little dust in their eyes penetrate the TRUTH by understanding things the “way they really are”.

    These people have overcome greed, hatred and delusion which unfortunately majority of the world including the leaders who lead this world, are full of this due to IGNORANCE!!

  3. Ariya Says:


    We’d leave this topic to be discussed by Bodhi and NeelaMahaYoda, etc.

    None of the others within the small group of people, who were discussing the statement raised by Bodhi that the brain is supreme and the mind is subordinated to the brain. This didn’t work out. So, he hoodwinked 3 profs, took arbitrary sections from Mahes, and patched up an article. Read it carefully, check out the 3 prof’s parts, and Mahes’s so-called parts and the “closing remark”. Of course, you can’t find it any more as the ‘article’ is now edited.

    The author did not write this article per se. The “facts” in it are false/misleading. The email address, he had sent us as your email address was a false one, done deliberately. does not exist, right?

  4. AnuD Says:


    I do not agree with you. I wrote some comments even in your blog where you discussed something about Buddhism.

    Forget what Buddha said. Even a West Virginia university Prof had developed techniques to investigate future life regression. That is in contrast to past life regression.

    As you all are physicists, I don’t want to talk here about how Quantum dynamics would explain that.

  5. AnuD Says:

    [Is consciousness the mind?. ]

    Before using these terms those should be defined to mark the limitations.

    One scientist, one from the two who found the structure of the DNA molecule defines consciousness, somewhat similar to Buddhism, as the neuron signal transmitted by one cell in the eye, tongue or ear etc.,

  6. aloy Says:

    It appears to me that only a few people are commenting on this topic although the total number exceeds 50. Perhaps LankaWebs reader ship is limited or readers have limited knowledge on this subject. I too have limited knowledge but like to encourage others with knowledge to contribute. My knowledge was only up to 1st year Engineering in Physics under Myla at Colombo uni in early 60s. Prof. Epasinghe was our Maths lecturer. However I came across the Physics textbook being used in a school at A’ level in this country (Brunei) recently.
    What is being taught as fundamental particle are no longer electrons, protons and neutrons but upquarks, downquarks etc. They also teach about nutrinos, mesons and antimatter. It seems for every particle in matter there exist opposite number in antimatter. The stuff being taught include results of research work done just a few years ago. It was so interesting that I covered the whole syllabus in three days. The reaction path of antimatter with matter was shown clearly in pictures. It appear to be similar to the path of fireballs (or circles) that we see when lightening strikes. They say this is the same syllabus being taught in UK schools and the exams are held at night to coincide with UK exam time.
    According to some books the nutrinos exist in such abundance that more than a million of them pass through a persons head every second.
    When can our SL students (who are being taught in Sinhala) hope to learn modern physics. I hope our SL academics advice the government to adopt the UK syllabus without wasting time on research work on what to teach our students.
    If Bodhi is a biology teacher, it is great to see him writing like this. No one has contradicted the content so far.

  7. Ben_silva Says:

    I agree with Aloy and It is good to see Bodhi displaying a wide knowledge. It is good to see people using critical thinking skills and relying on evidence and theory, rather than unproven myths. Unfortunately many are affected by the religion mind virus. The evidence is that mind is an outcome of brain activities rather than the reverse.

  8. Fran Diaz Says:

    The topic under discussion is very interesting. Einstein’s brain was put into formalin and taken around America as an exhibit, but the brain by itself was of no use ! The Consciousness (Life Force) that gave life to the brain was missing, and was therefore not capable of functioning. A friend of mine advised me read Arthur Kostler’s book “Ghost in the Machine” to understand the human Consciousness. This book gives a good explanation.

    It would have been a good academic ethics to seek the permission/approval of the authors concerned re content from private exchange of e-mails, prior to printing parts of it in the Lankaweb as names of authors have been included. This is my understanding of the matter as an observer.

  9. Ariya Says:

    Fran Diaz, what you can read is not the ‘original’ article of Bodhi Dhanapala. Certain part shave been taken off, edited. CERN experiments were nothing to do with what we were discussing.

    Bodhi states that the brain is supreme, thoughts are made in the brain and the mind is subordinated to the brain.

    We standby Gauthama Buddha’s words; Mind is supreme and the thoughts are made in the mind.

    In this higher technological day, no one had transplanted a brain, no one had made a human being with a brain, except women giving birth to human children.

    Whether neutrino goes faster, or light goes faster, the mind works faster than any. We have supper processors with tens of millions transistors mounted on a very small chip. How to mount, what to mount, etc was once decided by a human mind or few human minds. This super chip might do billions of combination per second, but if the human had not given knowledge how-to to that chip, and/or individual transistors, that super processor is piece of garbage. The human mind visualised these happenings, before this super chip was made. And that too was made using machines, human mind had visualised and created.

    The human mind is supreme and whatever the human mind thinks, could be created, if appropriate action would be taken.

    All positive thinking books authored in the West uses the above sentence around which they write hundreds of pages. Whatever the thickness of the book, or the author, whether it is Napoleon Hill, Norman Vincent Peale, Joe Vitale, Deepak Chopra, etc writes around that single line.

    The first known person to tell the world that was Gauthama Buddha 2600 years ago! “මනො පුබ්බංගමා ධම්මා – මනො සෙට්ඨා මනොමයා, මනසා වෙ පදුට්ඨෙන…the first sentence of the Dhammapada.

    CERN experiment might prove that neutrino particle might be faster than light. Whether they spend few billions of dollars to prove Einstein wrong, doesn’t mean that they’d prove Gauthama Buddha is wrong.

  10. Fran Diaz Says:

    Ariya: Totally agree with you !

  11. Bodhi Says:

    Let me briefly answer some of the comments:
    Neelamahayodya has referred to a U-tube movie. These are a bit like the Channel-4 movies about Sri Lanka. The only thing to trust are what is published in peer reviewed journals, or books by very distinguished people. I referred to E.O. Wilson and Erik Kendal’s recent books (Arthur Koestler’s ‘Gohst in the machine’ is many decades old, and Koestler is not a scientist, but a Journalist-writer). The out-of-body experience can be reproduced and studied in the lab, and there is no mystery. When the amount of sugar or oxygen entering the brain is controlled (using clips on the blood supply, or if suitable electric excitations are aplied (as in old Penfield’s experients), ALL out-of-body feelings can be produced.
    But still some people don’t agree.
    For example, Dr. sam Parnia of the Weil medical center (New York) says:
    the assumption that the mind and brain are the same thing is fine for most circumstances, because in 99% of circumstances we can’t separate the mind and brain, they work at the exactly the same time. But then there are certain extreme examples, like when the brain shuts down, that we see that that this assumption may no longer seem to hold true. So a new science is needed in the same way that we had to have a new quantum physics. The CERN particle accelerator may take us back to our roots. It may take us back to the first moments after the big bang, the very beginning. With our study, for the first time, we have the technology and the means to be able to investigate this.

    So you see, always these people say “May be quantum physics, may be CERN”, but as explained by one of the physicists, you just have to consider the disparity in energy and length scales to realize that CERN experiments at nuclear energies would have little to do with mind and brain. It is more physiology that we need.

    In answer to the gentleman from Brunai, now in Sri Lanka science is taught in English.

    ArunD was discussing ‘Sarvaggna”, and said A Buddha knows the future in detail. I explained that if it is so, then there is no Kusal or Akusal. he has not answered that.

    AS for the claim that I ‘tricked some people’ in making this article, and in answwer to Franz, I gave two days for people to object if they wished and circulated a draft. In any case, even after publication, in an electronic journal anyone can immediately add a comment or addendum. This is a discussion and not a case of property rights or deciding international borders or something. I could have recirculated the final draft, but surely, how many iterations do you do? In any case, there was not an inkling of anyone objecting, for needing to re-circulate. As the p[erson composing the material, I made the selections. I don’t want to reply people like Ariya (Chanath) who contribute nothing.

  12. Bodhi Says:

    The previous comment went in to the internet before I could complete it or correct it, involuntarily. Anyway, i will leave it at that.

  13. brahamin Says:

    I think Ariya, Bodhi, Franz and other should settle their private differences OUTSIDE this webpage. We are quite happy with the article as it is, and need to get on with the topic at hand.

    The whole question is, if 99% of the time the brain and mind are found to work together, as claimed by the Weil-center scientist or Doctor, why would the remaining unknown aspects of mind-brain behaviour need new physics, or chemistry, or biology?

    We know that a sperm has no basically consciousness, and it joins with the ovum, becomes a little fetus, and slowly acquires consciousness as the brain grows. Consciousness is completely grown only after adolescence since the hormones do not kick in until after puberty.

    The pet behaviour mentioned by the Zoologist Mahes shows that pets have consciousness, just like humans, but at a lower level of ability. Chimpanzees can be taught words and they can even make sentences, count etc, but they don’t have the ability of a human child. So is there a reason to introduce some new “mystic principle” for the remaining 1%?
    I think they just need more experiments along the same lines in biology and NOT it has nothing to do with CERN-type experiments.

  14. jimmy Says:

    Amen Brahmin
    I can not imagine how people are mean to this guy.
    I enjoy reading the article . I printed it and show it to some of my colleagues.
    They like it also eventhough they do not agree everything
    I encourage people to write good articles like this

    The poem below is for you written by Rudyard Kipling




    IF you can keep your head when all about you
    Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
    If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
    But make allowance for their doubting too;
    If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
    Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
    Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
    And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:
    If you can dream – and not make dreams your master;
    If you can think – and not make thoughts your aim;
    If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
    And treat those two impostors just the same;
    If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
    Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
    Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
    And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:

    If you can make one heap of all your winnings
    And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
    And lose, and start again at your beginnings
    And never breathe a word about your loss;
    If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
    To serve your turn long after they are gone,
    And so hold on when there is nothing in you
    Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’

    If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
    ‘ Or walk with Kings – nor lose the common touch,
    if neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
    If all men count with you, but none too much;
    If you can fill the unforgiving minute
    With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
    Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
    And – which is more – you’ll be a Man, my son!

  15. aloy Says:

    Do they teach modern Physics in Sri Lanka as they teach in the UK. I know all schools in SL do not teach A’ level in English. Students in rural areas prefer to do in Sinhala as they can score higher marks. That is the point I am trying to make.
    Also I would like the people who condemn this writer to note the following:
    We are a small community spread out all over world like Jews because of the fault of our rulers. Otherwise we would not have left our shores for economic gains. But we all have one thing in common (this include the people who declare themselves as refugees) and that is our love for the country of our birth. We all want to go back to SL at the first opportunity we get. So , let us be together without arguing on trivial issues. When we were together we reached as far as Cambodia about a thousand years ago. We have the potential to rise up again. Look at our apparel and IT sector. Our leaders should look at ways of uniting the people and harnessing that potential.
    Please forgive me for deviating from the topic.

  16. NeelaMahaYoda Says:

    Lets now move into Buddhist Philosophy,
    The first Paramattha or reality is Citta (consciousness.)in abidhamma. Citta, Ceta, Cittuppada, Nama, Mana, Vinnana are all used as synonymous terms in Abhidhamma. Hence from the Abhidhamma standpoint no distinction is made between mind and consciousness.

    However, lot of people got confused and they can easily be mislead when they use the word “mind”. In most of the Abidhamma books including “A Manual of Abhidhamma” By Narada Maha Thera the word Citta is translated as consciousness.

    As the first Paramattha or reality, Abidamma says Citta (consciousness.) has fourfold of existence, Namely
    (i) Consciousness pertaining to the Sensuous-Sphere, ( Three dimensional universe we live in)
    (ii) Consciousness pertaining to the Form-Sphere, (rupavacara)
    (iii) Consciousness pertaining to the Formless-Sphere, ( arupavaca ra )
    (iv) Supramundane consciousness. (lokuttara)

    Arupalokas or Formless-Sphere are planes without material bodies. Lokuttara: -Here “Loka” means five aggregates. “Uttara” means above, beyond or that which transcends. It is the supra-mundane (beyond universe) consciousness that enables one to transcend this world of mind-body (from the Space and Time domain) into the types of consciousness that directly accomplish the realisation of Nibbana.(Sort of condition similar to Singularity where no time or no space exists.
    Therfore, according to Abhidhamma there is no doubt that consciousness can exist without body or brain.

    In modern Science ‘mind’ is considered as personalization of the brain, or personal aspects of brain function, as in ‘I don’t mind’, ‘broaden the mind’, ‘ make your mind up’, etc. mind’ is very close to what we might refer to as ‘ personality’, in a first-person perspective, i.e. it is what it feels like to be you rather than what other people judge you to be.

    Personalization of brain possible through plasticity of the brain, which is particularly conspicuous in the first few years of life (Infant stage), when the growth of the nerve connections accounts for the growth of the brain and, indeed, can allow for compensation for damage. A particularly amusing example of plasticity in the adult brain was of London taxi drivers (Maguire et al, 2000), who are renowned for their ‘Knowledge’ whereby they have to memorise the streets of London and how to navigate them. In taxi drivers, part of the hippocampus is larger than in non-taxi drivers of a similar age. Experiences, then, are reflected in the strength and extension of brain connections and it is this process, whereby connections so exquisitely mirror what happens to us, that I would call the ‘mind’. Hence, even if you are a clone, i.e. an identical twin, you will have a unique configuration of brain cell connections. This is about individual mind.
    Consciousness is the functionality of mind, comprise qualities such as subjectivity, self-awareness, sentience, sapience, and the ability to perceive the relationship between oneself and one’s environment. It is a subject of much research in philosophy of mind, psychology, neuroscience, and cognitive science. (This brief note developed on the basis of an article published in the British Journal of Psychiatry)

  17. Christie Says:

    I am no scientist but with my ols GCE Ord Physics & Chem etc I leave it to all others.

    What I observe is how Sinhalese could start something and then get upset.

    It is the behaviour of people with a minority complex. This is found in most of the British -Indian empire in tropiccs.

    Look at the Island of the Sinhalese, they are the majority and the minority dictate the outcomes.

    Coming back to the subject, Einsteins era (whether Einstein got it from Italians) is over and we are in to a new era. This era is first tests then the theory.

    Are there smaller matter that go faster than light light and with stem cells in the basket science is moving faster than light.

  18. Bodhi Says:

    I have not edited the article. I think Lankaweb editor must have edited that out because Mahes adduwahetty claimed that they were put in without her permisson and people like Ariya (chanath) carried out a big vendetta. So the Editor acted correct, and he has every right to do so. But he has done that on his own will, and NOT because I wrote to him and asked him. May be Mahes L or others may have written and requested it. I don’t now, and it doesn’t matter.
    But all the essential parts are there. Mahes L was invited to write her piece, but she is absent.

    I agree with NeelamahaYodaya regarding Abhidamma. But if you stick to the Theravada, it is very close to the modern science view. I will (next week) write an article about it and put it up on Lankaweb, as we can have a better discussion away from the CERN experiment now.

    There is no question of the plasticity of the mind or consciousness, and it grows in step with the neurons in the brain. Taxi drivers grow a ‘map’ of the city in their neurons, and the map shrinks when they stop driving around, and similarly guitarists grow additional neurons associated their playing fingers etc. All that is well accepted and are part of standard physiology.

  19. Bodhi Says:

    All experiments so far show that the mind is a result of the brain. Mahes ladduwahetty and people like you hope that these Billion dollar experiments would “debunk that” and show that the mind is supreme. But as all the physicists said, there is no hope from these experiments.
    Also, the billion dollar experiments are not for settling mind and matter issues, but for testing string theory which have nothing to do with religious fantasies. Note that the Editor has also changed the title of the article as well, and has all the essentials. he has done a great job.

  20. NeelaMahaYoda Says:

    Dear Bodhi
    You are perfectly correct, Mind is a result of the brain. But you got confused OBE with NDE. We all know that some of the out-of-body experience OBE reports coming from various con- artists are type of drug induced or sugar induced hallucinations. You do not need to have a laboratory to do that. Some time this can happen even when a patient is under anesthesia also. This particular subject has been discussed more in details in Thomas Metzingers’s book “the Science of the Mind and the Myth of the Self”. Thomas Metzingers is the former president of the German Cognitive Science Society and is the President –Elect of the association for the scientific study of Consciousness. He is an expert on this subjects and he can stimulate out of body experience by himself.
    But the renowned Dutch cardiologist Dr. Pim van Lommel’s investigations on cases of near death experiences are different from that of OBE phenomena because near death experience NDE happens during cardiac arrest while the patient is still in the operating theater when electroencephalogram(EEG) shows no brain activities. Without reading clinical trials carried out by these two scientists, you will never be able to grasp the validity of these clinical trials. (Please read Dr. Pim van Lommel’s Consciousness Beyond Life and Thomas Metzingers’s the Science of the Mind and the Myth of the Self”if you need more information)
    I am surprised to notice that you are completely unaware of the work done by one of your neighbor, a distinguished cognitive neuroscientist Michael Persinger at Laurentian University in Ontario He has given a lecture recently on the experiment he has done showing the connections between the electromagnetic activity of human brains and the activity of earth’s electromagnetic field . In the lecture, he suggested that the brain is analogous to a radio receiver or a television. This implies that consciousness isn’t produced inside the skull, but is a non-local field within which information is shared at the speed of light (i.e., independent of space-time). He seems to suggest that his lab has developed a communications technology capable of reading and/or controlling minds.
    So, with all these information, don’t you think that with all these theories on consciousness we are moving into a radically new paradigm for living in the 21st centuryand it is time for you to give up the idea of a fixed and predetermined world based on Newtonian laws.
    Please remember that mind is local and consciousness is non local.

  21. Ben_silva Says:

    My view also that some may attempt to justify religious fantasies using science, just as some Christians tried intelligent design. The evidence is that cognition, and other brain functions such as perception. learning, knowledge are assocoayed with the brain. The whole story is not yet clear, but progress is being made without having to resort to CERN experiments or fantasies. Mind floating in thin air ? or some sort of strange energy ?

  22. Bodhi Says:

    Thanks to NeelamahaYodaya. I will read up on Pim van Lommel and Michael Persinger at Laurentian as I don’t know their

  23. NeelaMahaYoda Says:

    This is not religion. It is modern Science.But the findings are in agreement with Buddhist philosophy (Abidhamma).
    So, Mind is in your brain. Consciousness is outside -Non Local -Everywhere in the universe, not limited to this universe but extending into other universes if multi universe theory is correct but ultimately controling your qualities such as subjectivity, self-awareness, sentience, sapience, and the ability to perceive the relationship between oneself and one’s environment. Some classified it as a quantum energy form because it shows some common characteristics of quantum energy (RefDr Pim van Lommel book) Information tranfer through brain via cel membrane.

  24. AnuD Says:

    One theory says that the universe works like a hologram.

    Another theory explain that the mechanism of brain functioning is also a hologram.

    In other words, very tiny portion of each has everything that the whole thing, be it the universe or the brain.

    Buddhism says (hinduism has borrowed it from Buddhism) that one makes many and many becomes one. I think, Buddha had told some one that in order to see the edge of the universe see in your inside.

    On the other hand, just simple logics can prove that the whole universe is one mind or one thought etc.,

    With the popular Layman’s physics that I read, the whole universe can be one string and that string can be an infinite number strings too. Each string has exactly the same properties of every other.

  25. Raj Says:

    This must be an interesting article, as it has attracted 87 comments from about 5 people, who are arguing with each other. Even the author probably did not expect his work to attract so many (5) people!.

  26. NeelaMahaYoda Says:

    brahamin Says:
    November 29th, 2011 at 6:24 pm
    —-Abhidhamma cannot in agrrement or disagreement with science. Abhidhamma has NO experimentally verifiable content, and that is why it is called Abhi-dharma. It is not a part of the tri-pitaka (the three accepted canons of Buddhism).–

    Brahamin is wrong again. The third collection of Thripitaka is the Abhidhamma Pitaka which is the higher doctrine of Buddhism.The seemingly stubborn problem associated with study of consciousness or Abidhamma is that they have subjective qualities.

  27. Ariya Says:

    Its quite interesting that “this article” had now being posted on the 29th, but still have comments posted on the 24th, the “article” becoming shorter by the day! Its also interesting that out of 3 profs and Dr. Mahes, only one Chandre Dharmawardana’s “opening” and “closing” are left in it! Poor profs Epasinghe’s and Tennakoon’s “comments” also are deleted.

    There is no further use of commenting on this “article”.

    CERN experiments or not, the brain is th executive of the mind, mind is supreme and the thoughts are made in the mind. The first person to say the mind is supreme was Gauthama the Buddha. මනො පුබ්බංගමා ධම්මා – මනො සෙට්ඨා මනොමයා, මනසා වෙ පදුට්ඨෙන – භාසති වා කරොති වා,
    තතො නං දුක්ඛමන්වේති – චක්කංව වහතො පදං

    CERN experiments has nothing to do with mind.

  28. AnuD Says:

    My thinking is, at the particle level, CHARGE is the consciousness. Because, charge makes the particle aware about itself and also the other similar or opposite charge particles.

    Again with respect the near death experience, some people have felt that they were floating along an endless tube until which time that became conscious. I think, at one point the “life” or the consciousness or the neuronal charges become limited only the spinal cord neuronal tube. At that point. “life” or this charge moves ONLY along the that tube and eventually making the patient aware about floating eternally along a certain tube like space.

  29. AnuD Says:

    Particle pairs know each other’s position whether they are located at one milimeter away or billion miles away. Can some Physicist explain how that is possible within the context of What Einstein has told ?

  30. Ariya Says:

    AnuD, Now that the ‘article’ had become short and without “opening and closing” comments by profs, one might start discussing the merit of this ‘article’.

    The ‘author’ of this article wants to prove that the brain is supreme and the thoughts are made in the brain. CERN experiments came into the discussion to help prove that point. Whether the billion dollar experiments prove that there are smaller particles, which might travel faster than light, it would only help to prove that Einstein was somewhat wrong. It’d be hard to prove Einstein’s formula wrong, though.

    Even, if a particle, which might not have a mass, to travel, it should be given a force, and that force has to come from somewhere. There should be energy to make the force to happen. The question is how does the energy happen? Doesn’t matter how small is a neutrino, a force should be applied for it to move. Newton’s old law would come to effect.

    Interestingly, there are simple methods to make an object to move without a force being applied, i.e, which is against the Newton’s Law, action – reaction. This kind of experiments don’t need billions of dollars, just anything found at home, a piece of string and something weighing few grammes. Still there is a force applied, which cannot be measured – mind power!

  31. AnuD Says:


    Thank you for enlightening me.

    Einstein told these things with mathematics and thought experiments (no scientific method).

    I think, trying to explain quantum events on the basis of Newtonian physics may be causing problems.

    Can you agree ?

  32. Ariya Says:

    AnuD, yes I agree!

    Einstein was a genius in his time and the world evolves. Mathematics is quite an interesting subject, where certain simple actions to get a result cannot be explained using science, like using fingers to tell the multiplication table from 6 to 10. My son never memorized this table and could do that with fingers much faster than one could push buttons in the cal. His whole class did that. Now, most of them are Engineers.

    Physics is an exact science, but there were enough times its results were wrong. There are lot of assumptions, which are taken as true to come to a conclusion, but these assumptions are unproved. The word assume can be broken into ass-u-me, or making an ass of you and me. This would bring a smile.

    Have a nice day!

  33. Ariya Says:

    If you guys want to read a good article about neutrinos, etc goto

  34. Ariya Says:

    It seems to me that no one is commenting any more!
    Now, that only Chandre’s reply is available in this edited article, let’s look at what Chandre says;

    “So the CERN experiment is virtually trying to get close to the earliest big-bang state of the universe. It has to go a long way. But on its way, it should meet these PREDICTED  particles, and possibly, unexpected new effects. It should also bring out new theories BEYOND this standard model which contains Einstein’s model and the Quantum theory. The theory that has been put forward to surpass them is known as “String Theory”. According to Einstein the world has four dimensions. But according to one version of the new ‘String Theory’  the world really has 11 dimensions, with 7 of them folded in (compacted) so that we see only four dimensions. These four dimensions are length, breath, height, and time.

    The ‘distance’ measured in four dimensions is the valid, ‘invariant’ way to measure ‘separations’ between events in the world, and this is known as “Lorentz invariance”. Now, when we go to these high energies, and very short length scales, we may begin to see some of this folded dimensions.  Are we seeing such dimensions in the CERN experiment? In my view this is very unlikely, and the most likely explanation is experimental error. It is very hard to do accurate experiments with neutrinos.

    The NEWSPAPER BLURBS meant to sensationalize the CERN news is partly HYPE.

    Now, when we think about life forms and brains, all this is irrelevant to biology because our biological energy scales and length scales are trillions and trillions and trillions and quadrillions of times different from the energy scales created with enormous difficulty inside the CERN accelerator.
    Rest you can read by yourself.

  35. AnuD Says:

    For me these discussions, with respect to the Big Bang Theory and particles are not that exciting unless the other evidence which support other theories are also are discussed.

    Anyway, I learned lot of information about these things from Stephan Hawking’s books and from similar other books.

  36. jimmy Says:

    I like this article and will read over and over again
    There are too many brilliant minds giving their opinion

    I amt sure Brain is important . That is my opinion

    Brain is important and once you use it it beomes your daily mind
    (a) there is a phrace which say use your brain not your heart
    My field is IT. I do not use my mind but my brain to resolve issue in the beginning
    I also know once I resolve the Tech issue and for future I do not need to use brain for similar tech issue . It becomes a repitition . you do it over and over and over again . You do not use brain if the issue is the similar you resolve before

    For a person who does not know Information technology might think I use brain but in reality it is a repitition
    It makes me to think you use brain first and then mind take over
    samething for other professions also

    (b) An alcoholic use his brain not to drink even one beer because he fears it could make him addict
    if he uses his brain then he will succeed
    If he does not use brain he may end up alcoholic again
    A chrsitian might say the brain is Holy spirit which helps him to lead a good life instead of Alcoholic or A hindu might say Lord Krishna helped to cure his alcohol issue

    The point is Brain is very very superior than mind

    (c) I believe very much when we use our brain to change a bad habit then it becomes daily routine
    I wanted to loose weight and I use brain not the mind to see what I can do to loose weight
    run / eat healthy food
    I am working on it everyday .
    I used brain to change
    The mind follows the order and it does not make difficult decisions

    Happy christmas and New Year

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