You may wonder how this adorably cute (I think he is) salamander is, in any way, connected to a conversation about non-local consciousness.
I know little about these creatures. I have to admit, I thought a salamander was a small lizard. After some “lizard” research, I discovered that salamanders are amphibians that appear to be a cross between a frog and a lizard. Because they both have slender bodies and long tails, it is easy to confuse them with reptiles. Yet, as frogs and toads, salamanders are amphibians.
Most (as the little fellow above) are around six inches long.
They are diverse creatures; some have four legs while others have two. Some have lungs, some have gills, and others have neither-they breathe through their skin.
However, salamanders are unique in their capability to regenerate lost limbs, and other damaged parts of their bodies. This fact greatly intrigued the late Paul Pietsch, Ph.D. and Professor Emeritus at Indiana University.
Dr. Pietsch conducted a ground-breaking study, researching salamander brains and non-local consciousness.
His research was conducted in several stages. As he explains:
As a student trying to teach myself the art of transplanting tiny organs, I assigned myself exercises involving the larval salamander's brain. First, I would make a tunnel in the Jell-O-like connective tissue of the dorsal fin. Then I would remove the brain, and store it in the tunnel. The animal, of course, went into a stupor. How did I know whether the brain had survived (whether I had passed or flunked my test)? After some days, I would return the brain to the cranium. Most animals survived. And in eight to twenty days, they recovered consciousness.
My next experiments involved the exchange of brain parts .
Preliminary to shufflebrain experiments, I conducted a systematic investigation of the expsalamander larva's medulla, the transition zone between the rest of the brain and the spinal cord. When I destroyed the medulla, the animals became unconscious and died within two weeks. If I left the medulla intact and amputated the brain immediately in front of it, the animals went into permanent stupor but remained alive for many months.
After several successful trials, Pietsch attempted to locate where memories are stored in salamander’s brains. He removed their brains, ground them up, even shuffling their brains around, and then placed them back in their heads. The astonishing result was that their memories were unaffected although their brains were demolished. Pietsch concluded that memory was not a local phenomenon, but instead, was linked to something outside of their bodies. (His findings were published in his book: Shufflebrain: The Quest for the Holographic Mind, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt; March 1, 1981).
I realize this particular example of non-locality is a little gruesome. Yet, oftentimes it is the most shocking, different, and unusual, to get us into mind-expansion mode, and have an "aha" moment.
Of course, the human brain is an incredibly complex organ, consisting of almost 100 billion cells, or neurons, each connected to 10,000 others, yielding some ten trillion nerve connections.*
I doubt that researchers will be removing the intelligent jelly-like mass in human skulls, and throwing them into a blender.
Yet, Pietsch’s research remains revolutionary.
World-renowned cardiologist and near-death researcher Pim van Lommel explains the role of the brain in consciousness in a less stomach-turning manner:
Our brain may be compared both to a television set, receiving information from electromagnetic fields and decoding this into sound and vision, and to a television camera, converting, or encoding sound and vision into electromagnetic waves. Our consciousness transmits information to the brain and via the brain receives information from the body and senses. The function of the brain can be compared to a receiver; our brain has a facilitating rather than a producing role; it enables the experience of consciousness.
Lynn and I believe that our experiences have taken us to a realm in which non-local consciousness is omnipresent, or the source of the fundamental substance of our physical existence, while being completely independent of it.
Simply put, we contend consciousness is not hard wired into brain itself. Thus, we agree with both Pietsch and Van Lommel.
The next time I spot a salamander, instead of exclaiming “Awww, how cute,” I will most likely be thinking “Eww, shufflebrains.”