Jan Cox Talk 3153

Consciousness Makes Up Myths to Exhort the Lower Nervous System


The following recordings are from Jan’s final years, when his voice was diminished and he spoke in a low whisper. Some listeners may find these tapes hard to listen to, or difficult to understand. Thus, as another option, transcripts are being made and will be posted.

Otherwise, turn up the volume and enjoy! Those who carefully listened to Jan during this period consider that he spoke plainly and directly to the matter at hand, “pulling out all the stops,” as he understood that these were to be his last messages to his groups, and to posterity.

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Notes by TK

The nature of myths. Why are myths not merely of quotidian dimension? Myths are brain-created stories of heroic proportions. Consciousness has had enough experience with the lower parts of the brain, so that it is affected by unconscious messages of bodily distress. Also it is known that to some degree the cerebellum can affect the non-conscious functioning. There is an open line between the two, allowing communication.

It would seem that there’s no reason that consciousness can’t, once it’s informed, effect healing upon body impairment or distress. Yet faced with the reality of its relative impotence, consciousness makes up myths and invokes external divine intervention in an attempt to exhort the lower functioning to do its duty: to effect a natural—a non-technological—cure. (44:06) #3153


5-28-2004  #3153
Edited by S.A.

Have you ever ruminated on the nature of myths? Specifically, why myths, including all religious myths, are of a certain type? Myths are not about football games, cleaning out a septic tank, or sewing up a rip in your dress. Most of the Bible consists of one myth after another. Many western myths tell of knights who have great adventures. On the other side of the world, there are tales of Samurai and other warriors fighting for a king or a shogun. In India, the Vedas are packed full of religious myths. All of the myths represent something that one part of the brain has created. If you can see these myths from a curious perspective, a weird angle, then you’ll suddenly understand why myths have taken up a great part of men’s lives.

Let me back up a bit. Even though philosophers, psychologists, and psychiatrists still are inclined to speak of consciousness in somewhat enigmatic, vaporous terms, when I refer to what transpires in the conscious part of the brain, that is something quite specific that has a known base in physical reality.

What you call your personality, your mood, your state of mind, is affected by messages coming from the lower parts of the body, including the lower, non-conscious parts of the brain, to your consciousness. Everybody knows this through experience, but ordinary people have no interest in it. If you eat a meal and a few minutes later you develop a severe stomach-ache, that ache travels up the nervous system from the stomach, and goes first through the brain-stem and the lower parts of the brain. News of the ache is then sent to consciousness, which is immediately and directly affected. When you sat down to eat, you were probably having positive thoughts. Perhaps you were planning what you were going to do later that day or that evening. Then came the stomach-ache. Suddenly, not only is your body feeling ratty, but that feeling is reflected in your thoughts. You begin having negative and aggressive thoughts, perhaps about the restaurant where you just ate and were surely poisoned.

Last talk, I took a known anatomical fact a wee bit further. I noted that consciousness is located in the cerebral cortex, a physical area in the brain, and that this part of the brain can be affected by lower parts of the brain, the non-conscious parts, but that the conscious part can not reciprocate and affect those lower parts. Consciousness knows, without any doubt, of the operations going on in the lower parts of the brain, or else how could you buy a textbook and read about those operations? The conscious part of the brain has now had enough experience with studying the rest of the brain, that it has pretty well mapped out the entire brain. Consciousness knows, for example, where emotions are formed and where blood pressure and heartbeat are registered.

The conscious part of the brain now has information about what non-conscious parts of the brain can accomplish. The conscious part also knows that other parts of the brain can have some effect on the entire body. Consciousness knows, for example, that an area deep in the cerebellum, the ancient part of the brain, regulates your heartbeat. If you start working very hard and your body needs more oxygen, that non-conscious part of your brain will increase your heart rhythm to supply your body with more oxygen-rich blood. If you develop an irregular heartbeat, that is first registered down in the lower parts of the brain, but the information is quickly sent to the conscious part of the brain. Consciousness realizes, “If I could communicate directly with that non-conscious part of the brain, I could regulate this irregular heartbeat.” But consciousness is not capable of doing that.

As far back as three thousand years ago, there were anecdotal claims of yogis and other mystics who could affect or control their heartbeat, their temperature, or their metabolism. They could slow down their metabolism to the point that they could go without food for extremely long periods. They could slow down their heart rhythm so that they would almost appear to be dead. They could speed up their metabolism to raise their body’s temperature so that they could go out in the cold, or sit naked in snow, and the cold would barely affect them.

In Western medicine, there are now claims that through meditation and self-monitoring, some people have taught themselves under certain conditions, for limited amounts of time, to regulate their heartbeat or their blood pressure. The current claims are very iffy, as the people tested could not do these things consistently, but the point is that medical doctors and psychiatrists with no interest in anything spiritual or mystical have attested that the conscious part of the brain has been able to send messages to the non-conscious part of the brain and thereby control the body’s heart rate or blood pressure.

We know that there are electrical and chemical lines of communication from the lower parts of the brain to the conscious parts. It now appears that under limited conditions, communication can go from the conscious part of the brain down to the non-conscious parts. What consciousness can’t do, however, is open up a valve or pick up a phone line, and have absolute, constant access to the unconscious parts of the brain. If consciousness had that ability, then consciousness could cure all of our ills.

We know that commonly the immune system becomes aware when an area of normal cells begins growing differently from their genetic blueprint. According to medical science, in most cases, the non-conscious parts of the brain, working in conjunction with the immune system, automatically destroy the malignant cells and neutralize any toxins that may have been inhaled or swallowed or taken in through the skin. However, medical science still doesn’t understand why a person develops cancer or diabetes or an irregular heartbeat—why the brain and the immune system permits this to happen.

If the conscious part of the brain had direct access to the non-conscious parts, then when the non-conscious parts failed at their task of protecting the body from disease, the conscious part of the brain, the part you think with, the part you hear talking in your head, would say to your lymph nodes, your immune system, “Kill those malignant cells, or they’re going to kill us!”

It is a known fact that there is an open pathway through which information flows uphill from the non-conscious parts of the body and brain to the conscious part of the brain. If your immune system lets certain germs enter your respiratory system and you develop a bad cold, that affects your thinking, your consciousness. It is also now known that the pathway could permit information to flow down from the conscious part of the brain to the rest of the brain and body. But although consciousness has existed for thousands of years, consciousness still can’t do this. Of course, we’re all going to die from something, but it makes no sense for somebody twenty years old and healthy in every other way to die of something that consciousness should be able to cure. There is no reason that consciousness shouldn’t keep the body free of illness for many decades.

I recently described a very interesting undertaking. I suggested that you take a direct approach to changing your feeling that, “This is me that’s conscious.” I reminded you that there is no “you.” It’s not you being conscious. It’s not you thinking. It’s the conscious part of your brain doing all of this.

What I described to you, you can read about in a modern neurological, psychiatric, or any book on the brain, but consciousness has known for thousands of years what medicine is just now learning. The conscious part of our brain, without any doubt, has known from experience for as long as man has been making up stories and leaving written records that the brain was capable of doing things to save the life of the organism in which the conscious part of that brain existed.

Only for the last thirty or forty years has man been able to describe the brain’s activity the way I just described it to you, and science is learning more about the brain every day. Four thousand years ago,  consciousness had no words for this, but consciousness did know that other parts of the brain, only inches away, were sending information back and forth. Consciousness even figured out that other parts of the brain had the ability to do things that were a matter of life and death, things that, in essence, were miraculous. That is when consciousness began making up stories about gods. What defines a god? A god has superhuman knowledge and power.

Let’s return to the subject of myths. The conscious part of the brain has a feeling of helplessness, because it realizes it has only one of the two godly characteristics. Consciousness has superhuman knowledge, but not the requisite power to put that knowledge to use, so consciousness made up stories of gods who were able to create men and yet were powerless to control those men. Consciousness also made up stories of kings who had problems controlling their subjects.

I’m going to go ahead and make up a myth for you. This is the mother of all myths, including myths about gods and religion. A king is up in his castle, from which he can see everything in his kingdom, which gives him superior knowledge. The king is the brains of the kingdom. He can look down and see chores that his villagers should do, but he, the king, does nothing but rule. He doesn’t shoe horses, plant crops, or sew clothes. Instead, he watches the villagers who do all the things necessary to keep the kingdom alive. Metaphorically speaking, that is the conscious part of the brain observing the operations of the rest of the brain, and the poor king can almost never make the villagers do what he sees that they desperately need to do in order to keep the kingdom running optimally.

Usually, everything in the kingdom is running fine. The farmers plant and tend their crops. The cerebellum looks after the heartbeat. Other parts of the brain look after the metabolism or help run the immune system. Consciousness can see all of this. Then something goes wrong. Weeds start growing in the farmer’s field. Malignant weeds, cancerous weeds. The king observes that the farmer just ignores the weeds. The king knows what the farmer must do to save the kingdom from destruction, but he can’t make the farmer do anything. The king screams, “Over there, in that third row from your left, are some weeds that are going to ruin the crop and then we will all starve! Go there and plow through those weeds!” The king screams and screams, but the farmer just goes on ignoring the weeds.

That is the mother of every myth in the past, and all of the myths that are still being created, all the way to the Star Wars movies. Why has the conscious part of the brain been making up myths as part of all of the world’s religions for thousands of years, from the earliest Egyptian stories of their gods, to the Greek mythologies and those of the Chinese, the Sumerians, the Persians, the Jews, and the Christians? I’ve given you several interpretations of these stories of gods, but it all comes down to consciousness being unable to control the non-conscious parts of the brain. We are still faced with this, and I don’t know that consciousness has any more ability to directly affect the lower parts of the brain than it did thousands of years ago.

Consciousness now literally knows what a cancer is, what a fatal disease is, what germs and toxins are. Medical science now knows that the immune system can put out an antivirus that can go over to a virus, stick some sort of science fiction probe into the virus, and learn its genetic blueprint. The antivirus could then pull the probe back out, and create a poison within itself that is designed to kill just that specific virus, then stick its probe back into the virus and inject the poison.

The immune system could use essentially the same process to destroy cancer cells. Consciousness has now written about this in medical textbooks. Yet consciousness itself can not directly fix the immune system when it’s not doing its job, and consciousness is unable to order other parts of the brain, which could take on that task, to do what they should be doing.

Up to now, consciousness made up myths, made up gods, made up the notion that if you pray to God, God will help you. God will even heal illness. What consciousness was doing is as plain as mayonnaise. Think how helpless the king would feel, the conscious part of your brain, knowing that it is within millimeters of being able to save the life of this organism, that it’s within shouting distance of the farmer down below in the village. The king shouts, “Go dig out those weeds!” but he can’t make the farmer hear him, and the king can’t physically leave the castle and go down to the farmer’s field and do the job himself.

For four thousand years, the conscious part of the brain has made up mysticism, New Age myths, and all the rest. That is all religion—a mythical, metaphorical, round-about way that consciousness is using to try to get the rest of the brain to do its job. You can see the degree to which that works.

There are people who say that prayer has cured some illness that they had. There is no reason to question this. People have gone to doctors, been told they had an incurable illness, gone home and prayed, and been cured of their illness. Doctors have reported in medical journals, “I couldn’t do anything for that man. All I can tell you is that the disease went into remission. The symptoms went away. The man told me that prayer cured his disease.”

The point is that the conscious part of the brain seems to have had some success in prayer, which is a form of consciousness trying to meditate on itself and form a kind of feedback loop. Notice, that is like shooting a BB gun at a noise in a desert. When does it work? One out of a billion times? Yet look what the conscious part of the brain has accomplished over about a hundred years of Western medicine. Consciousness invented x-ray machines, neurological surgery, biopsies, and all the rest of modern medical science. Consciousness can find life-threatening diseases, but consciousness can’t cure them. Consciousness can’t make the immune system do what the immune system can do.

Consciousness did invent anesthesia. The conscious part of the brain can now put you to sleep, open your chest, go in and cut out a cancer, throw it away, sew you back up, let you wake up, and for the time being at least, cure your cancer—possibly cure the cancer permanently. But that cure will cost twenty or thirty thousand dollars, and probably will put you through physical hell and psychological anguish—when all the time, consciousness knew “I can almost reach the part of my brain that controls the immune system. I can almost send that part more blood, more electrical energy, and make it do its job. That part of my brain could have destroyed the cancer that is killing me—but I didn’t have the power to do that.”

The origin of wanting to wake up is the conscious part of the brain trying to directly affect the non-conscious parts, and that did not begin because consciousness told itself, “I want to be enlightened.” Consciousness knew that it had only one of the two characteristics that would provide godlike powers. Consciousness had superior knowledge, superior in the sense that it could use words to convey information like how to kill bacteria, but the immune system didn’t, and doesn’t, need consciousness to tell it how to kill bacteria. The immune system knows how, without any input from consciousness.

The information, the knowledge that the conscious part of the brain has about immunology is important. This is not superior knowledge, but it is important in the sense that consciousness has named things, and can now use words to convey that information to someone else. However, consciousness still is helpless. The immune system has the power to kill a virus, or remove a toxin that got inside your body. But if for some reason the immune system doesn’t eliminate the virus or the toxin, and lets it start affecting you, consciousness can become aware of that. In that sense, consciousness has superior knowledge. Consciousness has the same knowledge that the immune system normally has, but when the immune system is acting as though it doesn’t have that knowledge, the conscious part of the brain does not have the power to order the immune system to do its job. In that situation, consciousness remains impotent.

There is no better example of helplessness than for consciousness to realize, “I could be saving my own life. I know how to do that. I know what the rest of my brain should be doing, but I can’t make it do its job.” You need no longer wonder where the myths about gods came from, the stories that show gods helpless, impotent, incapable of controlling humans. How was a god’s own creation, something inferior to it, able to disregard the god? God said, “Don’t eat that plant.” Adam ate it anyway. That starts making sense only when you realize where all myths came from, and where they’re all still coming from.

You can put the rest of this together yourself, to see how it all fits into wanting to wake up. Any parts you leave out, I’ll try to fill in next time.

Jan’s Daily Fresh Real News (to accompany this talk)

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
A Hole-In-One For The Neural High Steppers
MAY 28, 2004 © 2004: JAN COX

One ole man after years of showering his kid with instructive stories of his
past exploits, sat the lad down and said:
“Now that you’re old enough to wear your hair sideways
you’re old enough to know that I just made up all that stuff I told you happened to me,” the nipper calmly flipped his locks forward and replied:
“That’s okay Pop: I just made up listening to it.”
One man pondered:
“What was the point to anything before anyone asked about it?”

A self appointed metaphysical sage in city park recently declared that
people from other planets don’t have to go to the bathroom:
“That’s why they’re from other planets,” he added.
Something that may at first sound strange to the ordinary mind
can often be rehabilitated by showing how it can apparently prove itself.
Upon hearing this, one man shook his head and said: “Only in the city!”
“What?” asked another.
“Everything!” he replied.

When mental activity is made thing-specific,
polarities can seem to trade places —
thus can a pelican be turned into a dead fish,
(and one man’s cortex snorted:
“Don’t think I don’t know who you’re really talking about!”)

Nothing knows-what-it-is until a man says what it is.
(“Bravo for me,” said Nothing.)

Combination Caution & Cerebral Traffic News.
It wouldn’t hurt to consider that all offers of liberating information may be:
For A Limited Time Only.
(“Based I assume on how long I can maintain this open intersection,”
said an unnaturally non partisan synapse.)

Institutional authority helps keep one from having to think.
(Cows just love the crack of the whip.
[And several of one man’s neurons took exception to this comment.])

A changed mind is not a new mind;
ergo the certain man’s complete lack of interest in conversion.

In the super market (keeping his distance from the Ready Made aisle)
a guy confided that he had named his own mental operations: Fruit Loops,
“Because,” he said, “it doesn’t make any sense — and is therefore most appropriate.”
Trying to appear to others as honest about yourself is no evidence at all
that you have a real self and are an actual man — indeed: just the opposite.
(A woman lurking in a stack of paper towels added [rather testily]
that all we need now is a Lite version of Nutra-Sweet [and we won’t bother to note what any neurons might have to say in response to that one.])

Nobody likes to hear it said that there are still a few people who do not know
what is going on.
(“I wonder why?”)

A man noted: “The great fun of being part of a mob is that you can scream, and
break things with anonymity,”
“Hey — I want in on that,” cried a neuron,
“Are you kidding me — where do you think I learned it!”

The will of a gentleman of some success and wealth in the city
revealed his bequeathment of a sizable sum to his alma mater’s library,
but with the proviso that no future treatment of his life could ever be housed there under: Bad Fiction,
(noting that he had quite enough of that while alive.)

Criticism of man strikes the ordinary as near erotic — approaching the divine.

Prisons love a happy prisoner —
but are perfectly satisfied with whatever kind you are.

The All Encompassing.
Regardless what prison proverbs profess: Men only preach to the converted:
sheep can hear only bleating;
prisoners, the sounds of confinement.

One guy had what he called his: “Little Proposal” which was that:
everyone who has achieved Enlightenment should wiggle their eyebrows
every time they have an enlightened thought as a way of recognizing one another.

Those who arrive with manure will accept some when they leave.

Knowing-what’s-going-on is the only philosophy-of-life that is
greaseless and odorless.

Men seem destined to forever believe mankind to be mad:
what type of madness be this?

Is there anything to which men will not take exception?

On another world, one of the inhabitants one day stood and declared:
“I have come to the conclusion that all of my personal thinking abilities are directly tied to my hormones,” and his fellow citizens were so surprised at this public confession that in the center of the city they set a mighty marble base on which they stood a grand statue of nothing in honor of his realization.
(Among some the planet is known casually as: Totalus Sarcasticus.)

The ordinary would find it quite difficult to remain so without being serious.
(For filing under: T.S.T.L. [To Say The Least.])

Only a dead man is truly free — and even he’s not
if some ordinary person is able to point out his condition.

Herds adore a cheerful cow — but in the long run: a herd is a herd is a herd.

A man without a hero might actually be a man.

At precisely noon on his twenty first birdday, the kid of one old sorehead
was handed a fake gold watch (well it looked fake), and told by his elder
that the essence of the gift was carried in the inscription on its back (which read): “Here’s To The Day When You Shall Know The Truth
And The Truth Will Make You Think: ‘So What?!’”

A certain city intellectual began to set aside a few minutes each day
for what he called his: Irony Time (he now has no hours left).
“Damn! — that’s downright coincidental,” deadpanned an amygdala.
The meaningful fun at the expense of words is enjoyed and understood but by a few.

In one land they have a bazaar where you can sell your guilt —
only problem is: they make you buy some more.

Another man (of apparent political interests?)
says he believes that once all the votes are counted.

A man to whom everything unique to human existence is secretly funny
may secretly be a unique human.
A rare 1987 Deusenburg will vanish if it is spotted and its name called out:
(something again appreciated by only a select smattering).

The chief acrobat of one circus, in his instruction to new tumblers,
showed he had no words to waste: “Timing is all a matter of time.”

Anyone who doesn’t find their own thinking to be their best entertainment value
should stick with their mama.

A prisoner with unlimited space might actually be free.

Standing by the Pensive Fountain in city park,
a gent staring down into the water commented:
“The older I get — the less certain I am that I should take credit” —
he looked up — then back at the pond — spat and added: “for anything.”
(Rene [one of the leading frog philosophers] always liked to say: “Don’t go overboard.”)

After hearing the term: self-serving derogatorily applied to a specific person,
one chap wore out three pair of legs searching for whom it might not apply.

There could be more to a quiet man with only physical interests showing
than meets your eye.

On Locating What You Want (Need?) To Know.
If a man knew what to look for he wouldn’t have to look in the first place — would he?