Tuesday 22 April 2008

Do We Exist In The Womb?

Following on from Karl's theory in the Sensation of being Stared At and Robin's post When Does it All Begin I would like to pose a question to the group; in what state does a baby exist in the womb?

When does our ability to perceive begin. If a baby in the womb cannot perceive of itself then does it exist as a baby or as a waveform until observed, for example via a scan?

Or is it a subjective being because it is essentially part of it's mother's body who is a subjective consciousness within her own phaneron and therefore brings her baby into being?

And if the baby is perceived in the mother's subjective consciousness how can it be perceived by other subjective consciousnesses if it cannot be observed?

What do you all think?


Robin said...

I've done many of those scans you mention. Even the smallest fetus seems to move in a deliberate, purposeful way. Sucking a finger or toe, stretching the limbs. They respond to stimuli early on as well; the startle reflex can be seen while scanning. Does this not prove the baby is aware of it's environment, that it 'perceives' it's own phaneron?

Individual consciousness must surely start in the womb. Ask any mother and she will tell you the child's personality was intact nearly from the time movement could be felt. I've often thought that is when the fetus "becomes". It is at that moment a pregnant woman can 'perceive' her baby.

Karl had some perfectly logical ideas in his comments to my post. Hopefully he will repeat them here.

Karl Le Marcs said...

JoJo, I think you've been reading waaaayyyyy too much of my theories!

As I said on Robin's post: I would say that the formation of the Cerebral Cortex in gestation is a basic requirement for sentience. Now, when the Cortex has been formed and the Central Nervous System begins then I would expect some empirical consciousness to also form.

It is arguable that some primitive neurological activity within the Cerebral Cortex begins during the fifth month of gestation, conceivably (pun very much intended) as early as the 22nd week.

However, I question the Independence of Consciousness whilst the umbilical cord is still intact. So this adds a new context to the philosophical approach to the question.

And also, Psychologists suggest that an infant's sense of self - that detachment of Id from Ego and SuperEgo - only begins to formulate from age 3 upwards.
(which is why most adults have no child memories before around age 3)

Now debate between Pro-life groups, abotionists, medical professionals, legal representatives and the like have gone on, and will go on for many years but I'm reminded of a line by the late, and very much great Bill Hicks, who said:

"You're not a human being, until you're in my phone book."

Robin said...

Then I must not be human, I'm not in Karl's phone book. Unless of course email/messenger lists are the equivalent of a little black book?

All I know is what I've seen with my own eyes. I have observed purposeful response to stimuli during sonography. I would describe it as more than "primitive neurological activity".

This is a debate that will rage on forever. But it is fascinating to hear what this fascinating group of thinkers think!

Karl Le Marcs said...

Hee Hee!
Yep, you see, that's why I said "It is arguable that some primitive neurological activity within the Cerebral Cortex begins during the fifth month of gestation." - the argument being that those in the medical sector say it does and those outside of the medical sector say it doesn't (and even that isn't absolutely true).

The whole Abortion issue is one which is far too devisive for me to even consider stirring up, except to say it was on that very subject that I was first named "A Dark Philosopher" as it was at University in the common room and I casually strolled in, probably with some kind of nonsense echoing around my thoughts, when I heard a fellow student of mine say "Oh hello (for he were a posh lad), here's A Dark Philosopher, he'll have something interesting to add. We're discussing abortion, what is your view Karl?", to which, without breaking stride as I had an ale in the fridge, I said "Individual's choice", and left them with that look on their faces that I seem to leave a lot of people with even today.


Dreamer said...

This post brings to mind something I read recently in Rick Strassman's book, "DMT: The Spirit Molecule." In Chapter 3 of the book, Strassman discusses the pineal gland, and how it could serve as a "spirit gland" and possibly also produce DMT. He notes that the pineal gland first becomes apparent in the fetus 49 days after conception, which is the same time when the sex of the fetus becomes differentiated. And, "coincidentally," according to the Tibetan Book of the Dead, 49 days is the time it takes for a soul to reincarnate.

Here's the relevant excerpt from Strassman:

"One of the most powerful reasons for my fascination with the pineal gland relates to its function in the life of the spirit. The importance and potential of this was brought home to me when, as a medical student in the mid-1970s, I learned of a startling coincidence involving the pineal gland and Buddhist beliefs about reincarnation. I cannot overemphasize how strong an impression this discovery made on me, and how it strengthened my search for a spiritual role for the pineal gland and, within it, the spirit molecule.

"I already knew that the Tibetan Buddhist 'Book of the Dead' teaches that it takes forty-nine days for the soul of the recently dead to 'reincarnate.' That is, seven weeks from the time of death of one person elapses until the life force's 'rebirth' into its next body. I remember very clearly, several years later, feeling the chill along my spine when, reading my textbook of human fetal development, I discovered the same forty-nine day interval marking two landmark events in human embryo formation. It takes forty-nine days from conception for the first signs of the human pineal to appear. Forty-nine days is also when the fetus differentiates into male or female gender. Thus the soul's rebirth, the pineal, and the sexual organs all require forty-nine days before they manifest.

"I unearthed this synchronicity when I was in my early twenties. I didn't know exactly how to make sense of it at the time. I still do not . . .

"What I'm proposing is almost a 'doctrine of elapsed time.' If Buddhist texts and embryology reveal that different developments require forty-nine days, the events must be related. This association is perhaps logically shaky, but also intuitively appealing."

-- from "DMT: The Spirit Molecule: A Doctor's Revolutionary Research into the Biology of Near-Death and Mystical Experiences," by Rick Strassman, M.D.

Anthony Peake said...

Sometimes the power of synchrondipity not only takes my breath away but also ever-so-slightly scares me.

Yesterday I spent three absolutely fascinating hours in the company of Professor Nisar Mir. Nisar is professor of Paediatrics at Liverpool University and a practicing consultant within the National Health Service. Nisar and I had an amazing wide ranging discussion with regards to ITLAD (he is a big fan), CTF and the nature of conscious awareness. He showed me one or two things with regard to myself that may have profound implications for my own development (cryptic eh?) but we also discussed, in some detail, the idea that new born babies have Daemonic awareness. Nisar is convinced they do and he has observed this at first hand in his work as a top consultant and world-renouned expert in this field. Indeed he has written academic papers on this subject.

I suggested to Nisar that last night he spend a little time checking out this blog. As I recall my exact words to him were "I am sure that you will find something of interest".


Was I showing precognitive abilities by suggesting that he read the blog? Simply mind-boggling.

Nisar is keen to join in the blog. I will be contacting him this morning and I will discuss this with him.

Oh, I was also planning to contact Rick (Strassman) today on another matter. And lo and behold he is name-checked as well.

Synchrondipity is most certainly is!

Hurlyburly said...

Isn't this more of another"other minds" type problem? For example we know the universe existed before we did but our observing of facts and research brings it's history into existance.

Problem with this is it's our own existance!! Memory often dictates what we consider in our definitions of our own lives. I think this question could arguabley force some re-thinking about our own position in the world. Also the separation of body and mind.

johar said...

WOW Tony That's pretty cool. I am getting to the point now when I read things and see things that align with previous events or seem to answer my thoughts that I am going ' Oh good we've done it again'. Acceptance of these events is becoming part of the fabric of my psyche, as real to me as breathing if you like - LOVE IT!!

Dreamer: Really interested in the 49 day Synchrondipity. So, after 49 days dead the soul is reborn at the exact point that the pineal gland becomes functional in the baby. 49 days preparation for rebirth then the spirit enters the baby on the 49th day via the gland to allow perception to begin. Do you think it takes that long because it has to be timed right? So that the spirit enters exactly on the right day of the baby's gestation?
It's a really interesting concept, not sure how it would tie in with CTF?

Karl Le Marcs said...

As has been discussed previously, Neurology would suggest somewhere like the Pineal Gland for the logical home of The Deamon, or pure consciousness, as this is the only part of the brain that exists in singularity, (all other parts of the brain having a mirror opposite in the alternate hemisphere).

Sounds intriguing!! Will be interesting to see what Prof Nisar contributes.

I kind of agree (strangely), and suggest you re-read an old post of mine and Tony's comments (after much deliberation), they would seem to address your question (and save me re-posting it all here!!)
Mother Paradox of Cheating The Ferryman

and Johar;
Are you getting all maternal dear?

Hurlyburly said...

Is that 4 horseman outside my window? Karl just-sort-of-agreed with me.

Clearly the first sign of the apocalypse...

Karl Le Marcs said...

OR, you're getting better mate!!

johar said...

Yes Karl I am maternal and if you and Hurly don't stop squabbling I'll bang your heads together and stop your pocket money - NO ALE!


Karl Le Marcs said...

"No Ale", aaarrrggghhh !
Anyway, Martin and I do not "sqaubble", we are not Victorian urchins of unwashed variety! Our discourse is one of mutual respect, light banter and the occassional rather obscure gag!!
(watch HurlyBurly come in now and say something really childish!!!!)

Anyway, *Blog Moderators Hat on* let's keep marginally on-topic shall we, Johar, interesting question for you:
Ignoring the literal meaning of the word, do you think it is only women that can feel maternal? (I don't mean paternal that is quite different.)

johar said...

Do you mean feel as in emotion or feel as in physical?
Only the woman can carry the baby (at the moment!) so only she can experience the physical reality of motherhood.
Emotionally maternal and paternal mean the same thing to me, the bond we share with our children.It manifests in a million different ways, not always healthily unfortunately. It's the invisible energy umbilicus and it's attached to both parents. Am I being too simplistic?

Karl Le Marcs said...

Thanks JoJo, and no you're not being too simplistic at all. It's interesting (well to me at least) to ask that question and listen to the response, so thank you.

johar said...

What's your opinion Karl?

Karl Le Marcs said...

On what specifically? I have quite a few!!!

johar said...

'Ignoring the literal meaning of the word, do you think it is only women that can feel maternal? (I don't mean paternal that is quite different.)'

Karl Le Marcs said...

Ah! Ok, having my own question parried back at me, I think that despite all the media hooplah about the myriad differences between males and females it basically all boils down to the Y chromosome ("Y Oh Y did you make me this way!!!")
Oh and your nonsensical obsession with shoes, obviously.
*dodges 6 inch stilletoe as it is hurled (under-arm) across the room*
But dragging myself back to topic, I DO think some men can have classic maternal instincts yes, which causes confusion as their physiology cannot provide that for which they yearn - such is life in many ways.

Robin said...

I agree with Karl. I've heard lots of men voice their longing to provide what the mother gives. Watch this!


Robin said...

If you need an alternate link to the video I mentioned above, view it here:


Aloha Gary said...

PHEW! another marathon brilliant post and comments - thank you all!

As there seems to be a predominance of scientific approaches being given I will jump off into the deep end of the subjective-intuitive-spiritual approach for the sake of balance
*or is that devils advocate?*

I have used the TimeLine technique with clients many many times (I explain this in comment on Karl's marathon memory pill quote.)

Part of the technique is to find the first event of the problem (using gestalt theory)

this is usually unknown, or even unknowable in every day conscious reflexive awareness.

Surprisingly often the first event turns out to be at birth or before, and including up to the point of conception.

From a spiritual point of view, consciousness CAUSES physicality, thought precedes energy.

The spirit must exist first and then the body arrives second, even the very first beginning.

Remember the ideas of science are nearly always our best guess or theory at this point in time, often limited by our ability to measure something, in this case the sex of the foetus.

Whereas the intuitive, already 'knows' at a deep level.

When questioned in the right way (and with permission) I've never found a woman who didn't 'know' the sex of her baby, even well before science is able to tell.

I've even known women tell me they knew they were pregnant within hours of copulation having taken place!


Karl Le Marcs said...

Aloha Gary;
"I've even known women tell me they knew they were pregnant within hours of copulation having taken place!"

Erm, was that during a post-coital cigarette with yourself? You virile hunk of manhood you.......

*reminds self not to sit too close to Gary on our next pub-based cerebral badinage for fear of immaculate conception*

Consciousness indeed can cause physicality and if we adopt my own theory of Collapsing The Consciousness Wave we are, in efect, each of us a separate functioning Universe (being a subjectively collapsed consciousness particle) so therefore every act of conception between two parallel living universes, in the formation of a new subjective particle of consciousness is, in essence,
A Big Bang!!!!!!!!!

*oh! matron!!*