UFO Conjectures

Friday, April 22, 2011

The Possibilian


The April 25th New Yorker has an article [Page 54 ff.] by Burkhard Bilger about David Eagleman, an assistant professor of neuroscience at Baylor College of Medicine in Houton.


Eagleman has founded a movement called Possibilianism, a denomination of his own invention based upon ruminations (by him).

Science taught him to be skeptical of cosmic certainties and as he wrote in a book of short stories [Sum], “Why not imagine ourselves as bit of networked hardware in a cosmic program, or as particles of some celestial organism [See Teilhard de Chardin for a similar hypothesis], or any of a thousand other possibilities, and then test those ideas against the available evidence?”

He is quoted thusly: “As Voltaire said, uncertainty is an uncomfortable position. But certainty is an absurd one.”


He believes that “memories are often radically revised” and “how much of what we perceive exists outside of us and how much is a product of our minds?”

Francis Crick, the discoverer of the DNA sequence and a mentor to Eagleman, before he died in 2004, gave him (Eagleman) this advice, “Look, The Dangerous man is the one who only has one idea, because then he’ll fight and die for it. The way real science goes is that you come up with lots of ideas, and most of them will be wrong.”


I’m recommending the New Yorker piece and Eagleman for his quasi-religious thrust [Possibilianism for Nick Redfern]; Eagleman’s views from Voltaire [for Paul Kimball], Eagleman’s intuition about memory [for CDA, Gilles Fernandez, and other Roswell witness-promoters] and the idea of various mental intersects [for Bruce Duensing].

N.B. Frank Stalter has provided a link to the New Yorker article:

David Eagleman: The Possibilian


  • The heads up is much appreciated. The last piece I wrote concerned the colonization of space ( meaning time) with sentience, as a way of a different view of portraying ourselves as creative mimics as well as tool makers, in the colonization of the explicate, which then of course we become mimicked by the "paranormal". Thanks for the food for thought, Ill get a copy.

    By Blogger Bruce Duensing, at Friday, April 22, 2011  

  • Yes, Bruce, you are one of the few who will appreciate the piece and Eagleman's views.

    (Maybe Steve Sawyer can find the online link, behind a paywall I believe, and provide it for readers here.)


    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Friday, April 22, 2011  

  • Frank Stalter has been kind enough to provide that link mentioned above.

    It's appended to my original post.


    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Friday, April 22, 2011  

  • Sum: Forty Tales from the Afterlives is one of my favourite books of recent vintage. In many ways, Eagleman reminds me of the way Mac Tonnies thought about things (although Mac didn't have Eagleman's science pedigree).

    Have a listen to: http://www.radiolab.org/2009/jul/27/when-am-i-dead/

    Jeffrey Tambor reads "Metamorphisis" from Sum!


    By Blogger Paul Kimball, at Friday, April 22, 2011  

  • Spreading the meme:

    "David Eagleman, Possibilianism, and Transcending the Boundaries of Belief and Disbelief"



    By Blogger Paul Kimball, at Friday, April 22, 2011  

  • Young scientist seems a couple thousand years behind the curve on this one . . . .

    "With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible" (Matt. 19:26)

    He has 15000 hits on "possibilian" now?

    Again, trailing . . .


    By Blogger Frank Stalter, at Saturday, April 23, 2011  

  • Eagleman and Possibilianism is the next BIG thing, as we see it.

    Max (for the RRRGroup)

    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Saturday, April 23, 2011  

  • Eagleman wouldn't be the first to attract a lot of new excitement by recycling old ideas so . . . . it's possible. :O)

    By Blogger Frank Stalter, at Saturday, April 23, 2011  

  • Hi Max,

    You're right about Eagleman, but he's not alone. Rather, he's part of a movement within science to reform "it", and return it to its proper roots. Michio Kaku is perhaps the best known proponent of this endeavour.

    Science has become an institutionalized and corporatized leviathan that stifles thought and true progress at the altar of immediate profitability. People like Eagleman and Kaku (and many others) are clearly disenchanted with the "either / or" way of thinking that has resulted. Like the Protestant reformers, they're working to strip science, and more importantly the scientific way of thinking, down to its essentials, which is what "possibilianism" represents.

    With any luck, this will catch on and spread, at which point science will be about discovery again, as opposed to simply satisfying the bottom line, gaining tenure, and being "right".


    By Blogger Paul Kimball, at Saturday, April 23, 2011  

  • This comment has been removed by the author.

    By Blogger Gilles Fernandez, at Saturday, April 23, 2011  

  • This is a trend set in motion largely to the pioneers like Dr John Lilly, Dr Walker Evans, as well as Dr David Bohmn as well as the new theory of Biocentrism etc. I would not call it recycling but rather the emergence of a convergence of formerly opposed camps. One of the requirements, for many years( of a certain Sufi order) is have the spiritual leader obtain a medical degree. My wife's friend met The Dali Lama went back to school to study physics fairly recently. All of this is backed up by recent discoveries that our ancestors were not dependent on ancient astronauts for extraordinary knowledge. The Hindu cosmology is essentially physics. It is a exciting era we are moving toward, despite all the doomsayers. Gurdjieff predicted the knowledge of the East when it met the science of the West, there could be hope. Happy Easter, my friends.

    By Blogger Bruce Duensing, at Sunday, April 24, 2011  

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