Looking at my old belief system, I’m often amazed at just how many assumptions I made. The were so many things that I just considered to be facts, but they were based on absolutely nothing. The biggest idea that I assumed was a given was that thoughts have no impact outside of our heads.
It’s an interesting assumption. In nature we see weather patterns, the food chain, systems moving towards equilibrium. We know that a serious imbalance in the insect population could eventually trickle up and affect even the largest carnivores. We know that the moon, despite the great distance, affects our oceans. We look around and see connections everywhere. Size and distance are not limiting factors.
And really, what else but thoughts do we believe exist in such total isolation from their environment? Is there anything else that we think has no effect on anything around it?
Another interesting thing is that this belief persists even though we can now measure brain activity. An electroencephalogram (EEG) measure the electrical activity of the brain and can be used to diagnose conditions such as epilepsy. Electrodes placed on the scalp aren’t able to detect anything less than the synchronous activity of thousands or millions of neurons, but there is no reason to think that the activity of fewer neurons — beneath the detection threshold — isn’t also producing waves that travel to the scalp. And I don’t think there is any reason to believe that these waves that are being detected on the scalp aren’t continuing beyond the skull, even if we don’t have instruments that can detect it yet.
And exactly what would they be interacting with beyond the confines of our heads? Your guess is as good as mine. But if brain activity produces an effect that we are able to somewhat measure with our current technology, what reason is there to think that these waves, as they travel out from our heads, would not then become part of our environment?