After what seems like painstaking scientific research into a little known fibre in the central nervous system, a researcher by the name of Lawrence Wile has identified a possible quantum element in the physical brain that in Wile’s opinion allows for “anomalous experience” at the mystical level. (MER?)
Is Wile to be taken seriously? He received a BS in physics from Union College (1971), an MD from the University of Connecticut School of Medicine (1976), a postdoctoral fellowship from Yale University School of Medicine (1979), and an MA in philosophy from the University of Massachusetts (1991). He is also Diplomate of the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology, and won a first place prize in the John Templeton Foundation competition with his essay ‘Reissner’s Fibre and the Neurobiology of Mysticism’.
There is a Foundation with his name on it dedicated to the subject of this fibre. The physicist Paul Davies, a Templeton prize winner, is currently President of this Foundation – The Chaikin-Wile Foundation.
His ideas about Reissner’s fibre have appeared in the Journal of Near-Death Studies, and he is leading a multidisciplinary team at Boston University dedicated to the exploration of the discovery.
Wile has published a paper called “Near-Death Experiences: A Speculative Neural Model” in The Journal of Near-Death Studies, 12(3) Spring 1994
He says a personal mystical experience led him to the belief that Reissner’s fiber is identical with the anatomical entity described by kundalini yoga. He says that his struggles to understand the meaning of this personal experience led him to believe that an understanding of the deeper realities underlying quantum phenomena can be integrated with an understanding of the mysterious realities of near-death and other mystical experiences.
He says that Reissner’s fiber can serve as an empirical basis for a scientific investigation of these phenomena.
By developing methods of stimulating the activity of Reissner’s fiber and measuring that activity with neuroimaging devices, he says exploration can be made of the worlds that currently lie at the threshold of death and in the esoteric depths of mysticism.
Wile saw a reprint from a medical journal about Reissner’s fiber. The article described a glycoprotein fiber, originating from a structure just below the pineal gland called the subcommissural organ that travels down the central canal of the spinal cord and ends at the terminal ventricle. There, he says, is the connection with kundalini.
Shortly thereafter he started research on Reissner’s fiber at the National Marine Laboratories at Woods Hole, Massachusetts. As he was reading a 1905 article by Porter Sargent about experiments involving behavioral observations of sharks following the severing of Reissner’s fiber he says his interest hardened into discovering the function of “this little known but strategically located structure.”
However, he was told his work was unsatisfactory and that, “Your ideas are outside consensual reality, Lawrence. Your speculations about yoga, mysticism, and quantum theory are not what we are looking for. Just write about what you did and what you saw, and you will receive credit for your student research project.”
Now, with NDEs providing unique opportunities for exploring questions about life and death, God, and our place in the cosmos, and with neuroimaging technologies capable of measuring the activity of Reissner’s fiber appearing on the horizon, Wile says it is time to “lift the shroud of obscurity from this glistening crown jewel around which the most wondrous structure in the universe is organized.”
Quantum theory, which is our best theory of the microscopic activity of Reissner’s fiber he says is, “on the one hand, compatible with a variety of mystical realities.
“On the other hand, this compatibility is currently based on a shared sense of mystery and ineffability of what is now unknown.”
The above is abbreviated from a paper in Volume 23 of the Journal of Consciousness Studies, March-April of 2016.
On first reading I can’t see any substantiation offered for Wile’s suggestion there is any link between this fibre and the mystical experience of Reality (MER), or kundalini, or any so-called “mystical” events.
I once deliberately induced kundalini and will never do it again. Its power was beyond belief and overwhelmingly brusque in its focus. It shot up my spine and rushed spirally around my emptied skull in a nano second. Another split nano second and I would have gone out the top of my skull. I was utterly helpless, beyond any ability to think or feel. It finally left without me, leaving a barely sentient, non-functioning bag of skin. My body regained its nature slowly, on its own. Never, ever again.
But as I say, this paper goes no way to explaining any connexion to this apparent anomaly.
Nor does it specify what Wile means by mystical. Or is this something he would assume scientists would know? I have had some mystical experiences explained to me that I would, and have, dismissed as human spirit, stuff from the human mind, not the real mystical experience that is always an incoming – not an outgoing figment of the human condition, induced or otherwise.
However, Reissner’s Fibre promises to be a real game changer, maybe even as important as Darwin on our evolutionary understanding of Reality?