An article in New Scientist (6 December 2014) entitled “Roots of Consciousness” summarizes the growing body of evidence that plants have memory, sensory perception, attentiveness, intelligence and consciousness. Indeed there even exists today the Society for Plant Neurobiology based at the University of Florence in Italy.
It seems the mighty Charles Darwin first started the debate with his book “The Power of Movement in Plants”. He put forward the “root brain” hypothesis. The root of the plant is actually a very complex structure. The root has a cap for protection as it spreads through the soil, and is also capable of detecting various physical properties such as gravity, humidity, light, oxygen and nutrients. After the cap is a section called the meristem. The cells in this section are said to divide rapidly. After this comes the transition zone which was originally thought to have no purpose, and then there is the elongation zone where the cells actually lengthen allowing the root to grow and propagate through the soil. Charles Darwin said in his book: “It’s hardly an exaggeration to say that the tip of the radicle (primary root) acts like the brain of one of the lower animals.” It is now being seriously argued at the Society for Plant Neurobiology that this transition zone in the root is actually the nerve center of the plant.
This is the title of an article in New Scientist magazine, 15 November 2014. It relates a landmark discovery by a team led by Dr. Martin Fussenegger, a bioengineer at ETH Zurich in Basel, Switzerland. I would like to state my opinion upfront that I consider this discovery to be the single most important advancement in scientific history. And yet the discovery has been reported in the most matter of fact way with no fanfare or media hype whatsoever. It is almost as if nobody cares, but what is more likely is that nobody can see its true significance.
So what did Dr. Fussenegger and his team actually do. He himself states, “We wanted to be able to use brainwaves to control genes. It’s the first time anyone has linked synthetic biology and the mind.” As we will see the way they managed to do this was through electromagnetic waves, biophotons, and so the true significance of what they have done is they have left behind the conventional chemical descriptions of gene activation, and they have turned instead to the almost unchartered frontier of the electromagnetic and the quantum mechanical properties of the genome.
I say ‘almost unchartered frontier’ because in fact I relate in Chapter 5 of my book on Biophotons that there is a burgeoning new area of study known as optogenetics. Neuroscientists have now discovered that they can literally, with the flick of a switch, turn the neurons on and off in our brain using light. So slowly but surely mainstream geneticists and neuroscientists are starting to realize that there is a great deal happening in our biological make-up that is brought about by electromagnetic phenomena, and their laborious descriptions about chemical reactions in the 3% of the DNA that is said to harbor our genes is really not advancing our understanding of anything important.
The movie The Matrix which was released in 1990 continues to attract comment because it has become a benchmark in the movie industry for melding sci-fi with philosophy and then projecting it onto the public in the form of an action/thriller. At the time of release the movie was nominated and awarded only one Oscar for Special Effects, but since then there has probably been more theorizing and speculation about the true meaning of The Matrix than any other movie in the history of Hollywood. This movie deals with the most fundamental question of all: What is reality? The hero, played by Keanu Reeves, has a day job as a computer programmer and at night is a geek hacker on the internet where he operates under the name of Neo. The Wachowski Bros. threw in a hotchpotch of allusions to the post-modern theories of Baudrillard as well as Judeo-Christian and Buddhist teachings and to develop the action/thriller motif of the movie the public is invited to adulate Neo as the Messiah, the Buddha and the Terminator all rolled into one. In this article all this pseudo-theology is ignored and we shall address only the core issue of what the movie has to say about reality.
The nerdy, law abiding computer programmer, Thomas Anderson, is contacted by a rebel leader, Morpheus, who attempts to convince him that his everyday existence is in fact a false reality. Morpheus plays a sort of John the Baptist type role heralding the coming of the chosen one, Neo. His job is to make Thomas Anderson question his reality, which is not that difficult because Neo as a cyber-phreak already has misgivings about his everyday life, which to him is almost a torture like a ‘splinter in the mind.’ The name Morpheus comes from Greek Mythology as the god of dreams. His name is the linguistic root of such words as ‘morphine’ (a drug that induces sleep and freedom from pain) and ‘morphing’ (where computer technology enables the seamless transformation from one reality to another). Morpheus asks: “Have you ever had a dream, Neo, that you were so sure was real? What if you were unable to wake from that dream, Neo? How would you know the difference between the dream world and the real world?” Morpheus is setting up the scenario where Neo will discover that his waking life which he thought was so real is in fact a virtual reality, the matrix, that is being fed directly into his mind through the manipulation of his senses by a sinister and all-powerful force referred to as AI (Artificial Intelligence) which now actually rules the human race.