Are you the physical body?

two people's physical bodies with organs
If we ask someone who they are, they will most likely describe their body’s physical features. Or perhaps their body‘s country of origin. They might say “I am American" or "I am British." Or “I am black” or "I am white." Or "I am a woman" or "I am a man." Or “I am five feet tall and weigh 125 pounds" or "I am six feet and weigh 200 pounds."

This begs the logical question: Are you the physical body?

If so, what happens when your body changes? Do you become a different person?

What happens if you change your hair color or get a tattoo?

What happens when your body gets older?

What happens if your body gets crippled or you accidentally lose an arm or leg?

When your body changes, does your identity change?

This is answered simply by each of us as we refer to something we did in the past. We will say, "when I was younger, I ________." Even though it was five, ten even 20 years ago, we still feel that I am still the same person I was - indicated by the use of the word "I". If we didn't think that I was me 20 years ago, we wouldn't use "I" or "me."

This constant self-identification becomes more important when we realize that science has determined that practically every molecule and atom in our body is recycled and replaced within five years. This means the makeup of our body is constantly changing.

Most of us assume that our identity runs deeper than our physical body. A person with a black body wants equality with a person with a white body because that person considers that beneath the skin, we are all of the same substance. Similarly, a person with an obese body wants to be treated equally with someone with a more slender body. Why would we request equality unless we are assuming we have deeper identities?

The debate of the self

As science has debated this topic, there have been two general views (Popper and Eccles 1983): The first assumes a machine-like information-processing generating system with various modules of activity, all competing for control. This “chaos-machine” theoretically builds upon a system of learning and evolution without any central person or actor.

The other, more prevalent view historically portrays the body as driven by an inner self or life force, central and governing to the body’s existence. Proponents of this inner self model have included Socrates, Aristotle, Plato, Jesus and many other teachers and philosophers throughout modern and ancient history. For example, Jesus taught:

"Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul." (Matthew 10:28)
While some have considered the soul as some sort of organ or component of the body, others refer to the soul as part of a trinity: “body, mind and spirit.”

The word "soul" from Jesus' statement is translated from the Greek word, ψυχή (psychē), which means, according to Strong's lexicon, "the vital force which animates the body and shows itself in breathing" and "the seat of the feelings, desires, affections, aversions." The lexicon goes further to say, "the soul as an essence which differs from the body and is not dissolved by death (distinguished from other parts of the body)."

Thus, according to Jesus, we do not have a soul - each of us is a soul.

What happens when my body dies? Do I die with it?

We know every body dies. We can easily observe that the body no longer functions. Regardless of which outward signs and symptoms we use, there is a dramatic change in the body at the time of death. The body ceases to function. The body ceases the display of life and the outward demonstration of personality.

Where did this personality go then? Did it disappear into thin air? Did it evaporate with the final breath? Did this personality die with the death of the body?

Before we can fully understand death, we must understand life. What is a live person, and what is the difference between life and death? What is the difference between a dead body and a living body, and how is the personality we know and hold dear connected with life?

This means we must delve into the source of the energy and life of the body. Where is the generator of the body? Who or what is running the body? This certainly relates to the concept of identity: Are we each simply a temporary physical body? Are we simply cellular machines that decompose after a few decades?

What is the difference between a dead body and a living body?

tombstone marking in loving memory
Discerning the difference between a living body and a dead body was the topic of deep discussion among Greek philosophers. The existence of a living force separate from the body was concluded by Plato, Aristotle, Ptolemy, Socrates, Hippocrates, Pythagoras, Origen and many others.

Hippocrates, for example, professed that the life within the body was due to a “vital spirit” within, which acted through four different "humours."

When one of Socrates’ students asked him how he wanted to be buried, Socrates gave them a clear reply: He told them they could do whatever they wanted with his body, because he would be long gone by then.

Life, personality and purpose

When we see a living body full of life, movement, energy, personality and purpose, we can understand these symptoms of life are residing within the body.

But observation made at the time of the body's death indicates this living force departs at the time of death.

When death arrives, suddenly the symptoms of life cease: There is no movement, no energy and no personality remaining within the dead body. The body becomes lifeless. There is no growth, no will, no personality and no purposeful activity in the body following the moment of death.

What is missing?

For centuries, doctors, scientists and philosophers have autopsied, dissected and otherwise examined millions of dead bodies. No one—not even modern researchers with highly technical instruments—has been able to find any chemical or physical element missing from a dead body that was previously present when the body was alive.

The dead body has every physical and material component the living body had. All of the cells are still there. The entire DNA is still there. All the nerves, the organs, the brain and central nervous system—every physical molecule and cell—are still resident in the cadaver.

The one and only claim of a difference, reported in 1907 by Massachusetts physician Dr. Duncan MacDougal, proposed a 21-gram weight difference between a dead and live body. He could not identify the substance of the difference, however. Dr. MacDougal’s results were also inconsistent—and were never corroborated.

MacDougal’s experiment consisted of monitoring six patients as they died upon a table rigged with a beam scale. Of the six, two were eliminated because of technical issues. Three subjects died of tuberculosis. Two of these were losing weight before and after death by “evaporation and respiratory moisture.” One subject died from “consumption” and seemingly lost ¾ of an ounce of weight as he was dying—later converted to 21.3 grams. Dr. MacDougall admitted that it was difficult in some cases to know at what point the patient had died (MacDougall 1907).

A fellow doctor in Massachusetts, Dr. A. Clarke, debated Dr. MacDougal’s hypothesis and conclusion. Dr. Clarke argued that the typical sudden rise in body temperature before and subsequent cooling without circulation upon death could account for slight weight changes due to evaporation. Especially noting some of the patients had lethal tuberculosis.

While Dr. MacDougal assumed the moment of death occurred when the patient convulsed a bit and then lay still without breathing, modern research tells us that brain death must also occur—something Dr. MacDougal was not monitoring for.

Until his own death in 1920, Dr. MacDougall tried to repeat the results and could not confirm his findings. In one test, he cruelly killed fifteen dogs while weighing them and found no weight loss at the time of death.

The 21-gram difference relegated to myth

No other study has substantiated such a theory of weight loss upon death. A supposed 21-gram difference at the time of death is now relegated to urban myth.

Outside of this research by Dr. MacDougall, many centuries of cadaver research and autopsy have carefully examined organs, bones, nerves, brain, blood, neurochemistry and other vital body parts. None of these studies has found any weight, structural or biochemical difference between a live and dead body. The dead body is simply missing an immeasurable element of life that once animated the body: An invisible force that gives the body personality, energy, motivation, and the will to survive.

The life force that drives the body has never been seen under a microscope or by any other scientific instrument. Furthermore, since this living force or personality separates from the body at death—leaving the physical body with no life—it is obvious that this life force or personality is not physical in nature.

Personality and the life force

As the Greek philosophers promulgated, since the personality is also gone when this life is gone from the body, it would also be logical that our personality is part of this life force, and not part of the physical body. The physical body—including all the DNA and neurons—remains intact in a lifeless, dead body. Therefore, this life force must also be separate from these physiological parts—DNA, neurons, the brain, organs, cells and so on.

This might be compared to a car. The car drives around only when there is a driver within the car directing its movement. When the car driver gets out of the car, the car remains immobile - devoid of direction and purpose.

Since the driver can leave the car, we know the driver is separate from the car: The driver is not the car—just as we are not this physical body.

Which body part are you?

the body's organs


Following an amputation due to an infection or other injury, no one would claim the amputee is any less of a person. This is because the same personality is there despite a massive structural change in the body. This logic can be extended to even severe cases such as the loss of both arms and legs or other major parts of the anatomy.

An explosion or other traumatic accident might leave one's torso intact while amputating both the body’s arms and legs. Regardless of losing these appendages, the person is still perceived as a whole person—the same person as before—even though their body cannot function the way it did before.

The person who operates the body still contains the same conscious being with the same personality. This is why paraplegic and quadriplegic rights are protected by law; and why Dr. Steven Hawking, a quadriplegic, is considered one of the today’s foremost theoretical physicists despite his physical handicaps. He is regarded as no less of a person than the rest of us. Physically disabled people are given equal rights because society considers these persons equal in all respects, despite deficiencies in their physical bodies.

Plastic surgery

different body parts
Every year millions of people receive some form of plastic surgery. For some, it might be a skin graft to move healthy skin to a part of the body that was burned or otherwise injured.

For others, plastic surgery means trimming off parts of the body or adding onto other parts. Every year, millions of women add silicone or saline-filled bags to their breasts to augment them. Others who think their breasts are too big will have parts of their breasts removed. One way or another, they want to have different breasts than they have now, in order to feel different about themselves.

Even so, different breast size doesn't change who they are. After breast augmentation, a woman will not assume she is a different person. Rather, the same person with a different breast size.

For still others, plastic surgery might mean a facelift in order to look younger. These could be something as simple as changing the chin or the nose. Or it might be more complex, involving changes to the entire face, dramatically changing the face's appearance.

Most of us identify others with their face. The appearance of the face is connected to their identity. But what happens after a facelift? A facelift brings to bear the very question of identity because the face is essentially changed.

In other words, a facelift essentially means getting a new face. If we assume the face is the essential part of one's identity, does changing the face mean a change in identity?

Certainly not. Just as one can put on a Halloween mask, one can change one's face. They are still the same person despite the mask or the facelift. Can you imagine a movie star not being accepted as the same person after their facelift? If movie fans thought the facelift changed a person's identity, movie stars' careers would collapse after a facelift.

But this doesn't happen. Movie stars and others continue to get facelifts because we assume that a change of face does not change the person within.

Organ transplantation

The physical organs illustrate the same logic. It is now commonplace in medicine to surgically remove and replace organs such as kidneys, livers, hearts, hips and other parts in order to preserve the healthy functioning of the body. Some parts—like hearts and hip sockets—are now replaced with artificial versions.

Modern medicine has illustrated through many years of organ transplants that a person’s identity does not travel with the organ. Otherwise, we might have—as a few comedic theatrical performances have suggested—people whose personalities reflect their organ donors. Imagine what would happen if someone receiving a heart transplant assumed part of the personality of the dead donor. We’d truly have a mess on our hands.

This situation is analogous to an auto accident: A car is involved in an accident and brought to an auto mechanic. The mechanic determines that the car needs a new set of tires, a new set of bumpers put on, and the engine rebuilt before the car can be put back on the road. The driver waits for the repairs to be completed, and then gets back in the car and drives it away. The new car parts do not affect the driver. The driver is the same despite the car's mechanical changes.

In the same way that the driver is not the car or the car parts, we are not the body or the body's parts.

Is aging a contradiction?

facets of the body
Consider how many of us relate the aging of our body to our identity. But do we really feel order when our body is getting older? Most of us do not. We are surprised with our birthdays. We are astounded when our age is spoken out loud. We do not feel that we are as old as our age as the body gets older.

This contradiction of aging is seen throughout society. Older adults try to act and look younger. As we age, we want to be more youthful. Meanwhile, kids want to be older. Children want to be teenagers and teenagers want to be adults.

We do all sorts of things in order to deny our body's actual age. For aging adults, the use of hair dyes and skin creams is widespread. For kids, wanting to appear older can mean becoming involved in smoking, sex, drugs or drinking. For this reason, some teenagers will buy fake drivers licenses with earlier birthdates.

This attempt to deny the age of our physical body in one respect or another is rampant in human society.

Don't ask her age

It's not nice to ask an adult woman her age: She wants to hide her age. Many women will even deny their age if it is announced.

It is for this reason that "age-defying" products are a billion-dollar business.

This denial of aging is often joked about. But for most people, it is no laughing matter. Most feel embarrassed by our body’s age as we get older. We are faced with an ever-wrinkling body—one that doesn't work as well as it used to.

Young adults may temporarily be proud of their age. But as the years go by, we become embarrassed by that body. We want to distance ourselves from it. This is why so many women cover their face with make-up, cover the gray hair with dyes and wear trendy (youthful) clothes. These are all attempts to hide the body’s age.

Plastic surgery

Many will go to the extreme of having different types of surgery done - in order to achieve a younger looking body. In these cases, the self is in conflict with the visual images of the body. Plastic surgery, botox, hair removal, hair transplantation, breast enhancement, and many various other medical interventions are all attempts to reconcile our identity with an aging temporary body.

Discomfort with aging indicates we do not accept these physical bodies as ourselves. Surgery or other interventions indicate our attempt to reconcile our real selves with the bodies we wear.

We feel younger than our body indicates - because we are eternal.

The waterfall of aging

A person who identifies with the age of the physical body faces another contradiction: The prospect of dying.

Aging and dying are only contradictions if we identify with these physical bodies. It is like identifying with one's automobile. If a person doesn't identify with their car, they will not have any problems when they go to sell the car. They know the car was only a temporary vehicle.

Consider that our bodies are constantly changing - every five years we have completely recycled every atom. This means our body would more closely compare to a waterfall than a solid object. A waterfall is made up of constantly changing water. We can look at a waterfall for a minute, turn away for a moment, and look back at it: The waterfall will have become a different waterfall. The water that made up the waterfall before has long fallen and flowed downstream.

Now if someone upstream poured a bucket of tar in the waterfall, once that water reached the waterfall the beauty of the waterfall would change. Suddenly, the waterfall doesn't look as attractive as it did when the water was clear.

Our physical bodies are like this. They are ever-changing. The body we had on as a child is now gone. All those atoms have gone and are continually being replaced by new ones. As the body ages, it looks different. Not as attractive as before.

The contradiction comes when we identify with these bodies. Which body will we identify with? With the child body we once wore? With the teenager body we once wore? How about the young adult body? Or the middle-aged body?

The reality is that we are none of these. They were simply vehicles we occupied, just as a driver occupies a car while driving and then gets out.

We are eternal

Each of us is a driver of our temporary body. We drive the body just as a driver drives a car for a while and then steps out of it.

Unlike our temporary body, we are eternal. We are from the spiritual realm. We are spiritual in essence. Just as the driver of the car is not made up of the car's metals, we are not the physical body. We are not these atoms that get recycled every five years.

In the spiritual realm, there is no time. Time is a feature of the physical realm. Therefore, each of us is eternal.

This is why we are so distraught as we see our body age. We are not used to aging. Aging is unnatural to us because we are naturally eternal.

This is also why every living being struggles for survival. Why, if we were physical machines destined to die, would we try to avoid death? It is because our innate identity does not die: We do not die.

Dying - like aging - contradicts our identity because we are eternal by nature.

What is the self verses the non-self?

the self versus the bodyThe difference between the physical body and the living personality requires a clear differentiation between matter and life. This investigation has been captured by science under the term autopoiesis. Autopoiesis is the study of the characterization of a complete living system as it compares to either a part of another living system or non-living matter.

Over many years of laboratory research, test results have demonstrated that all animals and plants also have this self-concept awareness, which prevails through their responses to various environmental challenges. The functions of their mechanical physiology have also confirmed that this self-concept pervades through all living tissues, reflected by the display of episodic memory—remembering specifics about past events and past sensations.

For this reason, we see animals learning quickly which activities result in pain and which activities result in pleasure. They immediately respond simply because every living being seeks pleasure (Dere et al. 2006).

Bitbol and Luisi (2004) sum up the distinction between living organisms and non-living matter as grounded within the principle of cognition. A definition of cognition as proposed by Bourgine and Stewart (2004) is, “A system is cognitive if and only if sensory inputs serve to trigger actions in a specific way, so as to satisfy a viability constraint.”

Bourgine and Stewart also contend “A system that is both autopoietic and cognitive is a living system.” Bitbol and Luisi clarify that “the very lowest level of cognition is the condition for life,” and “the lowest level of cognition does not reduce to the lowest level of autopoiesis.”

Cognition and awareness

When we consider the element of cognition, we bring into focus the nature of awareness. Cognition is the awareness of self and non-self. The awareness of self and non-self are required for a living organism to consider survival important. Without an awareness of self and non-self, there is no intention for fulfillment.

To investigate this we could first analyze the difference between a living organism and a piece of matter without the component of life. An easy comparison would be between single-celled bacteria and a dead cell separated from a living body.

A single-cell bacterium is a complete living organism. Studies have shown bacteria indeed respond to stimuli, avoid death, and avert pain. As we know from medicine, bacteria will intelligently mutate and adapt to antibiotics. Antibiotic-resistant superbugs are bacteria that have intelligently defended themselves. Living bacteria also conduct all of the activities required for independent survival: consumption, digestion, reproduction, self-propul­sion, sense perception and emotional response, the intention to survive, and self-organization.

Clive Backster’s (2003) EEG work with bacteria proved that bacteria could sense danger through a subtle means of communication. This is also called quorum sensing. In quorum sensing, bacteria communicate amongst each other to come to the consensus about the safety or risk about a particular environment.

Non-living objects display none of these characteristics. A machine may digest and respond to stimuli, but it will not have sense perception and emotional response. A machine relies upon a living person to program its tasking and response. Once a machine has been disconnected from its power source, the machine ceases to function.

The self concept

A single cell can be put into a Petri dish and kept alive, however. But this in vitro setup makes the cell now dependent upon the environment of the lab equipment, driven by living lab operators. The cell has thus become a surrogate of the lab, just as it was formerly a surrogate of the living body. It is now more like a machine hooked up to an energy source. It displays no independent sense perception, the desire to survive or independent emotional response.

While the cell is part of the living body, it maintains the body’s self-concept only when it is connected to the power source of the body - the living being. Once detached, it displays metabolic continuation, but no separate self-existence.

Without intention and the awareness of self, there is no consciousness. Without consciousness, there is no life.

Are you the cells of your body?

skin cells and hair follicles
Throughout its physical lifetime, our body is continually changing, yet we continue to maintain our core identity and consciousness. Research has shown that all living cells in the body have a finite lifespan, ranging from minutes to days to years. A few cells—such as certain brain cells and central nervous system cells—may exist through the duration of the body.

These are the tiny minority of the estimated 200 trillion cells making up the body, however. By far the vast majority of cells in the body will participate in cell division. Following a certain number of divisions, the older cells will timeout. Dead cells are broken down by the immune system and discarded, leaving the newly divided cells in their place.

Cell lifespans

Using this process the body constantly sloughs off older cells from the body, replacing them with new ones. Different cells in different parts of the body have different lifespans. For example:

  • Most intestinal wall cells are replaced between two and four days
  • Stomach lining cells are replaced between two and nine days
  • Blood neutrophils and eosinophils are replaced between one and five days
  • Lung alveoli cells are replaced within eight days
  • Blood platelets are replaced within 10 days
  • Skin epidermis cells are replaced within a month
  • The entire liver is regenerated within 18 months
  • All the cells of the bones are replaced within ten years
  • Bone osteoblast cells are replaced within 90 days
  • Cells of the heart (cardiomyocytes) are replaced at a rate of up to 10% per year
  • Fat cells are all replaced within eight years
  • Stem cells are replaced within a few years - often 3-5 years
  • The cells of our entire skeleton are replaced within 10 years

Nerve cells and the cells of the lens can live longer—for decades, and some over the lifetime of the body. However, most of the composition of all cells, including many nerve and stem cells, also turnover.

Atoms within cells turnover

Every cell in the body is made up of ionic and molecular combinations. The atoms that make up these molecular combinations are constantly being replaced. Each cell's cytoplasm, organelles, and membrane are thus made up of recycled atoms.

These atoms are constantly being replaced with atoms from the matter we take in from breathing, eating and drinking. New atoms enter the body from the environment. Old atoms are expelled through waste and respiration. The processes of each cell include membrane diffusion, osmosis, and ionic channel conveyance to allow a constant recycling of atomic elements.

Research in the 1950's led by Dr. Paul Aebersold - at the Oak Ridge Atomic Research Center - found that approximately 98 percent of all the atoms in the body are replaced annually.

Consider this carefully. This means that the vast majority of the body's composition is undergoing constant change.

The longest living cells

In 2005, researchers at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and the Medical Noble Institute at Karolinska Institute utilized carbon-14 analysis to study the lifetimes of cells in the body.

Again they confirmed some of the turnover rates of cells as listed above. They also found that many of the brain's cells are generated (neuro-generation) when the body is young, and many brain and nervous system cells also turnover during our body's lifetime.

Yet they also found a few types of neuron cells are exceptions. These can exist without dividing for decades - some over the lifetime of the body. These include neuron cells of the occipital cortex.

However, these neurons will also turnover molecules and atoms from their cell membranes, cytoplasm, and organelles. The research found that only their genetic matter - the nucleotides of their DNA - appear not to turn over as quickly.

Thus we find that even these longest-living cells in the body still undergo significant change in atomic composition: With the exception of those tiny nucleotides within their genetic matter, which turn over more slowly.

In other words, the research confirms that the vast majority of our body's cells and atoms are undergoing constant recycling. Those neurons that last longer will still turn over the majority of their atomic composition.

A constantly changing body

We can understand from this information that our physical bodies are turning over nearly every cell within days, weeks or years. In addition, all our body’s atoms and molecules are replaced by the atoms and molecules from the food we eat, the water we drink and the air we breathe.

We can thus accurately make the following statement:

The body we are wearing today is not the same body we were wearing ten years ago.

The vast majority of the cells, molecules, and atoms that made up that body have been replaced by new cells, molecules, and atoms. There may be a few atomic threads of genetic matter remaining - but our body today as a whole is now made of predominantly different composition than the body we had on ten years ago.

This could be compared to a waterfall. The water within a waterfall is always changing. The waterfall might look the same over time, but each moment the waterfall will be made up of different water. Therefore, the waterfall we see today is not the same waterfall we saw yesterday. Now some of the larger rocks under the waterfall might be the same rocks we saw yesterday, but the waterfall itself - the water making it up - is completely different water as time goes by.

Think about this logically. Since each of us is the same person from moment to moment and year to year within an ever-changing body, we must each have a composition separate from this temporary fluidic vehicle - the physical body.

This means that logically, we could not be this body since most of the body is constantly being recycled while we remain the same person.

For example, should we look at our photograph taken ten years ago, we will be looking at a different body from the one we are wearing today. The face we see in that picture is gone. The face we are wearing now is completely different than the face in the picture. The entire skin of the body we have on now has been replaced. The entire skeleton will be different. The cells of the heart, lungs, liver, digestive tract, blood many other parts will all be new. The vast majority of the atoms that made up our body ten years ago are gone. They've been replaced by new atoms.

Our body has changed yet we are the same person. How can this be? It can only be if we are not the physical body.

Our body contains more bacteria than cells

In addition, we should understand that our body contains more bacteria than cells: A lot more. And these bacteria are also constantly dying and being replaced.

Microbiologists have estimated that the typical human organism contains ten times more bacteria than cells. The typical body will contain about 200 trillion cells. But that same body will contain about 2,000 trillion bacteria units. These will be composed of hundreds of different species.

Each of these bacteria is a single-celled living organism. Yes, like our cells, bacteria have cell walls and cytoplasm and organelles. They also typically have a short lifespan. Our body's bacteria will reproduce by division anywhere from a few minutes to a few hours. So like most of our cells, the precise makeup of our bacteria is also constantly undergoing replacement.

But unlike our cells, bacteria are also living organisms in themselves.

Research has found that bacteria, in fact, have consciousness. They will communicate with each other using quorum sensing along with biochemical secretion. Indeed, bacteria also communicate with their host (our bodies) utilizing cytokines and other biochemicals. In this way, they can stimulate the body's immune system and also help regulate the body's moods and biorhythms.

In fact, our body cannot survive without these bacteria. They are an important part of the body. Yet they are also constantly being recycled, just as the other elements of our body are.

Our body the fluid planet

Therefore, not only can we conclude that the human body is constantly undergoing cellular and molecular/atomic change: We can also state with scientific integrity that the human organism is a significant host for numerous other organisms. Thus our body might be compared to a planet of sorts. Just as the earth hosts and supports so many elements and organisms, so does our body.

And like a planet, the human organism is constantly undergoing cellular, molecular, atomic and microbiological change. It is thus not the solid, stable structure we might imagine it to be.

This physical body is a fluid structure. It is a complex mechanism that supports life and recycles matter. Not only does the body support trillions of microorganisms who die and become replaced. The body also supports a host living entity: A spirit separate from the body's ever-changing cells, molecules, atoms, and bacteria.

This spirit host is who each of us is. We are the spirit-person within this body - a life force composed of an altogether different constitution.

Are you the brain?

you versus the brain

One might propose that since we have yet to transplant someone’s brain maybe we are the brain. Or perhaps we are the neurons that make up the brain.

The famous neurosurgical experiments documented by Dr. Wilder Penfield gave many the first glimpse into the brain. With the patient awake and able to respond, Dr. Penfield was able to stimulate particular memories in the patient along with other sensory impressions by touching certain parts of the patient's brain during brain surgery.

These results and their many confirming experiments left doctors with an impression that life must reside in the brain since emotional memories were stimulated with the electrode testing.

However, this assumption is disputed by surgeries and brain research over the past fifty years. The assumption that the emotional self is contained in the brain has been contradicted by the many cases of a patient's emotions and memory remaining after parts of their brain had been removed. Even many patients that have had a majority of the brain removed still exhibit personality, emotions, and memory.

Furthermore, there are documented cases where children have been born with little in the way of physical brains, yet they still have personality, memories, and cognition.

But isn't the brain the location of the storage of all our memories and impressions?

Moving brain function and memory

The research of Dr. Karl Lashley in the 1920's tried to find what he called the engram - a map of brain locations where different types of memories are stored. Surprisingly, he found that different people and animals store similar types of memories in different places in the brain. He concluded that memories can be stored throughout the brain - not just in selected locations.

This was also the conclusion of Dr. Penfield, mentioned above. During his neural stimulation research, Dr. Penfield found over the years that different memories could be triggered from different places in the brain, depending on the person.

Neural stimulation triggers were often found among the temporal lobes - located on each side of the brain. But within these two lobes, the precise location of each triggered memory was again found to be stimulated from different places in different people.

The problem this research produced: The assumption that the brain was an organ with different parts performing specific functions could not be substantiated. There was some differentiation by brain region, but functions seemed to be movable to different parts of the brain as needed. Neurologists had to go back to the drawing board.


This anomaly eventually became referred to as neuroplasticity. It addressed the brain's ability to move the storage and recall of memories to different locations within the brain.

Over the years, neuroplasticity became expanded to encompass the ability of other brain functions to locate to different parts of the brain: This has been observed among many patients whose brains have been damaged by stroke or trauma.

In these cases of stroke or brain trauma, the patient will recover motion or other neurological function even though the part of the brain previously controlling this no longer functions. MRI scans have confirmed these neurological functions are moved to other brain regions.

Neuroplasticity has also been seen in cases where children have been born with little or no brain - yet surprisingly have the ability to think and act as if they had a normal brain. What neurologists have found is that those functions commonly located in regions of normal brains have moved to other locations. These include the remaining brain stem and spinal cord.

Can someone really survive with no brain?

Absolutely. For example, a British child named Aaron was born in 2013 completely without a brain - only a brainstem. In 2015, the British news reported that Aaron just celebrated his second year of life and still is without a brain. He recently said his first word, "mummy." Yet what the mother was told when the child was born was shocking:

"A brain scan carried out on Aaron revealed only his brain stem had properly formed." In other words, he was born and continued to live without a brain.

In 2016, KETV News in Omaha, Nebraska reported that a girl named Alex celebrated her 10th birthday without a brain. Yes, this child was born without a brain and continued to live without a brain.

This is technically referred to as holoprosencephaly. Some refer to it as hydranencephaly. It will occur once in about 5,000 births. Often the baby will die. But many babies defy the presumption that a brain is required for life. They continue to live, like Aaron and Alex.

The oldest known person without a brain lived to the age of 33.

Confirmation by hemidecortication

But this understanding that the brain's functions can be relocated is not new. It has also been found among many cases of hemidecortication - when a major part of the brain - an entire cortex or even half the brain - has been surgically removed.

It was assumed in early hemidecortication surgeries - done after accidents or other extreme situations - that the brain would lose all the function of that cortex or region removed. But surprisingly, in many cases, the person eventually resumes normal activity. In these cases, it is found that the functions of the brain previously stored in the removed area have now been stored in the remaining portion of the brain tissues.

According to a substantial review done by Vargha-Khadem and Polkey (1992), numerous hemidecortication surgeries had to that point been conducted for a number of disorders. In a majority of these cases, cognition and brain function continued uninterrupted.

A few cases even documented an improvement in cognition. Additionally, in numerous cases of intractable seizures, where substantial parts of brain have been damaged, substantial cognitive recovery resulted in 80 to 90% of the cases.

Who decides where brain functions get moved?

After many studies with MRI and other brain imaging, brain researchers have found that while memory location storage might be organized using the pallium, hippocampus or elsewhere, signaling from the frontal cortex appears to determine more precisely which memories will be kept and ultimately where they will be kept and how they will be sorted.

The frontal cortex has been called the brain's control mechanism. We might compare it to a control panel or a keyboard on a computer.

So who is the operator of that control panel or computer keyboard of the brain? Who is operating the frontal cortex? Since memories and brain functions can be moved, and are often stored differently by different people, and the memories we keep handy are being determined through the means of the frontal cortex, there must be an operator behind the frontal cortex:

This is the living being: The spirit-person within.

The enduring self within

This research described above illustrates that the inner self is not reduced by brain damage or removal. The same person remains after brain parts are removed. The same personality remains. Many retain all their memories. The majority of brain-damaged stroke patients go about living normal lives afterward as well.

Even in cases where memory, cognitive and/or motor skills are affected by cerebrovascular stroke, the person within is still present. Though handicapped, the person remains unaffected by the brain damage.

Over the past few decades, we have seen tremendous advances in science, as those who are unable to speak - are able to speak by having their brain connected to a computer with electrodes, allowing the person to use the computer as a virtual communication device. The computer is basically replacing part of the brain that used to operate the mouth and larynx.

An artificial brain

Most of us realize that the computer functions precisely like a brain in the sense that it takes in information that is input into it. The computer sorts the information, stores it on internal memory drives, and can retrieve the information upon request of the operator.

Thus, a computer essentially duplicates the function of the brain's information processing skills.

Another central function of the brain is to operate the body. The impulses that drive and coordinate movement originates within what is considered the brain's motor cortex. Electrical signals are transmitted from the motor cortex through the central nervous system and the nerves, directly to skeletal muscles.

These impulses in turn drive movement as the muscles are stimulated.

The process combines information systems with mechanical systems. Can this system also be duplicated?

At Duke University, scientists have already duplicated this technology. While certainly not as sophisticated as the physical body, they have designed a machine to move when stimulated by signals from the brain through a computer. The researchers have basically become able to duplicate some of the brain and CNS motor operations to enable those who cannot walk or otherwise move to operate a sort of bionic body.

The system utilizes a computer and relay system to drive what is called a Pneumatic Exoskeleton. The person's body is placed in the walking contraption. It is a robotic suit of sorts, designed to move around for those whose bodies have become paralyzed.

The exoskeleton does the walking and moving.

To use the device, part of the brain must be connected with electrodes to a computer. When stimulated by brain signals, the computer sends signals to the exoskeleton. These signals instruct the suit machinery to move a leg or arm on the exoskeleton. The components of the equipment that instructs the machine to move would be likened to the motor cortex of the brain. Here is a short video:

The contraption - the computer and relay system - is duplicating the operations of the motor cortex. The motor cortex sends electrical signals from the brain to the parts of the body the person wants to operate. For this reason, the scientists have referred to the computer and relay system as a bionic brain.

We can clearly see from this example that the brain is essentially just a machine. It is a tool we use in order to operate the body and navigate the physical world. It is also a tool we also use to help retain and sort information brought in from the senses.

Just as the person using the computer and exoskeleton can unplug from this device and remain alive, the person operating the brain is separate from the brain.

Who is operating the brain? Just as we see in this exoskeleton with a bionic brain that someone has to be there to send the signals into the computer to operate the exoskeleton, there must be someone within who is operating the brain, enabling it to send signals through our body, as well as compute things taken in by the senses.

Who ultimately operates the brain?

Who is that person within who is operating the brain? It is the non-physical self. You.

Personality and the self-perception are not brain-dependent. Many organisms exert personality and perception without even having a brain. Bacteria, for example, do not have brains, yet they can identify and memorize a wide variety of skills and events, including what damaged or helped them (self-perception) in the past. Other organisms such as plants, nematodes, and others maintain self-perception and even memory without having brains or even central nervous systems.

MRI and CT brain scans on patients following brain injuries or strokes have shown that particular functions will often move from one part of the brain to another after the functioning area was damaged.

We must, therefore, ask: Who or what is it that moves these physical functions from one part of the brain to another? Is the damaged brain area making this decision? That would not make sense. Some other guiding function must be orchestrating this move of the function. What or who is guiding this process?

The retention of memory, emotion, and the moving of brain function from one part of the brain to another is more evidence of a deeper mechanism; an operator or driver within the body who is utilizing the brain—rather than being the brain. The driver is the continuing element.

Physical structures - inclusive of memories and emotions - continually undergo change, while the driver remains, adapting to those changes.

The spirit-person - each of us - is composed of a substance different from the physical body. This spirit-person is operating the brain just as a person might operate a computer.

Are you chemicals?

chemicals in a laboratoryOver recent years, various researchers have proposed that our identities are chemical. They have proposed that emotions and personality are seated within the chemicals - including hormones and neurotransmitters - that flow through the bloodstream, basal cell network and the synapses of our nervous systems.

Could our identities simply be a mixture of complex chemicals? A logical review of the scientific evidence would indicate otherwise.

The value of our body's chemicals

According to data compiled by scientists, as well as the U.S. Department of Agriculture' Bureau of Chemistry and Soils (resource removed from DOA site), our body contains the following basic chemicals, in order of approximate volume:

  • Oxygen: 65 percent
  • Carbon: 18 percent
  • Hydrogen: 10 percent
  • Nitrogen: 3 percent
  • Calcium: 1.5 percent
  • Phosphorous: 1 percent
  • Potassium: 0.35 percent
  • Sulfur: 0.25 percent
  • Sodium: 0.15 percent
  • Chlorine: 0.15 percent
  • Magnesium: 0.05 percent
  • Iron: 0.0004 percent
  • Iodine: 0.00004 percent

In 1924, Dr. Charles Mayo approximated that the body's collection of chemicals was worth approximately $0.84. With inflation, the approximate value of the body's chemicals today (2017) is about $5.13 (Northwestern Health Journal). In 2011, Datagenetics calculated the value of our body's chemicals using modern chemical costs, at just over $160 for the average body weighing 176 pounds.

The question we must now ask ourselves: Are we just a collection of chemicals? Is our value only $160? If we went out and purchased the chemicals above and mixed them together, would they add up to who we are?

Are we just emotional chemicals?

The theory that somehow our body's chemicals have become emotional should be carefully examined.

Indeed, emotional responses to environmental stimuli will initiate any number of biochemical cascade pathways within the body. A cascade occurs when one chemical release stimulates the release of another biochemical, and that biochemical in turn stimulates the release of another. The biochemicals in the cascade might stimulate a particular cell, tissue or organ function. With each cascade, there are initiating stimuli and subsequent responses from various tissues and nerves.

Because neurologists and other researchers have seen these biochemicals involved with emotional response, some have proposed that these biochemicals contain the emotion. They propose that chemicals such as endorphins, dopamine, serotonin, epinephrine, or acetylcholine each contain the particular emotions they reflect and are thus the sources of the emotion.

They propose that these signaling biochemicals connect with receptors positioned at the surface of the cell, and the response by the cell is the emotion being released from the chemical.

What about opiate receptors?

An example some have used is the famed opiate receptor, linked with the cell’s reception of morphine or endorphins, and the sensation of euph­oria. The idea is that the feeling of euphoria is produced when the ligands like endorphin connect with the receptor.

One problem with this speculation is that no two organisms respond identically to the same chemical. With opiates, for example, some may hallucinate while others may only respond casually. On the other hand, some may have nightmarish experiences. If these structurally identical neurochemicals contained the emotion, why would each person respond differently to the same chemical and dose?

Who is observing?

Another major problem with this thesis is the observer: Who is observing that the body is feeling euphoria? Who observes the hallucinations created by certain chemicals? Who observes the positive or negative sensations of the body? The fact is, without an observer, there is no way to be able to view feelings. A physical body that is experiencing a physical emotional response with no observer would not allow the consciousness to review the experience.

Yet, the very scientists that suggest we are chemicals utilize observation and review to propose their theories. By their own "evidence" they are proving there is an observer.

If there were no observer - no self within - there could be no discretion regarding an event created by chemicals. There could be no judgment available as to whether the experience was positive or negative. There could be no available decision on whether the experience should be repeated or curtailed. There could be no analysis or learning experience from our activities. These require an observer of the experience.

Who perceives pain?

The perception of pain - which involves chemicals - may offer some clarity. In 2005, Dr. Ronald Melzack, co-author of the widely-accepted gate control theory of pain transmission, updated his theory of pain from a simple gateway effect to one that accepted an observer self within.

Melzack's updated theory—which he calls the body-self neuromatrix—explains that the consensus of clinical research on acute pain, behavior and chronic pain indicates an independent perceptual state of self; observing and exchanging feedback and response with the locations of injury.

In other words, there is a self within who observes pain.

Because doctors and researchers have found a good portion of the pain response is unrelated to specific injuries, but rather a modification of sensory experience, this neuron matrix indicates that pain requires an interaction between the nervous system and what Melzack calls the “self.”

In other words, pain requires two components: 1) The sensory transmission of pain and 2) the observer or experiencer of that pain.

Once that pain is experienced, there may also be a feedback response from the experiencer. This feedback may either be: 1) take action to remove the cause of the pain; or 2) if there is no apparent cause then become extra-sensitive to the pain until the cause is determined (Baranauskas and Nistri 1998).

Nociceptive pain

This increased sensory elevation leads to what is called nociceptive pain—pain not appearing to have a direct physical cause. Some might also refer to this type of pain as being psychosomatic, although psychosomatic pain is often considered not real. Nociceptive pain is considered real, but its cause is not obviously physically apparent.

Regardless of the name, this type of pain is very difficult to understand and manage. This is especially true for doctors and patients who deal with chronic pain that appears unrelated to trauma or inflammation. Because the self naturally seeks pleasure, we would propose that the current cause of that pain is always real, from either a gross physical level or a more subtle level.

Regardless of the level, the self who experiences the pain would certainly be considered separate from the pain, along with any biochemical messengers assisting in its transmission. After all, how could the self “escape” pain unless it was separate from the cause of the pain? Because they increase the separation of the self from the pain source, pain medications are a multi-billion dollar business.

Since the biochemical transmission effectors such as substance P among neurons are present during pain responses, it is logical that these chemicals have a role in the physical responses to emotions or memories. However, the proposal made by scientists such as Candace Pert, Ph.D. that emotions exist within the chemicals is not supported by logic or observation.

Researchers have observed an increase in biochemicals like dopamine, serotonin, and various endorphins in the bloodstream during feelings of love or compassion. The question being raised is whether the emotions stimulated the biochemicals or the biochemicals stimulated the emotions.

The implications of proposing the limited view that the emotion was created by the biochemicals are many. This would be equivalent to saying love comes from biochemicals. It would open the door to a murder suspect pleading that his body’s chemical balance was responsible for his committing the fatal crime.

Emotions versus chemicals

Dopamine, serotonin, and endorphins are circulating at heightened levels following activities such as laughing eating, sex and post-traumatic stress. These biochemicals are also circulating at other times, during other emotions, albeit at different levels.

What comes first, the biochemical or the emotion? Does the emotion drive the biochemical levels or do the biochemicals drive the emotional response? To break this down properly, we must separate the physiological response to an optional response relating to behavior and decision-making.

Yes, a biochemical reaction or ligand-receptor response can stimulate a physiological response. But can it dictate behavior? Could a hormone or neurotransmitter ligand-receptor response force us to shoplift? In that case, we should be able to find that certain biochemicals were “shoplifting” chemicals. We’d be able to just reduce their levels and forget about putting shoplifters in jail.

We’d also have to look at blood donors’ criminal records before accepting their blood.

The reason we put shoplifters in jail is to teach them that shoplifting is morally wrong. This is a decision for an observer—an inner self—who can observe the body’s activities. Each of us can observe our activities and steer them with decision-making. We may not always be able to steer our physiological responses, which also produce certain moods within the brain and nerves. But we can observe those moods and decide whether we are going to let them control our activities. While more shoplifters are likely to have bad moods, we aren’t forced to shoplift by a bad mood.

If biochemicals create emotion, they would be present only in and prior to particular emotions. Instead, they are present during a variety of emotions. Again physiological changes can be brought about by biochemicals. But emotions stem from life: There is no emotion left in a dead body.

Furthermore, if chemicals could contain emotions, these emotional characteristics should exist in the chemicals both inside and outside of the particular body of the person experiencing the emotion. Illustrating this, health workers regularly remove biochemicals (in the form of body fluids such as blood, plasma, and marrow) from one subject and transfer them (or their components) to other subjects. In none of these cases are emotions transferred from one person to another.

Supposed “emotional biochemicals” do not retain or display the emotions of their donor once they are transferred to a new host. Certainly, if we found that blood transfusions resulted in changes in personality or emotions, blood transfusions would not be very popular.

Thus, the basis for a biochemical self falters thousands of times a day around the world in hospitals that transfuse blood.

This is not to mean that injected biochemicals cannot stimulate a physical response within a new host, which may or may not facilitate particular emotions to be expressed. The organism receiving epinephrine or another neurochemical may experience a physical response consistent with the vanilla biochemical response related to that particular molecular structure. Injected adrenaline may produce a physical reaction of increased heart rate, for example.

However, adrenaline drawn from one person during a fearful response will not induce a recall of the donor’s fears. The recipient’s physical response after the injection will neither reflect the appropriate response required for the donor’s particular fears.

Once the inner self responds to a particular sensory input—often signaled through biochemical reception—the unique emotional response of the self stimulates particular biochemicals to translate and express the emotion. In other words, these biochemicals help translate the emotional self’s response.

Just as current travels within an electrical wire, neurotransmitters help transmit sensory feedback messages to the inner self. They also help transmit emotional responses from the inner self. The self is the observer of sensory input and stimulates feedback responses utilizing some of the same biochemical transmission pathways.

Someone inside

We must, therefore, conclude that there is someone inside who is either—directly or indirectly—receiving and responding to the body’s neural transmissions. Any response that proceeds with direction and decision-making must come from a conscious source. Otherwise, we would simply be machines.

Fuel may ignite a spark in the cylinder of an automobile engine causing combustion, which will push the rods into motion, exerting a force on the axle cranks. Fuel is not the original stimulant, however. Nor does fuel contain the ability to guide and steer the car. Rather, there is a driver within the car who consciously turns the key, presses the gas pedal and drives the car to a particular destination using the steering wheel, accelerator, and brakes.

At the end of the day, the driver stimulates the flow of fuel through the injection system by pressing the gas pedal. The driver can also stop the flow of fuel and the electricity running through the engine by turning off the car.

When the driver of the body leaves at the time of death, there are no emotions exhibited in the dead body. Yet all the hormones, neurotransmitters, genes and cells—all the biochemical ligands and receptors—are still contained within the recently dead body. The body supports no memory or emotional response because there is no longer a conscious driver present. The conscious driver who drove the feedback and response neurochemistry has left.

Emotions elicited from a response to an observation or other sensual stimuli would logically come from someone separate from those stimuli. Because emotion is integral with interpreting stimuli, an observer would be necessary for that interpretation. Without an observer, there could be no decision-making: There would be no optional behavior.

This does not mean that all physiological responses require conscious interpretation and decision from the self. For example, should we touch the burner of a stove there is programming in place within the neural network to instantly react by pulling the hand away. This will often happen before the self has a chance to make a decision. However, this programming does not mean the self cannot engage in the decision to resist that reaction of pulling away.

A firewalker may intentionally walk on the coals despite his sympathetic system’s programmed response to jump away onto the cool sand. These observations lead us to understand that the self can be involved in almost any sensory reception should there be determination and intention.

Most other stimuli require the emotional self to respond. Otherwise, no action would occur. This is where intention comes in. Upon hearing the alarm in the morning, the self could choose to do nothing—lying in bed for the rest of the day. The self could also intend to accomplish something that day, and rise to begin the day’s activities. Ultimately, the self creates the intention and impetus for those activities.

Chemical conductors

While biochemicals participate in the process of conscious response and feedback, they are actually conductors for electromag­netic wave transmissions. Once sensual stimuli are pulsed to the neural network after ligand reception, neurons produce specific information waves. As we will discuss later in more depth, at any particular point in time, there are billions of brainwaves of various frequencies moving through the brain. As the different waves collide—or interfere—they create different types of interference patterns.

The neurological research headed up by Dr. Robert Knight at the University of California at Berkeley and UC at San Francisco illustrated that the interaction of these interference patterns together formulates a type of informational transmission and mapping system.

This mapping system forms a type of observational screen from which the self can view incoming waveform information. Using this mapping system, the self can view the sensory information coming in from sense organs, and combine these with the feedback from the body, creating a total perception of one's environment and situation.

As the self views these waveform interference pattern images, we can respond with intention. Intention from the self is typically translated through the prefrontal cortex and medial cortex to create brainwave patterns that express the self’s response. These response brainwave patterns are translated through the hypothalamus and pituitary gland to produce master hormones such as growth hormone, adrenocorticotrophic hormone, follicle-stimulating hormone, oxytocin, luteinizing hormone, and others, stimulating the cascade of biochemicals that translate the response into action. The brainwave transmissions also stimulate a particular nervous system response which activates particular muscles, organs, and other tissues.

The end result is a physical action combined with certain biochemicals that stimulate a physical response.

We can illustrate this process more practically. Let’s say that we heard from a friend that a relative was hurt. The transmission brought through our body’s ears will cause an emotional reaction from us as soon as we hear it. The emotion was experienced following the aural reception of the announcement. Upon interpreting the aural reception, our inner self—we—react emotion­ally. The particular response would depend upon our personal connection with the relative. It is not automatic. If they were a vicious, hurtful relative, we may react far differently than if we had established a close personal relationship with them.

Assuming a close personal relationship, our inner self may then initiate a physical response, producing tears and a rush to the hospital to be with them. These physical activities were stimulated by the emotional response of our inner self.

The emotional response and subsequent activities of the body originate from a conscious individual. Because there must be an initiator for the production of the biochemicals that produce an emotional response, there is ultimately an invisible source of the response.

This is the same source that disappears at the time of death - the invisible difference between the life of the body and the death of the body is the individual spiritual self.

Are you DNA?

DNA and the self
A newer version of biochemical identity put forth by many over the last few decades is the notion that the self is the genetic information — or the genome — of the body.

Does DNA ancestry testing reveal the self?

The assumption that we are our DNA has been put forth to the public by the DNA ancestry testing industry. Their pitch goes something like:
"Get your DNA tested and find out who you really are"
The assumption is that if we determine the geological ancestry of our physical body, we will discover our real identity.

However, DNA ancestry tests simply compare our DNA with a database of DNA from other people around the world. A typical test result will list the customer's ancestry as being, for example, 25% Irish or 10% Italian and so forth. This is simply because they compared a small portion (like about 1%) of our body's genome and compared that to a database obtained from other people from other countries.

These tests have been shown to be largely guesswork and typically inaccurate.

But more importantly, DNA ancestry testing could never reveal any information about the self - the real person.

Let's investigate this further.

Why do geneticists think we are our DNA?

The notion that our DNA reveals something about who we are has its roots in the genetics assumption that our DNA is the most fundamental aspects of our identity.

This is largely presumed because the genetic matter of some parts of the brain - those brain cells that live longer - may be retained throughout our lifetime. But even so, the vast majority of the atoms that make up our DNA throughout our body are replaced within a few years.

Others suggest that because identical twins often will have similar traits, that this must be because the DNA of the twins is identical. Yet this is refuted by clear evidence. See below.

Theorists have also speculated that because DNA is the central database for information in our physical world, that this is the most basic form of identification.

Let's review some of the theories and why they fail to indicate that our basic identity is DNA.

The fallacy of spontaneous generation

The larger assumption that we are DNA is buried within the theory that genes accidentally evolved from chemicals. The gene evolution theory supposes that genes, and life itself, spontaneously arose from a random pool of chemicals. This theory requires a process called spontaneous generation. Unlikely as it seems, the spontaneous generation of life theory was debated by scientists for hundreds of years, as they observed life seemingly growing from barren flasks.

Finally, Dr. Louis Pasteur refuted spontaneous generation by illustrating that this growth was due to the presence of tiny microorganisms invisible to the naked eye.

For many decades this assumption of spontaneous generation has continued nonetheless. And many researchers have attempted to create life from ‘primordial’ chemicals—all without success.

Could life have randomly arisen from chemicals?

To analyze the likelihood of even one typical protein molecule to have been randomly developed, we can reference Nobel prize winner Dr. Francis Crick’s statements in his book Life Itself: Its Origin and Nature. Here Dr. Crick calculates that the chance of even one conservative protein molecule of two hundred amino acids coming into existence is one chance in 10260 — the number one with two hundred and sixty zeros behind it.

Dr. Crick also states this would be analogous to a billion monkeys typing onto a billion typewriters and somehow typing one sonnet of Shakespeare.

The chance of a 1,000-nucleotide chain DNA molecule forming accidentally is more remote. Both Dr. Dawson and Dr. Crick agree with this. Lester Smith (1975) calculated the probability as about one in 10600 (that means a number of 10 with 600 zeros after it.)

The probability of genetic mutations accidentally leading to a new species is even more remote. Dr. Lee Spetner (1998) calculates that a new species (one positive mutation step) would have a probability of 2.7 x 10-2739, (that is a probability of it not happening of 2.7 with 2,739 zeros after it). This is using Stebbins’ 1966 estimation that five hundred intermediate mutations would be required to establish one positive mutation step.

This fantastic assumption that chemicals spontaneously created genes and life also assumes that those chemicals combined then somehow developed the desire to survive. In other words, accidental chemical combinations somehow developed the intention to improve their chances of survival.

Have we ever observed chemicals desiring survival? Chemicals simply do not display this characteristic. No scientist has ever found the intent to survive outside of a living organism. No chemical desires survival unless part of a living organism—hence the name biochemicals (bio = life). Chemicals may react and form various substances, and certainly will change structure when heated or cooled.

Having a desire to survive is another matter altogether

The desire to survive is connected to the desire to improve survival factors and eliminate threats to survival. The need to improve survival requires that someone values survival over death. Otherwise, we would be talking about a group of unconscious chemicals somehow beginning to value their existence.

Chemicals that value their own existence means that the chemicals could somehow recognize a difference between living chemicals and dead chemicals. This, in turn, requires that chemicals have awareness because the desire to survive requires an awareness of self-existence. It also requires a fear of death: Could a chemical become afraid to die?

In order to desire survival, a living organism must be aware that it is alive. A living organism must be able to differentiate itself from a dead batch of chemicals. If there is no distinction between life and death, why avoid death? Why desire life without a distinction between living and nonliving chemicals? Certainly, it would be easier for a batch of chemicals to remain dead than to have to struggle for survival in the midst of all the environmental challenges to staying alive.

A small unicellular organism can be killed by so many environmental challenges: Freezing, direct sun exposure and any number of natural enemies. If there were no distinction between living or dead chemicals, the path of least resistance would be to remain dead chemicals. Why try to survive without a benefit for living? If there were no awareness and desire for survival in the face of all this resistance, there would be no incentive for genes to develop and evolve towards greater complexity—the basic tenet of the evolutionary theory and the ‘survival of the fittest.’

Put more simply, if a living entity could not distinguish itself from a nonliving entity, there would be no urge to survive. Without the urge to survive, there would be no motivating factor to encourage adaptation or mutation. There would be no impetus to evolve because survival is not valuable without an awareness of life.

There must be a self to be selfish

In his 1977 book "The Selfish Gene," Dr. Robert Dawkins proposed that genes themselves somehow became not only selfish in their orientation but also somehow acted upon their selfishness.

Certainly, we can all agree that in order to become “selfish,” there must be a “self.” Without a self, how could something become selfish? How could there be an orientation towards oneself without there being a self?

We must also ask, logically, just who would be available to recognize life in a chemical-based existence? We are being asked to assume a batch of chemicals developed a state of consciousness, yet there is no individual (self) present within those chemicals to be conscious of being alive?

The incidental gene theory of life simply has no logical basis. Genes cannot desire survival. They cannot mutate, or make changes that promote survival without an underlying conscious self present within the organism - a self who values life and wants to survive.

This living being must be aware that it is alive, and must, therefore, value survival. Once the self values survival, it has a logical basis for making genetic and physiological adjustments to better adapt to the environment. Because the self is fundamentally alive when it is inserted into a temporary physical body, it naturally strives to survive within that organism.

Admittedly, the total mapping of the genome and further mapping of the individual allele locations within codons—their haplotypes and collectively, their HapMap—reveals a complexity of design beyond our current understanding. But what could be driving that complexity?

Over the past three decades, tremendous research efforts have gone into creating statistical models to match the physical traits of humans and other organisms with particular gene sequences - called genomes. As a result, thousands of species genomes have been tabulated and connected with physical characteristics.

In addition, different diseases and traits have been connected to certain sequences. Although these efforts are laudable, science has unfortunately succumbed to a blurring of the relationship between these genetic traits and consciousness. The erroneous assumption is that gene sequences—the particular arrangement of alleles or nucleotides at different positions of the DNA molecule—are the cause of those physical or behavioral traits. That somehow, those sequences together make up the identity of the conscious individual.

Is this a chicken-and-egg problem?

While some might call this a chicken-and-egg problem, the solution is certainly clearer than this. This assumption that the conscious self is a genetic HapMap would be equivalent to saying a telephone is the source of the voice we hear through the telephone speaker. It is elementary: The voice on the line is coming from a remotely located person: A conscious entity utilizing that phone.

During the phone call, we may not be able to see the person while we are speaking with them. But we know a conscious person is on the other side of the phone conversation. Why? Because we exchange personal communication as we hear their live voice. In addition, the voice on the other side responds to our statements with a clarity that can only come from a conscious speaker.

To confuse the conscious speaker on the other side of the phone line with the phone itself would be ludicrous.

Thus this is not a chicken-and-egg problem. There is a conscious living being within the body that is communicating its inclinations through the body's anatomy - including its changing DNA. Just as we can't see the person on the other side of the phone call, we can't see the spiritual self within the body with these physical eyes. But we can know it is there because we see the body being animated by a conscious person.

DNA is dead chemistry without consciousness

The sequencing of genetic haplotypes indicates its complex structure. This complex coding indicates programmed design. As with any programming, there must be an underlying consciousness designing this structure. It is not logical to assume that a complex, well-designed code with specific rules comes from a chaotic and accidental design process. Just as we can connect the lucid voice on the phone to a personal consciousness, we can tie the sequencing of genes to a living, conscious component, ultimately driving its design with intention.

If we were to extract a DNA molecule from our skin or body fluids and place it on the table or even in a test tube, we will find there is no display of life. Just as the body after death is lifeless, DNA or RNA molecules extracted from a living body become lifeless. It should also be clarified that RNA transcription and genetic mutation is impossible without consciousness driving the process.

We can certainly force a mutation upon an organism or its seed through the vehicle of a virus. Yet the mutation will only become duplicated through an organism if there is a conscious living force present in that organism. In other words, we cannot insert a mutated gene into a dead body and see that mutation replicated through the dead body.

Personality comes from consciousness

The proposal that personality is determined by genetic code is refuted by children who have inherited genes from parents. Children are each born with distinct personalities, talents and character traits not necessarily portrayed in their parents or grandparents. While we are quick to notice similar physical traits among our children, each has their own character and personality.

We can easily observe children behaving significantly different from their parents in similar situations. We can also witness the many conflicts that arise between children and parents. We have also observed that the extraordinary talents of child music geniuses or savants are not passed down genetically. In most musical savant cases, the parents have relatively little or no musical gift whatsoever.

Twins are never completely identical

If personality and behavior were genetically driven then genetically identical twins would live parallel lives and have identical personalities. They would make the same decisions, leading to identical histories.

This is not supported by the research. Twins live dramatically unique and individual lives from each other. Depending on how much time they spend together, they will make distinctly different choices in life as well. In general, they display significantly unique and often diverse behavior. Hur and Rushton (2007) studied 514 pairs of two to nine-year-old South Korean monozygotic and dizygotic twins.

Their results indicated that 55% of the children’s pro-social behavior related to genetic factors and 45% was attributed to non-shared environmental behavior. It should also be noted that shared environmental factors could not be eliminated from the 55%, so this number could well be higher if shared environments were removed.

In another study from Quebec, Canada (Forget-Dubois et al. 2007), an analysis of 292 mothers demonstrated that maternal behavior only accounted for a 29% genetic influence at 18 months and 25% at 30 months. In a study of 200 African-American twins, including 97 identical pairs, genetics accounted for about 60% of the variance in smoking (Whitfield et al. 2007).

In a study done at the Virginia Commonwealth University’s Institute for Psychiatric and Behavioral Genetics (Maes et al. 2007), a large sampling revealed that individual behavior was only about 38-40% attributable to genetics, while the shared environment was 18-23% attributable and unshared environmental influences were attributable in 39-42%. These studies are also confirmed by others, illustrating a large enough variance from 100% to indicate the presence of an individual personality within each twin.

Distinct identity despite genetic sameness is further evidenced by the fact that identical twins will have distinctly different fingerprints, irises, and other physical traits, despite their identical genetics. Many twins also differ in handedness and specific talents. Researchers have found that twins will often make significantly different lifestyle choices later in life relating to sexual preference, drug abuse, alcoholism and other choices.

The reason is that there are two distinct personalities within each of the twins' bodies.

For example, let's say two people purchase the exact same make, model and year automobile at the same time. Comparing the two cars in the future will reveal the cars had vastly different engine lives and mileages. They each had different types of breakdowns and different problems. This is because each car was driven differently. One was likely driven harder than the other was. One was likely better taken care of. They may have been the same make and model, but each had different owners with different driving habits.

Because twins have the same genetics—just as the cars shared the same make and model—the unique factors related to the eventual circumstances of their lives stem from the fact that each body contains a distinct driver.

The clarity of epigenetics

Because geneticists are not aware of the inner self, they are now trying to resolve the inherent inconsistencies of the gene theory with the developing theories of epigenetics.

In general, epigenetics is the acceptance of additional factors (called markers or phenotypes) that affect the switching on or switching off of genes. This is also called gene expression. It was hypothesized—and confirmed by research—that while the DNA may or may not change within a species, there are many physiological and anatomical changes that will take place within a lifetime or within immediate generations that will reflect environmental changes.

These environmental changes are seen as turning on or off these phenotypes, enabling changes in the epigenome of the individual or family.

The concept of epigenetics was proposed by geneticist Conrad Waddington in the early 1940s to explain how environ­mental circumstances could affect genetic expression. In the 1980s, Dr. Lars Olov Bygren studied Northern Sweden populations that descended from families who were isolated and subjected to periodic famines. He found that children of famines had different genetic traits than those who did not live through famine. Those who lived through periodic feast and famine years died sooner and had a greater incidence of cardiovascular disease.

As researchers have discovered more genetic anomalies—such as the twins research mentioned earlier—the concept of epigenetics has received increasing attention.
The biochemical relationships between gene expressions have focused upon the action of DNA methylation or histone regulation.

These biochemical messengers have been implicated in the process of switching alleles on or off. The assumption once again has been that the body’s switching systems are purely mechanical and robotic. There is no intentional driver or observer present: Only a biochemical machine that somehow acts with desire and direction.

However, the very research by geneticists that theoretically supported epigenetics also exposed a major shortfall in the theory. In cruel mice experiments at McGill University’s Douglas Hospital Research Center (Szyf et al. 2008), epigenetic phenotypes could be turned on and off within baby mice by the increased nurturing from the mother. In other words, baby mice receiving mama’s nurturing would switch on genes differently than mice not receiving nurturing from mama mouse.

Quite simply, this indicates the presence of another influence upon the genetic switching of epigenetic phenotypes: That of an exchange between emotional personalities. Nurturing is, in its very essence, the expression of love between one living being and another. When a mother communicates love through nurturing, the baby receives that expression of love through those nurturing activities. As the expression is received, there is a resonation or hand-shaking between the two living beings.

That resonation produces an effect upon gene expression through the pathways of the brain, nervous system and the body’s biochemicals, which bridge the self with the body and its genes.

The inner self is connected to the body’s genes through conscious decision-making. The research has quite resoundingly connected environmental changes with epigenetic changes. Yet many environmental changes are the direct result of the decisions of the inner self.

Let’s say we decided that we wanted to live in a warm climate. Furthermore, we decided that a warm climate was more important to us than having a good job. So we packed up our belongings and moved to Hawaii. We settled down in Hawaii and lived there for the next twenty years. Over that time, our body will undergo many adjustments as it accommodates the warm, humid weather of Hawaii. Eventually, these environmental conditions will affect the switching on and off of certain genes, ultimately changing our genetic outcome. One might be a longer life.

Epidemiological research has confirmed that Hawaii residents have the longest life expectancy among other states in the U.S.—at 80 years—while the average life expectancy of the rest of the country is 78.3 years. Without our conscious decision to give up our job and move to Hawaii, those physical (and epigenetic) results would never have occurred.

The bottom line is that epigenetics research illustrates that we are not the genes: We are the living being within these bodies, who can affect and change our genes with our conscious choices.

Are you the mind?

difference between the mind and you
Like the body, the mind is a tool the self uses. It is a subtle recording device that catalogs all of the input from the senses.

Just consider all the images, impressions and considerations we have deep within our minds. These include all types of information derived from the senses: Sounds and words from our ears; images from our eyes; tactile information from our skin and so on. The mind records faces we have seen and the events of our lives. Anything the senses have taken into the brain is recorded onto the mind.

The mind is the software of the brain

The software of the brain is the mind. The mind utilizes the brain's capacity, but it is still more subtle than the brain. The relationship between the mind and the brain might be compared to software and hardware in a computer. Software utilizes the hardware of the computer to do its functions, but the software is still independent of the computer.

While many insist that the mind is the brain, one cannot find the mind in a brain. Many brains have been dissected but the mind has never been found. Yet we know the mind exists because we use it every day. The mind is more subtle than the brain. It lies within a different range of matter - just as computer software lies within another range of matter than the hardware of the computer.

Observing the mind

Each of us can observe our mind. We can look into our mind and see recently-viewed images, sounds, or what something felt like.

We can, for example, observe something recorded onto the mind minutes, days and even years after the senses brought in that sensual input. We can, for example, remember a face when we see that face again. We can remember when we saw that face before.

Or we can hear a song and remember years earlier when we used to hear that song a lot. Who is recalling that song?

Or we can listen to a song that we just heard simply by reflecting upon the recording in our mind. We can also see the images of a movie we have just watched, or a beautiful scene of nature we saw earlier in the day.

In this way, we can observe what is in the mind at any moment. We may not be able to consciously watch everything the mind has recorded at any particular time. But we can typically see what is at the top of our mind's stack.

Who watches the mind?

Who is observing the images and sounds recorded into the mind? Who is watching these memories?

If we were the mind, we could not watch the mind.

For example, a person who watches a television must be separate from the TV in order to watch it. The observer must be separate from that which is observed.

Like the gross physical body, the mind is separate from the self. The example of the mind being separate from the self can be easily shown by two exercises that illustrate the point above:
1) Pick any unique image - a unique or colorful painting for example. Stare at it for a minute or two. Now close your eyes. You should now be able to see the image imprinted onto your mind.
2) Listen to some music. Now turn it off and sit in a quiet room. You should now be able to hear the music recorded into your mind.

We can change our mind

Like a television or a radio, we can also turn the mind’s station, and change the mind’s images. This can be done easily by changing what is inputted into the mind. We can thus change our mind.

The mind is a changeable, physical mechanism the living being uses as a tool. We often will change our mind. We will take in new information, and decide that how we are looking at things is wrong. We can adjust and change the way we consider things. We can change our minds about something, or change our minds in general.

Who is it that decides to change our mind about something?

Since we can change our mind, we cannot be the mind.