by Marinus Jan Marijs
John Carew Eccles neurophysiologist who won the 1963 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for his work on the synapse, asked himself why that visual information, as brain scans show is processed by the brain in at least 30 different locations in the brain, nevertheless gives rise to a Unity of the visual field.
B. Libet in ‘Progress in Neurobiology 78 (2006) 322–326’ explores this question in greater detail:
It should be added that subjective experience also involves an integrative property. That is, although billions of individual nerve cell actions give rise to conscious awareness, the actual experience is a unified one. For example, if you look at any object in your external visual field, it appears as a smoothly organized structure, even though we know that several separate areas in the cerebral visual system are contributing colours, spatial configurations, motion, and meaning (interpretation) to it. This has been termed the ‘‘binding’’ phenomenon. There have been attempts to account for this by certain neuronal functions. For example, Wolf Singer and colleagues claim to have found a synchronization of rhythmic electrical potentials between areas of the brain that might be involved in binding (Gray and Singer, 1989). But even if this is a valid neuronal correlate of binding, one still has to explain how it gives rise to the non-physical integrated subjective experience.
Eccles realized that some sort of field would have to be postulated to account for the
integrative aspects of the mind.
While the unity of consciousness can be explained rather easily, because consciousness is nonlocal (even with so called split-brain patients, consciousness is singular, switching between both halves of the brain). The visual binding problem is more difficult to explain.
When Eccles suggested that some sort of field could be responsible for integrating all the separate groups of visual information, this raises the question what is the nature of this field, what is its organising principle?
A possible solution of this problem is the introduction of what one could call a mind-field, with the following characteristics:
This mind-field would then be responsible for the three dimensionally ideoplastic structuring of the surroundings during an Out of the Body Experience.
This structuring then would not only take place in an Out of the Body Experience, but also during normal perception, and would be responsible for structuring the shattered data in the brain. This then would explain why people sometimes have the feeling of been stared at.