We’ll Live and We’ll Die and We’re Born Again: Analyzing Issues of Religion, Soul, Reincarnation and The Search for True Spirituality (Part 2 of 3)

This is part 2 on this piece on spirituality. In part 1, I primarily analyzed the research into childhood past life memory, as pioneered by Dr. Ian Stevenson and carried on by those such as Dr. Jim Tucker.

This section marks a discourse largely into quantum physics, proposing the need for a major paradigm shift merging science and spirituality, hence establishing a rational basis for phenomena such as reincarnation. Arguing that spirituality essentially is scientific, I denounce the obstructing remains of materialism and religious skepticism, while filling to the brim quotes from some of the greatest thinkers of our time.

My ultimate thesis posits a universal consciousness, which one may call “God,” that possesses creative primacy over the realm of matter. From this perspective, our individualized minds are fundamentally entwined with the very essence of the universe, and as a logical consequence, almost certainly survive death.

I only offer a perspective; I am not branding this as “truth.” You are on your own journey, and can decide for yourself what that is. Critical minds are encouraged.

A Discourse on Skepticism, Consciousness, Quantum Mechanics & The Scientific God

“Quantum physics indicates that our physical world may grow out of our consciousness. That’s a view held not just by me, but by a number of physicists as well . . . what I tried to do is show how people arrive at conclusions, as Max Planck, the founder of quantum theory, did when he said that he recorded consciousness as fundamental and that physical matter was derived from it.

“. . . And eventually it appears that on the quantum level, the smallest and most basic level of the universe, that events only occur once their results are observed. So before observation, there are only potentials. . . . this leads to an idea that, again, the consciousness is what is fundamental in reality and that the physical universe simply grows out of that.

“Well, if that is the case then we would not expect an individual consciousness to end when a physical brain dies. And our cases, of course, provide evidence that in fact consciousness does not end and that it continues on.”

-Dr. Jim Tucker, Skeptico, “Dr. Jim Tucker Compiles Largest Database of Past-Life Memories”

As University of Virginia psychiatrist and past life researcher Jim Tucker tells Skeptico, there are several quantum physicists—including some of its most preeminent pioneers—who have regarded reality as being a co-creative generation of an underlying mind. And if this were the case, then the idea that consciousness transcends death of the physical body would not only be compatible with scientific theory, it would be expected of it.

In support of Tucker’s claims, a “delayed choice thought experiment”—first proposed by idealist physicist John Wheeler—has recently been performed at the Australian National University, confirming that “at the quantum level, reality does not ‘exist’ if you are not looking at it,” in the words of ANU Professor Andrew Truscott. Certainly, this suggests an independent importance of the mind of a subjective observer.

In fact, only once atoms are observed at the end of their journey do they make a “choice” between quantum states, dictating which path they take in the past! Until then, reality is merely an abstraction—a suspended state of uncertainty. But there is no logic in simply leaving this craziness alone in the “quantum world” without questioning the implications for consciousness on a greater scale.

That is: Who is the observer behind these eyes? Is there a transcendent mind? An unseen soul? And can this energetic awareness of self indeed survive death of the body, and flow into other forms?

Thankfully, the University of Virginia takes seriously the groundbreaking work of their consciousness researchers, funding a Division of Perceptual Studies that describes itself as “the oldest and most productive university-based research group in the world devoted exclusively to the investigation of phenomena that challenge current physicalist brain/mind orthodoxy—including investigation of phenomena directly suggestive of post-mortem survival of consciousness.”

“A materialistic view of the world as it’s built up of particles is nonsense. It does not work that way, and [the ANU delayed choice experiment] and the double slit basically tell physicists that material reductionism is just wrong. . . . This experiment is telling us something that we’ve already known for almost 100 years.”

“. . . But scientists who are supposed to be in the pursuit of truth, often redefine the pursuit of truth as the pursuit of their beliefs. If it doesn’t suit their belief, then it must not be true. In psychological terms that’s called denial. . . . One day, scientists will have to gather enough courage to move forward rather than continue to deny the facts of their experiments in order to stagnate in this concept of materialism, not only liberating themselves and their science but liberating philosophy and theology at the same time.”

-Thomas Campbell, PhD nuclear physicist (NASA), “ANU Physics Experiment and the Implications for Everyone” (2015)

The division, founded by Dr. Ian Stevenson himself in 1967, strives to “expand the current paradigm,” for the “recognition of consciousness as something greater than a physically produced phenomenon is both more optimistic and more accurate than the prevailing materialist worldview.” UVA also has published articles in its magazine on the science of reincarnation, while creating a section on their website advising parents what to do in the case of spontaneous past life memory.

As acclaimed astrophysicist and skeptic Carl Sagan once proclaimed, this field of reincarnation research “deserves serious study,” for to be completely dismissive of such a widespread phenomenon is not being scientific—it is being blinded by materialist dogma. Moreover, you do not have to know why exactly something occurs to be able to realize that there is plenty of evidence for it! To denounce an experience as impossible simply because it does not fit the current paradigm is a stark fallacy.

Surely, reincarnation cannot be explained at all by reductive materialism, but there is plenty of reason to believe that it is at least a possibility, if not extremely probable in a statistical sense . . .

The statistical probability that reincarnation does in fact occur, at least occasionally, is so overwhelming, established by thousands of already documented cases of remembered lives, and strongly buttressed by the incidence of birthmarks . . . that cumulatively the supporting evidence is not inferior to that for most if not all branches of science, whether physics, cosmology, or Darwinian evolution.

“. . . in the hard sciences we are accustomed to accepting odds once they go into the millions and billions. . . . And there is no logical reason to act otherwise in regard to the evidence for reincarnation.

-Doris Kuhlmann-Wilsdorf, UVA Professor of Physics, “Ian Stevenson: Founder of the Scientific Investigation of Human Reincarnation” (2008)

A good skeptic is not just as dogmatic and short-sighted as the religious folk they are attempting to criticize. A good skeptic does not resort to cop outs such as “nonsense,” “hooey,” or as Paul Edwards would say, “living in cloud-cuckoo land” for any academic with an open mind, stretching the limits of what science can tell us. And what an incredible argument!

Instead, be a real philosopher and use some logic. Show some understanding. Forget what you know, then consider the gravity of the scientific evidence—instead of narrow-mindedly searching for any possible way to disprove it! This is why I have a problem with so many supposedly scientific skeptics, who believe they are doing justice to Sagan. Forgive me if I am quite skeptical about these pseudo-skeptics.

Science itself is intrinsically curious, and we must be bold enough to explore the unknown, positing paradigm-shifting theories without fear of ridicule. Because if humanity were stuck in the mindset of accepting only what fits in the mainstream paradigm, we would still be thinking the Earth is flat!

Of course it’s great to be skeptical—it is essential for human progress—but only if performed in a healthy, non-name-calling manner. In a Socratic sense, we must exhibit humility and wisdom with regard to what we don’t know, and thus possess an open mind.

Late film critic, skeptic and historian Roger Ebert once posted in his journal, “I cannot believe in God. I refuse to call myself an atheist, however, because that indicates too great a certainty about the unknowable.” He explains that this holds true especially in the “baffling days” of quantum theory, positing an unseen world of entanglement where “everything that there is may be actually or theoretically linked.”

Ebert goes on to defend reincarnation from this perspective, affirming in his article “The Quantum Theory of Reincarnation” that the phenomenon is certainly possible from a “scientific, rationalist point of view”:

“We, ourselves, consist entirely in and of these [quantum strings]. Our identities, our names, our personalities, our beliefs, opinions, senses of humor—indeed, what we think of as our minds. We consist of one-dimensional bits of the cosmic total. And we might just as well be different bits—elsewhere—because the ‘self’ is essentially an organizing principle which we have imposed upon this chaos.

“. . . So you and I temporarily consist of ourselves, and someday may well consist of other selves. We will be back, but a precious lot of good it will do us, because we won’t know it. So, yes, reincarnation is possible from a rationalist, scientific point of view. We have been and will be reincarnated as part of the vast store of everything there is.”

Another example of healthy, scientific skepticism stems from Sam Harris, who seems by far the most open-minded out of the “Four Horsemen” for new atheism (Dawkins, Dennett & the late Hitchens).

In his 2014 book Waking Up: A Guide to Spirituality Without Religion, the PhD neuroscientist argues that a secular brand of spirituality is essential for understanding the illusory nature of self, actually experiencing directly higher states of consciousness through deep meditation (often with the use of psychedelics, which he calls “indispensable tools” for spiritual enlightenment). He also defends the philosophies of several Eastern religions (specifically Buddhism, Jainism & Hinduism).

So although Harris is undoubtedly the second most famous atheist figurehead in the world today, he believes that “spiritual practice” is an absolute necessity for the well-being of humanity, pondering if the only reason we do not know more about psi phenomena is if mainstream science—excluding CIA and US Military—has continuously and deliberately ignored the “body of data attesting to its reality,” either afraid of ridicule or blinded by their own religious dogmas.

For if psi phenomena do exist in some sense, which to me there is an abundance of evidence that this is the case (including those manifest in quantum theory), then there is no question that our physicalist understanding of the world is completely inaccurate and needs to change.

Consequently, despite his strict academic upbringing, the atheist is admittedly agnostic of the true relationship between consciousness and the physical world, speculating that “we could be living in a universe where consciousness goes all the way down to the bedrock.” As panpsychist philosophies become increasingly thrown into the mainstream, this is a growing belief among esteemed scientists, one which might finally make sense out of a lot of “spooky” quantum phenomena.

Likewise, Harris concedes that “the idea that brains *produce* consciousness is little more than an article of faith among scientists at present,” believing that it might have a different relationship, independent of physical matter (and thus of the body).

“I just don’t know [if consciousness survives death]. One thing I can tell you is that we don’t know what the actual relationship between consciousness and the physical world is. There are good reasons to be skeptical of the naive conception of a soul. . . . And yet we do not know what the relationship between subjectivity and objectivity ultimately is.

“For instance, we could be living in a universe where consciousness goes all the way down to the bedrock so that there is some interior subjective dimension to an electron.”

-Sam Harris, PhD neuroscientist & famous skeptic, “The Disbeliever”, Salon (2006)

These theories are not confined to quirky hippies, but have been contemplated in science since the advent of quantum physics, with the pioneering Sir James Jeans proclaiming all the way back in 1930: “The stream of knowledge is heading towards a non-mechanical reality; the Universe begins to look more like a great thought than like a great machine. Mind no longer appears to be an accidental intruder into the realm of matter, we ought rather hail it as the creator and governor of the realm of matter.”

Theoretically, at the quantum level, all is one, and space means nothing. Certainly, as Harris hints at above, there is a form of mind illustrated in a particle’s ability to make “choices” between behaviors, sparked by observation, and actually instantaneously communicate that behavior to an entangled counterpart halfway across the universe; this implies a cosmic connection through unseen strings of a higher dimension.

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Scientifically speaking, electrons just wanna dance.

These ideas of a conscious, cosmic web may hence lead to alternative conceptions of “God,” including among those esteemed scientists; this is what Jeans theorized in his 1934 speech to the British Association, insisting that “each individual consciousness ought to be compared to a brain-cell in a universal mind,” or what Nobel Prize-winner (and famous cat owner) Erwin Schrödinger meant when he maintained “there is only one mind” to to our Universe—that we are each “a part of an eternal, infinite being.”

Another juggernaut of modern physics, Freeman Dyson, expands on these views below:

“The universe shows evidence of the operations of mind on three levels. . . . The third level is the universe as a whole. Atoms in the laboratory are weird stuff, behaving like active agents rather than inert substances. They make unpredictable choices between alternative possibilities according to the laws of quantum mechanics. It appears that mind, as manifested by the capacity to make choices, is to some extent inherent in every atom.

“. . . I do not make any clear distinction between mind and God. God is what mind becomes when it has passed beyond the scale of our comprehension. God may be either a world-soul or a collection of world-souls. So I am thinking that atoms and humans and God may have minds that differ in degree but not in kind. We stand, in a manner of speaking, midway between the unpredictability of atoms and the unpredictability of God. Atoms are small pieces of our mental apparatus, and we are small pieces of God’s mental apparatus.

“. . . This view of our place in the cosmos may not be true, but it is compatible with the active nature of atoms as revealed in the experiments of modern physics. I don’t say that this personal theology is supported or proved by scientific evidence. I only say that it is consistent with scientific evidence.

-Freeman Dyson, Professor Emeritus at the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton, Progress in Religion (2000)

“I find it very unlikely that mind arose accidentally out of molecules,” says Dyson in a separate interview. “It seems more reasonable to think that mind was a primary part of nature from the beginning and we are simply manifestations of it.” I agree that it is entirely dogmatic for contemporary science to say with any certainty that awareness is a strict byproduct of the brain; indeed, our internal transmitter can tell us a lot about correlation, yet nothing of causation.

There is a reason after all why this “hard problem” of consciousness, first coined by cognitive scientist David Chalmers, seems perpetually at the forefront of unresolved mysteries of science. In fact, Chalmers believes that consciousness “may be the largest outstanding obstacle in our quest for a scientific understanding of the universe,” albeit an obstacle that is “surprisingly neglected” among reductive materialists—carefully evaded by arguments with “no force at all.

“One cannot fully account for consciousness in terms of standard physical explanations,” the Australian insists. “We need to expand our fundamental ontology to bring consciousness into the picture.” Because even the highest advances in modern neuroscience “don’t address the real mystery at the core of this subject—why is is that all that physical processing in our brain should be accompanied by consciousness at all? Why is there this inner, subjective movie? Right now we don’t have a beat on that.”

Perhaps it is time to alter some of our deeply entrenched premises, and take seriously the idea that mind might be underlying our entire universe.

As world-renowned Stanford astrophysicist Andrei Linde contends, we must study consciousness and the possible implications of it having an independent substance—something that Max Planck, the father of quantum mechanics, believed with confidence—because as science progresses to a more quantum worldview, we still have no idea of its true nature, and the correct way to interpret equations of new physics.

As such, in an interview with Robert Kuhn of Closer to Truth, the pioneer of inflationary cosmology questions if consciousness “may have its own degrees of freedom and can exist without matter.” He also dares to deliberate if advances in science will inevitably lead to another paradigm-shift, having consciousness “elevated to the level of super-consciousness, which will include matter as its part,” instead of the other way around.

“In a certain sense, the rest of the universe is alive only because I am alive. This sounds extremely paradoxical, but that’s what we have right now, we trust these equations, we just need some interpretation. . . . it just cannot cut me observing it out of the equation, and my observations is my consciousness. Without me recording it, all the rest of the universe will be dead.

“Of course, it is kind of strange, because it presumes that consciousness may have some independent importance.

-Dr. Andrei Linde, Breakthrough Prize-winning astrophysicist (Stanford University), Closer to Truth (2016)

The same goes for the mystery of memory, and why it stays fully intact despite the constant change of billions of brain cells.

In addition, as exhibited by the research of Dr. John Lorber on hundreds of hydrocephalics, or those with little to no brain matter, most subjects demonstrate normal intellectual and social abilities despite having less than 5% normal cerebral tissue—including a genius-level PhD math student with “virtually no brain”! Apart from a millimeter-thick layer of tissue, he possessed a cranium filled with cerebrospinal fluid.

Perhaps even more remarkable are the traits demonstrated by patients who undergo the rare procedure of a hemispherectomy, or literally removing half of your brain. Unbelievably, this procedure has no noticeable effect on personality or memory. Now if conscious memories are only stored in the brain, how could removing half of the brain leave them unaffected? Surely, 50% of the brain is not redundant—much less 95%!

Beginning in the 1950s, pioneering neurosurgeon Wilder Penfield conducted several experiments to investigate the relationship between normal physical activities, such as having a subject raise their right arm, and the corresponding part of the cerebral cortex that is activated within the brain. Dr. Penfield proceeded to use electrodes to artificially activate that same part of the brain—thus involuntarily raising the subject’s right arm—before lowering it with a deactivation.

Consider the implications of this: Who or what caused the activation and deactivation of the brain? Clearly, in the second case it was Dr. Penfield, who used neural stimulation to raise the arm of the patient.

But what of the first case, when the subject voluntarily raised their arm through a remarkable act of metaphysical will? Although this is something we all of course take for granted, it raises a perplexing issue—whose will is that? Is it a conglomeration of unconscious neurons merely activating itself? Or is there a higher mind, working behind the scenes?

“Although the content of consciousness depends in large measure on neuronal activity, awareness itself does not. To me, it seems more and more reasonable to suggest that the mind may be a distinct and different essence.

-Wilder Penfield, Father of Neurosurgery, as quoted in The Mind and the Brain (Schwartz & Begley, 2002)

After four decades of research, Dr. Penfield concluded that the brain is a computer, but it is programmed by something else entirely. The nervous system can of course transmit, filter and localize perceptions of consciousness; however, there is nothing to indicate that it is an originator, whether in science or in the enlightened experience of an entangled world.

He spent the latter part of his life contemplating a scientific basis for the existence of the soul, joining the likes of other Nobel Laureate neuroscientists such as Charles Sherrington and Sir John Eccles—who posit that a complete explanation of consciousness requires an immaterial basis—or English mathematical physicist Sir Roger Penrose, who has shared awards with Stephen Hawking for his contribution to cosmology, and more alternatively, contends a “quantum nature” of consciousness and memory.

We need a major revolution in our understanding of the physical world in order to accommodate consciousness,” the illustrious Oxford professor maintains, who with the death of his famed partner, might be the world’s greatest living cosmologist (along with my man Andrei). “The most likely place is in this big unknown—namely, making sense of quantum mechanics. . . . Somehow, our consciousness is the reason the universe is here.” This idea assumes that “matter itself is now much more of a mental substance,” instead of the other way around.

Naturally, perhaps when we remember subjective images, they do not stem from an accumulation of dead objects—an idea simultaneously profound and extraordinarily obvious! Perhaps there is a collective, immaterial storehouse that sends out memory to the newly formed brain cells. Or perhaps the brain is simply an antenna; that when we remember something, arriving in the mind’s eye through an instantaneous act of will, we automatically tune into a transcendent soul-mind to perceive it, in this life or otherwise.

“The more we discover scientifically about the brain the more clearly do we distinguish between the brain events and the mental phenomena and the more wonderful do the mental phenomena become. Promissory materialism is simply a superstition held by dogmatic materialists. It has all the features of a Messianic prophecy, with the promise of a future freed of all problems—a kind of Nirvana for our unfortunate successors.

“. . . The materialist critics argue that insuperable difficulties are encountered by the hypothesis that immaterial mental events can act in any way on material structures such as neurons. This objection would certainly be sustained by nineteenth century physicists, and by neuroscientists and philosophers who are still ideologically in the physics of the nineteenth century, not recognizing the revolution wrought by quantum physicists in the twentieth century.”

-Sir John Eccles, Nobel Prize-winning neuroscientist, How the Self Controls Its Brain (1994)

This theory could explain the reincarnational memory of many young children not even experienced using their current brain! Although surely there may be an imprint of these images upon our physical hardware, there is ultimately an energetic component that supersedes it all. To John Eccles, who won the Nobel Prize for his work on the synapse, “I maintain that the human mystery is incredibly demeaned by scientific reductionism . . . we have to recognize that we are spiritual beings with souls existing in a spiritual world as well as material beings with bodies and brains.”

From this perspective, the brain would be more of a transceiver than an outright producer, and that the mind is distinct and separable.  Now if the individual hardware gets damaged, of course it will affect the corresponding output, but the all-encompassing source signal will never go out. “We individualize our consciousness through the filter of our nervous system,” clarifies PhD quantum physicist John Hagelin. “But the consciousness itself—our very inner subjectivity—that is universal.”

Furthermore, according to recent studies of neuroplasticity, we see how consciousness can indeed shape the brain and change its physical structure, instead of the other way around. Now how could a product be able to change its own producer?

“I regard consciousness as fundamental. I regard matter as derivative from consciousness. We cannot get behind consciousness. Everything that we talk about, everything that we regard as existing, postulates consciousness.”

-Max Planck, founder of quantum theory, The Observer (25 Jan, 1931)

Some might say there is no inconsistency in these paradoxes, and that these subjective images of memory are composed from an astonishing conglomeration of inert matter, existing independently of mind, and coming into this Universe through an unfathomable means—later proceeding to organize themselves into an absolute marvel of intelligent awareness.

In other words, all that is and all that we are, according to mainstream science, originates from a Big Bang of an initial singularity of non-living energy both formed and initiated by, well, nothing in particular!

You have every right to believe this, but if so, perhaps it is time to revise your position on miracles.

Indeed, as Andrei Linde ponders in his paper “Universe, Life, Consciousness,” according to current theories of science, a (conscious) observer would have to be required to collapse the universal wave function—representing superposed potentialities of the totality of existence—within every infinite moment, sparking the life of a Universe originally compressed to a quantum size infinitesimally smaller than an electron!

Linde warns of the narrow-minded folly of the careful and continuous disregard of an intrinsic consciousness within quantum cosmology, proposing that this neglect “will lead to a description of the universe that is fundamentally incomplete.”

“Without introducing an observer, we have a dead universe, which does not evolve in time,” the Breakthrough Prize-winning astrophysicist explains. “Does this mean that an observer is simultaneously a creator?” Again, these ideas may lead to a conception of God beyond anything I was taught in Sunday School— and far more empowering.

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Yes, there are many who insist that the “burden of proof” is on those alleging the existence of an *invisible* being.

While I agree with this sentiment, I think it is also possible to invert the idea, and say that the burden of proof is on those explaining just how we are alive—along with the entirety of universal law—within a miraculous organizational framework from the atomic to the stellar to the galactic levels and beyond, all stemming from a single source of dead matter coming out of completely nothing.

“As Terence McKenna observed, modern science is based on the principal, ‘Give us one free miracle and we’ll explain the rest.’ And the one free miracle is the appearance of all the matter and energy of the universe, and all the laws that govern it, from nothing in a single instant.”

-Rupert Sheldrake, PhD Biochemist (University of Cambridge), “Morphic Resonance: The Nature of Formative Causation” (2009)

Until then, a conscious, timeless energetic source, which we may call “God,” can be plausibly implied. This especially hold true when you throw in the aforementioned issues of quantum cosmology, in which there are brilliant minds—such as Nobel Prize-winning physicists Eugene Wigner and John von Neumann—who have contended that our entire Universe is dependent upon a mind (or “soul”) of a conscious observer, without which wave functions never “collapse” and nothing ever happens in the history of existence.

It is “not possible to formulate the laws of quantum mechanics in a fully consistent way without reference to the consciousness,” claimed Wigner, controversially urging his contemporaries to return to the primacy of mind, thus recognizing this “ultimate reality.”

Naturally, skeptics insist that the quantum process has evolved without the need for consciousness—that even the recording by inanimate, automatic devices can cause the wave function to collapse.

The obvious problem with this, as described by Andrei Linde, is that these automatic devices are simply another part of the physical universe that which a conscious observer must observe! “I cannot imagine a consistent theory of everything that ignores consciousness,” he maintains. “A recording device cannot play the role of an observer, because who will read what is written on this recording device?”

Moreover, in his 1932 book The Mathematical Foundations of Quantum Mechanics, John von Neumann—himself recognized as one of the most gifted mathematicians in modern history—argues that “the mathematics of quantum mechanics allows for the collapse of the wave function to be placed at any position in the causal chain from the measurement device to the subjective perception of the human observer.”

Thus, mind is the only true apparatus that can ultimately spark this collapse, especially if you grant its non-locality, as “an operator beyond time”; it just cannot cut sentient observation, and thus consciousness, out of the equation.

“The observer is never entirely replaced by instruments; for if he were, he could obviously obtain no knowledge whatsoever. . . . They [the instruments] must be read! The observer’s senses have to step in eventually. The most careful record, when not inspected, tells us nothing.”

-Erwin Schrödinger, father of quantum theory, What Is Life? (1944)

Consider the famous double-slit experiment, which demonstrates a phenomenon the renowned Richard Feynman proclaimed is “impossible to explain in any classical way.” Namely, the observer effect, in which the behavior of a quantum system upon even passive observation is completely different than what it would otherwise be.

In the original experiment, a source of light illuminates a plate pierced by two parallel slits, with the resultant patterns displayed on a screen behind the plate. If there is no observer detecting which slit the photons—or any other quantic entity—pass through, then they each behave as if they were tiny waves, going through both slits simultaneously and producing interference bands on the screen. This is what is known as a superposition of distinct quantum states (called “eigenstates” or, more scientifically, “cat states”).

But as strange as this may sound, if there is an observer watching (through atomic detectors), then the photons are basically “forced” to act like particles instead of waves, hence collapsing the wave function and choosing to go through one slit or the other (a single eigenstate). We measure definite values; the interference vanishes! More still, a 1998 form of the experiment at the revered Weizmann Institute of Israel found that “the greater the amount of ‘watching,’ the greater the observer’s influence on what actually takes place”—that is, the weaker the wave-like interference pattern.

“[This] experiment, when done with single photons or even single particles of matter, such as electrons and neutrons, is a conundrum to behold, raising fundamental questions about the very nature of reality,” writes Anil Ananthaswamy of Scientific American. “Some have even used it to argue that the quantum world is influenced by human consciousness, giving our minds an agency and a place in the ontology of the universe. But does the simple experiment really make such a case?” To be sure, that is up to you to decide, though again—what is observation without consciousness?

In essence, the act of observation transitions superposed potentialities, listed by a probabilistic wave function, into a single actuality (at least as apparent in your chosen timeline). This is well known, and at the surface there seems to be a subjective, self-correcting, even “thinking” component of the universe, changing its behavior depending on whether we “look” or not.

We can no longer speak of the behavior of the particle independently of the process of observation. As a final consequence, the natural laws formulated mathematically in quantum theory no longer deal with the elementary particles themselves but with our knowledge of them. Nor is it any longer possible to ask whether or not these particles exist in space and time objectively.

“. . . Science no longer confronts nature as an objective observer, but sees itself as an actor in this interplay between man and nature. The scientific method of analyzing, explaining, and classifying has become conscious of its limitations . . . method and object can no longer be separated.

“. . . the idea of an objective real world whose smallest parts exist objectively in the same sense as stones or trees exist, independently of whether or not we observe them . . . is impossible.

-Werner Heisenberg, Nobel Prize-winning quantum physicist, The Physicist’s Conception of Nature (1958)

Furthermore, according to time-transcendent delayed choice thought experiments mentioned at the beginning of this article, the universe seems to know not only if we are looking, but when we are planning to look, collapsing clouds of possible pasts into one ostensibly concrete history, as if it has always been that way.

According to quantum mechanics, reality is in the eye of an observer,” affirms Andrei Linde, in his pioneering piece connecting consciousness and cosmology. “[Yet] according to standard materialistic doctrine, consciousness plays a secondary, subservient role, being considered just a function of matter and a tool for the description of the truly existing material world. But let us remember that our knowledge of the world begins not with matter but with perceptions.

“At first sight it would appear that in quantum mechanics the concept of scientific objectivity has been strongly shaken,” adds eminent physicists Edmond Bauer and Fritz London, in their famous 1939 paper. “Moreover, it looks as if the result of a measurement is intimately linked to the consciousness of the person making it.

Finally, it was French physicist Bernard d’Espagnat who declared in his 1979 “The Quantum Theory and Reality,” which ultimately helped land him the Templeton Prize: “The doctrine that the world is made up of objects whose existence is independent of human consciousness turns out to be in conflict with quantum mechanics and with facts established by experiment.

If these theories hold true, then incredibly, our world comprised of independently existing particles has completely become replaced by probability functions, actualized by an observing mind—and you can see how this can drastically alter one’s perception of reality! “The idea of an objective real world whose smallest parts exist objectively in the same sense as stones or trees exist, independently of whether or not we observe them . . . is impossible,” further remarked the revered Werner Heisenberg, who went on to question after conversations with Niels Bohr: “Can nature possibly be so absurd as it seemed to us in these atomic experiments?”

“Only in recent years has the technology necessary for answering this question become accessible, enabling a string of experimental results,” boldly surmise PhD physicists Kastrup, Stapp & Kafatos, after decades of debate, in their 2018 Scientific American article. “Taken together, these experiments indicate that the everyday world we perceive does not exist until observed, which in turn suggests a primary role for mind in nature. It is thus high time the scientific community at large faced up to the implications of QM’s most controversial predictions. . . . that the world is essentially mental.

Surely, Sir James Jeans 1930 proclamation that “the Universe begins to look more like a great thought than like a great machine” seems more than mere metaphor; it is a correct, “quantum-mechanical” way of looking at reality.

And there are materialist dogmatists out there who literally poke fun at people for suggesting that there could be mind at play in the workings of our world? For pondering if the spiritual wisdom of our ancestors may not be just complete fantasy, along with the psychic and “paranormal” experiences of billions of other human beings? I wonder if these dogmatists would similarly poke fun at the many brilliant pioneers of quantum theory who believed this to be the case; it is as arrogant as it is absurd—an arrogance that has for centuries hindered the progression of our species.

“Everyone who has grown up in the scientific world is used to the concept that we’re living in a material universe—an inert universe—a universe of dead matter. And because of that, it’s difficult instinctively to grasp that we’re not really living in a dead universe, the universe is overwhelmingly conscious at its basis.

“. . . In the realm of quantum mechanics, the idea of ‘particle’ is replaced by the idea of ‘wave function.’ And what is a wave function? A wave function is made of the same stuff thoughts are made of. We’re really living in a thought universe. Quantum mechanics is just the play and display of potentiality. The deeper you go in the structure of natural law, the less material—the less inert—the less dead the universe is; the more alive, the more conscious the universe becomes.

“. . . At the basis of all life’s diversity, there is unity. And that unity is universal consciousness. Consciousness is not created in the brain, but is fundamental in nature.”

-John Hagelin, Harvard PhD quantum physicist, “On Consciousness & Superstring Unified Field Theory” (2007)

Because at some point, as Harvard PhD John Hagelin explains, you’ve got to ask yourself if the reason we still don’t understand how to interpret this “problem” after so many decades is if we are beginning with a false premise, with most physicists thoroughly conditioned to not look at the universe in the correct manner, completely ignoring their very inner nature.

And the funny thing is, the more I’ve studied quantum physics—and especially the more I’ve shaken my head at hollow arguments by cynical minds—the more I’ve recognized all this complete misinformation carelessly thrown around to preserve materialism. Because through some unfathomable means of ignorance, an outright ridiculous “rational explanation” of the measurement problem spread like wildfire among the pseudo-skeptic community: When you observe the experiment, you physically interfere with the quantum system and affect the results, somehow bumping enough photons to wipe out the interference bands!

“The theory became that the interaction with the particle as it passed through the slit to measure it—that was the culprit; it was a physical thing!” says PhD NASA physicist Thomas Campbell, while expounding the implications of the double-slit and delayed choice experiments. “That mistake—that misinformation—has been alive and circulating ever since. [Richard Feynman] knew that was nonsense, and so does any other quantum physicist who’s really a quantum physicist. But it’s the only excuse they have to make materialism real, so it’s still a widely held position among those who really don’t know.”

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The observer effect, demonstrating wave-particle duality

Of course, this nonsensical premise has been utterly disproven (in quantum theory, “measurement” is akin to passive observation), so in order to continue their stagnation, the new skeptic defense I see is:

Quantum mechanics is spooky and weird, we simply don’t know, and we’ll probably never know. But we’re sticking to the objectivist materialist paradigm nonetheless—and no matter what! Furthermore, we will criticize those who present “alternative” theories that will actually attempt to explain these experiments, because consciousness is not science! (I wish this were a joke, but from what I’ve seen, this is a pretty accurate representation of the current pseudo-skeptic mindset.)

“The overall situation seems profoundly unsatisfactory. The system built up over the years to promote scientific advance has become one that narrow-minded people can use to block any advance that they deem unacceptable.

“This demands urgent review: otherwise, just as astronomy became fixated on the reasonably accurate, but wrong, Ptolemaic model, science will become fixated in a respectable, but inaccurate, view of reality.

-Brian Josephson, Nobel Prize-winning quantum physicist, “Pathological Disbelief” (2004)

It goes without saying that this is a cop out to conserve an invalidated worldview, which is fine—and by virtue of humility, it’s certainly a lot better than the previous argument—but it doesn’t get us anywhere at all! So allow me to be dogmatic: These experiments cannot be explained by any materialist means; it is a non-physical interaction between object and observer (surely sparked by something more than just inanimate apparatus!!), generating a definite reality.

This is a fact that is not only clearly evident if you look at the details—including that of other strange phenomena such as entanglement and tunneling—but is openly accepted by those most well-versed in quantum theory, such as Richard Feynman.

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Who wouldn’t trust this dude?

Then only by a matter of pure logic, we must seriously consider the need for a paradigm shift to accommodate the non-physical, having physicists “gather enough courage to move forward rather than continue to deny the facts of their experiments in order to stagnate in this concept of materialism,” thereby liberating science so all this “spooky” phenomena would finally start to make sense, as well as compliment so many other lines of thought. To repeat again the words of the renowned Roger Penrose: “We need a major revolution . . . in order to accommodate consciousness. The most likely place is making sense of quantum mechanics.

“To this day, physicists do not agree on the best way to interpret these quantum experiments, and to some extent what you make of them is (at the moment) up to you,” adds BBC science writer Philip Ball, in a fantastic article describing this research. “But one way or another, it is hard to avoid the implication that consciousness and quantum mechanics are somehow linked.

Because even Max Planck, the creator of quantum theory, once declared in his 1944 speech at Florence: “We must assume behind this [quantum] force the existence of a conscious and intelligent mind. This mind is the matrix of all matter.”

This undoubtedly resonates strongly, yet most physicists are extremely hesitant to lend credence to the “von Neumann-Wigner interpretation” of quantum mechanics, which grants consciousness (an “extra-physical factor”) a necessary role in the collapse of the wave function. This is in part because there is yet no consensus, after all these years, of what an “observer” actually is, if it possesses any subjective qualities, or if it is connected in any way to the rest of the universe.

As distinguished UC Berkeley physicist Henry Stapp explains in his paper “Quantum Theory and the Role of Mind in Nature,” The Copenhagen interpretation of quantum theory (which is currently the most popular) “gives special status to measuring devices,” treating them in outdated classical terms instead of as a physical system of atomic constituents entirely embedded in the quantum mechanical framework of our universe.

Indeed, the brilliant von Neumann was among the first to denounce this strange division between the “classical” and “quantum mechanical” worlds, claiming that the entire physical universe can be incorporated into the Schrödinger equation (later exemplified by the Wheeler-DeWitt equation), binding subject and object and inanimate apparatus into one unified, macroscopic wave function wholly dependent upon mind.

“Von Neumann first formulated carefully the mathematical rules of quantum theory, and then followed where that mathematics led. It led first to the incorporation of the measuring devices into the quantum mechanically described physical universe, and eventually to the inclusion of everything built out of atoms and their constituents. Our bodies and brains thus become, in von Neumann’s approach, part of the quantum mechanically described physical universe.

Treating the entire physical universe in this unified way provides a conceptually simple and logically coherent theoretical foundation that heals the rupturing of the physical world introduced by the Copenhagen approach.”

-Henry P. Stapp, “Quantum Theory and the Role of Mind in Nature” (2001)

An unfazed advocate of the work of von Neumann—as well as a close personal colleague of Heisenberg, Pauli and Wheeler—Stapp is forced to affirm: “This tearing apart of the physical world creates huge conceptual problems, which are ducked in the Copenhagen approach by renouncing man’s ability to understand reality.

Because incredibly, we literally possess separate equations for different “parts” of reality, clinging on to this outdated, objectivist worldview due to its practicality, as well as the extreme hesitancy to suggest a paradigm shift to a “quantum mechanical perception of the world.” We are hence left with “a hybrid of the old familiar classical theory, which physicists were understandably reluctant to abandon completely, and a totally new theory based on radically different concepts.”

Yet this arbitrary line between worlds has been thoroughly undermined by scientists’ ability to put increasingly large-scale molecular compounds, consisting of many thousands of subatomic particles, into a wave-like quantum superposition. Theoretically, the same can be true for any macroscopic system, even our physical bodies, as everything we see is truly composed of vibrating quantic entities. And you may ask yourself what is the single aspect of our being that always remains constant?

Surely, Stapp is correct in that this extreme hesitancy to shift our paradigm undermines the common man’s ability to understand the true nature of the physical world.

In agreement with the architect of quantum mathematics, the bold physicist surmises that the only path to the development of a “rationally coherent theory of nature” is to reintroduce not only measuring devices, but the sentient subjects themselves back into the universal wave function. “In order to make quantum mechanics work,” he claims, “you’ve got to bring the human agent into the equations,” as well as the rest of the perceivable universe. No more of this rupturing of the physical world into two separate scientific realities!

This shift in perception—this introduction of an Everettian universal wave function, connecting objects and observer—would hence radically transform our perception of the relationship between mind and environment, bestowing consciousness with a possibly essential role in shaping our world.

“Suppose for example that quantum mechanics were found to resist precise formulation. Suppose that when formulation beyond [practical purposes] is attempted, we find an unmovable finger obstinately pointing outside the subject, to the mind of the observer, to the Hindu scriptures, to God, or even only Gravitation? Would that not be very, very interesting?

“. . . As regards mind, I am fully convinced that it has a central place in the ultimate nature of reality. But I am very doubtful that contemporary physics has reached so deeply down that that idea will soon be professionally fruitful. For our generation I think we can more profitably seek Bohr’s necessary ‘classical terms’ in ordinary macroscopic objects, rather than in the mind of the observer.”

-John Stewart Bell, PhD quantum physicist, The Foundations of Quantum Mechanics (2001)

But consciousness cannot be essential to the collapse of the universal wave function, posits venerated vegetarian physicist John Stewart Bell, because the first “living” creatures didn’t appear in the universe until long after the Big Bang!

Well as Bell himself would surely agree, the problem with this argument—as with many in materialistic physics—is that it begins with invalid (or at least inconclusive) assumptions, namely that:

  1. Consciousness is not fundamental to our universe, and the only form of consciousness that can exist arises from dead, unaware objects somehow organizing themselves into a complex, subjective, self-aware neurological system.
  2. Consciousness cannot transcend our extremely limited scope of three dimensional space and time.

This is despite scientific experiments that have already proven that quantum theory is non-local; that is, the observer effect can transcend space as well as time itself. “Consciousness is a process lying outside the laws that govern the material world,” explains Stanford PhD Nick Herbert, while reiterating the views of von Neumann, “and it is just this immunity from the quantum rules that allows the mind to turn possibility into actuality.”

Instead, we must flip around this question to ask how is it possible for our universe to evolve without an observer to (continually) collapse its wave function? Surely, we do not live in a “dead universe, which does not evolve in time,” to quote again Andrei Linde.

We must be privy to the idea that consciousness itself is fully embedded in the singularity of the universe ever since the Big Bang, and in all likelihood, eternally.

“In the beginning there were only probabilities. The universe could only come into existence if someone observed it. It does not matter that the observers turned up several billion years later. The universe exists because we are aware of it.”

-Sir Martin Rees, PhD astrophysicist (University of Cambridge), Just Six Numbers: The Deep Forces That Shape the Universe (1999)

By refusing to change their preconceived notions about the nature of reality, and limiting consciousness to a byproduct of physicality localized in space and time, reductive materialists are thus forced to find ways to either work around consciousness, or—in what should be impossible as a human being—ignore it completely.

But as clarified by Schrödinger—a very smart human I will continue to reference due to his veracity in merging Vedic wisdom with contemporary physics—even if our bodies are confined to this narrow three-dimensional snapshot, our minds emerge from outside entirely: “We do not belong to this material world that science constructs for us. We are not in it; we are outside. . . . The reason why we believe that we are in it, that we belong to the picture, is that our bodies are in the picture.”

This supposes a Bohm-esque idea that mind is what is primary, emanating from higher, more “real” dimensions of reality, and matter is but a “holographic” byproduct; matter existing objectively and independently is only a persistent illusion, a slim shadow of a seed of conscious unity.

So no, we are not living in a dead universe. We are living in a universe that at its basis, is overwhelmingly conscious—inexplicably alive! And we are intimately entangled with this liveliness, not just passive observers of a disconnected world.

In fact, according to the implications of some interpretations of quantum mechanics, there may be no such thing as “passive observation” at all! We ourselves may compel quantic entities to “decide” between possibilities, assuming an unseen agent lying outside of space and time.

In the enlightened words of Sir James Jeans, “discussing the creation of the universe in terms of time and space [see above] is like trying to discover the artist and the action of painting, by going to the edge of the canvas. . . . Mind no longer appears to be an accidental intruder into the realm of matter, we ought rather hail it as the creator and governor of the realm of matter.”

“I cannot help thinking that our awareness of our own brains has something to do with the process which we call ‘observation’ in atomic physics. That is to say, I think our consciousness is not just a passive epiphenomenon carried along by the chemical events in our brains, but is an active agent forcing the molecular complexes to make choices between one quantum state and another.

“In other words, mind is already inherent in every electron, and the processes of human consciousness differ only in degree but not in kind from the processes of choice between quantum states which we call ‘chance’ when they are made by electrons.”

-Freeman Dyson, Professor Emeritus at the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton, Disturbing the Universe (1979)

This is not some empty New Age dogma, but a premise that can be tested experimentally. More recently, consciousness-centered variations of the double-slit experiment have been performed by the Institute of Noetic Sciences, published in the peer-reviewed Physics Essays.

The initial 2012 publication included six repeated investigations by the team of scientists, “used to test the possible role of consciousness in the collapse of the quantum wave function.” What they found was that “factors associated with consciousness, such as meditation experience, electrocortical markers of focused attention, and psychological factors including openness and absorption, significantly correlated in predicted ways with perturbations in the double-slit interference pattern.” Meditators, recruited from a Zen Buddhist Temple, had an especially strong effect on the quantum system using their consciousness alone, way beyond any realm of chance.

In fact, during the exact thirty second intervals when asked to concentrate on the double-slit (adjusted for a two second lag when shifting attention), the meditators exhibited an extremely statistically significant effect of reducing the wave-like interference pattern.

This is despite the fact that the double-slit itself was closed off, with the experiment demanding a difficult, abstract task of “placing their consciousness” in the unseen quantum system. Although non-meditators also displayed an effect on the interference pattern, the fact that the monks did so much better accentuates the experimental significance of subjective qualities of consciousness, such as focused attention.

Cumulative z score meditators vs. non-meditators (Physics Essays, 2012)

“The results appear to be consistent with a consciousness-related interpretation of the quantum measurement problem,” the team concluded. This interpretation not only suggests that consciousness can affect our reality, but that consciousness is an active agent shaping and creating our reality.

“Observations not only disturb what has to be measured, they produce it,” quantum pioneer Pascual Jordan reiterates, from all the way back in the 1930s. “The electron is forced to a decision. We compel it to assume a definite position. . . . We ourselves produce the results of the measurement.”

Although this sounds all too mystical, it may have proved to be prophetic, because we have now gotten some scientific backing to this; the results of these experiments display unambiguously mind having an active role in creating our reality, “suggesting that von Neumann’s psychophysical interaction may be better interpreted as an active rather than a passive form of observation.”

“The double-slit experiment suggests a way to explore the meaning of observation in the quantum measurement problem (QMP), and in particular the particular the possible role of consciousness.

“. . . if some aspect of consciousness is a primordial, self-aware feature of the fabric of reality, and that property is modulated by us through capacities we know as attention and intention, then focusing attention on a double-slit system may in turn affect the interference pattern. . . . [this is] based on the idea of panpsychism, a controversial but respectable concept within the philosophy of mind.

“. . . Six experiments testing a consciousness collapse hypothesis led to a combined 4.4-sigma effect in the predicted direction (p=6·10-6). Control sessions provided no evidence of procedural or analytical artifacts that might have been responsible for these effects. . . . the results of the present experiments appear to be consistent with a consciousness-related interpretation of the QMP.

-Radin, Michel, Galdamez, Wendland, Rickenbach, Delorme, “Consciousness and the double-slit interference pattern: Six experiments,” Physics Essays (2012)

Two independent verifications of the experiments were carried out by PhD physicists, confirming the validity of the results.

Over the ensuing years, the Institute of Noetic Sciences has performed now 17 different experiments of this type (16 using a double-slit system), including a 2016 statistically significant distant effect of consciousness consisting of thousands of sessions, while controlling for different variables that could otherwise explain it. This cannot be a mere accident.

Radin 2
Cumulative z score experimental vs. control (Physics Essays, 2012)

The scientists found again: “In a series of 16 experiments using this approach we found that interference significantly deviated from a null effect during [conscious] observation as compared to not observing. . . . these results were found to support von Neumann’s conclusion that the mind of the observer is an inextricable part of the measurement process. . . . a means of empirically resolving longstanding questions about the role of consciousness in the physical world.

At the 2016 “The Science of Consciousness Conference,” PhD statistician Dean Radin explains these quantum experiments, their statistical significance, and their profound implications:

Certainly, these hippied-out variations of the double-slit demonstrate that the process of “observation” in quantum mechanics (or the synonymous “measurement”) may exhibit subjective qualities, thereby designating consciousness with an independent importance.

Observation is integral to quantum mechanics, and what should already go without saying even in the original experiments, consciousness is integral to observation. (It takes a good amount of delusion to assert that an inanimate recording device can collapse the wave function in the absence of any observing mind—we’re really supposed to believe that the passive “watching” of an object of “dead matter” can wipe the interference bands?)

“The idea is that measurement is observation by consciousness,” says philosopher David Chalmers, coiner of the “hard problem,” while contemplating the role of consciousness in quantum theory. “Measurement is what happens when a process affects a conscious observer, someone with subjective experience. And the consciousness triggers the collapse of the wave function.” In other words, there must be a conscious observer for abstract possibilities to transition into “real” actualities, all the way up to the universal wave function.

And I have to stress that it does not matter how widely accepted these experiments are among the mainstream science community. It does not matter if they are largely repressed, ignored, or even maligned, as illustrated unambiguously throughout human history when preceding a major paradigm shift. These scientists have found multiple effects of consciousness just as statistically significant as those who have won the Nobel Prize, confirming the existence of other unseen wonders beyond any reasonable doubt! The only difference is that this is taboo—even “threatening”—presenting “a challenge to commonly held assumptions about the role of consciousness in physical reality.”

“What the [delayed choice quantum eraser] says and what the double-slit has said and what all of these experiments have said, including quantum entanglement and tunneling, is that they defy a materialistic explanation. The materialist view of reality is wrong. And they’ve been saying this since the early 1900s.

“Well that’s pretty powerful—that’s a pretty big deal that our whole material concept of the world is wrong, and we’ve known this for 100 years and [most people] have never even heard about it. . . . It’s not [a good thing], but science like anything else is belief based. When information is contrary to those beliefs, the first thing to do is deny it. Now if it keeps coming, then maybe eventually you give in.

“But here, the stakes are too high. They’re not just giving in to a better science, they’re giving in to a non-physical reality that is more fundamental than the physical reality. That is a really big step to give in to, and they don’t want to let that go.”

-Thomas Campbell, PhD nuclear physicist (NASA), “ANU Physics Experiment and the Implications for Everyone” (2015)

In what needs to be said again: It is a pretty big deal that the materialist reductionist view of the world has been continually invalidated for almost 100 years—openly admitted by a handful of quantum pioneers—and in an enduring monument of suppression, stagnation, as well as the extreme ambiguity of the Copenhagen interpretation, almost nobody ever hears nor talks about it.

Well so be it; the evidence is there for all who choose to see (through the telescope). And in a free and open society, you have to wonder how famous these people would be.

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History repeats itself.

If you combine this with a multitude of other evidence and anomalies, it unquestionably settles an already silly debate, in my personal opinion, if mind has anything to do with the quantum mechanical laws that govern our universe. It solves the ambiguous and hotly debated “problem of measurement” in quantum mechanics, confounding scientists as to how and why the wave function collapses (or even if it collapses at all, which may lead us to the highly probable many-worlds interpretation I’ll get into some other timeline).

The solution, according to all these experiments, is consciousness! For they clearly exhibit a non-physical reality even more fundamental than space and time, and thus capable of complete transcendence.

“There are experiments that have been done on the timing of consciousness, and they seem to lead to a very odd picture, which doesn’t even make consistent sense,” professed the great Roger Penrose, partner of Stephen Hawking, in the 1991 film A Brief History of Time. “It does look a little as though there is something very odd about consciousness, as though the future affects the past in some way.

It is natural then to ask if we will continue repeating old mistakes, or “will the next important step be the development of a unified approach to our entire world, including the world of consciousness?” in the words of yet another of the world’s most ingenious cosmologists:

“If quantum mechanics is true, then one may try to find the wave function of the universe. However, it often leads to problems of interpretation. . . . Without introducing an observer, we have a dead universe, which does not evolve in time. Does this mean that an observer is simultaneously a creator? . . . we cannot rule out the possibility a priori that carefully avoiding the concept of consciousness in quantum cosmology constitutes an artificial narrowing of one’s outlook.

“. . . Is it not possible that consciousness, like space-time, has its own intrinsic degrees of freedom, and that neglecting these will lead to a description of the universe that is fundamentally incomplete?  Is it possible to investigate a possibility that consciousness may exist by itself, even in the absence of matter? Will it not turn out that the study of the universe and the study of consciousness will be inseparably linked, and that ultimate progress in the one will be impossible without progress in the other?

“All of these questions might seem somewhat naive, but it becomes increasingly difficult to investigate quantum cosmology without making an attempt to answer them. It would probably be best then not to repeat old mistakes. It may conceivably become clear at some future time that [consciousness and cosmology] are not so disparate as they might seem.”

-Dr. Andrei Linde, Breakthrough Prize-winning astrophysicist (Stanford University), “Universe, Life, Consciousness” (1998)

And please, I am not advocating for solipsism—a straw-man that materialists are giddy to burn when “debunking” the role of consciousness in quantum theory, projecting their limited dogmas of what consciousness can be.

I am instead invoking, in the words of University of Athens physicist Efstratios Manousakis, “the existence of the Universal/Global stream of consciousness, as the primary reality that contains all of our individual streams, which are sub-streams of the Universal conscious flow of events.”

In other words, the one mind is not all in one ego; each ego is a subjective embodiment of the one mind. Reality is a co-creative process! Hence even “The Big Bang itself is an event in the Universal stream of consciousness. . . . as an actor or an operator beyond time.” (As quoted from the Greek professor’s exceptional 2006 paper “Founding quantum theory on the basis of consciousness.”)

PhD physicists Kastrup, Stapp & Kafatos echo this sentiment in their 2018 Scientific American article: “Over the years, we have written extensively about why QM seems to imply that the world is essentially mental. We are often misinterpreted—and misrepresented—as espousing solipsism, so let us be clear . . . Our view is entirely naturalistic: the mind that underlies the world is a transpersonal mind behaving according to natural laws. It comprises but far transcends any individual psyche.”

This theory has been in Eastern philosophy for eons, and in contemporary science since the inception of quantum physics, as the personal views of both Planck and Schrödinger. Incorporating subjectivity back into science is not some radical concept, but is:

  1. Quite evident in an intuitive sense; again, how can a self-aware subject arise out of unaware objects?
  2. It is demonstrated by repeatable experiments on the quantum level, as described above, even if these experiments are largely ignored by mainstream science.
  3. It is further demonstrated by (other) psi + out-of-body phenomena, such as military-grade, scientific remote viewing (more on that in a future post), which undoubtedly exhibit over and over again how mind can transcend space-time localization, and thus cannot be a byproduct. With a few notable exceptions, these experiments are especially ignored by mainstream science.
  4. Contrary to popular belief, it is agreed upon by many of the most important physicists of our time.

Finally, we are consciousness! Like the universe, we are not some dead objects! And we are capable of transcendent experiences of enlightenment in which we recognize unambiguously this ultimate, dream-like reality expressed everywhere in the conscious world. This alone should be enough, a seed sprouting far beyond any faith or belief. It is an absurd notion to have to wait for the scientific establishment to blossom into the wisdom of the shamans, mystics, and open-minded quantum physicists.

“No matter where and how far we look, nowhere do we find a contradiction between religion and natural science. On the contrary, we find a complete concordance in the very points of decisive importance. Religion and natural science do not exclude each other, as many contemporaries of ours would believe or fear. They mutually supplement and condition each other.

“. . . [they] are fighting a joint battle in an incessant, never relaxing crusade against skepticism and against dogmatism, against disbelief and against superstition.”

-Max Planck, father of quantum theory, Religion and Natural Science (1937)

As implied by the father of quantum theory, who regarded “a direct inner link to God” as the highest goal in life, it would take an eternity to wait for some of these religious “skeptics” to turn within and examine themselves. Because unfortunately, so many in this establishment seem so caught up in the outside world, they forget to do just that, hence uncovering other ways of knowing.

“It is difficult for the matter-of-fact physicist to accept the view that the substratum of everything is of mental character,” remarked the pioneering Arthur Eddington, while considering the spiritual implications of the new physics. “But no one can deny that mind is the first and most direct thing in our experience, and all else is remote inference.” Absolutely, as Descartes discovered through his own meditations, the one thing we can truly know that exists is awareness itself—our underlying consciousness—yet we nonetheless take it for granted.

It is also undoubtedly extraordinarily tough to advocate a mass paradigm shift to the public bestowing primacy to this consciousness, perhaps further deterred by “higher agendas” of power, secrecy and greed, which will be undermined by a shifted paradigm.

This goes along with a form of militant materialism evolving itself into organized societies of scientific reactionaries clinging on to an outdated worldview for a sense of security. To them, this ideological, dogmatic suppression takes precedence over any open minded inquiry, thus literally bullying the TED organization—at an event supposed to “challenge existing paradigms,” no less—into banning multiple “dangerous” talks that threaten their archaic model.

No, it is not dangerous to present alternative views, but it is deeply troubling to suppress questioning. Mainstream science has done wonders for the world, but it will head down a dangerous path indeed if it continues this repression, treating the populace like spoon-fed children who cannot decide for themselves what and what not to believe.

It needs to be said that we should not focus on discrediting the scientific method, only on setting it free from the chains of materialist dogmatism, and thereby militant atheism, which in an ironic sense is utterly unscientific (I’m gonna get in trouble for this one). As such, the pioneering Planck concluded his 1937 “Religion and Natural Science” with a bold push to reconcile the two: “Both religion and science need for their activities the belief in God. . . . For the former, God represents the basis, for the latter—the crown of any reasoning concerning the worldview.”

Now if we only replaced “God” with mind or consciousness—of which there is no distinction—I think a lot more scientific minds would take seriously the idea. Or at least, in the words of famed physicist Freeman Dyson, “God is what mind becomes when it has passed beyond the scale of our comprehension.” Yes, that word carries with it a lot of excess baggage, but we must shed that weight to get to its core: It is paramount for science to relinquish the avoidance of an intrinsic consciousness within nature.

We need a major revolution in our understanding of the physical world in order to accommodate consciousness. The most likely place, if we’re not going to go outside physics altogether, is in this big unknown—namely, making sense of quantum mechanics. . . . Quantum mechanics behaves in ways that one thinks are certainly at odds with the [materialistic] view we used to have. 

“. . . An element of proto-consciousness takes place whenever a decision is made in the universe. I’m not talking about the brain. I’m talking about an object which is put into a superposition of two places. Now, in a small fraction of a second, it will become one or the other. Which does it become? Well, that’s a choice. Is it a choice made by the universe? Does [the object] make this choice? I have no idea. . . . Somehow, our consciousness is the reason the universe is here.

-Sir Roger Penrose, University of Oxford mathematical physicist, “The Emperor of Physics Defends His Controversial Theory of Mind,” Nautilus (2017)

Nevertheless, even the hyper-rational John Stewart Bell, whose “observer” skepticism I had just previously responded to, has explicitly stated in his book The Foundations of Quantum Mechanics that he is personally “fully convinced that [mind] has a central place in the ultimate nature of reality.” However, he believes that his generation can “more profitably seek” classical physics with respect to macroscopic objects, as the idea that reality is “in the mind of the observer” is not yet “professionally fruitful.” Now this should tell you something.

Because all in all, it becomes harder and harder to believe that the entirety of energy in this world has come out of a “free miracle” without the need for higher consciousness.

Accordingly, when asked about the concept of God, Stanford Astrophysicist William Little admitted that although he does not believe in an old man with a white beard, he might concede “some form of underlying ‘intelligence’ associated with matter, energy, and the universe,” adding: “I go along with the Big Bang picture but recognize that it does not address the deeper issue as to why it happened—was it planned, is it part of a grander scheme of things? It is hard to believe that there isn’t more to it than this.”

MIT Professor Vera Kistiakowsky agrees with this logical sentiment:

“There remains the problem of how the Big Bang was initiated, but it seems unlikely that science will be able to elucidate this. The question which is not in the realm of science is, ‘For what purpose?’ . . . My acculturation as a scientist makes me uncomfortable with this, but the exquisite order displayed by our scientific understanding of the physical world calls for the divine.

“. . . the whole process [of the origin of life] is miraculous, from the formation of the first complex molecules to the evolution of human intelligence . . . I am satisfied with the existence of an unknowable source of divine order and purpose.”

Therefore, from a panpsychist perspective, this “God” does not have to be invisible and isolated; rather, it can be equated with existence itself—an infinite potentially of All That Is, and All That Not Is—a supreme universal intelligence, manifest within every being.

For there is reason why an acorn knows how to grow into an oak tree, as an embryo knows how to grow into human being. It is foolish to ignore this obvious intelligence—this divine cosmic intuition—expressed everywhere in Nature.

I include all this because these theories would allow for memory and awareness itself to have an independent, perhaps even creative substance, transcendent of three-dimensional space and time—hence allowing for ideas such as reincarnation and the non-bearded God. Rather than blind faith or comforting beliefs, it is apparent to me that humanity has the ability to right now arrive at a true, evidence-based, scientific form of spirituality, a thought that might have once seemed absurd. (Again, we just need to study consciousness without being tied down by preconceived dogma or fear of ridicule!) 

“Although I think that life may be the result of an accident, I do not think that of consciousness. Consciousness cannot be accounted for in physical terms. For consciousness is absolutely fundamental. It cannot be accounted for in terms of anything else.”

-Erwin Schrödinger, father of quantum theory, The Observer (11 Jan, 1931)

It would also allow for theories of evolution and intelligent design to interact and compliment each other, given that this creative life force permeated throughout the galaxy would be able to manifest itself through the blueprint for bipedal life. “I believe that intelligence may play a role in how evolution has occurred,” explains Nobel Prize-winning quantum physicist Brian Josephson. “One of the big mistakes of those who attack intelligent design is to regard evolution and God as mutually exclusive.

This might seem silly to some, but to me personally it is silly to assume that there is no larger system of consciousness behind the miraculous evolution of human awareness. We are not mere lumps of dead matter. Moreover, we must be mindful enough to posit harmonizing philosophies of reality without descending into the deceptive ruse of black-and-white thinking, constituting “an artificial narrowing of one’s outlook.

For there is indeed strong scientific backing that our collective consciousness can have an enormous effect on shaping the physical world, as “an active agent forcing the molecular complexes to make choices between one quantum state and another,” to quote again Freeman Dyson.

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“The Power of Love and Gratitude Made Visible” (on the molecular structure of water crystals), Dr. Masaru Emoto

Andrei Linde adds a final note in his interview with Robert Kuhn, of including *alternative* theories of consciousness within his scientific papers: “Like anything, it should be studied seriously. My editor wanted me to remove it, as I might lose the respect of my friends. But if I removed this conjecture, I would lose my own self-respect, which is much more important.” This might hit home for many scientists, philosophers, and curious humans in general who do have suspicions of something more, but are afraid to share to cynical minds.

As Jesse Bering, distinguished skeptic and Professor of Science Communication affirms in his Scientific American article “Are We ‘Skeptics’ Really Just Cynics,” the glaring reason why consciousness researchers Ian Stevenson and Jim Tucker aren’t taken more seriously, among others investigating quite verifiable, evidence-based psi phenomena, is because the results do not fit the current mainstream model of the materialistic brain.

This is why many scientists who wish to push the mold are bullied by more rigid peers, dismissing the experiments as pseudoscience without even bothering to look at them in the first place! (And if they do, with an already made up mind.)

“I’d be happy to say it’s all complete and utter nonsense—a moldering cesspool of irredeemable, anti-scientific drivel. The trouble is, it’s not entirely apparent to me that it is. So why aren’t scientists taking Stevenson’s data more seriously? The data don’t ‘fit’ our working model of materialistic brain science, surely.

“But does our refusal to even look at his findings, let alone to debate them, come down to our fear of being wrong? ‘The wish not to believe,’ Stevenson once said, ‘can influence as strongly as the wish to believe.'”

-Jesse Bering, scientist & skeptic, “Ian Stevenson’s Case for the Afterlife: Are We ‘Skeptics’ Really Just Cynics,” Scientific American (2013)

It is a travesty that many who claim to speak in the name of science are actually the ones holding science back, from progressing to a new paradigm more in line with the truth of reality.

Well, I don’t have a degree in physics (philosophers aren’t as well respected these days), and I won’t pretend to understand the finest intricacies of quantum theory, but I am a human being, capable of independent reason and first-hand experience unexplainable by anything I was taught in school. For me, this experiential insight takes precedence over any outward observations of a possibly illusory world.

Certainly, it is time to rework models of cosmology to incorporate mind and subjectivity as something fundamental—past the tired dogmas of objectivist, mechanistic physics—as several actual physicists are arguing for to this day within prestigious scientific journals, taking after the personal beliefs of a handful of juggernauts of quantum mechanics.

It was the Nobel Prize-winning Niels Bohr, after all, who once claimed, “When we measure something we are forcing an undetermined, undefined world to assume an experimental value. We are not ‘measuring’ [observing] the world, we are creating it.

“At first sight it would appear that in quantum mechanics the concept of scientific objectivity has been strongly shaken. Since the classic period, the idea has become familiar that a physical object is something real, existing outside of the observer, independent of him, and in particular independent of whether or not the object has been subjected to measurement.

“The situation is not the same in quantum mechanics. . . . Moreover, it looks as if the result of a measurement is intimately linked to the consciousness of the person making it.

-Edmond Bauer & Fritz London, PhD quantum pioneers, “The Theory of Observation in Quantum Mechanics” (1939)

Examples include John Wheeler’s “It from Bit” participatory universe, in that we and other “conscious observers are the minds that make the universe manifest.” The celebrated theoretical physicist, who was a close colleague of the quantum pioneers before coining the term “black hole,” maintained that universal creation requires an immaterial source, inquiring about the existence of space and time, “How does something arise from nothing?”

It from Bit symbolizes the idea that every item of the physical world has at bottom—at a very deep bottom, in most instances—an immaterial source and explanation,” the Princeton professor has explained. “All things physical are information-theoretic in origin and this is a participatory universe. Physics gives rise to observer-participancy; observer-participancy gives rise to information; and information gives rise to physics.”

Hence to Wheeler, sentient observers are far from detached bystanders—they are shapers and creators literally contributing to the creation of physical reality, “participators in bringing into being not only the near and here but the far away and long ago.” So in a sense, the universe acts as one huge, time-transcendent feedback loop, established on the observing mind.

As we are each tiny microcosms of the universal whole, observers and creators of our one true self, continuously bringing about inception of conscious reality.

Modern quantum theory, the overarching principles of 20th Century physics leads to quite a different view of reality, a view that man, or intelligent life, or communicating observer participators are the whole means by which the very universe is created: without them, nothing.

We are participators in bringing into being not only the near and here but the far away and long ago.

-John Archibald Wheeler, PhD quantum physicist (Princeton University), “The Anthropic Universe” ABC interview (2006)

This essentially spiritual, dream-like model of Wheeler was recently given a boost by the aforementioned experiments of ANU researchers, who in 2015 were able to finally conduct his “delayed choice thought experiment,” proving that our observations in the present determine a particle’s reality in the past—an anomaly of backwards causality—and therefore confirming that at least at the quantum level, creation and observation go hand-in-hand.

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And if we wish to expand the wave function, universe and observer, existing as an indivisible, entangled unity. Surprisingly similar is the Buddhist philosophy that linear time is an illusion, there is only now, and that this “now” creates both past and future (malleable among infinite timelines). As Schrödinger once declared: “Hence this life of yours which you are living is not merely a piece of the entire existence, but is in a certain sense the whole. . . . For eternally and always there is only now.”

“Traveling as far back in time as we can, brings us not to the creation of the picture, but to its edge; the creation of the picture lies as much outside the picture as the artist is outside his canvas. On this view, discussing the creation of the universe in terms of time and space is like trying to discover the artist and the action of painting, by going to the edge of the canvas.

“This brings us very near to those philosophical systems which regard the universe as a thought in the mind of its Creator, thereby reducing all discussion of material creation to futility.”

-Sir James Jeans, pioneer of quantum theory, The Universe Around Us (1929)

This may lead to some mind-blowing implications, as described by Andrei Linde, one such renowned cosmologist who openly agrees with Wheeler. “You may ask whether the universe really existed before you start looking at it,” he conjectures. “The best we can say is that the universe looks as if it existed before I started looking at it. . . . I do not know any sense in which I could claim that the universe is here in the absence of observers. We are together, the universe and us.”

Personally, I wholeheartedly agree, as well as admire thinkers such as Wheeler who are brave enough to posit the most important question in existence: “Why existence?” and boldly seek the unadulterated truth no matter what that may be. “The world is a crazy place,” the scientific icon himself stated in an interview right before his death. “And the way it’s organized is surely crazy. But we have to be crazy enough to see what that way is if we’re really going to understand the physical world.”

Another mind-centric universal design is the CTMU (Cognitive-Theoretic Model of the Universe) developed by American intellectual Christopher Langan, which was itself inspired by the theories of John Wheeler, whom he calls “an eminent and highly capable representative of those familiar with the advantages and deficiencies of our current models of reality.” Dubbed by journalists as “the smartest man alive,” Langan is best known for recording some of the highest IQ scores ever on multiple occasions—quite literally off the charts, but estimated as high as 210.

Exceptionally (but not erroneously), he has also contended that one can prove the existence of God and a reincarnating soul scientifically (due to the Universe’s self-referential, mind-like behavior). The certified genius first proposed his anti-materialistic model because, in his words, “You cannot describe the Universe completely with any accuracy unless you’re willing to admit that it’s both physical and mental in nature.”

Surely, granting consciousness an intrinsic worth would expose the genuine, complimentary nature of science and spirituality, accounting for ideas such as an eternal soul, reincarnation, and even an actual source for everything in existence:

“Mind and reality—the abstract and the concrete, the subjective and the objective, the internal and the external—are linked together in a certain way. . . . the CTMU is essentially a theory of the relationship between mind and reality. In explaining this relationship, the CTMU shows that reality possesses a complex property akin to self-awareness. That is, just as the mind is real, reality is in some respects like a mind.

“But when we attempt to answer the obvious question “whose mind?”, the answer turns out to be a mathematical and scientific definition of God. This implies that we all exist in what can be called “The Mind of God”, and that our individual minds are parts of God’s Mind. They are not as powerful as God’s Mind, for they are only parts thereof; yet, they are directly connected to the greatest source of knowledge and power that exists.

“This connection of our minds to the Mind of God, which is like the connection of parts to a whole, is what we sometimes call the soul or spirit, and it is the most crucial and essential part of being human.”

-Christopher Langan, American intellectual (highest verified IQ score in US history), “CTMU – Q & A,” The Mega Foundation (2005)

That is, “a mathematical and scientific definition” of a panpsychist God; yes, we do in fact possess the ability to logically derive a universal mind, to which we are all “directly connected,” based on our current scientific understanding—or at least on an understanding in which we may inevitably arrive. If only the orthodoxy eased up on the pseudo-skepticism and pathological disbelief, acting like the Inquisition did with Galileo, we would come to see some real progress!

“I believe in the theory of evolution, but I believe as well in the allegorical truth of creation theory,” Langan tells ABC News, in a stunning revelation that these can coexist. “There is a level on which science and religious metaphor are mutually compatible.”

It is my view that there exists an essential life and intrinsic, organizational intelligence to this Universe, the source from which our awareness emanates, ever since the Big Bang induced a sudden (albeit temporary) separation.

“As to how this particular consciousness that we call the human consciousness arose, yes, evolution has [played a part],” clarifies MIT PhD Menas Kafatos, in an interview with Robert Kuhn. “However, because of the non-local [time transcendent] aspects of quantum theory, which is the foundation of the cosmos, that consciousness must have been there from the get go. . . . Does consciousness cause the cosmos? The answer would be that consciousness is the cosmos.

In this sense our Universe—among possible others—is indeed like a living organism, endlessly expanding and contracting with its ten billion-year heartbeat, yet fundamentally of one mostly metaphysical, eternal energy, embedded beneath every atom.

“We postulate the primary ontological status, the oneness, and the universality of consciousness. The term ‘oneness’ means that there is only one stream of conscious flow with various sub-streams, the individual streams of consciousness, such as those which we are experiencing as human beings, but they are all connected to one Universal conscious flow.

“. . . Consciousness as an actor or an operator is beyond time. The Big Bang itself is an event in the Universal stream of consciousness.

-Efstratios Manousakis, PhD Physicist (University of Athens), “Founding quantum theory on the basis of consciousness” (2006)

And it is the view of Nikola Tesla that: “The day science begins to study non-physical phenomena, it will make more progress in one decade than in all the previous centuries of existence.” Unquestionably, several of these phenomena could shake the world if only altering a single assumption in mainstream science—that consciousness, not matter, is the ultimate reality to this Universe.

And that even behind matter, as Max Planck asserted, there is consciousness, for it is downright impossible for subjective awareness to arise out of unaware objects. This simple allowance would simultaneously solve the “hard problem,” reconcile paradoxes of quantum mechanics, and alter every way we look at consciousness, its connection to this Universe, and its ability to transcend death of the physical body.

Similarly, as implied by David Bohm—who quite literally wrote the textbook on quantum mechanics, while working closely with Einstein at Princeton—the ability of consciousness to transcend the entirety of the physical world.

With his own model of “Wholeness and the Implicate Order,” the illustrious physicist theorized that the physical world as we know it is but a “holographic” projection of a higher dimension of metaphysical unity, arising out of an abundant sea of cosmic energy. Unity underlies diversity, and everything in this world—even a boring rock—is internally related to this intelligent, energetic wholeness. Unfortunately, we can only perceive a shallow, three-dimensional surface, of an image mistaken for reality.

For if we do exist in a holographic universe, everything and every being we see as having a separate existence is truthfully a conscious projection, a vibratory distortion of this single source of light; to Bohm, “The results of modern natural sciences only make sense if we assume an inner, uniform, transcendent reality that is based on all external data and facts. The very depth of human consciousness is one of them.”  

And here we are basing everything on this slim shadow of what we can see, designating that this incredible incorporeal awareness must be a byproduct of such mundane physicality. But could it be that when we drop dead, we simply drop this ephemeral image as well, this shallow perception of what is “me,” and go on to a greater identity—perhaps even a multidimensional entity, spanning many incarnations?

“Perhaps the human being is of the nature of the ‘me’ as we know it, or he or she may have another nature. If a true self does exist, it’s surely hidden by, or made inactive by, this ‘me’ process that seems to fill the whole system. It’s like the lights of the city which shine brighter than the stars, so that you don’t see the universe.

“. . . The self is assumed to have an identity. Certain features are thought to remain essentially the same, though it may change in other features that are superficial. But there’s an essence that remains always the same. And we would like it to go on forever, after death. Moreover, it is implied that it has always gone on. Thus people think of reincarnation, and so on.

“. . . Indeed, a common concept of the self is that it is eternal in its essence, though its superficial features change. This implies that it is unlimited in its value. And you see, for all we know there could be such a self, but what we are now experiencing as the ‘me’ is an image mistaken for reality.”

-David Bohm, PhD theoretical physicist, The Essential David Bohm (Nichol, 2003)

“Deep down the consciousness of mankind is one,” Bohm once proclaimed. “This is a virtual certainty.” And although consciousness is much more of the deeper “implicate order” than matter, they are both ultimately “inseparable and interwoven,” with the “coherent whole” of consciousness inherent at every point in space and time.

Accordingly, all things, and all being(s) in this Universe are ultimately of the same essence within many different forms and images. This essence is of a higher mind.

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We just gotta unzip ourselves.

Richard Conn Henry, Professor of Astrophysics at Johns Hopkins University, is perhaps the most decisively blunt about the need for a major idealistic paradigm-shift within physics, urging his fellow academia in his Nature article “The Mental Universe” to switch to a “correct, quantum mechanical perception of the world.” Henry concedes that the staggering ontological implications of the weirdest wonders of quantum mechanics have been, for the most part, conveniently ignored for an entire century.

As previously explained, the Copenhagen interpretation of quantum mechanics does this with a counter-intuitive assumption of a detached “quantum realm” of the object observed, apart from the traditional “classical realm” of the observer, all while unable to explain the arbitrary nature of this division. “This is surely wrong,” once wrote Nobel Laureate Steven Weinberg. “Physicists and their apparatus must be governed by the same quantum mechanical rules that govern everything else in this universe.”

Rightfully so, Henry insists that in order for the laws of quantum mechanics to exhibit any consistency, the Universe as we know it must have an essential mental component—again, that even on a macro level, the conscious observer creates reality! This, he explains, is “an elementary conclusion from quantum mechanics” one will inevitably elicit once they begin to value factual correctness over political correctness, along with human progress over personal reputation.

The animal observer creates reality and not the other way around. That is the essence of the entire book, and that is factually correct. It is an elementary conclusion from quantum mechanics. . . . but we, the physicists, do NOT say it—or if we do say it, we only whisper it, and in private—furiously blushing as we mouth the words. True, yes; politically correct, hell no!

“. . . your hope for life after death does not come from physics. Your hope comes from the astounding fact that that you exist. NOTHING could be more improbable than THAT, and yet . . . you DO exist! You are a true miracle that has actually happened, and being granted one more (and much smaller) miracle is not too much to ask for, in my opinion.”

-Richard Conn Henry, Professor of Physics (JHU), in review of Lanza’s Biocentrism, Journal of Scientific Exploration (2009)

At the same time, our hope for reaching the spiritual realm does not come after death. We are already in it; it is all around us. Says another open-minded physicist, “You, me, all of us, are just vibrational states of this universal field of intelligence at the basis of existence.”

This is the greatest secret solely veiled by the persistent illusion we call the “material world.” In truth, we and everything else in this universe are simply individualized frequencies of this universal symphony of vibrating strings, arising miraculously from the same indivisible source of stillness. Accordingly, in the words of Henry, “Your hope for life after death does not come from physics. Your hope comes from the astounding fact that that you exist. . . . You are a true miracle that has actually happened.”

This would not sound so fantastical if you agree with string theory and wave-particle duality, that every quantic entity has its original essence expressed as a wave. Then in theory, our entire physical reality is composed of coalesced waves of light functioning at a specific resonance; hence, our bodies are but a wave function—as some would have it, a potentiality of thought, actualized by a higher mind.

“As a man who has devoted his whole life to the most clearheaded science, to the study of matter, I can tell you as a result of my research about the atoms this much: There is no matter as such!

“All matter originates and exists only by virtue of a force which brings the particles of an atom to vibration and holds this most minute solar system of the atom together. . . . We must assume behind this force the existence of a conscious and intelligent mind. This mind is the matrix of all matter.”

-Max Planck, father of quantum theory, “The Nature of Matter” speech in Florence (1944)

In accordance with the fathers of quantum theory (Planck & Schrödinger), Henry asserts that in order to stop from descending into solipsism, we must introduce a higher mind, such that we are “dreams in the mind of God.” While I personally prefer to use “cosmic mind” or “universal consciousness” than that dreaded G word, you have to admit: Any way we look at it, our existence is a miracle.

The daring professor ends his article on an optimistic note: “Physicists shy from the truth because the truth is so alien to everyday physics. If we can ‘pull a Galileo,’ and get people believing the truth, they will find physics a breeze. The universe is immaterialmental and spiritual. Live, and enjoy.” Now what are you doing staring at a screen?

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You create the perception of your world.

Funnily enough, the psychiatrist Harold Lief once remarked about Dr. Ian Stevenson: “either he is making a colossal mistake, or he will be known as the Galileo of the 20th century,” for Galileo too was called crazy by those stuck in the old paradigm. Perhaps it is time to stop ignoring evidence that could otherwise change the world. And it is time to stop pretending that our magnificent mind, subjective awareness and all that comes with it is an insignificant accident of a lifeless universe.

Because don’t you see, my brothers and sisters? “It is not chaos or death—it is form, union, plan—it is eternal life—it is happiness!”

“Until not many years ago, the ‘existence’ of a mind or soul would have been passionately denied by most physical scientists. The brilliant successes of mechanistic and, more generally, macroscopic physics and of chemistry overshadowed the obvious fact that thoughts, desires, and emotions are not made of matter, and it was nearly universally accepted among physical scientists that there is nothing besides matter.

“. . . There are several reasons for the return, on the part of most physical scientists, to the spirit of Descartes’s ‘Cogito ergo sum,’ which recognizes the thought, that is, the mind, as primary. . . . When the province of physical theory was extended to encompass microscopic phenomena, through the creation of quantum mechanics, the concept of consciousness came to the fore again: it was not possible to formulate the laws of quantum mechanics in a fully consistent way without reference to the consciousness.

“. . . It may be premature to believe that the present philosophy of quantum mechanics will remain a permanent feature of future physical theories; it will remain remarkable, in whatever way our future concepts may develop, that the very study of the external world led to the conclusion that the content of the consciousness is an ultimate reality.

-Eugene Wigner, Nobel Prize-winning quantum physicist, Symmetries and Reflections (1967)

Scientifically speaking, according to Wigner and other contemporaries, we must fully recognize “the existence of a mind or soul,” independent of matter and fundamentally primary. Until then, quantum mechanics will continue to baffle physicists with uncanny phenomena and invalid interpretations. Ironically, it’s looking more and more like reductive materialism is the outdated, faith-based ideology, instead of the other way around. There is a much greater part of ourselves, lying beyond the confines of the skin.

In this same regard, it takes a lot more religious faith—as well as ignorance of basic logic—to believe that all the matter in our universe independently created itself out of nothing than to recognize “the content of consciousness as an ultimate reality.”

“Promissory materialism is simply a superstition held by dogmatic materialists,” affirms Nobel Prize-winning neuroscientist John Eccles, who regarded the soul as essential in his 1994 How the Self Controls Its Brain. “[These materialists] are still ideologically in the physics of the nineteenth century, not recognizing the revolution wrought by quantum physicists in the twentieth century.

In the words of yet another Nobel Prize-winner, University of Cambridge Professor Brian Josephson, “I think consciousness just has to be taken as ‘given’ . . . skepticism will ultimately by undermined by the advent of deeper theories of the role of mind in the natural world.

So what does this all mean? Well for one, to tie this back to reincarnation and *healthy* skepticism, if these theories hold true, then we would reasonably expect something like reincarnation to occur. It would be extremely cynical—perhaps even scientifically implausible—to deny any life after bodily death (never mind psychic phenomena).

“There’s no reason to believe that one’s conscious experience shouldn’t be part of somebody else’s at some other stage,” remarks Roger Penrose in A Brief History of Time, right after describing experiments suggesting consciousness could affect the past. “I don’t know if it’s fair to say what happens after one dies, but it’s a plausible picture that you could be somebody else, and that somebody else could be somebody that lived in the past.

Yes, this is still only a theory, but as science progresses to uncharted realms of weirdness, it is becoming less and less farfetched to assume the existence of a non-physical part of ourselves even more fundamental than the basic elements of physics. We need to at least seriously “investigate a possibility that consciousness may exist by itself, even in the absence of matter,” in the words of one incredibly intelligent Russian, possibly lending scientific validity to the reality of that transcendent mind, or whatever you wish to call it. It seems more and more evident to me that fear is the only thing holding us back.

“There are experiments that have been done on the timing of consciousness, and they seem to lead to a very odd picture, which doesn’t even quite make consistent sense. Whether refinement of these experiments might get rid of this kind of anomaly I’m not sure, but it does look a little as though there is something very odd about consciousness, as though the future affects the past in some way.

“And there’s no reason to believe that one’s conscious experience shouldn’t be part of somebody else’s at some other stage. I don’t know if it’s fair to say what happens after one dies, but it’s a plausible picture that you could be somebody else, and that somebody else could be somebody that lived in the past, not the future.”

-Sir Roger Penrose, University of Oxford mathematical physicist, A Brief History of Time (1991)

In fact, due to some “spooky stories” as well as other scientific evidence by researchers such as Stevenson (he lists three compilations of evidence in the bibliography to his 2004 book The End of Faith), the figurehead for American reason himself has acknowledged that “there may be some credible evidence” for a reincarnating soul. Sam Harris admits that he is especially intrigued by xenoglossy, when young children—often under hypnosis—begin speaking languages they do not normally consciously understand.

“When a kid starts speaking Bengali,” the atheist explains, “we have no idea scientifically what’s going on.” Again, we must be bold enough to look beneath the ego if we are to ever find a sufficient answer. We must legitimately consider the need to shift our paradigm towards the direction of idealism or panpsychism, hence recognizing the intrinsic significance of mind, which would naturally account for such anomalies.

It’s not as if famous skeptics Sam Harris and Carl Sagan are staunch advocates for reincarnation, or even necessarily believe in it (Harris, at least to crowds of other atheists, admits an agnostic view pessimistic of such possibilities); it’s just that a good skeptic must be open-minded, and genuinely consider “opposing” scientific evidence when there is so much of it. As the neuroscientist concedes: “I certainly don’t say that I’m confident that psychic phenomena exist. I’m open-minded. I would just like to see the data.”

More importantly: “I’m not pretending to know that you get a dial tone after death. I don’t know what happens after the physical brain dies. I don’t know what the relationship between consciousness and the physical world is. I don’t think anyone does know.”

This is in stark opposition to the other atheist figureheads I hear who speak so dogmatically about consciousness and the brain, illogically asserting that the materialist paradigm can give the answers to everything, even subjective consciousness! (In the case of Daniel Dennett, it’s closer to literally denying the existence of subjective consciousness than “explaining” anything.) This is the central issue with organized skeptic societies, whose irrational rejection of experiential evidence—anything that can’t be observed or measured to agree with materialism—precludes them from a plethora of invaluable insight.

But if you are reading this right now, from that metaphysical movie inside of your head, chances are that you are more than just a biological machine, barred of free will. Your awareness of self is more than just an evolutionary illusion. And that intelligent observer behind those eyes, producing this motion picture, cannot reasonably be any inert matter; rather, it is consciousness—and THAT is what you are.

“One of the problems in discussing consciousness scientifically is that consciousness is irreducibly subjective. Consciousness is what it’s like to be you. If there’s an experiential, internal, qualitative dimension to any physical system, then that is consciousness. And we cannot reduce the experiential side to talk about information processing and neurotransmitters and states of the brain . . . because all you can do is correlate experiential changes with changes in brain states.

“. . . So the hope that we’re going to talk about consciousness shorn of any kind of qualitative, internal, experiential language I think is a false one. . . . Now it’s possible to lose this [sense of center]. If you want to take seriously the project of being like Jesus or Buddha, self-transcendence really is at the core. It’s a real experience . . . and while it doesn’t make religious dogmas any more plausible, it does tell you something about the nature of human consciousness.

“. . . These experiences do entitle you to talk about [that nature], and it just so happens that this experience of self transcendence does link up with what we know about the mind through neuroscience to form a plausible connection between science and classic mysticism or spirituality.”

-Sam Harris, PhD neuroscientist & famous skeptic, “The Self is an Illusion,” Big Think (2014)

I just wish more big-name skeptics had the mindset of Harris—especially in the age of quantum ambiguity—self-aware of their own arrogant dogma and self-limiting illusions they insist to carry with them through their entire lives, never once bothering to see from the other side. Well, perhaps they should meditate more, comprehending the miracle that they are, instead of criticizing others who have had first-hand experience they will hence never have for themselves.

Because as the neuroscientist rightfully claims: These subjective experiences of transcendencedo entitle you to talk about the nature of human consciousness” in a much truer sense than by any materialist reductionist methodology, but only if you’re willing to look within. We cannot reduce everything to simple brain correlations, in what I must stress again is an incredibly slim shadow of what we can consciously perceive.

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Only a shadow of a larger reality.

Unfortunately, the mere fact that such a “reasonable” scientist as Sam Harris is following the guidelines of his profession, and exhibiting curiosity with regard to such phenomena, has caused quite a stir by those atheist materialists who cannot bear to have their faith questioned by one of their own leaders. These insufferable “intellectuals” who narrow-mindedly misinterpret what spirituality really is, and its true relationship with contemporary science, would prefer Harris to be excommunicated from the atheist community for suggesting such a harmonious accord.

Well, that’s their problem. So go on, think for yourself, no matter what the final verdict; there is no need to linger in the past, among the sheep mistaken for wolves.

There exists a widespread view that regards science and religion in general as incompatible. Let me therefore point out, first of all, that this belief may have been true half a century ago but has now lost its validity as may be seen by any one who reads the philosophical writings of the most distinguished and creative physicists of the last five decades. I am referring here to men like Einstein, Bohr, Heisenberg, Schrödinger, Dirac, Wigner, and many others.

“. . . The theory of knowledge, the epistemology I have formulated here, applies to physics, chemistry, biology, and their combinations . . . It does lead to all the laws of nature but does not account for their origin. They surely could not have developed by chance or accident. . . . What is the origin to the laws of nature? For this I can only find one convincing answer.

“. . . I call Him ‘the Universal Mind‘ and suggest that every human soul is a part of God in the highly specialized sense of modern quantum physics and in the sense understood by the great mystics.

-Henry Margenau, late Professor Emeritus of Physics (Yale University), Cosmos, Bios, Theos (1992)

And while I agree with Harris on many key points, I do not think it to be productive to simply stall in agnosticism, as he seems to be advocating. Rather, I believe that we can find out a whole lot more about the nature of existence than he concedes, just by turning within (more on this in part 3), along with the infinitude of subjective experience. Be your own scientist!

The late Yale Physics Professor Henry Margenau eloquently sums up my ultimate thesis for this piece: The belief that (open-minded) science and (unadulterated) religion are incompatible has undoubtedly lost all validity, for the “one convincing answer” to the origin of the laws of nature is a Universal Mind, from which “every human soul is a part of . . . in the highly specialized sense of modern quantum physics and in the sense understood by the great mystics.”

It is ironic to me, yet also inevitable, that science will someday arrive at the very antithesis of atheism, divided by quantum lines—God is not nowhere; God (consciousness) is everywhere!

In the aforementioned words of Wigner: “it will remain remarkable . . . that the very study of the external world led to the conclusion that the content of the consciousness is an ultimate reality.” Thus, consciousness or “God” is behind all matter; this is where the notion of pantheism or panpsychism stems from (more than simply “sexed-up atheism”), but what philosophers since George Berkeley have called philosophical idealism.

Surely, perceiving reality from this regard enacts a concordant, harmonious liberation of physics, philosophy and theology all at the same time.

“I incline to the idealistic theory that consciousness is fundamental, and that the material universe is derivative from consciousness, not consciousness from the material universe. . . . In general the universe seems to me to be nearer to a great thought than to a great machine. It may well be, it seems to me, that each individual consciousness ought to be compared to a brain-cell in a universal mind. What remains is in any case very different from the full-blooded matter and the forbidding materialism of the Victorian scientist.

His objective and material universe is proved to consist of little more than constructs of our own minds. To this extent, then, modern physics has moved in the direction of philosophic idealism. Mind and matter, if not proved to be of similar nature, are at least found to be ingredients of one single system.”

-Sir James Jeans, pioneer of quantum theory, while addressing the British Association in 1934

Likewise, when asked about the relationship between science and religion, MIT Physics Professor Ulrich J. Becker responded: “Not one of conflict. There is no room for human arrogance or intolerance in this relation. At all times scientists should be aware of the incompleteness of their knowledge and attempts, as just the greatest among them were.” Alas, it is only the extreme hubris of humanity throughout our history that has led to such close-minded conflict that different perspectives cannot coexist.

Certainly, even as the father of modern skepticism implied, we must exhibit humility, opening our eyes to see that science and true religiosity are intimately intertwined. In his novel Contact, Carl Sagan states that the most personally religious feeling one can experience is one of numinous, or a deep-seated spiritual awe and wonder that can be aroused in the presence of the vastness of the cosmos and Nature itself.

Coming with this is a sublime bliss at the mere notion that we are here, and we are alive, through an unintelligible marvel of self-awareness! For we are in each of us a way for the cosmos to know itself.

Indeed, life is very much like a personal dream, or an inner motion picture, staring you and directed by you. That is pretty damn special; don’t let anyone ever diminish the significance of your self-awareness. It just might be the things we all take for granted that end up being the underlying stuff of the Universe.

More than ever in physics, we need scientific heretics; more than blind conformity, we need creativity and originality—preferably, those in tune with the cosmic religiosity of the greatest visionaries of our time. To repeat again the words of John Wheeler: “The world is a crazy place. But we have to be crazy enough to see what that way is if we’re really going to understand the physical world.”

“I’m a scientific materialist at heart. I want a scientific theory of consciousness that works. And for a long time, I banged my head against the wall looking for a theory of consciousness in purely physical terms that would work. But I eventually came to the conclusion that that just didn’t work, for systematic reasons.

“. . . Faced with an anomaly like this, radical ideas may be needed. I think that we initially need one or two ideas that initially seem crazy, before we can come to grips with consciousness scientifically. . . . The first crazy idea is that consciousness is fundamental. . . . If you can’t explain consciousness in terms of the existing fundamentals, then as a matter of logic, you need to expand to list.

“. . . The second crazy idea is that consciousness is universal. Every system might have some degree of consciousness. This view is sometimes called panpsychism. . . . The panpsychist view has a chance to transfigure our relationship to Nature. . . . Understanding consciousness is a real key both to understanding the universe and to understanding ourselves.”

-David Chalmers, PhD Philosopher & Cognitive Scientist, “How do you explain consciousness?,” TED (2014)

And I’m lucky enough to be quite crazy 😉 . . . Are you?

Although some of this might be “out there” for many people (just you wait), I am simply attempting to demonstrate the possible validity of many of these spiritual concepts, solely arguing for what I believe is rational and scientific. Describing the Universe from a purely mechanistic point of view, while ignoring a quite evident mental component from both experimental and experiential levels, may very well lead to a cosmological model that is flawed and incomplete. As Andrei Linde put it, it is highly probable that we will find “the study of the universe and the study of consciousness [to be] inseparably linked, and that ultimate progress in the one will be impossible without progress in the other.”

We need to account for mind—for subjectivity—for an inner, spiritual identity. We need to understand that consciousness “may have some independent importance,” intrinsic in everything. And if this is the case, then logically speaking, we would not expect consciousness to end at death. We would expect it to continue on, as the findings of Stevenson and many others tell us, invalidating this outdated mechanistic worldview. The body may live and die, but it comes to be again.

If this is the case, that consciousness is fundamental in nature, we may very well arrive at a definitive scientific proof of a form of Universal God.

Coming Back To Ourselves

“You should let yourself be carried away, like the clouds in the sky. You shouldn’t resist. God exists in your destiny just as much as he does in these mountains and in that lake. It is very difficult to understand this, because man is moving further and further away from Nature, and also from himself . . . ”

-Hermann Hesse, as quoted in C.G. Jung and Hermann Hesse: A Record of Two Friendships (Serrano, 1966)

There lies a seed in each and every human being, carrying with it the source of divine identity, and the blueprint for its ultimate destiny.

In order to grow, we must nurture this seed with acts of compassion, meditation, and spiritual wisdom. No amount of scientific knowledge will help you in this regard, for even if knowledge can be imparted, wisdom must be experienced; wisdom must be livedThis is what is said by all the greatest mystics.

So even with the advances in quantum physics, the wisdom traditions of our ancestors should not be undervalued, and labeled as only fantasy. In fact, some of the most ingenious scientists of the past century—such as Schrödinger, Pauli, Heisenberg, Bohm and Wigner—have openly conceded a coming to terms with the fact that science is only now catching up to the teachings of men millennia ago. Indeed, the striking similarities between quantum theory and Eastern mysticism have been well-documented, and the legitimacy of mysticism’s place in physics is still being debated.

A great unification is now taking place between science and spirituality. The most advanced discoveries of modern science are rising to reaffirm the timeless wisdom of the great religious and spiritual traditions of every culture.”

-John Hagelin, Harvard PhD quantum physicist, “Natural Law: An Interview with John Hagelin,” The Edge (2004)

For Werner Heisenberg, an apparently devout Christian, these “crazy ideas” of quantum theory suddenly started to make more sense once he lectured in India in the presence of Bengali polymath Rabindranath Tagore, sparking conversations of parallels between modern physics and Indian philosophy. “Quantum theory will not look ridiculous to people who have read Vedanta,” he is quoted as saying.

Yet even the agnostic Niels Bohr, who was ostensibly resistant to grant consciousness an independent role in quantum theory, seemed surprisingly sympathetic to these Eastern-inspired philosophies, affirming that we must never ignore “that kind of epistemological problems with which already thinkers like Buddha and Lao Tse have been confronted, when trying to harmonize our position as spectators and actors in the great drama of existence.”

This humble mindset of attempting to harmonize with other branches is one we desperately need more of, and has inspired popular books such as The Tao of Physics by Austrian PhD physicist Fritjof Capra. We are all on this Earth together attempting to make sense out of a strange existence, but we must transcend this senseless “black-and-white thinking” pervaded everywhere in our society in order to do so, progressing to a perfect balance between distinct lines of thought.

Said the Dalai Lama back in 2013, following scientific presentations and decades of personal study, “Broadly speaking, although there are some differences, I think Buddhist philosophy and Quantum Mechanics can shake hands on their view of the world.”

“The most important characteristic of the Eastern world view—one could almost say the essence of it—is the awareness of the unity and mutual interrelation of all things and events, the experience of all phenomena in the world as manifestations of a basic oneness. All things are seen as interdependent and inseparable parts of this cosmic whole; as different manifestations of the same ultimate reality.

“. . . Quantum theory [also] reveals a basic oneness of the universe. It shows that we cannot decompose the world into independently existing smallest units. As we penetrate into matter, nature does not show us any isolated ‘basic building blocks’, but rather appears as a complicated web of relations between the various parts of the whole. These relations always include the observer in an essential way. The human observer constitute the final link in the chain of observational processes, and the properties of any atomic object can be understood only in terms of the object’s interaction with the observer.”

-Fritjof Capra, University of Vienna PhD physicist, The Tao of Physics (1975)

Certainly, it may say something that spiritual doctrines such as reincarnation have been widely accepted across many distinct cultures throughout human history, including Ancient Egypt, Indigenous Americas and Australia, several tribes of East and West Africa, the Indus Valley, Mesopotamia, all over East Asia, and within revered schools of Ancient Greece and Rome from the Pythagoreans to the Neoplatonists.

Though its importance in Eastern religion needs no explanation, at certain points, the belief in reincarnation was even accepted among the monotheistic West, especially within the Jewish Kabbalistic tradition, certain Islamic sects, as well as original, Gnostic Christianity, before the imperial might of the Roman military hijacked the religion, eradicated the belief, and edited out this secret teaching of Jesus.

Perhaps they did this deliberately, for the danger for institutions in the business of control is the realization of the potency, freedom, and immortality of the human soul. This is what the Gnostics realized—that every human being can directly obtain divine knowledge through an intimate relationship with God, and that this true, spiritual divinity desires salvation for every soul within its grasp. It is no wonder these genuine Christians were labeled as heretics, violently persecuted by power-hungry men wishing to reduce the awareness of the populace, and take away the truth of being born again.

What Gnostic Christianity, as well as forms of Buddhism, Taoism, Vedantic Hinduism and Greek Stoicism get right is by positing not a personal God, but a Universal Mind (or Tao, Brahman, etc) that binds all things. To this all-encompassing God we are each eternally connected, and can consciously experience to some degree. As previously explained, this is exactly what Nobel Prize-winning physicists Max Planck and Erwin Schrödinger—who was himself a huge fan of the Vedas—presume based on quantum theory; we are but subjective expressions of the one divine soul or mind.

“There is no kind of framework within which we can find consciousness in the plural; this is simply something we construct because of the temporal plurality of individuals, but it is a false construction. . . . The only solution to this conflict insofar as any is available to us at all lies in the ancient wisdom of the Upanishad.

“. . . Vedanta teaches that consciousness is singular, all happenings are played out in one universal consciousness and there is no multiplicity of selves.

-Erwin Schrödinger, father of quantum theory, My View of the World (1961)

“The mystical experience of the union with God regularly leads to this view,” the revered Austrian physicist has further attested, “unless strong prejudices stand in the way”

Indeed, the purest forms of religion are the ones that grant the divine right of power to the populace, as well as intuitive practices to nurture our inner spiritual wisdom. It would be foolish to believe that sacred texts such as the Vedas and Tao Te Ching had no truth to them, and our modern methods are the only way of knowing. Clearly, the technological advancements of a society are in no way a measure of inner wisdom.

It goes without saying that something is not right in Western culture, and radical ideas may be needed. We most hope for our modern thinkers and leaders, as clever as they are, to someday arrive back at the wisdom of the mystics.

19th century philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer was among the first to help spread these Eastern philosophies to the modern West. Although famous for what many would call “atheism,” he saw reincarnation as a belief so widespread that there must be some truth to it, one much more intuitive than the depressingly dichotomous Biblical afterlife.

With his Buddhist-influenced monistic philosophy, Schopenhauer was hesitant to claim that there is one static underlying identity that reincarnates—one concrete “soul”—but rather that the Universe recycles itself into other forms. As such, the animal rights-defending philosopher believed all sentient life are subjective manifestations of the one metaphysical will, a harmonious order of nature visible only in short glimpses to our feeble intellect. Accordingly, killing others was akin to killing yourself.

Schopenhauer once wrote of reincarnation, “Were an Asiatic to ask me for a definition of Europe, I should be forced to answer him: It is that part of the world which is haunted by the incredible delusion that man was created out of nothing, and that his present birth is his first entrance into life.”

His “heretical” spiritual views are later described by another incredibly intelligent German:

“The individual feels the futility of human desires and aims and the sublimity and marvelous order which reveal themselves both in nature and in the world of thought. Individual existence impresses him as a sort of prison and he wants to experience the universe as a single significant whole. The beginnings of cosmic religious feeling already appear at an early stage of development . . . Buddhism, as we have learned especially from the wonderful writings of Schopenhauer, contains a much stronger element of this.

“The religious geniuses of all ages have been distinguished by this kind of religious feeling, which knows no dogma and no God conceived in man’s image . . . Hence it is precisely among the heretics of every age that we find men who were filled with this highest kind of religious feeling and were in many cases regarded by their contemporaries as atheists, sometimes also as saints. Looked at in this light, men like Democritus, Francis of Assisi, and Spinoza are closely akin to one another.

“How can cosmic religious feeling be communicated from one person to another, if it can give rise to no definite notion of a God and no theology? In my view, it is the most important function of art and science to awaken this feeling and keep it alive in those who are receptive to it.

-Albert Einstein, really smart man, “Religion and Science,” New York Times (1930)

Ironically, many of these philosophers who were considered atheists and heretics—such as Schopenhauer, Spinoza, and even Einstein—seem to be closest to this pantheistic, “cosmic religiosity” that is most in line with true spirituality.

More recent depictions of reincarnation within Western culture include that of English philosopher Alan Watts, albeit with a much more optimistic view of humanity than the morbidly depressing Schopenhauer. With inspiring speeches, Watts presented his followers with a Hindu-influenced philosophy that we are all incarnated expressions of a single being, playing a cosmic game of “hide and seek.” Trapped in a cycle of being born again, we lose ourselves just to find within, and behind the eyes of others—we are but different bits of the cosmic whole; the “self” or ego is an illusion.

“You, yourself, are the eternal energy which appears as this universe,” Watts says of each of us. “You didn’t come into this world; you came out of it. Like a wave from the ocean.”

This is why belief in some sort of reincarnation has become increasingly widespread in Western society—fairly popular even among American Christians! Probably much of this is due to first-hand encounters with the wisdom of many young children, who treat past lives like a given. So don’t succumb to the incredible delusion that this is your first and last entrance into this world, or that the only acceptable “afterlife” is one of judgment.

More importantly, don’t succumb to the delusion that this is all there is to your being, with nothing beyond the confines of your skin. For if every soul is a divine seed—a thought in the mind of God—then within every soul lies the potential for full self-actualization. Let the seed grow, and guide you back to who and what you really are.

Finally, even if young children are typically less conditioned by societal ignorance, there is still memory to find within—always. It just takes a great deal of internal meditation to bring without.

We uncover these memories in part 3, coming soon.


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