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Softening the Hard Problem

Posted by Roberta Grimes • May 19, 2018 • 21 Comments
Afterlife Research, Human Nature, The Source, Understanding Reality

Scientists call consciousness “the hard problem” because they have no idea where it comes from, and they have trouble even defining what it is. Scientific American has put out a special issue called “Innovations In: The Biggest Questions in Science,” which is a collection of articles on the state of play in modern scientific investigations of things like spacetime, dark matter, consciousness, and how life began. Incredibly, every one of these articles is full of abject nonsense! Scientists still really have no clue about any of these phenomena, and from brief glimpses of their state of play it isn’t hard to see why: in every case, assumptions are made that ground the question at hand in matter, and of course in every case these phenomenon do not arise from matter.

What they have to say about consciousness is typical. You won’t be able to read these sentences without wincing. “What is it about a highly excitable piece of brain matter that gives rise to consciousness? Once we can understand that, we hope to get closer to solving the more fundamental problem… What must happen in your brain for you to experience a toothache, for example? Must some nerve cells vibrate at some magical frequency? Do some special ‘consciousness neurons’ have to be activated? In which brain regions would these cells be located?” The authors slice-and-dice through the spinal cord and then the brain, and eventually they come to deduce that “… the sights, sounds and other sensations of life as we experience it are generated by regions within the posterior cortex. As far as we can tell, almost all conscious experiences have their origin there… Indeed, the abiding mystery is how and why any highly organized piece of active matter gives rise to conscious sensation. After all, the brain is like any other organ, subject to the same physical laws as the heart or the liver. What makes it different? What is it about the biophysics of a chunk of highly excitable brain matter that turns gray goo into the glorious surround sound and Technicolor that is the fabric of everyday experience?”

What, indeed? Well, nothing, actually. There are apparently two scientific theories of how consciousness might arise in the brain, both so absurd as to be not worth even mentioning to you now; although one of them does predict that “… a sophisticated simulation of a human brain running on a digital computer cannot be conscious—even if it can speak in a manner indistinguishable from a human being. Just as simulating the massive gravitational attraction of a black hole does not actually deform spacetime around the computer implementing the astrophysical code, programming for consciousness will never create a conscious computer.” Reading that does give us some small hope that perhaps the light of reason might be dawning; but then the next sentence plunges us back into darkness by adding, “Consciousness cannot be computed: it must be built into the structure of the system.”

Dear friends, none of this is science. It is blather meant to justify whatever salaries these people are being paid, so they can keep the grants coming for a little while longer. They so badly want their work to lead somewhere! But their century-old “fundamental scientific dogma” of materialism has them so hog-tied, even now, that if they are to pursue scientific careers they dare not even attempt to think freely.

The human brain does not generate consciousness. The brain isn’t even the “two-way radio in the head of a meat-robot” that I used to call it when I spoke publicly (that was always a good laugh-line). By now, researchers who consider pursuing the truth to be far more important than preserving that old materialist dogma are coming to realize that consciousness attaches to the entire body, and not just to the brain. Consciousness also is the body! In fact, consciousness is all that exists.

Dr. Max Planck is a very big deal among physicists. He won the 1918 Nobel Prize in physics as the father of quantum mechanics, but his much more important discovery has been entirely ignored for most of a century. As you know, he said in 1931, “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.” All the evidence suggests that he was perfectly right! What we experience as human consciousness is the base creative energy that continuously manifests this universe. Such a profound core insight, so simple, and now so ever more certainly true! But even nearly ninety years later, scientists continue to blunder in every direction but the right one.

Here is some of their recent materialist folly:

* They are trying to read memories from dead brains, thinking their doing that might somehow help them figure out where our memories are stored. In fact, the brain does hold short-term memories, like that number you are about to dial or what your spouse has just asked you to buy; but memories that are meant to be held for a longer term are established by a different process and are maintained in your larger consciousness. Even knowing that someone with a damaged hippocampus can no longer create short-term memories but is able to retrieve past longer-term memories seems to spur no scientific insights.

* They are trying to figure out how brain-chemicals make us human, and are “the origins of our rich cognitive abilities.” In fact, while we are in bodies we have access to as little as five percent of our vast, eternal minds, so we have much richer cognitive abilities without the brain and its chemicals than we have with them!

* They imagine that consciousness is awareness, and that babies might develop it at five months of age; but they also speculate that consciousness probably has to be more than just awareness. After all, so many of the things our bodies do happen pretty much automatically! This article is notable for what feels as you read it to be heartbreakingly close to an actual breakthrough: Consciousness may never arise—be it in babies, toddlers, children or adults—because it may always be there to begin with. For all we know, what arises is merely a metacognitive configuration of preexisting consciousness. If so, consciousness may be fundamental in nature—an inherent aspect of every mental process, not a property constituted or somehow generated by particular physical arrangements of the brain.” So near, and yet so far!

* The notion that preserving our brains will keep our minds alive past our physical death blunders on. Until recently, these transhumanist articles have been full of hope about how easily possible it soon will be – any minute now! – to make people immortal by preserving their brains in jars or uploading their minds into computers. These efforts seem less optimistic lately, but there are some very wealthy people funding the necessary studies. And scientists need to make a living! So even though now we begin to find articles about how horrifying it would be to spend eternity as an aware brain in a bottle on a shelf, these scientists continue to go through the motions.

Actually, Da Vinci Code novelist Dan Brown is closer to the truth than any scientist! He speculates that in the future “some form of global consciousness that we perceive and that becomes our divine” is going to become a satisfactory substitute for all our outmoded notions of God. He says, “Our need for that exterior god, that sits up there and judges us … will diminish and eventually disappear.” And he is almost right! What he and all the scientists still miss is the glorious fact that the “global consciousness” he imagines does indeed already exist, it always has existed, and it always will exist.

Eureka! It turns out the genuine God is still patiently waiting in the last place we’ll look….

Roberta Grimes

Roberta Grimes is an internationally recognized expert on death and the afterlife. Learn More

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21 thoughts on “Softening the Hard Problem

  1. By nature, education (PhD & JD), and experience (approx. 50 years in teaching and government and industrial research), I’m highly critical of what folks write, but I have to say that you are 100% right in everything you wrote here.

    Sad to say, your jaundiced view of our scientific community concerning the nature of consciousness is equally true for climatologists who first blamed “global warming” on industry, and then shifted to “climate change” when the data failed to validate the earlier claims:

    ” Dear friends, none of this is science. It is blather meant to justify whatever salaries these people are being paid, so they can keep the grants coming for a little while longer. They so badly want their work to lead somewhere! But their century-old “fundamental scientific dogma” of materialism has them so hog-tied, even now, that if they are to pursue scientific careers they dare not even attempt to think freely. ”

    So, this critique applies as well to all of science, and not just the nonsense purveyed about the nature of consciousness.

    Such irony that all of existence is made by God of God, and therefore inescapably possesses His very own consciousness. When first I read the many OBE reports that everything “on the other side” exhibited consciousness–grass, trees, water, rocks, as well as human spirit and angels– I thought that to be good evidence that the OBE was all about hallucination. However, I eventually realized the simple explanation that everything shares the consciousness of God, as that is all that really exists.

    1. I too agree with Roberta on the nature of consciousness. However, “climate change” is being caused by the accumulation of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere, which has been retaining heat (the greenhouse effect). Industry is one of the big sources of byproducts of burning fossil fuels. What you call it is irrelevant – “global warming” or “climate change.” The role human beings have played in creating this “climate change” must be recognized. The only ones at fault are those who are blinded by unmitigated greed, the ones who reap huge profits as the balance of nature is destroyed and the polar icecaps melt. It’s unfortunate that the right wing Christians are so sympathetic to “industry” and so unfeeling for the pristine landscape and wildlife that is slowly being destroyed as the CEO’s grow richer.

      1. Oh my. Dear Barbara, I almost didn’t approve your comment because I personally want nothing to do with the spiritual poison that is modern politics! But I realize that others may feel as you do, so I hope you and they won’t mind if I give this all a slightly different slant.

        Blessedly, I am now old. I can personally recall how in the sixties and seventies every possible calamity was about to descend: famine, severe overpopulation, the destruction of our forests and waterways (the Cuyahoga River once actually caught fire!), cataclysmic diseases, the end of abundant oil and resources, and so on and on. The next ice age was a big worry in the seventies: by now, the ice sheet was supposed to be advancing fast.

        But none of it happened. None of it. In fact, things are better now in this country where every one of those old alarms is concerned than they ever have been! When I was small, every city of any size in the United States announced its presence from a distance with the thick cloud of smog that always hung over it. I lived briefly in NYC in the late sixties, but I stayed for only months because I found the air to be un-breatheable. I even marched on the first Earth Day in Boston! I bought into every alarm there was, dear Barbara. I wrote articles then with titles like, “If You’re Not Part of the Solution, You’re Part of the Pollution.”

        But fifty years later, I must admit that instead of falling apart, things have gotten so much better! Where all the sixties and seventies environmental mega-alarms were concerned, not a single one of them ever came even remotely close to amounting to anything.

        Without this long experience with environmental alarmism, I might be more concerned about the climate. Of late, though, it is becoming ever clearer to me that this is probably yet another of those the-sky-is-falling situations in which our extremely myopic and short-term point of view is encouraging us to indulge in yet more of the fear that is the opposite of love, and is so prevalent in our society now that unless we will turn resolutely away from fear and toward more perfect love we are going to cause the very environmental problems that we are trying to prevent!

        Dear Barbara and everyone, the enemy is not “right wing Christians,” nor is it “CEOs,” nor is it climate-change alarmists. The enemy is fear, and fear is the only enemy! Love the Christians, the CEOs, and the climate-change alarmists. Love everyone, without distinction! As Jesus says, “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? If you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect” (MT 5:43-48). If enough of us will take this core teaching as seriously as it is meant to be taken, every reason for us to fear will dissipate forever like a mist, and the consciousness vibration of this planet will rise to the point where we will in fact bring the Kingdom of Heaven upon earth.

        If you want peace, work for justice. And if you want a perfect climate, then work to kill the very worst earthly pollutant of all, which is fear and negativity. Peace.

    2. Thank you, dear Jack – this is beautiful! It thrills me to know that more and more bright and educated people are coming to these same conclusions. At one time I felt so alone in these understandings! I vividly recall first realizing (perhaps a decade ago now) that the inevitable conclusion to be reached from Dr. Planck’s core understanding and from my decades of research must be that at some level, even rocks and water must possess some level of consciousness. And of course, that is certainly true in the afterlife realities: the “living water” that Jesus talks about in the Gospels is quite real there! (e.g. JN 4:10) And I recall reading about the possibility of our choosing an incarnation on a planet where the life is silica based, so the beings there move ve-e-ery slo-o-oly. Well, the rocks here move as well, and slowly. How can we be sure that they are not alive?

      “Everything shares the consciousness of God, as that is all that really exists” is true! I would add just that God is nothing like the nasty anthropomorphic God of Christianity’s old imaginings; but instead, God is perfectly loving and infinitely powerful Spirit. Jesus has been right all along!

    1. Yes, I agree, Chet! Time does not objectively exist, so there is only Now. Creation is not something that happened long ago, but it is being continuously manifested; and since our minds are part of the Consciousness that manifests reality, we have more power than we ever before have realized to make this next moment better than the last one was….

  2. One of David Ike’s books is:
    Infinite love is the only truth: Everything else is illusion.
    It is a spectacular book as are your Liberating Jesus and your The Fun of Dying
    Perhaps we could just say infinite conscious love is the creator and that is all there is. Of course this love is far beyond our comprehension as to what it actually is

    1. Thank you, William! Yes, of course, what you say is true: with our limited earth-minds it is really impossible for us to comprehend the perfect love of God. But the more we work to raise our personal vibration away from fear and toward more perfect love, the more we will at least begin to understand!

      1. Generally people say the opposite of love is hate. But the opposite is fear, from which easily derive hate and anger, to try to mask the fear.

  3. Jack Hiller, good reply. Attacking scientists will not win them over. “the consciousness of God, as that is all that really exists.” will/does win out.
    It is a good post, Roberta. Have been missing them.

    1. Oh my dear Jean, my goal is to publish a new post weekly. I do have plenty of material! But my life has been so taken up of late that when I can beat once a month I feel that I am doing well! I am drinking my wonderful life from a fire hose at this point ;-). But for you – and for some others who have requested it – I will try to move my frequency up to at least biweekly. Thank you for your comment!

  4. So, Roberta, what in your opinion does this mean in terms of an afterlife after people make a transition? I am in total agreement that consciousness does not arise from the brain and have no trouble understanding how this can affect our daily lives, but I can’t seem to fully understand how it would influence an afterlife where every single “earthly” law is so completely different.

    1. Thank you for commenting, dear Lola! If I understand your question, the best way I can answer it is to say that we choose to come to this benighted place in order to have something to push against, to have the opportunity to experience negativity so we can more resolutely learn to choose forgiveness and love in every situation. As we choose love, we raise our personal consciousness vibration, which helps to raise the consciousness vibration of the entire planet toward love and which also brings us back home again when we transition as much more spiritually advanced individuals. Do you want to be able to comfortably live for eternity in the highest vibrations of consciousness, where life is glorious beyond our earthly comprehension? Then choose love and forgiveness, no matter what happens! It all really is so simple.

  5. Hi, Roberta! I agree with your thoughts on the nature of consciousness and the need for love.

    We can love the “right-wing Christians” and the “CEOs” that are greedy, to the best of our human ability, and also point out the errors of their thinking and actions. That includes loving the materialist scientists, too, and criticize them as you often do in these blogs.

    I won’t get into the climate change debate of whether it’s man made, natural cycles of weather, or not occurring at all. That would be too lengthy and long winded.

    I’m about the same age as you and also recall participating in the first Earth Day. It’s true, some dire predictions back then didn’t happen. Like Paul Erlich’s “population explosion” that was suppose to overwhelm the planet by the 1990’s. But, many of the dire predictions were averted by enacting environmental regulations and protections.

    For instance, you mention smog. Well I live in Los Angeles and grew up here. By the 1960’s and 70’s the smog in L.A. and other California metropolitan areas was unbearable. So thick you could practically cut it with a knife. The situation was reversed by the California legislature passing strong car exhaust emissions standards. It took some years, but the smog problem was cleared by 90% or more.

    I suspect the New York City smog problem was solved in a similar fashion.

    Meantime, the present administration in Washington D.C. is deregulating many of our environmental protections. And, they’ve targeted the tough car emissions standards of California. That is being challenged and will play itself out in the courts.

    The protection of our water, air and soil is of vital importance to all of us here
    on earth-side reality.

    1. Thank you for your thoughts, Michael! You are right in saying that there have been some very helpful EPA regulations. No doubt about that! But many Americans would retort that the federal government in general has of late become unaccountable, out of control and steeped in cronyism. For example, the EPA’s auto emissions regulations – now mostly decades old – accomplished some smog miracles; but then, less than three years ago, the EPA triggered a crisis that turned the Animas River in Colorado a toxic orange. And no one seems to have been held accountable for that because the government protects its own.

      I have been thinking about this more of late, and I have come to believe that many of our political battles now – and most of the federal government’s heavy-handed excesses – could be avoided if we would simply return to following the Founders’ good-government vision, which much better balances the government’s naked power with the people’s sacred rights. But… what ever would be the chance of that??

  6. I haven’t had the chance to read the article, but I’ll venture to say anyway that there needs to be a certain amount of patience with these kinds of things in supposedly evidenced-based journals. It takes a lot of energy and effort to remain unaffected by the research being done outside one’s own experiment silos. It’s difficult to hold out on any front — philosophical or scientific or otherwise. It does seem that a younger generation of scientist and philosopher is conducting different experiments and coming to different conclusions. So the people who write these things are very tired and it’s easier to take the path of least resistance in their particular fields.

    Harder than the “hard problem” is the fact that the argument stating that the “brain creates consciousness” just doesn’t feel right to people living the experience. I have been reading a lot of Alan Watts, so bear with me, but I think it’s really difficult to talk about ineffable experience using common language — because the common languages gets so bogged down in connotations that make people nervous. If you call conciousness “God” then everyone feels very funny inside (to paraphrase Alan Watts) because the word has been so co-opted by so many different people for so many different reasons. But if you try to find other words that appeal to the more scientifically minded among us, they get equally nervous and can’t help but disagree. When people start to feel ready to understand, then they are ready to start talking about what at some level personal experience already tells us is true. Then we’ll be able to come up with the words we need to talk about all of this.

    1. Dear Mike, you bring up a point that very much interests me at the moment when you talk about the problem of our ever referring to Consciousness as “God.” Since Consciousness is the base creative force – since it is in fact the Creator – then calling it God doesn’t seem remiss; but, as you point out, the name of the Deity calls up all sorts of images in the minds of most moderns, many of them negative and all of them wrong. Judgment, anger, hell, and so on: none of that has anything to do with Consciousness!

      So for a long time I would not refer to the base creative force as God. I called it Source, or just Consciousness, or what-else-have-you. But all of that implies a kind of cold, impersonal energy, and a kind of started-it-and-left-it-to-grow kind of creation, all of which could not possibly be any further from the truth! The Consciousness that is the base creative force is made up of all Consciousness, so it is the most intimate and loving possible manifestation for each of us; and it exists out of time, so its loving creation is continuous.

      Still, it is God. It is the only God that actually exists, and it is infinitely more powerful, more loving, more perfect, and more wonderful in every way than any of the religious notions of God! If we don’t claim the name of God for the true creative force, then we leave this false anthropomorphic God hanging out there as a presence in too may people’s minds, troubling and worrying them and causing various forms of mischief. But if instead we at last claim the name of God for God, and patiently redefine God in people’s minds to cleanse God’s image at last of all the negativity that our religions have sullied it with, then we are solving both problems at once, aren’t we? We are giving fearful people a wonderful and glorious new understanding of the infinitely loving Godhead, and at the same time we are giving God back to Godself.

      1. On a related note, I used to get into arguments with people who called themselves atheists, especially when I was in graduate school where it was considered intellectual to be a “skeptic.” Later in my life, after trying to figure out what exactly they did believe, I realized the nature of God that they didn’t believe in wasn’t the nature of God I felt either. We just didn’t have a shared vocabulary that enabled us to realize that. They were still atheists, though, and it remained impossible to have a conversation with them because neither of us could communicate our perspectives to one another. Lately in my life I have come to realize that God does not need me to defend him (I still call God God and I say “him” out of convenience, because as you point out, all of the other names and descriptive words don’t work to describe the experience of the divine in our lives — obviously God is not “him” or “her” and certainly “it” doesn’t work…Maybe “they” is preferable, especially if we acknowledge the many manifestations of God, but that gets away from all being One), We are on a mission to live in a way that manifests God in a way that helps manifest divine love and possibility in the world. Still, the right words would be nice to have from time to time…

        1. The right words? Oh, yes!

          I write a little elsewhere and some conversations are stymied by folk using the same words to mean wholly different things, even though we come together in a shared interest in, and sometimes conviction about, survival and general spiritual issues.

          “…..separated by a common language.” indeed

    1. Hello Gary! Thank you for sharing these thoughts with your tribe, and I really will go and check it out!

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