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Better Understanding Consciousness

Posted by Roberta Grimes • June 22, 2019 • 26 Comments
Quantum Physics, Understanding Reality

Watching mainstream science’s creaking and increasingly decrepit attempts to find a source of consciousness in the brain would be amusing, if it were not so sad. As recently as a decade ago, scientists still remained confident that since the brain must generate consciousness, of course that mechanism soon would be found; more and more now, though, the scientific community has begun to see that the answer to what they call “the hard problem” very sadly might forever elude them, just as the undeniable connection between quantum physics and the actions of the human mind may be forever a puzzlement. Oh, they still insist that the brain must somehow generate consciousness! But the smartest of them are coming to see that they may never figure out quite how it happens. Insofar as I have been able to determine, there still is no mainstream scientific theory that makes consciousness the ground of reality.

This fact is in itself astonishing! The idea that consciousness predates matter is not new. In fact, some of the greatest scientists of the past century have known or suspected that consciousness had to be primary. For example, Max Planck won the 1918 Nobel Prize in Physics as the father of quantum mechanics. In 1931 Dr. Planck said, ”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.” He said in 1944, “As a man who has devoted his whole life to the most clear headed science, to the study of matter, I can tell you as a result of my research about atoms this much: There is no matter as such. All matter originates and exists only by virtue of a force which brings the particle 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.”

Albert Einstein, another Nobel laureate, never was quite so blunt as Dr. Planck, but apparently he had the same suspicions. For example, he said, “Our experience of separation may be an illusion of consciousness.” And, “The world as we have created it is a process of our thinking. It cannot be changed without changing our thinking.” Physicist Sir James Jeans simply said, “The universe begins to look more like a great thought than a great machine.”

The problem is that science is not the open-minded search for the truth that we so fondly wish it were. More than a century ago, the mainstream scientific gatekeepers – the university departments and the peer-reviewed journals – decided to make materialism a “core scientific dogma” in order to protect what they saw as the broad field of pure inquiry from the corrupting influence of religion, and to insulate scientists from any obligation to investigate the flood of good communications from the dead that were then being received. Those long-ago gatekeepers’ intentions seem to have been honorable when they took this step; but the plain fact is that anything based on a dogma is a belief-system, by definition. And a belief-system, be it religious or secular, will gradually become a fly in amber, insulated from new ideas that might potentially violate its dogmas and therefore more and more completely wrong.

Most honest scientists have long since come to see that materialism is a blind alley. In fact, even matter itself is not material in the sense of being actually solid! But with a century of scientific effort on the books that was largely based on a dead-end dogma, it is very hard for our scientific gatekeepers to pull an Emily Litella now and just say cheerily, “Never mind!”

Although most scientists cannot yet admit it, the best of them know that the jig is up. It has gotten to the point where almost the only ones defending materialism any more are sad and entirely closed-minded workhorses like Richard Dawkins, just old polemicists who have devoted their lives to defending materialism and are at this point reduced to trying to debunk bits of the tidal wave of contrary evidence that now engulfs them. Here is what the great Rupert Sheldrake has to say about one of his encounters with Dawkins.

Fortunately, there are some wonderful young scientists already working to put together humankind’s glorious post-dogmas future! The most promising of these is Bernardo Kastrup, a Dutch Ph.D. computer scientist with a specialty in artificial intelligence who is doing some amazing work. Four years ago, still in his thirties, he came up with a preliminary consciousness-based theory of everything. Then on April 29, 2019, Dr. Kastrup was awarded a second Ph.D., this one in the philosophy of mind and ontology. His new degree was awarded by no less than Radboud University, which is arguably the best classical university in the Netherlands. Bernardo’s thesis is a companion volume to his recent book, The Idea of the World: A Multi-Disciplinary Argument For the Mental Nature of Reality. And fortunately for us, his P.D. defense was in English, now science’s lingua franca. It’s technical, but it is spellbinding. Enjoy!

The greatest living scientist in this field is in fact not a traditional scientist. I first met Dr. R. Craig Hogan in 2008, when his wonderful book, Your Eternal Self, was just out; and I was so bowled over by his work that I invited him to Austin and sponsored his presentation in a substantial venue. We have become good friends, and he has been my guest on Seek Reality twenty-six times in the past six years. Amazingly, Craig is so natively brilliant, so expert in so many areas, that we have discussed something different in every one of those twenty-six Seek Reality interviews! Here is a lovely series of videos by Craig which demonstrate (a) that the mind is not inside the brain; (b) that the brain is unnecessary; and (c) that in fact there is nothing but mind and experience.

In fact, nothing else but consciousness exists. Our minds are part of that one consciousness, not as separate bits but in one indivisible whole; and since this is true, our minds are eternal. We cannot say this often enough! Your mind is where you always live, not only now but forevermore.

So the stranglehold that mainstream science has continued to hold on the truth about the primacy of consciousness is weakening, but it remains in place. And until trained scientists are free to study consciousness as more than the product of matter, they cannot be of much help to us in answering the most important questions. What is consciousness, anyway? How is it that consciousness brings forth reality? Since consciousness is all that exists, shouldn’t we try to better understand it? We won’t have definitive answers until we have the help of working physicists, but here is what the evidence indicates is true about whatever consciousness might be:

  • Consciousness is primary. As Max Planck noted a century ago, and as Bernardo Kastrup said as he defended his Ph.D. thesis this spring, we don’t need to look for a source of consciousness because it is primary. As Dr. Planck said, we cannot get behind it.
  • Consciousness is something like a form of energy. And like physical energies, it vibrates. It exists in a range of vibrations that we experience from fear at the slowest to love at the most rapid, and the higher its vibratory rate is, the more powerfully creative it is. At its highest vibration, the creative power of consciousness is apparently infinite.
  • Everything that we think of as real is not just created by consciousness, but in fact it is composed of consciousness. Rocks, trees, and every living thing: it is all consciousness. There is nothing else. Essentially, everything that we think exists is, as Dr. Jeans said, very much like part of a gigantic thought.
  • Consciousness has neither time nor space. In this, too, consciousness is like a thought. How big is a thought? How much time does it take?
  • Life is probably an aspect of consciousness. Another thing that frustrates scientists is the fact that, try as they might, they cannot figure out how life arose spontaneously from some primordial soup. The answer seems to be nothing more complicated than the fact that the soup itself was composed of consciousness, and life is consciousness, so the property of living was something inherent in that primordial soup itself.
  • All human minds are part of one consciousness, not as separate units but inextricably as one whole. This is the sort of thing that more advanced beings not in bodies would tell us not to puzzle over, since we won’t understand it until we return home and we again have access to our vast, eternal minds. For now, only know this is apparently true.

So then, what is consciousness? I will share with you again the best definition I have yet seen. Consciousness is an infinitely powerful and infinitely creative energy-like potentiality without size or form, alive in the sense that your mind is alive, highly emotional and therefore probably self-aware. That is not a scientific definition, but it will do until mainstream scientists begin to get a clue and can pitch in and help!

I hope you will take the time to watch all the videos linked above. In doing that, you will learn from an elder statesman so spiritually advanced that there are few at his level still living in a body. You will be privileged to meet, too, a brilliant young man who will be a leading contender for the eventual Nobel Prize to be awarded for a consciousness theory of everything. And in watching them, you will learn a lot more about consciousness than even the most illustrious working physicists could tell you now!

Roberta Grimes

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

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26 thoughts on “Better Understanding Consciousness

  1. Hi Roberta! Thanks as usual for this. I admire the work of all the researchers you mention here. In fact Rupert Sheldrake is one of the scientists whose work first got me taking another look at what non-religious “religions” were doing to modern thought.

    This entry may not seem as personal on the surface as some of your other more recent ones, but for me it is because it points to a lot of the early experiences I had in terms of realizing we don’t need to make a “choice” between God and “reality.” And in fact much valuable work is being done by people who seek instead a middle way!

    I once heard a scientist say that reality will be what it is regardless of what we believe. Ain’t it the truth!😉

    1. Dear Mike, I realize that talking about consciousness now may seem to be something of a departure, but if we are to grow spiritually it is important for us to deeply understand what spiritual growth actually is. Among the many failings of religions is the fact that they make no effort to ground their doctrines in what people see as real. And moderns are too smart to fall for that anymore! Superstitious fears ever were really the only hold that religions had on us, and as they lessen now, we want to know that spiritual truths have some intellectual grounding that can make sense in the reality we believe that we see. I so much wanted to share with you Dr. Kastrup’s and Dr. Hogan’s wonderful videos! And just as importantly, I want everyone to see that the truth can stand on its own. It makes sense. It has a grounding in physics that is so cutting-edge that even working physicists have not yet made sense of it!

  2. Roberta thanks for clarifying the deeper truth that bias militant atheistic naturalism seems offended by because of extreme religious overtones in the God debates. Maybe one day a non religious theist could challenge these mindsets in a public debate. What do you think about a spiritualist/theist that’s able to synthesize spiritual principles in a debate?

    1. Dear Tony, of course watching a religious Christian try to debate an atheist is like watching a religious Christian fight those ancient Roman lions in the arena: he has no weapon beyond his superstitions and fears, and none of that can take him very far.

      I used to think that the only way to fight atheism is to first agree with it. You’re right, Mr. atheist! There is no God in the sense that any religion has posited a God. Instead, there is something infinitely better: there is the simple fact that nothing else exists except infinitely powerful, infinitely creative, and infinitely loving Consciousness. To me, that ends the debate right there!

      But I have had that debate on an individual level. I know from experience that there is really nothing an atheist can say to it, so instead they simply insist that therefore they have won because I have conceded their point. No God. They were interested only in fighting smug Christian beliefs, and so am I! When I would press on to make the point that Christianity is wrong but Jesus is right, they treated that as a new discussion that didn’t really interest them, except that I was providing another nail for the Christian coffin.

      With Thomas’s help, I have come to see that the only place this battle can be fought and won is quite literally heart-by-heart. Those not in bodies have done yeoman’s work in helping the Western world to move beyond superstitions while leaving intact people’s desperate spiritual hunger. So now we follow Jesus. We pick up those thousands of loaves and fishes of truth that He has given to us, and we fight neither science nor Christianity, but we simply feed the world’s spiritual hunger. Unlike the early missionaries, who drummed “salvation” down people’s throats at the point of a sword, or the Medieval clerics who did it with fire and the rack, we simply share the truth and trust Jesus to do the rest.

  3. Before the twin dogmas of materialism and specialization set in, and prior to the publication of Darwin’s theory of evolution, the entire world recognized in Alexander Von Humboldt the greatest scientist of the world, and of the age. Even Napoleon was jealous of Humboldt’s global fame, which far eclipsed his own. Everyone who was anyone was influenced by Humboldt, from Jefferson to Goethe. Humboldt was the first scientist to deeply understand, and map, the interconnectivity of all biological processes on Earth. Had his precocious insights been adopted by scientists of the succeeding generation, humanity would not be in the dire straits we find ourselves in today. But, of course, the opposite occurred. Humboldt also held that in order to truly know anything that we study objectively, the internal, aesthetic reaction that the object arouses in our minds must be included. Its aesthetic and emotive qualities are intrinsic components of the actual nature of that object, essential parts of its “knowability”. This one point should be of particular interest to afterlife researchers, as in the worlds to come, objects are perceived and experienced far more through the heart and the imagination than through the intellect.
    More recently, Dr. Konstantin Korotkov in Russia has invented the Gas Discharge Visualization camera, which gives us real-life images not only of the interactive fields of consciousnessness linking humans with each other and with the environment, but even objective images of the soul departing the body at the moment of death. The reason such advanced scientific research can be accomplished in Russia is partly because no money is involved, and the work is driven purely by the love of knowledge, not by the carrot of corporate benefits and academic agendas. Here in the US, Dr. Bob Lanza has come up with the theory of Biocentrism which postulates that it is Life itself (or cosmic consciousness) which drives biology, and such consciousness continues after physical death. And in music, there is Estas Tonne, whose amazing sounds are able to transport the human mind back into unbroken source of of life, which is love , adventure, exploration of the unknown, and complete interconnection between everything. I have found in my own medical work that consciousness fields are the ultimate medium for treating the person, and this can be performed irrespective of spatial distances. We do now know that the past can be acted upon retroactively from the present, so it would be very interesting to see whether we could, by focused mental work, develop the collective capability to retro-actively modify some wrong turnings humanity has made in our recent past .

    1. Dear Nicholas, this is wonderful! Thank you for sharing it here! And your point that it is money that fuels materialist science is a wonderful one. Those fighting both religions and afterlife researchers hardest are the corporate interests, the drug manufacturers and companies of every other stripe whose interests could be adversely affected by having physicists working on a theory that consciousness is primary. That discovery is then going to lead in directions that could be very negative for many of them, so they are rigorously keeping its pursuit from happening by funding all this consciousness-arises-from-matter research at which working scientists are being well funded so they still sadly waste their careers!

      But no amount of funding can hold back the sea forever. Please keep speaking out, dear Nicholas! Each day and each further bit of basic wisdom shared brings closer the moment when what nobody knows on the first day of some year becomes what is everyday and obvious common sense before the last day of it. Each of us in our separate and mutually supportive ways is helping to build what will one day soon be seen as such an obvious core truth that of course we have known it all along….

  4. Wow, thanks for the information, Nicholas. Dr. Koratkov should be known all over the world for his findings, but that doesn’t seem to be the case. People are so reluctant to leave their comfortable belief systems. On his website, people are debunking him despite ever seeing his photos or reading much about his work!

    1. Yes Lola,
      Those of us working in this field are always susceptible to attacks and misinformation generated by debunkers. Roberta has written scathingly about such behavior so I need add nothing on that subject. Korotkov’s findings regarding the nature of biofields mirror my own. There are very complex fields surrounding organisms that overlap and interweave. Such fields also interconnect different species and elements (eg. humans and plants, or humans and bodies of water) in a sort of “ecology” of consciousness. The flow back and forth of love and attention will occur if we remember we are a part of creation, not its owners. Our potential as human beings to solve our self-generated problems relies entirely upon a spiritual remembering. This remembering can then give rise to greatly enhanced faculties in the human mind. It is this upgrade in our innate faculties, not artificial intelligence, that we need to prioritize. It is happening now, in many parts of the world, but there remains incredible resistance, as you point out.

  5. We have to stop thinking we are superior to other life forms. The whole universe is consciousness, and we are simply a part of that. We need more people like Dr. Koratkov but unfortunately he is ahead of his time and very few will acknowledge his research. I have been studying shamanism, and it all sounds ridiculous unless you come to terms with the fact that everything is somehow connected and that nothing or no one is more important or superior to anything else.

    1. Oh, true, dear Lola, but realizing that we are not superior to other life forms on the physical level is actually the beginning of a still greater wisdom. This spiritual inter-connectedness helps to lead us to a deepening understanding that it is what we experience as human consciousness that lies beneath and perpetuates it all! Our minds are inextricably part of the very consciousness that perpetuates this universe and everything in it, the very consciousness which is all that exists. And the very afterlife which is our real life – the afterlife to which we each very soon will return – is at its top composed of what we increasingly suspect are perfected Beings of our same mind who are the Godhead, the Source of all. I am struggling to better understand this now, but one thing is ever clearer to me: indeed, human beings are uniquely divine! We are learning to respect the earth and its creatures, but that is in the end a part of the process of our ever greater spiritual development. More and more, the more I learn, this sings in my heart:

      “What is man that You take thought of him,
      And the son of man that You care for him?
      Yet You have made him a little lower than God,
      And You crown him with glory and majesty!
      You make him to rule over the works of Your hands;
      You have put all things under his feet,
      All sheep and oxen,
      And also the beasts of the field,
      The birds of the heavens and the fish of the sea,
      Whatever passes through the paths of the seas.
      O Lord, our Lord,
      How majestic is Your name in all the earth!”
      (Psalm 8:4-8)

  6. Thanks Roberta for this treasure trove of material, and now more from Nicholas. It may take a while for me to get through, but I’m loving getting my mind blown so far. I feel like I’m starting a college course in the physics of consciousness and the professor has quite a list of homework to do. At this point, I just wanted to say I enjoyed Bernardo Kastrup’s analogy of God or Creation being like a person with dissociative personality disorder. To me, it may be a disorder in a person, but in the case of God it is more like dissociative personality Divine Order. The possibilities for dividing (although as you say never really separate) and reintegrating are infinite. Order out of chaos.

    1. Dear Scott, I share your excitement that we can learn together from such beautiful minds, Dr. Hogan, Dr. Kastrup, and Dr. Nicholas! Each of us has a part to play in sharing what we know and in helping one another to better comprehend what is really an ultimate course in better understanding reality, and who and what we are!

      1. Hi Roberta. It is exciting. I hope you and Thomas will give us a bit of a breather on the academics in the next blog. I’ll still be catching up on everything that came up this time.🙂

  7. Heh. Dear Scott, thank you for acknowledging the fact that I am not the one driving this train! I have known for a couple of months that this post on consciousness was coming, so then it was time and Thomas got it all said, and now next week we will go back to talking about some of the teachings of Jesus. All of this is his idea, none of it is mine, and for certain the fact that I have had to do a new blog post every week for almost the past year has not been my idea! But he is right that what we will be saying next week really needs desperately to be said. Stay tuned….

    1. I am betting my own guide’s reputation that this week’s entry is a primer to understanding Jesus’ teaching from a contemporary perspective (although she may object to my putting her name on the line 😉).

      1. I don’t know, actually! I do think we need to understand the primary role of consciousness before we can make sense of the teachings of Jesus, and next week I think we will be building on that. But… who knows?

  8. Dearest Roberta,
    Wow. All this knowledge and then more. Thomas and your good self have pointed us to a treasury of the finest understanding that we may explore with a sense of wonder.

    Does even the absorption of this knowledge and it’s understanding, quicken our oneness with the Divine ?

    During a nearby dangerous flashpoint five days ago, I was faced with the prospect of bodily harm. This incident happened suddenly and without warning.

    What surprises me is the absence of fear while encountering the threat of violence from a neighbor, amid his domestic altercation with his lady. All ended without harm, yet I found myself calm throughout and able to help this lovely girl who was in actual danger.

    I only mention this incident (unexpected as it was) because I didn’t really believe that the external drama was ‘real’. The incident felt like live theatre, in a way. There was no fear. I realize that this sense of unreality has coincided with a growing sense that the Greater Reality has become much more real.
    Hence, things of the world have become less ‘believable’ and a sense of Spirit has become much more real and present.

    My consciousness is changing, even though I’m only aware of these changes at certain times. Much happens on the inside that I cannot pinpoint. Isn’t this interesting ?

    Therefore, as Thomas has recommended learning about consciousness right now, I know that to do this would help establish a spiritual foundation for further growth.

    And I’ve been remembering Rumi’s wise saying repeatedly today;

    “We are not a drop in the ocean.
    We are the entire ocean in a drop.”
    ❣️🙏🏼🌅

    1. I love it, dear Efrem! The entire ocean in a drop! That’s brilliant! And apparently it is also more true than even Rumi may have realized, since essentially he is saying that each of us is a hologram. And we are beginning to see that is apparently right! I can’t recommend David Talbot’s The Holographic Universe often enough – it is nearly three decades old now, and still it is up to the minute.

      I agree with your observation, too, that as you grow spiritually, fear drops away. I have been so struck by that fact, both in myself and in others! And this is just the beginning, dear Efrem. We have such a beautiful journey still to go….

      1. Bravo Efrem! You vibrated away from fear and towards selfless love, and that calm loving-kindness saved the day. Thank God things de-escalated. This is a perfect real life example of the question I have posed previously. What if things went the other way and, despite your use of the principles taught by Jesus, the lovely lady was still actually attacked, perhaps with deadly intent. It is a bit cliche, but what would Jesus do? I know love is always the answer. I’m just trying to picture the practical application of that truth in this hypothetical situation. From what Roberta has said, we may be getting into some of that in the next blog.

        1. Thank you Scott,
          Your encouraging comment is much appreciated!

          As to, ‘What would Jesus do?’ if the above mentioned good lady had been attacked, has occurred to me too.

          Things nearly did get violent, only a slim chance of securing the frightened lady behind my doors, in the nick of time, did eventuate.

          I await Roberta’s possible comment on this type of thing, at some time in the future.

          To be honest, I would have fought should we have been cornered. (The raving spouse was triggered into rage by consuming pills and whiskey.)
          ‘Turn the other cheek,’ wouldn’t have been my next response.

          Thankfully, the lady herself is unharmed and all my neighbors are gentle, friendly people who remain very supportive of her.
          I am still amazed at the absence of fear on my part. 🙏🏼

          1. Thanks Efrem. For me, it is a good thought experiment, as I want to be ready and able to confidently and calmly “walk my talk,” no matter the circumstance.
            For you, it was more than just theoretical! It was real, even though it felt surreal. It was the heat of the moment, no time to mull things over. I’m not sure I could have stayed as calm.

          2. Dear Efrem, I think it’s wonderful that you stepped up and helped this woman who needed your protection!

            We are all different, though. And when this sort of situation has presented itself to me, I have found – and perhaps it’s partly a gender thing – that I seem to be unable to fight. I can’t. Early on in our more active relationship – I think it was about three years ago now – Thomas seems to have planned for me to step onto some larger stage almost right away, and he expected that I would catch flack for my beliefs. He actually told me then that I should get a pistol and learn how to use it in my own defense! Well, we bought the pistol. I took some lessons. But more and more, I realized that I never was going to be able to use it. So then I told him that if someone attacked me and wanted to kill me, then just make a little more room up there because I’ll be a-comin’ home a bit early.

            He accepted that. I don’t think it even surprised him much, but he seems to have changed a lot of things about the process of the roll-out of our work!

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