The Hard Problem

Posted by Roberta Grimes • September 30, 2023 • 28 Comments
Afterlife Research, Death, Jesus, Quantum Physics, Understanding Reality

Spring was never waiting for us, dear.
It ran one step ahead as we followed in the dance,
Between the parted pages, and were pressed in love’s hot, fevered iron,
Like a striped pair of pants.
MacArthur’s Park is melting in the dark, all the sweet, green icing flowing down.
Someone left the cake out in the rain.
I don’t think that I can take it, ‘cause it took so long to bake it,
And I’ll never have that recipe again. Oh no!

I recall the yellow cotton dress foaming like a wave
On the ground around your knees.
The birds, like tender babies in your hands,
And the old men playing checkers by the trees.
MacArthur’s Park is melting in the dark.
All the sweet, green icing flowing down.
Someone left my cake out in the rain.
I don’t think that I can take it ‘cause it took so long to bake it
And I’ll never have that recipe again. Oh no!
Jimmy Webb, from “MacArthur Park” (1968)

What is most astonishing about the efforts of scientists in the field of consciousness research is the way these scientists never bother to study or try to fully define it. Their first step in studying consciousness should have been to do the research and seek a good preliminary understanding of what consciousness even is. And when you google the word “consciousness,” you don’t get much, which is testimony to the fact that mainstream scientists have never much bothered to take what should have been the essential first steps toward understanding their elusive quarry. Even Wikipedia defines “consciousness” simply as “awareness.” And this, in a day when every reasonably well-informed person who is reading these words has long since learned that consciousness appears in our lives in other ways than merely our individual awareness! For example:

  • Everything death-related is consciousness-based. Whether it be reports of ghosts and apparitions, or the many thousands of consistent and verifiable communications that Westerners have been receiving for more than a century and a half from those that we used to think were dead, the afterlife is by now undeniable. And it is all consciousness! But scientists simply do not want to know about it.
  • Near-Death Experiences and Out-Of-Body Experiences all are also consciousness-based. The fact that each individual’s consciousness can exist and operate readily apart from its related material body, and can have experiences, and can then return to that body and report on those experiences in detail, is by now an undeniable fact. That people blind from birth, and even those born without eyes, can see and can report on what they are seeing during NDEs and OBEs, is another undeniable fact. But, again, scientists do not want to know about it. And when they are asked about NDEs, they will stick their fingers into their ears, scrunch their eyes up tight, and hum loudly.
  • Our spiritual growth is consciousness-based as well. The more thoroughly people seek to understand the meaning and purpose of human life, the more that meaning and purpose seems to be revealed to be precisely what Jesus told us that it was two thousand years ago. It is simply to love more perfectly, and to forgive more completely. Nothing more, but nothing less. Which means that for each of us to raise our personal consciousness vibration away from the lower vibrations and toward the higher, more love-based vibrations is the very essence of our spiritual fulfillment. But, again, scientists have no interest at all in this tremendous swath of our universal human experience.

For mainstream scientists to have been adamantly materialist thirty years ago, or perhaps even as recently as twenty years ago, would have been understandable, and probably forgivable. But for mainstream scientists’ prevailing degree of willful ignorance about something so basic and so important to persist even now, when so much good information is so widely available on the internet and in well-researched and footnoted books and publications, is frankly inexcusable. Indeed, it is looking more likely to more open-minded researchers that consciousness is going to turn out to be not some minor product of the human brain at all. But in fact, it is pretty clear now that consciousness is going to prove instead to be crucially important. It seems that consciousness may indeed prove in the end to be the ground of being of all reality. Which means that materialist scientists may very well have things completely backward! Our meat-brains do not after all produce consciousness, but instead it is likely that they merely receive consciousness.

Scientists of the traditional materialist sort who study consciousness are making two core assumptions. They assume that:

  • Consciousness is only human-brain-based awareness. And moreover, they assume that consciousness can never be found in any other form. They know for certain that you and I are aware. And they assume that our awareness must be brain-based. So when they study consciousness, scientists assume that it actually makes sense to reason outward from ourselves. But we who are not materialist scientists understand that these scientists all must therefore be living in a pre-1976 world, prior to the publication of Raymond Moody’s Life After Life. It is a world in which no one ever has heard the term “near-death experience,” and no NDE or OBE ever has yet been reported.
  • Therefore, these materialist scientists reason, consciousness must somehow originate inside the structures of the human brain. There is no other possibility. The human brain is indeed vastly complex, but after the better part of a century of scientists having fruitlessly assumed that those complex brain structures somehow have to give rise to consciousness, it still never has seemed to dawn on any traditional research scientist that they might want to consider looking beyond the brain itself.

So it is no wonder that scientists have taken to calling their search for the source of consciousness inside the human brain “the Hard Problem.” I maintain that even if we were indeed still pre-1976, it still would make no sense at all to be proceeding to try to understand consciousness based upon the above two assumptions! It still would be important in any event for us first to try to better understand what consciousness actually is. 

My favorite definition of consciousness was given to me by Thomas, my spirit guide. He tells me that “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.” So in other words, consciousness is the ground-of-all-being, and Consciousness at its highest vibration is God, which is perfect love. Scientists won’t be using this definition for a while, but they might begin to use some part of it. And someday all of us will use it. Mark my Thomas’s words.

In what other area of scientific research does reasoning outward from some random starting assumption like “consciousness must be brain-related, so, what the heck, let’s just look there” make sense to anyone? When consciousness is independently and objectively studied, it is found to have so many other and widely varied aspects beyond simple awareness that it would be found to be flat impossible for consciousness to originate inside the human brain! And yet, these blinkered materialist scientists are undaunted.

Stolidly, and apparently with little doubt in their minds that eventually they are bound to succeed, they still  look for that spark of consciousness to appear, magically generated somehow from the meat inside each human skull. Oh, they have come to understand by now that solving the Hard Problem is not going to be easy! But since these scientists have careers to pursue, and children still to educate, while there are sources of funds to pay their salaries, these materialist scientists will soldier on. They enter each new year with optimism, and they follow every new idea, no matter how crazy it might seem, with so much hope! Only to find that, over and over again, each new idea is yet another blind alley.

More genuinely hopeful, though, is the fact that there are some independent organizations that explore consciousness more intelligently, the most prominent of which is the Institute of Noetic Sciences (IONS). IONS was founded by astronaut Edgar Mitchell after he had a spiritual epiphany as he was returning from the moon. For half a century, IONS has been a leader in spurring interest in and seeking funding for research into genuine consciousness studies. Perhaps wisely, what IONS tries to do is to stay only a half-step ahead of the strictly materialist scientists, which is a tricky dance to do at best. And it is a dance that requires more patience by far than I possess.

For example, I notice that IONS is co-sponsoring with The Division of Perceptual Studies, the University of Virginia, and The Alef Trust a conference called Beyond the Brain. Apparently a group called the Scientific and Medical Network has been putting on this conference since 1995, and its specific, stated purpose is to explore consciousness, and specifically to address whether and how consciousness might extend beyond the physical brain. The conference’s promotional materials note that “speakers at the cutting edges of their fields (will offer) a deeper understanding of how consciousness research is expanding the horizons of science.” This conference bills itself as “The world’s premier conference series exploring new research on whether and how consciousness and mind extend beyond the physical brain and body. This year’s event covers children who remember previous lives, energy medicine and healing, spiritual awakening in scientists and academics, neuroscience and spirituality, terminal lucidity, DMT and consciousness, and the more general issues of nonlocal consciousness and the consciousness-brain relationship.” This is nowhere near the genuine cutting edge, of course, but when it is compared with what the materialist scientists are doing, it breaks the sound barrier.

This year’s online event takes place from Friday, 3 November to Sunday, 5 November. And reportedly, “Speakers are all at the cutting edges of their fields and will be discussing innovative research that probes the nature of consciousness. You will gain a vital overview and a deeper understanding of how consciousness research is expanding the horizons of science. This mind-stretching conference is not to be missed, so we greatly look forward to your participation!” Apparently it is all online. If you are interested, go to to learn more.

IONS is a fine organization, founded as it was by astronaut Edgar Mitchell and run for many years by the estimable Dean Radin. But nevertheless, it is difficult to be hopeful that it can do very much to change the meaningless direction of materialist science. The traditional scientific community is a closed system, and I flat cannot imagine that it is going to listen to anyone outside of it any time soon. Modern mainstream scientists do not in fact live in a pre-1976 world. In their everyday lives they live in 2023, and they are well aware of near-death experiences and all their manifold implications, and yet these blinkered fools still persist in taking the money and wasting yet many more decades in what amounts to a meaningless charade. The real question is, when what they are doing is at this point so obviously pointless, why do they nevertheless persist in doing it?

While science continues to wallow in self-imposed ignorance, you and I no longer need to continue to wait to begin to understand the truth. There are by now some brilliant researchers who have mostly figured out consciousness, and they are happy to share with us what they know! Here is a lovely series of videos by our treasured friend, Dr. R. Craig Hogan, which demonstrate (a) that the mind is not inside the brain; (b) that the brain is actually unnecessary; and (c) that in fact there is nothing but mind and experiences. As Jesus has been telling us all along, the truth indeed does make us free!

There will be another song for me, for I will sing it.
There will be another dream for me. Someone will bring it.
I will drink the wine while it is warm,
And never let you catch me looking at the sun.
And after all the loves of my life, after all the loves of my life,
You’ll still be the one.

I will take my life into my hands, and I will use it.
I will win the worship in their eyes, and I will lose it.
I will have the things that I desire,
And let my passion flow like rivers through the sky,
And after all the loves of my life, Oh, after all the loves of my life,
I’ll be thinking of you. And wondering why…
Jimmy Webb, from “MacArthur Park” (1968)

Roberta Grimes
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28 thoughts on “The Hard Problem

    1. Dr. Lommel has published an excellent book on his NDE research that is available on Amazon, as is my own text. He has also published follow on research. I have had the pleasure of conversing with him thru email for about a decade now; he is a kind and gentle soul, as well as an excellent physician and scientist.

      Re the materialist, physicalist position leading to what they term the “hard problem.” Their position is actually delightfully funny, even absurd. It goes like this. The materialist position is locked into the idea that consciousness, as self awareness, is produced by the brain and only by the brain. But they are aware of difficulties with this theory. For example, there is the issue of qualia, how neural tissue, that all appears to be of the same type of stuff involved in electrochemical processing that produces impulses, creates the very different qualities of perception, such as seeing colors, hearing sounds, feeling pressure and pain, and experiencing odors and fragrances. The favored explanation is that the millions of networked neural impulses create an “emergent” property of perception with self awareness. In other words, they contend that consciousness is an “emergent ” property of the material brain. But what does “emergent” really mean? It means “we don’t know, so it’s got to be some type of magic.” The materialist position ultimately relies on magic for its theory of why consciousness exists.

      By contrast, nonmaterialists accept that conciousness exists in its own right as a fundamental property of existence; that consciousness is the foundation for all that exists; that the material world is based on the creativity of consciousness. Many in this camp also believe that the there is God who is the souirce of consciousness, and who is the creator of everything from God’s own being; in this theory, each of us is a splinter from God’s own being. During Out of Body Experiences this understanding of consciousness as fundamental is commonly discovered.

      1. Very well and succinctly put, my dear Jack! And yes, the materialist scientific view of consciousness and The Hard Problem is indeed funny. It is actually laugh-out-loud funny! By now, so many laypeople have had NDEs, OBEs, and other extraordinary experiences that the number of people who still believe that it even is possible for consciousness to be produced by the brain is shrinking toward fifty percent. … And then what?

    2. Oh yes, my dear Adrian, of course! He is one of the most learned elders in the NDE field. It is unfortunate that nowadays so many who have NDEs have debased their value by talking about having “died and come back,” when of course that is impossible. I will be interviewing Raymond Moody and Paul Perry about their new book tomorrow, and it should be pointed out that they never talk about the died-and-came-back nonsense! When properly used, NDEs are among the best evidence of eternal life that we have.

  1. Love reading your words every Sunday morning! It’s people like you that give a much deeper meaning to this often chaotic physical existence! Thank you for being you!

    1. Oh my dear Susan, you really do make me smile! Thank you for that! The next time my husband gets up kind of on the wrong side of the bed, I’m going to say to him, “Well, Susan thanks me for being me!” 🙂

  2. Many smiles and blessings to you, Roberta! Indeed, why DO they persist in walking down a hallway that has no exit or doorway to Reality and Truth? There is a little spark of hope in me that they are just playing a role of “instigator” to push the rest of us to seek the Truth on our own and rediscover/remember our own Divinity, Sovereignty; to push the human collective consciousness to that point where the majority of us say, “enough, already! We’re done with this!” And a true great awakening takes place. Sounds naive, doesn’t it🤔? And yet…What If?😃
    And everyone can take off their “costumes” and we all have a good laugh! How clever we’ve been to hide the Truth from our own-Self! Much gratitude and Love to you❤️

    1. Oh my dear Fran, I love it that you think so well of people! But I’m afraid that I can’t see the materialist scientists in nearly so positive a light. I see them more as I think that our dear Jack sees them, so deep now in a hole that they have dug for themselves that there is no way for them even on tiptoes to find a way to see daylight.

  3. Thanks Roberta,
    When you said Consciousness is 1st and
    bigger than the universe, I had no need to assert my brain was mine
    Our souls-temple of God- are ready to answer all
    my questions, but I have been taught that It is separate, renting space inside of me.
    To be an individual and different from others is societies’ theme song—still!
    God has tried to make it easier:gravity keeps
    on Earth and what we do with
    Consciousness IS our choice: free will.
    But there is Consciousness uber alles and Jesus gently says Follow Me and I will tell you the Truth
    in portions you can handle
    Think how crazy we’d be without Jesus! .
    And it a blessing, I can feel Consciousness as it really is without fear.
    I am very Erica but now I know she can prosper
    and she can accept the duality and Erica is
    my present level of vibration–she is buzzing louder everyday,Thank you Jesus and thank you Roberta!

    1. Erica, Consider the theory that consciousness is fundamental to existence as Roberta proposes, and that God’s consciousness has created entities from His very being, such as angels, humans, animals, plants, water, rock…. According to this perspective, you are an eternal spirit being who is having a life in the material world (this was a perspective that the philosopher priest Teilhard de Chardin wrote about). Your spirit inhabits your body. Well, your body, composed of millions of cells, also contains its own, separate consciousness. Your body has evolved to require satisfaction of its material needs; it is motivated by self-centered desires, needs and wants. According to this duality, your spirit/soul as naturally altruistic may often be in conflict with the motivations of your physical body (if you are interested, I have published a paper with evidence for body and soul).

  4. Materialists claim consciousness being fundamental is a huge leap of faith when the idea that micro-volt levels of electricity in the brain creates thought , emotions, consciousness is the biggest leap of faith of all. No transfer function between electrical impulses and any mental activity has ever been defined. If electricity equals thought then my blender is a genius. In addition there would have to be an explanation for our seeming individuality. Why does electricity in my head create my consciousness and electricity in your head create your consciousness? Why am I, I and you, you? This is the hardest problem of consciousness. As well as not being able to explain any specific qualia materialist theories cannot explain the most important thing. Why do I seem to be a specific, individualized consciousness associated with a specific body while you seem to be a different specific, individualized consciousness associated with another body? Why am I, I and you, you? There were billions of bodies around before this one showed up so what changed that I should find myself to be looking out of the eyeballs of this particular body and no other? When it comes to understanding consciousness this is the most important question that must be asked and answered but it is rarely even acknowledged. When the ontologies purporting to explain consciousness are examined critically it becomes obvious that all materialist/reductionist strategies fail completely in attempting to address this question. What is the principled explanation for why: A brain over here would generate my specific consciousness and a brain over there would generate your specific consciousness? Integrated information over here would generate my specific consciousness and integrated information over there would generate your specific consciousness? Global workspace over here would generate my specific consciousness and global workspace there would generate your specific consciousness? Orchestrated quantum collapse in microtubules over here would generate my specific consciousness and orchestrated quantum collapse in microtubules over there would generate your specific consciousness? A clump of conscious atoms over here (panpsychicism) would generate my specific consciousness and a clump of conscious over there would generate your specific consciousness? Materialism already fails since it cannot find a transfer function between microvolt level sparks in the brain and any experience or qualia. In addition it’s not possible for materialistic ontologies to address this question of individuality since no measurement can be made that could verify my consciousness vs your consciousness and therefore no materialist ontology could even make any coherent statements about the subject.

    1. Oh my goodness, my dear Tom, you absolutely boggle my mind! I love it! You have nailed it! Of course, they cannot make the slightest bit of sense of any of this, not even to an extent sufficient to form these questions as well as you have done it. Oh my goodness, absolutely wonderful job, my dear friend!!

  5. Hi Jack,
    Yes I understand your body/spirit dichotomy.
    When we come down to Earth for another session, I am buzzing at a higher vibration. And don’t we choose our next body? I chose Erica and I like her! She carries my soul- which is a large globe of Consciousness. She is vibrating where l left off. I am no longer quite as tied to my savage instincts. I am trying to be a soul living on Earth.
    (Although if I were enlightened, why would I come down again?)

    Jesus came back to teach, heal, and love us I not
    comparing myself to Jesus, but angels come down in moments of crisis.

    I do understand and agree with your thesis, but I just wanted to give Erica some points for evolving..

  6. Is anyone familiar with the work of Dr. Federico Faggin? His first book was Silicon’s – the second is due out soon I think. He has devoted the latter part of his life to the study, and development of a theory of, consciousness. He is a scientist and inventor – and he and his wife formed the Elvia and Federico Faggin Foundation for this purpose. Lots of interviews with him on YouTube. So worth listening to

    1. Welcome, my dear E.M.! I haven’t heard of Dr. Faggin. What does his theory resemble? I so much wish that I had more time! Can you summarize his theory for us?

  7. Hi Roberta,

    Thank you for another great blog!

    I wonder if Materialistic Scientist are controlled by Catholic Church? The reason why I say this was I had once read an article that stated when the church first started, they had control of politics and science.

    Not only is science blind to the obvious with regards to mind, but so is the church. They are both STUCK in their beliefs, and you would think after so many NDE’s, OBE, and even what hospice reports with dying patients they would want to investigate with an open mind.

    Science and religion are stuck in their stone age belief even with the EVIDENCE we have today.

    1. Wow, my dear Litsa, what an interesting thought! I don’t think so at this point, but I would love to throw your suspicion in the materialist scientists’ faces! 🙂

  8. Hello Roberta – Federico Faggin developed the first microprocessor in the 70s. He was very successful, but found in his forties that though he had everything that success could offer, including a loving family life, he was not happy. Then he had an experience one night in the 80s that opened his inner vision to light and the experience of being one with the universe. It changed him completely. His book ‘Silicon’ is his autobiography and in it he explains his quest to prove that consciousness is not, and never could be, of the brain. He is devoting all his time now to proving this, through the Faggin Foundation. I think he is an extraordinary man.

    1. Yes indeed, he does sound extraordinary, even to have arrived at that insight! I wonder how his work compares to what we might call the consciousness consensus that has developed in the afterlife studies community?

  9. Hey E.M.
    I have always considered the epiphany of the inner eye as I call it, to be an intrinsic level of experience (‘meta experience’?) that I trust to be deeper reality.

    Many people have epiphanies, and they are as varied as the individuals who do the experiencing thereof. Yet somehow, amid this variation of epiphanies there seems to be contrastingly (even ironically), something common to most or all of them. Whether it be: an experience of light; a sense of a higher Presence; a knowing/understanding of Oneness or a heart-drenching and overwhelming love-joy, something core is experienced by many people.

    I’m left considering: Can I trust the power and clarity of the epiphany as real? If so, is it my inner self that ‘recognizes’ the deeper truth therein? Is the profound sense of a shifted perception in life from that point onward a marker of awakening to this deeper truth?

    Of course E. M. I don’t expect you to answer any of these questions – I’m just responding to your ideas about Federico Faggin. 🙏🏼🕊

  10. I think he is out to prove that consciousness is fundamental; innately an inner experience for each human being that can never be replicated by another human being. And therein lies the proof that it exists. He explains it in minute detail in his book and in the many YouTube interviews available online. In his foundation he is working with another person, whose name escapes me, to prove this and to confound the ridiculous stance taken by ‘official’ science that consciousness originates in the brain. I think his work would be at one with the consciousness consensus of the afterlife studies community. This is all so important.

    1. Oh my dear, but if consciousness arises from the brain, then it would be no different – still unique to each person. If it isn’t too much trouble, can you please perhaps post a link here to a YouTube of his in which he explains his special theory?

    1. My dear E.M., thank you for the video! I did watch it closely and think about it, and I think I do get his theory, and can follow it. I don’t agree with it, though. It makes consciousness not primary nor pre-existent, and since conscience is then neither of those things we would now need to understand where it comes from and what role it plays and why it is necessary. But he is, as you say, brilliant and quite fascinating!

    2. My dear E.M., I have watched the video again, and I think that indeed he is brilliant, and he likely does understand more himself than he is letting on. But he is trying to work with materialist physicists, and unfortunately they have him caught in their way of thinking. I would love to have a conversation with him!

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