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I think this is your most incisive post to date. Plenty to mull over


Your thoughts on this matter, whether you consider them incomplete or underdeveloped, are in consonance with my own ideas over the last 3 or 4 years. Thinking of Mind (consciousness) as the primary state of being brings clarity to the various seemingly disparate and inchoate observations and experiences so often discussed on your blog. I reiterate what I've previously offered: if we consider Von Neumann's strict interpretation of quantum observational theory as true, we must conclude that mind preceeded matter, that this accounts for the non-local effects observed as well as all psi-related phenomena, and that we are all actually One in unity with the overarching consciousness we would refer to as "God" or "Gods" (there would be no actual distinction between singular or plural). If we jettison Newtonian and materialistic biases, our existence(s) will begin to make much more "sense", while simultaneously gaining a valuable clue that this "adventure" of individual life MUST have an importance and meaning all too often overlooked or ignored (even rejected) when we allow the physical experience to overwhelm us and ego is given too much influence. To me, this is most profound: that all of physicality, the spacetime continuum itself, is MENTAL. I've never intended this next to seem solipsistic or casual semi-clever philosophising, but I truly and literally CAN'T conceive of "non-being", for how can non-existence exist?

Perhaps the scientific method, which is rooted in Aristotelian logic, is not the best way to approach these phenomena or to establish their legitimacy. Perhaps what is needed is a new way of thinking.

Or perhaps what’s needed is a return to a purer form. As I was reading this, I thought of what Peter Kingsley has to say about Parmenides, and how Plato and Aristotle had misconstrued what he had attempted to communicate.

Well over two thousand years ago, science as we know it was offered to the West with a warning tag attached to it: Use this, but don’t be tricked by it. And of course, impatient little children that we are, we tore off the tag and ignored the warning.

Still we play around with our imagined knowledge and don’t realize it’s a deception —honestly believe it’s a great achievement to be able to differentiate between true and false with such apparent accuracy but aren’t aware, except in our most private moments of helplessness, that even our truths are false. We pride ourselves on being able to separate fact from fiction, science from myth, but don’t see that our science itself is what it always has been: a fragile mythology of the moment.

And for those who may wish to determine the veracity of Michael’s main post through reason and logic, Kingsley has this to say.

All of Parmenides’ unclarities are a small price to pay for his single, marvellous clarity. These simple words, ‘Judge by reason’, have become one of the greatest milestones in our past: the marker of mile zero, where reason was invented and rationality began. Everything can confidently be measured from here.

They have been made into the foundation for the whole edifice of reasoned thought on which Plato and his great successor Aristotle, followed by later philosophers, were all able to build. But no one has dared to ask if the building work was carried out in the right place — or if the foundation is really solid, let alone still standing . . . There has been no rush to look behind the scenes and discover just how much irrationality is needed to keep defending the bastion of rationality.

Outstanding post, Michael.

“In other words, if there is only one consciousness, then its division into separate minds is an illusion - or at least not the final truth.”

This remains me of a story I heard where a person was walking with his friend and he stated to his friend that all life is an illusion. So his friend upon hearing that all life, as we know it is an illusion picked up a rock, threw it at his friend, and hit him in the leg and his friend cried out in pain and yelled “why did you hit me with this rock”.

His friend who threw the rock said “but it was all an illusion.” the moral of the story the word illusion may not fully describe our souls or our physical lives.

Things may not be as they seem but I wonder if we do not need another concept or word to describe this perceived reality we call individual consciousness.

Excellent post, Michael! Like Kevin, it accords with much of my own current understanding, especially as I am half way through reading Peter Francis Dziuban’s “Consciousness Is All”. I especially agree about the spirit manifestations, which could emanate from just about any finite source, human or otherworldly. They seem as unreliable as dreams. Peter is keen to get us to move away from identifying with any finite manifestation at all, whether in this world or the next. The real us, he says, is quite simply the Intelligent Awareness which remains when we are not thinking or sensing or believing. And as Michael says, it’s actually only One Awareness. Peter’s favourite image is of a movie screen: we are in reality the screen, but not the characters in the film. He seems to be suggesting that the finite characters in the film actually have no free will (because otherwise, why don’t things turn out as we want them to)…but I’m going to have to read on to find out more about this!

Peter is also convinced that the Infinite reality is beyond our definitions of Subjective and Objective: since it cannot be constrained by definition or measurement. Where Michael H quotes Peter Kingsley, “where reason was invented and rationality began. Everything can confidently be measured from here”, I am also reminded of quantum physics – measurement collapses the wave to a particle, and Life is responsible for that measurement or observation. Until the wave is collapsed, everything is just part of the “transcendant potentia” (Amit Goswami –The Physics of the Soul), a sea of possibility and probability, which finite sentient creatures manifest by measurement or observation. But behind all this there is only the original Infinite Awareness.

It also occurs to me that even without Quantum Physics, it is no more unreasonable to suppose that the ground of being is Consciousness that that it is Matter. It is just as odd that Matter should exist as that Consciousness should exist. Why, indeed, does anything exist? Richard Dawkins in ‘The God Delusion’ says that it is no use citing God, because then we have to consider that someone or something made God. But if Consciousness Is All, and always has been, we can simply stop there. We may not know why Consciousness is all (perhaps we are trying to find that out!), but we can surely more easily accept that, than that the ultimate reality is a Big Bang which somehow, all by its unconscious self, knew all about how to manifest the laws of time space, energy, matter, cause, effect and evolution.

The "Consciousness Is All" is very interesting concept.

In his critical review of Dawkins' book "The God Delusion", Deepak Chopra uses a similar concept as part of his argument: "That's why Dawkins can never find God. He's looking in the wrong place. The physical world can't deliver God, not because God doesn't exist, but because the solid, physical world is an illusion--as quantum physics proved long ago--and one must look inside consciousness itself to find what God is about. If God is a universal intelligence, that will turn out to be a fact. It won't be superstition. It won't be the Bible or the Koran"

I agree with Chopra.Maybe we need another way of see things a manifestation of different levels of consciousness, not a dualistic and antogonistic reality.

See Chopra's 6 part review of Dawkins' book here:

Very insightful, Michael!

Yes, very much in agreement with how "I" see things. :-)

Ugh, sorry for the double comments. The first one didn't show up even when I refreshed the page, so I thought I would try a slightly longer comment which might get through the spam filter, and then both of them showed up!

I came across this site by Christopher M.Moreman saying this I never came across this before.

Deconstructing the Cross-Correspondence Myth

Christopher M. Moreman, Department of Religious Studies and Theology, University of Wales at Lampeter

On the centenary of the death of FWH Myers, it is perhaps appropriate to re-examine the large body of evidence purporting to come posthumously from Myers himself; the cross-correspondences. During a period spanning three decades, a number of mediums located around the globe claimed to receive messages originating from the deceased spirits of leading members of the SPR, particularly Frederic Myers. What seemed at first to be unconnected ramblings were soon discovered to contain complex patterns and hidden messages. Slowly, the workings of an experiment from the other side was pieced together.

Since the messages first began to appear, the cross-correspondences have been considered by many to be collectively the finest piece of evidence for survival coming from mediumistic communications. The complexity with which the messages come together and the apparent need for intelligent design make it seem impossible for any other explanation. Fraud has been rejected based upon the reputations of those intrepid investigators who were involved. But the main support for the survivalist theory lies in the fact that the super-ESP hypothesis is taxed beyond realistic limits when trying to account for the remarkable correspondences.

Despite the fact that the correspondences have long been regarded so highly, criticism still lingers. The number of investigators involved was very small and very little has been done with the data since it was first analysed. Reasons for this neglect include the sheer mass of data and the seeming strength of the initial conclusions. Concern grows, however, when one realises that the initial investigators were all intent on proving the reality of survival and were more than eager to find the strongest argument they could. Add to this the facts that the leading investigators, Mrs. Verrall and her daughter, were themselves mediums involved; that many of the mediums, while individually isolated, had at least some contact with Mrs. Verrall and/or her daughter; and that the phenomena decreased considerably after the death of Mrs. Verrall and then all but ended completely with the death of her daughter, and suddenly many questions arise out of what at first glance appears to be quite solid evidence.

A couple of experiments were attempted in the years shortly after the phenomena appeared aimed at determining the truth of these phenomena. However, these experiments were, once again, performed by individuals with the express desire to prove the truth of an afterlife. Aside from this, all of these experiments reveal some flaw in design that tends to favour the survivalist position. Experiments by Helen Verral, Alice Johnson and W. H. Salter will be specifically discussed.

With these questions, and the previous attempts to reconcile them, firmly in mind, it was decided that a new test was needed. To imitate the scripts of the mediums, passages from works of literature were chosen at random. Since the messages coming from the mediums were often rambling and incoherent, each pseudo-script was formed of five seperately chosen passages. In this way, three distinct pseudo-scripts were created. A limit was placed upon the length of each passage in order to keep the experiment to a manageable size. One must bear in mind that the disparity in size between these pseudo-scripts and the sometimes very lengthy cross-correspondence scripts would only make it more difficult to find randomly occurring correspondences in the smaller scripts.

Having created three pseudo-scripts, each imagined to come from a pseudo-medium, a group of eager investigators was then recruited. A group of post-graduates from the Department of English Literature was used in an attempt to mimic the depth of knowledge had by the original investigators. This group was encouraged to find as many correspondences as possible within the three pseudo-scripts. They were allowed to discuss ideas amongst themselves and to be as creative as possible in their efforts. Nothing was added to or removed from the scripts and the scripts were not altered in any way. Their task was simply to find the coincidences and correspondences.

In a short period of time, the investigators were able to track over thirty correspondences of varying strengths. Correspondences could be classed simple and complex as per Salter's demarcations. Some coincidences were quite startling, leading some of the investigators to wonder if the pseudo-scripts were truly random. Of these, at least two can be considered very strong. When compared to the so-called Hope, Star and Browning Case, the investigators agreed that the correspondences they found were at least as good, if not better.

The conclusion that can be drawn from this very simple experiment is that correspondences of the type found in the vaunted cross-correspondences can be recreated through random chance when determined and intelligent investigators are employed towards the same end. One does not expect such a small experiment to override the previous conclusions, but it certainly does bring the cross-correspondences into serious question. While this certainly says nothing about the survival issue in itself, it may well be that the cross-correspondences do not represent the strongest evidence of anything more than man's ability to find order in chaos.

“Richard Dawkins in ‘The God Delusion’ says that it is no use citing God, because then we have to consider that someone or something made God.”

Dear Richard is still thinking that time is an absolute reality. I suspect time is as much of an illusion as individual identities. Most atheists have made the same mistake as most of the religious and have made god in their image.

It is fascinating to observe just how much the atheists and the religious have in common.

From my point of view awareness is primary and consciousness is secondary. Consciousness evolves to a greater understanding of reality.

As our consciousness evolves to higher levels of understanding our awareness of reality expands. Intellectual ability may not be highly correlated with awareness. I suspect we have only touched the surface of the relationship between intellectual ability and divine intelligence. One would think they would be highly correlated but appearances are deceiving.

Sometimes it appears that one’s level of intellectual ability has a negative correlation with one’s awareness of reality.

Hence a Richard Dawkins can be very smart but with little awareness. Here is a man that created a software program to simulate his Darwinian evolutionary process of natural selection and random mutation but was unable to see the underlying reality of his intelligent or at least intellectual design of the software. Even intellectual design has some intelligence associated with it.

From my point of view his software supported the idea that intelligence is an underlying prerequisite for life. I suspect it is his atheist paradigm that will not allow him to see that intelligence precedes matter and consciousness.

Leo, could you stop completely going off topic with random comments? It's just annoying. Wait for a survival-related post to talk about it.

Michael, if I understand what you're saying, I believe you're implying that spiritual phenomena, like matter and energy, are a wave function, with only a probability of existence until observed. "Spirits" may display a range of function (communication) between full consciousness and meaninglessness. And they certainly appear to interfere with each other. Am I stretching quantum mechanics too far?

>I believe you're implying that spiritual phenomena, like matter and energy, are a wave function

I haven't thought it through to that extent, but I'm a little doubtful of enlisting QM to explain spiritual phenomena. The wave-particle issue is just an example of how rigid dichotomies may not hold up, since light (and all energy) appears to be both a wave and a particle, depending on how it's observed.

"light (and all energy) appears to be both a wave and a particle, depending on how it's observed."

As I understand it, probability waves until it receives the focus of attention or is measured. As soon as it's measured, it's particlulate. It takes a sentient being to "fix" the probability as particles. This is supposed to be the way the spacetime universe is created by thought and intention.

“It takes a sentient being to "fix" the probability as particles.”

If this is the case then god needs us as much as we need god. But then due to what I suspect is the reality of infinite oneness it is like god looking at and discovering its infinite potential.

This may explain what Meister Eckhart meant when he said in his sermon: “the eye by which I see god is the same as the eye by which god sees me. My eye and god’s eye are one and same---one in seeing, one in knowing.”

The problem with "monism" and individuality being an illusion is that it means this comment thread is just me talking to myself, and Michael Prescott is just a different piece of my intelligence, and visa versa. Human interraction is therefore an illusion, just different facets of me (aka you) communicating to itself.

Whether this is true or not, I think the point I'm getting at is that the purpose of individuality must be that a human essence is entirely unique, just like the colors red and blue are completely original yet undefinable by mere language or words. So, too, are our personalities, otherwise life would be a somewhat bleak, lonely, monistic experience.

But "personality' is a bad word choice, because it's derived from persona which means mask, or something that's fake. However deeper than a personality seems to be our essences, or the process that "influences" the conjuration of new thought from the blank state of God's Awareness, which is why you can hand a paintbrush to 6 billion different humans and get 6 billion different, completely unique, results.

So it seems that we are simultaneously the same and separate.

”The problem with "monism" and individuality being an illusion is that it means this comment thread is just me talking to myself, and Michael Prescott is just a different piece of my intelligence, and visa versa.”

“Things may not be as they seem but I wonder if we do not need another concept or word to describe this perceived reality we call individual consciousness.”

In these quotes, Cyrus and William are each expressing the difficulty of understanding the notion of monism through what MP termed “our habit of thinking dualistically.” When William quotes Meister Eckhart, “My eye and god’s eye are one and same---one in seeing, one in knowing,” Eckhart is attempting to express idealism as it is viewed from a higher level of consciousness than most of us spend our lives in. We don’t grasp what he’s saying because we are trying to understand him from a different level of consciousness than he is at. This is the issue that John Rowan aptly describes in his review of Jenny Wade’s>Changes of Mind when he writes:

In my own opinion, anyone who writes about human beings in general is going to have to take this terrible knowledge on board.

I say 'terrible' because once we think in this new way, we have to acknowledge that we ourselves are standing on a particular level, and speaking to, and about, others who are at the same or different levels. For example, most people in the world, according to Kohlberg, are functioning at levels no higher than the Achievement and Affiliative stage. A smaller number are functioning at the Authentic stage, and smaller numbers again at the higher stages. Yet the first stage at which we can use the type of logic necessary to use the idea of stages with any real freedom is the Authentic stage. This means that this logic will sound like nonsense or error to those who have not yet reached this level.

I quoted Peter Kingsley in my earlier post, and as I was reading a compilation of excerpts of his books, something struck me as an important clue for discovering our own level of consciousness:

Perhaps you’ve noticed it — that our awareness is completely motionless, never changes. When we walk down the road we’re really not going anywhere. We can travel around the world and we’re not going anywhere at all. We never go anywhere; if we think we do we’re just caught in the web of appearances, caught in the web of our senses.

As I read that it occurred to me that the key to understanding idealism from an experiential standpoint, the path to the ‘new way of thinking’ that Michael alluded to in his main post, has to do with identifying with that stillness. Most won’t choose to do that though, and will continue to be transfixed by whatever comes careening into their awareness instead.

Not to pick on Leo, but his regular focus on skeptical arguments is an excellent example of this. At the same time, so is the annoyance expressed towards Leo by the anonymous poster above. We all get sidetracked by whatever comes into our consciousness to varying degrees, and by doing so miss that we all share that ‘completely motionless awareness’. The failure to see this is so widespread that when we encounter someone attempting to describe the real, we call them ‘mystics’.

For anyone interested, the new issue of>AntiMatters has been released. The site requires free registration, but the only time I hear from them is when they announce a new issue (for those concerned about email spam).

Among the usually strong assortment of articles and book reviews is a fascinating excerpt from Charles Eisenstein's new book The Ascent of Humanity, which as it turns out, is available in it's entirety>here at no charge. I've only read the first chapter so far, but Eisenstein makes some powerful points about our current reliance on technology, and how it relates to fundamental ideas we have about who we are. It seems to me to relate directly to the ideas being discussed on this thread.

"Perhaps you’ve noticed it — that our awareness is completely motionless, never changes. When we walk down the road we’re really not going anywhere. We can travel around the world and we’re not going anywhere at all. We never go anywhere; if we think we do we’re just caught in the web of appearances, caught in the web of our senses."

This is exactly what Peter says in "Consciousness is All".

And thanks for the link to The Ascent of Humanity, Michael H.

Here's something I just read in "Consciousness is All":

If Omnipresence did fill space, or had physical length or width, it would be possible to go from point A here, to point B over there. To go from here to there requires movement; it takes time. But the instant one is moving in time, one has left Being. Moving in time would be what never-is-being, which literally means non-presence, or non-existence. And one never really would be moving through physical space at all, but only experiencing a hypnotic dream of moving through space.

With prose like this, I am going to have to start disagreeing with Michael H that reality cannot be expressed in words! This speaks to the heart.

It has finally made me realise that God is not actually some giant being encompassing the whole of the visible universe and beyond. This is because the Universe has no size at all (that’s right –until I read this book, I had never realised that!)– time and space are merely illusory projections of thought. Infinity means ‘boundless’ or ‘immeasureable’ –it does mean ‘larger than we can measure’. Phew!

Sorry -that final line should read "it does not mean 'larger than we can measure'.

. . . time and space are merely illusory projections of thought.

Compare Chapter Six, Tao Te Ching, translation by Stephen Mitchell:

The Tao is called the Great Mother:
Empty yet inexhaustible,
It gives birth to infinite worlds.

It is always present within you.
You can use it any way you want.

Yes, Michael H -I bought that translation on your recommendation, and it is very good, I agree. I'll look that one up again when I get home.

“Empty yet inexhaustible,”

That empty is not the empty we have a concept of but the fullness of everything that is thee One reality that most call God. The concept of empty and nothingness is scary to the ego. Look up the synonyms for empty and nothingness and this helps to explain why most fear those two words as being part of “our” future.

Of course for most people God has been made in image of man. Christians call this emptiness spirit and the Buddhist call this emptiness mind. It is beyond definition because when we try to define it we limit it.

We are an expression of that inexhaustible spirit.

But I think most people want to know information that appears “hidden” from us. Such questions as:

Is there life after death and is there a heaven and/or a hell.

Will I see my loved ones again?

Do we live many lives?

Can spirits contact us while we are on this earth?

Do prayers work?

Why is there so much suffering in the world?

Do evil spirits prey upon us? Etc.

When I talk to people I meet on a causal basis I am amazed at how little they know about the evidence that is available to answer with some level of proof those questions stated above.

I mean how many different ways can we state that God is everything or oneness or spirit or all and all, etc.

Just a thought about Michael H’s interesting reference to Parmenides. His pupil (who was very close to him philosophically) was Zeno of Elea. Zeno proved that Motion was impossible with his Four Paradoxes, for example the Arrow which if examined at any given moment is not moving through the air. Since its flight is simply composed of a multitude of such moments, it can never actually move! His paradox of Achilles and the Tortoise also reminds me of the frog who hops across the pond and never gets to the other side if each jump is half the previous one.

It seems to me that Zeno is both right and wrong. Motion is impossible in the ‘Changeless reality’. But (as Peter Dziuban points out) illusory finite things are never still in time –they are always moving from the future into the past –never actually ‘present’ in the way that Zeno suggested. Only the Infinite Omnipresence is actually still and therefore ‘present’.

Actually, that was probably what Zeno meant. Arrogant of me to assume he wasn’t clever enough to have worked that out!

I read somewhere that the integral calculus disposed of Zeno's paradoxes.

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