Etymologically, the word consciousness derives
from the words scire (to know) and cum or con
(with). Consciousness is "to know with."
So if you, the persona, cognize (to know or be
Mathematical physicist Roger Penrose has
A scientific world-view which does not
profoundly come to terms with the problem of conscious minds
can have no serious pretensions of completeness…
I would maintain that there is yet no
physical, biological, or computational theory that comes
very close to explaining our consciousness or intelligence.
Indeed, in the past (and even today?) some
scientists had taken the absurd position that consciousness is
This, while providing a nonsensical reason to
ignore the problem of consciousness, obviously fails to sate the
curious inquirer's queries regarding how we got here and what we
are doing here as conscious beings.
Materialistic philosophy as we know it - derived
from the mechanistic worldview - had, more or less since the
dawning of the Age of Reason in the 1700s, steadfastly
maintained that what we call experience arises solely as a
by-product of the brain's internal workings. No brain, no
But is it really that simple? What about
functions of consciousness that appear to transcend the cranial
boundaries of our heads?
The Age of Reason said that these forces had only
ever existed in man's imagination; only reason could show man
the truth about the universe.
"The trouble was," according to Colin Wilson,
"that man became a thinking pygmy, and the world of the
rationalists was a daylight place in which boredom,
triviality and ordinariness were ultimate truths."
The Age of Reason glorified the rationalist, who,
enamored of his endless linear cogitations, was blinded to
faculties of consciousness that actually transcended them:
faculties that would have allowed him not to merely philosophize
about deeper levels of reality, but actually access them.
"This is the great tragedy of modern man,"
wrote occultist, philosopher, and composer Dane Rudhyar.
"His much acclaimed scientific spirit frees
him of the compulsions of subrational and subconscious
states of mind, only to bind him to an empty rationalism and
a quantitative analytical intellect, both of which actually
entomb him in a sarcophagus filled with only the mimicry of
This sarcophagus is the 'megalopolis' - the
monstrous city." [iii]
But something stirs in the bowels of the concrete
An international online survey of paranormal
experiences had met with an overwhelming response, according to
Australian researchers in 2006. The survey, on phenomena that
cannot be explained using the current "laws" of science, is by
researchers at Monash University in Melbourne.
A recent (for the time) Gallup poll revealed that
75% of Americans hold at least one paranormal belief, and a UK
newspaper poll showed that 60% of Britons accept the existence
of the paranormal, say the researchers. According to the
researchers, the survey is not about beliefs or whether
parapsychological phenomena exist, rather it is about what
people have experienced and the impact it has had on their
Some 2,000 people had made contact via the internet within six
weeks of the survey beginning.
A whopping 96% of respondents claim to have had
at least one brush with the paranormal.
The exercise seeks to gauge the frequency,
effect, and age of onset of unexplained phenomena such as
premonitions, out-of-body and near-death episodes, telepathy,
Results as of 2006 showed that 70% of respondents
believe an unexplained event changed their lives, mostly in a
Some 70% also claim to have seen, heard, or been
touched by an animal or person that wasn't there, 80% report
having had a premonition, and almost 50% recalled a previous
life. [iv] In May 2000, the New York Times
Sunday Magazine published results of a poll conducted by Blum &
Weprin Associates; a huge 81% said they believed in life after
Virtually all of these beliefs hint at (and require in order to
be true) the existence of other realms - other realms in which
consciousness can operate.
A 2005 poll taken by the Scottish paranormal
society showed that more people are likely to believe in ghosts
and the paranormal than have faith in any organized religion. A
Gallup survey taken in 2005 showed that about three in four
Americans profess at least one paranormal belief. [vi]
This is a massive amount of "paranormal"
experience and belief - all of it depending on the existence of
other levels of reality, without which such experience can only
be labeled as delusion and fantasy.
While the fanatical skeptic would find such
convenience irresistible, convenience and expedience are not our
Did you know that the American Psychiatric Association's
Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) has
now been amended so that genuinely psychic people are no longer
considered "disordered"? [vii]
Srinivasa Ramanujan (born in India, 1887-1920) has been
called the strangest man in all of mathematics, probably in the
entire history of science.
Working in isolation from his peers, this genius
was single-handedly able to re-derive a hundred years' worth of
Western mathematics. As Michio Kaku reports in Hyperspace, the
tragedy of his life is that much of his work was wasted
rediscovering known mathematics. [viii]
Most interesting to us, Ramanujan said that the
goddess Namakkal inspired him in his dreams; in other words, the
source of his creative genius was this other realm within his
sleep, rather than ordinary waking consciousness.
Is there a link between this other realm of sleep and paranormal
phenomena? At a glance, such a presumption appears to be a
stretch, but the reservation of judgment is highly recommended
at this point.
Carl Jung (below) once said:
"The images and ideas that dreams contain
cannot possibly be explained solely in terms of memory. They
express new thoughts that have never yet reached the
threshold of consciousness." [ix]
Ramanujan appears to provide an excellent example
of the type of non-ordinary information access that the Russian
paranormal researchers might call hypercommunication, and he
isn't alone among specialists, pioneers, giants of science, and
so-called regular people.
In fact, pioneer psychiatrist and consciousness
researcher Stanislav Grof found that during LSD
experiences his own patients were capable of accessing the
"collective unconscious," obtaining very specific, accurate, and
In the LSD training program for scientists,
relevant insights occurred in fields as diverse as,
Ramanujan, assuming he really did receive
detailed formulas in his dreams via the subconscious, provides
perhaps some indication of just how accurate and detailed this
knowledge can be.
As we will see, these insights that defy the
Freudian and Newtonian-Cartesian (reductionist) worldview/s
abound in the literature.
In 1862 the chemist Friedrich August von
Kekule famously arrived at the solution for the chemical
formula for benzene in a dream wherein he saw the benzene ring
in the form of a snake biting its tail - an archetypal symbol in
itself - the Ouroburos.
In a supreme historical irony, Descartes'
principles of what ultimately became the mechanist philosophy
originated from a dream on the eve of St. Martin's day of 1619
in which the "Angel of Truth" explained to him that mathematics
was the key to unlocking the secrets of Nature! [xi]
Nikola Tesla constructed
the electric generator… after the complete design of it
appeared to him in great detail in a vision.
The design for the experiment leading to the
Nobel Prize-winning discovery of the chemical transmission
of nerve impulses occurred to the physiologist Otto Leowi
while he was asleep.
Albert Einstein discovered the basic
principles of his special theory of relativity in an unusual
state of mind; according to his description, most of the
insights came to him in the form of kinaesthetic sensations.
Einstein had said:
"The supreme task of the physicist is to
arrive at those universal elementary laws from which the
cosmos can be built up by pure deduction.
There is no logical path to these laws; only
intuition, resting on sympathetic understanding of
experience, can reach them." [xiii]
Many of the great scientists have said very
From out of nowhere a revelatory vision or
understanding hits them, as if suddenly downloaded into their
minds from some esoteric conceptual repository. It is
interesting that many people find in lucid dreams that they can
learn skills that translate directly into real waking life or
they can solve problems in the conscious dream state that in the
physical world had stumped them, and moreover, these solutions
actually work. [xiv]
Francis Crick was under the influence of
LSD in 1953 at the moment when he perceived the double helix
shape and unraveled
the structure of DNA.
The chemist D.I. Mendeleyev saw his entire
periodic table of elements one night in a dream. And of course,
many of history's greatest and most successful musical artists
came up with their best material under the influence of one drug
Oprah Winfrey says,
"My business skills have come from being
guided by my inner self - my intuition." [xvi]
She's not alone among the financially abundant.
Researchers have tested CEOs of successful
corporations for their ability to see the future, such as by
predicting a string of numbers they would be shown later.
They found that the CEOs who are good at this are
usually those who are also highly successful in running their
corporations, while CEOs who did not have this ability tend to
have mediocre success rates in their corporations.
"In one study," says Dr. Larry Dossey,
"experimenters were able to predict in advance the most
successful corporate balance sheets by how well the CEOs did
on tests that measured their ability to predict the future,
such as a string of numbers they'd be shown later."
In 1982 the St. Louis Business Journal tested how
a psychic would fare against professional stockbrokers over a
six-month period, and reported that the psychic, who had no
formal training in stock-market trading or analysis,
outperformed 18 of 19 professional stockbrokers.
During the testing period, the Dow Jones
Industrial Average fell 8% but the psychic's stocks went up an
average of 17.2%, while the sole broker who beat her achieved
Physicist and psi researcher
Russel Targ's research
group Delphi Associates succeeded in psychically forecasting for
nine consecutive weeks the fluctuations in the silver commodity
futures markets, earning them a tidy $120,000.
Psi * techniques are
playing an increasingly important role on Wall Street, according
to Dean Radin's sources. [xx]
Psi (pronounced "sigh") is a term for parapsychological (occult)
phenomena derived from the Greek, psi, twenty‐third letter of
the Greek alphabet; from the Greek psyche, "mind, soul." First
used in a parapsychological context by biologist B.P. Wiesner,
it was first used in print by British psychologist Robert
Thouless in 1942.
In 1987 Richard S. Broughton, scientist
and former president of the Parapsychological Association,
pointed to the need-serving nature of psi and the competitive
advantage it often provides in the struggle for survival
- Darwinists rejoice. [xxi]
Many scientists have had profound interests in fields beyond the
reach of the science of their day.
For instance, Isaac Newton was an
obsessive alchemist [xxii] and Freemason in
search of the way to transform consciousness, Thomas Edison
built machines to try to facilitate communication with the dead,
and Marie Curie attended séances.
The list of such eminent scientists with keen
interests in the paranormal goes on and on.
Is it a credible suggestion that they all were
merely deluded into pursuing these areas by cunning charlatans
or irrational, wishful thinking? We are about to see that there
is clearly more to it than this.
Even Freud, whose attitude towards the
occult was originally negative, changed his tune as he matured
and learned more about it, suggesting, in a 1949 paper called
Psychoanalysis and Telepathy, a union between psychoanalysts
"[O]ne might expect a mutual sympathy between
the two…[A]n alliance of, and collaboration between,
psychoanalysis and occultists would seem to be both
plausible and promising." [xxiii]
What about those modern-day scientists and
professionals who have experiences in the "paranormal" realm?
Brian Weiss, psychiatrist, hypnotherapist,
and author, wrote:
The respected chairman of a major clinical
department at my hospital is a man who is admired
internationally for his expertise. He talks to his deceased
father, who has several times protected him from serious
Another professor has dreams that provide the
missing steps or solutions to his complex research
experiments. The dreams are invariably correct.
Another well-known doctor usually knows who
is calling him on the phone before he answers it…
If these insights come from only one man, imagine
what else we might be missing out on.
No Sacred Cows
With so many people (many indeed being iconic historical
figures) experiencing what they are supposedly not meant to, the
reasonable individual might be forgiven for wondering if there
is something more to consciousness than our materialistic
paradigms would have us believe.
Can we go further than questioning the assumed
legitimacy of orthodox materialistic theories which reduce
consciousness to a mere epiphenomenon (by-product) of physical
matter (the brain) and even - heaven forbid - suggest that they
are not merely incomplete, but actually types of superstitions
W. Heitler, a theoretical physicist at the
University of Zurich, thinks so and says in his book Man and
Belief in a mechanistic universe is a modern
superstition… based on a more or less extensive series of
correct facts, facts which are subsequently generalized
without warrant, and finally so distorted that they become
The "witch superstition" cost innumerable
innocent women their lives, in the cruelest fashion.
The mechanistic superstition is more
dangerous… When once we have got to the stage of seeing in
man merely a complex machine, what does it matter if we
destroy him? [xxv]
The process of generalizing without warrant, as
Heitler puts it, is essentially the process of inductive logic
that is theoretical science's proverbial bread and butter,
starting with particular data or concepts and then extrapolating
out or deriving broader generalizations (that may or may not be
As we shall see with the mechano-materialistic
outlook, many of these broad generalizations are inaccurate.
scientists discover that brainwave states and
neurochemical processes affect and alter states of
consciousness and perception.
From this, the materialistic scientist draws
the conclusion (interprets) that consciousness is therefore
entirely a brain-based phenomenon. Inductive logic is a
great way to go drastically wrong while remaining entirely
logical within a given framework.
Deductive logic works the other way:
you start with broader conclusions/premises
and try to draw more detailed facts.
This too obviously has its limitations.
You could make the complete opposite mistake; for
example, someone has an "out-of-body experience" and concludes
that, since they could still perceive while completely separate
from brain and body, therefore the brain has nothing to do with
human consciousness. This is a silly example, but may illustrate
Incidentally, the Tibetan word for body is lü,
which means something you leave behind, like baggage.
Could the Tibetans know something we
sophisticated Westerners don't?
I shall state confidently from the outset that consciousness
does not arise from the brain; however, once anchored by the
brain, the brain mediates conscious experience (unless
consciousness is completely separated from the brain as in the
"near-death experience" in particular, which we will deal with
"Yes! says the quantum theorist, because
changing the measurement apparatus does certainly change
what can be measured, and therefore changes the event."
Canadian brain researcher and specialist Dr.
Michael Persinger, who discovered connections between
electromagnetic (EM) fields and changes to the brain's
temporal lobe, established that exposure to weak magnetic fields
can induce altered states of awareness reminiscent of psychic
and mystical experiences, the sensing of a "presence,"
experiences of "God," and other physical effects.
The temporal lobe has been linked to out-of-body
and mystical experiences, as well as to feelings of dissociation
and hallucinations, by neuroscientist Peter Brugger.
Such studies in the nascent field of neuro-theology
do indeed show the mediation of conscious experience by the
brain, but to infer from these facts that the brain actually
generates consciousness where previously there was none is an
unjustifiable and counterproductive leap of faith.
The brain acts, as authors such as Grof have put it, as a
"reducing valve" for consciousness, tuning and altering it,
acting as a conduit rather than the generator.
Case in point:
studies in near-death experiences (dealt with
here but in even greater depth in TGI 2) reveal that
transcendent states of awareness can be experienced by
people who are clinically dead, with no brain function or
signs of life at all.
Offering validity to their claims, many have
returned with true information gleaned while they were dead
(sometimes from distant locations) that they - according to the
brain-as-generator theory - should not have had awareness of,
let alone access to.
Similarly, respected computer engineer and author
Bernardo Kastrup points out that, contrary to accepted
wisdom, psychedelics produce "hallucinations" not by stimulating
brain activity, but by reducing it.
"Reduction of brain activity impairs the
filter/localization mechanism, allowing one to temporarily
and partially escape its entrapment and come closer to
perceiving reality as it truly is." [xxix]
According to the eloquent metaphysicist and
co-founder of theosophy Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, Professor
George T. Ladd, a psychologist and philosopher, observed in
the late 1800s that the,
"assumption that the mind is a real being,
which can be acted upon by the brain, and which can act on
the body through the brain, is the only one compatible with
all the facts of experience." [xxx]
Nothing has changed since then.
More recently, physicist Amit Goswami's
revelation was that he had vainly been seeking a description of
consciousness within science, when,
"instead, what I and others have to look for
is a description of science within consciousness."
It was (and is) in fact the former approach that
had gotten so much in the way of progressing our understanding
Fellow physicist the late Evan Walker was more
specific, commenting that,
"an understanding of psi phenomena and of
consciousness must provide the basis of an improved
understanding of [quantum mechanics]." [xxxii]
[i] See Penrose, Shadows of the Mind.
[ii] Colin Wilson, The Occult, Introduction.
[iii] Rudhyar, Culture, Crisis and Creativity, 27.
[v] Grosso, Experiencing the Next World Now, xv–xvi.
[vi] Jones, PSIence, 24.
[vii] Atwater, The Big Book of Near-Death Experiences, 141.
[viii] See Kaku, Hyperspace.
[ix] Jung, Man and His Symbols.
[x] Grof, LSD Psychotherapy, 261.
[xi] Sheldrake, The Presence of the Past, 25.
[xii] Grof, LSD Psychotherapy, 261. See also R.A. Wilson,
Cosmic Trigger, Part 1, for some fascinating background on
Tesla and his insights.
Principles of Research,
[xiv] See LaBerge & Rheingold, Exploring the World of Lucid
Dreaming, 8, 9.
[xv] Hancock, Supernatural, 281–3.
[xvi] Larry Dossey interview in New Dawn, Special Issue No.
[xviii] Mishlove, The Roots of Consciousness, 249–50. Ebook.
[xix] Targ, Why I Believe in ESP & Why You Should Too, New
Dawn Special Issue 6(4), 2012.
The Conscious Universe,
[xxi] Jones, 205.
[xxii] See White, Isaac Newton.
Ancient and Modern Science:
Psychology: Part VII. Theosophy, 83(11), 1995.
[xxiv] Weiss, Many Lives, Many Masters, 128–9.
Quoting from Man and Science
by W. Heitler. Taken to its extreme, Darwinian theory was
the state-sanctioned science adopted and promoted by Nazi
Germany's “Aryan” ruling class. (Lipton & Bhaerman, 117.)
[xxvi] Sogyal Rinpoche, The Tibetan Book of Living and
[xxvii] Goswami, The Self-Aware Universe, 170.
[xxviii] Jones, 76.
[xxix] See Kastrup.
Studies in Occultism.
[xxxi] See Goswami,
The Self-Aware Universe.
[xxxii] Schoch & Yonavjak, The Parapsychology Revolution,