CONSCIOUSNESS, BIRTH, LIFE, AND DEATH
A Spiritual Journey
© Copyright 2022 Edward R. Close
I want to begin this post by acknowledging that the many different aspects of the basic components of human experience listed in the title above have been the stuff of dreams, poems, symphonies, love songs, and books, as well as endless academic and common place discussions about the nature of reality, from the beginning of civilization as we know it, until the present moment. Is it possible to address such important human experiences in any meaningful way in one short blogpost? Perhaps not. But in meditation I have seen what I believe to be memories of events that have occurred in multiple lives and between-lives in what I think may be the conscious zero-point quantum field, known in times of more advanced mental and spiritual virtue as the Akashic record. They appear in a form that I would describe as an unbelievably colorful multi-dimensional fabric of interwoven threads of consciousness, forming elegant patterns in the endless holistic tapestry of Reality. If I can convey even a tiny hint of the transcendental beauty of my vision of this majestic tapestry that I think of as the mind of God, then I will be happy.
WHAT IS CONSCIOUSNESS?
First, it is important to realize that the illusions of beginnings and endings, like births and deaths, have no meaning without the prior existence of some form of consciousness. Scientists sometimes speak about the birth, life, and death of stellar objects like stars, the nearest one of which is our sun; but this clearly anthropomorphic conceptualization is dependent upon the prior existence of some form of highly intelligent consciousness. In 1931, Max Planck, the German physicist who discovered that physical reality is quantized, when interviewed by a reporter for The Observer, a newspaper based in London England, put it as plainly as I believe anyone can, when he said:
“I regard consciousness as fundamental. I regard matter as derivative from consciousness. We cannot get behind consciousness.”
We know that consciousness exists, because we experience it directly as our own self-awareness and the ability to draw the distinction between self and other. In fact, consciousness is the only thing that we experience directly. If there is nothing behind consciousness, then, it follows that the ultimate reality behind everything is an a-temporal, non-local, primary form of consciousness, perhaps what has traditionally been called Spirit. But when our current mainstream scientists ask: “What is this thing we call consciousness?” they come up against a blank wall, because it is beyond the limits of their materialistic assumptions. From the point of view of an objective conscious observer, we can trace the distinctions of objective reality from the galaxies of the expanding big-bang universe, all the way back to the stable patterns of information that have meaning in sub-atomic structures, such as neutrons, protons, electrons, even down to the unstable patterns of mass and energy that exist for short periods of time as quarks, and the whole super-ephemeral particle zoo; but, when trying to define what consciousness is, science has no answer because the finite, quantized human brain, is limited by the scientific method, and the mathematical reality of Gödel’s incompleteness theorems, which reflect the infinite continuity of Primary Consciousness.
THE PARADOX OF SCIENTIFIC DEFINITIONS
We would like to think that the various institutions that we call modern mainstream science, are the embodiment of a well-defined, effective method of investigation, collectively known as “The Scientific Method”, a procedure designed to obtain true knowledge about the true nature of reality. Unfortunately, this is not the case, even though those of us who identify as scientists have to pretend that it is, to earn university degrees and obtain the funding needed to apply the methods of investigation that we have learned in one or a few areas of specialization. To understand the nature of this scientific self-deception, we have to step back from our fascination with the physical accomplishments of modern science, engineering, and technology, for a moment, and think about ontology and epistemology. For readers who might not be familiar with these terms describing philosophical enquiry, ontology attempts to determine what actually exists, while epistemology is an effort to understand what knowledge of reality is, and how we know about it.
You may be surprised to learn that the definitions of basic scientific concepts are produced by closed intellectual processes of circular reasoning. Due to the fact that we have no direct experience of the objective reality we assume to exist in the form of separate objects independent of our consciousness, definitions of the things that we have come to regard, for various reasons, as elementary components of objective reality, are actually verbal or written interpretations of mental images constructed from physical, electrical, and magnetic energy pulses, vibrating in narrow ranges of frequencies, transformed by complex physical, chemical, and mental processes as they are transferred in various ways, through space and physical media of various densities, impacting the cellular, molecular, atomic and subatomic structure of transmitters and receptors, evolved for that purpose in our physical bodies, until they finally impact our consciousness to be translated into thought and become the afore-mentioned verbal and written expressions.
This self-referential circular reasoning is the only basis we have for believing that an objective reality actually exists. The circular nature of scientific reasoning becomes obvious when we realize that we are only directly aware of our own consciousness, and unless we can expand our consciousness beyond the boundaries of our physical bodies, it’s the only thing we have. If, as Max Planck declared nearly 100 years ago, consciousness is primary, then we cannot define it in the way we define everything else. It can only be defined in terms of itself. We may talk about how consciousness functions as the organizer of the patterns that we perceive in reality, and we can even identify different forms and states of consciousness, but we can never define consciousness itself, we can only experience it.
When someone says you can’t argue with the science, like certain government employed physicians did recently, to help totalitarian governments control the citizens of the Earth, he reveals the fact that he doesn’t know what science is. When a scientist is not skeptical of the results of his own experimentations, he is no longer a scientist, he is a believer, and his science has become a religion or a political ideology. The next step on that slippery slope is irrational zealotry. Belief in an absolutely knowable physical reality is belief in a false god, an idol. Real science is never complete because reality is infinite. That is actually what the proof of Gödel’s theorems tells us: Finite symbols and ‘theories of everything’ cannot describe reality, they can only describe a portion of the process of reality evolving and changing itself within Primary Consciousness. This means that the stated goals of ontology and epistemology, i.e., complete knowledge of what actually exists, and complete understanding of how we know about it, will never be achieved. But this is not a cause for despair. No matter how much we learn about the nature of reality, there will always be more to learn, because Gödel’s theorem has proved that reality is infinite.
The disparity between descriptive science and reality becomes obvious when we analyze the process of definition. A word or symbol used to describe a scientific concept or object is defined in a dictionary by suggesting that it means the same thing as another word or symbol - or something similar. This is a prime example of circular reasoning. For example, the British Dictionary defines the scientific method as “a method of investigation in which a problem is first identified and observations, experiments, or other relevant data are then used to construct or test hypotheses that purport to solve it.”
In the light of Gödel’s theorem, analysis of this definition of the scientific method reveals the fact that if a problem can be resolved with the logic of the system within which it has been articulated, then the solution will be present in the statement of the problem. This was one of the two major points of G. Spencer Brown’s Laws of Form. He demonstrated this brilliantly by showing that complex logical syllogisms could be solved almost instantly by merely looking at the form of the statement of the problem expressed in a primary calculus like his calculus of indications.
The popular American word book, the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, defines the scientific method as “principles and procedures for the systematic pursuit of knowledge involving the recognition and formulation of a problem, the collection of data through observation and experiment, and the formulation and testing of hypotheses.”
Wikipedia says: “The scientific method is an empirical method of acquiring knowledge that has characterized the development of science since at least the 17th century (with notable practitioners in previous centuries). It involves careful observation, applying rigorous skepticism about what is observed, given that cognitive assumptions can distort how one interprets the observation. It involves formulating hypotheses via induction, based on such observations; experimental and measurement-based statistical testing of deductions drawn from the hypotheses; and refinement (or elimination) of the hypotheses based on the experimental findings. These are principles of the scientific method, as distinguished from a definitive series of steps applicable to all scientific enterprises.”
One of the most Influential philosophers of science in the entire 20th century, Austrian-British thinker, Sir Karl Popper, rejected logic-based induction- deduction definitions of the scientific method like those cited above, in favor of defining the scientific method as a process of “empirical falsification”. He believed that theories developed from experimental data could never be proved in the absolute sense that mathematical theorems are proved, but that they can be falsified if they happen to be untrue or incomplete, by performing experiments designed to test them.
If you keep searching, you can find dozens of other ‘definitions’ of the scientific method. Some list five steps in their attempts to define it, others articulate seven steps. You can pick the one that makes the most sense to you. Scientists pride themselves in the accuracy and precision of their detailed definitions and descriptions of reality, but the most precise definition possible, is completely useless. If the words comprising the subject and object of a sentence defining a scientific term are precisely equivalent, then the definition is a tautology, stating the obvious, essentially saying ‘It is what it is!’ In mathematical notation, such a precise definition is an identity of the form represented by X≡X.
My point is that the idea that there can be a complete and precise theory of everything expressed in one, two, three, - or any finite number of words and equations - is indicative of the inherent delusion of the finite mind; but scientists should never give up trying to find a theory of everything, because it is like the carrot on a stick suspended in front of a donkey to keep him moving in the right direction. In this donkey and carrot analogy, the finite mind is analogous to the donkey, coaxed to walk, or perhaps even to run after the carrot dangling in front of him on a pole, and the illusion of a finite theory of everything is the carrot.
Based on glimpses of the Akashic record, we can logically extend this analogy by upgrading the conscious, warm-blooded animal, the donkey, to a self-aware intelligent human being; the carrot to the human being’s mental image of “the glory of God”, inspired by a glimpse of the splendor of the Akasha. Such a ‘carrot’ should motivate the individual conscious being to do everything within its power to find a way to expand its sphere of consciousness toward the ultimate state of oneness with the Infinite within its lifetime. This brings us to the next, and most important definition related to consciousness.
WHAT IS LIFE?
Discovery of the existence of specific numbers of quantum equivalence units of a non-material component of objective reality (ERC 2011) that we chose to call gimmel (Neppe & Close, 2015) present in quarks and electrons, and the fact that they had to exist prior to the formation of any stable material structure, i.e., for any physical reality to exist, proved that Planck was right when he stated that he could tell us as a result of his “research about the atoms” that there is “no matter as such!” and that we must “regard matter as fundamental…as derivative from consciousness” and that “We cannot get behind consciousness.” Confirmation of this declaration about the nature of reality has profound implications concerning what life is.
The discovery that something non-material had to exist before the first stable elementary object could form, and the demonstration that that non-material gimmel performs the primary function of consciousness by organizing quanta of mass and energy into meaningful structures, implies that gimmel is consciousness. Gimmel, and therefore consciousness, is not just fundamental, as Planck suggested, but it is primary, and as the primary source of stable reality, consciousness cannot be defined as equal to or similar to anything else. Gimmel is the bridge between physical and non-physical reality.
If life and consciousness were the same thing, then we could answer the question posed above by declaring that: “Life IS consciousness!” But consciousness and life as we experience them on this planet, cannot be the same thing, since consciousness is primary, and therefore had to exist before the elementary particles and objective materials that make up organic life forms, could evolve. Unlike consciousness, life can be defined in terms of the interactions of other pre- or co-existing things comprising the morphogenic processes that manifest the logical structures of consciousness.
Collectively, these processes, existing in animal, plant, and fungal species, combine for the purpose of making the survival of some members of those species possible, thereby making survival of some continuing form of the species possible. These processes are iteratively manifested and perpetuated in transformative cycles of reproductive birth, growth, decay, death, and re-birth. Thus, life and consciousness are categorically different things. Proof of the primacy of consciousness as the undefinable reality behind physical and non-physical reality (mass-energy and gimmel) implies that consciousness can and does exist without biological life, but life cannot exist without consciousness. A growing body of experimental data and objectively verified personal experiences confirms this.
WHAT IS BIRTH, AND WHAT IS DEATH?
The life that you are living consists of a sequence of events that you are experiencing as a conscious being. You are, however, not experiencing those events directly. You are experiencing them through the filter of a finite bio-physical organism that you identify as your body. It has specialized cognitive and sensing organs designed for the purpose of consciously drawing finite distinctions in the infinitely continuous fabric of the reality of Primary Consciousness. Your life is distinguished from other lives contributing to the multi-dimensional fabric of Reality by the characteristics encoded in the DNA of your body. Your life is distinguished in time by two events of profound importance, impacting, your body, mind, and soul. We call these events birth and death. They mark the beginning and ending of a series of relationships with unique associations of symbiotic organisms whose DNA patterns and processes form a counterpoint to the blueprint of your DNA. Together, they guide the way your body develops, reacts, to stimuli, and eventually decays and dies.
Your mind is the link between your physical body and the spark of Primary Consciousness that is your soul. As a spark of Primary Consciousness, your soul has a modicum of free will that allows it to modify the patterns set up by the DNA codes you were born with. The amount of free will a conscious being has depends on where that individual soul is on its journey of spiritual development. According to my spiritual mentors, about 75% of the actions of souls living on this planet at this time are determined by their DNA, leaving about 25% to be chosen by free will. It is through the available choices that an individual may accelerate, stall, or reverse its progress on the journey of spiritual development.
The physically and mentally traumatic events we call birth and death simply mark the beginning and ending of a temporary association of an individual soul with the appropriate organic lifeforms and situations that give your soul valuable opportunities to make decisions that will expand the consciousness of the soul to a greater understanding and experiencing of the reality of Primary Consciousness. Your birth is not the creation of something from nothing, and your death is not the destruction of your soul. Your physical body and brain are not blank slates created at birth, upon which your life’s story is written, just to be destroyed when your physical body dies. Your soul existed before the birth of your current physical body and will continue to exist after that body has ceased to function. The extent and content of the domain of the consciousness of your soul will be enhanced, stultified, or reduced by the experiences and choices you make during your life. Due to the law of the conservation of mass, energy, and gimmel, nothing is ever created or destroyed, but only changed in form. The conditions of life are the effects of previous causes, and the experiences and actions of life are the causes of future conditions; so, it behooves us to choose from the options open to us wisely.
THE REST OF THE STORY
We become very attached to some of the conditions of our lives, the bodies we identify with while in them, and the illusions of opportunities to satisfy desires. But peace beyond understanding is only experienced outside of the physical body. As consciousness expands, it becomes possible, under certain conditions, to experience extra-corporeal awareness while alive and still return to the body. These experiences are called out-of-body experiences (OBEs) and they can occur under a variety of conditions. Based on personal experience, I will divide them into three categories for discussion here:
1) Consciousness-Projection Experiences (CPEs), which are OBEs that sometimes occur spontaneously when the body is relaxed and the mind is in prayer, meditation, or between wakefulness and sleep.
2) Near-Death Experiences (NDEs) are OBEs that occur under extremely traumatic conditions when the physical body is severely damaged or diseased and ceases to function temporarily.
3) Between-Life Experiences (BLEs) are exactly what the name indicates: experiences of consciousness before birth or after the death and disintegration of the physical body of a specific life.
In this post I will only discuss the third type of OBEs in any detail, because they are part of the normal spiritual journey of every conscious being alive, while the other two are relatively rare experiences, only happening to souls who have accumulated spiritual and mental virtue a little bit beyond the average.
Between-life experiences that are remembered in dreams or meditation, become more and more beautiful and detailed as you grow in spiritual and mental virtue on your journey from the first flash of self-awareness to the ecstasy of Cosmic Consciousness. In later stages of Spiritual progress, they are almost always important meetings with your Spiritual Advisors in which your reason for entering the next life is revealed. Sometimes the setting is a marbled hall surrounded in shelves of books and windows overlooking beautiful landscapes.
Resolution of the paradox of the finite mind trying to define the infinite reality in which it exists, reveals a paradox of circular reasoning and the profound truth of the infinitely continuous self-referential nature of the omnipresent form of Primary Consciousness existing behind, beyond, within, and throughout Reality. You actually are that! Peace.