Wednesday, January 13, 2016
CONSCIOUSNESS CAN AND DOES EXIST OUTSIDE OF LIVING ORGANISMS
As living organisms, our sense organs function to carry pulses of energy in different forms from outside our bodies, through neurological pathways to our brains where energy pulses are converted into images that we accept as representative of reality. Through our physical senses we experience an awareness of ‘in-here’, versus ‘out-there’, and distinguish ‘self’ from ‘other’. Based on the information we receive through the physical senses, we identify ‘self’ as the ‘in-here’ sensations of the body. The sensations within the boundaries of the physical body that arise as it interacts with what we take to be separate and distinct objects out there, give rise to secondary sensations that may be pleasurable or painful, because of the identification of self with the physical body. The sensations that arise from encounters that are damaging or destructive to the body are felt as pain, and those that enhance the enjoyment of the experience of physicality and preserve the functions of the body, are interpreted as pleasurable and desirable.
Through the awareness of sensations stored in the body (mainly, but not entirely in the brain) the brain can reconstruct past experiences more or less accurately, and we think of these reconstructions as a record, or memory, of past events. By comparing images constructed from the filtered stream of energy currently arriving in the brain with these memories, we quickly learn to make choices that will enhance and maintain our connection with the physical body. A side-effect of this survival mechanism is the continual reinforcement of the belief that consciousness is associated only with the body and is completely separate from everything else. But is this really true? Let’s look at the evidence.
We know that the senses act like reduction valves, filtering out most of the information in the energy bombarding our senses. With our eyes, for example, we only see a very tiny portion of the spectrum of electromagnetic energy; and the same is true with all the physical senses. We know that we are only aware of a very small part of reality, cut and tailored by the sense organs for use to preserve our physical bodies in a sometimes perilous environment.
Science is the effort to ‘see’ and understand more of reality than is revealed by the physical sense organs, neurological processes and mental images. The development of technology and equipment that extend the range of the senses, like telescopes and microscopes, has allowed us to do this. For the past two or three centuries, science has been primarily the study of the ‘out-there’, the other-than-self.
The science of physics is in many ways, the epitome of the study of the ‘out-there’. Even when applied to the study of the ‘in-here’ as in biophysics, the objects of study are considered to be separate from the consciousness of the scientist, the ‘observer’. This has come to be defined as ‘objectivity’. This has happened primarily because the brain, capable of constructing images representing out-there reality, is also capable of constructing images by mixing and altering remembered images in ways that may or may not be representative of reality. These images are called imagination.
Obviously, care must be taken to distinguish between the real and the imaginary, in constructing a working model of reality. Everyone has an imperfect model of reality built up from experience and memory. To some extent, depending on how accurate that model is, we all live in an imaginary world of our own. But, making a choice to take action based on an image or model that does not correspond with the objective reality existing at the moment the choice is made, could be disastrous. It is, therefore desirable to have a complete knowledge of reality, because that would provide a level of certainty that would allow optimum opportunity to avoid pain and experience comfort, security and pleasure. However, since no physical brain has infinite capacity, we generally fall short of such certainty, and indeed, Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle and Gӧdel’s incompleteness theorems strongly suggest that our knowledge of reality will always be uncertain and incomplete to some extent.
Not everyone can be a scientist, philosopher or scholar, so members of modern society have come to rely on the findings, primarily of scientists and religious scholars, whether they realize it or not, to guide them in constructing their individual models of reality, which become their belief systems. Scientists tend to think of their carefully constructed models as perfect reflections of reality, because they have made every effort to verify them with repeatable experiments. But even the best model is, to some extent, a belief system, because, as noted above, they can never be complete.
When the belief system of any individual, scientist, priest, philosopher, or layperson, is challenged by new data, that individual will most likely first ignore the new data, because it threatens his carefully constructed belief system, and then either accept it and expand or remodel his belief system to accommodate it. If it challenges his belief system too severely, he may reject it and try to discredit it and those who accept it. Scientists are no different than anyone else: they will defend their deeply held beliefs. Scientist in positions of authority, especially university professors, will defend their belief systems; perhaps even more vigorously than most because of their investment in them. After all, their careers were spent developing them, and they are considered to be experts in their field of study. This is why Max Planck remarked: “Science advances from funeral to funeral!”
When, over time, mainstream scientists agree on a model, it becomes the accepted paradigm, or standard model of reality. If it is eventually overthrown by new discoveries that require a new model, we have a scientific revolution, or ‘paradigm shift’. There have only been a few real paradigm shifts in the history of science, the latest being relativity and quantum physics. It may not be generally known that even these paradigm shifts were mightily resisted by the scientific establishment when first proposed. Just as religious institutions denounced the ideas of Galileo and Copernicus, mainstream scientists denounced Einstein’s ideas as “utter nonsense” when he published special relativity in 1905. This fact is not advertised by science now, because any organized and institutionalized mode of thought will put forward its best, carefully retouched face to the general public. Mainstream scientists would have us think that science is a smooth, continuous progression of discovery and enlightenment. In fact, most scientists plod along for decades, filling in the detail of the current paradigm. Only rarely does someone discover a new, deeper more accurate and complete model of reality.
Physics is defined as the study of matter and energy interacting in time and space, and until the relatively recent discoveries of quantum physics, science did not consider imaginary images, or consciousness in general, to have any direct causal relationship to objective reality. Reductive science, whether applied to the cells of living organisms, or to molecules of ‘inert’ matter, chooses to consider the atoms of the elements that make up the physical universe to be totally separate from consciousness. Particle physics is the epitome of this objective, reductive approach to obtaining data through destructive testing.
Particle physicists have found ways to hurl particles at each other at tremendous velocities in carefully constructed particle colliders, in order to smash them together and blow them apart so they can look at the pieces as they fly away from the collision. This has yielded valuable information about the nature of what we think of as solid matter. But, seeking to isolate and identify the basic building blocks of the universe in this reductive way, we find that the ultimate building blocks keep slipping through our fingers and dividing into smaller and smaller sub-atomic entities that eventually dissolve into waves and fields of energy. We have found that, to quote Max Planck, “There is no matter as such.” Einstein showed us that mass and energy are two forms of the same thing, and now, Close and Neppe, following the clues in quantum physics and relativistic experiments, have shown that mass and energy are manifestations of a third, non-physical form of the substance of reality.
Like materialistic science, our physical senses lead us to believe that we are completely separate from external objects, that the substance of reality is solid matter, that space and time are no more than an empty backdrop within which random physical events play out, and consciousness is nothing more than a property of matter. It turns out that just the opposite is true. Let’s look at the evidence.
There is evidence that the consciousness of an observer may have a direct effect on reality at the quantum level. Quantum experiments like the double-slit and delayed-slit experiments suggest that, as Nobel Prize winning physicist John Wheeler put it:
“Useful as it is under everyday circumstances to say that the world exists ‘out there’ independent of us, that view can no longer be upheld. There is a strange sense in which this is a participatory universe.” And “No elementary phenomenon is a phenomenon until it is a registered phenomenon.”
See “Transcendental Physics”, ER Close, Chapter two (available on Amazon, from Barnes and Nobel and elsewhere), for a detailed discussion of these experiments. A few theoretical physicists, notably David Bohm and Eugene Wigner, developed models incorporating the consciousness of the observer as a participating part of any experiment at the quantum level. Most mainstream physicists, however, refuse to accept the idea that consciousness has anything to do with physical phenomena. Their first response was to ignore the data because if it were to be accepted at face value, it would mean that materialism would have to be abandoned as a basis for understanding and explaining reality. Their second reaction was to deny the data, but try as they might, they have not been able to mount a defensible counterargument.
So, quantum experimental results provide evidence that consciousness does extend beyond the boundaries of the body and affects physical reality without any physical mechanism. But is this the unconscious, or involuntary operation of some form of consciousness outside the body? Is there evidence of the conscious exit from the body? Actually, there is, and it is not new. From ancient times, mystics and aboriginal shamans have reported travelling outside their physical bodies. It is also a basic tenant of Judaism, Christianity and most other religions that the essence of the consciousness of a living person survives the death and destruction of the physical body.
There is a growing body of evidence that under certain circumstances, the awareness of an individual can consciously leave the physical body and exist outside the body as a freely moving conscious observer for extended periods of time. Some people, a very small minority, claim that they can deliberately leave the body through a process called astral projection. Many people report experiencing out-of-body episodes, sometimes called ‘near-death experiences, during life-saving operations or under other life-threatening situations. Typically, they experience hovering above the operating table or over the scene of an accident, seeing their own bodies and other things that they verified after the event. Studies show that as much as 20% of the general population report out-of-body (OBE) experiences. The real percentage may be much higher, because many people would not report such an experience because of the likelihood of being ridiculed and accused of lying.
In my view, there is valid evidence that consciousness can operate outside of living physical bodies in at least four modes:
1. The involuntary operation of consciousness as a participant in the nature of finite reality (double-slit, etc.)
2. The spontaneous exit of the body under normal conditions
3. The deliberate, willful conscious exit of the body (Mystic, Shaman, etc.)
4. Exit under life-threatening or stressful circumstances.
The first mode listed above suggests that there is a pervasive form of consciousness that exists beyond the confines of organic life forms; and the application of TRUE quantum analysis to quarks, electrons, protons, neutrons and the atoms of the elements of the Periodic Table, as reported in previous posts on this blogsite, has proved that there would be no stable life-supporting elements without ‘gimmel’ a form of the substance of reality. That form of reality had to exist from the time of the first particle out of the so-called big bang origin of the universe. That form cannot be mass or energy, so the only candidate for gimmel is a primary form of consciousness, containing all of the logic and structure of reality.
In addition, there are a number of analyses of several psi phenomena experiments, including remote viewing, with statistical results showing six-sigma results above chance, i.e. the probability that these are real phenomena is six standard deviations above what the results would be if there was no correlation between the results of the experiments and reality, a far higher standard than imposed on ‘hard science’ phenomena, like gluons, neutrinos, gravity waves, or the Higgs Boson. See more detail in “Reality Begins with Consciousness” by Neppe and Close, available as an e-book on www.BrainVoyage.com. The current scientific paradigm has no explanation for psi phenomena, while transcendental physics and the Close-Neppe TDVP theory as presented in previous posts do. They exist because consciousness can and does exist outside the confines of physical bodies.
But why would I, a mathematician and physicist trained in the traditional manner of Western scientific materialism, even entertain the possibility that consciousness is something more than an emergent feature of physical evolution, something that exists beyond the boundaries of the physical body?
I discovered Einstein’s special relativity when I was 14, and knew that I wanted to be a theoretical physicist. But, even as I worked to obtain degrees in physics and mathematics, I knew there was something more than what I was learning in the classroom, something more than matter and energy interacting in space and time.
Several experiments I carried out personally, convinced me that consciousness is more than individual awareness. I will post more about this later.
Based on the results of the double-slit and delayed-choice experiments, TRUE analysis of the elements of the periodic table, indicating the existence of a primary form of consciousness prior to the existence of the physical universe, psi experimental results, and personal experience, I conclude that a primary form of consciousness has always existed independent of living organisms, and that individualized consciousness, through its connection with Primary Consciousness, is capable of existing and functioning outside the physical body, and finally, that the non-physical part of individualized consciousness can and does survive physical death.
Edward R. Close, PhD, PE, DSPE