Bottoming Out the Universe: Karma, Reincarnation, and Personal Identity (draft)

by Richard Grossinger on May 17, 2016

Bottoming Out the Universe: Karma, Reincarnation, and Personal Identity

The Hole in the Materialists’ Universe

After centuries of deliberation, the modern sensibility and peer-juried verdict regarding the astonishing event we are all experiencing in personal portals in space-time is a cascade of electrochemical aberrations ignited by and among molecules forming paganly sovereign protein crystals. This supreme master theater of beingness and selfhood—la sine qua non, da “first” person (“je,” “I,” “ich,” “yo,” “nuy”), what the average bloke calls “me-self” and “me brats” and “le dessein pour le jour”—may give an illusion of objective primacy to its bearers, but it is a brief and chance burst of hapless pangs against an eternity of its own (and everything else’s) eventual nonexistence—and not just nonexistence but vapid nonexistence without latency or teleological glimmer.

A few years ago I wrote that science’s takeaway from its five-or-so-century inquiry is: “A light goes on, a light goes off, but it wasn’t even a light.” I.e., we become conscious, our consciousness runs down metabolically or is otherwise terminated, but it wasn’t really conscious to begin with—it was an electrochemical hallucination. That hallucination is alone what science currently recognizes as personhood and intelligent activity in the universe.

All the action on the street—and there is lots of it on this world—comes down to feedback from thermodynamic-turned-metabolic-turned-libidinal grids plus the networks discharged in their statistically arbitrated designs. Every gun-toting cowpoke and bloviating commentator, despite insistences of “I am” and “me, me, me,” are neither “I” nor “am” in any chips-down sense. Identity, purpose, and agency are incidental by-products of the chemical synthesis of carbon crystals, stuff generated in random cosmic bubbles by natural kinetics of molecular ingredients and temperature variations. Awareness (including especially self-awareness) is a side effect of those bubbles going snap, crackle, and pop, creating deep-lying cellular systems that cybernetically monitor one another in ladder-like motherboard effects that accrete in a surplus of energy and discharge of that energy as egoity, animals and humans alike (of course, humans are animals). Consciousness is both a hallucination and a mirage.

The reigning assumption is that mind states came about solely from an algorithmic shuffle of subatomic skank. The shuffle took place as a jumble of daughter particles and inherent forces followed the torrid and dense singularity known in these parts as the Big Bang. The Bang popped in the middle of nowhere and for no reason—happened without purpose or gods in a zone that for some reason existed (or needed to be created by the implosion) but could just as well never have existed. The universe itself is a blind detonation in the dark—a pure crapshoot. Something happened rather than nothing. But there could have been nothing forever—no interruption or squeakless squeak of presence. The galactic universe is a chance outcome that might not have occurred from the cast of those same fermions and bosons if the juggle had gone differently. This all might be a blather of sound and fury signifying nothing.

Everything that followed the Big Bang is transpiring in the space it created the middle of nowhere for no reason. To what purpose could anything possibly be attached but blind chains arising from particles? Do you see a lever or toggle pointing outside the Big Bang’s grid?

Since the blast, it’s been all fermions and bosons and combinations thereof. Despite lipstick on the pig, the universe we know and admire is babbling oink at source.

The latter-day series of embryogenic invaginations, folds, and fractal layerings that gave rise to and continue to spawn life forms on this planet encompasses a series of thermodynamic and shear forces generating and feeding mechanical information- (meaning temperature-) driven chains bound in membranes.

Our bodies are temporary configurations of cells, which are themselves temporary configurations of molecules, which are temporary configurations of atoms and subatomic particles (back to those bosons and fermions). Brewed by nuclear chemistry in stars and transferred into seeds, these meteorized molecule bursts and galactic wave-forms impartially constitute pretty much anything in the extant universe. There is no other possible or putative source. Everyday we “use” matter that was once parts of other creatures, perhaps even cities in other solar systems and, every so often, other galaxies, because stray dust travels willy-nilly, swirling and sticking from the shove of an original wind. Not very fast—at the scale of the expanding panoply anyway— but over epochal time atoms can go quite far, in fact pretty much anywhere.

What is a gull for a moment is a brilliant white feathered heap of flying, feeding, crying molecules dispersing in the breeze not long thereafter—and no proof of the gull’s once existence after the carbon and nitrogen have blown away.

 

Life incubated in Earth’s primeval carbon- and nitrogen-rich pools. Canalized subatomic collisions transfer their combined, amassed properties and intrinsic elemental qualities, into more elaborate qualities. In unchaperoned baths, cardinal configurations form more intricate crystals that eventually tat self-monitoring feedback loops from combinations of resting potential, excitatory potential, and loops of action-potential increments with their augmentations and inhibitions, including, along one caliber, hyperpolarization and depolarization. Nothing else is supporting mind.

“Being” is an interplay or sort of chemico-electric signal patterns channeled through hierarchical aggregations of circuits and low-threshold spikes hitting simultaneous charge overloads and default tipping points. Magically, mind emerges from this melee.

While effecting the pretense of innate meaning or personal identity, these grids are meaningful only by default: they filter out exogenous static and noise that would otherwise cancel them back into meaninglessness. Cogent shapes and their imputations find themselves by their own redundancy, meaning that they represent not themselves but the erasure and absence of other patterns and potential forms and reinforce themselves solely by their brief durable relevance to each other.

As substrata accreting inside these living machines transfer extrinsic informational patterns into each other’s context and match templates, they develop the appearance of agency, purpose, and, ultimately, thoughts—not because they “know” (or are) but because their incidental territories incidentally conform. Autochthonous self-repairing units emerging from underlying self-similar motifs recognize themselves and everything else by pattern-on-pattern formations.

So an initially two-bit utility function, while ostensibly only monitoring itself, converts its systemic feedback—its check-ins and their progressions, superfluidity-like—into broader, previously unreckoned and unexplored frames of reference, leading to more efficient function sets. Eureka, you have a viral entity, a bristling bacterium, a pseudopod-projecting amoeba gel, a crawling slime, a chittering mouse—good luck!

Meaning is dragged along with mind like bubblegum on an unfortunate sneaker.

Creatures are self-regulating concentration and containment centers of (at crux) trillionfold subatomic quantum, atomic, and molecular firings into circumstantial discretionary pathways. Their gondola was launched from input-output sensory ladders of platyhelminths, crustaceans, squids, salamanders, and the like, as molecules, while traveling through banks of computing neurons, generated phantasmagoria and stamped personalized existence on themselves. A tangled central ganglion finally bloated into a feedback-loop monitor at the notochord spinal crescendo of multiple strings of lesser, more diffuse interlocked feedback monitors, all of which coagulated similarly from proton and electron strings as bonded, reacted, and puddled.

The homunculus climbed its own neural ladder by epigenetically involuting, synopsizing, and invaginating its internal, environment-interfacing form with astonishing haste from lizards to tree shrews to monkeys and then Homo africanus, at least on one sorry-ass planet. Then the mélange burst into the full-blown forest of symbols that surrounds us. The symbols swarmed into villages and cities and remade themselves as polities and civilizations. There they be to this moment, interrogating the crisis of their cause and origin, excavating an itinerary shrouded in fictions and mists.

“There is no ghost in the organic machine,” declared neuro-anthropologist Terrence Deacon, deep analyst of the living machine, “and no inner intender serving as witness to a Cartesian theater. The locus of self-perspective is a circular dynamic, where ends and means, observing and observed, are incessantly transformed from one to another.”

This reality show goes on not because it is sentient or even provisionally sentient or even by pleading its case to a supernominal jury on the nature of its consciousness but “irrespective of making any claim about whether it is sentient. Intelligence is about making adaptively relevant responses to complex environmental contingencies, whether conscious or unconscious.” [Incomplete Nature: How Mind Emerged from Matter (New York: Norton, 2013), pp. 483-484, 492]. It is systemic and subconscious.

Consciousness is what consciousness does, in establishing its own placeholder status. Its epistemological crisis—whether it is really conscious or not—has nothing to do with its actual consciousness and existential expression. The discussion involves only transitional maintenance plans and temporal survival modes of certain anomalous neg-entropic whorls within others.

“Inside” and “outside” are “incessantly transformed from one another” because there is no real “in,” only fulminating heaps of inverted and extraverted façade generating the illusion of interior existence. As they interact, they hallucinate an epiphenomenal by-product.

Awareness is the least significant aspect of biological mind. Unconscious intelligence with its blind transfers of information supersedes it on Earth (and presumably under the Europan ice if it breeds there) by a far margin, in philosophers as in raccoons. Cardinal systemic sets run any hawk or shark—internal network symbolings, rudimentary optics, involuntary nerve nets, and other autopilot functions as well as repressed or otherwise forfeit memory scalds.

Throw in everything else incipiently pre- and post-syntactic and semantic or that has been elided from consciousness adventitiously plus the meta-conscious, quasi-linguistic status and deep structure of DNA itself and you have an entire back-office operation with its own primeval depth of alphabets and alphabetic structures. That is basic consciousness’ boiler room and control center: a hummingbird’s flapping wings and a rat’s sniff of carrion. It is not even subconscious in the Freudian sense; it is fully and eternally unconscious and uncontactable.

A behavioral analogue stirs and says, “Bzzzz,” or “Quack” or “Ribb-ock, ribb-ock” or “To be or not to be”—or (in Hopi), “Úma hínok pas nui kitâ’ náwakna?” (“Why do you want me so quickly?”) Each of these oration-puffs billows finally into a full-throated bleat, the mournful calls of loons and gulls (or in speechless spiders and their insect cousins and worms finds its epitome in motion without voice). Rills and fabrications, whines and chirps, from multiple interlinked centers, at par with one another and with the vortex generating them, emit the yelp or whine of a chemical synaptic impulse that expresses or mimics a motive for such display. Each organ, molded into a rhythm of effort-shapes, gropes and growls and pleads with the universe, from the imagined persona of its metabolism, to be and not to be. These plaints flow from nothing into nowhere because there is nowhere from which to originate them and no other place for them to go or deliver a message or message to deliver.

 

What a universe! Welcome to the Show, Brother Man, Brother Fish. You are chemicals feigning real things, offshoots of fancifully bound currents from antediluvian ponds snared in sheets and imagining that you savor and defend brief figments that interact in such a way as to cast reflections of your false selves into continuous states of delusional internal self-recognition. You are meat undergoing psychedelic shudders, with about the same quantum of serendipitous leaven as mud or a thunderstorm.

The outcome of the ceaseless battle of the creative contrivances of chaos—including Ilya Prigogine’s non-equilibrium thermodynamics and ilk—against incumbent entropy is a foregone conclusion, entropy will win out decisively, otherwise known as the heat death of the universe. This providence applies to all protuberances of design and cogitation in the universe as well as the universe itself—stars, bars, and in between. Everyone alive as well as everything conditionally awake, alert, and beating some drum or other will be obliterated, and every trace of its ephemeral presence will be eradicated forever.

Biological life and creature identity mean nada to the universe and report to no more final court. To any citizen who looks closely enough we are slime on “a small round planet inching its way through a terrifying void.” [viii]

You know how all stories here end. Following the remission of each bubble’s metabolizing mirages, the lights go out for good, the pseudo-interior glow by which even you, poor reader, are processing these words. Extinction of beingness confers elision of all prior and present memory, all personal identity. According to the Second Law of Thermodynamics, entropy’s imprimatur, the Whole Multigalactic Enchilada—Monsieur Big Boy, El Starry Circus, mismo—is going to chill, evanesce, dissipate, perish. Adios Reality, for certain and for good.

In Justin Torres’s memoir of his upstate New York Puerto Rican childhood, a curious lad asks his father, “‘What happens when you die?’” El papá’s response comes from science’s deep-seated both surface and subliminal supposition that has been spreading to meet the universe that swallows it. As he stares back, dumbfounded (and more than a little peeved), he replies, “Nothing happens. Nothing happens forever.” [We the Animals, p. 99.]

Ultimately the fact that there is something here rather than nothing anywhere will be eradicated too. The current colloquy of “somethings” will turn into a single eternal nothing, which is what they were meant to be in the first place. And once again darkness will rule the face of the abyss. Or they will turn into something else.

There is no more sanguine way to put it, no lurking eschatological savior or last-minute turn-of-plot under wraps. Not in post-modern science anyway. According to its materialist ontology, creature-hood and its rigmaroles are a splash where there was and is nothing truly, durably and only chaotically splashable. Creatures have arisen for no reason. They have no basis, no whyfor, no object, and certainly no pay-off. They elapse adventitiously, wagered by those afore-mentioned subatomic effects that generate incidental atomic collisions that become molecular-cohesion events, and, a few layers up the assembly line, a discharge of polarization waves with their neural overload. There is no transcendent outcome to either their unlikely occurrence and routine cessation.

Those who preceded us crossed hundreds of thousands of years of mountainous ice, sleet, wind, atmospheric turbulence, and and saber-toothed predators to arrive at this sorry conclusion.

 

In case the usher didn’t hand you a program, the prime objective of science these days is to prove that truly conscious beings can’t exist, don’t exist; to remove all extraneous meaning, purpose, and consequence from an impersonal splatter of effects—and certainly to remove any rumor of extrinsic intelligence.

Centuries of court in session have led to ideological progressivisim: the conclusion that there is no traction in the universe (or any universe) beyond its material domain. Humanity has yawed from an interim posture of trying to locate an individual spirit or soul—some form of a priori underpinning for the situation in which it finds itself—to proving, ever more conclusively, that no such agent exists.

That wasn’t science’s objective in the time of Kepler and Newton or in fact before the eighteenth century, but it has become the basis of a post-modern fundamentalist ideology that is its own anti-religion: scientism rather than science.

Pretend for a moment to be a Stone Age hominid viewing its technologically remade native zone and you can see how fast and fully materialism feathered its nest—jets in its sky; supertankers on its seas; factories, transit mazes, and habitation catacombs everywhere: folks scurrying hither, thither, and yon in all sorts of internal-combustion and/or pinion- and gear-driven shafts, whooshed up and down on pulleys in tubes—and taking them for granted. With such an exemplary superstructure and collective hypnotic trance to its credit, the technogarchy has spellbound Homo sapiens in its own projection. It has created the perfect palliation and recompense for cosmic doom: an arcade-like pleasure-dome with conveniences lacking in the Pliocene and Pleistocene.

Far better tools and sharper minds have been committed to assembling this superstructure and analyzing away stray epistemological fluff and paraphysical anomalies than to formulating a working construct for outliers. It’s an easier gig with quicker pay-offs.

Any inquiry into the nature of the universe and our own existence since the establishment of science as a civilizational religion runs smack into this materialistically keyed belief system. It propounds that consciousness has no intrinsic cause or objective, no Aristotelian entelechy, is not its own engine, and cannot be an independent force on a par with thermodynamics. It is a chattel of thermodynamics, one of its secondary heat effects.

Consciousness is an epiphenomenal effect of the quantum-based potentiality of subatomic particle-waves from fermions and bosons transmitted ultimately (up the ladder) through subcellular microtubules into a continuing ascending hierarchy of binary-based synapses and synaptic events. Yet consciousness has no basis in elemental, molecular matter. Physicist Werner Heisenberg remarked, “There can be no doubt that ‘consciousness’ does not occur in physics and chemistry, and I cannot see how it could possibly result from quantum mechanics.” [LD49] And he certainly understood quantum mechanics. Subsequent scientists have simply reified this sentiment in differently nuanced language.

“Nowhere in the laws of physics or in the laws of the derivative sciences chemistry and biology,” declared neuroscientist Professor John Eccles in 1984, “is there any reference to consciousness or mind. This is not to affirm that consciousness does not emerge in the evolutionary process, but merely to state that its emergence is not reconcilable with the natural laws as at present understood.”

Neuroscientist Sam Harris noted, with equal traces irony and chagrin: “The only thing in this universe that suggests the reality of consciousness is consciousness itself.” [Opinionator, New York Times, September 7, 2014]. That is, without our experience of our own existence, the universe operates like an environment inimical to consciousness and in which any incipient mode of consciousness must be robotic or zombie-like. The only thing that suggests the reality of consciousness is its reflection in its own mirror!

Harris’s observation could be rephrased less elegantly as “The only thing in the universe that suggests the reality of personalized states of awareness, entities aware of themselves and a universe around them, is the fact that our own thoughts and behaviors do not, to our view, mimic the tropism we’re supposed to be under the conditions proposed.”

Modernity’s crisis of meaning dwarfs and discards us as well as everything familiar, everything we recognize and know. When we consider our actual dilemma, as alert and prepossessed as we be at this moment, we are clinging to a vanishing droplet that continues to dissolve into an infinite vacuum of desolation growing even larger and more casual and indifferent by the hour. Nothing ever existed or could exist in such a barren locale except brief, baseless sets of quadratics spilling their beans: heat forces curdling wantonly into pseudo-beings.

In other words, we’re fucked, so get used to it. We have always been fucked. Our situation is real, damnedly real in fact, but meaningless.

For modern physicalists, this is a point of pride such “that they actually prefer annihilation with physical death to any sort of survival. Longing for immortality as seen as a defect of character or a philosophical sellout in people too weak-willed to face their impending doom. In the face of certain extermination, one should simply man up and go quietly, proudly, and gravely into that dark night.” [LD53]

This nihilistic benchmark for reality with its lockdown paradigms is not only taught in every Western madrasa, it is reinforced implicitly by ferocious socioeconomic imperatives, as it is broadcast telepathically from the capitalist control centers of our species where they are reformulated by those who refute them well as enforce them—that’s how powerful and dominant the paradigm is.

We are all matching the same picture, generating a single universe: you, the Dalai Lama, Stephen Hawking, Richard Dawkins, the Pope, Greenpeace, Amnesty International, al-Qaeda, Joseph Kony, Boko Haram, Abu Musab al-Zarqai. We are in collusion to generate this shared reality (did you say, “May the best militia win?”). That’s the way the game is being played. The military budget is the largest investment of all, no change from the reptilian Triassic.

Mainstream religious authorities reinforce the dogma by ideologically challenging it while operating otherwise in full and complete compliance with the technological bounties of modernity. The interdict against any more promising or meaningful cosmos is levied by social contract as well as ideological gendarmerie, but mostly by subliminal seepage from unconscious projections and their thoughtforms. The consensus telepathic signal injects its sallow program simultaneously into long-haul truck-drivers, erotic dancers, dudes crunching concrete with steam shovels, and chaps laying pipe under the cracked stone, despite their honest day’s labor and hard-earned victories over entropy.

It is the invariable, in fact the sole possible outcome of the Reality Show “Science versus Itself.”

Politicians preach it to their constituents, no matter what else they burble: Make hay while the sun is shining (meaning the local hydrogen-helium aster). “You only go around once, so grab for all the gusto you can get,” the beer ad for capitalism alerts the hoi polloi of the peanut gallery. Then say ta-ta forever. Might as well enjoy it while it lasts, whatever that could mean anyway to nucleic acids attached to a protein coat. It’s the booby prize for having discovered our bastard origin.

This dilemma may have arisen innocently via a twentieth-century catechism of extended Baconian dredging, but for those stuck in it the only recourse is hopelessness, nausea, and horror with a consoling bourgeois ethic.

The triumph of algorithmic analysis of the human state is a late-arriving overlay on innate self-awareness. Though many Homo sapiens undoubtedly experienced existential crises of one sort or another along the Pithecanthropan highway, no entire clan throughout the Stone Ages, ancient times, the Middle Ages, or early Renaissance considered anything like a digital source for their own beingness. That is a recent event and, although it has escalated humanity to the status of penetrating the shell of its own manifest universe at both subtle and profound levels, it has simultaneously displaced that same humanity from the bore of its own immanence, encompassing and replacing all meaning and possibility and setting the ground rules and terms for our existence. Philosopher Daniel Dennett stated proudly, “We’re all zombies. Nobody is conscious.” [LD 42]. Nobody is conscious because nobody is more than an algorithm processing its own attributes, and the presumption is that “real” consciousness would be more than that.

Then why bother to do anything rather than anything else? If all ends up in the same recycling center: whether you go to the gym, work your butt off, tone your mind and musculature and philosophy or collapse into entropic couch-potato-hood, then why make the effort? It all gets discarded impartially at the end of the round.

Physician Larry Dossey mused that Dennett “was using his own free will to arrive at the conclusion that free will does not exist.” [LD60] Philosopher Alfred North Whitehead remarked, “Scientists, animated by the purpose of proving they are purposeless, constitute an interesting subject for study.” [LD61]

He is being ironic. They are no longer neutral parties or honest brokers in the universe game: they have capital investments and vested interests. They intend to trade solely in the house commodity, matter, and they expect everyone else to abide to it as the universal gold standard of reality. They don’t want rival priests printing other currency. At all points of the assembly line they want to be able to purchase mind and “being” in with the sole coinage of matter. And like fellow religious millenarians (technocratic futurists and transhumanists), they want singular license to sponsor the Future.

They have reserved the right to deliver their own utopian destiny while continuing to enjoy the hallucinations while they last. They may even preserve them in hardware someday—that is the highest aspiration, effectual immortality. They parade like savants while deeming themselves smart rats—or rat-like apparitions.

 

Turing Tests and the Like

The problem is, there is no way to account for subjective reality and personal self-awareness, the source of ourselves and our identification with our own beingness. Science’s version of consciousness does not translate to the ordinary world in any everyday sense—people still fight for goodies and swill about in the urgency and meaningfulness of their own existences. Cognition, including cognition of neurogenic interaction and electrochemistry, is itself a product of electrochemical processes such that comprehension arises from the thing that it comprehends. [WCT 68] The mere fact that we have capacity for amnd interest in making such distinctions shows that the otherwise originless whirlpool that apexes in Mind is deeper and more cohesive than the zombie-like consciousness we’re presumed to possess. The material deconstruction of consciousness cannot ever quite ratify its own proposition. Staring at this conundrum, physicist Max Planck concluded, “We cannot get behind consciousness. Everything that we talk about, everything that we regard as existing, postulates consciousness.” [JH5]. A hole growing from itself can’t ever be filled; the shadow it casts over its unobjectifiable experiment can’t be eradicated or even reduced.

Science has a single hole in it, and the hole is us. As long as consciousness exists—not only exists but is the reflecting pool in which all empirical analysis is performed—the model and its theory are doomed. The reflection has no mirror, no frame—plus the algorithm is naked. Subjective states pop up like Topsy everywhere and install an eight-hundred-pound gorilla who gets his way because, remember, who’s going to argue with a googolplex-pound atavism that exploded onto the set like a dawn that only we saw coming? And infests it everywhere, reblossoming in the undergrowth a trillion seeds and embryos a day.

And no one did, argue that is; no one quibbled with reality for two-and-half billion years.

“I am” is pretty much what everything whelped on Earth believed for millennia—and that included the whole gang from one-celled plastids and bacteria to lizards and hummingbirds: I am, I am, I am. I eat, I reproduce, I am, I am—until a nineteenth-century locomotive carrying heavier cargo—the evolution of forms solely from prior forms down to the meanest denominator—came rumbling along the tracks and supplanted the reigning entelechy with a shiny new proposition.

The salvation for science is that, as long as there is only one hole, albeit a bottomless, contextless one, it can be business as usual—the show goes on. Scientists can impose countless provisional equations to hide the gap—patch the paradigm where it begins crumbling, save appearances.

But likewise, when there is no outside, no pier to which to anchor rafts, anything goes. The network and context forming inside any paradigm become real only inside their own terms, no matter spurious significations implied. A formulation attached to its own untethered mindedness, which can neither identify nor handicap that tether, except peremptorily or by cheating, is attached to nothing at all.

Science hasn’t the slightest idea what consciousness is. What it does, yes. What it is, not even “close but no cigar.” While neuroscientists are brilliant at dealing with consciousness’s attributes as they percolate through matter, they haven’t a clue as to how a fly got into the ointment, what the “fly” is, or even how to propose forensics for a definitive experiment.

Despite countless claims to the contrary and clever, sophisticated experiments to prove the materialistic premise, there is an uncrossable gap between atoms in entropy and the mere morphodynamics of molecularized matter—between thermodynamics and biological agency—and another between robots and self-witnessing animals. Life is an insult to ideological materialism, the ideology for which it is the sole source.

Neither cognitive scientists nor molecular biologists can explain the siphoning of consciousness into matter or kindle it from the sorts of compounds and filaments that transport it through cellular systems, they can only map its chemical and electrical properties once it has roosted there and proximal molecules respond to its presence. And even if a biochemist did somehow ignite it, it would be like Donald Duck as the sorcerer’s apprentice, unaware of how he set the brooms marching.

Here’s a thought experiment, imagine yourself a biotech dude stirring or catalyzing a chemical conglom into some sort of continuously self-arising, self-identifying hologram that acknowledges itself with a greeting or directional squirm. You would have no idea how they did it, what you activated to achieve the gloop’s pirouettes in its flask. You wouldn’t know to find the camelness of the camel, let alone the straw on its back.

How does “is” get centrifuged out of non-is componentially or even synergistically and emergently? What foments our transient glow? What causes epistemology to arise, what happens epistemologically when it ceases?

Why did any of this happen at all? Is random, unmotivated accretion a sufficient explanation? Was it because Darwinian matter was “hungry” (whatever that means) and because those atoms and molecules stumbled into an enthalpic resolution of their own charges?

Why, in a fundamentally lazy, entropy-up universe, should consuming and converting energy be more attractive than indolence to random concatenations of chaff? Why should existence be more delicious and comforting than nonexistence? The fish that doesn’t want to get caught and eaten by a larger fish, in fact frantically so, is consciousness’s cardinal and foundational event.

 

A few years ago my painter friend Charles Rasmussen, a keen observer of nature, noticed a bee tumbling ecstatically in the pollen of a wild rose. It goes his attention because it seemed to be enjoying itself too rapturously for insect-level egoity. Drawn by the appearance of happiness in a low-neuron system, he stopped for a look. It suddenly got better: a spider who had made his web in the same rugosa, perturbed by the intruder’s pleasure roll and edge of entitlement, jabbed at the wanker, once, then repeatedly, with one of its eight legs.

As the spider’s pokes disrupted the bee’s nectar bath, the Apoidean became more and more agitated at its rose-mate, buzzing with what sounded like irritation. Finally it interrupted its sweet stamen suck, shot out of the scrumptious petals, got up a running (or flying) start of a few yards, and dive-bombed the fucknut, whacking him so hard he was nearly plunked out of his own web.

If that’s not motive, and intent as well as road rage, what in Sam Crow is it? An algorithm gone amok, chemicals under libidinal charge hitting tipping points inside boundaries containing trillionfold quantum switches? Atomic vibrations synapsing through their own uncertainty states into microtubules up the wazoo of myriad layered neuronal hierarchies into ganglionic grids?

How does materialism justify an item that was never ordered or inventoried and simply appeared? How can you explain Café Zero: the menu, the entrées, the patrons, the waiter, yourself as patron? How could a glorified vector, however quark- and microtubule-infested, cultivate a connoisseur’s appreciation of pollen, let alone personal anger? How could a princess perceive a pea, let alone a full bolus packed with symbols and metaphors, through a mattress as bottomless and diffuse as inert molecular matter?

Viewed from the other side, how exactly do quantum switches, microtubular tunnels, and chemico-electrically triggered synapses transfer the prerequisites of symbols from a layer ruled by entropy to another equally bounded in random heat forces and ascend to full-blown anti-entropic self-recognition? How do electrons transmit their own uncertainty states into modes of consciousness that can identify not only their existence but the terms for uncertainty? It just doesn’t wash.

How can a rambling, boundaryless algorithm yield an internally self-knowing identity, even a delusional one, to serve its affidavit? Even given three-billion-plus planetary revolutions of its sun-star…. How and where does the illusion of existence anchor itself in order to apply an objective yardstick to its own mirage? Remember, there is no pier or sight of any shore, and never was!

Once again, the only thing that speaks for the presence of consciousness in this universe is the reflection itself.

I’m no physicist or biologist, but common sense tells me that electron states alone can’t depolarize themselves over the necessary ontological threshold or cross the girth and lesion impeding them by both structure and scale from commanding the microfilaments of a neural cell to dance to their tune while bearing anything like a meaning, a “hi there,” let alone translate information further up the ganglionic-pod chain into full-blown Faulknerian narratives and Wittgensteinian philosophies, all by their madcap amok lonesomes. How would a free-range quantum energy state get transmuted into dimer morsels of free-living microtubules discretely enough to become the charge or weight of a metonymy or ontological concept? How does the uncertainty state of a subatomic particle generate or become the uncertainty state of a signal or emotion—the euphoria of a pollen-bathing bee? I get it that yeses and nos, blacks and whites, create grays and other spectra, but I do not get how they dimensionalize into self-referential beingness.

There are not enough neurons in a spider or bee to achieve “I” as we understand it, so who is poking its palp—who is having its reverie disturbed?

 

Another spider, working assiduously on his web, spewing strands in the ceiling corner of my shower stall, is suddenly aware of splatter and the rise of steam. Retreating, he scurries all the way up the wall to the crack of the ceiling.

Who does he speak and act for except himself, presently a spider effort-shape? It is clear that this long-legged mite is intelligence plus persona. He recognizes my presence—that of another—and stands in relationship to it.

This thing came out of the same muck, the same uncertainty field, as me. It could not have made itself, but it is self-made.

I could reach out and touch him if I wanted. He could crawl down the wall, extend a leg, and touch me, but it is not in either of our playbooks. Neither of us wants more contact, the misty stall is quite enough.

Staring at him, I ask my question of the space boinging between us—the issue that lies at the crux of this text—comprising him, me, our urgencies to defend our position and seek information, the universe itself.

If we are mere machines, we should be willing to have our motors turned off, to evaporate in a poof from self-knowingness with no more fuss than any other set of isobars giving way to the next because there is nothing real, no deeper rootedness, holding them together—much like the cessation of thunder and lightning during a storm (remember, they were gods once too). There should be nothing in either of our pilot lights to cherish or cling to this life. Yet every ounce and gesture of each of us clamors just the opposite. People ignore the fact that a robot (or computer) is the referee to which all matters of value are finally referred.

Daily players who wake to Earth reality each morn, human and beast alike, identify totally with their reviving flows of body-mind beingness. It’s what they are; it’s how they know what anything else is.

“What else is there?” most creatures drink to the very bottom of the glass.

In fact, they don’t drink because reality’s crush and detonation is so all-consuming they are not even aware of a separate cistern or a brew, let alone a decision to be made regarding its status or theirs. Does a raccoon or crow worry about an ontological premise underlying its actions? Of course not. It pivots from its own existence into the universe: that’s the initial ontological premise on this planet. The loose cords coming out of the collective reality field and tying it to the flow of events are so more statutory and profound even than that, so much more profound than even survival instinct, predation, and territoriality, materialism’s favorite triumvirate of innate drives—its false bottom of the barrel.

There is no squirm by which a caterpillar gets a peek at its own parameters. “I” is a vantage that cannot be shaped from outside or by any contigency. It arises from its own undesignated vortex and identifies instantaneously with itself. That’s what any turtle or tiger does upon first stirring from its genesis in a gastrulating blastula of cells. It dead-reckons reality. It recognizes a radiant envirionment, reads and evaluates cues, and responds with its best DNA-given Chelonian or Feline tools. That’s pre-pre-Socratic philosophy: “The wolf is not a wandering scholar but a wandering minstrel—with the whole prairie for auditorium and worldfield to work upon. He can visualize a Platonic universe of sound as a field on which to conceive and topologize his personal statements.” [Michael Mcclure] The Earth is full of such minstrels, maybe Europa and other worlds too.

Reality of existence is a fact for every creature, from the sow bug to the octopus and eagle. Homo sapiens’ intellectual state of freedom does not make him more than a wolf. Even civilization cannot elevate humans above the existential status of wolves.

If awareness of reality is a computation proceeding through successive standing states—random input as it gets transposed into dedicated, depolarizing channels of output—then a wolf’s sense of beingness, its art of living, is the most inexplicable and astonishing epiphenomenon in the universe.

Who is doing all that me-ing and mewing? If it’s dust to dust, how did “we” and those fully convincing and convinced leopards and intent toads and lizards and cobras and spring sparrows get inside it and start chirping? What is generating their selfhood, their survival tactics, the epic of a spider taking issue with an interloping bee?

I’m not talking about autopilot zombie-like self-recognition of machine functions trying to sneak past the Turing test. No computer can pass the Turing test of personal identity, but then no computer can pass the Turing test even for self-reflective consciousness; all that happens is that people get cleverer at fooling themselves and imbedding their own gullibility in the system.

I’m talking about an autonomous “me” that recognizes itself recognizing itself down through the resilient and bottomless gyre of its own mirrorred beingness—a categorical anchor in a seemingly anchorless universe. I’m talking about a continuous and exigent impulse to beingness not just heat consumption or turkey-vulture grubbing: pure personal identity and related states of non-negotiable presence that take their cues from profound underlying states (genetic or other) that exude it continuously: alligators, jackals, and turkey vultures likewise. I’m talking about actual convictions, desires, and species plans. Are these each and all pinball effects generating not only their own delusions but meaning itself to those delusions attach?

Check out the only tool for science and philosophy that you have, your own body-mind or mind-body. Go into it in its unplumbed depth, its capacity and sourcedness. You know how to do that. Just dive in place. Explore your trajectory as exhaustively as you can.

What does it feel like? Does it feel like an algorithm splattering molecules and displacing neuron overloads as it goes up the ladder (and you follow it) or is it a self-arising, continuously igniting burst of incandescence? Does it feel like a happenstance collection of randomly generated babble in the middle of nowhere? Or does it seem to be rooted in an unknown dimension, perhaps a mysterious ground luminosity?

Reason through what either source might feel like and how either would be different from you as you know yourself. Can you discriminate the calibers of such a distinction? Can one universe flip into the other through a trick of perceptual, phenomenological reckoning? Just asking….

Now go more directly to the tourbillion of your own existence. Experience what it is. For a moment presume that it is not an algorithm, not a chemico-electric flow. Take it for itself and ride it as it bucks.

I believe, though I am making a leap of faith here, that this imaginal process is the beginning of everything in the universe, senior, even critical to the existence of matter.

Wishful thinking? Perhaps. Yet it’s where the legendary rainbow body and requisites of Tibetan Buddhist phowa and Hindu astral travel originate: that recognition of selfhood is an autonomous act with ontological as well as psychological implications—that formulations of energy are thoughtforms that give rise to space itself, this space or any other space or dimension, that we issue cosmography as we think.

This experiment may be the tiniest of first steps—one that a prospective lama or shaman might take in his or her first breath or more reasonably first year of training—but it is a necessary step because each more ambitious one roots there and wends from there toward one’s source, the source emanation. Only from the source emanation does the physical universe make any sense.

But within an ideologically and physically reductive universe an entelechy of mind never makes sense, so science eschews it, always has.

The consciousness paradox leaves the door open to the two fundamentally opposing viewpoints of reality. The first is that, since nothing at large collateralizes the fount of consciousness, consciousness is nothing—a network distortion, an ephemeral epiphenomenon generated by electro-chemical activity leading to brief trances that confer an illusion of self beingness on the phantoms it creates. That’s of course the going party view.

The second is that, since consciousness exists, it is de facto real, not only real but exempt from ordinances of science that exclude it. It is the self-arising luminosity and ground of beingness itself.

But that can’t be right because nothing is exempt from the ordinances of science, from the rulebook adhered to by physics, chemistry, and thermodynamics. They’re the entire repertoire, script, and play. Nothing in materialism’s chemico-mechanical universe can arise without a physical sponsor, a hard substrate and signed chain of substrate carriers, each proximal to the next. Every item is assigned a skein of forerunners in the one-way march from the Big Bang’s dispersal of preons, quarks, neutrinos (or whatever) to atoms, molecules, globules and, eventually (at least here on Earth and probably in the Milky Way Galaxy at large): bacteria, amoebas, and more cumbrous successors.

If creature patterns are anchored and induced at a deeper level than that—if they are arising and acting from a more base emanation, with the concerns they have, using the symbols they inherited from predecessors of the same DNA and cultural ilk to express them—and if the suction of self and self-knowing that imbues their existence forms over an actual wellspring sourced somewhere—then both the spider and I are plane-hoppers, shape-shifters, and the field between us is lodged in the sticky plasma by which the universe is also generating itself.

If beingness springs from a deeper pedestal, scientists are looking for consciousness in the wrong places and matter is the true stranger here, matter with a capacity for consciousness. In fact, consciousness may be the primal whorl wherein matter is an illusion shaped by systemic filters at its emanation. I’ll get back to that one.

 

More Wolves, Cobras, Spiders, and Other Beasts

Earth’s nonhuman bionts—chickens and monkeys, snakes or dogs and the like—are not stupid; that is, they are not neuron-deprived or less evolved than Homo wiseguy. Nor are animals less differentiated, intellectually deprived, or evolutionarily retarded in their channels of awareness. They are no less clever machines than humans. Think about it: each of them is a fully operational bastion of meaning, a self-identified cosmos with as much intrinsic targeting, specification, agency, spooling, and event closure as we have. Each is designed and perfect as what it is.

Check out any average earthworm or crustacean. They as “is,” as “esse,” as it gets— “esses” squiggling in their tidepools or mud. A mosquito picks up nature’s transmission through a mosquito portal, a vole at vole frequency, a whale as only a whale can.

What they know, they know (and we don’t). As little as we get of the time-frame, time-counting and proprioceptive senses of amphibians, reptiles, and mammals, we grok even less of insects, trees, or foxgloves, yet they all lie within our general dimensional and biological framework, and are in our DNA general operating system, as they are made of the same carbon-based modules. [175]

Yet we have no neural equipment or context in which to know or understand many of the things Earth’s animals think or the way in which they think them; for instance how they experience love, power, curiosity, intention, identity. We merely project, anthropomorphize. What they don’t know and can’t think about—cultural schemes and propositions precious to us—is irrelevant to their conditional situation, to the way in which the universe is passing through their existences and activating codes.

No matter its ground rules and mode of manifestation, every phenomenology in the universe is complete, sufficient to its situation. Every creature knows what itself and universe are too, not as knowledge or as analysis but as beingness that has emerged from the guts of Creation wearing its fur or membrane or shell inside and out. This is a mitochondrial as well as a neural and mechanical fact.

An animal knows what this is and what it is—what is backing up its actions and beingness. For instance, a frog or snail may experience its group and species more globally and profoundly than a human because it is essentially unconscious, so it contributes to and supports aspects of its greater existence as well as Creation in the pure way that it is. It may experience water like how we experience sky or philosophy.

Each creature’s thought bubble is as large as reality itself and, for all intents and purposes, extends into intergalactic space—its own rendering, the imprinting of the universe on its hologram. To bugs, the nitrogen of decay is a glowing cosmos, every bit the voluminous complement to our starry night.

Wasps are not building a nest or mindlessly tatting an object like some 3-D copier. They are constructing a city, just like us. It is not on our wavelength, but it is just as thorough, complete, and real.

On a more mundane level, dung beetles push their precious balls of poop away from competitors in efficient straight lines by taking and storing successive celestial snapshots and comparing them. They navigate by an imposition of the Milky Way on their brains.

Every snake and owl and spider is the universe—the matrix and control center of an independent cosmos. In the words of spiritual channeler Jane Roberts, acreature’s “every motion is bathed in the knowledge of the rightness of [its] being…. [A] cat trusts the universe…trusts his catness—his leaping and chasing of birds, his appetites and desires. And these qualities of catness add to the universe…are reflected through it in a million unknown ways….” [194] SImilar reflections support urgencies of raptors and the mice and moles they are stalking.

Each expression continually returns to that basis; its condition can never be renounced or revoked because it can never be separated from itself. The porcupine’s cellulo-molecular congeries accept their “porcupine” status implicitly and do porcupine things. That’s all they can do.

You cannot break any animal’s trance or train of thought, its attention and commitment to its species frequency. You cannot manipulate, or employ propaganda, behavioral training, or violence to get it to compromise its absolute nature. You may use Pavlovian training or carrots and sticks to get a dog or falcon to do your bidding, but they will do it as dogs and falcons not proxy humans. You cannot extract a possum from possumness, even if you boggle or torture it, as some do. It lives and dies as a possum; you cannot violate its operating system; you can only damage it or shut it down. You cannot convince a bull that the bullring is a sham, a fiction for simian amusement; it will charge the point of attack. The harpooned whale, the bullet-riddled duck, the picador-tormented bull, the bee confined in a carafe—each bend the universe along their own space-time-consciousness continua. That’s the basis of relativity.The universe’s creatures will not be dissuaded or deterred.

The pity we exert on behalf of suffering creatures—wounded deer and factory-dismembered chickens and cows—is a wasted projection of our own unresolved status. I am not talking about authentic compassion; I am talking about remote angst and pity. All creatures handle their situations when presented with them—the universe itself rolls over and responds; it reconstructs itself instant by instant, creature by creature.

An outsider has no clue as to the opportunities being presented to members of a different species and their long-term implications vis-à-vis the status of selfhood and personal identity per that creature in its unfolding reality states. As psychic teacher John Friedlander puts it, “Humans are not the only beings able to achieve enlightenment, they are the only beings needing to achieve enlightenment.”

It also doesn’t matter if a particular state of being in a discrete body-mind somewhere in the universe is an illusion because, illusory or real, its bearer can’t make it go away or replace it with an alternative illusion. Reality may not be “real”—the subatomic motifs at its base are fugitive and empty of substance—but it is irreplaceable. You can replace a robot, but you cannot replace a self-arising sense of beingness. You are stuck with it down to the short hairs. That’s the difference between consciousness and personal identity: “waz happ’nin’, waz going down, you know.”

That’s the universe.

Long ago Hindu philosophers called this status “self-authenticating.” The ground luminosity of our beingness is not only self-arising but self-authenticating. It doesn’t need an arbiter. It is its own witness and authority. Just try to find a witness to corroborate it anyway. Try to find an ontology to contain it in. That which exists through itself is meaning; that which authenticates itself is real.

The paradox is, if we knew what consciousness was, if we even had a riverboat gambler’s chance in hell of knowing what it was, we wouldn’t be conscious, we wouldn’t know anything at all.

Consciousness must be uncertain of itself. That state of uncertainty makes it conscious of myriad other uncertainty states as it sets quantum waves collapsing through one another. By being fundamentally uncertain, consciousness is capable of depth and paradox: Alfred North Whitehead’s “process and reality.”

The existential question asks itself over and over. Asking it is existence, even at a snail’s level. The query is so subtle that the universe does a pirouette and rolls over from end to end with each vector of sentient output, however modest the provider.

 

Locality and Nonlocality and Brains

The line of succession from a material, physical substrate is the basis on which scientists track everything in the universe. If they can’t figure out the forensics at the present moment, they assume that they will someday by the same essential tasks, tools, and paradigm set, using new improved instruments leading to more comprehensive theories and eventually a theory of everything.

This ignores ontological as well as epistemological gaps between nature and society, language and meaning, and, more significantly, those aspects of the universe that can get at via our biologically deeded operating systems and those we can’t because they register outside our operating systems and form the background of a “dark” universe too vast and complex and entangled for us even to imagine.

Or if it doesn’t ignore them, it naïvely presumes that they too can someday be lassoed in.

As long as science imposes a rigorously lineal, causal obligation along the length of a materialized chain, consciousness can never be itself, can’t even be innately and immanently “conscious” as its inherent State. It must come to every party with a sponsor—its passport stamped at every stop along the way. Even if all the stamps are either provisional or bogus.

In the universe of scientism, consciousness can do anything it wants and have a fine time of it (while it lasts); the only thing it can’t do is be nonlocal and self-generating. It can’t set up shop or spurl from anywhere outside the official succession of molecular statuses, meaning that its source and control center are chaos states specified by neg-entropy and driven by DNA-designated systems through naturally evolved ganglia summarized currently by the cerebral cortex of the hominid brain.

If mindedness ever gets out of this box—its linear, material confines and lineage—and gains a foothold, any sort of separate, nonmaterial limen in the universe…well, there might as well be telekinesis, remote viewing, psychic photography, ghosts in the machine, and metempsychosis too—the whole nine ghost-briggage yards—because nonlocal consciousness is by itself an outrageous insult to materialism. Within the covens of academic science, nonlocality is a blackmailing intruder, an unsanctioned troublemaker, and a rabid dog on the loose. It is finally a more unwelcome guest than even telepathy.

Nonlocal consciousness—meaning real consciousness that speaks for itself—is far more radical than any so-called psi phenomenon, for it defines an entirely different universe and currency for reality from the one science is currently sponsoring (telepathy is at most a remote-control device that might ultimately get explained materialistically). Reality itself is what is paranormal.

Yet this drives materialists up the wall. “Daniel Dennett is reported to have said that he would commit suicide if paranormal phenomena turn out to be real…. Special contempt is reserved for the possibility that humans might survive bodily death, for this would be the death-knell for the mind-equals-brain assumption on which physicalism rests.” [LD52] Another materialist said in regard to nonlocal experiences, “This is the sort of thing I would not believe, even if it really happened.” [LD74] That is when we are truly in the domain of religion.

Yet artificial intelligence as the sole matrix for mind is only viable if you believe in self-enclosed, all-encompassing three-dimensional material reality as the sole venue, which is to say if you accept the marriage of science and capitalism. A materially “capitalized” universe has nothing lying outside the currency of a universal trope. I would ask, if the universe must, by definition, arise in the middle of nowhere for no reason, where nowhere and how for no reason—of what prerequisites and what sine qua non?

 

Given the prima facie evidence of conscious existence, scientists are frustrated that they can’t satisfactorily derive their own self-aware mind or those of others from components and interactive mechanisms of a cerebral cortex and aggregate ganglion or derive it from presynaptic circuits as they evolved from flatworms, newts, carp, shrews, and the like. The sulci mass is a computer arising from random interactions of pinballs—deaf and dumb pinballs—from which prior neural nets and networks developed among flatworms and newts.

Despite its elaborately organized circuitry, a wet cephalopod bundle of coiled entrails does not look anything like consciousness nor does it have any evident portals in it for the universe that consciousness projects. The sulcal curdles of the brain, fractally wound, highly specified, phylogenetically differentiated at multiple thresholds, neurophysically circumscribed with meticulous precision, show no sign of housing self-identifying, holographically expanding consciousness, and that presents a major challenge for ideological materialism. “Brains and neurons obviously have everything to do with consciousness,” writes philosopher H. Allen Orr, though he admits that how these objects can give rise to the phenomenology of objective experience is inexplicable and impenetrable. Psychologist Steven Pinker’s response to the relation of consciousness to the brain is, “Beats the heck out of me. I have some prejudices, but no idea of how to begin to look for a defensible answer. And neither does anyone else.” [LD48]

Neurosurgeon Wilder Penfield opined that “it will always be quite impossible to explain the mind on the basis of neuronal action within the brain…. Although the content of consciousness depends in large measure on neuronal activity, awareness itself does not…. To me, it seems more and more reasonable to suggest that the mind may be a distinct and different essence.” [LD49]

Astrophysicist David Darling says, “No account of what goes on at the mechanistic level of the brain can shed any light whatsoever on why consciousness exists. No theory can explain why the brain shouldn’t work exactly as it does, yet without giving rise to the feeling we all have of ‘what it is like to be.’” [LD51]

Science cannot derive “is” from the electrical and chemical properties of the brain nor locate the inside-outness that it weirds into the universe.

“Despite this [Orr continues], I can’t go so far as to conclude that mind poses some insurmountable barrier to materialism….” [In a review of Mind and Cosmos: Why the Materialist Neo-Darwininan Conception of Nature Is Almost Certainly False” by Thomas Nagel (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012); The New York Review of Books, Vol. LX, No. 2, February 7, 2013, p. 28.] He can’t go so far only because that would forfeit the game and spread blasphemy in the realm of materialism. Yet he does go precisely that far in calling attention to the paradox. He does so by declaring the brain the sole proximal source of the phantasm of conscious beingness while admitting it is solely because there is no other reasonable candidate.

Protein analyst Jean-Pierre Changeux enjoins philosophers to reformulate their ontological positions to keep up with the latest advances in neuroscience, which must (to his and his colleagues’ minds) contain the ultimate determination of consciousness’s standing vis-à-vis its inferred chemico-electrical basis—so philosopher Colin McGinn accuses Changeaux of a disingenuous and “dubious reductionism and the act-object fallacy, adding (in line with Orr), “I think we know quite well what consciousness is; what I maintain is that we don’t understand how consciousness can arise from merely electrical and chemical properties of the brain….” [“Neuroscience and Philosophy: An Exchange,” The New York Review of Books, August 15, 2013/Volume LX, Number 13, pp. 82-83].

Exactly—and with an emphasis on “merely.” Cascading chemical and bio-electrical effects raised to the highest exponent in hard drives of increasing evolutionary capacity, cannot mitigate the fact that, at some point, an interloper crashed the party.

One might be able to juggle ping-pong balls and other molecular building blocks long enough and in deep enough parleys, inanimate though they are, to arrive at antiseptically materialistic consciousness by only phylogenetic prerequisites, but it is a task of another order to explain how they flip phenomena into phenomenology and then that capacity is condensed, synopsized, and coded so that it repeats itself in self-similar, dilating ratios with immaculate precision routinely billions of times a second on this planet.

 

The lead article on the back page of the 2015 June 28 New York Times Sunday Review, called “Face It, Your Brain is a Computer,” was composed by a psychologist and neural scientist at NYU named Gary Marcus. Marcus argues that the brain is a computer because, to any reasonable observer, what else can it be? It links by computations, its neurons operate like ordinary computer hardware, it performs behaviors homologous to what a computer does. He apparently doesn’t perceive the fallacy of conflating cause and effect; he doesn’t seem to recognize that computers are modeled on brains, not the other way around—but what are brains modeled on?

The logic is bass-ackwards. Marcus has forgotten the Turing test or, more likely, assumes that it has been aced already. He fancies that knowing himself as himself and conceiving and writing his article is somehow equivalent to a computer deriving identical ideas from its own programming, i.e., that someday we can program computers to know themselves too. If our logic-board and thought processes are lodged in our wiring and its monitoring hierarchies, that’s who we are.

Marcus’ article is full of semi-elegant matches between the brain’s operations and those various sorts of computers, with its author concluding that “field programmable gate arrays” offer the best current models for the computers our brains are.

The article seems less an essay reflecting the depth, complexity, and paradoxical nature of its topic than an unintentional self-parody: an intelligently programmed computer playing back prefabricated liturgy masquerading as actual ideas. In fact, the article could have been generated by inputting its conclusion into a computer with language skills.

Of course by the article’s premise, that’s all it should be—computation—so my imputing such is no insult at all.

Academic creativity and imagination consist of finding more clever ways to repeat the same baseline propaganda. Professor Marcus might brush off my critique as ignorant, but he has set himself up for it by his life and career. I doubt that he thinks he performs like a computer in his daily and personal world or that he recognizes the problem generated by the fact that he does not. Most mavens of modernity assume that the arising of meaning and identity are the result of the exquisite complexity and resourcefulness of contingent, promiscuous nature—they have to be—and do not require further explanation. You can feel and think and be whatever you want in your private existence without invalidating your professional belief system because you can assign any phenomenological nuance to three billion years of natural selection and, if push comes to shove, to quantum or systemic effects. The universe didn’t have to make apes or Einsteins, but as long as it did, it played by its own rules, so we have no argument and can play and fuss and celebrate all we want without violating the basic paradigm.

Marcus seems to be unaware of his essential paradox or self-parody, that the only reason he is able to make a comparison between brains and computers is because brains invented computers, and quite recently. Yet it is not as though computers have etiological precedent or ontological hegemony over brains. They are not even better machines even though they are ego-designed and manufactured and subject to quality control as opposed to living machines churned out of mud and muck; astonishingly they are more limited and far less virtual. The algorithm with its trillions of self-corrections and trial-and-error feints is wiser.

Egos were fashioned by a prior intelligence, albeit a random algebraic one, the same intelligence that fashioned brains, the very brains that “invented” computers. (II will get the “the universe as computer simulation” later.)

Okay, so Marcus is willing to play second fiddle to his computer doppelgänger who will someday write the same article and allowe it to be as much a gentleman and scholar as himself. He doesn’t have to defer openly to a contemporary machine; he can just play the role of dutiful servant, giving lip service to the reigning paradigm. In his own mind he can be as peremptory as he wants. The rest is supposition and presumption anyway.

That is the way that he, like all scientists, fudges the one hole in reality. He can be as happy or sad as he wants without disturbing the paradigm or his peace of mind and personal agendas because at core he knows it is only professional ideology and he doesn’t have to take it home with him. His children don’t have to be robots, so he is free to love them arrantly (when the robot inside him isn’t looking). This is a charade, but it is one of the most widespread charades on the Earth today—visitors from another solar system might see it as a collective trance.

A neuroscientist in an airport lounge confessed to me years ago, as we sat out a delayed flight, “The brain is a black box. We can do amazing things with the stuff inside the box, but we can’t get into the box itself. It doesn’t have a true memory function and its data-recall is virtual, it’s everywhere.” Then he shook his head as if to ask, who could invent such a device (us both knowing that the answer is “No one”; it’s a self-organizing algorithm that refined its output to become conscious and then philosophical and scientific over three billion years.

The brain is a computer only if you slap a computer model onto it and then shoehorn it in, i.e., if you believe that the material sphere must be the sole basis and exclusive domain of the universe’s activity, the control center of all proprioceptive linkages between consciousness and matter in the form of landscapes, concepts, etc.—if you aver that consciousness originates in molecular properties, our experience of which are cybernetic-like mirages in synthetic organisms.

The brain’s operation of mind is sealed as impenetrably as Einstein’s space-time continuum wrapped around the illusion of space-time. That Einstein even put space and time into a continuum says as much about consciousness as it does about the universe. Relativity and a collapsed quantum wave come out of mind observing nature and then reflecting its observations back and wrapping them around each other many times over.

They may come out of the universe too, the universe without consciousness, but the tree that falls in that forest can never be assayed or calculated because we can’t get at it without cerebral interference.

Since scientism’s version of phenomenal mind cannot exist separate of the brain’s sui generis figurations and far-ranging effects, researchers like the passenger in the airport or Mr. Marcus tend to back-engineer paradigms from cybernetic motherboards into cellular ones.

 

It must have been “Turing Test Sunday” because, in the same June 28th issue, the Times Magazine ran an article subtitled “Can Brain Scanning Help Save Freudian Psychoanalysis?”

We already know that, in keeping with the materialistic model, drugs have already replaced Freud’s “talking cure”—and why not, they are more efficient, cheaper, and ostensibly more accountable as regards diagnosis of defective circuits and their remediation under laboratory-confirmed biochemical revision? However, argues the article’s author, Casey Schwartz, a so-called neuropsychoanalytic theoretician, if the effects of clinical transference can be mapped in the brain (like computer diagnosis and repair), then there might new be hope for verbal doctor-patient interaction—and hence for treatments other than pharmaceutical intervention. Instead of drugs, doctors could use circuits and inputs.

This is really the same article as Marcus’— a bit subtler and more neuroscientifically savvy but an equilateral reductio ad materialism.

It has been demonstrated, I think, that thoughts and actions alter the brain—sustained Buddhist meditation causes physiological shifts that mold a nondual brain while criminal acts mold a brain chemically predisposed to further crime. The brain can be physicochemically shaped and changed by its thought patterns, but that would seem to prove the opposite of what Schwartz derives from it, not functionally and practically (where it well may provide an effective model for some treatments of psychopathology) but ontologically as regards the interaction of mind and matter.

Neuropsychoanalytic jargon is a perfect marriage of scientific and capitalist hegemonies with an unacknowledged goal of creating commodities for digital and pharmaceutical markets as well as (of course) profits for their shareholders. Its practitioners don’t begin to understand the degree to which reductive materialism is not the acme of science but its detour into stage-four capitalism. They think that science always gains the upper hand over corporate greed, but it is precisely the opposite and these two articles are symptomatic of that fact.

In ratifying that we aren’t real, in telling our minds that our bodies are molecular factories grounded in temporary respites of neg entropy, science is admirable in its search for knowledge but corrupt in its agenda of power over a mysterious universe. Like fundamentalist religion, it wants control and license above what it has earned by honest inquiry and authentic vision.

 

Consciousness as Cosmic Ground

The alternative to materialism is that consciousness is fundamental to the basis and nature of the universe and reality, even is reality. In that sense the outer body of the universe arises from its inner mind, [JH7] as consciousness opens a viewing portal into nature and its own beingness. From this viewpoint the basis of reality, All That Exists Anywhere in Any Form—is actually neither mind nor matter but the ground luminosity—an interdependent co-arising of mind and matter.

Ground luminosity is a common enough Hindu/Buddhist trope that one could lapse into picturing the opening of a Disney movie or the dawn of Narnia. This ground luminosity is primordial—of primordial purity, spontaneous, timeless, ceaseless, self-renewing, outside of cyclic events (like any number of successive Big Bangs and universes or reality structures within a multiverse). It is always cardinal and senior. Its luminosity appears, crystal-like, in contact with everything that arises from it and reflects back its source, e.g., reflects at all.

Its state precedes and supersedes material existence. A universe in which consciousness coexists with matter is a universe in which mind preceded matter. That’s axiomatic. It is far more likely that matter arose from mind than the other way around. A universe in which consciousness coexists with matter is a also universe that knows itself.

Biologist George Wald put it this way, “Mind, rather than emerging as a late outgrowth in the evolution of life, has existed always…the source and condition of physical reality.” Meaning mind as ground-luminosity intelliugence. That’s a game-changer. Consciousness exquisitely designed a universe of—more consciousness. Only it looks like matter at our frequency. But it can’t be matter. It’s simply empty space with vibrating potentialities. It’s a different state of consciousness even as a dream is a different state of consciousness.

Matter is as strange and imponderable as mind. In fact, they are part of the same riddle from the ground up. Remember that old “tree that falls in the forest unheard” riddle: if no one hears it, does it fall? Does the universe exist if no one experiences it? All we know of the universe is our own psychic inference.

When scientists turn with their sophisticated instruments to any dab of terrestrial matter and try to look inside the ’toms and ’cules at the basis of their reality, they find the dissipation of matter itself amid gateways to other dimensions that are simultaneously incomprehensibly large and inextricably small, and generate tautologies, contradictions, and uncertainty states at the core of the thermodynamic triumvirate known as space-time-matter. Nothing is there but mind contacting the self-arising ground luminosity. That thoughtform-generating glow is ultimately far more durable than photons or electrons it incubates. It is at the source and root of All That Is. It is also where quantum physics meets Newtonian reality.

In relation to a ground luminosity, the Big Bang platform is an apparition, a thoughtform simultaneously internalized and externalized into the present spackled display. It is galactic but no more so than it is phenomenological, a vast construct of performance art. Its power, essence, and matriculation is in our viewing of it. Consciousness explores itself in all directions, dimension, and potentials. That’s what consciousness is. That’s what consciousness does. It wants to expand and know.

 

Gerrymandered Realities

The Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings and similar recreational killings are “trickle down” from the supposition that we are amoral chemicals discharging synapses. It’s not that far from “a light goes on, a light goes off, but it wasn’t even a light” to “they’re not real people, so who gives a shit! These toddler rats only think they’re alive. Otherwise, they be clay pigeons.” Shooter Adam Lanza was so dissociated that he was competing against a Norwegian’s sociopath shoot, to beat his videogame score.

Lanza’s reality had dwindled to a videogame console. In that state its misery could be mortgaged, arbitraged, debt-financed, or shut down—his oil-slick of space-time cashed in at a flip of a switch. The way out of Dodge was to shut off the game because the doxology of science assured him of a clean escape. Ego extinction is indisputable in an already planned-obsolescence, deferred-maintenance universe. A dead person doesn’t exist anymore and isn’t coming back. So he can commit the perfect crime! This is the anomaly created when the moral and mental are located solely in a physical domain.

Lanza expected to disappear, in essence and in kind—scot-free, unavailable to take responsibility, having committed the ultimate act of banditry in a thermodynamic arcade. He believed that he would get released from the various fixes he was in, that legendary nightmare from which we cannot (otherwise) awake, because he could shut off the game. He expected that what would happen to him was what he told himself would happen to him—oblivion at once, followed by more oblivion: Nothing happens. Nothing happens, forever.

In a solely material universe, chemico-electrical compulsions have implicit license to run amok and kick ass. How can you indict a chemical reaction?

 

Science’s collective failure to realize the moral implications of a materialistic paradigm has been myopic at best. Whereas a hole in the paradigm was recognized and honored for centuries while science and technology went on successfully—steam engines and vital force ran concurrently—it is now a requirement of professional science that the fancy imperial robes covering the hole be honored as the final word on the matter.

This attitude is driven by a vague, subliminal fog of mercantile commoditization more than by any reasoned-out cost and risk evaluation. To many scientists the only alternative to nihilistic materialism is biblical theocracy; they miss the spectrum of more complex states in between. They attribute both religion and transcendent experience not to intuitive perceptions or participation in subtler states of reality but variously to (1) endorphins reinforcing pleasant delusions and creating addictive states, (2) a default setting in the brain, (3) indoctrination, (4) positive selection (non-belief selected against) and survival benefits (winning wars and gaining territory, moral authority and good works leading to community service and harmony), or (5) a centuries-long marketing ploy like Coca Cola with its secret sauce. The rejection of spiritual experience is that cynical.

 

In choosing suicide, Lanza, Eric Harris, Dylan Klebold, and fellow recreational killers who closed their sprees by cashing out their chips each were wagering on science’s consensus belief system over biblical theocracy (because those were the two options). They told themselves that they were a string of uncomfortable thoughts ceaselessly giving rise to one another. So, Kill that shit, Goth brother!

Islamic jihadists like the 9/11 hijackers, the brothers Kouachi, the Belgian Islam State suicide cell, and the Tsarnaev brothers believed that they were punching tickets to paradise, an opposite plan on the surface but really the same deal at core: capital manipulation of self. Scientism is biblical theocracy too, and preferential resurrection is as much a mirage as “nothing happens forever”—a mere ideological bait and switch. Neither has the staying power, texture, or credibility of ongoing experienced reality.

There is a clash between a privileged discussion of reality and belief systems and the reality itself of conscious existence, another between these and various ideologically generated chimeras. In the words of pragmatic martial-artist Peter Ralston:

“You’re going to die. What else is there to do but grasp what life is, what you are, and what Absolute Reality is before you die? Are you satisfied with just believing you are going to go to heaven, or wherever, or become nothing? Don’t be silly. Get beyond a childish relationship to this matter and become responsible for grasping it first hand. When you die, you will know what death is.”

If you just go by the numbers, most people on Earth believe, or have convinced themselves, that something does happen at the end of biological existence, a heaven or hell that rewards virtue and punishes misdeeds. How we get from here to there not be resolved in a procedural, molecular sense. Believers do not need a credible path to elsewhere. You woke up one place, you’ll wake up another after the Big Sleep.

Either way, what a deal! You get to leave a puissant message for the rascals and fools bugging your asses, those douchebags lording their shit over you!

 

If you are Adam Lanza or Eric Harris, you are gambling big-time a model of consciousness as an electrically generated set of signals giving rise to phenomena by tripping through a central processor.

Folks influenced by an equally literalist and fundamentalist religicism adhere to the same phenomenal chain leading ultimately to Allah. Both are rationalizing that, by smashing or disconnecting the processor (or cutting the mortal link), you cancel out being on the Earth, and you get yourself elsewhere or nowhere.

It is not even just that you are gambling that your experience of self is extinguishable but that it is extinguishable at no personal cost. And painlessly as well—suicide bombers are routinely taught that the moment of the explosion will be over faster than it can be felt, than the neurons can deliver the unpleasant message. The discomfort is as fleeting and minimal as a pinprick. Then nothing—or Paradise!

But that’s a big, big risk, a pure throw of the dice, as long as neither science nor religion actually know what consciousness is, e.g., what turns on the light, what puts you inside its glow inside you, and what happens when its props are disconnected. That falls inside a very big black hole, and neither a partisan God nor a foolproof personal-identity tracking device has stepped forth to claim or fill it. So anything could still be down there. When you poke your way into the basement, I don’t care how scientifically trained and confident you are, you are going to be subject to your fear of ghosts and other interlopers that go bump. You cannot change the fact that you do not know who or what you actually are.

When recreational killers assert, “I won’t exist anymore after I die,” who are they talking about? Scientific materialists can say, “I didn’t exist before this current lifetime which was molecularly conferred on random organic molecules, and it didn’t work out so badly, as I recall.”

So where were you, buddy? If you weren’t you, “who” wasn’t you, and how did “it” become you? How did Nebbish turn into “I”?

How did you get in the tub, bub?

If only your own solipsism is real, where is it coming from?

Who is the watcher or witness?

And who are metaphysical materialists persuading of his or her (or its) false identity and beingnesss? What self-respecting snail or mole would bite at this? What rightfully indignant woodpecker or turkey vulture?

That’s why no one said boo for two and a half billions years.

But there is always the possibility that a matrix as gossamerly informationaly as beingness cannot arise from nothing or be expunged purely gratuitously.

What if instead of ending up nowhere as nothing, the suicide bomber or recreational killer drops clear to the bottom of what he actually is? And forms a fresh landscape from the karmic charge rooted in his or her acts.

What if death snaps the narrative but not the vortex from which it is arising?

If the epiphenomena ever prove real, guess what? Everything presently “real” instantly becomes epiphenomenal.

If those chemico-electrical waves are themselves epiphenomena of absolute Consciousness and Beingness, if essence rebounds to essence—to what it itself is—then those murder-suicide dudes are up shit’s creek without a paddle because ultimately each of them going to have to face his intrinsic reality as well as the consequences of his acts, which is much more serious a reckoning than any posed by Earth’s constabularies.

Murder/suicide may instill its own layers of regret and reconciliation, as suffering and martyrdom bring their own complementary long-term resolution.

I believe that, contrary to their expressed and implied intent of blotting out their brains and achieving nonexistence, Adam Lanza, Eric Harris, and countless others were giving voice to a different terrible and inexpressible thing. Wayne Lo, Cho Seung-Hui, Jared Loughner were saying: “Something is happening. It’s really big and it’s really real, and I can’t stop it. You don’t believe me? You won’t listen? Well, then let me show you!”

Under the petty and shallow strategizing of narcissistic manipulations and gunplay, their ego ran another common thought-stream: “I am a big deal. I am real, so I cannot be destroyed. I cannot be silenced. I cannot be made void.”

When they pulled various triggers in desperation to obliterate their selves, it was only to get out of immediate pain and evade punishment. They intended to raze their raunchy social identity, not its existential feed. They meant to kill everything that could be identified as them or traced to them, but not themselves. They meant to slink off, destroy the evidence, and still exist. Because they did not actually believe in their own nonexistence.

They didn’t think that one through—no surprise there.

If karma is a thermodynamic-level force rather than a Hindu trope, then suicide underwrites only its own underlying psychic potentiation. You can obliterate an illusion or conditional view, but you can’t cut off or eliminate what brought it into being.

 

This carries overs over into socioeconomic territory where the physical-reality game is played. “The terrorist attack in France that took place at the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo,” wrote journalist Chris Hedges, “was not about free speech. It was not about radical Islam. It did not illustrate the fictitious clash of civilizations. We have engineered the rage of the dispossessed. The evil of predatory global capitalism and empire has spawned the evil of terrorism. And rather than understand the roots of that rage and attempt to ameliorate it, we have built sophisticated mechanisms of security and surveillance, passed laws that permit the targeted assassinations and torture of the weak, and amassed modern armies and the machines of industrial warfare to dominate the world by force. This is not about justice. It is not about the war on terror. It is not about liberty or democracy. It is not about the freedom of expression. It is about the mad scramble by the privileged to survive at the expense of the poor. And the poor know it.”

The marriage of materialism and capitalism is, at millennial core, why terrorists blowing up commodities and bodies and their own bodies as virtually the only response at an ontological level equal to the attack of the globally privileged on the globally disenfranchised. Capital theft is the agenda of both imperialism and materialistic science, a symptom of which most scientists are blithely unaware, even thinking themselves benefactors of the poor with their famine- and disease-curtailing machines. But Monsanto and Bill Gates are not benign benefactors.

Subtly arising psychic energy seeks to antidote materialism and balance the primal forces of human occupation.

“If you spend time,” Hedges continues, “as I have in Gaza, Iraq, Yemen, Algeria, Egypt and Sudan, as well as the depressing, segregated housing projects known as banlieues that ring French cities such as Paris and Lyon, warehousing impoverished North African immigrants, you begin to understand the brothers Cherif Kouachi and Said Kouachi….” [http://www.filmsforaction.org/articles/chris-hedges-a-message-from-the-dispossessed/]

The Boston Marathon bombers, the Brothers Tsarnaev, had zero terms for dealing with the global cataclysm and their own mysteriously arising energies—dark visions and other thoughtforms to which all are heir. These visitations in their pure archetypal state could have been harvested into anything at all, but a sell of jihadist propaganda, online and from immediate family—the converse of the benchmark beer ad (e.g. “You only die once; do it as a martyr!”, etc.) turned into a personal narrative, convincing them that their visions came from Mecca and Lahore—even though rogue terrorism was not in their playbook. Dzhokhar had piled up student debt with no exit strategy; America had taken away Tamerlan’s traditional roads to manhood.

Such is the case for thousands of other youths, from Somalia to Yemen to Chechnya, in Belgium, France, and Germany, who joined the Islamic State in Syria and the Levant—no job, no honor, nothing to celebrate coming of age, to discharge testosterone-fueled rage, to let them roam the prairies and oases with wolves and shamans and find spiritual freedom and meaning.

Because their inner stirrings, their strange and powerful visions were “something,” the Tsarnev boys were susceptible to Wahhabbism’s millenarian propaganda. They believed that those shadowy shapes inside them were the same ones that the jihadists were selling—and why not? Inner and outer vortices converged.

Similarly, a seventeen-year-old North Carolina girl committed suicide after disclosing her plans on Facebook (2014), in the mistaken belief that she was a horrible person because of sexual fantasies passing through her mind, the sort that pass through all minds. Southern Baptism in her family and community had misled her as to the nature and implication of the energy behind her thought patterns as well as her moral responsibility for them.

You can’t fight the universe. But the trick is understanding exactly what that means and doesn’t.

At least the Brothers K—Dmitri, Ivan, and Alyosha—had a Russian Orthodox landscape in which to grapple with demons: contact with an emotionally complex universe, the capacity for guilt and grief, and an inkling of the obsessive compulsive nature of marches across eternity—an underlying passion play. To them blood was blood, death was death, and each act counted: each crime granted its own punishment. You can’t just blow up the finish line at the Boston Marathon as your private existential statement on a global condition. You have to understand the cosmic scale and true stakes of each act. Can you imagine a Dostoyevsky character shooting children at a grade school and then turning the gun on himself? Lanza, Dzhokhar, and Tamerlan were mere shoppers at the current international cargo-cult mall.

I think that most modern political propaganda (Tea Party, Christian Fundamentalist, Zionist Settler, Sharia Law etc.) is a cynical attempt to hijack people’s deep energy and visions and put them to their ideological use, to distract folks from their unrealized depth and individuation—cynical diversions to trigger compliance with unexamined racist, materialist, and capitalist agendas.

In the words of painter Danh Vo, this is “precisely here where the radical right and their allies in the religious industry have been so brilliant in their strategy of deflecting meaning by using charged symbolic images of homosexual acts (among others). Why bother with the destruction of the environment or lack of adequate health care when we have a black and white photo of two men kissing? Now that’s real meaning. Unfortunately, we in the cultural left are more than eager to play the role assigned to us. We are invited to participate in a debate that has never really been a debate, but a travesty, a red herring to keep us occupied.”

In Turkey and other countries across the Islamic zone, Muslim slogans and moralist charades valorize politicians (Tayyip Erdogan a prime example) who run on platforms of religious values and ethnic hatred when the sting is, just as in Kansas, getting the illiterate masses to underwrite their shopping malls, arbitrage, and corporate welfare.

In the Götterdämmerung of MacWorld versus the Caliphate, militant jihadists have a secular army using evangelism and ontological disinformation.

But if it’s a Manichean pageant, why has everything gone so off-script? Who is devising an apocalyptic endgame with eleventh-century slogans? From where are all this innate vehemence, xenophobia, and sanctimoniousness derived?

It is not a call to holy war, but exactly what it is.

McWorld versus Jihad is for control of not just the Earth but Everything.

But it isn’t really that, not at the level of cosmic depth to which we have plopped. In fact, McWorld and Jihad are in collaboration: a conventional spiritual response to corporate commoditization does not generate a remediating zen shadow or compassionate wisdom, not at this level anyway; it cannot be dialecticized or antidoted by Nonviolent Communication, Sufi dances, and Zen meditation or nonattachment. It must be attacked and transmuted at the vibration at which it is imposing itself on the world, at which it is arising from collective unconsicous egoity into imaginal psyche.

 

Anomalies, Synchronicities, and the Brain as Tuner

Charles Fort, an early twentieth-century amateur American scientist, collected such oddities for which apparently “forced or bogus explanations [were offered] by the official intellectuals of the time. [They were] more likely, simply ignored and passed over….” [95] The Fortean census includes some very solid occurrences that were probably not all hallucinated.

There is no proof that frogs (or fish or periwinkles) ever fell from the sky and piled up on roadsides where they stank to high heaven, that what was photographed resting on a rock at Kiryat-Yam or washed up dead on a beach in Washington State were mermaids, that aliens diagrammed the Sirius star system long ago for African Dogon priests, that sentient poltergeist states streak across iodide plates, that individuals spontaneously catch fire and incinerate themselves, that crop circles were designed and executed by non-human intelligences, etc.

But there is no proof to the contrary either.

There is also no proof that synchronicities represent causal relationships. It is more likely, as attested by members of the statistical branch of scientific inquiry, that with so much information in the world, some stuff is bound to overlap providentially—information gridlock as opposed to action outside the grid.

‘The parallels between the assassinations of Presidents Abraham Lincoln and John F. Kennedy, a century apart, an oft-cited incongruity, fall well within the statistical parameters of chance. Even so, something elusive does seem to be holding them together. The two charismatic politicians were elected to Congress in 1847 and 1947, respectively; to the Presidency in 1860 and 1960. Both were involved in famous debates (Lincoln with Douglas, Kennedy with Nixon). Most strikingly, as if the cosmos were toying with us, Lincoln had a secretary named Kennedy who warned him not to go to the theater that night, while Kennedy had a secretary named Lincoln who advised him against a trip to Dallas; Lincoln sat in Box 7, Kennedy rode in Car 7.

No big deal: Lincoln and Kennedy are common enough names in the grand shuffle. Still, each had a secretary who…. Probably not worth pursuing; it will only drive you crazy.

Then what about Joseph Figlock, who in 1930 while passing a second time beneath a window, caught and thereby saved the life of the same overly rambunctious infant?

What about the 1920 train on which the only three passengers discovered that they were Bingham, Powell, and Bingham-Powell?

What about a man, his son, and his grandson who were all struck and killed by lightning in the same backyard in Tarranto, Italy, decades apart, a series beginning in 1919?

What about the twin boys separated at birth, both named James by their adopting families, both trained in police enforcement, both marrying women named Linda, both getting divorced and remarrying a woman named Betty. Both named their sons John Allan, though one used a single “l.” Both had dogs named Troy. These coincidences came to light when they were reunited in 1979 at age 40.

Again, with so many events and so much information flowing through coterminous human and semantic universes, some of it is bound to generate coincidences. But “Betty,” “John Allan,” and “Troy”! Perhaps higher-dimensional forces tie events together meaningfully in a way that we can’t differentiate. That is already the premise of numerous Hollywood science-fiction plots and Superhero comics. Maybe those plots are distant intimations of a reality experienced through a glass darkly.

 

Back in 1838, not all that long ago, Charles Dickens could write (in his novel Nicholas Nickleby) of the dread disease consumption “in which the struggle between soul and body is so gradual, quiet, and solemn, and the result so sure, that day by day and grain by grain, the mortal part wastes and withers away, so that the spirit grows light and sanguine, with its lightening load and feeling immortality at hand, deems it but a new form of mortal life….” [731] —and mean it. The reality of “spirit” was intrinsic and unchallenged by consensus belief systems. Nowadays a soul or spirit would be retro in mainstream fiction. Magical realism is the sole legitimized alternative to materialism.

At the same time, however, subjective accounts of extra-bodily experiences and nonlocal ranges of consciousness run a defiant gamut on a separate track that remains undesignated in terms of its relationship to mainstream science. It is ignored or blamed on inaccurate perception, error, intentional deception, lame thinking, and religious or superstitious belief systems. Reports of nonlocal consciousness have discontinuities and internal contradictions too, so there is room for science to avoid having to jump its own paradigm.

Collectively anomalies place no weight at all on the scale of materialism and, along with nonlocal jaunts and flights of consciousness, make up the hole that is patched as soon as it forms for appearance’s sake. These range from “memories” of pre-birth existence to near-death experiences of tunnels through which a mind-form travel spirit-like to a realm where its bearer is welcomed by relatives and guides and fusion with a greater star-filled cosmos, before returning to bodily life on the physical plane. Among the odder anomalous experiences are those of ghost journeys through hospitals while in surgery during which a patient reports accurately on objects and events viewed in the hospital.

In remote-viewing experiments, consciousness seemingly violates the laws of time and space, travels on its own, and imposes its primacy on matter. Telekinesis—the apparent dislocation of matter by mind—if it happens puts an incurable crack in materialism. Combined with remote viewing and outliers of physics like quantum entanglement and collapse, it connects us, at least hypothetically, to the far reaches of the Big Bang’s distribution of galaxies and quasi-stellar objects. Quantum collapse is nonlocality in spades.

As long as the basis of consciousness is circumscribed solely in a brain, there is no reference point for these events. A mind separate of a brain cannot travel through space. There would be nothing to generate its bioelectrical impulses and cognition. While a body is on an operating table, its consciousness cannot wander down halls and look at waiting rooms, operating schedules, and name badges on orderlies. That’s ridiculous, absurd! From the standpoint of orthodox science, descriptions of such illicit traipses are coincidences, contaminated evidence, or fake and coached recitals.

Likewise, a personality cannot reformulate itself after the suffocation and cremation of its brain; it cannot transfer its memories and self-reference, abracadabra, to another body or hold its integrity to return in a new cellular matrix. There is no material mechanism for a transfer or agency whereby thoughts, identities, or memories of one person can pass intersubjectively into the mind and of another. Reincarnation is not only unverifiable but impossible.

Neurologist Oliver Sacks’ commonsense explanation for near-death experiences sets up shop where all serious quests for the artifacts of consciousness land these days: in a mirage machine inside the brain. Here is his statement of the catechism:

“[T]he fundamental reason that hallucinations—whatever their cause or modality—seem so real is that they deploy the same systems in the brain that actual perceptions do…..

“Hallucinations, whether revelatory or banal, are not of supernatural origin…. [They] cannot provide evidence for the existence of any metaphysical beings or places. They provide evidence only of the brain’s power to create them.” [“Seeing God in the Third Millennium,” The Atlantic, December 12, 2012].

That is, nonlocal journeys of the mind seem real only because they run along the same neural circuitry into the same cerebral lobes as proprioception of actual things—they read as real only because the mind is tricked by similar chemico-electricity into believing them. The most lucid out-of-body manifestation pops into reality only because the brain erroneously validates it like a rubber-stamping machine that has stopped looking at the documents it is authorizing. When confronted by an authorized signal, the brain would has no choice but to do its thing: run it through its reality-testing apparatus like anything else. Consensus reality constitutes a sealed loop.

By the same token, however, this entire reality, including the brain’s role in manufacturing it, has no ontological status apart from the provisional one we give it. The brain is not organized or positioned deeply and objectively enough to give a verdict as to its own objective existence or the existential basis of its flow of information. Since absolute reality is beyond human wiring, why give the brain’s processing of information exclusive provenance? Who is some guy manning a piece of fancy machinery on one windblown planet to proclaim, “Any and all outlier dimensions are mirages”?

When Dr. Sacks says that hallucinations are not of supernatural origin and do not provide evidence for the existence of metaphysical realms, only of the brain’s structure and its evolved mirage network, he is either missing the point or taking ungranted prerogative. I get his intent and, within materialism’s limits, it is a sound one; the brain is creating reality—a single, cohesive phenomenon incubated inside its own neural matrix—and there is no superordinate metaphysical as opposed to physical event because it’s all tuned at one frequency of cerebral processing. Other realities cannot intrude willy-nilly into our operating system: this is not only science but metaphysics—we are tuned to a physical frequency for sacred and esoteric reasons.

Another possibility is that neural membranes, matrices, and networks et al have evolved through natural selection and genetic parameters not as source originators and prime movers of consciousness but conductors of a transcendental current. In this model the brain is a tuner wrapped around the phenomenology generated in its lobes from the inside like the transformers, capacitators, and tubes of an old-fashioned radio, having evolved not to create but to intercept waves of information passing through the universe at the discrete frequency of protoplasm. It elicits the stream of sensations that accrue as consciousness, but it doesn’t produce them. Even ontologically, these are two different things.

In this definition human consciousness is a downstream by-product of a higher energy, a universal force like gravity or heat. Ganglia are tuners connecting Self to Universe. Consciousness is not a property of the brain but preexists. The Universe is what creates and stores consciousness. If you smash a radio, the music stops, but that doesn’t mean that sound waves no longer fill the surrounding air.

While higher matrixes of information flow are too abstruse for the cerebral cortex to intercept, they have molded neural ganglia in a rough material reflection of their own working structure by principles of growth and form common everywhere in Creation, no less at denser levels of manifestation. Meanwhile a subtler brain-like complex, located in Hindu cosmology at a chakra above the crown, is processing a fuller landscape of local reality unconsciously. The brain that we know is that higher organ’s homunculus and shadow, and sometimes information from higher octaves seeps down into it.

Numinous transmission is based on the presumption that animals, plants, and even inanimate crystals tune esoteric information by their nature and placement in the universe, and that we as proximal creatures to them—members of the same greater DNA clan—can meet at inter-intelligible frequencies.

Trance mediums and shamans in cultures that train higher frequencies believe unconditionally in their ability to exchange information with disembodied entities and channel spirits and higher intelligences, including their own friends and relatives who have passed. Some can also perform this operation as an intermediary for another person, becoming a conduit for information for which they require no cognition themselves. In these instances the medium is asleep and does not experience the message and persona that is passing through his or her transmission of it.

In another set of protocols, contemporary shamans practice transferring their own subjective consciousness to a plant or animal or other denizen as a way of training and expressing nonlocal consciousness; that is, specifying the movement of mind with some degree of self-recognition and discrimination so as not to get tossed about at death at the whim of samsara’s surface winds.

Tibetan lamas burnish a specialized application of this art, phowa, whereby a master leaves his body while specifying where his identity-vector will attach next, not only in living exercises but after death. That’s not just nonlocal speculation; it’s nonlocal praxis. To the scientific establishment and those indoctrinated by it, this is an absolute hoax, while to those who hone such arts, it is the most serious fact in the universe. This division, needless to say, cuts through the heart of modernity.

Yet Nikola Tesla, Sir William Crookes, Sir Oliver Lodge, and Lord Raleigh, all participants in the technology from which radios were developed, reasoning along similar lines, each arrived at the notion that he was working with borderline psychic energy and that his mechanical tuners were intrinsically occult. [p. 80]. This view has been marginally authenticated by the preference of nonlocal thoughtforms and spirits for electronic devices: televisions, radios, computers, and the like. Telegraphy, telepathy, and the Internet converge as local artificial means for intercepting and transmitting information through the cosmos. The esoteric argument is that spirit forms are everywhere, but they can only be seen and heard where there is are concrete congeries for embodiment: a hawk or bear at large as much as an electrically charged console: they are all consoles to the greater cosmos.

Since atoms are mostly empty space, mind is a broadcast at the frequency of the energy behind their configurations and thus is present (or incipient) not just in the brain but everywhere. The organ itself—in invertebrates a nerve net; in free-living cells a charged membrane—is a formation that has evolved in bionts to process reality in some fashion. To that degree, all forms are sentient in their way; even stones have elements of primordial consciousness, for they are composed of the same vibrating atomic states. Everything in the universe that isn’t animate and conscious is incipiently animate and conscious.

I am not saying that O.Sacks isn’t right; I am just saying that other interpretations fit the same evidence.

Dead-reckoning is real; it’s where all creature life begins, how a reptile cracks its egg and crawls out of one reality into the next. These are the inextricable terms of its survival.

 

Reincarnation and Past Lives

Reports of reincarnation presumably originate in the late Stone Age and undoubtedly go back tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of years prior. As early hominid disciplines internalized a core of ongoing rites, rituals, and ascetic practices designed to control life, death, and rebirth, recognition of nonlocal consciousness was cultivated and refined, and notions of spirit-being were folded into art, mythology, and shamanic training.

A twentieth-century reincarnation thread, at least in the United States, began with Morey Bernstein’s hypnotic regression of Virginia Tighe, a Pueblo, Colorado housewife. To his astonishment Bernstein summoned Bridey Murphy, an ostensible past life of Ms. TIghe’s in Ireland.

On little more than a whim or a dare, the hypnotist took Miss Tighe (depicted in his book under the pseudonym Ruth Simmons) through her childhood to her earliest memories, then asked her to go back further yet.

“Two years old, two years old, two years old. And now still farther back. One year old, one year old. Now go on ever farther back. Oddly enough, you can go even farther back.

“I want you to keep going back and back and back in your mind. And, surprising as it may seem, strange as it may seem, you will find that there are other scenes in your memory. There are other scenes from faraway lands and distant places in your memory.”

Then he held his breath for what would happen next.

Quite a performer this Morey guy! He used the perfect intonation and language to coax an elusive entity, to elicit an unknown form or character from within Virginia Tighe: a memory or apparition from the depths of her psyche. Though widely pooh-poohed as a naïve dabbler in recreational trance states set in motion by pendulum-like watches on chains, Bernstein unknowingly had the touch to hit the sweet spot between ruthless enticement and providing an honest screen of safety. He was pretending that he was not asking Ms. Tighe to commit the crime of the millennium while laying its precise bait for her unconscious self—wily chaperone and psychopomp!

Bernstein didn’t realize that he was a natural spirit guide because he thought he was toying with the same fixtures of reality as the car mechanic down the street—same culture, hence same array of props and methods, just a tad more evanescent. Yet he had a light, sacred touch and didn’t arouse Miss Tighe’s taboos or resistance. He spoke to her transpersonal aspect, and that’s why it worked!

Listen to the cadence and repetition as much as the words, the exquisitely seamless breaking into ciphertext. If you wanted to lure a nonexistent dragon out of even a nonexistent cave, Bernstein sure nailed the way to go about it. You could object that he was leading the subject, because he was.

“I will talk to you again. I will talk to you again in a little while. I will talk to you again in a little while. Meanwhile your mind will be going back, back, and back until it picks up a scene, until, oddly enough, you find yourself in some other scene, in some other place, in some other time, and when I talk to you again you will tell me about it. You will be able to talk to me about it and answer my questions. And now just rest and relax while these scenes come into your mind….” [pp. 133-134]

Bernstein was making an incredible supplication. He was asking his subject to brook a major taboo and break into a cubicle sealed by a sacred encryption, to violate her religion and social standing as well as the consensus fifties American belief system that sustained her sanity. This was a big-time danger-zone.

He was coaxing Ms. Tighe to go past her last protected outpost, into the darkness, the void before her own existence, where nothing should exist at all, at least for a law-abiding citizen of the Eisenhower era, to go there anyway and see if she still had existence, existence before she was known to herself as Virginia Tighe:

“Now you’re going to tell me, now you’re going to tell me what scenes came into your mind. What did you see? What did you see?”

An entirely new being spoke in a changed voice.

“‘…Uh…scratched the paint of all my bed. Jus’ painted it, ’n’ made it pretty. It was a metal bed, and I scratched the paint off it. Dug my nails on every post and just ruined it….’

“Why did you do that?

“‘Don’t know. I was just made. Got an awful spanking.’

“What is your name?”

“ ‘…Uh…Friday….’”

“Don’t you have any other name?

“ ‘Uh…Friday Murphy.” [p. 134]

Just like that, Virginia Tighe had changed into Bridey Murphy, age eight, Cork, Ireland.

Bernstein later remarked that he was regularly barraged with variations of: “If this Bridey Murphy business, with all that it implies, is true, then why am I hearing about it for the first time from a businessman? How can it be possible that some psychiatrists are not running into the same thing.” [p. 252].

The answer is, they are—they just don’t admit it or want to talk about it, or they interpret it as conversions of memories from during this lifetime, vestiges of cryptomnesia (a term for old memories being mistaken as novel). Numerous psychiatrists “have had patients who have gone back to something,” but the docs weren’t inclined to call it a past life and were afraid to discuss it at all for fear of ridicule or career damage. [p. 22]. In addition, since they were not trying to regress people past birth, they didn’t construe what they got as a past life. Past lives don’t fit easily into our cultural framework—interpretation of similar flashbacks occurs quite differently in cultures receptive to reincarnation.

From a shamanic standpoint, what was present in the case Bernstein and Miss Tighe was the right relationship between operator and subject. As a threshold flickered between them, psychological transference occurred, and an altered state of beingness came out of its hiding place from a combination of irresistible inducement and secure enough cover. Prefacing his comments with the proviso that no one can answer the question “What is a trance?” Bernstein put the matter this way:

“Some subjects simply have it; others do not. ‘It’ is the inexplicable something which, with the guidance of the hypnotist, enables the subject to pass into the trance state. True, a good operator can accelerate the process of induction, or he might be successful with certain refractory subjects with whom less skillful hypnotists have failed. Nevertheless, there are some people who just won’t be hypnotized.” [pp. 43-44]

Tighe was the opposite. In subsequent sessions she was able to tell Bernstein details of Murphy’s childhood, adolescence, and adult life. The daughter of Duncan and Kathleen Murphy, Bridey came into the world on December 20, 1798, her father a local barrister. She married Sean Brian McCarthy at age seventeen and then moved to Belfast. At age sixty-six she “‘fell down…fell down on the stairs, and…seems I broke some bones in my hip too…just sort of withered away…. I was such a burden. Had to be carried about….’” [pp. 143-144].

She observed her own funeral: “‘Oh, I watched them. I watched them ditch my body.’” [p. 171]. She stared at her tombstone, read aloud her full Catholic name, dates of her birth and death.

When Bernstein asked where she went afterwards, she said:

“I just…waiting where everybody waits…. It’s just a place of waiting.” [pp. 181-182]

There she experienced a profound disembodied lucidity from which she could distinguish night and day on earth. She watched Brian going about his life, missing her. When Bernstein asked her to recall her activity in the waiting place, she offered this poignant and compelling tidbit:

“ ‘I…remember…dancing…dancing.” [p. 183]. She was performing a round dance, as passage of Earth time was translated into timeless solo motion in a place where time didn’t exit.

Bernstein’s book The Search for Bridey Murphy became an instant bestseller, in fact a cultural sensation. It was as if Virginia Tighe were the first person on Earth to remember a past life. Yet throughout India, Turkey, Lebanon, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Tibet, and other Eurasian and Asian cultures where reincarnation is assumed, countless people routinely recall some aspect of a previous existence without hypnotic regression or hoopla. These past lives and past-life fragments usually identify themselves within the same extended family, clan, village, or general region—remembering a former life in another country, as Ms. Tighe did, is relatively rare. Otherwise, Bernstein’s subject was having an ordinary set of reincarnation memories, yet that quotidian experience is so repressed in the West that the story made headlines. How did that state of affairs come about?

In the buttoned-down fifties, what little attention to reincarnation there had been was all but was blotted out in the drama of two World Wars, an interbellum depression, and then the enchantment, prosperity, and burst of scientific legerdemain that followed World War II. Life on the physical plane occupied center-stage, offering so much pizzazz and immediacy, zest and vivacity, along with new monthly technological treats and wonders, that everything else paled beside it. This world was brilliant, senior, and enthralling. Its mundane existence washed out any lingering spirits and ghosts, while science provided continuous reinforcement.

What metaphysical event could be more vivid, mesmerizing, and laden with richness and meaningfulness than the rise of the Third Reich, Hitler’s terrifying blitz across Europe, the concomitant surge of imperial Japan across the Pacific to Pearl Harbor, and the epic battles that followed? These emanations, giving rise (as an indication of sheer penetrating horror) to J. R. R. Tolkein’s vision of Mordor, were deeper than reincarnation and for good reason. Each reality construct plays out fully and exclusively during its engagement, and each has the same claim on our being as reality itself.

 

Despite rampant twentieth-century amnesia the notion of reincarnation was firmly established in Western civilization long before Bernstein’s splash. It was accepted unequivocally in ancient Greece and Rome and throughout the European Middle Ages and Renaissance. In a lifelong attempt to contact the dead, nineteenth-century British philologist Frederic Myers documented interactions and conversations with ghosts of deceased people—experiments that had direct continuity with witness accounts from past centuries. A founder of the Society for Psychical Research and long-time researcher into the paranormal, Myers was reported to have sent fragmented messages back to relatives and colleagues after his own death.

And he was only one of thousands of nineteenth-century researchers into a topic that engaged not only scientists but unlikely sleuths such as Mark Twain and Abraham Lincoln. The Psychical Society’s inventory for its greater research platform included oft-quirky mainstays of the day: table tipping, spirit photographs, ghost trumpets and accordions floating in the air playing audible music, levitation, automatic writing (which gave rise to Ouija boards), crystal balls, spirit knocking, and telepathy (a term coined by Myers).

It is modernist provincialism to assume that all these witnesses were gullible, myopic, and unaware of scientific methodology. They conducted meticulous experiments while trying to untangle multiple levels of coincidence and inexplicable transfers of information. Their trials were at least as thorough as those conducted almost a century later in a far more scientistic environment at Duke University. Not only were the nineteenth-century forerunners carefully constructed in respect to a priori skepticism, they were analyzed according to impartial empirical parameters that were abandoned in the later twentieth century under protocols of scientism. Myers and his colleagues had open minds about how the universe might work. Modern peerage fails the same test.

Sigmund Freud played a role in reincarnational amnesia too; once he established the latency of the unconscious mind as well as an indeterminate conversion zone between hidden layers of the psyche and the ego, a scientific mechanism was afforded for the transformation of even ordinary memories into distorted and sublimated versions of themselves as well as into wholesale fantasies. This is both the liturgical and neurological lines of Oliver Sacks’ reality-manufacturing circuitry a couple of generations later. As dreams and trances were deemed brief psychotic episodes, breaks with reality, neuroses, psychoses, and fugues replaced poltergeists and past lives as favored explanations for just about every aberration and anomaly, from hypnagogia to recall of past lives.

It was never considered that they could be both, yet the universe is exactly that complex and many-layered.

At roughly the same time, quantum physics established an uncertainty basis for all phenomena, albeit at a subatomic level. But this provided a materialist, or quantitative, basis for anomalous memory-like events.

Formulaic Christianity had a longstanding effect on reincarnational permission in the West. Papal protocol enforced a single lifetime followed by Judgment as its choice merchandise in an evolving mercantile system.

In this aggregate milieu Bernstein’s past-life regression of Virginia Tighe took the general public by storm.

After the publication of The Search for Bridey Murphy, newspapers and radio stations launched their own quests for the long-deceased Irish maiden, Tighe’s provisional former self. The New York Daily Mirror ran a front-page cliffhanger for weeks, detailing the findings of its investigative reporter in Ireland. If he came up with evidence of Bridey Murphy, then reincarnation would seemingly be proved or at least on a new and more credible footing.

But the conclusion of a patchwork of media investigations was that no one named Bridey Murphy occurred in the records of Ireland during the years of her proposed lifetime as read by Ms. Tighe off her own tombstone—born in 1798, died in 1864.

In truth, though, even the first half of the nineteenth century is too far back for anything approaching an exhaustive historiographic investigation. It is several exponents more difficult than trying to determine the identity of Jack the Ripper a few decades later, a gambit regularly attempted by amateur historians; it is almost like trying to figure out if Shakespeare wrote his own plays. The roster of churches, addresses, and artifacts cited by Tighe were all deemed fictive and apocryphal. About the only possible smoking gun was that, as a young girl, Bridey had shopped for provisions at a grocer named Farr and there was a shopkeeper of that surname in her purported turf at the time. Statistically one random hit was par for the course.

Far more damning, key aspects of Bridey Murphy’s memories could be tied directly to TIghe’s childhood in Chicago, Illinois, including the name itself, for she lived across the street from an Irish immigrant named Bridie Murphy Cockrell. Most investigators jumped to the conclusion that this was a conventional memory, displaced and converted in classic Freudian fashion.

Neither the Daily Mirror nor other investigative media considered the possible occurrence of deeper synchronicities or repeating anomalous configurations that might cause the former Bridey Murphy to incarnate across the street from a namesake in a succeeding lifetime—Lincoln/Kennedy, John Allan/Troy sort of stuff. Instead it was dumped in the cryptomnesia box.

So Bridey Murphy entered pop culture somewhere between a freak and a hoax, a discredited diva in countless parodied guises—the topic of a bad movie (I’ve Lived Before), two popular songs (“For the Love of Bridey Murphy” and “Do You Believe in Reincarnation?”), and a 1956 satire, The Quest For Bridey Hammerschlaugen, in which comedian Stan Freberg hypnotized Goldie Smith (played by an actress named Joan Foray) and summoned her memories of different eras each of which Foray hammed up. Then she turned the tables and, in a spoof of Bernstein, hypnotically regressed Freberg, who quickly recalled being Davy Crockett. Foray told him that he wouldn’t be able to profit on the current fad of Tennessee frontier products, so Freberg declared that he would come back in his next life as Walt Disney.

The Search for Bridey Murphy also appeared later (and iconically) in Thomas Pynchon and Ken Kesey novels as a telltale tome in the hands of a character, indicating less its partial rehabilitation than its subtle influence over an emerging new gestalt of disjunctive frames of reality—magical realism rather than an ontological shift.

 

Since the days of Bridey Murphy, and without fanfare for decades prior, hypnotic regression has been used by physicians, hypnotists, and New Age therapists to exhume mental fragments and psychic traces, including those of possible past lives, often with explicit clinical intention, usually for a therapeutic goal.

In an episode echoing Morey Bernstein’s regression of Virginia Tighe, Brian Weiss, chief of psychiatry at Mount Sinai Hospital in Miami Beach, after failing to get relief for a patient from acute phobias of choking, drowning, and being stranded in the dark (even after, under hypnosis, the woman recovered a juicy age-three tidbit of sexual violation by her drunken father), instructed her to “go back to the time from which your symptoms arise.” [p. 16]. Catherine’s response recalls Ms. Tighe’s:

“I see white steps leading up to a building, a big white building with pillars…I am wearing a long dress, a sack made of rough material. My name is Aronda. I am eighteen….”

She identified the year as 1863 BC. Aronda ultimately drowned during a flood.

In follow-up sessions, Catherine became a Dutchman named Johann whose throat was slit in 1473; a house-servant named Abbey in nineteenth-century Virginia; a Welsh seaman named Christian; a German aviator Eric; and a Ukrainian boy in 1758. [p. 17] After reliving the cumulative terrors and death traumas of each of these various men and women under hypnotic regression, she was relieved of her phobias. Though the clinical success could not be definitively attributed to the regressions, it was in stark contrast to the lack of any equivalent effect following her more ordinary recall of abuse by her father.

While no one in 1863 B.C. would identify their era by a prochronistic date and despite the fact that Catherine’s life as Ukrainian boy overlapped with her life as a Spanish prostitute, the recall of these lives seemed to have worked therapeutically in the way that recovery of an actual traumatic moment often does in psychoanalytic transference. Similarly, when awakened from her regressions, Catherine not only did not remember any of her so-called past lives but, when informed of their contents, was embarrassed by—and all but repudiated—them. As a practicing Catholic, she did not accept past lives; nonetheless, she continued with the sessions because of the positive results. She dismissed the lives themselves as incidental balderdash.

Past-life therapists tend to argue that symptom relief is proof of the validity of the memories or (antithetically) that it doesn’t matter if the “memories” are real because they tap into something primal and seminal in the patient’s subconscious. Here the discussion bottoms out at a deeper level of a dichotomy—real past life or past-life projection—that will become a key topic of my query. It will take substantial lead-in and preparation, so I will do a preliminary pass now:

Ailments that are unaffected by any other mode of treatment often clear up spontaneously after a single past-life regression, but that denouement doesn’t require a past-life belief system. Stuck internalized energy—cathected trauma in Freud’s etiology— transcends any transitional content or form it takes. If the energetic basis for a cure is achieved during therapist-patient transference, the form or initiating circumstances of the energy is ancillary at best. This therapeutic model also accords with established spiritual views of the aura as the final repository for traumas and the only place where they can be released.

Past-life veridicality finally takes a back seat to the priority of healing. In that regard, it is worth considering an episode I witnessed at the Berkeley Psychic Institute in 2009 when I considered it paradigmatic:

Director Javier Thistlethwaite, a one-time stock-car racer in Mexico, came to BPI initially because he heard it was a great venue in which to meet girls. He succeeded—he ended up marrying the founder’s daughter and he was running the place when I briefly took courses there.

A playful and charismatic teacher, Javier liked to assemble an audience from the night’s various classes to demonstrate some psychic principle in the school’s common room. On one such occasion he performed a series of dramatic past-life readings of selected students. Each volunteer responded in turn with some combination of “Yo dude, that was incredible,” “That was so my past life,” and a quizzical “How did you do that?” After the buzz died down from this tour de force of clairvoyance, Javier teased the audience: “Was that her real past life?” No one spoke. “Is any of this stuff real?”

After thirty seconds of scanning the caboodle of paralyzed nonresponders Javier answered his own question: “I haven’t the slightest idea. Her past life is past, and my reading is past. And the question is past too. We’ll never prove anything one way or another. The only thing that matters is that energy was moving energy in the present. Me as spirit was talking to her as spirit.”

That is the long and the short of it. All you can do is follow an energetic thread wherever it goes—either it will become more meaningful or it will fade into irrelevance. If it continues to grow in depth and context, it will also become more real.

That’s all that anyone or anything does anyway—even the most concrete worldly event, the most pedantic repeatable scientific experiment, everyday office and kitchen stuff are patent pending while they settle deep enough into the trance of repeating, repeatable waking-life reality to be taken for granted. That’s what a newborn turtle or bear cub does too.

Either inquiry (metaphysical or mundane) is a matter of tracing a flow of information in a broad enough context to peg its event-module. As you keep at the interrogation, usually unconsciously, you dead-reckon your own and its place in the universe and, remarkably, the universe itself.

We will never know, at least in our current biological operating system, if even the cosmic reality exists in its own right or is a thought construct collapsed into a viewing platform by quantum consciousness waves.

Wherever you come out with a working verdict, Creation flows toward relevance, and each of us drawn into its weir like a blind fish. As Buddhists put it, reality is “view”—a trajectory of scenery, or cognitive framing, rather than the scenery itself.

 

Weiss handled the matter of verification regarding his patient’s past-life prochronisms and incongruities by acknowledging simply “the totality of the experience as such that these inconsistencies only add to its complexity. There is so much we don’t know.” [p. 20]

Catherine’s naïve chronicling of her inaugural past life indicates that most individuals who recall previous existences experience them in current native frames of reference and tongues and, if queried, date them by a contemporary chronology—from the view of the present rather than the past person. At the same time, they may occasionally lapse into words and expressions from a different dialect, such as switching to a foreign accent and while speaking in English, answering “nein” for “no” (in the case of a Mediaeval Germanic character).

Xenoglossy is the term for these linguistic phenomena: young children babbling in a foreign language for which there is no ordinary explanation or identifiable derivation. His or her parents assume initially that their infant’s prattle contains nonsense syllables. The truth suddenly comes to light when the child seems to understand speech of strangers on the street and then responds to the satisfaction of native speakers, often beginning a fluent dialogue with them. [p. 92]

In one instance, a family “only discovered what language [their son] was babbling when they were out with him and he saw some Japanese standing in the street and heard them speaking. He began shouting that he could understand, and he ran to them before his parents could restrain him. By the time they caught up, he was in deep conversation in Japanese.” [p. 119]. You can imagine the plight of trying to explain to the strangers how the young boy (or girl) managed to learn their indigenous language at such a young age.

Children may also speak in an accent that is different from their own family and locale, replicating the dialect of another region or time. Lobsterfishermen Wendell Seavey, a longtime friend of mine, sounds like a vintage Downeaster to non-natives, but none of his peers or forebears speaks like him. His accent from the earliest speech of his childhood matches that of a speaker from Devon, England, a dialect to which he had no exposure in his childhood.

Two girls in a Southern California family, Andrea and Sara Forman, both seemed to read the “wrong” side of their mother’s bilingual manuals for her Ayurvedic medical practice—the facing pages of Devanagari script. Andrea, the oldest exhibited this ability first; it came to light when she asked her mother which side of the page she read.

Linda Forman assumed either that her daughter was teasing her or had such a severe reading disability that she couldn’t tell Sanskrit from English characters. Only months later, when she was cleaning Andrea’s room and discovered stacks of pages of a handwritten Sanskrit-to-English dictionary under her bed, did she realize that something more mysterious was happening. She and her husband plopped themselves in the middle of the floor and sorted through the voluminous entries as if “some key to this mystery could be found if we just sat and looked at the pages long enough.” Finally the two of them dropped into silent perplexity until Robert commented, “I think we have a major problem.” [88]

Linda later summarized the quandary: “It seemed as though we had a daughter who could read an ancient dead language that clearly no one else in the family spoke, not to mention few other people in the world.” And she was doing it spontaneously, without years of training. [91]

The two sisters eventually formed a musical group called Shanti Shanti and sang together professionally in Sanskrit for years.

How do we explain any of this? Like Fortean anomalies, each instance simply falls into and between the cracks.

Washington Post journalist Tom Shroder, a long-time investigator of past-life claims, enumerates the usual objections to past-life claims:

“If there was a soul, why could nobody detect it? How did it move from one body to another? Did it enter at the moment of conception? Of birth? Why did such a tiny percentage of people remember previous lives? Why were those memories so fragmentary? If souls were recycled, how could you explain the population explosion?” [p. 89].

After viewing one of Dr. Weiss’s regressions, Shroder remarked that he saw nothing more extraordinary than “a contemporary American woman free-associating on a medieval theme.” [p. 21] She also, to his mind unintentionally, revealed wishful thinking when he interviewed her subsequently, for she told him: “It never made sense to me that we could be here for such a short time, and then…nothing.” [p. 21]

To him, that was a red flag.

When experimentally undergoing his own post-hypnotic regression, Shroder experienced the same susceptibility in himself he observed in others. He was eager to cooperate and “supply the hypnotist with what she wanted.” [p. 21]. He concluded that past lives fell under a comparable fallacy and faddist tendency to that of UFO abductees and children reporting sexual molestations in pre-schools—false memories implanted by a combination of suggestive hypnosis and a desire to comply with an authority’s instructions.

When he got his own past-life reading, a medley of unconvincing former personalities was paraded before him; they included an Australian rancher, a black Jamaican sorceress, and an arthritic Japanese sage. None of these had any echo or resonance for him; in his own words: “no fading scent of jasmine or sting of gin.” [p. 22]. He wanted something that felt real and profound.

I had a similar experience early in my stint at the Berkeley Psychic Institute; my lineup of past identities included a Japanese monk, a bumptious cowboy, and a society woman married to a scholar. These were run before me by a group of senior practitioners in trance like a Greek chorus. It felt more like a Woody Allen parody of a séance than an authentic dip into a warp in the space-time continuum.

Shroder confessed, after much soul searching, that he had “stared inward but never seen a ripple nor heard a whisper of any life but my own [and] seen people near top me disappear into death with an awesome and unappealable finality…. In my marrow, I could feel no trace, however faint, of a previous life. The universe before me was a void, a nothingness that flared into somethingness only with my earliest memories of this life.” [pp. 15 and 89].

But he was searching like the nihilistically preconditioned Westerner he was, trying to push himself through the existential transparency of his own denial rather than neutrally and receptively opening to what channels might be operating. There jasmine and gin manifest differently and as something else. The scent and tang, if not removed, attaches to other, more diffuse déjà vu.

Schroder didn’t consider the obvious: If there is encryption, let alone cosmic-level encryption, you are not going to just blow past it by pulling on its knot in exactly the direction in which it was tied or by the precise sort of thrust it was designed to fend off—and I don’t mean that some high muckamuck designed it, just that it is exquisitely and intelligently designed within the nexus of consciousness and self-identification.

When people are presented with their own past lives by a psychic reader, there is little basis for identification by veridicality. Most of these biographies set in other centuries arise without the necessary whiff of first-hand authenticity or internal resonance. Even if they are elicited under hypnosis, the subject still doesn’t experience them consciously. As Shroder noted, their backdrops and events sound like what a person with an average high-school education and a reading of romance novels might summon up by a medley of suggestibility, fantasy multiple personalities, trance-induced pseudomemories, cooperation, and wishful thinking. When past-life readings play a role in healing traumas and assorted psychopathologies, they are considered symbolic displacements, recreational play-acting, delusions, therapeutic theater, and sometimes semi-intentional or intentional hoaxes by partisan therapists and their compliant subjects.

Remember, Miss Tighe did not herself recall anything; she had no memory or remote foreshadowing of Bridey Murphy when awake; the entire character and her experiences emanated only under hypnosis. Later in her present life, she doubted her past-life memories, in part because she had never experienced them directly and did not remember them.

The universe’s set-up and operating codes are not easily broken; one has to bend back against one’s innate tendencies and premises because, like Freudian defenses of sublimation and reaction formation, its switchbacks are designed to protect its trances and their filters, not undo them. One has to use a different, counter-intuitive track.

 

Ultimately journalist Shroder shifted his focus to a different sort of past-life evidence: the explorations of Ian Stevenson, a psychiatrist and research scientist who, early in his career changed disciplines from microbiology to parapsychology, in particular investigating and documenting people’s past-life memories and accounts of reincarnation—a shift of perspective, but not of cosmic curiosity.

Stevenson eschewed hypnotic regression, which seemed to him an unnecessary and potentially contaminating factor. Instead, he went straight to the action, covering tens of thousands of miles, traveling for decades wherever there was word of a child evincing a spontaneous recent past-life memory. Stevenson would get himself to the site as quickly as possible and then attempt to match the accounts of the child with the life of his or her so-called past persons (PP). His goal was to collect corroborating (or disproving) data before the evidence could be significantly contaminated. This meant lots of road time in the rural Middle East and South Asia.

Again, Stevenson was seeking innate, unelicited memories, not induced regressions or past-life readings. While it was impossible for him to receive word, let alone arrive, before potentially some data-corrupting circumstances ensued, he got there relatively early in the game, and in a number of instances key details were been written down or shared with multiple witnesses before the PP’s family has been identified and contacted.

Stevenson’s cases “predominantly featured young children, ages two to five, who spoke of previous-life memories for a brief time, until they were about eight.” [pp. 102-103]. These memories were usually strongest when the child was young and dissipated as he (or she) became “more aware of his [or her] surroundings, more adept verbally, and enter[ed] into much wider contact with the world outside his home.” [p. 57].

In the words of past-life therapist Carol Bowman, young children “haven’t had the cultural conditioning, the layering over of experience in this life, so the memories can percolate up more easily. These memories tend to fade between the ages of five and seven.” In Western culture, where they are ignored, subverted, or distorted into fictions or cryptonesias, they evaporate even faster.

Stevenson filed reports of varying circumstantial completeness comprising more than 2,500 cases. There were no prior existences as Cleopatra or Napoleon or Alexander the Great or Pope Urban the Second; there were no memories being in a Pharaoh’s harem or his palace guard. All of these “memories” involved ordinary people in mundane circumstances, a more likely PP pool by Earth’s demography. A disproportionate number did involve violent deaths, raising the possibility that memory carryover is traumatically instilled—an unsettled death picture leads to an unconscious craving for resolution, urgent enough to drive not only reincarnation but partial retention. In other words, profound emotional connections drew spirits draw to an antecedent residue. This would also explain why most “rebirths” took place nearby, within hailing distance of the previous life. The following reincarnational biographies from Stevenson’s files are less significant individually than for their ubiquity and the implications of a quotidian nonlocal consciousness:

  • At an early age, a boy in Lebanon, Nazih Al-Danaf, told his parents that he had once carried pistols and grenades, was married to a pretty woman, and had many children. He said that his house was surrounded by trees and was nearby a cave. He repeatedly asked to be taken home and he swore that he knew how to find his former house. His parents delayed a search until he was six; then they followed his directions.

Once they got near the promised site, Nazih became more confident the rest of the way including which of six roads to take from the center of town. When interrogated by the widow of the man who had lived in the house to which he led them, Nazih answered each of her questions accurately. The woman was convinced that he was the rebirth of her husband Faud, the father of her five children.

When on a subsequent visit Nazih saw a familiar man, he cried out, “Here comes my brother Adeeb.” The wary Adeeb demanded proof, so the child announced, “I gave you a Checki 16.” Faud had indeed given his brother a pistol from Czechoslovakia, a model rare in Lebanon and unlikely to be cited by the boy from any cues. Later attempts to trick Nazih by maming misleading queries—for instance by asking him to “confirm” details about Faud that were false—all failed. [149]

  • About a year before his death died in Angoon, Alaska, in the spring of 1946, Tlingit Indian Victor Vincent had said to his sister’s daughter of whom he was fond, ‘I’m coming back as your next son. I hope I don’t stutter then as much as I do now. Your son will have these scars.’ He then pulled up his shirt and showed her a scar on his back … a residue of an operation he had had … some years earlier.… Mr. Vincent at the same time also pointed to a scar on his nose on the right side of its base as another mark by which his niece would recognize his rebirth.”

Eighteen months later his niece “gave birth to a boy named after his father, Corliss Chotkin, Jr. At birth this boy had two marks on his body of exactly the same shape and location as the scar pointed to by Victor Vincent in his prediction of his rebirth.”

When Corliss, Jr., was old enough to talk, he rejected his name and said, “Don’t you know me? I’m Kahkody.” The boy had spoken the tribal name of Victor Vincent “with an excellent accent.”

In ensuing months he recognized and named several of Victor Vincent’s relatives without any prompting, including his son William and his wife Rose.

Excited to see Vincent’s stepdaughter one afternoon at the Sitka dock, the boy jumped up and down, calling out, “There’s my Susie.”

  • Chanai Choonmalaiwong, a boy born in Thailand in 1967, began talking incessantly at age three about being a teacher named Bua Kai who had been shot and killed while en route to school. “He gave the names of his parents, his wife, and two of his children from that life, and he persistently begged his grandmother, with whom he lived, to take him to his previous parents’ home,” which he identified as being in a village fifteen miles away. [55]

When they finally arrived there by bus, Chanai walked straight to the house of an elderly couple whose son Bua Kai Lawnak had been a school teacher and was murdered five years before Chanai was born. Upon being invited in, he recognized one of his Bua Kai’s daughters and asked after the other by name. Though the family accepted him as the reincarnation of their son, his “daughters” refused to call him “father” as he desired, so he stopped talking to them.

Additionally Chani had two birthmarks, a large irregular one above his left eye and a smaller circular one on the back of his head, both hairless and puckered, which matched Bua Kai’s exit and entry wounds.

  • A Turkish child, Necip Ünlütaşkiran, had numerous birthmarks on his head, face, and trunk. At age six he began speaking about having been stabbed repeatedly in the city of Mersin, fifty miles away. He also remembered being married, having children. One day he specifically recalled cutting his wife on her leg with a knife during an argument. [58] By the way, he was not initially named Necip but insisted on being called by the name of his PP.

After the PP’s family was identified and visited, Necip correctly recognized objects that he had owned. One of his PP’s widow’s legs bore a scar that she said had come from a stab wound by her husband. Also Necip’s grandmother in his present life turned out to be a local woman his PP had called “grandmother” too (though she wasn’t). Necip remarked that now she was a real grandmother instead of only being like one to him in the past. [57]

By the time Stevenson was able to examine Necip 2 at age thirteen and compare his birthmarks to those on the autopsy report of Necip 1, he found eight matching indications. [58]

  • In July 1951, a boy in Kanauj, India, named Ravi Shankar was born roughly six months after the death of another child, the six-year-old son of a barber named Jageshwar Prasad, in a different district of Kanauj. Munna “was enticed from his place and brutally murdered by two neighbors … and the motive for the crime seems to have been the wish to dispose of Sri Jageshwar Prasad’s heir so that one of the murderers (a relative) might inherit his property.… The mutilated and severed head of the boy and some of his clothes were subsequently found and clearly identified by his father.”

Between the ages of two and three, Ravi Shankar gave explicit “details of his murder, naming the murderers, the place of the crime, and other circumstances of the life and death of Munna. The boy … kept asking his parents for various toys which he claimed he had in the house of his previous life.” He also accurately recounted numerous events from the life of Munna, plus he “had on his neck a linear mark resembling closely the scar of a long knife wound across his neck.” He wasn’t born with it; it appeared when he was three months old.

  • A New Delhi girl named Preeti told her sister: “This is your house, not my house. These are your parents, not mine. You have only one brother, I have four.” Preeti then identified her real family as living in a village twelve miles away. Her name there had been Sheila, and she had been hit by a car while running across the street. These and other details of her recital fit the story of a deceased teenage girl in the cited village. On a trip there Preeti immediately recognized her PP’s parents and began what would become an ongoing relationship with them in her new incarnation.

When asked how she knew that Preeti was her daughter’s rebirth, Sheila’s mother referred to Preeti’s uncanny resemblance to her at that age (despite no genetic link), a feature noticed by not only the family but the milkman and other locals; a distinctive birthmark on the outside of her right thigh where Sheila sustained an injury; and her instant recognition of family members. She explained: “When one of my sons pointed to Sheila’s younger brother and asked Preeti, ‘Is is older or younger than you?’ she said, ‘He was younger than me, and now he is older….’ One day, when I was taking Preeti in the street, she was afraid. She said, ‘Don’t, I’ll get run over again.’” [163]

  • Daniel Jirdi, a child in Lebanon remembered having been Rashid Khaddage, a mechanic who had died when his cousin Ibrahim committed an act of road rage, speeding after an offending vehicle and turning over the car in which they were driving, tossing and killing him.

At age two and a half, Daniel was able to give details of the accident and of Rashid’s life. His parents initially understood that something was afoot when he corrected their pronunciation of Rashid’s hometown Kfarmatta, explaining that he was from there.

At two and a half, Daniel recalled the name of the driver, that he had been thrown from the car, and where the accident occurred; he also knew “that Rashid’s mother had been knitting him a sweater.” [p. 74].

Later, as he parents drove past Military Beach, he put his hands over his eyes and began screaming and crying: “This is where I died.” [p. 50].

Daniel was born with a lump on his head in the approximate place of Rashid’s head wound, though Stevenson conceded that delivery during birth could have caused such a swelling and that he “wouldn’t want to take that lump to court as evidence of reincarnation.” [p. 74].

Soon word got out, and the Khaddages showed up at the Jirdi’s home, hoping to reconnect with their “son.” As they arrived unannounced, Daniel saw them at the door and called out, “Bring bananas for Najla and make some coffee, my family is here.” Bananas had been Rashid’s favorite food.

  • While investigating the Khaddage family, Stevenson found that Ulfat, the daughter of Muna, Rashid’s younger sister, remembered a recent past life. She had a vivid memory of being killed by Christians during the civil war, and her story closely matched that of one of the young girls massacred in Salina. She was twenty-three years old at the time. In Ulfat’s account:

“‘It was at night, I was walking. I was afraid to go through an alley, but had no other way. There about four men carrying guns.’” As soon as they saw her, they shot her in the leg. Then when they saw that she was clutching jewels to her blouse, they took them and tortured her. [p. 57].

She did not remember being torture or dying, only that it happened. Again, the tangs and scents tend to dissociate and transfer elsewhere. Their essence is not lost, but its attachment to a particular event is severed.

  • In another case in Lebanon, Suzanne Ghanem, a girl of sixteenth months old, suddenly pulled the phone off the hook and began trying to call her oldest daughter Leila. In fact, her first words were: “Hello, Leila?” [p, 82]. Suzanne was born in the late 1960s ten days after the death of a thirty-five-year-old woman in the area named Hanan Mansour. Hanan had warned her husband Farouk that when she was reborn, she would have “a lot to say about her previous life.” [p. 81].

Young Suzanne insisted that she was Hanan and promised that when her head was bigger, she would explain better. The older she got, the more she looked like Hanan. Eventually she remembered her old phone number (though with two digits reversed) and provisions for her jewelry she made in her will. She correctly identified twenty-five people from her past life.

She later took to phoning her PP’s widower Farouk almost daily, interfering in his marriage to a woman she identified as “the new wife.” [p. 91].

  • Süleyman Caper, a child in Turkey, declared, as soon as he was able to talk, that he had been a miller and that an angry customer had hit him over the head with a shovel. The back of his skull was partially depressed and had a dark birthmark on it. Suleyman was able to remember the first name of the miller and the village. Once again, there was a perfect match.

There are Western testimonies too, though not nearly as many:

  • Once Bobby Hodges, a boy in North Carolina, began speaking, he asked his mother why she wouldn’t let him live with his real family. By that, he meant his aunt Susan. His parents paid little attention, considering it as his way of expressing how much he enjoyed being with his cousins. One night at age four and a half, soon after his bath, he asked his mother if she remembered when he and his two-and-a-half-year-old brother Donald were in her tummy at the same time. She agreed that they had both been in her tummy but insisted that it wasn’t at the same time. After rethinking the matter, Bobby said it was when they were in Aunt Susan’s tummy and didn’t get born. Then, to his mother’s astonishment, he began yelling at his younger brother, blaming him for Susan’s miscarriage: “I told you I wanted to get born real bad, and you didn’t want to. How did you take me out of there, Donald? Why didn’t you want to get born?” His mother had to stop him from attacking Donald.

Donald took out his pacifier and yelled, “No! I wanted Daddy!”

Bobby shouted, “I didn’t want Daddy, I wanted Uncle Ron.” [165]

Seven years before Bobby was born Susan was pregnant with twins; they stopped moving at thirty-three weeks because one of them had rolled over on the umbilical cord.

  • William was born five years after his grandfather, a New York City policeman working a second job as a security guard, was fatally shot. William had birth defects corresponding to the wounds of his grandfather, including pulmonary valve artesia replicating a bullet that had passed through his PP’s back, lungs, and main pulmonary vehicle. The coincidence was more or less ignored, until William, age three, spoke out after his mother threatened to spank him: “Mom, when you were a little girl and I was your daddy, you were bad a lot of times, and I never hit you.” [2] He later remembered correctly that the name of his PP’s cat was Boston but that he called him “Boss.”
  • Samuel Taylor, who was born in Vermont a year and a half after his paternal grandfather died, startled his father, who was changing his diaper at the time, by telling him, “When I was your age, I used to change your diapers.” [141] Another time, when shown a family photo, he pointed to his grandfather and declared, “That’s me!” [142]

“Sam’s mother asked him he had any brothers or sisters when he lived before. He answered, ‘Yeah, I had a sister. She turned into a fish.’ When asked who turned her into a fish, he said, ‘Some bad guys. She died. You know what, when we die, God lets us come back again. I used to be big, and now I’m a kid again.’

“The sister of Sam’s grandfather, in fact, had been killed some sixty years before. Her husband killed her while she was sleeping, rolled her body up in a blanket, and dumped it in the bay.” [142]

  • In a somewhat similar incident Abby Swanson, a four-year-old girl in Ohio, told her mother after her bath one night: “Mommy, I used to give you baths when you were a baby…. I was your grandma.” [32]
  • Gillian and Jennifer Pollack, twins born in Hexham, Northumberland, (England) in 1958 remembered objects and events from the past lives of their older sisters Joanna and Jacqueline, who were struck by a car and killed while walking to church a year and a half before the girls were born. In fact, the two routinely talked about their sisters’ lives as though they were them. On several occasions their parents overheard them dispassionately reminiscing about the accident.

Gillian thought that she was Joanna, while Jennifer claimed to be Jacqueline. When dolls and other toys were out from the older girls’ collections, each one identified the objects belonging to her complement.

One day Gillian pointed to Jennifer’s birthmark on her forehead and said, “That is the mark Jennifer got when she fell on a bucket.” But it was Jacqueline not Jennifer who “indeed had fallen on a bucket, receiving an injury that required stitches and produced a permanent scar.” [130]

At age seven, the children seemed to forget their PPs and stopped referring to them.

  • When Patrick Christenson of Michigan was four and a half years old, he began telling his parents intimate details from the life of his older brother Kevin who had died of metastatic cancer at age two, twelve years before Patrick was born. He said that he wanted to go back and live in their former house, the one that was orange and brown. He also asked his mother about his surgery, pointing to above his right ear where his brother had had a nodule removed for a biopsy.
  • Ryan, a ten-year-old boy in Tulsa, told his mother one day, “I think I used to be someone else.” He remembered being in Hollywood, dancing on Broadway, traveling to other countries, and being married five times. He thought that his residence was on a street with the word “rock” in it. He also mentioned preferring his old room and missing his swimming pool. In a book on the golden age of Hollywood he saw a man in a picture whom he recognized as himself—it was an obscure extra in a Mae West film, initially unidentifiable.

Research by a historian finally turned up the actor’s name: Marty Martin. He had been both a performer and agent, was married five times, and lived on Rocksbury Drive. His death certificate had the wrong age on it, and subsequent research showed the document to be in error and Ryan’s memory of his own prior passing at sixty-one as accurate. A comment by the boy speaks to the heart of the matter: “Why would God let you get to be sixty-one and then make you come back as a baby.”

 

What stands out is each person’s full Identification with his or her PP, the intersubjective sense of having been and still being the past person, an expression of his or her unique selfhood and vantage. “They are the previous personalities, and they resist the imposition of a new identity…. they say, ‘I have a wife,’ or I am a doctor,’ or “I have three buffalos and two cows.” One boy told his parents, “See that rice field. It once belonged to me.” Another insisted on buying size-eight shoes even though they were absurdly too large for him. “He wouldn’t drop it,” his mother told Stevenson. “We actually had to buy him a pair and take it home and make him wear it to prove to him that it was way too big.” [223] The identification was that profound and intractable; it superseded what was before his eyes.

Children are similarly attached to their PP’s cultures and lifestyle.

A number of boys and girls born in Burma after World War II remembered having been Japanese soldiers; they rejected local food as too spicy and asked for raw fish and sweets. They wanted to wear Japanese clothes and relished playing battle games. [p. 120] Stevenson explained that some of the Japanese soldiers notoriously mistreated civilians during World War II and might have been drawn back to the scene of their crimes by guilt, attracted to Burmese rather than Japanese identities in order to pay karmic debts. Their abuses perhaps provided the singular formation or tether in the void, so they came back to this world by melding with them and shaping a new life.

One Burmese girl who remembered a previous existence as a Japanese soldier would play only with boys and craved toy guns. She insisted on being addressed by the male honorific and eventually moved to the city and sought girlfriends. [124] On this basis it is worth considering reincarnation as a cause for instances of gender dystopia. Most children, however, adapt automatically to a switch in sex and adopt the attributes of their present gender.

In some instances, a child may be upset at by the ostensible diminishment of his or her former social status. Jasbir Singh, a boy ostensibly reborn into a lower caste in India, insisted on having his food prepared for him by a Brahmin neighbor for a year and a half before reluctantly beginning to his family’s fare. [120] Suzanne complained that her real house was larger and more beautiful.

Other comments include: “You aren’t my mother. My mother was prettier and richer”; “You are not my family—my family is dead”; “You are not my parents. My parents live somewhere else.” [94] Children may point out missing and altered buildings and landscapes with dismay; some comment on how much worse things have gotten, for instance how unhappy they are that cars have replaced horses.

If their PPs died as adults, newborns may resist being children. In an account from Stevenson, one boy flirted inappropriately with his schoolteachers, adopting mature gestures and using crudely seductive language. Another refused to lie on his belly because it made him feel like a baby. Once again, there seems a lag time between the old and new identities such that the old one hangs on while the new one is not yet fully formed.

Children may be attached to their PP’s jobs or intent on revenging the circumstances of their deaths. Parmod Sharma, an Indian boy, was so wrapped up from ages four to seven in playing a shopkeeper of biscuit and soda water, the occupation of his PP, that he repeated this exercise over and over to the neglect of his homework. Ramez Shams, a child in Lebanon, “reenacted the suicide of [his] previous personality by repeatedly putting a stick under his chin while pretending that it was a rifle.” [123] This indicates either a metaphysical sense of humor or a compulsive counterphobic response. Maung Aye Kyaw, a Myanmar man who grew up to marry the widow of his PP, threw stones at one of the men who he claimed killed him in his former life. [118] Other children have physically attacked the alleged killer of their PP, kicking or punching them upon first seeing them. If this were a more common occurrence, all hell would break loose regarding crimes, laws, enforcement, punishment, and general jurisprudence.

While each self within a given lifetime is held responsible for his or her actions, even this assignment of liability is an inaccurate reading of the larger picture. After decades in prison, a murderer is no longer the person who committed the crime but another being in the former’s body. In the overall cosmic gestalt, the wrong person is behind bars and the killer is at large in another body to murder again.

At the same time, people who murdered in other lifetimes walk into this one scot-free, all links to their crimes erased. Yet energy and karma are still there to be dealt with and, hopefully, released. It is just not a matter of incarceration or secular punishment any longer.

To free the innocent and jail the guilty, psychic DNA is needed—likewise to catch the perpetrator before the crime is committed; see Tom Cruise and Samantha Morton in Minority Report, a cinema adaptation of a Philip K. Dick story, for a glimmer of how this might play out. By the same token everyone is guilty at one level or another, but everyone is also cleansed by death and rebirth and innocent. This invisible jurisprudence begins to approach the real intricacy of the universe and its way of handling reparation.

 

For a majority of the cases and phenomena discussed above, reincarnation is the most logical, rational explanation, even by Occam’s razor-sharp standards. But what are other possible interpretations?

Some who accept telepathy but doubt reincarnation propose some sort of clairvoyance or super-psi whereby a person gains knowledge of another life spontaneously from some sort of at-large telepathic field or morphic resonance (to apply Rupert Sheldrake’s term).

However, impersonal clairvoyance does not explain how the narrative of another life could engender such tenacious identification (though empathy does occur to a lesser and more temporary degree during a movie in which a spectator merges his or her identity with lives of extraneous characters played by actors.

It might also be difficult to distinguish a past-life regression from a neurotic fantasy or dream-like meld of present-life elements with unconscious memories and traumas or perhaps another montage of actual experiences and stories gathered from novels, movies, or television shows. The subconscious mind readily blends these elements together, in fact nightly in creating dreams—plus some people have more active empathic imaginations than others.

Events of a novel or a film transferring an imprint from the actors and the narrative they are performing to another person’s psyche are usually brief and ephemeral, and the man or woman experiencing them is aware of their fanciful nature. They are certainly not as persistent or ingrained as reported past-life memories. In an extreme instance, someone with imperfectly developed ego boundaries might lose his or her identity and become confused by external projections, even without transfer of transpersonal information. Transpersonal information would be all the more disorienting for such a person. For seeming to come from nowhere, a disembodied information field, if configurations of this sort even exist, might convince a susceptible recipient that he or she was experiencing an actual other lifetime, a prior identity of his or her self, when it was a matter of telepathic sensitivity.

Other interpretations and rebuttals of Stevenson’s evidence are more ideological or diffuse, ignoring the specificity of the testimony and documentation. One of the more common alternative explanations is that fantasy-susceptible children might be engaging in over-active imagination and/or a parent might misunderstand or falsely construe a child’s intermittent but recurrent statements into a cohesive narrative and plot.

Both Daniel and Rashid were Druze, a sect that believes in reincarnation and soul transfer and presupposes such incidents. Because the Druze community is small and people generally know each other even from village to village, there is more likelihood of routine suggestibility and contamination. People hear a report, discuss it; children pick up the talk, identify with it, embellish, and weave their own fantasies. Then, if they supply compelling details, the parents are drawn into the fantasy and supply further cues.

The number of Druze cases of reincarnation in Stevenson’s files does suggest that belief plays a role, if not in reincarnation, then in awareness of and receptivity to possible instances.

Cynics take this a step further, claiming that parents “in their eagerness to confirm the existence of the past life, find another family with a deceased individual whose life shared some general features with those reported by the child.” [39] The two families, as they meet and share details, delude each other or actively collude. In this scenario by the time Stevenson or some other researcher gets there, the child already has been coached and brainwashed. Having picked up tidbits being bandied about, he has come to believe that they are memories of his own past life.

In an experiment to test (and perhaps debunk) Stevenson’s theories, Richard Wiseman, a psychologist in England, asked children to make up stories about their past lives and then searched through archives and newspapers to try to match their imagined events with actual occurrences in the genre of Stevenson’s cases. Usually he could find something, more or less, though lacking the same degree of fine detail.

I am not sure that Wiseman’s facile resolution—demonstration of fantasies inevitably merging with facts in a universe in which there is enough information flowing in all dimensions to make any story credible—is a viable fallback explanation or even the right interpretation of his own data. Wiseman might also have hit upon a standing level of transpersonal clairvoyance or triggered a universal pattern of synchronous motifs (like Bridey Murphy being reborn across the street from her PP’s near namesake). He may even have committed the same mistake of which skeptics accuse believers: tailoring his interpretation of his data to his beliefs.

The more salient interpretation of this experiment is that, at very least, something else is happening, something synchronicity-like that transcends reincarnation as such. It involves the status of information, both conscious and unconscious. Unless science can tell us how nature establishes frames of reference, it cannot establish a meaningful distinction omniscience and amnesia. Zen Buddhist texts are replete with paradoxes that indicate a greater knowing (or Big Mind) transcending antitheses and contractions. Consider the Heart Sutra: “Form does not differ from emptiness, emptiness does not differ from form…. All dharmas are marked with emptiness; they do not appear or disappear, are not tainted or pure, do not increase or decrease…. [There is] no old age and death and also no extinction of them…no origination, no stopping, no path, no cognition, also no attainment with nothing to attain….”

The fundamental emptiness of all intellectual positions—the subtle nondifference between knowing and not knowing—might form a passage, an uncertainty-state/wave-collapse conduit, through which souls, subatomic particles, super-liquids (and anything else) might pass between reality states, dimensions, planes, and other semes for hidden and unknown territory. In a multidimensional, superstring-cosmos reality, wide-ranging noncausal components might be as veridical ultimately as linear, causal ones. I know that that’s a tangle to consider, but just weigh it for now. I will come back to it later.

Skeptical explanations for so-called past-life memories finally tend to be more cumbersome than reincarnation itself and are incapable (as well) of addressing the inexplicable and precise information to which a child seemingly has access. What is left are routine, unfounded claims that he or she must have overheard information from the PP’s life or that the parent is engaged in fraud. [32] It is quite a stretch to imagine that a child of two or three could both learn and credibly perform complex biographies accurately. How did Suzanne Ghanem get twenty-five names right with no peripheral errors? Even if she had overheard these words, how did she remember and assign them properly? Was she an idiot savant? The notion that children “somehow learned minute details about deceased strangers in other places without their parents’ knowledge and then decided that they had been those strangers in a past life seems close to absurd.” [100]

Hoaxing makes very little sense either, as there is no financial reward for past-life proofs and claims often lead to unwelcome hassles and disputes over familial affiliation. We can’t dismiss hoaxing on that basis because people make mercenary blunders and delude themselves into expecting unlikely results from scams, but we also can’t cite clear-cut ulterior motives such instant fortune or fame.

Another level of interpretation incorporates concrete evidence with subjective belief systems in a way opens the door to a hybrid and complicated solution wherein fantasy and wishful thinking produce not only the illusion of past lives but past lives themselves—a telepathic transfer of memories and identities. By the same token, some cultures repress such memories by not recognizing them or discouraging those who recall them. Indoctrination takes place at such a young age that children effectively and automatically become their own self-censors of not only past-life information but the transpersonal telepathic fields themselves.

Stevenson even considered the bizarre possibility that people can talk themselves into rebirth or extinction. Because past-life recall is unusual even among the Druze, he also proposed that its occurrences may also be a defect in the system, malfunctions of obligatory universal amnesia. [p. 72].

These, however, are all viewpoints of a Western scientist who, though investigating nonlocal consciousness, is still operating within a neo-Darwinian belief system. It is hard to believe that receptivity could play a role in whether people actually get reincarnated—that would imply a fickle universe as well as machinery operating at an overtly conscious and willful level. We know that this is a profoundly unconscious, many-times-over entangled and sublimated universe, so it is more likely that belief plays a role more in whether past lives are recalled than in whether they take place at all.

A tangential matter is whether reincarnation and reembodiment cycles are limited to one planet, Earth in our case, or souls here can reincarnate on other worlds, either in the Milky Way Galaxy or other galaxies? Are there different set-ups elsewhere equivalent to planets; i.e., do other planes utilize atoms, molecules, cells, matter, or do they vibrate at an entirely different frequency. Do they accommodate “refugees” to and from the physical cosmos?

Some skeptics, as noted above, try for a coup de grace last laugh by noting that there are too many people in Earth’s expanding population for past lives to account for all of their existences. Yet Dr. David Bishai of Johns Hopkins School of Public Health did the actual math and estimated that humans had been on the Earth about 50,000 years, hence calculated that there have been some 105 billion of Homo sapiens so far, as against a maximum planetary population of ten billion in the late twenty-first century. [199] That would cover the necessary soul stock but doesn’t address the ontological problem of, if the inventory eventually runs out, people no longer getting born. It almost certainly not a quantitative matter or, if it is, it operates at the scale of the universe itself with all its galaxies and stars and also in the context of unity of consciousness.

In cosmic demography, there is also the possibility of souls forming simultaneous separate personae like Dr. Weiss’s patient with her lives in Spain and the Ukraine or various Tibetan lamas who intentionally choose “next” incarnations in multiple parallel individuals. I will discuss the possible fragmentation and fission of personalities in a later section.

One might more reasonably wonder why Stevenson’s research never made it into even marginally mainstream scientific discussion or received peer review, and so few people know about it. It’s not as though he has been directly refuted or that better explanations have been offered for his data.

The reason is simply the prevailing view that reincarnation is absurd—that bias overrides any contrary evidence, however compelling. The presumption of absurdity is taken for granted, as if we were discussing levitating clowns, witches on brooms, and Casper the Friendly Ghoul. Most scientists start out from the premise that these things couldn’t be happening, therefore they aren’t. In every single case, there has to be some other explanation. New School philosopher Paul Edwards’s critique of Stevenson’s work suggests that this assessment must be plain to all:

“Which is more likely—that there are astral bodies, that they invade the womb of perspective mothers, and that the children can remember events from a previous life although the brains of the previous persons have long been dead? Or that Stevenson’s children, their parents, or some other witnesses and informants are, intentionally or unintentionally, not gelling the truth: that they are lying, or that their very fallible memories and powers of observation have led them to make false statements and bogus identifications?” [p. 36].

His implicit bias is dripping from this. If you believe in a materialist universe only—a what-you-see-is-what-you-get affair in which the entire apparelled cosmos popped out of a particle smaller than a pinhead and in the middle of nowhere for no reason—then Paul Edwards’s caricature strikes the perfect chord—the only conceivable mechanisms for past lives are patently absurd. Yet if you consider that what we know about the structure, shape, meaning, dimensionality, and consciousness of the universe is far less than what we don’t, Edwards’s presumption is an indication of his own hubris as well as his susceptibility to the consensus trance with its ubiquitous propaganda.

 

Transdimensional Physics and Biology

If wounds or comparable events in one lifetime can transpose the energy of their formation and imprint into perceptible cellular activity in a subsequent incarnation, that tells you something crucial about the universe that physicists and biologists don’t know or suspect. It makes classic thermodynamic vectors of energy, agency, and identity in the universe patent pending while raising questions about the nature of the universe itself. There is no conventional explanation for their imprints. One would need spontaneous telekinesis to explain the birthmarks and birth defects themselves, plus nonlocal consciousness to explain how the child bearing them would also know the identity of the PP whose indicators they were.

Birthmarks and defects mimicking wounds and scars in cases of past-life claims suggest that an experience powerful enough to leave a physical imprint is also intense enough to form a mental carrier image as well as a memory surviving death and then to imboss it in the form of a mole or congenital malformation. Moles, scars, and genetic defects that match those of the claimed PP are spooky, extraordinary past-life indicators—game-changers that, for Stevenson, were concrete physiobiological processes that, unlike subjective memories, indicated cellular stamps. “Patterns such as birthmarks or deformities in the current lifetime that were correlated to experiences remembered from a previous lifetime… tied the past and present individual together. For example, a striking present-day birthmark running from ear to ear across the throat might potentially correspond to that person’s previous-life memory of having been murdered by having his throat slit.” [Klimo 61-62].

Reincarnational wound-transfer, if in fact that is what is happening, translates unconscious traumatic impacts into DNA in sync with subliminal memory. In effect, our existence doesn’t evaporate but returns to an unconscious latency field and then reemerges not only psychically (as per Bridey Murphy et al.) but phenotypically and telekinetically with the psychic imprints cellularized.

That’s a different universe from the one presently being promulgated by scientists all the way up to Einstein and Hawking, for sure … more like an Alice in Wonderland universe.

Wounds that seemingly turn into marks or defects apparently are those that were experienced most painfully or in states of terror. By contrast, wounds that were imposed when the victim was unconscious, for instance senseless on the ground during combat or under sedation in surgery, rarely if ever translate into carryover indicia. [72]

This assumes that cells and subtle energies interact and communicate in what osteopath John Upledger called “cell talk” while explaining how healing touch and affirmations can be translated into tissue activity. At an unconscious level the mind breaks into the amino-acid algebra of the genetic code.

Jim B. Tucker, an M.D. as well as an associate of Stevenson’s, explored this possibility in his book Life Before Life as he compared the appearance of traumatic birthmarks to the sudden appearance of heat blisters on a subject under hypnosis, notably at a spot where he is told that he is being burned but is not. Whenever the hypnotist pressed [68] an unheated object on the skin while saying it was red hot, the “burn” wound produced was in the shape of the prop! If the mind can produce a skin blister, a mechanism exists for thought-to-cell transfer—the whole theory of psychosomatic symptomology rests on this.

If the same principle is applied to reincarnation, the transferred wound or scar would be metempsychosomatic: a traumatic sensation transferring wounds from a body that no longer exists into lesions on the skin of another body or, in more serious cases, transubstantiating birth defects via some sort of psychically induced and keyed morphogenesis.

Metempsychotic birthmarks may violate neo-Darwinian principles by crossing the somatic-mitochondrial barrier between experience and DNA in Lamarckian fashion, but consider recent lab experiments in which shocked mice inherit aversions to stimuli generated by induced traumas five generations after the mouse in which the original fear was induced! These mice have to have something like etheric fields too, which is just another way of saying that mind and personal identity are intrinsic feature of an inherently embryogenic universe.

This process need not be limited to a matter as local and discrete as wound transfer. If information can flow psychically between organisms like physical DNA, then it is possible that other forms of esoteric information get funneled by successive step-downs from some sort of at-large cosmic telepathy that resembles quantum superpositioning and entanglement; the mechanism would include other modes of molecular telekinesis and, from there, DNA biology. In the larger picture, there would be no difference between long-distance telekinesis and evolutionary biochemistry because before there were zooids or even chemical compounds, all substance formation was latent and telekinetic, in effect alchemical even in a Mediaeval sense. The distinction between chemistry and telekinesis is purely ex post facto.

 

Embryonic development and evolution of life forms takes place through an involuting chrysalis of shapes, sheer forces, and dynamic relationships between individuals and their environments, including gravitational and electromagnetic fields (see my reference to Terrence Deacon earlier). During such a process karmic and etheric forces, if such frequencies be in play, would be at their most active and telekinetic. Traumatic memories in serach of resolution would transfer their unresolved charges into fetal tissue. This could occur only after the initial wound generated a psychokinetic rune that got transduced in Lamarckian fashion into a corresponding physical or etheric layer in the germinal protoplasm of the embryo.

 

This physical-biochemical expression is a crease in the fabric of a higher-frequency vibration. A metaphysical, multidimensional universe constrains and is constrained by the local physical one in such a fashion that atoms and molecules form compounds and organisms, but only as their astral and etheric states transmit source energy for that physics from higher vibrations into density. Living plasma is held together by an unseen field as well as the genetic leash on protein distribution—proteins are etheric and astral expressions at a denser frequency.

We could view matter as the translation of etheric into physical shape constructs around a permanent seed, a vortex located in deeper hyperspatial timelessness. DNA is the physical side of the alphabetic code or gateway through which these energies seep and are held in complementary origination. The Ray of Creation needs to penetrate this level of density for its full expression.

Not only is embryogenesis a thermodynamically driven sheer state organized by the algebraic transfer from a subatomic base but that algebra is simultaneously a download of a more fundamental numerology from another plane entirely. Creatures—life forms—come into being as their cellular nuclei impose a qabalistic-like gematria on the invisible breakwater between domains—the astral/etheric interface of Gurdjieffian octaves.

In this view of cosmogenesis, the Ray of Creation originated at a far subtler and higher vibration than the physical realm we know. As it crossed zones of dormant information and unhewn spatiality and curvature, it ignited vast rubrics of manifestation, most of them at much higher frequency than this. Those closest to us have acquired many names through the skrying of pundits and intuitives, among them the Monadic, Atmic, Buddhic, Causal, Mental, Astral, Etheric, and Physical planes. “Planes” does not indicate places but frequencies of fructification and emanation.

The Physical plane is the densest the Ray of Creation has penetrated. We know this because we cannot discern anything denser; even the most gravitational compressed star or Jovian planet apparently does not crush its matter into a denser plane; it simply transforms it electromagnetically and elementally into a more concentrated substance in this plane—metallic hydrogen—or into its more evanescent component energies. There are untold ranges of subtler planes in All That Is, however many phases the Ray of Creation passed through and ignited in attaining this degree of density. Most of these are beyond not only DNA-based operating systems but beyond their comprehension and, even more important, extraneous to their meaning and functioning.

From Astral, Etheric, Causal, Atmic, and Monadic levels we are being filtered into Physical Temporal Reality: three dimensions of space, one of time. Everything we do and experience and surmise is conditioned to this framework. If we were suddenly dropped into three or four dimensions of time, the entire set-up would change and creatures like us wouldn’t initially know what to do, how to operate. But we’d catch on soon enough like newly hatched turtles.

In a conditional reality like ours, the only ultimate reality or compass is meaningfulness. Meaningfulness alone connects each dimensional construct to another, as it reestablishes itself like a gyroscope in every new matrix and proprioceptive field. All other rules, points of reference, and parameters change. But meaningful transcends dimensionality. The universe of meaning is not a universe of masses and gravitational fields, though these arise from it; it is a universe of views.

All about the Earth are lifeless orbs, whorls that mark a zodiac in which energy has halted or fully manifested at higher frequencies like the Astral or Monadic; their locations in the physic-gravitational field express the inclination or destiny imposed by the Ray and its subtler frequencies on a matrix that is more entangled and complex than the Physical plane can explicate.

 

Intuition of this principle—whether shamanic or biophysical or both—is ensconced enough in Asian cultures that maintain an active belief in reincarnation, that the body of a dying person or a corpse is marked with a ritual soot and paste or a smear of butter in expectation that such an intentional indicator will seep telepathically as well as telekinetically into a life imprint and show up on a newborn. In Tibetan Buddhist circles, the body of a dying lama is carefully so tagged, not only to identify his rebirth but to allow it to be confirmed. Of course, application of oils to a dead body utterly contradicts a theory of traumatic telekinesis, but neither Stevenson nor the ancient lamas have total claim on the mechanism of transfer, let alone its range or spectrum of variations, so we can give that paradox a free pass for now.

If this seems process fantastic, consider the baseline. The entirety of information blueprinting a complicated organism is condensed, synopsized, and transformed into DNA coding that then regenerates it in the form of another organism. Though explained mechanically at present, perhaps synoptic coding is one of the universe’s standard operating procedures at a deeper tier. In an earlier book (Embryos, Galaxies, and Sentient Beings: How the Universe Makes Life) I proposed that an unacknowledged embryogenic as well as a thermodynamic set of laws operate within nature. The causal and energetic lines holding together the embryogenic set are synergized at a higher tier of energy and intersect the thermodynamic set in the physical plane. If so, the embryogenic set would operate transdimensionally and could impose teleodynamic overlays on physical and biological processes. That would certainly take some of the weight off emergence and complexity theory as well as a host of patchwork devices— Maxwell’s demon, dark matter, junk DNA, neg entropy, and numerous statistical ruses—that have been rigged to save the appearances of materialism.

The universe is complex enough to maintain a full Darwinian appearance under stringent thermodynamic protocols and also run nonlocal consciousness and telekinetic transfer across coetaneous thresholds, bringing the two systems together seamlessly and submicroscopically in living organisms and other physical manifestations. A multi-tiered, paraphysical embryogenic system could hide untold volumes of information in itself—a few billion years worth of placeholders and pathways—while leaving no perceptible footprint or clue. In the nucleus of a cell, DNA coils and their so-called junk DNA could carry telekinetic-like information too.

Not long ago I met a man who studied t’ai chi ch’uan in Cheng Man-Ching’s original New York group in the 1960s. He told me that, several years into in his training, he was took classes with another, very different master and was ostracized for it by most of his classmates. “It had become a cult,” he explained. “Everyone tried to imitate Master Cheng more precisely, but he was an old man by then and had reduced his form to the essentials. It was very soft and, even though there wasn’t any blatant visible thrust, he generated a lot of power. Yet to copy his moves didn’t get it; it didn’t capture their essence or function; in fact, it weakened people’s own t’ai chi. I needed a fresh outlook to have any hope of approaching his level of proficiency.”

The drive behind Master Cheng’s power was mostly invisible to his students. He had cultivated it by eliminating all unnecessary motion and intent, feeling his way there over sixty-plus years. He gradually plumbed the essence from which the external form derives.

If you only imitate the outer form of a master, you validate and learn moves without their essence or meaning. Though it would seem that one would automatically lead to the other, arriving outside-in is not the same as arriving inside-out

This is equivalent to what happens when physicists and biotechnicians track only the extant tags of a billion-years-old system. They imitate what they can see and their instruments detect, but they miss the essence, the developmental process that gives the form its meaning. That blueprint is buried in the system’s imperceptible tags, lesions, erasures, and redundancies.

Despite all that we have archived about the relationship between thermodynamic principles, natural selection, and metabolic energy fields, molecules might just bounce around willy-nilly if there wasn’t some other, unknown subtle and cohesive teleodynamic force organizing them and imposing a predisposition to complexity, novelty, and energy consolidation. The principle that draws molecules and cells into chemical and organic shapes and holds incubates conscious energy in these forms need not be just Crick-Watson-brand DNA, the amino-acid double helix, but a paraphysically corollary twin-helical complement to molecular DNA—a higher dimensional entity that supplies material DNA with its organizational and even karmic intelligence. Hence wounds in one generation become birthmarks and unexplained scars in another.

There can be no wiggle room between two such domains: physical DNA is karmic “DNA” at another frequency or tier or expression. Life is then the simultaneous purview of a complex thermodynamic body and the densest penetration of an etheric wave. As subtle bodies cobble gross bodies, etheric fields supply electromagnetic-like glue whereby organisms emanate, solidify, and ravel. Each one’s action/shape represents the total flow of the creative information behind it: a mouse comes out of localizing mouse energy, a bat a bat, a whale a whale. An etheric splash becomes a mitochondrial splash becomes an oceanic splash. In the darkness of a nest or hive is the quickening of an egg. I am not saying that these creatures don’t also come completely out of molecules, chromosomes, and cells; I am saying that etheric and physical emanations of the same notes arise simultaneously at different frequencies and scales.

When scientists only go hard at the outer forms, they miss the marrow. In placing all their bets on the mechanism of biological refraction rather than what is being refracted, they lose the latter in the immaculate transmission of the former. They don’t realize that what they are seeing might higher dimensional version of the two-dimensional kinetic depth effect. Three-dimensional events cast shadows that are too complex to be explained in two dimensions or to have their entire entelechy expressed there. Likewise, the DNA helix and the embryo might be casting four- and higher-dimensional shadows.

Plural causality has a long history in the West, going back to Aristotle’s four causes and including many detour-spins on the route to quantum physics including Leibniz’s notion of matter and mechanism as states that cannot stand on their own but require extrinsic intelligence and spiritual substance. His version of matter could not operate solely on a material basis or by mathematical rubrics alone; it required a pre-established harmony of monads. He was talking about nature and, by the way, nature hasn’t changed.

We tend to forget: nature is not just a rainforest or a display seen while snorkeling. It is also not just thousand-miles-per-hour gas storms on Jovian planets or volcanoes on their inner moons; it is The Nature of Things (rerum natura), whatever that is.

Outside of models suggested by quantum physics, designs operating from intrinsically or by causal monads have no standing: design is correlative with the mechanical operation of the universe itself, a universe in which nothing is causal in the sense of a first cause. But the problem that materialistic science runs into with particle physics, all the way from quantum tunneling to uncertainty states and entanglements, is not a physics issue. It is imbedded in science all the way through the history of causation from plural causation and supervenient qualities of concrete entities among the Greeks and in the Middle Ages. Since they cannot float freely in nature, how are properties caught? How does matter get bewitched by its own patterns of action such that thermodynamic states become causal in the sense of formal and final or teleodynamic agencies? Aristotle understood, this is a big, big problem—and you can’t go forward without resolving it, and we haven’t.

Just because biotechnicians can track trajectories of DNA and other molecules and can even manipulate them with pipettes and lasers doesn’t mean that they have tapped into the source of their causation. Showing how a system works (e.g., how the Sun is fueled by the transmutation of hydrogen and helium and how life arises from thermodynamic information and heat constructs preserved in a equally thermodynamic heat-constructed double helix of amino acids) does not say what it is. Indigenous Native America Sun Dance and Tibetan phowa have something equally profound to say about what the Sun and Earth’s creatures are—not because they are engaging in mythological metaphors but because they are reading discursive and discontinuous spirit waves.

By serving the liturgy that a random, chaos-based dynamic must underlie all expressions of nature—a watch made by a blind watchmaker—physicists and biologists forfeit the possibility of other informational flows into the same system leading to information, representation, and function—and this argument (again) is not Intelligent Design. It is simultaneously tidal, libidinal, quantum-gravitational, psychosomatic, and psychic. God is just the name for ultimate source of forms and aim of teleology, the immanent ultimate cause, not the exception but exemplification of metaphysical forces, the conceptual realization of limitless potentiality, and a circumambient reality operating through the forces of that reality while always surpassing them.

Theologian Gordon Kaufman put it pretty clearly when he called God “the religious name for the profound mystery of creativity, the mystery of the emergence, in and through evolutionary and other originative processes, of novelty in the world.”

The instrumental effect of what that universe is already conveying symbolically, while never actualized and always becoming, is co-creator with finite secular agents. These are present in while containing the cosmos and are its ground, as they ontologically approach finitude without losing a Divine creative aspect. God created the universe not ex nihilo but of itself. The whole cosmos is in effect a sacrament of a God who acts in and through it by natural laws, but not merely as a form of Himself, for then Nature would lack its own reality.

Gene-splicing lab workers lack the depth, vitality, and instantaneous self-corrections of the underlying template. They are simply copying the master’s exterior form. By taking shortcuts, they are injecting disruptive informational vectors into radically complex systems, and these have far-ranging destabilizing effects and unpredictable long-term consequences on the entire matrix as they ripple through it.

You have to become as subtle as the system you are practional, be it biotechnology or reincarnational transfer. You can only work your way to subtlety and simplicity incrementally, step by step, internalizing each next twist of design and movement as you go. If you imitate only an outcome, even peerlessly, you miss the underlying function and meaning set. You may even get someplace profound, but you don’t know how you got there, so you don’t know your degree of profundity or what the next step is.

By this token, nonlocal consciousness patterns can alter structures in cells not because action catalyzes chemical changes that become molecular changes (though this does also happen) but because an etheric body (which is also a karmic body) is regularly transducing itself into the physical body through the aura, the organism’s subtle-body field.

 

Constraints

Terrence Deacon hits near the sweet spot when he deconstructs an artificially imposed lesion between levels of activity in the universe by proposing how mind doesn’t emerge from matter (or a biological self from non-self components) by a positive flow of linear mutations and exterior natural-selection information “but from the constraints (aka absences) that organize matter”—absent features and unrealized potentials that are contained within and emerge from reduced degrees of freedom in thermodynamic systems. Autogenesis, evolution by innate orienting factors without an interactional background and environment, not only overlooks etheric fields (if such exist) but the actual and only mathematical equations through which information can pass in this sort of universe. It is not a board game but a kaleidoscopic whirlpool with aggregate functions cancelling out singular, linear pathways. That leaves a purely physical backdoor to nonphysical, e.g. absent, events. What may look like autogenesis is merely the complexity of effects producing an autogenetic appearance: what is naturally selected is more akin to John Keats’ negative capability—or everything happening at once. While the efficacy of the agency of cause (efficient cause) is limited to producing certain outcomes; as active potencies bring change, passive ones receive it. What is potential is always potential even as parts of it actualize. To get novel effects, you have to allow the creationary process to produce them from its own collective blowback. Deacon describes it this way:

“[C]onstraints in the world are intrinsically relational phenomena. They are reflected in relationships between degrees of freedom that are excluded and those that are not excluded. And these are always degrees of freedom of some physical process of change. So when we argue that the constraints that characterize autogenesis actively preserve themselves we are not mentioning the fact that this active preservation necessarily involves physical processes that by virtue of these constraints do the work of preventing these same constraints from degrading. And because these constraints are preserved, whenever thermodynamic conditions enable the resumption of chemical work, this energetic change is again channeled into autogenic catalysis and linked self-assembly processes. The chemical reactions that are thereby prevented are those that tend to degrade the capacity to prevent these deleterious reactions….

“Although it seem convenient to think of the DNA in a cell as being the source of these constraints, as though these are the blueprints created by some extrinsic influence like natural selection, this is too simple. DNA itself is replicated by this cellular machinery, as are all of its other components, and so it is also just part of this synthetic reciprocity. Moreover, it is because organisms are incessantly working to preserve their critical functional constraints (in themselves and in their offspring) that there is anything susceptible to natural selection. These constraints are not a consequence of natural selection, but its precondition.”

The constraint is not concomitant with the organism’s (or primal cell’s) physical and chemical composition; it not only exists but functions teleodynamically as its outgrowth. “Emergent properties are not something added, but rather a reflection of something restricted and hidden via ascent in scale due to constraints propagated from lower-level dynamical processes.”

Whether constraints are imposed from outside of or generated internally by the system’s own dynamics, flexibility increases with dynamical depth and is as much a relationship between signs and representations, a shuffling semiotics as opposed to a stolid biophysics. In this circular dynamic, outer and inner worlds, separated by “I” and “It” at the epidermal boundary differentiating intrinsic things (selves) from extrinsic things they call objects, are a bubbling, interchangeable gruel of permeable forms and instances permeating one another’s chemistry and reigning cycles.

Personal identity—“self”—becomes something “intrinsic and autonomous,” an entity dynamically mediating between its definition and its environment so that like, in a Klein bottle or Möbius strip, there is neither inside nor outside but a continuous dynamic shift and flow of information in accordance with constraints. The consortium never has to disclose itself, for its continuously shape-changing identity emerges from within without a without. While situated inside this multiform bubble, we oscillate, in a continuous way, onto its surface, within each temporary and apparent milieu. The entity persists because and only insofar as it undermines the integrity of its own configuration of matter and energy by maintaining a far-from-equilibrium state of individuation. It exists by not insisting neg-entropically on its own existence even as its nonexistence arises and dissolves into its exsitence by playing a dynamic role in maintenance of a self-sustaining disequilibrium, advancing while preventing its own obliteration. Purpose, meaning, figure, and sign become spontaneous figurations flowing from a state of absence, whatever that finally comes to mean in a universe characterized at opposite poles by Newton and Buddha, biotechnology and phowa.

This is my attempt at a latter-day, post-cybernetic expression of Aristotle’s formal cause, of potentials and forms of constraint present from the beginning of existence and expressed as each organism reaches maturity and expresses the transitional, transitory teleodynamics of its final cause—why change and evolution happen at all.

Remarkably, though, ideological science and ideological metaphysics converge on the same dumbing down of the universe into the notion that it is a straightforward billboard for its own effects and that it operates at a direct level of the causes behind those effects—in other words a far too simple model for a universe that is anything but simple. In response to my drawing his attention to the Marcus piece in the New York Times, Deacon wrote:

“Mind-as-computing [see above] is a classic version of the unconscious metaphysical propaganda that is implicit in much of modern science today. The result is that my work is sometimes treated as scientifically uninformed mysticism by one group and as reductionistic materialism by others. It exemplifies that we live in a sharply dualistic intellectual world….”

The fact that neither mystics nor materialists can figure out whether a given paradigm is metaphysical or physical and refutes or supports their view is indication enough of the ideological conflation of models as well as the underlying paradoxicalness of the thing that is being modeled; in this case embryogenic organization and conscious agency in organisms. Deacon proposes that science’s biophysical façade shows not only the shadows as well as the light forming it but the constraints whereby light is shadow and shadow is light:

“I believe that despite its counterintuitive negative framing [constraints on molecular vectors as opposed to vectors themselves], this figure/background reversal of the way we conceive of living and mental causality promises to reinstate subjective experience as a legitimate participant in the web of physical causes and effects, and to ultimately reintroduce intentional phenomena back into the natural sciences. It also suggests that the subtitle of [my] book [How Mind Emerged from Matter] is slightly misleading. Mind didn’t exactly emerge from matter, but from constraints on matter.

“I would add that a tendency to ‘substantialize’ the phenomena that are effects of constraints (absences) is also a danger for those who assume that consciousness, meaning, purpose, value, etc., reside in a parallel nonphysical realm. It leads to a tendency to prematurely abandon the scientific enterprise in favor of uncritical mysticism. This is not to deny that our scientific understanding falls far short of explaining many phenomena, but it is a warning that we shouldn’t be too hasty to assume that something can’t be explained by some future scientific paradigm. There are more things in heaven and earth than …”

Deacon is no metaphysician or apologist for metaphysical impositions, but there is only one universe, and it is both scientific and spiritual, Darwinian and Fortean. There is not a separate spiritual universe; the scientific proposition operates everywhere as the spiritual proposition (and vice versa).

The same is true, only backwards, of metaphysical paradigms: just because the desubstantialization of phenomena (like transmigrating birthmarks) point to one sort of telekinetic phenomenon does not mean that it is not pointing to a more complex underlying constraint. Telekinetic birthmarks are the way in which phenomena transmit not just their extrinsic manifestations but constraints on those phenomena. The entire physical world may represent innate constraints on etheric and astral manifestations, intentionally not so much blocking them as validating them in its own denser, more draconian field, hence disclosing other aspects of them (in solution, as it were: alchemy as the primal physics again). As we continue to eliminate avenues of metaphysical intervention, the universe and its form become not less but more metaphysical. Likewise, as we continue to add them, we install the opposite effect—pure physicalism—both historically in the development of nineteenth- and twentieth-century science and ontogenetically and ontologically in organisms and minds. Here are some tenets summarizing these thoughts in a return email to Deacon:

1) The parallel nonphysical realm, if it exists, is reflected and replicated both causally and counter-casually in the physical realm, and not just replicated but integrated in such that there is finally no difference between physical and metaphysical activity, and there shouldn’t be insofar as it is all happening in the same universe. It is not just that there is no difference: it is at the level of constraints that they come closest to intersecting.

2) The Marcus piece is unconscious metaphysical propaganda because materialists who don’t examine the premises that led them to their materialism are almost always unintentionally metaphysical. Unexamined materialism, materialism that is unaware of its own ontological roots and unconscious dependence on rootless constructs (for instance, those arising from mathematics), is metaphysical by definition. What else could it be, since its basis is always elsewhere, which is nowhere?

3) An intrinsic propaganda is built into either polar position. The blind idealists and spirtualists fail to appreciate, regardless of their lip service to materialization of “spirit” in classic hermetic texts like those of Pymander and Plotinus the fact that this universe is operating as a fully self-contained mechanism in a highly constrained physical zone; there are no exits or exemptions from physicalism down to the bottom or through the black hole of each item’s fate. Conversely, blind materialists fail to appreciate the unsupported presumptions, gaps, bait-and-switches, patches, epicycles, etc., in their own rigged assembly line from matter to mind. The statistical derivation of a Big Bang is not tantamount to the physics of an actual Big Bang.

4). Neither side seems to recognize that the sheer urgency of life to creatures living it—a great conundrum and mystery—whatever you kick under its umbrella (for instance, whether models of reality are or are not concomitant with the phenomenological depth and transpersonal “poignancy” of the universe), is already a measure of how complex and accountable a model/paradigm of the whole enchilada has to be to stand a chance. I mean, you can’t have a model of how you get to consciousness that is exponentially less complicated, poignant, nonlinear, back-looped, and many-times-over synopsized and reimbedded than the consciousness that is probing it. You can’t have a universe any less complex and implicate than us.

5) What I like about constraints, absences, shadows, etc., as organizing principles for unexplained emergences at ascending tiers of matter is that they are neutrally guided, they go into the “machine” and its interstices rather than out into unbased materialist (or idealist) tropes pretending to be validated threads and continuities—and they make use of the unconscious negative feedback that is so obviously the catalyst behind much of what we awake to everyday anyway. Such constraint-driven profundity is equivalent to the outside-in/inside-out shear fields that characterize embryogenic gastrulation or philosophical concepts and poems. In the negative feedback of a kōan absence (“don’t know”) is the opening to nondual knowledge. At Empty Gate Zen Center in Berkeley, the guiding mantra on each inhalation is “don’t know, don’t know, don’t know”… then on exhalation: “clear mind.” Not a bad seesaw to ride.

 

A Recent Case Suggesting Reincarnation

James Leininger was a cheerful, unflappable toddler in Lafayette, Louisiana, unnewsworthy except to his adoring parents, Bruce and Andrea, until May 1, 2000, three weeks after his second birthday. That was when he began having super-nightmares: “[T]he screams came out of nowhere…his sounds were blurred and blunted inside the high-octane howl of a very young child who looked and sounded as if he were fighting desperately for his life.” [3, 5]] These bouts of terror occurred as often as four times a week.

Since Bruce was navigating a stressful situation at work, he persuaded Andrea to troop down the hall to investigate and provide comfort. Night after night she became the sole witness to James screaming and kicking his feet in the air while emitting blood-curdling cries in a strange voice.

Andrea had been advised by her doctor that nightmares like these were normal childhood events and would diminish over time, also that it was better not to wake a child abruptly from a bad dream. Neither a yokel nor a naïf—a former ballet dancer—she was a sophisticated and thoughtful mother.

Then one night something about James’s cries changed. As Andrea explained to a newspaper reporter: “In the throes of his nightmares you couldn’t work out what he was saying. But two or three months in, I was walking down the hall and I heard him saying, ‘Airplane crash, plane on fire, little man can’t get out.’ It chilled me to my bone hearing this.”

When James grew a bit older and more articulate, he explained to her that his plane had taken off from a ship and then was shot down by gunfire; the little man was unable to escape the burning cockpit.

Andrea and Bruce took this to be in the ordinary range of childhood fantasy until one day while fully awake and being read a story, James rolled onto his back and began kicking in the air like in his dreams, as he told his mother without the emotion of his nightmares, “Little man’s going like this.” Seizing the opportunity in its moment, she asked who the little man was. He replied, “Me.” [55]

She hurried to fetch Bruce, and James repeated his assertion just as matter-of-factly.

When his father extended the conversation by asking him who shot down his plane, James flashed a disgusted look as though the matter should be obvious: “The Japanese!” he called out. Later he told his aunt that anyone could identify the enemy plane from “the big red sun.” [59]

This sequence of events spurred the Leiningers to recall something that had taken place when James was a toddler in diapers. As the child examined a toy propeller-driven plane that his parents had gotten him at Hobby Lobby, Andrea called his attention to a bomb on the bottom. After examining it closely, he countered exasperatedly, “That’s not a bomb, Mommy. That’s a dwop tank.” [16] A drop tank is an extra gas tank added to extend a plane’s range. This terminology was beyond both his knowledge and verbal abilities.

Other foreshadowings got recalled too. Before the nightmares had begun, Bruce took his son to an air museum. After they finished looking at older planes and were headed to modern ones, James ran back and climbed into the cockpit of a World War II fighter and would not get out even when bribed with ice cream, a usually successful lure. On a subsequent visit to the museum, he was so excited that he could barely contain himself as he ran to the WW II planes. Bruce described his behavior in the cockpit as having an intense adult-like focus, not at all like his playfulness on trampolines and jungle gyms.

At home James liked to buckle a pretend seatbelt like a pilot and put on pretend head gear, so Bruce built him a toy cockpit from an old car seat and made a helmet from a construction hard hat. Then the boy concocted his own parachute from old canvas bags and a backpack and, with these props, he conducted war battles for hours, chattering things like, “Roger…Zero at six o’clock…Hit him!” [110-111]

On a family flight east, he impressed a commercial pilot with his grasp of the instruments and later demonstrated intimate knowledge of aircraft structure and function at an air museum in Galveston.

The nightmares reinforced innuendos from these earlier events. Then at the airport one day during the nightmare phase, Bruce, a nervous flier, was being dropped off by Andrea for a business trip when, from his car seat, James announced: “Daddy’s airplane crash. Big fire!”

Bruce lost it, “Do not ever say that again. Do you hear me…? Airplanes don’t crash! Daddy’s airplane will not crash.” [33, 43]

James looked chastened but undeterred.

Sometime not long after that, Andrea was spying on him playing alone in the sunroom when saw him pull himself to attention, strike the pose of a soldier, bring his hand smartly to his head, and declare in a deep sotto voice, “I salute you and I’ll never forget. Now here goes my neck.” [105]

This was “Twilight Zone” stuff, but her Judaeo-Christian belief-system— The Leiningers are devout Christians—did not reward belief in reincarnation and, anyway, modern Americans don’t interpret their lives or those of their children along that parameter. “Having a past life is not the initial conclusion you come to, Andrea explained. “You try to figure out any other way he could have…. Did he see something? Has there been anything on television? Anything that we’ve discussed? There has to be some other explanation.”

While Andrea was provisionally open-minded about past lives, Bruce emphatically opposed and repudiated them. Like Andrea he felt that, if they pursued the source their son’s behavior exhaustively and with a thorough enough swath, the airplane fantasy would be cleared up by a rational explanation that just wasn’t apparent yet.

The parents’ actions from that point on were schizophrenic: on the one hand, they interrogated James and researched his respomses as though he might actually have had a past life as a World War II pilot; at the same time, Bruce was hell-bent on discrediting the story by proving that James was not describing actual people and events but making things up from his imagination. Either way, thes analytical process began.

When Andrea asked her two-year-old son if he remembered the name of the little man, the boy answered, “James,” but that only led her to assume that he didn’t understand the question. So, adopting a different tack at a later time, Bruce asked what kind of airplane it was; James replied promptly, “A Corsair.”

This startled Bruce, who knew that Corsairs had been launched from WW II aircraft carriers. But how did James know?

Then while viewing a picture book on another occasion, James provided an insider tidbit: “That’s a Corsair. They used to get flat tires all the time! And they wanted to turn left when they took off.” [109] Both observations turned out to be correct! Still he might have picked up that information by overhearing something instance on television.

Intent to find flaws in the story, Bruce asked his son the name of the carrier, certain that he wouldn’t know it or make up something silly. James shot back, “Natoma.”

Bruce felt an initial triumph, presuming that “Natoma” was a make-believe name. But a search on the computer revealed that the United States aircraft carrier Natoma Bay was stationed in the Pacific during World War II.

Long after the cat was out of the bag Bruce admitted that this weirdness was beginning to upset him. A little kid, his own son, was attacking his belief system, pushing him toward a sacrilegious New Age world-view. It also frustrated a big-time problem-solver at work that he could not clear up a child-scale enigma in his own household.

Not long after the above exchange as Bruce was tucking James in to bed, he made an incidental comment, “No dreams about the little man tonight, okay buddy?”

The boy responded: “The little man’s name is James, Daddy.”

“Baby, your name is James.”

“The little man is named James, too.”

That response suddenly resonated with something else: James often signed his drawings “James 3” and, when pressed for an explanation, declared as though, like other details of his previous existence, it should be obvious to his parents, “Because I’m the third James. I am James Three.” [106]

Though James 3 could not provide James 2’s last name, when pressed for other personnel he was able to identify a pilot and shipmate: Jack Larsen. [68-70]

The road ahead now split into two very different trajectories. If Jack Larsen turned out to be a real person, it was “down the rabbit hole.” If he was a fictive figure, they were, at worst, still at a crossroads.

Then that Christmas, as Bruce and James were leafing through a book called The Battle for Iwo Jima, James pointed to a photo and said, “That’s when my plane got shot down.” [91]

Upon checking, Bruce discovered that, yes, the carrier Natoma Bay had in fact been deployed at Iwo Jima.

So in September 2002 despite all his misgivings, Bruce did what he knew he had to take a big step—he attended the Natoma Bay veterans’ reunion in San Diego. He explained his presence there to the other attendees as an amateur historian doing research for a book about the ship’s exploits. He decried the ruse but he could think of no way to tell the truth and not be discounted as a kook. He wasn’t certain by then what he believed himself:

“If James’s nightmares were truly a manifestation of a past life—a proof of reincarnation—then, as I saw it, it would threaten the biblical promise of salvation. If the immortal soul can randomly transfer from person to person, generation to generation, then what does that imply for the Christian orthodoxy of redemption? What happens on Judgment Day if the immortal soul is handed off like that? It goes against the evangelical teaching of rebirth through a spiritually transformed personal life.

“The impact of James’s story on my spiritual well-being…well, it felt like spiritual warfare. My purpose for disproving what was happening to my son was to establish that this was all a coincidence, as astronomically remote as that possibility seems….. [A]ll the while I was getting closer and closer to something…dangerous. It was like putting my hands in a fire.” [202-203]

As usual, the universe took precedent over an established belief system.

During his weekend in San Diego, Bruce got unwelcome corroboration on several key items. There had been a Jack Larsen on the Natoma Bay; he was still alive, in Arkansas, though never came to reunions. But there were no Corsairs on the ship, only FM-2’s and TBM Avengers.

Bruce found that the one “James” identified as a pilot among the Natoma Bay dead was James H. Huston Jr., a detail that could explain the “James 3” identity.

Phoning first while unable to resist hinting at the true reason for his interest, Bruce drove to Springdale, Arkansas, to interview Jack Larsen. After amiably greeting his visitor, Larsen fully described the day on which he and James Huston flew together. It was March 3, 1945, when they took off from the Natoma Bay to strike at Chichi-Jima, described by one pilot as “the hellhole of the Bonin Islands.” Their mission was to stop a “Japanese build-up of troop replacements and supplies.” [214] James Huston was not scheduled to fly that day but volunteered. It was to be his squadron’s last mission before being shipped home. They winged through heavy flak, which Jack presumed brought his shipmate’s plane down. He could provide no other details.
Later Bruce learned that James M. Huston, Jr. was the only pilot shot down during the attack on Chichi-Jima. Age twenty-one, he perished on his fiftieth mission, certainly enough to build up knowledge of his plane, familiarity with aircraft lingo, and an attachment to the ritual.

Upon Bruce’s departure from the Larsen house, Jack graciously handed him a present for his son, his old flight helmet with goggles and oxygen mask still attached: “‘I was wearing this on the day I flew off Natoma Bay,” he said. “On the day James Huston was shot down.’” [145]

Upon receiving it from his father, young James “put it on firmly, professionally, slapping out the air bubbles, shaping the fit, as if he were going to work.” [146] Then he made it an indispensable part of his play.

Not long after his visit to the Larsens, after they had raked leaves together in the yard Bruce lofted James in the air and declared impulsively how happy he was to have him for his son. James responded, “That’s why I picked you; I knew you would be a good daddy.”

An instant replay was requested, and James said, “When I found you and Mommy, I knew that you would be good to me.” Then astonishingly the boy provided details: “I found you at the big pink hotel. I found you on the beach. You were eating dinner at night.” [154]

In fact, Bruce and Andrea had stayed at the Royal Hawaiian Hotel approximately five weeks before Andrea became pregnant with James. Yet James seemed to take this recognition for granted, as if it were the way things always happened.

There was another corroboration of the Natoma Bay reincarnational scenario. James had named his GI Joe dolls Billy, Leon, and Walter and, when Bruce wondered why no Buzz or Todd or Rocky, the boy gave him his vintage you-idiot look and said, “Because that’s who met me when I got to heaven.”

Bruce later learned that his son had correctly identified by first name and hair color three men who died before him on missions from October 25 to November 17, 1945: Billie Peeler, Leon Connor and Walter Devlin. Billie Peeler had dark hair like James’s Billie doll; Leon Connor had blonde hair, as did the Leon doll; and Walter Devlin had the reddish hair of James’s Walter doll. These “accumulating flukes and strikes of accurate details connecting to the GI Joe action figures were dumbfounding,” especially for a four-year-old child. [170]

Bruce was starting to believe the unbelievable.

It is worth noting that about twenty percent of children who have memories of events before birth also recall some combination of their PP’s funeral, his or her existence in another realm, the interval between death and rebirth, choosing new parents, conception, gestation, and being reborn (remember “Bridey Murphy’s” account of dancing in the in-between place).

An obviously complex and baffling experience may be sublimated into symbolic juvenile iconography. One child reported that “God gave him a card to come back from heaven…. it looked like a business card with green arrows on it….” [172] A Sri Lankan girl recalled being an old woman in a village three miles from her home and “being lifted up, even though her body was buried, and flying like a bird.” She met “a king or governor whose reddish clothes and beautiful pointed shoes were never taken off, never dirty, and never washed. Her own clothes were also always clean, but they were golden. The king’s home was made of glass, and had beautiful red beds. As she played there, all she had to do was think of food and it appeared. She didn’t have to eat it, for its mere appearance satisfied her hunger. [173]

Marta Lorenz, a Brazilian girl who remembered having been a friend of her mother’s in an earlier lifetime, commented at the devastating death of her own sister, “Emilia is not in the cemetery. She is in a safer and better place than this one where we are; her soul can never get wet.” When her father retorted that the dead never return, she interrupted him: “Don’t say that. I died also and look, I am living again.” [134]

Brian Weiss’s patient recalled how when “floating in a shining void, she would become the host for disembodied spirit who revealed the mysteries of eternity.” [p. 17]

My own daughter, Miranda, one night out of the blue when she was sixteen, informed my wife and me at dinner that she had picked us to be her parents and take care of her. We had done a good job, she assured us, but she was able to handle things from now on herself. She then proceeded to undergo a dramatic change of personality and appearance, as her blonde hair turned black at the roots. She matured into a precocious cutting-edge artist soon after.

 

Clinging to the out-of-place Corsair as his last hope, Bruce Leininger lost that adjuration too when he learned that while most planes at Iwo Jima took off from the Natoma Bay, James Huston’s last flight had been off a different ship, the Sargent Bay. This information surfaced as Bruce continued to interview survivors in James Huston’s squadron and obtain increasingly more accurate descriptions of James 2’s death, for instance a pilot’s journal entry of the actual scene:

“One of the fighters from our escort squadron was close to us and took a direct hit on the nose. All I could see were pieces falling into the bay.” [214]

Another flier identified James Huston in a photograph that Bruce was carrying. While recalling the day in 1945, he began to sob: “We were no more than thirty yards apart when the pilot deliberately turned his head and looked at me. I caught his eyes and we connected with each other. No sooner had we connected than his plane was hit in the engine by what seemed to be a fairly large shell. There was an instantaneous flash of flames that engulfed the plane. It did not disintegrate but almost immediately disappeared below me…. Mr. Leininger, I have lived with that pilot’s face as his eyes fixed on me every day since it happened. I never knew who he was. I was the last guy who saw him alive. I was the last person he saw before he was killed. His face has haunted me my whole life…. Now I know who he was.” [217]

He supplied possible backstory for another mysterious detail in James Leninger’s life. The shell took off James Huston’s plane propeller, and “James’s toy aircraft were always left [by him] without propellors.” [222]

In a parallel quest the Leiningers finally hunted down and made touch with James Huston’s last surviving family member, his sister Annie. Bruce told her to sit down and pour herself a drink, then recited an incredible tale.

Annie had something to tell Bruce: a number of friends and family including herself had had ghostlike visitations from James Jr. on the day of his death—his semblance had come to bid each of them goodbye. She felt that he did not depart easily or willingly.

After she expressed an interest in talking to young James, the four-year-old lad and his PP’s eighty-six-year old sister discussed family matters on the phone. James shared intimate details as if she were still his kid sister, telling her things that no one could have known except her brother or parents.

Seeing James Huston’s childhood picture next to that of her brother’s, Annie found it haunting that James 3 didn’t so much look like James 2 as radiate him.

The “reincarnation of James Houston” had gone public by then, and the Leininger family was interviewed on ABC Primetime. This meant that Bruce had to tell the men from Natoma Bay the truth about his research. To a one they were sympathetic, and they welcomed young James at their next reunion. As he walked around, he recognized many, greeting them by name. He responded to queries with both and accuracy, for instance as to where a particular five-inch gun was located. [249] He did confide to his father later that it was sad to find them all so old.

After the show a Japanese production company flew the Leiningers to Tokyo and then took them by boat to Chichi-jima. As soon as he took in the scenery, James tugged at his father’s sleeve and pointed, “This where the planes flew in when James Huston was killed.” [254]

After they floated flowers over the site and conducted a ceremony for James 2’s soul, James 3 put his head in his mother’s lap and sobbed for fifteen minutes. “He seemed to be weeping for himself and for James Huston—and for all the world of woe that he had ever seen or felt.” [255]

This was big-time stuff, well beyond the usual repertoire of a child. Bruce remarked: “I had a kind of revelation. James’s experience was not contrary to my belief. God, I thought, gives us a spirit. It lives forever. James Huston’s spirit had come back to us. Why? I’ll never know. But it had. There are things that are unexplainable and unknowable….

“The secular culture demanded facts and proof, and I had done the heavy lifting. I had made a leap of faith. I believed—truly believed—in the story. I did not need a reason.” [225-226]

The professional skeptic Paul Kurtz, who considered it his sworn mission to debunk such claims whenever they arose, gave the reporter for ABC Primetime his own “expert” opinion of the Leininger case:

“I think that the parents are self-deceiving, that they are fascinated by the mysterious, and that they built up a fairy tale…. He’s overhearing conversations of his parents, he’s looking at cues. He may talk to his little friends or hear from neighbors. And then this notion builds up that, yes he was this pilot, he will come to believe that himself.”

He nodded to emphasize his point and then smiled condescendingly.

“Little friends” indeed! Kurtz’s view is that this kind of phenomenon is impossible, so it is his job, as a protector of the collective trance, to reestablish the ridiculousness of interruptions.

Philosopher/mathematician Charles Eisenstein points out that “the debunker must buy into a world full of frauds, dupes, and the mentally unstable, where most people are less intelligent and less sane than he is, and in which apparently honest people indulge in the most outrageous mendacity for no good reason.” The witnesses seem sincere, so the debunker assumes “either (1) that this apparent sincerity is a cynical cover for the most base or fatuous motives, or (2) they are ignorant, incapable of distinguishing truth from lies and delusion.” [LD 46]

The issue here is not even that committed skeptics presume that out-of-body experiences and past lives are impossible, hence must be hallucinations; it is their prior assumption that there is no meaning or purpose, no teleology or sentience-based complexity, in the universe anywhere. To seek it is blasphemy, to find it delusion. They are opposed to nonlocal consciousness or paraphysical intelligence per se—and would remain so even if a Cheshire cat materialized out of the gloaming and extended its paw to them. They dumb the universe down to their own human level, as they practice a religion as fanatical as Fundamentalist Christianity or Islam: Fundamentalist Nihilism—the God of No God, the triumphant, self-congratulatory transhumanism of “God is Dead.”

Atheism has become the required faith, God the ultimate Infidel.

I am sorry, but that is not science; it is not Kepler’s science or Galileo’s science or even Aristotle’s science. I’m okay with not believing in God as a personified deity, but that’s not what’s at play. As Gordon Kaufman contextualized it, “God” also designates the convergence of focused intelligence at the vortex of a cosmic mystery. He or She is not a person but an unknown preceding and giving rise to beingness. Gods made us, even if they are nameless. They are a flow of information and pattern-forming influences that does not insinuate energy or matter or conventional forces. Such a god does not distort or alter secondary causality; he is subsistent being (ipsum esse subsistens); his essence (essentia) is identical with his existence (esse). Kurtz denies the possibility of a universe that proceeds with effects because of the intrinsic nature of what it is: a self-creating universe, a teleology without teleology

What would have happened if Einstein had taken an equivalent position on relativity and the space-time continuum, phenomena which are just as fantastic and counter to experience as reincarnation? What about the cosmos spurting jack-in-the-box-like out of a single atom? Is that not a metaphysical flight of the highest order?

Kurtz’s comments do not address the Leiningers’ actual experiences, only his assumptions of what they must have been, that Bruce and Andrea are mistaken or deluded or perpetrators of a hoax. These are attractive explanations only if paranormal options are a priori excluded.

Bruce, initially a skeptic and disbeliever for his own reasons, responded to Kurtz via ABC Primetime: “We’re talking to a two-year-old. What am I going to do, sit him in a corner and say, ‘Now we’re going to concoct this elaborate scheme and you’re going to imagine that you went through those things.’”

A few less obvious things about this story stand out to me.

James Leininger has access to a chunk of James Houston’s life in his cognitive range and within his selfhood, but he is not James Houston nor is he a zombie arisen from an airplane crash, lamenting his recent lost life and seeking future time. He has snippets of James 2’s memories and traumatic death picture but not the thread of his entire complex life. For the many indisputable details that James 3 possesses of James 2’s personhood he holds less than a hundredth thousand of one percent of James Huston’s total existence and is lacking the essence of his being—and this is probably true of all who have experienced past-life fragments. He has no continuity with James Huston’s personality, belief system, desires, and lived life; he is his own, unique person—a happy, playful child except for a few somber and passionate flashbacks.

Except in nightmares when he relives James Huston’s death, James Leininger does not participate substantially in James Huston’s existence; he does not have the imperative of one who is actually experiencing it. At other times, he itemizes past-life details off-handedly and without poignancy. They are intrinsically part of him in some fashion, but more like background noise or the color of the sky.

To remember dissociated bits like this is nothing compared to the vastness of James Houston’s life and vibration, which cannot be remembered or accessed consciously.

People may experience upset, regret, loss, nostalgia, even a sense of ownership and rightness about a past life experienced in fugitive or lasting fragments—and sometimes an urgency to get back to it and lay claim—but they are fully embodied and incarnated as who they now are, In fact, even James 3’s interest in the fighter-pilot gambit dwindled as he got older. His memories remained but came to seem less vivid, less imminent, less important. The nightmares ceased. He adopted his current life in full.

Why not? If this is how the universe works, James 2 likely also carried incomplete fragments of yet prior lives, and the premature loss of his proximal one were its death picture was not innately more tragic than any of the others. Each had to be lived fully in its own time through its own view.

Likewise, Daniel was not Rashid. He had no mechanical skills and did not remember most of Rashid’s experiences. He had scraps, remnants—that’s it.

Shroder likened such flashbacks to “a bad carbon copy—here and there you could make out a word, or even a phrase, but it was impossible to get a sense of the whole document.” [p.71]. It did not seem like a rebirth of a stable, complete personalities to him.

Even among those who have extensive past-life memories (or something resembling them), the memories come and go and are more and less intense at different ages and times of life. Some children stay preoccupied with a past life even after they grow out of childhood; others are indifferent to the flashbacks, downplaying them, lapsing into past-life amnesia like most of us for long stretches. [94] The nature of the mind and brain is such that, as with a dream or brief, intense vision, a person may remember a past life intensely at one moment and forget it entirely a moment later.

Favorite times for recalling ostensible other lifetimes appear to be after baths, during long car rides, and at bedtime and upon awaking from dreams. Past lives are fundamentally hypnagogic in the way that they interrupt the flow of ordinary consciousness with an alternative presentation that is briefly as credible and often more vivid.

When engaged intensely in current activities, one is not likely to recall events from past lives.

It is also worth noting that, in a typical life process called “early childhood amnesia,” children lose most of their childhood memories anyway by age six or seven—not past-life but this-life. This raises the question of what an identity and a remembered personal history are anyway? If childhood memories fade and disappear, one would expect exponentially greater amnesia relating to events from before birth.

Not only do people remember details of past lives best when they are young and then forget them later, but they forget even that they once upon a time remembered them. One child in the Stevenson files, when taken back to the of a formerly vivid past-life memory, remarked to his mother that his PP’s mother looked familiar. “Why is that, Mom?” [253] Yet he once knew exactly who she “was.”

 

In seeming to recall a past life, how can an affected individual discover if the biography is valid (in whole or in part), a complete fabrication (which doesn’t invalidate its psychospiritual significance), a spontaneous psychic reading of a particular “file” from the Akashic records (see below), or a dreamlike, sustained hypnogogic meld of engrams dispatched from some sort of cosmic commons? How can he or she establish whether any given unassignable “memory” is of something that occurred historically on this planet or elsewhere, or if it has a continuity with his or her own present life?

If you have such memories, how do you determine their veridicality and source?

If your own consciousness were presented with vivid other-life recall and sensory cinematic “memories,” how would you know what the transmitting event actually was—whether those narratives were yours, someone else’s, or percolations of a transpersonal information field?

I think that, first, you have to eliminate the implicitly simplistic duality; there are better options in keeping with not only the complexity but the essential quantum-like entangledness of reality. To deem past-life-like memory traces a pure linear reincarnational sequence like an actor taking on different roles in successive locales is as limited as a skeptical-doubt position and beneath the operational threshold of the universe or, more accurately, of All That Is.

What was established forensically by Stevenson is that “memories, emotions, and even physical injuries can sometimes carry over from one life to the next.” [211] But that’s it. The life itself doesn’t carry over. It is not like our waking from sleep the next morning as the same person with that person’s accumulated history and agendas—plus there is no neural substrate in which to store and access memories and an identity between lifetimes.

Conventional reincarnation is finally too simple a construct for the sort of universe this is or the sort of configurations that are installed in it.

Should we deem the experiences of James Leininger and Stevenson’s interviewees’ reincarnation or are they something else? Can a detached life trace, record of a life, or memory of a creature’s existence travel and superpose itself autonomously outside the thread of personal identity? The verdict always comes down to this: Is James Leininger the reincarnation of James Huston Jr., the lineal legatee of his Soul? And if he isn’t, if he merely has a smattering of James Huston Jr.’s memories, then how and why did that leak-through occur? Where is James Huston Jr. now if he is not James Leininger? Does he still exist independently of James Leininger? What is the relationship between the two people? The issue is the sheer intensity and penetration of memories of James I rather than the fact that James 2 experiences them. Their graphicness and durability may be the result of the intensity of the pilot’s death, the cascading field of his aura, its capacity to hold charge, and the emotional cathexis of his regret of unfinished business. The way in which he left his body, manifesting to others as a ghost, kindled an ineffable quality, a will-like force that reattached elsewhere. Perhaps we are all ghosts in waking dreams of other peoples’ bleed-throughs and persistent attempts to return.

It is likely that our Grand Set-up intentionally puts up barriers between reincarnate versions of the same person if that’s what they are, and then it maintains encryption for profoundly significant reasons. We are supposed to have private, self-contained lifetimes. Jane Roberts refers to PPs and their relationships as deserving their own privacies, “not belong[ing] in our present lives.” [65] As noted, leaks and bleeds get in the way, but amnesia is the safeguard, the seal—and thereby the ticket between cosmologically separated zones.

I would summarize by saying past-life “memories” don’t per se prove reincarnation, only that an aspect or energy field from one life can pass into another.

 

The Riddle of Riddles

When the medium Sali Crow did an impromptu spirit reading for me in Montpelier, Vermont (August 22, 2016), she invited anyone who wanted to come in peace, love, and healing. Then she smiled and said that she didn’t have to call because a woman had been seated beside me the whole time. As Sali proceed to channel the entity, from a combination of its thoughtforms, words, and images (she later told me), her lips moved when she herself was silent and listening, after which she tried to articulate what she had just received. In the process she brought forth a completely credible form of my mother, my mother who had committed suicide by jumping from her apartment window in New York City almost forty-two years earlier. Sali relayed numerous, quite specific, accurate facts from my mother’s life, for instance that she was sent away from home at age twelve until fourteen and that something terrible happened to her there (she went to a boarding school, the mere memory of which used to make her shudder). More profoundly she captured my mother’s personality, style, and tragic sense of herself, which were very different from her own. The “ghost” of my mother apologized for her treatment of me, explained her own broken-ness, described her relationship to my genetic father whom I never met or even knew about in my mother’s lifetime, and talked about her relationship to my daughter whom she met only as a one-year-old two months before her suicide.

This version of my mother, after a lapse of four decades (after I knew her as a son for only three), was profound and too compelling to dismiss, though we all start out skeptical. At some deep and unconscious level I integrated it emotionally. But on a conscious level I didn’t know whether to attach this entity’s to my memory of my mother and change that thread or to create a separate thread, my mother’s ghost, and give it its own identity, held somewhere apart.

Was it my mother’s spirit or soul continuing to exist in a form that recognized itself as itself elsewhere and had cognizance of her own recent lifetime and subsequent events in this world?

Was it a fusion of a figment of my internalization of my mother read telepathically by Sali with Sali’s own personality? If Sali Crow is telepathic, she could read my own internalization inside my aura and create a credible and credibly evolved version of anyone with whom I have profoundly unresolved emotional issues. She could also simultaneously consult her spirit guides and bolster her reading with information through them from other disembodied intelligences familiar with my mother and her Soul picture and evolution. It could even be information deposited by my mother’s aura, aware of the bigger picture and her own future selves, in my aura when she was alive and I was a child. The thread of our relationship, existing over multiple manifestations, selves, and timeless time could be accessible and perceptible to a spirit reader without her actual contemporaneous beingness being there.

How could I know if it was really my mother or Sali’s mind-reading or some other disembodied informational field imprinted by my mother’s life pattern and available telepathically in my presence, or an autonomous reading my mother’s data-chip-like signature in the Akashic records? (“Akasha” is an ancient Sanskrit term for not only “sky” and “spaciousness” but “luminosity” and “aether” and was used by nineteenth-century theosophists to refer to a nonphysical record/compendium of all thoughts, events, and their emotions throughout all of timeless time everywhere in All That Is, like a recording layer of the cosmos on a higher dimensional level, absorbing everything from denser levels like a “kinetic depth” memory as large as the universe itself in space and time and on higher dimension.)

If Sali were reading the internal reconstruction of my mother in the Akashic records, she could provide her necessary lines much in the way a novelist creating a fictional character based on a real one is able to channel the modeled person’s speech patterns and concerns. She could fuse herself with a vibration related to me and my mother and create a character much like an actress in a play.

To a degree it was each and all of those things, as it resolved in me at a subconscious or unconscious level. My carnal mother shifted slightly, but she remained essentially the woman she was. An internalized version of my mother shifted far more substantially and profoundly. Meanwhile the fusion of my mother and Sali took on its own unique identity. The spirit did a heroic job of attempting to reconcile my mother with me, and that act transcended any ontological issue; it almost turned it back on itself so that the unknowable truth didn’t so much matter as bottom out before the universe supporting me did.

It was finally much as Javier Thistlethwaite proposed: I could never know, and anyway it was past. All that mattered was spirit talking to spirit and energy moving energy. That is all that matters or can ever matter.

It is not the memory of my mother that finally locates in me, or the reality of that woman, born Martha Rothkrug, because all of those will gradually and finally totally be dispersed and forgotten.

For that matter who was my mother in the first place as opposed to my internalization of her? Did she ever exist in the first place or, if they did, was it what we recognized them as, or were those just the patina of a deeper and far more scrumptious and long-term reality?

Could Sali ever create a character that wasn’t also a subjective internalization of someone else’s identity: mine, hers, or both of ours?

The whole issue of personal identity transcends that of the relationship of any person to any other person. The former is a cardinal aspect of the universe with its own trajectory. The latter is a make-do placeholder for wandering ghosts meeting each other in states of vibration?

Identity itself may be a localized function of a nonlocal multidimensional Soul, itself a composite being in a higher dimension that recalls multiple lifetimes of many individuals simultaneously while making itself present to all of them? Such a Soul could dwell in and express multiple entities at the same time. I will discuss that in the section on Multipersonhood.

Conversely how does my mother, on the other side of this equation, find me (or a medium to provide the connection) and then establish a link? Only my mother knows her own reality, and even “she” must vie with post-death amnesia and elision of mind-body continuity. From such a dislocation she may not even recognize her own identity, let alone those of others. She might experience a post-mortem Alzheimers-like loss of specificity and context. That may be why Sali moved her lips without speaking, then spoke—she wasn’t taking dictation; she was reading an entity, a vibration, not entirely consciously aware of its own existence or evolution or the information it was carrying.

Later Sali told me that, in a sense, my mother had become my spirit guide, adding “Our guides do not watch over our every move; they are not really all that interested in watching us brush our teeth, and could care less whether we flossed or not; they have more important things to do. In fact, many Spirits Guides have more than one living person they are watching over.

“What they track is our evolution, the color of our presence, the clear or distorted tone of our vibration.”

They also can only touch physical reality in odd, fragmentary ways like turning on an electronic device or moving an object. If a radio suddenly comes on or an object appears where no one could have moved it, consider the possibility of spirit telekinesis. No physics explains such a thing; it is more like displacement by quantum entanglement.

 

Subjective phenomenological aspects are in general impenetrable to objective analysis. In our present form with our current wiring, platforms, and operating system, we cannot experience other creatures’ internal validation networks, their witnessings of their own occurrences. We cannot dead-reckon and internalize them in the way that we do our own (except in science-fiction stories).

The mind’s interiorization and the world’s exteriorization do not come together in a unified field of beingness and topology. At the same time, there is no budging from sheer depth and inquiry of existence itself, no “out.” Beingness is a one-way sinkhole that is always in flux at the subtlest levels of its plunge through its own basis and nature. It’s the old question of where the Big Bang took place and what was on the outside, if anything, when it popped. You absolutely cannot ever read the outside of the bunion from the inside.

 

A woman I know has a conviction that a ninety-five-year-old lady she befriended at an assisted-living facility in Bar Harbor returned two days after her death, as promised, as a dragonfly, her favorite animal as well as the motif of many of her brooches. The persistent insect hung around on my friend’s arm for an entire day, rode in her car with her, accompanied her into the kitchen on her elbow (to the bemusement of her teenage children), and sat at dinner on her shoulder. The woman interpreted this as an unmistakeable sign of her mentor’s continued existence.

But “dragonfly validation,” albeit threatrical and compelling, was not anchored anywhere or to anything and, more to the point, it didn’t anchor anything else.

This is where our capacity to read the universe and our knowledge of ourselves (and who we are) falls short of any resolution. We have no way to determine if Virginia Tighe was Bridey Murphy, let alone if the “Ms. Murphy” of Ms. Tighe’s trance even lived on the Earth and in the Ireland of Bernstein’s regressions, for there is no psychic Google Earth, no chronology or topography of the plateaus and highlands of All That Is, no golden thread to track among dimensionalities from zone to zone.

Bridey Murphy could have lived in an alternate Earth-like locale akin to legendary psychonaut Robert Monroe’s “third space.” If you’re potentially traveling through an eleven-dimensional hypersphere, to pick a number at large, for which you lack coordinates, husk parameters, grid, and axis, as well as through one bardo state following another, you can’t locate anything inside a frame of reference with certainty, even your own position—even how you know that you have a position or exist beyond a hallucination of a mirage—and you certainly know nothing outside it. This sort of validation requires a dipstick not in our operating system.

Between the physical universe and other dimensions of space, nothing is fixed or stable except information itself—and by information I mean more than calories and digital bits, I mean curvature, vibration, entelechy, dimensional tag, plus everything else distinguishable.

Ultimate verification of our own existence may take lifetimes as well as passages into, out of other plenary states to process and understand, presuming (of course) the basis of reincarnation in the first place.

Consider this moving point of consciousness being on which you zip through the waters of your own reality right now.

“What or who the heck is ‘I’?” asks Nicole Keller. “This bouquet of higgeldy-piggeldy conscious lifetime experiences and thoughts claiming to be the myself in first place? Who or what is it that dwells around you remaining in the nonconscious…and what if you once consider those hidden parts of the iceberg to be your true “I”…well that could end up in a quite paranoic experience for you my dear ‘I.’”

Even the person who began reading this paragraph, who used to be you, is already gone forever, no longer you. The person who began this sentence is an artifact too. So what is the “I” that exists and where is “I” going on its choiceless trajectory? How is it sustained with continuity when the pebble of consciousness merely drops again and again into the pond of reality, sending its ripples through time?

Woman-to-dragonfly continuity is beyond our range in every rubric: physical, psychological, spiritual, ontological, semantic, etymological, epistemological. Even if there were an after-death relationship, we don’t know that the old woman experienced, or conducted, an intentional continuity that knew itself as itself as a dragonfly—or whether the dragonfly was something more like a Jungian-like rune arising from the deeper synchronicity of a cascading archetype. Perhaps a meta-dimensional spiral interceded, something that could launch a dragonfly-like manifestation, even a bona fide entomological bug, hitched itself on the greater flow of information and nonlocal consciousness across the universe.

The “dragonfly” could also have been (as most scientists would have it) pure coincidence, the human mind imposing meaning on a chance event via cognitive pattern recognition enhanced by wishful thinking.

I will come back to this issue in spades, but I want to make crystal clear what is at stake: a personal identity that remembers itself as itself. The sorts of past lives I have been discussing do so in one sense, but in another they don’t. What does either tell us about personhood and the universe?

Shroder concludes that children who remember past lives “are less important for what they say about what happens after we die, than for what they say about how the world works—that it’s mysterious, that there are larger forces at work, that—in some way—we’re all connected by forces beyond our understanding….” He adds, “If [that’s] not science, maybe it should be.” [239]

I agree: ostensible past-life memories, whether self-recognizing realities or stand-ins, are priceless clues to how the universe is constructed and operates and how we are positioned with it. They indicate at least that reality is not linear, solely materially based, or subject to purely physical prerogatives; even on a cognitive level it is more in line with uncertainty principle, string theory, and holography.

Why else does a turtle emerging from an egg head instantly for water, a baby mole flee the shadow of a predator but not that of a cloud, a cub conduct the ritual moves of the hunt, an eleven-year old guitar prodigy play “Eruption” at Eddie Van Halen level at a Steel Panther concert in Kansas City? We know stuff we shouldn’t know. Even if the connection of selfhood to something prior or greater fades as one grows older, its unconscious sway sustains its hold and sculpts a lifetime.

We each recall something from before birth or, more accurately, have a sense of our deep context and plan, how we are situated in Creation and our own naked beingness. Everyone has the sort of transpersonal remembrances that James Leininger does, just not as vividly. All people experience moments of inexplicable déjà vu, odd feelings about particular individuals, obscure images and feelings that flit through their minds and evaporate the moment they try to grasp or place them. “Each of us,” writes Jane Roberts, “at some time or other is struck by a moment that is timeless, in which we ‘know what we know’ in a way that has nothing to do with words, in which the focus personality almost stands at the summit of itself and views the inner skies of its own soul.” [157] I will get to the issue of focus personality also in the section on Multipersonhood.

Roberts adds: “Since the focus personality can only handle so much data in its time system, it chooses from the field of the unconscious only those perceptions it wants to accept in line with its beliefs about its own reality…. We just actualize some of these and call them physical…. We choose physical events…from all the pre-perceptions of which the unconscious is aware.”

Sylvia Lucia, a Dutch psychic, reports being guided for decades by a spirit who told her explicitly that he was the English physicist Oliver Lodge (who had passed in 1940, a few years prior to her birth). She describes her initial encounter with him before she had language:

“I still remember I was lying upstairs in a cradle with white sheets and the sides covered with white lace and that I felt ‘that man’ standing behind my cradle. A man in white clothes and wearing a goatee. We talked with mind power and I did not even think that was strange. I was not a baby, I thought like a ‘spirit.’ I desperately tried to remember in that tiny body of mine where I had been living before. I had been somewhere, but I could not remember where and it had to do with the man with the white goatee.

“‘Let go of it,’ the man said, ‘there is a law saying your memories fade away and you make a fresh start.’

“For a moment I thought I would panic. Vaguely I knew that, where I had come from it was very comfortable and that I did not at all feel like making a fresh start ‘again’. But there was no way back. I realized I lived in a body but I also knew I was not an ignorant baby. But there was even something inside me sensing I still had memories from earlier times, that I had not made a fresh start. But I could not talk and so I was unable to tell people about it.”

Attendant spirits like “Oliver Lodge” may bear clues to the nature and trajectory of consciousness and sentient beings. If everyone has similar sorts of post-hypnotically suppressed knowledge, then charting visitations in folks with more lucid recall provides a conduit to the intrinsic nature of the phenomenon itself even in those who seem to remember nothing except their present life.

I can remember lying in my crib at age two or three, witnessing part of me gradually coming to terms with the new reality. I could feel the perseverance of something else, the basis for my own being, even though I couldn’t remember or identify what it was. I saw glimmerings of extrinsic beings, both friendly and malign, and tried to understand them. I lost this vista entirely by age four.

I could also, according to my family, walk down the street and point to every car and identify it correctly: Pontiac, Studebaker, Olds. I named them in my child’s language, “Bluick, Cadiwack.” Not only isn’t this a skill I retain today—I can’t tell a Toyota from a Honda or a Hummer from a fancy Jeep—but there is no place I could have gotten such information from. I also lost this ability around age four.

Even the most hardened cynic or skeptic knows who he or she is. For various reasons he or she may not want to know. It might be religious or scientific bias, but it also might be that they subconsciously cherish their privacy and developmental sphere within this sub-reality and its life drama. The best way to accomplish that is to devise an alias that fools even them—and what better alias than that of a confirmed cynic! You don’t have to know to know. Even an Alzheimer’s victim retains his or her essential identity—we retain our cosmic identity without consciously having to know it or recall any of its panoply of events.

“The selves we know now, our focus personalities, exist in bodies that bloom only for a personal time…closed to all other beings who came before or who will come after,” says Roberts. “We have the world, for a while to ourselves….. [T]he gracious focus of our physical senses gives us that privacy and protects the personal space we’ve made in a world of moments.” [117]

The universe keeps them private because otherwise the self would be surrendered to a timeless, absolute entity and none of its experiences would have urgency or value.

My grandson Hopper at age three told my daughter Miranda that he remembered when she and her husband Mike saw each other as children, something logistically possible since, despite their later relocations in childhood, they did briefly both live for a spell in the Oakland-Berkeley area. He also told her that he had already been to a particular restaurant at which they were eating for the first time and had seen cowboys there, not a character type she ever remembered discussing with him. When she asked if it was perhaps when he was very, very young, he answered, “Before that. Long ago, in the olden times.”

“Olden times” seems a perfect expression of how an intrinsic past-life or transpersonal experience would resonate in a child still trying to relocate himself in space and time. Hopper’s recollections also fit the sorts of basic confusions and conflations of age, time frames, and location that children have. To him the “olden time” was obvious because he experienced it directly. For the same reason James Leininger’s reaction to the adults not knowing who shot down his plane—that it was the Japanese, dummy!, or who met him in heaven after death—was his authentic experience of a phenomenology so fundamental that it did not need explanation. It was like saying: “What’s up there? The sky, stupid.” Or “I am.”

We are connected to a meta-dimensional framework in fundamental but mysterious ways that our minds can’t understand but our beings accept. I don’t believe that “past lives” are “mere” clairvoyant signals or information bundles traveling independently of personhood or individuation, but neither do I believe that they are the full self-recognizing identities of other people radiating within a transpersonal configuration after life-and-death passages nesting in a new body-mind—though there are elements of both. Past lives show how complex, interconnected, and interdependent our being states, memories, and karmic trails are—far beyond conventional forensics.

Let’s also not confuse past-life surfing either with millennia-old practices of shape-changing, soul-shifting, and nonlocal-consciousness-superposition. Shamans and lamas practice traveling between bodies and identities, melding into other identities by phowa,incubating Rainbow Bodies to take with them after death to preserve knowledge from lifetime to lifetime. That is also how Christ reincarnated after the Crucifixion, his own Rainbow Body a function of an innate “divine” torque, the shape-changing capacity he cultivated or was bequeathed.

Ordinary death apparently forfeits a lot of critical information and is not an effective way to depart or reality-switch. The Rainbow or Resurrection Body preserves the DNA-biochemical exusion of existence and translates it forward into the next viable and available form. The Rainbow body subtly puts a finger on the cellular basis of the Eucharist and biophysical transubstantiation as well the infusion of the Divine Force into the molecular basis of all humanity. Christ was apparently involved in an ancient Eurasian esoteric practice, transmitting his energy and message into the human and planetary field at large.

Papal authorities rarely consider that Christ have been an exemplar of nonlocal consciousness and a shape-changing Rainbow Body in keeping with the practices of Tibetan lamas and Syriac Christian adepts in the early centuries AD. The Son of God was the exception that proved the rule, the rule being that of a singular-instance Divine intervention.

By making Christ a lama, all lamas become part of the body of Christ, opening the door to an ecumenical vision that could ultimately turn even apocalyptic jihad back on itself and into a Rainbow Body too, conscious death its calling card. There is no simple way to understand this. Father Francis Tiso writes, “We no longer think of protoplasm in the same way that we did a thousand years ago; microbiology and biochemistry have completely altered our knowledgeof bodily processes and even our idea of what a human body is; we now need to take into account microorganisms and even organelles, such as mitochondria, that have their own DNA and evolutionary history. From this perception what rises [as Christ] on the third day is in fact a community of living beings, symbiotically supportive of the self-emergence of consciousness, in accord with a physical, scientifically accessible genetic program.” [RBR318] As the King James Bible says: “Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come…” What a human being is, what a God is, what a life is, what a resurrection or reincarnation might be all change with generations on Earth and dimensions of the cosmos.

 

       Souls

An orthodox Buddhist precept states that one personality gives rise to another without carryover of personal identity, which means something superficially less than reincarnation though something potentially much more deeply imbedded and imperishable.

Ego wasn’t real to begin with. At death it ceases to exist because it never existed. The Self either becomes enlightened, i.e., finds the basis of its own imaginal reality and enters a Buddhafield, or it evaporates back into its own essential nullity. But there is no correlated personal identity or continuity of personhood. Like a dying candle lighting a new wick with its last embers, the karmic charge of one lifetime and ego-state ignites a new identity without full intersubjective connection. The past person no longer exists to recognize the new person as him- or herself, though the new person inherits and, to a certain degree, identifies with his or her PP’s life: James 3 unto James 2. Zen master Shunryu Suzuki lays down this paradoxical formulation with precision:

“After some years we will die. If we just think that it is the end of our life, this will be the wrong understanding. But, on the other hand, if we think that we do not die, this is also wrong. We die, and we do not die. This is the right understanding. Some people may say that our mind or soul exists forever, and it is only our physical body which dies. But this is not exactly right, because both mind and body have their end. But at the same time it is also true that they exist eternally.” [25]

Gautama Buddha chose not to track personality of a deceased person through bardo realms beyond a limited repertoire of change-states. When the Self eventually shatters at core from its delusion of its own existence, it flies apart into pieces and no longer exists; it leaves consideration. And there is no Soul to recapture it.

Intimation of Soul is assigned to a combination of temporary physical and mental aggregates or forces (pancakkhandha), made up of body or matter (rupakkhandha), sensation (vedanakkhandha), perception (sannakkhandha), mental formation (samkharakkhandha), and consciousness (vinnanakkhandha) working together in fluxions of momentary change that are never the same for two consecutive moments anyway.

Orthodox scientism and orthodox Buddhism converge on the notion of mindedness as a mirage, but materialistic science also deems consciousness and the reality of which it is conscious random and meaningless, indiscriminate tosses of atomic and molecular dice. Buddhism replaces the electrochemical mirage with a self-arising ground luminosity: opposites that are almost the same. I will get to that in my section on the algorithm.

For creatures in this game, meaning all creatures, the issue was never mind anyway; it was always subjective beinghood—self-identified presence in a landscape: the little man or little woman (or little Gila monster) with his, her, or its sense of a sovereign self. When you come down to it, personal identity is what this is all about? Why aren’t there just robotic pods gamboling about?

Individual consciousness must express the universe’s innate predisposition to individuated identity. While we are alive we can’t immolate selfhood, anymore than we can crush, calcine, incinerate, or otherwise rub out its karma. We don’t have a choice whether to participate or not. Suicide doesn’t change that; it is another form of participation. We have to see the process through as ego. Nonetheless, in the end it is the ego gets expunged.

In biology and physics, egoic personhood is a briefly organized configuration of chemico-electrical vectors under thermodynamic principles that infuses its hallucination of reality via nerve nets. In Buddhism, however, there is a transcendent reality that is not an ego-accessible state. In a direct antithesis of the view of science, the Buddhist “real” universe never perishes, for nothing real can ever disappear—where would it go if it’s really real? How would it repeal its essence? It simply returns to unity consciousness from its ephemeral dual state in an egoic entity, a transmigration taken as unerringly by a crocodile as by a human being. Plunk!—back into the underlying reality pond: interdimensional thermodynamics 1.1.

The dialectic between personal identity as a mirage and personal identity as self-arising and self-authenticating status marks the essential difference between Eastern and Western ontology.

In Eastern cosmology, Beingness cannot be destroyed without being changed into something else that is at least as real to itself. At death, the proximal life doesn’t go away; it shifts context according to what it actually is—its precise Akashic gram mass and energetic shape construct. It suddenly means a different thing and its experiences become different “memories” insofar as it is a different thing, though it was ostensibly experiencing its greater reality unconsciously on multiple levels all the time anyway.

When a prior lifetime is recovered by a future emanation of itself, it can’t recapture its former states with their existential reality because they are no longer immediate or available to it. They have broken into fragments and are viewed only remotely across the cosmic pavilion. Any one of them may rekindle, flare up intermittently, but then must fade.

Each creature’s present existence through which he or she (or it) is trying to establish a relationship to a past life (or even a present one), is forever transitional, changing both consciously and unconsciously in relationship to all others, real or unreal.

Beingness is an expanding radix of possibilities, not a script with denouements each leading to each separate finis. What would follow a final final act anyway? The overall shape is spiral-like, timeless, and evolving like ripples from a stone cast in a pond, which flow out from the point of impact because that same point exists at every level and scalar configuration of its essence or existence.

The choice to be is not a choice. That is what I mean when I say that it cannot be renounced. Everything else, everything afterwards (as well as all subsequent “afterwardses”), is a choice, but not that initial one. It is a choice, of course, but only at the deepest level of All That Is where personal identity gets shaped at its origin point by somehow wanting to be.

Personal identity is the turnkey because it is how consciousness inserts its own complexity into a nature that does not otherwise does not express egoic agency or narcissistic depth. From amoebas to astronomers, it is how the universe bubbles into seeing itself.

Personal identity puts a profound, game-changing spin on reality. It is what makes consciousness conscious. Without personal identity, consciousness would exist as an abstract force and agency in a universe that never became discretely and individually aware.

This is why waking worlds exist. It’s how or why a ground luminosity ignited the atomic vibration or reality filter known to us on a dense plane as “matter.” We arise where something (that is somehow) becomes “us” as well and meets the crease in the curtain of its own innate position and condition. If our sense organs and operating systems were attuned to a different frequency of matter, one that isn’t physical, we would perceive that frequency and its objects as physical and also as reality.

 

Buddhist cosmology is underwritten by a concept underlying the word karma. Karma is a traditional Sanskrit term translatable into English as “action,” “work,” or “deed” and depicting a principle of causality and energy transfer. It is not a New Age homily but a causal principle, a baseline mechanism that works at a subtler caliber than electromagnetism, heat, or mass while inclusive of them.

In a karmic vortex, conscious acts have more leverage and are more powerful than gravity, which is itself a grosser expression of karma. Stated otherwise, karma and gravity are the same force expressing itself at a wide range of frequencies in the cosmos at large by the same order that sets the Earth and Sun in curvatures orbiting in relation to other orbs among sun-stars and galactic clusters. Unlike heat and electricity, karma is quiet enough to elude detection—any toll placed on it thermodynamically. Retaining and transmitting its integrity at any phase of every manifestation, karma is software with no drag or informational limit.

The continuity of past lives rests on whether a karmic potential exists before a creature or egoic entity, incarnates, which makes him, her, or it invariable as well as inevitable and then goes on potentiating his and her future emanations in different states and shapes. Like formal and final causes of Aristotle, karma is a catchall working device for any configuration that transfers information between lifetimes while delivering scripture from the Akashic records.

Under karma, a new entity’s subtle body or aura can issue only from its own intrinsic nature and potential field states: its underlying prior substrate. Hence a traumatic event that is an incompletely resolved in one lifetime generates residual energy that seeks location and is picked up by another life. In lieu of a continuity of personality, there is transfer of an energy packet. A fresh ego is shaped around its stray ambient energy. In that fashion a dead person lives again. Personal identity is replaced by something far more valuable and profound.

This is how James 2 might have passed his life flame to James 3.

 

Here the plot thickens. Psychic teacher John Friedlander received information from his own spirit guides that puts a different spin on this matter. As a personality dissolves and breaks into multiple pieces at death, each is redistributed by its own intrinsic karmic charge, but at least one of those pieces continues to track the person whose life it issued from—and not only to track it but to know it as itself.

Buddhist ontology does not recognize the possibility of an egoic piece continuing to self-track. The ego perishes for good and its energy returns to the reality of which it was an illusion. It transfers only its karma to the next illusory selfhood.

In John’s system, personal identity is real too and does not dissolve under mortality.

Upon hearing my version of John’s ideas, an advanced Buddhist practitioner balked that “the guy is not equipped to understand nonduality; he doesn’t have the spiritual credentials.” My friend didn’t use these words, but his tone was “Who the fuck is some dude from Georgia named John Friedlander who used to be an attorney to say anything significant about the universe compared to great lamas and Himalayan saints?” What he did say was, “The man is deluded.”

John’s acknowledges that Eastern practitioners usually “assume that [my] argument simply misunderstands that the laws of the universe generate the ‘fact’ that nondual awareness retains all the advantages of human dual consciousness minus only the suffering…..” Yet nondual awareness cannot retain all the advantages of dual consciousness, nor is it meant to. Why should it? If it did, there would be no reason for dual consciousness.”

When I asked John about the drawback of personal identity breaking up into pieces at death, he replied, “It is not a problem. In fact, it’s not just that it’s not a problem. It’s the whole point. It’s why anything works. It’s who we are. The Soul survives, and the personality survives. The broader your perspective, the more you see that this is how the universe operates and why we’re presently in this dual phase and why we can’t see it.

Where formal Buddhist tracking stops, there is no discrete Buddhist practice for what comes next. That’s the limit of our liability—but then there is also no practice or accountability for anything except the present moment.

Tracking is lost because once personal identity is obliterated at death, there is only primordial intelligence without subject or object, absoluteness or relativity. The real Self on which the ephemeral and transitory ego Self was based persists as the Monad or Atman it is.

In Buddhism as in Western science, consciousness is a bioelectrical mirage but one arising autonomously and karmically from a state of reality. This universe arises, as it were, from a false split of that reality: a lesion between the micro-particles of nature emanating phantom vistas and events and our epiphenomenal recognition of them under the delusion of ego primacy. Buddhist temporal Self, though illusory, is distinguished from Other, as one half of a mirage claims seniority over another. The goal of Buddhist practice is to dissolve that duality with its subjective states of urgency attachment, experience nondual reality as it actually is, recognize our condition as a string of illusions, and meld with nonegoic Unity Consciousness at the basis the universe. This is enlightenment as well as the cessation of all suffering, and it is also personal annihilation: nonexistence.

When applied in this way, nonduality as an operating premise or motive for behavior seems to throw away the egoic view of the universe without a regard for how profound a form and intention it actually might be. It is as though we want a more solemn, less absurd and painful reality than the one we have. We want, if not a priori enlightenment, at least official sanction that enlightenment is the universe’s senior agenda, as though “we” are synonymous with a more enlightened state already because we can conceive its possibility in this state of duality and suffering.

We do not give enough consideration to the possibility that we conceive it, and the breadth and effort required to achieve, because we are in a state of karmic transmission and there is only “we” and how we got here—a status of beingness that scintillates with the universe itself. We have chosen duality over nonduality for a reason.

To pursue nondualism and enlightenment as our sole and singular goal is to misunderstand our situation. The universe did not locate us in a fix simply to see if we could get ourselves out of it—nor (again), did we get sentenced to conditional beingness from an original sin or misstep. Everything fell at its own weight, mass, and intrinsic karmic charge, to where it belonged and had to be, and proceeded from there to this and everything else.

The universe could enlighten us all in a heartbeat if it chose. It doesn’t. Think about that for a moment.

“There is nothing to evolve beyond,” John concludes. “The Soul has chosen to enter into a dualistic perspective.”

Jane Roberts puts it this way, “We don’t become more spiritual by denying the flesh or…expand our consciousness by not using the kind of consciousness we have….” [192x]

Ultimately we have no choice but to place our voucher on mundane consciousness because that’s what we are. It is what’s setting the terms for how we came into being and why any of this is here with us. It’s what’s determining our future, as it will in a different way a billion or trillion years of common time from now.

There is no rulebook anyway—no law of the universe that requires the abnegation of selfhood. Nondualism is not the operating system for the planet, not for crocodiles or rabbits or wasps, not the operating system for consciousness or DNA. There is no operating manual for the universe or for consciousness—no view definitive to the peremptory exclusion of all others.

 

For John’s spirit guides, mortal existence, joy, and suffering—hallmarks of duality—are an indispensable aspect of our being and of the universe itself, the reason that any of this exists at all and knows itself as itself. It is the dredging of the cosmic basin, the potentiating of the cosmic particle from the Big Bang’s Zoharic alphabet concomitant with its elemental table.

Atman—Big Minded ego-less Intelligence—is incomprehensibly vast and entangled; yet the more gargantuanly complex we make our representation and practice of it, in rituals and religious iconographies, the less we get that our vernacular situation with its seemingly trite and trivial incidents is the Divine. Our condition is that big, that close to thought itself, and that neutral.

If individual Selfhood is an imprint of the Divine, it is not an illusion to “be followed by an annihilation or by a nirvanic merging and loss of individuality, however joyful.” It is not conferred to be summarily rejected. It cannot be tossed back at God either in dismay or superior recognition. It is the twin agency of God and His creatures generating the same effect while looking for fulfillment of their own nature. Whitehead’s God is “‘the lure for feeling, the eternal urge of desire,’ which strives to attract each actual occasion to appropriate his ‘initial aim’ as its own ‘subjective aim.’” The Divine generates egoities and other personalized forms as “the highest, most evolved manifestations of the drive toward coherence and wholeness.” [123] In so doing, it merges with itself and its own unknowable internal source.

John proposes that the very fact that we can’t presently see beyond a dualistic mode is the way in which we are seeing it—the only way that it can be seen as what it is, not only by beings such as us but so that beings like us might exist at all. In other words, it is not a crimp or a distortion but how reality has to be in order to be real. He adds:

“The innumerable constituent parts that we ordinary human beings lump together, such as bodies and auric energies, themselves continue, within and outside time, to grow, to expand subjectively, in all directions, together and separately, ‘forever’ (language fails, as time itself is only a form of consciousness). In a universe where no single consciousness arises by its self, it is nevertheless true that every subjectivity, from subatomic particles to universes and thus to the human personality, expands in all directions and thus retains an eternal, though ever changing and interdependent subjectivity that is divinely meaningful. (Again, language fails, because our concepts of eternality rely on time, which is itself, an energy construct, a particular form of consciousness that is just one of many others which are incomprehensible to embodied humans.) In this multidimensional world that ecstatically breaks outside human experience, our human experience of duality is something [to be] treasured, even though it involves suffering that can be avoided. It is humans’ gift to other dimensions of ourselves, a gift that they and we human personalities can luxuriate in and continue transforming forever.”

Big Mind is not only capable of but adores and mass-produces kitsch, pop-cultural and sentimental states in profound ways as it splashes flying stones throughout stellar systems. Even all the dust-ups and sundry merchandise coming out of factories and into and out of stores in the eager appendages of customers are, individually and in totality, just as profound as enlightenment, and for the same reason. They are the Divine Emanation.

The labyrinth in which we find ourselves is such that any attempt to escape its passages merely lengthens it—and extends the barriers to enlightenment. “Sometimes we’re so earnest, so intent and determined to know,” notes Jane Roberts, “that we cut ourselves off from our own inner knowing…. We expect mystic experience to be solemn, shattering, awe-inspiring…to fall willy-nilly into an overpowering solution of cosmic love in which all individuality is destroyed.” [158] We await enlightenment instead of confronting the visionary event of being born.

The fact that something so evocative of latent profundity is simultaneously so straightforward and commonplace and clunky, on buses and billboards, is reality’s most profound and irreconcilable aspect. Each vista is a glimpse into a mode of emanation, nothing less: Hopi entering their kiva to conduct a ceremony; a band having arrived with their instruments, sitting on Eighth Avenue outside Penn Station. The tags on the instrument cases and luggage (BOS) say everything and nothing about our situation in the cosmos, as December solstice turns Earth’s local indigo vault an early back.

The banal and ordinary are far more profound, for occurring at all, than the most profound thing in all of Creation.

That is the way it is supposed to be—we are supposed to treasure discrete selfhood and presence of existence, for it is characterized by the universe’s fervent desire to know itself.

Apparently this reality trance is how the universe wants us to be, for it allows us to experience the extenuations of its proxy reality with full engagement and resonance. We are not supposed to be multidimensional beings on this plane who score a hole in one with every shot. Being immersed, isolated, tragic, cruel, ecstatic is how we sink into the texture of a universe that, in its phenomenological depth, is anything but actually isolated, damned, or tragic. If we were to go at the universe’s real complexity directly, it would thin out and lose its girth in its absoluteness and we would confuse it with echoes of lesser soundings and melodramas (all of which are essential to profundity in their way). We are being filtered into a unified reality and depth away from all others in order to have a profound temporal spiritual and material experience in its depth epitomized by electrons and atoms in a display platform of which we are also made and in order to translate an intuition of depth and paradox from one domain to another where it can be perceived from a different vantage—and again and again.

Nothing is competing; everything is merely corroborating the depth of the universe in its opposition. Paradox is the depth. The vast mirage-illusion is not an inconvenient screen but the very glue of an inner spiral creating all the different portals and realities and passages through them, holding them together with the necessary gravitas, profundity, and imminence.

It is possible that a form of karmic-level intelligence spent trillions of kalpas outside space-time designing, assembling, and filtering the present mode, creating a reality that would be subtle, complex, fathomless, compelling, impeccable, emotionally powerful, and, of course, provisionally and contingently real. It is immeasurable by the tools of science because it is simultaneously above and below the range of energy that registers on those mineral formations called instruments.

Is this not an exquisite mirage, this consummate truth-mystery—a brilliantly, meticulously designed reflection of Soul and Psyche?

Intelligence made this rubric to plumb its own contradictions, paradoxes, and depths. That is why life cuts so deep and causes such pain and grief, but that is also why it is capable of such joy. It is stunning, glamorous, and elusively meaningful to every organism alive, for it was designed by the core intelligence behind all of them. Remember, in spiritual systems teleology has a legitimate status that it doesn’t in Darwinian scientific systems. Dualities are vehicles for exploring the true depth of a universe that is macrocosmic and microcosmic, global and regional, everywhere and nowhere.

All the things we learn are things the universe has to learn internally by dialogue with itself—Elena Ferrante’s “infinitesimal particle through which the fear of every thing becomes conscious of itself.” [SNN 289] This is profound and sacred—the universe’s curiosity about its own nature. “Our soul incarnated as us,” John submits, “because of the limitations of being human. These limitations then provide a very specific context in which we develop stories, and our stories are what the universe gets out of us…. You are your soul, not added on to you but as a center of awareness.” It is also not the case that one aspect takes precedence. “We don’t own our soul, nor does our soul own us.”

There is a reason for our blinders. If we could access all of time and self from every vantage, we would conflate every drama with every other, run them together, and lose the essence of the discrete threads. Our individual space needs to be protected in order for beings to exist at all; that is, in order for each to experience its full aloneness against which to encounter the depth of All That Is, by being cut off from all-abiding Unity Consciousness and dropped solo into the Ocean of Samsara. We are intentionally—that is, from the core intentionality of the entire system—kept separate from the private space of other beings and reincarnational selves, as we are infused into a gravity-bound hothouse to ferment and grow.

The system won’t let total simultaneity happen; whatever is working itself out in the field of stars and galaxies needs that field to express itself. If it didn’t, there would be no stars and galaxies and worlds, only a jubilee of uncertainty states.

Our present carnal purpose is not to become the universe, to meld and vanish into its omneity—that would be a squandering of its portals—but to participate in and spread and differentiate its existentiality, full texture, and absolute wisdom. When Whitehead called the whole affair “process and reality,” he meant process at every level and instant of its own formation and intelligence as well as the prima facie expression of an underlying Intelligence. That is reality. There is no linear, temporal, or working resolution to such a beingness; it is as incomprehensible as it is ceaselessly novel and paradoxical.

The world and its human transposition are of infinite depth, well beyond any local suppositions of their capacity.

Things in them are not “real,” only meaningful to their bearer. Consider that: meaningfulness trumps reality because it gets internalized in a way that a meteor doesn’t (a rock does something just as profound)—internalized experiences form the Akashic field.

Personal identity cannot arise by mere random, adventitious events in a universe that contains it—a lucky break after the cue ball hits the subatomic fuse and the one-in-a-billion sperm wiggles into the single plush egg and imbeds its software there. If that what happens to create life, as the marriage of astrophysics and biology proposes, then it is not personal identity— it is not real. Even unenlightened, personal identity expresses the actual depth of the universe; it marks and measures this level of reality.

 

In the middle of the night I awoke with Jung’s proposition posing itself strangely in the echo chambers of a dream: Modern Man in Search of a Soul. In search of what? Why are having to search for the one thing that connects us to everything else? Why do we manage only provisional ethics of detonating ball bearings or amoral exploding devices deposited on random roadsides?

Because we do not actually feel connected to anything. The profundity of Jung’s proposition—and Jungian lore—is that we are connected, that we know we are connected, that we can’t get unconnected. We know that the tuck is unfolding from somewhere close to proximal roots in a different soil; but we can’t enact it or break the counter-hallucination. And that is a big deal, a very big deal.

According to John Friedlander’s guides, duality—a personal-identity fog—is our current operating system not because the cosmos made some mistake or shunted us into a lesser, more conditional state, to be transcended ASAP, but because our actual transcendent beingness—our Source Intelligence and Soul essence—chose such a conditionality and produced its mirage.

“Why?”

Probably because that alone gave it entry to stuff it couldn’t experience any other way, those oppositions, contrarieties, and paradoxes; not only to access but to realize ecstatically and tragically. The only way that the universe witnesses its depth and subtlety is by peregrinating its maze. The reason that we feel texture, depth, richness, rhythm, profundity, euphoria, and tragedy is that there is texture, depth, richness, rhythm, profundity, euphoria, and tragedy in the universe, prior to the Big Bang and other carpeterias. Various creature frequencies including the human platform were fabricated not only to express and explore the depth of the standing universe, but so that the universe could attain its shape and premise and transmogrify, as required, into each next absolute form and emanation of itself.

In Hegelian terms, the Absolute Idea become conscious of itself in us.

The trance, the illusion, the unreality of beingness in the context of a profoundly meaningful experience of it, is what the universe is presently showing on the human platform—the drama to be lived out. We are not, in our futile activities, simply rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic, as one Buddhist philosopher proposed, but rearranging the deck chairs in the movie Titanic (John’s amendment).

Personal identity feels different from consciousness and is what the universe is investing from outside the system, meaning that it is the greater design that determines the subsidiary design it then finds itself ensconced in.

Personal identity may in fact bottom out, bottom out with the universe, in precisely the way that words proposing such a thing bottom out the meaning set projected by the sentence.

It confers immortality in no other way, but it doesn’t have to in any other way. That is the big surprise, not how much but how little is required to make the universe work as us.

Thus has the gravitas and existential integrity of an actual cosmic situation established itself in a so-called mirage without forfeiting an iota of latent depth and sumptuousness. Negative capability: we know by not knowing. We see only through a glass darkly, into a universe of fathomless information and energy and metonymy that somehow presents itself, on our plane anyway, as circumscribed and concrete and configured.

Temporal identity is likely the fate of sentient beings in other planes and dimensions too. We are each probing and experiencing and unconsciously calibrating, karmically and quantum-gravitationally balancing and distributing an aspect of Creation.

The situation may be remarkable, but what is even more remarkable is how unremarkably we take to it, like proverbial ducks to a pond. All animals take to it, including ducks on ponds.

It is finally more real to be meaningful than it is to be real. To be real, under a scientistic regime of mere corporeality, is to be mere congeries generating mirages.

Real is relative and flat—flattened out—because it can’t handle the deep uncertainty state of what it really is and what is really real.

To be meaningful is far more “real” than that. We are in a painful, euphoric meaningfulness of a mere transient reality.

Existence doesn’t have to be real, or more than chemicals in entropy, to be meaningful and for its meaningfulness to bottom out somewhere else that is not ever somewhere else but is also both real and eternally present and incipient.

Stated otherwise, nothing is real except the sense itself of existing, of self-identified beingness and the myriad views it encounters along the way as it evolves through karmically generated phase-states. Each of these views is a stab at the absolute profundity of something that is beyond ordinary experience and phenomenology.

Even if each portal state is an illusion, it is made real as it is encountered by luminous core-arising vortices: creatures. Then the pure richness, complexity, and mysterious satisfactoriness of experience reflects its actual depth and the integrity of beingness.

 

Where self-inflated gurus err or transgress is by “spiritually by-passing” the myriad ego states as well as the participation of their own psyches in them. In a cult, selfish actions are transcended only by being deemed dualistic and demoted to irrelevance but not as what they actually are, so they seat themselves more deeply in delusion. The guru imagines that he (or she) has eclipsed his identity basis and dual condition, so anything he does is selfless. Buddhist philosopher Dustin DiPerna repositions these issues from both an actual and an ideological (nonduality-or-bust) perspective:

“[S]hallower vantage points do not disappear once transcended. However, in a pathological awakening to nondual identity, shallower vantage points can be denied, disassociated from, or left unattended. Integral practitioners should be wary of failing to include all the vantage points that have been transcended at every level of practice. Leaving behind shallower vantage points creates unhealthy dynamics for others and for oneself. It also leaves room for massive amounts of shadow to flood into one’s life. The first and most immediate problem arises as a simple disconnect from reality. If I deny an aspect of one of the shallower vantage points, or worse see it as illusionary altogether, I fail to honor the relative realty of duality and separation. To be sure, Absolute reality is absolutely real, but relative reality remains relatively real.

“Even if one is awake to a nondual identity, he or she still has a unique perspective on the world according to his or her particular gross-body coordinates. In a similar way, one’s perspective is also made even further distinct as a result of the personality (and altitude and typology, etc.) that the deeper vantage point penetrates through. Interacting with others in the relative world happens through the prism of individual personality, physical body, etc. This means that functioning through shallower vantage points is necessary to engage in the relative world. If a person assumes that the shallower vantage points of the relative self cease to exist upon realization of the deeper Self, there is an obvious disconnect.”

DiPerna is addressing the way in which some deluded gurus come to believe that their enlightened state permits any behavior and makes any behavior of theirs intrinsically enlightened—crazy wisdom that is promoted as legitimate because it is resonating at the craziness of the life dance.

“This type of disconnect can quickly devolve into full moral catastrophe. If this pathology is active, one may be under the mistaken impression that his or her actions are arising from awakened awareness when in fact they are coming from the wants, needs, and desires of the relative ‘self.’ This can lead to individuals trying to justify selfish actions through nondual claims.” [In Streams of Wisdom, unpublished manuscript, 2013]

A willful ego, operating through the agency of its own desires and fantasies, attempts to control—as opposed to “create”—reality. This egoic impulse is based in the Soul but is subject to a transient personality’s inherent blind spots, unhealed wounds, unelaboratable yearnings, etc., plus archaic character traits acquired along the way. Old kinks, the farther back the more karmic and powerful, can be healed and transcended only by actual shifts of energy.

So, if a spiritual teacher is telling disciples that he’s God, and the only such emanation of the Divine (to boot), and he’s also taking other people’s wives and girlfriends into his harem like Adi Da or Chogyam Trungpa in their heydays, perhaps for all the best reasons, and he’s an honorable guy—and even more than just a guy— and he’s got psychic powers whereby to startle and terrify, then there are going to be repercussions, and those are going to land along the spectrum of psyche, anywhere from liberated to horrific.

Among contemporary gurus, too much emphasis is placed on conscious attunement and spiritual real estate—having a charming personality, exuding a charismatic Divine presence. Everyone is not going to just “lighten up” because the teacher ordered them to and then flashed a few siddhis. We do not begin to grok how many states of being, views, awarenesses, and flows of information underlie our existence and conduct our individualities or what those individualities in their phases of identity and self-recognition truly are and seek to be.

There is no authority except the universe itself. The real teacher is the mystery of existence, the cauldron from which All That Is arises.

 

Reincarnational Phases and Fusions

Let’s explore another reincarnational excavation, one conducted under hypnotic regression like Virginia Tighe’s “Bridey Murphy.” Morey Bernstein’s role here was played by Dolores Cannon, a military housewife and freelance writer in Arkansas who began practicing hypnosis in her late forties as an intentional tool for recovering past-life memories. Much like Bernstein, Cannon was an amateur with a psychopomp’s gift. She previously regressed hundreds of volunteers and successfully, at least by her benchmarks, elicited their recall of previous existences and healed their phobias and traumas through the recovered memories. In books like Five Lives Remembered and Between Life and Death: Conversations with a Spirit, she documents some of her ore auspicious regressions.

In A Soul Remembers Hiroshima, Cannon spotlights a woman named “Kathryn Harris,” who recovered her past life as a Japanese man in Hiroshima at the time when the US warplane Enola Gay dropped Earth’s first atomic weapon in warfare on the city. Memory of this apparent past life at Hiroshima was spontaneously arose in Harris about six months before she met Cannon during a chance viewing of a documentary in which a Japanese woman who had survived the attack was being interviewed. No footage of the blast or its aftermath was shown, but the interviewee recalled a blinding light, people running and screaming, and things crashing down. Suddenly Katie recalled being there too:

“She said that something just ‘clicked’ inside her head and suddenly she could see what was happening. Horrified, she turned the TV off, but she couldn’t turn off the pictures and scenes that flooded into her mind.” Harris described her sudden, unexpected recollection as if of a second being inside herself:

“I knew I was an old man and was watching from his viewpoint. I was feeling his feelings and thinking his thoughts. As I watched the scenes in my mind of the horror after the explosion, I knew that he was thinking, ‘This can’t be happening.’” [p. 43] She was there, and she was thinking what he was thinking. The switch of identity was impromptu and unambiguous like a hypnagogic flash in which a weird consolidation of images and sensations is involunarily as real as the immediate world, if not more real.

After the initial bolt of memory, Harris felt the floodgates open on this other identity; she could not make the reality of Hiroshima or her personal view of it dissolve. Then she met Cannon in Arkansas at a party. Twenty-two years old at the time, she was a junior-year high-school dropout from Texas. Her father, like Cannon’s husband, was in the military, so she moved around a lot while growing up, changing schools regularly before finally deciding that she didn’t couldn’t deal with the continual adjustment to new teachers and friends and bailed on the educational gauntlet. Though she subsequently earned a high-school-equivalency diploma and worked for the Air Force, she was not otherwise educated and had not traveled outside the United States—relevant facts in assessing the source of her recollections under hypnosis.

Described by Cannon as short, blonde, buxom, blue-eyed, and naturally charismatic, at the 1983 party Katie expressed curiosity about past lives without divulging her recent Hiroshima incident. Like James Leininger, she grew up in an orthodox Christian family (Pentecostal in this case), and reincarnation was considered a blasphemous belief. Cannon took steps to disguise her subject’s identity—her name is not Kathryn Harris.

In her initial regressions of the young Texan, Cannon noticed that her subject had an innate receptivity to past lives, the same sort of sympathetic attunement that Bernstein identified in Virginia TIghe. As the girl slipped into deep trance, she quickly adopted the “I” of several former beings, crossing over the gender line effortlessly when the landscape called for it. Cannon noticed that Katie flowed into her prior identities with all five of her senses, an uncommon degree of metaphysical déjà-vu.” When first led to a lifetime before her current birth, she described a white house “‘sitting up there all lonesome,’” in a countryside of hills and valleys, a place she later identified as Colorado Territory (before statehood). A girl named Sharon could smell her mother’s bread baking in the oven.

Only when a degree of trust was established through this and other past-life regressions did Harris surprise Cannon by confiding her Japanese flashback.

Using Sharon’s dating of her death as the late 1870s, Cannon subtracted the Colorado timeline from Katie’s own birthdate of 1960 and cleared a gap of about eighty years for another incarnation. Both women agreed—let’s go for it!

Not wanting to plunge her subject abruptly into the traumatic events of World War II, let alone Hiroshima on the day of a nuclear attack, Cannon picked 1935 as a neutral starting date. Instructing her subject to go back before her birth to that year, Katie landed as hoped in Japan, as she became Nogorigatu Suragami, “a man in his late fifties making pottery at a kiln in back of his house. He was at his small farm located about 20 miles south of Hiroshima in Nippon (the Japanese word for Japan.” [p. 49]. With all five of her subject’s senses bristling with her new reality, Cannon recalled getting the chills at how real Nogorigatu was.

In the course of several excursions into Harris’ former lifetime, hypnosis drew out a detailed existence of a Japanese male. This was no mere fragment. His world was rich, flavorful, filled with oxen, bean sprouts, water chestnuts, charcoal heaters, primary-school Japanese with scrolls, brushes, and calligraphy, thousands of characters, elaborate procedures for growing rice, differences between water gates and water wheels in the irrigation of fields, uses of animal dung for fertilizer, two sons (ultimately aged twenty-nine and thirty-three), a primer on how to cast traditional forms of Japanese pottery, actual designs and kinds and sources of herbs used to dye pots, architecture of a seven-room house with a sod roof and pagoda gables, Japanese clothing of the era (caps, sandals, sandal straps, names for gis, kimonos, obis, and other costumes), plus numerous other museum-quality relics and vestiges.

Needless to say, neither Cannon nor Harris had any background regarding these rituals, objects, or styles prior to the latter’s hypnotic regression.

Nogorigatu eventually reported being married at fourteen; he saw his wife only once before their engagement—his parents picked her out. They were wed in the late 1800s. He described dressing for the big event in the ceremonial kimono: “I am scared! It is strange…to know that I bring someone else into our house…I don’t know this person.” [p. 63] He depicted a Japanese wedding in striking detail: ceremonial knots in his bride’s hair, his wife-to-be’s white pan makeup and cherry-blossom silk pink kimono, musical instruments (harps, kotos, drums, and flutes), sake, rice cakes, honey cakes, etc. When asked whether the woman’s pale makeup looks strange, s/he said, “I think it looks nice.” When asked whether his bride was happy, s/he said, “Who can tell with girls?” [p. 67].

Whether this Japanese man existed or not, under hypnosis Katie was performing a memorable character like a master actor bringing a being of opposite gender to life. His energy was filling the room, whatever its source.

When Cannon regressed her subject to 1920, Nogorigatu described taking his pots to market twenty miles to Hiroshima. He explained that by then he had sold his share of the family farm and bought his own plot south of the city. Upon Cannon’s request s/he enumerated the different roads leading to the Hiroshima metropolitan area as well as the bridges in the city across the separate branches of the river that runs through it.

Nogorigatu/Katie then gave a nuanced rendition of the pre-war era: the isolation of rural Japan through the events leading up to World War II; the feng shui of house and land; the spiritual equivalence of the Emperor to the Sun; the melding of Shintoism and Buddhism in his religious training and practice; the tea ceremony and other popular rituals; then, later, the effects of militarization in the countryside, i.e., how soldiers took over fields and other property, putting citizens under virtual gang rule:

“Many strangers and soldiers come through and they take what they want. So we are hiding things…. They took our oxen and our goats and destroyed the fields. It was a shortcut. They marched right through them, and then they laughed…. Because they are in power and they are soldiers.” [p. 93].

In another description he commented wryly, “No one ever sees the orders but them, if there are any orders.” [p. 99]. (I will let Nogorigatu become “he” from now on.)

None of this resonates as fantasy or fabrication, and it is certainly not the world-view or speaking style of a blue-eyed girl from Texas:

“Probably kill [our goats and oxen] and use them for food…. Whatever food stores they could lay their hands on easily, that they could take with them, they took. Things like salted fish and rice, things that would keep…. Now we have no way of plowing except by hand and I am too old. But they don’t care about this…. Every time we start to grow things, something happens. Either the soldiers run through the fields or there is nothing to plant with….” [p, 100]. This is real war, real deprivation.

In the course of Cannon’s regressions, a philosophical male elder emerged to discourse on the fallacies of war and the illusion that you can gain honor or dignity from military power. Nogorigatu explored Japanese feelings of inferiority, of being played down by the rest of the world, and how the Japanese warrior class thought that they could exhibit their superior skills and bravery in warfare and would demonstrate to the Americans, who had become weak and effeminate, what it means to be courageous and victorious in battle.

About the military cult of kamikaze missions Nogorigatu remarked, “I think they are a little crazy, maybe more than a little crazy.” [p. 96] Then he added, “Who knows what they have filled their minds with. What hopes of paradise. How can anyone promise something that they themselves have never seen?” [p. 97].

Later he lamented: “We are at war…. I cry for Nippon. She is fallen, she is losing her majesty.” [p. 95].

Against Nogorigatu’s advice, one of his sons ultimately moved to Hiroshima with his family to take a job in a factory; then he thought better of it and tried to return to the homestead. Too late. But the farm was already in ruins. Soon thereafter, soldiers in trucks strong-armed both of Nogorigatu’s sons into military service.

When Cannon counted Katie forward to 1944, she was stunned to hear, “I see the grave of my wife.” [p, 103] When the hypnotist expressed shock and sympathy, Nogorigatu said simply, “She was walking along the road in the village. And the jeeps came by and ran her over. They didn’t see her and didn’t care to. None of them stopped…. She was trying to get things for us to eat. Anything.” [p. 103].

Katie’s voice shifted profoundly, as it matched her grief, becoming sad and low, almost inaudible at times as if she were about to cry. When Cannon queried him about what happened next, Nogorigatu reported leaving the farm and moving into town with his grandchildren. “We must all walk our own path. If this is mine, so be it.” [p. 105].

Could all this all be faked by a subconscious, previously suppressed performer self within Ms. Harris? Is it an act of sublimation, conversion, and projection of sublimated and converted contents?

Of course. People diagnosed with multiple personalities (but not past lives) evince just as dramatic and antithetical alter egos, ones that are even stranger and more discrepant from the central ego than Harris’s. “Nogorigatu” is not proof of Harris’s reincarnation; he is proof of the depth and multidimensionality of the personal ego and the human psyche.

Theatrical projection of one thread of a braid of multiple personaliies is also not not proof of reincarnation.

At the conclusion of Nogorigatu’s tale of the death of his wife, Cannon observed, “He was exhibiting such deep, deep sadness and sorrow, it was overwhelming. I felt so sorry for him, this man I had come to know so well, that I could not leave him there…..

“I could not, in good conscience, end the session on such an unhappy note. Maybe it was more for my benefit than Katie’s, because on reawakening she would have no conscious memory of the events she described.” [pp. 105-106]. Cannon quickly counted the Japanese potter back to 1930. He goes there at once and is a different man, in a festive spirit:

“They’re having the procession through the village. It is the celebration of the blooming of the cherry trees. They have the priests at front, throwing the rice and calling blessings, hoping that this will be a good year for prosperity. And we have the young men and women of the village all dressed up in their most beautiful kimonos. They are wandering through the streets singing…. [There are] paper streamers and they have kites flying from the houses.” [p. 106].

Wow, just like that, from abject grief and misery to joy and celebration, though no matter how many times Nogorigatu would be returned to earlier happy state, it would inevitably lead to the later sorrowful one.

Note the fundamental constructs implicit in Cannon’s juxtapositions like “leave him there” and “count him back.” If time is a linear flow on which personal existence is a raft borne irreversibly in its one-way current, how does one travel back and forth between identity states? Likewise, how can they be simultaneously present and accessible?

These suggest corollary questions: Where does one identity go when another is evoked? Where was it prior to its reenactment under hypnosis? How does the present acquire the blinders of it focal plane if it is simultaneous to other contradictory presents?

Does each moment and its being have an autonomy which expands out into the universe forever? Is each reality ultimately preserved and explored on its own or, more reasonably, do the realities, the moments of happiness and sorrow, meld at a deeper level into a profound beingness that subsumes all of them and transmute their fused alchemy into a more complexly joyful and real cosmic awareness?

If these are real memory traces of a real person, consider what their juxtaposition means and what it might be telling us about not only past lives but the structure of consciousness and personal identity in the universe, let alone the universe itself. This is not a simple matter. It may be the single most crucial issue in the universe, at least for sentient beings, because all of them will suffer and die and most of those will have happy or euphoric moments and interludes of the sheer peaceful depth of existence. How does the universe protect joy against subversion and obliteration?

We have no language for the jump Cannon makes or its ontological basis and localization. It violates principles of space, time, identity, and personal sovereignty. Was Nogorigatu awakened from directionless time or does he dwell forever in his own recurrent narrative? Was he in Katie or of Katie or an extraneous signal picked up by her brain and enacted there like a play? Was he never a real person but a fusion of clairvoyant engrams in Harris’s psyche, a thespian contrivance of her unconscious?

If so, the value of a “Soul” is that, through its separate attributions, one can explore multiple levels of Creation at different levels of consciousness and subconsciousness (or unconsciousness) simultaneously. Each of its separate personalities is a feeler, like pseudopods of an amoeba or arms of an octopus with more than eight, in fact limitless, appendages. Our Soul or Source Consciousness can send out various secondary selves to experience aspects of its overall identity, into different frequencies of different realities and cosmic-like manifestations, even in different universes or temporal frames, none of which negate or nullify the others. In Jane Roberts’ lexicon, “Our greater consciousness or ‘source self’ dips in and out of time and has existences in other dimensions, showering aspects of itself out in all directions. These aspects are alive, active, but latent in each of us, where their abilities help form the stuff of our own personalities.” [90].

If Ms. Harris’ recall of a life in Japan is more than a clever unconscious dissimilation, it would appear that each ego’s discrete lifetime, let alone any composite of multiple and past lives, is complex, discursive, and variant beyond reckoning as well as a series of shifting states of consciousness and unconsciousness in relation to one another—Freud hit upon a gold mine, but he did not perceive how vast the unconscious was or how manifold the Source Personality. For instance, from Kathryn’s access to Nogorigatu’s life, it would seem that every focal point of reality is discrete, is arising from its own underlying conditionalities and expanding timelessly from there with self-contained integrity, no matter what will follow, no matter what came before, no matter how quarantined and succinct each phase is at the time. 1944 does not gobble up, supersede, or erase 1930. They remain independently differentiating, exploring themselves and their separate richness, evolving discretely in the universe while supporting each other and each other’s narrative. We do not know whether every minute or second has the same integrity or how the finite the bubbles of identity get. It is like asking whither and whence Heraclitus’s river into which no man (or wart-hog) can step twice actually flows, not only in the metaphor but in the actual evolution of Western philosophy?

Katie does not gobble up Nogorigatu, or does Nogorigatu have any superior claim to Katie’s life. In fact out of trance, Katie does not even remember Japan or Nogorigatu. He does not exist in her conscious ego structure, though he apparently resides somewhere in subliminal, intersubjective relationship to her. Where?

“Upon awakening from a session, Katie would feel fine. Because she was virtually asleep, she had no ill effects. I was the one who was troubled. I could not shut out his suffering…. This man had begun to actually haunt me. His pain was my pain. I would hear again his words as I tried to sleep at night. He filled my waking thoughts as well as my dreams. He became very real to me and it was as if his turmoil was happening now instead of 40 years ago.”

What karmic force was driving the authentic persona and voice inside the girl? Cannon opines: “He seemed to be pleading with me to tell his story, to give his death meaning.”

But then who was Cannon to Nogorigatu? What did “he” see or imagine as she queried and drew him out of slumber through Katie? Was he asleep or in dormancy. As whom and where was he located as he used her voice? From what agency and intention was he able to extend into the present and visit with evident his interviewer patience and charm? The implied source energy and information streams arising and intersecting here, if valid, are mind-boggling, and they give a clue as to the strands linking memory and self-identification. “This was no cardboard imaginary character,” Cannon insists. “I came to know Nogorigatu very well. I liked him and he became my friend. I often wonder what he thought of me. Was I just a still, small voice in his head asking questions?” [p. 56]

Indeed! There is this character Nogorigatu, perhaps once alive and real, responding to a vortex named Cannon, an American addressing him decades after his death, a science-fiction phantom in the void.

I can’t picture him being a mere figment or artifact in Kathryn Harris’s unconscious mind, but I can’t picture him as a mere golem or ghola either. He seems whole and real somewhere. The question is where, and whether in reality or a performance.

Cannon’s supposition—“a still, small voice in his head”—is compelling because it is probably the tip of the iceberg. Each entity is finally to another creature, even one with whom it is intimate, a voice crying out from shadows, a vague instrumentality arising behind the adumbration of a single life with its temporary landscape and temporal memories.

Nogorigatu is calling out for recognition, support, and affirmation with the capacity to recreate any time of himself as present time; thereby his state honors the theosophical definition of the aura as timeless and meticulously comprehensive as opposed to the time-bound flawed neuroscientific memory or mind.

We might listen more closely to whom we address our future dialogues with our selves. Who is the real “I,” our audience? To whom are we speaking, do we address each day, day after day? Who is conscious and who is unconscious?

Do we actually hear and attend to the voice behind our own words?

 

In subsequent sessions, Cannon edged Harris closer to the actual attack. She had promised to approach the day of the bomb slowly and then visit it only once. As she counted deeper into 1944, she feared that Nogorigatu would appear as a broken man. She was correct; the being she elicited had no idea what to do next as he stoically described the local situation:

“I can see the troops. They are moving. They have decided that they want the headquarters closer to town…. They are all in their trucks and have their guns and they’re moving…. [p. 112]. Sometimes I stay in the village, sometimes in Hiroshima.” [p. 109]

In town he roomed with his daughters who, by then, helped make jeep parts in a factory. “We spread the mats on the floors and we sleep on them, and there is enough room for that…. We have a brazier, which is a charcoal one, that is in the one room…. This is no life to bring up children in.” [p. 119]. When Nogorigatu traveled between his farm and town, the journey took him three days by foot: “One does what one must. A man can do anything if he sets his mind to it.” [p. 111].

Food was rationed. Those who toiled for the government received larger portions, the allotments dispensed at the factories. It was mostly rice, occasionally bread or grains. On occasion they found beans and grew their own sprouts. Workers were paid in scrips, an emergency currency that could be used to purchase items only at government centers.

Cannon opened the next session with, “Let’s go to the spring of 1945. It will be spring when the earth is waking up and things are beginning to grow again. What do you see?” The shift in tone is dramatic:

“I can see the planes flying overhead. It seems like they are stalking us…. There are…four or five of them…. They are not ours…. It’s just as if they watch us. They do not drop bombs …. I wonder if they are looking for a good place to drop their bombs. I don’t know.” [pp. 117-118].

Though to that point Hiroshima had been spared from aerial attack, drills were conducted regularly with sirens, requiring people to clear the streets:

“I do not desire to go to the shelter. I would rather see what is coming at me than run like a frightened squirrel into a tree and hole up. If I die I would like to see what kills me.” [p. 119].

Progressing toward the fateful day, Cannon counted forward to July 1945, and asked Katie/Nogorigatu to describe what he saw. He was watching his daughters arrive home from work. His three grandchildren were playing on the floor. When queried as to how things were going, he said, “Extremely bad. There are many problems. They’ve had bombings around the city and everyone is worried and tense…. Two of the outlying factories have been hit, no serious damage, some deaths. They manage to keep working.” When asked what the bombs sound like, he says, “There is a shrill whistle before the explosion. They say you never hear the one that hits.”

Meanwhile the soldiers fired at the planes. “[T]hey almost treat it as if a big game is going on. As if nothing serious.” [p. 120].

Nogorigatu’s daughters had been told at work that “the Americans don’t wish to bomb us, or something…I don’t know. They say they are not strong enough to fight us…that the war is almost over because we are no longer fighting with them. Who knows?” [p. 121].

As Cannon counted Katie forward to August 6, 1945, she noticed an abrupt change in her complexion and posture. “She turned white as a sheet and her body stiffened. When she tried to talk, only gasping sounds came out. She had great difficulty forming the words…. She seemed to be in a state of shock and when she did manage to speak, her voice trembled. Sometimes her body would shake. I had never before heard such heart-rending emotion and pain in a voice. It came from somewhere deep inside her subconscious memories and had no connection with Katie at all…. Phrases came out disjointed with pauses between them as Nogorigatu confusedly groped to find the words for an experience that words were useless to describe.” [pp. 122-123]. The subject took deep breaths as Cannon asked her what was happening; she could barely form the syllables at times. Cannon had to reassure her that this event was no longer in present time and she had the capacity to terminate the session and wake herself up whenever she wished. She, that is, or he….

“‘There was…there was a great flash…a blinding white light. And…then a great…boom. And…and…a giant cloud. It went straight up, and…and…it went out…. And then the winds rolledthey were like fire…. The people, they fell down, and they…and they just lay there, and…and…. (the voice was full of utter disbelief). The screams! …People are dying everywhere. WHY?

“It was a cry from the depths of his soul, and it sent shivers down my spine.

“‘People are…those who can run are running. Some just stumbling around, holding their arms out… Everything is gone! It’s been destroyed! Buildings are as if they’ve never been. There’s nothing left! WHY?!

“‘I am alone. (Bewildered) I don’t know where anyone is. Everything is gone. The city is as if…there is no center to the city! IT’S GONE! The buildings have …disappeared! There’s nothing but rubble…and the screams!’”

Is this Hiroshima first-hand? Or is it a Texas woman’s hysterical imagining of the event in her own cathartic theatrics? Who is the witness here?

If the view is Hiroshima under atomic attack, is it an actual historic event somehow reenacred timelessly in current time or a traumatic engram echoing and replicating itself across space-time?

Is it an vestige of the actual event, a vacant doppelgänger and placeholding a long-dissipated event and issuing replica semblances of itself?

Is Nogorigatu still in Hiroshima, at least that Nogorigatu? And are there other Nogorigatus in simultaneous existence, each with full existential awareness of his situation, at peace with the overall situation in a way a singular man on a singular day on a singular planet orbiting a star cannot be? How do conscious and unconscious realms envelop and get enveloped by each other?

Finally, how is such a horrific event to be released and redeemed in the karmic flow?

Unquestionably the actual bombing was starkly and searingly “real,” in fact down to a cellular and atomic level. It was probably a lesion in four-dimensional space-time with ripple-creases through other shelves of Creation, perhaps crossing dimensions with its malign thwack. How, though, did its psychic bow wave proceed into the cosmos? Can image formations and physical and chemical changes that are taking hold on one plane and apparently dissipating there have their karmic essence flowin onto other planes within a timeless vortex, to be resolved not only on site but in a vaster cosmos.

“‘My…hands! My hands…are black…. My…face feels as if there is nothing…no skin. (He moaned.)

“The planes this morning… Could they…? They…must have…dropped…some horrible…thing! (Gasp) How could anyone do that? How? Don’t ‘they know what they have done? Do they care?… How could we get to such a point where anyone would want to do this? Even think of doing something like this? How could anyone?’”

“The words were like a forlorn voice crying in the wilderness.

“‘They’ve killed the town! A whole town! It’s gone! (Suddenly he moaned.) I feel like my insides are on fire. Everything is…it’s…as if…someone struck a match and placed it inside of me, and it’s become a bonfire. And it’s ablaze!…

“‘My daughters…my grandchildren! (He sobbed that word). …they are probably dead… All dead!’”*

Does this sound like someone play-acting?

Cannon knew at once she had to get Nogorigatu/Katie out of there. She quickly counted him back to 1930; he transitioned smoothly with her:

“‘I am working on my pots. I have taken them out of the kiln and they are cooling…. They are very beautiful. Each unique in their own way. I take care in my work. My love shows in every piece that I make.’”

Another being instantly replaced the devastated man, a being in happy, full blossom, proceeding into the universe eternally as who he was.

So, again, who did Cannon find working his pots: a man who had never experienced Hiroshima, a man who would experience it and contained it potentiation or a man who, at some level, had already experienced it and was subtly marked? Which is the active chronology here, Harris’s and Cannon’s or Nogorigatu’s—and which Nogorigatu?

And what about Katie herself? Even though she remembered none of what she recalled in trance as Nogorigatu, she exhibited full relief after the series of regressions and the reliving of a past life in Japan (or whatever it was), as if an actual weight had been lifted from her. The memory would not trouble her again; like other past-life “patients,” she began to change and mature in a new way. Energetically it worked, whatever the underlying story.

Later, Cannon recalled a memory trace she had recovered from Katie before even summoning Nogorigatu. During a home delivery the girl while entering this present lifetime had been declared stillborn, dead. The doctor had given up; only an aunt working on the lifeless body drew a feeble cry, bringing the child into this life. Presuming that the clue to the Japanese man’s genesis in her life lay there, Cannon put Harris into a trance and regressed her to the moment of her birth in order to discover what happened then on a Soul plane:

“Instead of preparing to enter the body of a newborn baby, I found her standing at the foot of a bed getting ready to enter the body of an adult. She was preparing to exchange places with the spirit that had inhabited the body of Katie for 21 years. That entity had taken on too many problems to be worked out during this lifetime and when she found that she was not strong enough to handle them, she had asked to be relieved of the situation. Because the two entities had known each other previously and had very similar personalities, they agreed to swap places for the remainder of the physical body’s life.” {p. 45]

When Katie was told that she was a walk-in and had acquiesced to an exchange of souls in her body to avoid suicide, “she was startled, to say the least. She said definitively that she could not believe that. She felt no different and knew that she was still the same person.” [p. 47]

Does our experienced continuity not go deep enough into our identity to encompass the actual Pony Express of Souls?

Did Nogorigatu adopt the body-mind Katie at a given focus in space-time and hitch a ride with her through the rest of her lifetime? Did his Soul replace hers or did it continue to share a body with hers? Or was she him with the same Soul all along?

Can a Soul shift without the personality noticing it? Does that clarify or muddy the distinction between a Soul and a personality? Did the intersection between her Soul and her personality establish Katie’s capacity to travel between lifetimes and characters?

Who knows if these were even separate vortices of being and selves or where they came from, and how, and how and if they melded? As William Blake put it so eloquently, And when thy heart began to beat. / What dread hand? & what dread feet?”

As Cannon diagnoses it, Nogorigatu was a walk-in with Katie’s permission. If he hadn’t gotten her permission, she would have been possessed by him, her life stolen. Perhaps souls routinely contend for bodies in wombs and take over existing bodies in medias res.

The concept of walk-ins could explain why some people begin remembering a past life at a relatively advanced age: it is not the past life of their original personality but of their newly arrived guest, though both could be aspects of the same greater Soul.

If possession takes place before birth, is that not effectively reincarnation? [46] Given the fragility of personal identity itself, for instance in amnesia and Alzheimer’s disease, and the provisional basis of ego development itself, the gap between possession and rebirth may be semantic. Remember, multiple-personality disorders axiomatically generate parallel subjective ego-realities within a single individual in a single lifetime. These might also be separate energetic frequencies of the same Soul.

Cannon interrogated Nogorigatu’s experience after his death in order to gain insight into transmigration from his standpoint:

“I learned during later sessions that ‘she’ had entered the spirit resting-place on the other side for a while after the traumatic death at Hiroshima. This is a special place that is reserved for deaths such as these. She felt she had gotten rid of a lot of karma by the lingering death she had experienced. She then attended the school on the spirit plane where the masters and teachers helped with the evaluation of that life. That was where she was when she was called for this assignment and the exchange of the souls with the entity that had previously occupied Katie’s body.” ([p. 130]

Is this a therapeutic metaphor or a veridical and salvagable ontological vector? We will need to take a different route to get back to this place.

 

Cosmic Chicanery

Paraphysical and psi energies are everywhere and nowhere, imbuing matter with consciousness or, more properly, seeping through individualized thoughtforms out of Cosmic Mind—an evolution that transcends material thermodynamics insofar as it is coming from the inside out. [45] Consciousness generates thoughtforms, which are as real as snowfalls on Pluto or runaway trucks on the Mongolian highway. Thoughtforms are capable of creating realities. Not controlling realities but creating them—and there is a big difference. Reality is not controllable and to try by magic is a fool’s errand.

You can’t ride thoughtforms across oceans or blow yourself into whatever bubble-shapes you desire—for the body is the present state of the unconscious mind, the unconscious mind of the universe as well as the unconscious mind of the ego-self. As John Friedlander remarks, “You work to change yourself not the universe because the universe can’t be changed. But then sometimes, once you change yourself, miraculously the universe changes too.”

Over time thoughtforms create cities and nations. They affect reality more slowly, indirectly and subconsciously than physical forces, for they work as underlying symbols and signifiers as well as thermodynamically, and transfer subliminal intentions as well as conscious agendas.

Molecules are not just empty balls requiring emergence at higher levels to express complex qualities. In a seminal sense suggestive of the cosmic alphabets of metaphysical systems, they are extraordinarily talented cue balls. Just look at how fast Homo sapiens went from the Wright Brothers to Boeing and Airbus. That is not just mind manipulating matter; that is mind creating matter from the Big Bang and before. The overall mind-matter interface involves “the transformation of energy into physical form” according to ideas and beliefs. [103] These “objectified mental states,” according to Jane Roberts, “[are] constantly interacting, formed automatically by conscious energy’s intercession with the three-dimensional field.” [129]

Phenomenological events “have their own equivalent of atoms and molecules—the million unseen probable actions within, upon which they rise to the surface as definite physical acts…psychological objects placed in the inner rooms of the mind. They are always there, always encountered, particularly memories of past events that indubitably happened it seems….” [123]

It is a mistake to presume that, in the millennia-long competition between technology and shamanism, technology automatically wins because it superseded shamanism, historically and operationally—and gets far better results. Yes, it gets better results, immeasurably when applied to matter directly: you can’t summon a jet plane into temporal existence by chanting. There shamanism is out of its league, but you can summon objects if you chant for them for hundreds thousands of years. In that sense shamans did summon cars and planes and cities. It is only the appearance that what we call the Stone Age tried to override the distinction between mind and matter, a misread that leads present arbiters to decide that it failed at its own goals. You can only alter matter by other matter in the short term. It takes a much longer time to convert thoughtforms into material forms.

You would not try to fly a metallic plane or drive a metallic car shamanically; you first have to develop shamanic physics and chemistry, and our species collectively did.

Industrial and post-industrial modernity are realizations of the Stone Age shaman’s deepest dreams, prayers, and chants. He, she evoked this landscape and view from their profound desire to protect, feed, and explore.

If you look around you at the planet we now inhabit, you will see the fruition of a massive collective thoughtform. Picture Earth during the Neolithic period after the Pleistocene. It has been utterly transformed by thought. Of course, it could be argued that what you are looking at is the cumulative result of evolving technologies and empirical application of scientific principles to a complex molecular configuration with unrealized potential for resource shaping and organization. I think it is both, and that the application of thoughtforms to matter has complexly designed the civilization and global city we now inhabit. Some thoughtforms take thousands of years to manifest material; others do so instantaneously.

Operating across the planet and unknown to one another (though connected at some Ur point to a single lodge), shamans imagined through a glass darkly, built, and disseminated a magical vision, a seed form. It landed in the collective human psyche. Then it took millennia to sprout and blossom, all the way through Egyptian, Persian, Greek, Roman, Eurasian worlds, into the manifestation we have today in the City and civilization. Civilization is a shamanic projection from the Stone Age. The question is: what landscape are we generating for future times now?

 

To create reality is not wishful thinking. If you were a member of a Plains Indian warrior sodality or a Tibetan lama in training, you would start from the same premise—there isn’t another. Thoughtforms in Reiki or psychic exercises are the same thoughtforms used to contact spirits and to direct reincarnations. The former are the kindergarten versions; by comparison most shamans and lamas were doing advanced graduate work before they were ten. It doesn’t matter; you begin where you are.

Football quarterbacks, baseball pitchers and hockey wings are building thoughtforms via energy fields and dispatching them into the universe as something subtler than the ostensible purpose and outcomes of balls, spirals, and pucks of their games.

Baseball, hockey, football, and golf may not be “serious” in a conventional psychospiritual sense, but they are legitimate thoughtforms—foci—arising from the universe and assimilating themselves as such back into their own discrete planes. At a karmic level, these are much vaster than “baseball,” “football,” “cricket,” or whatever; the balls and quoits are points of energy, tiny stars moving through microcosmic skies, creating meaning fields around their players, whether honed into concrete objects or kept as tulpas. They progress eventually into the energy patterns that they actually are—even croquet wickets and shuffleboard disks have cosmic origins and predispositions.

Every event and act, no matter how incidental, not only has psychic and psychospiritual resonance but means exactly what it is in the context in which it is happening—there is no way out.

You have to consider that the universe is operating with multiple decks of transdimensional, quantum-entangled, superpositional “cards” and is dealing them millisecond by millisecond to cast new fortunes on an intergalactic basis. Mind and matter are more than quantum entangled and superposed—the physicists’ high bar for baseline weirdness—they are the same thing at different frequencies.

Even gambling addicts stationed before slot machines are engaged in transubstantiation, feeding gods and the universe. Hitting the jackpot is only their cover story.

 

Those who grade frequencies by Planes of Consciousness (as defined in traditional Hindu or theosophical lore) identify seven ranges of vibration in our operating range, each divide into seven subplanes or finer differentiations of energy. All seven planes may be in our daily range, but only the lower tiers of the densest three spheres are part of most people’s everyday reality. These include the Physical sector of the Physical-Etheric plane corresponding to our physical reality, the denser part of the Astral sphere corresponding to our emotional reality, and the Mental sphere of the Mental-Causal plane corresponding not only to our conscious thoughts but the physical organization of nature.

The Etheric aspect of the Physical-Etheric plane contains energies involved in the formation of our physical bodies as well as the interzone leading to other dimensions and frequencies where different sorts of intelligence and probabilities exist. The upper Astral contains energies that refine emotions into landscape inhabited by subtle beings describe by humans as elves, fairies, mermaids, slyphs, and the like. These entities have their own autonomous existences but come into being here only as we think them, even as we come into being for them as they imagine us. That’s what a fairy or leprechaun is. The Causal realm marks the flow of energy from the greater cosmos that establishes cause and effect in our zone of reality; it is also the staging area in which the Soul develops the capacity for human identity and action in realms too dense and literal for it to penetrate.

Nothing readily accessible to humans exists above the Mental subplanes, so the Causal subplanes mark the beginning of a high dimensional spectrum. At the Buddhic level, group consciousness and innate compassion and empathy come into being, a possibility we grasp but have trouble enacting. Instead of realizing Buddhic harmony we descend into Astral quarrelling. At the Atmic frequency, this reality harmonizes with other interstellar, intergalactic intelligence systems and entities. At the Monadic frequency, the same signal harmonizes with interdimensional intelligence systems and entities. The Adi frequency corresponds to pure emptiness before manifestation, as it holds the potential of our entire range of reality.

Advanced psychics and other pundits and yogis speak of information flowing through the universe outside the human operating system. They identify ones as beyond Adi report that it is not so much higher intelligence as indecipherable cosmic and private gossip that has nothing to do with the human situation. That means not just that it is irrelevant to us, it is also about things that we had no way of comprehending even the existence of. These higher spheres beyond the seven planes are not more important, just different from how we receive information, think, and act. Imagine trying to explain the rules of football to a fly buzzing around a field. Even presuming the capacity to process the information, the fly would have no use for it.

The greater universe incorporates ego-mind’s consciousness with thermodynamics, relativity, quantum entanglement, string topology, karma and the like. Its construct is so complex and multicentric that the so-called unified field theories of Stephen Hawking and his peer cosmologists can’t hold a thimble to it. The relationship of their paradigms to the true model of All That Is is less than the energy deficit to Jupiter of an Earth-launched satellite using the planet’s gravitational field for a boost to the outer Solar System (by comparison to the entire Jovian mass)—about one electron.

They don’t understand: though not per se intent on confounding us, the universe takes form often from directions in which we are not looking as per cosmic-trickster animals, in different native cultures coyotes, wolverines, lynxes, spiders, guinea pigs, and crows. Nature doesn’t think the way we do any longer, so we feel blindsided. Our participation in a technological society causes us to look for causation in caricatures of thermodynamics and interstellar machines.

Thought technology has succeeded shamanism in our internalized conception of what sort of a universe this is, let’s not forget that when the various shamanic systems on Earth were in their ascendance and renaissance, during the Stone Age and the Neolithic and to some degree right up to the scientific revolution, there was no expedient technology for addressing human needs, mechanical systems that we take for granted now. We call it the Stone Age for a reason: its vibrations as well as its raw materials were stone and wood. Various modes of shamanic invocation filled the gap between mind and matter, providing if not food, shelter, medicine, and energy in terms we routinely demand now, their equivalents on psychic levels.

Those possibilities still exist alongside other shamanic arts: travelling in hyperdimensional space, healing etherically and astrally, remotely viewing nonlocal objects. We have no idea what the actual possible range of shamanism is because we are not practicing it or observing its operation in an epoch before analytical science and mechanical technology changed our perspective regarding the nature of the cosmos. We have lost an innate sense what thoughtforms can accomplish, what their basic context was in environments in which shamanism arose as addressed to the precise issues it arose in response to. Except in abstract mathematics we have lost a sense of the navigability of multiple dimensions and with it the contactability of sentient spirit forms elsewhere, and the useful applications of various voodoos, tonglens, affirmations, and reikis,

Belief plays a huge role in effective transmutation and voodoo. You can’t enter a universe you don’t believe in—that is, you can’t absolutely enter a universe you do not believe in absolutely.

Shamanism shifts consciousness, allows one inside the mind of a jaguar or crow (or cactus or vine)—not inside the crow’s or cactus’ thoughtstream but inside a hybrid human-cactus intelligence and informational flow at a human-accessible vibration. In machine- and technology-dominated cultures, humans gain exterior powers—they change the extant landscape on the physical plane—but they lose corresponding interior powers, modes of divinations, and conduits of transpersonal information and healing.

There is a difference between an FDA-approved drug and a shamanically derived drug in terms of not only efficacy but qualities, meanings, long-term effects, and depth of mind-body-spirit penetration.

While diagnostic tests seek the external signs of a pathology, shamanism, homeopathy, osteopathic palpation, and acupuncture attempt to arouse vital forces from an etheric vibration before their blockage manifests pathologically. This is “cell talk”: the healer breaking into a system that lies at the heart of embodiment but which is integrated beneath our capacity to access except by such proxy. A full MRI after the treatment would show nothing different from its equivalent before the treatment, but something critical would have changed, something invisible in a material sense.

Most shamans admit that they use chicanery in order to treat illnesses. One indigenous healer told a professor friend that he regularly used sleight of hand and duplicity, yet he insisted that it didn’t matter because it was only a ploy to change a client’s stuck mindset, to open the larger matrix. “Western doctors open people up like car mechanics,” the healer explained, “and then they try to fix them by putting in new parts. We heal them by changing their belief systems.”

If biological disease is created by the stubbornness of a particular belief, translated through cellular messaging into tissue pathology, it is necessary to trigger and change the underlying energy, sometimes with a prop. Blood-stained feathers, a jaguar’s paw, a piece of quartz from the “body” of a Dreamtime serpent take on a transference-like role are and also catalyze enzymatic active—likewise the sudden impact of a painted face, a costume, a chant. These events do not merely startle, they are transubstantiatonal.

Quesalid, a Koskimo shaman interviewed by anthropologist Franz Boas late in his life, told the ethnographer that he understood that that the bloody down he pulled out of the sick person’s psychic field and aura presented to him as his concrete disease was itself a sham, but over time he had arrived at a more profound understanding of the matter—that something else was happening on another level. The sleight-of-hand and blood and feathers constituted transformational theater on behalf of spirit forms. Each of his patients understood these totem powers in their own ways as they activated a chain of symbols and meanings. A well-chosen prop could be converted psychically into parasympathetic or psychosomatic activity into healing energy: movement through a sand-painting or a dramatic extraction of an apparent “disease entity.” The proof is that, even knowing that the bloody down is chicanery, a medicine man would still call on a fellow practitioner to treat him in this manner if he became sick.

Like shamans we trick ourselves, regularly in fact, moment to moment in doing the unconscious work necessary to sustain our subtle beings; it is probably how we got born too. Religious scholar Jeffrey Kripal explains the underlying paradox:

“It is almost as though the real needs the fake to appear at all, as if the fact relies on the fiction to manifest itself…. It is not as if the appearance of the sacred can be reduced to a simple trick, as if the shaman is just a sham. It is as if the sacred is itself tricky. Even the well-documented medical placebo, after all, is a fake that has real effects…. [P]sychical researcher Russell Targ…first became aware of the reality of telepathy when, as a young stage magician in New York, he realized that he was receiving genuine telepathic information from within the mentalist trick he was performing on stage. The trick was a trick, but it was also, somehow, catalyzing the real deal.” [p. 52].

Chicanery not only activates a deeper matrix of links, it is the only way to trigger it. Targ later became skilled enough at remote viewing that he was hired by the Pentagon to locate Soviet military installations telepathically. And those folks don’t mess around with New Age twaddle: if it works, it goes into the arsenal. Targ’s remote viewing worked, so military officers wanted to be taught how to perform the same “trick.”

According to Kripal, hoaxes by phony fortune-tellers and staged séances can lead to “accurate and veridical information, [for instance] about the time, nature, or details of the death, all unknown and unknowable to the supraliminal self until the subliminal or telepathic communication occurs.” [p. 76]. On a higher dimensional level, all options are in play, psychic and psychotronic and quantum-entangled, to make the universe work as it does.

In a similar vein Frederic Myers and his associates identified a gap between a myth or symbol and the reality of numinous experience. Mere description, factual history, and a practitioner’s empirical perspective are not adequate to unravel true metaphysical knots, nor is the prevailing scientistic conflation of rationalism and materialism. [43] You need deceptions, scams, hoaxes—process and reality, not ordinances and rules. You need the bumptious action of life itself, with its contradictions, whims, and flows of nonsense. Remember, the poltergeist is operating at simultaneous quantum and psychic levels as well as in uncertainty states.

Far from being boggled by flimflam, the universe is immeasurably enhanced; hoaxed and delusional transmissions, as incorporated, deepen and fructify it.

Katie and Nogorigatu are not only tied together at unconscious and subliminal levels; they are engaged in a series of feints and cons, clandestine renegotiations and plots, in order to trick each other, in this case into identity itself, reminiscent of the Harry Chapin lines: “I found you a thousand times; / I guess you done the same; / But then we lose each other; / It’s like a children’s game.”

 

Death Pictures

The Afterlife of Billy Fingers: How My Bad-Boy Brother Proved to Me There’s Life After Death centers around Annie Kagan’s dialogues with her brother after his sudden passing. The power of her receipts lies not in their plausibility or originality but in the nature of the information and, if authentic, Billy’s higher-dimensional permission to break the seal between the living and the dead.

In life, Billy (nicknamed Fingers by himself at age sixteen after he lost the tip of one finger while working in a welding factory) was a petty criminal, drug addict, and chronic jailbird when he was struck by a taxi while crossing the street after leaving the emergency room of South Miami (Florida) Hospital, his hospital ID cuff still on his wrist.

The fact that an esoteric module was transmitted by such a person rather than a lama or priest has a particular value in that, if authentic, it speaks to a nonlinear universe that can be nonlinear in ironical and contradictory ways.

Billy’s initially approached his sister after his death as an utterance from on high on her birthday just as she was waking up. She heard Billy’s voice calling her name as if in a comic book called All the Young Dudes Deliver the News. “Hey, gal, it’s me, your deceased bro” sounds a sibling playing a prank on his kid sis, but this was a super-prank from a supernatural hiding place. Next, Billy urged her to fetch a red notebook, his birthday present to her a year earlier—he wanted to dictate.

I am moved by Kagan’s account, and I have major difficulties with it. I will try to characterize both.

First the difficulties. A voice in the void is too casually Hollywoodesque for me, like George Burns playing God or how Edgar Rice Burroughs got John Carter to Mars: in effect no mechanism at all. While reading, I was willing to give Kagan the benefit of the doubt because of the heartfulness and goodwill of Billy’s transmission. My suspicions increased, however, after a brief email exchange with the author. I sent her an early version of this book in which I excerpted sections of her book for comment. I told her clerarly that I intended to remove these placeholders.

In her reply she did not appear to have read anything but what I wrote about Billy. Her response was that it “seemed off”—just those two words. She said that she was too busy to read the book but that neither she nor her publisher would allow me to quote at such length.

Her tone activated my latent skepticism. I would have expected the same sort of bounteous enthusiasm and curiosity I would have if my deceased brother began talking to me. Billy’s transmission should have awakened her capacity for heartfulness. Instead I got territoriality, as if she were the commissioner of the NBA and I were violating the league trademark.

In her book Kagan didn’t interrogate the voice in the void at all; she didn’t specify or characterize its emergence in the way one expect if a dead person suddenly started talking out loud. How she did she determine that it was externally derived and that it was Billy. Was it loud or soft, recordable, undecibelled? If it was sounded, did she try to record it? If it was telepathy, why not say so?

In claims of paranormal events, instrumentation and contrivance are curcial. Kagan’s indifference suggests, if not duplicity, evasion and/or fluid reification.

After our exchange, I was put on an email list to receive regular self-help messages from what Ms. Kagan called her “secret Billy stash.” Each of the snippets was signed with love, “Billy Fingers From the Cosmos.” Later Kagan identified her brother by the cringe-worthy “Billyfucious” and “Billyfucious Say.” The general drift was, ‘change your role, change your life,’ ‘the self-comparison game,’ and ‘life is not meant to be smooth and la-di-da.”

Even so, “Billy Fingers” has a ring of validity, whether it itself is a primary-source transmission or secondary reconstruction.

There are no spiritual cons as such; Annie Kagan cannot perpetrate spiritual hoax, even if she does. Spiritual hoaxes are first steps only. If Kagan plagiarized Billy’s messages from other literature, she put her own spin them. A person cannot help creating actual afterlife pictures from his or her own unconscious memories and aura, even when making them up. Science-fiction and fantasy tales, narratives that are meant to be imaginary, represent “the greater reality from which we spring [and]…send messages from there to the selves we know.” [162]

So Kagan can only tell the truth; it is just a matter of which truth. Billy’s cables, even if imaginary, are real.

Another possibility is that Kagan is receiving a different transmission, but a literary device is the only way she can put it into terms that a reader can grok. A signal is passing through Annie’s personality, whether an actual message coming from Billy or her imagination or fabrication of Billy. A similar defense has been offered by Carlos Castaneda apologists regarding his tales of his encounters with Don Juan, which also involve nonlocal consciousness. Their explanataion is that the events themselves are fictionalized in such a way to get across an esoteric sequence of events that would otherwise be incommunicable. If retold as they seemed to occur, the logistics would overwhelm the message.

If someone experienced hours’ worth of events in a less than a second, as Castaneda claimed with buzzing insects, he might well depict it by hours of narrative. In that vein, note Whitley Strieber’s accounts of alien visitation. From reading them one doesn’t know if WS experienced a dream, a hallucination, ET abduction, visitors from another dimension, creatures from his own id, future time-traveling humans, or something not yet on our drawing board.

Kagan’s desire to manifest her brother and get closure with him helped raise the consciousness of tens of thousands of people while providing comfort and healing energy to countless others. She can’t one-up reality or outbid the universe, as Quesalid and other shamans realized in their day. The universe holds the last card, and it doesn’t even have to be one from the deck you are dealing. Even a hoax generates a meaning set and authentic energy stream.

 

Billy first describes being hit by a car and then being sucked out of his body by a rush of energy; he enters a higher realm, a festive land of silvery lights. In the transition he did not feel speed as much as inherent motion and change. Calling it a “cosmic birthing canal,” he reported his bliss in arriving there as incompatible with the human body. The welcoming zone had a cocktail-party-like atmosphere, a sort of Gershwin Rainbow Body.

He recalls floating weightlessly through space with “gorgeous stars and moons and galaxies” glimmering all about him, while he is listening to a distant intoxicating sound like a celestial choir but also like wind or rain or ocean waves but more musical and with a rhythmic pulsation that keeps changing, every now and them becoming more melodic, an occasional female voice intoning in an unfamiliar language.

Even our world’s reality-state has a vibration-trance with a low-level background hum. Check it out. It is subtle, but it is there, buzzing away—the song of existence. If you get subtle enough, you can sense the emission output of this reality in its etheric field.

In a supposed channeling of atheist Bertrand Russell by medium Rosemary Brown, Russell remarks, “I felt earth-life suddenly very unreal as though it had never happened. It took me quite a long time to understand this feeling until I realized at last that matter is certainly illusory, although it does exist in actuality; the material world seemed now nothing more than a seething, changing restless sea of indeterminate density and volume.” [EL108]

As to the gee-whiz wise-guy, almost clipped tone of Billy’s account, using terms like “main event,” “party lights,” and “cheering me on,” I am struck by how like a comic book it is rather than a church-toned melodrama of the sort that no one believes anyway. Superman got from Krypton to Earth just as iconographically.

Jeffrey Kripal proposes that superhero comics are where esoteric events and magical powers combine in friezes that people subliminally recognize as true. “Goodbye, Kal-El: Hello, Clark Kent” transcends its surface kitsch, as if an invisible choir of angels, totem beasts, and old souls is cheering us on, trying to get Earth as well over the hump into the cosmos.

Billy reassures his sister that the universe is good and that happiness beyond imagination awaits us. He tells her that he has been granted a high order of clearance to transmit sacred information. His bad-boy act was a phase in his dawning of self-recognition. Without it, he could not have arrived at his present state. He needed his wasted drug withdrawals and moments of despair in order to cultivate a frequency that could receive and transmit esoteric facts.

Before him flows magical stream, fluctuating with the colors of the chakras. Though only a few yards wide, it seems to wend forever with sounds that are a mixture of electric chimes and a gong. Billy senses his selfhood blending with the water-like flow. The sounds in the background begin organizing into a sacred music that he realizes he always heard during his recent lifetime too but at an unconscious level.

The stream gradually replaces his Earth body and its vestigial memory, and a new corporealness is grafted by a blue-white sphere, as he is re-lit by the original candle or sun in the healing chamber after death.

Suddenly in the vast stellar-like space Billy sees his first wife Ingrid as a constellation, a of a woman doing “a feminine dance of love.” Ingrid’s stars and planets tell the stories of the different stages of her proximal life: a blonde baby digging sand, a teenager dancing on stage, a young woman strung out on cocaine, a doleful hag doing time in prison. Billy sees the vivid strands of her anger blended into an energetic pattern such that at a Soul level they are harmonious and, as their Souls circle each other in galaxy-like displays, he understands why he loved her in the first place.

This vision is operating at Billy’s level of perception as well as his sister’s capacity to receive his vibration. Before you discount it as New Age glitter, try gauge if it describes a possible experience. What else might another soul look like after death? It is probably less a ghost or pneuma than a solar system or even a galaxy at the full scope of its multidimensional fields viewed collectively through their Akashic summation. Novelist D. H. Lawrence provided a similar perspective:

“There is only one clue to the universe … the individual soul within the individual being. That outer universe of suns and moons and atoms is a secondary affair … the death-result of living individuals.”

 

Psychic Ellias Lonsdale’s transmission from his partner Sarah after her death from metastasizing breast cancer depicts her meeting with the Lord of Death and passage through myriad different forms of death based on various myths and imaginings. Though Lonsdale and Fingers are experiencing and transmitting radically divergent portals, their death pictures each ring true in different ways. As channeled by Ellias, Sarah reports:

“When the time was ripe, I was guided to take the world’s heaviest karmas into my body and transmute them to the point where I felt ready to embrace my innermost destiny. Just before I died, all the circuits started to click in and show me what I was to do, how I was to do it, and the exquisite rightfulness in what looked like a tragedy. Among the instructions was the core message: You are now to dive through death, sink to the bottom of the death realms, and pull up to the surface the living soul who is your own vast and limitless self awaiting you there. When you have her, bring her to the ones who sent you out upon your journey. They shall bring you towards the ultimate event for which you have always been preparing to meet.

“I did as I was told. The death sharks could not get any grip on me. I was far too slippery for them. I was all water. I dove far under their vigilant guard and came to the living soul, the vast one awaiting me so expectantly and joyously. [p. 24].”

No floating among party lights for this girl, she is headed for the great alembic: crucifixion and transubstantiation: “I died ready to die. I eagerly looked forward to starting my greater work. My surface consciousness was whittled to almost nothing, so I pierced right through it in the birth moment and became the breath of the deep. My subtle awareness bubbled to the top. My outer-mind permanent split open, and I walked onward with far clearer awareness and more open space into the unknown.

“Immediately the threshold encounters of every previous death ever experienced were there with me, flooding through my soul, and lighting up the death path into a multicolored path. I was literally taken by the light into a place peopled with my previous deaths and divine beings. The Veiled One, at the center of them, more vivid than the rest, escorted me to meet those whom I karmically needed to encounter first.” [p. 55]

Billy captures the overlay of euphoria at continuing to exist, and projects that onto the tabula rasa of the cosmos. His celebration recalls soul singer James Brown: “I feel good, / I knew that I would now / So good, so good.” Why not? James Brown was celebrating cosmic existence, whatever the proximal inspiration.

Billy explains that human amnesia comes in a big pop that accompanies birth. His comment reminds me spookily of “all around the mulberry bush / the monkey chased the weasel. Half a pound of tuppenney rice, / Half a pound of treacle, / Mix it up and make it nice, / Pop! goes the weasel.”

Sarah reports the sheer complexity, gravitas, and depth of ongoing beingness in a Creation. From where she is, transit into a beautiful, angelic, and fun-filled theme park could not sustain its illusion beyond a first dose of enchantment. To be trapped in paradise—in a light that casts no shadows—is to be mired in an inert state without possibility of depth, substance, or creative transformation, be cast into the abyss of sacred unity and its self-contained infinity.

Only after passing through many false Death realms does Sarah confront the Lord of Death Himself. How does he operate? He matches each person’s picture of him, each Death Image transposed into its own reality. The fetid corpse, the loathsome rot and decay, the maudlin funeral parlor, the merciless pyre consuming molecular residue, the irreclaimable loss of a cherished being both by herself and by those who knew and loved her—are powerful representations of the negative projection of Death.

But the Lord of Death is not any one of these forms; he is the concurrent vibration of all forms that separate the living from the dead—a ground conditionality casting an array of Death pictures. Even a soul that becomes a zombie-like ghost eventually begins to experience its real death—its transmutation into another phase of itself. The damned in hell realms wander outside a soul shift only as long as they remain in thrall to the Lord Master of Illusion Himself.

If a professional skeptic arriving from the Earth plane expects Death to be eternal nothingness or annihilation, he or she can probably veg in pretend non-existence for eons of Earth-time, denying his own continued psychic activity and pulse, until it becomes absolutely impossible to refute the obvious persistence of his own beingness. Some people’s journey is conditioned by the fact that they would rather endure nullity or eternal pain than who they actually are. They need to lose everything before they can have everything because this is the way the universe supplies the necessary resistance and negative capability to settle through its texture into its roots and true profundity.

A person who is denying that he still exists (because conscious beingness is impossible without a body and a brain) may take century-equivalents to recognize that something is denying the possibility of its own existence. Eventually he must respond to the fact that he is not not.

 

As Billy’s death drama fades, he begins to shed his life’s myriad memories of occurrences like washed-out black-and-white photographs against the brilliant manifestation of his own Source Luminosity. All of life’s horrors and wonders fall away, as the backdrop of other lifetimes as well as existence itself takes primacy. But that is not a permanent state either. Beyond a golden-white light, Billy sees a radiating disk of even greater luminosity: the Divine Presence. It calls him by his Soul name, a rune he recognizes from before he was summoned to his recent life on Earth. As he perceives his former self, he goes to it, jettisoning everything else.

Later he tells Annie that he was standing on a solid ground, incandescent and rough like the Moon’s surface, not dusty however but glistening and translucent, made of crystallized light. The sky was a pink mist so fragrant that it caused him almost to swoon. Then he found himself staring at a beautiful woman twice his height. She had a Hindu goddess vibe, rings, bracelets, and precious stones around her feet, a tiara of golden light circling her head, as she floated in air, moving her hands in a mudra-like dance. As she and he came face to face, they mirrored each other. He grew taller and thinner to match her presence, and she addressed him in an intoxicating flute-like voice and sang her name, Shvara.

Her presence and perfume were something he had been seeking all his life on Earth. As she led him while continuing to make mudras, he followed in complete devotion, captivated by every part of her. Even her feet were benevolent, seductive, and intelligent. Then he realized that numberless other folks like himself crossing bridges toward a White Building, each changing to resemble his or her Tribe Leader.

He is lucky, he says, to have Shvara as his guide, but he realizes that each person feels that way, as he or she matches his or her own Soul reflection.

When Billy and Shvara reach the top of the bridge, they find themselves alone at an archway built into the stone wall of the White Building. Their stones are opalescent, made of energy, their solidity a mere optic projection from habit. Cosmic wisdom formulas are built into these stones, so Shvara instructs Billy how to receive these by holding his hands a few inches from the holograph. Suddenly every element of his desiring is replaced by a strand of knowledge—absolute yearning turns into absolute being.

Life on Earth is the obverse—a translation of wisdom formulas into landscapes and crises.

Shvara leads him to a golden dome of light that becomes a cave with pictures of blossoms carved around its entrance. She is floating above a still pond on which a circle of lotus buds suspends. Her golden gown has become sheer and he sees a hint of her body underneath. Her dance is a flirtation, showing Earth’s erotic states to be a reflection of cosmic seduction, a strip-tease, disclosing the mystical basis of sexuality and desire. Pornography transmits sacred information, as the allure of sexual desire leads into unconscious mystery states. What seems salacious at one level, and biological at another, is a powerfully esoteric event impinging itself on a reality that doesn’t recognize it.

Shvara initiates an even more complex motion while holding a violet flame, her hips swaying back and forth. The blossom shimmers with Billy’s past lives, shaded purple or red and illuminating the golden petals of their lotus flowers. He watches who he was, who he is; what he did, what he will become, who his accompanists were and will be in each past and future lifetime.

Then one solitary bud arises from inside the pond, larger than the others and covered with mud. It flickers and flares in the light of the cave. It is his last life, and it joins the petals of others in a pinwheeeling ceremony of life-and-death cycles.

Next Shvara offers him a cup of the milky nectar of the pond. It is sweet and pungent; he is barely ready for its deluge of wisdom and awakening. A golden dragon forms at the top of the cave, a fierce-looking being with fiery eyes. Devoted to him, it has been his guardian and guide through many lifetimes. Personification is not the issue now. It is all persona, identity, source. The great emptiness of the absolute leads from somewhere to somewhere else. Where else could it lead?

As Dustin DiPerna puts it: “We are always in some sort of state. States are an ever-present part of our experience.”

It is all one grand hoax.

 

Worshipping the Algorithm, or Dumbing Down the Universe

This phase of egoically disclosed reality, scientists believe (and by way of summary), is a bioelectrical mirage—both as viewer and view—generated by the random break of particles following the original “pool shot” known as the Big Bang (which might be one of many Big Bangs that routinely destroy universes and create new ones from their debris). Life, conscious awareness, and personal identity are created solely by algorithms. There is no other bottom to All That Is or basis of reality. My Amherst College classmate Sid Schwab expressed these matters articulately in a class-chatroom debate on the topic:

“Nowadays I barely have a concept of yesterday. Who can grok billions of years? I can’t, but I’m pretty sure it’s enough time for evolution to make a brain. It can make MRSA overnight, after all. There are billions of planets in billions of galaxies. There may or may not be life somewhere else; and if there is, it may or may not resemble ours. That we are who we are is remarkable, but demands some sort of non-physical explanation only to the extent that we’re unable to see ourselves as a very unlikely result of random happenings. The chances are one in who knows how many billions of billions that life (whatever it is) happened here, of all places? But it did, and here we are. If it hadn’t, we wouldn’t be. That’s the least and most of what there is to it. That there are, presumably, countless non-life-bearing galaxies serves to confirm that, rather than a result of intent, we’re a happy accident. All the reason we need to enjoy it while we can, in whatever way we can, without adding more mystery. Unless it’s what you need. In which it’s cool. Part of the mystery.”

He gets that there is a mystery, but he doesn’t dawdle there for more than the half second it takes a self-sure party to pass over the obvious. Yet entire universes within the universes were created in that unexplored elision. Whether mind can form separate from its meanings—whether life or even a universe for that matter can arise for essentially thermodynamic reasons in the middle of nowhere—is both an epistemological and ontological question and is precisely where the two converge and become one. Can there be a thermodynamic reason or disposition without the ontological and epistemological attempt to assay it and then separate it from any teleology? Where the ontological issue collides with the epistemological issue and both engage the Darwinian-versus-teleological riddle, all options and interpretations generate one another at a deeper level. The Buddhist ground luminosity does not oppose the Big Bang or evolution; it ties ontology and epistemology together at a level that is both etiologically profound and cognizant of our paradoxical place as a cosmologist in a universe we view only through our own existence.

Once you commit your devotion and idolatry to the Algorithm, everything manifested, known, and imagined must lie therein: every feeling, every feeling about every feeling, every product of every assembly line, every work of art and response to every work of art, every passion, every design and hope, every intimation and whisper in the dark, even the derivation of the algorithm, even the mystery of existence comes out of the algorithm.

You have to grasp the full scope and implication of this: everything is fundamentally rootless, contextless, and caueless. Everything you are and believe and know, as well as the thoughtforms of Plato, Augustine, Aquinas, and Einstein, paintings on the caves of Lascaux and Chauvet, the Qabalistic Creation on the Tree of Life all rose for similar “no reasons” nowhere, and there is nothing holding them to existence, no framing.

The algorithm is so clever that it can reflect back every subtlety that it generates at infinitely infinitesimal levels of depth and nuance, recognizing them at numberless portals knowing themselves discretely as themselves. But that should be no surprise because the algorithm invented itself and its capacity for exactly such depth and reflection. It is not just an algorithm but an algorithm’s algorithm. Thereby inchoate chaos becomes choate—as if there could be a difference in an algorithm, except that that difference, like the binary sequence of zeros and ones, can create everything out of nothing.

Blind analytics is the database of modernity, the capital owed to the shareholders of the corporate takeover of reality, payoff for the debt financing that has underwritten it. Consciousness was invented by molecular shuffling ex nihilo. It didn’t exist previously in any way, shape, form, or foreshadowing. It is an unlikely royal flush without predecessors, bridesmaids, or wardens. Human existence is a side-effect and distortion of entropy.

Any assertion of telepathy, reincarnation, God, or a Soul encounters not only the ideological resistance of materialist reductionism but commonsense extrapolations of educated, rational folks like Sid. His barrage of logical skepticisms and incredulities represent the third-degree cross-exam of modern atheism:

“Why, for example, if past lives/reincarnation are a thing, do so few people—mere handfuls, compared to all the lives lived and living—think they know of them? Why only under “hypnosis?” What would be ‘the point,’ if there’s no recollection? I watch my grandson discover the world and find it wondrous; but I see no evidence of influence of a prior life. (Why not, at least, be born knowing how to use a toilet?) If everything must be relived and re-acquired and re-learned, is there a point to it? Doesn’t seem like part of a larger truth. And I can’t help but be tied to the notions of self and brain function. I suppose reincarnation is a gift given only to a few. Do all of those have access to their prior lives? What distinguishes them from the billions and billions who don’t and didn’t? If my mom’s in heaven, did she go there in her final state of dementia? Or did she unwind to a certain point? Age 60? 20? Did she get to choose? If not, how does it work? And what of children who die agonizing and premature deaths at the hand our our loving god? Do they stay three years old? Or do they age like bottle of wine? It’s pretty clear, neurophysiologically, that who we are is intimately related to wht goes on in our brains. Does metabolism have a heavenly form? If our souls are that which is independent of such matters, in what way do we relate, in heaven or wherever people like me will find themselves, to who we were? If it’s an entirely different existence lasting for all of eternity, what’s the point this immeasurably brief time in physical form? If it’s a test-run to determine our level of reward, isn’t it a little disproportionate? It’d be like having my two-year-old grandson take the SAT and determine the rest of his life from that. Only a billion trillion zillion times more unfair. If god has a plan for us all, why not just plunk us into heaven and get it over with? Less time than the single vibration of an electron, in cosmic time, to determine all eternity?”

All reasonable challenges by a smart, intellectually organized surgeon. Yes, in an existential or Zen sense, that’s how you have to play it. But I don’t think it’s possible in the larger sense for an intricate, differentiating eddy to form in the middle of nowhere as extrinsic thermodynamic formations without root or basis.

Yet there is no response to these questions that will pass muster in a scientific forum and court of law. Any outsider knowledge is inductive and subjective and comes from direct contemplation of the vortex that gives rise to Self. In ancient times, that was acceptable; revelation and shamanic trance were legitimate forensics. No more.

Does Sid not think that the universe is complicated enough to handle all his contradictions and still run the machinery that gives rise to them? Couldn’t All That Is not be exponentially more than All That is Materially Manifesting?

Does he not consider that his brief of contradictions, absurdities, and paradoxes might define the universe’s complexity as well as limitations inherent in our view? I would say the same think to Stephen Hawking: you are dumbing down the universe. Any notion that your model approaches the dimensionality of All That Is not even the mouse that roared but the mitochondrion that roared.

We are inside something so complex that we can neither comprehend nor depict it, and a crucial part of its complexity is that fact that we are both conscious and inside and that it can take on quite different, even contradictory appearances that seem absolute reality states. All the conflict, grief, suffering, violation, injustice, and hardship define the complexity of something that would be far too simple to sustain its full thick, capacious reality without them. Yes, they are what they are and represent moral and epistemological challenges and opportunities for growth and knowledge, but they are also the shape, the root, the source—and what they are the source of is so immense and intricate as to need them and everything else. But why not, its challenge is to encompass all of space and time, all of everything, all that is, was, and will be, forever without distorting internally or collapsing under the weight. The most real things arise from within the vortex and return mysteriously to the vortex, and we perceive them or their context neither before nor after. At the same time, we are lodged within incontrovertible belief systems that are as briar-patchy as they are provincial.

Does Sid not realize that that the distinction between the logic he expects the universe to follow and the logic actually being followed marks not only the difference between an ideologically materialistic universe and a universe of multiple dimensions, not all of them physical, but the difference at a far deeper level between both of these and All That Is?

Why does he assume that if he can’t figure out the answers it is because there are none or that these are the only (or even) the right questions to ask of a universe?

Does he really imagine that the universe pays heed to his own cultural reality and its interrogating rationale or basis for cosmic jurisprudence? Certainly Pawnee, Ojibwa, Dogon, Zulu, Yahgan, Kurengappa, and Mandinka philosophers don’t put the same spin on our situation, hence don’t encounter the same paradoxes. Check any of them out. I am speaking of their dead-reckoned definition of life and personal identity, not their scientific cosmology which lacks the instrumentation to track causal sequences.

Instead of taking place in the middle of nowhere for no reason, the Apache universe starts out with nothing existing and space indistinguishable from time. Then “there appears a spot, a thin circular disk, no larger than the hand, yellow on one side, white on the other, in mid air.” This is a statement of consciousness about itself without the contamination of Mind. So are the rest; they were developed and told and grew over thousands of generations

Because primitive and prescientific peoples used mind itself to reflect gods that, once its method of reflection was dissected and deconstructed, weren’t there meant, to post-scientific empiricists that the mirror had to go flat and have nothing be there.

The Amherst chatroom’s prima facie argument for the rude, vestigial cosmologies of indigenous folks was that human beings, in a fundamentally meaningless existential sojourn in a soul-less universe, need to believe in something for comfort and solace. By one phrasing or another, wishful thinking is what they arrived at.

Except that the Apache didn’t live in a soul-less, mind-overridden universe.

Modernity is a stubborn refusal, denial, and dismissal of the notion that unminded consciousness might be a thing in itself, of which we partake; that our own portion was there before we were born and will go on in some fashion after we cease. Why a blind mirror or nothing?

What is the downside of believing that our meanings, values, and personal identities have archetypal precursurs that shift from plane to plane? Is it not possible that Platonic forms operate in concert with algorithmic emergences, the former tied to a multidimensional pantheon, the latter drawing their essentialism from frequencies at which intricately vibrating strings issue denser zones as if existential situations that arise as such in the middle of nowhere? How do we know how a physical platform, or any sort of platform, is created anyway? All we see is a Big Bang and lots of particles bottoming out in empty space filled with probabilistic asterisms.

Neutrons and protons are simply empty spaces constellated by quarks, quarks themselves are empty spaces configured around asterisms of rishons, and all of it get translated into temporary atomic and molecular configurations. These make up physical space, so-called reality. Scientists developing and employing more subtle tools for getting to more subterranean levels of matter find only space and discrete configuring components operating on a probabilistic basis such that we cannot confirm that this reality is rooted in anything more than numberless parallel realities generated by the emanations or pulsations of the same configurations. There may not be a physical world separate of a consensus frequency for reading nonphysical vibrational fluctuations. Only if you are totally committed to honoring that consensus hum and the reality vibrating at its frequency, the frequency of atoms and molecules, do you accept this reality as the whole shebang, the meaningless, contextless nothing that sprang in the middle of nowhere for nowhere. But quarks, electrons, and atoms are only the energy waves at which the greater reality is vibrating, then the universe (All That Is) outside their frequency could be anything at all, and the experiences we have here, joy and pain, the wisdom we accrue from having lived at one of the frequencies of Creation, takes on a solely different meaning and outcome in terms of the greater pantheon of Creation.

Our phenomenological awareness and its memory trail become part of a complex cognitive illusion based on a mirage, but not just any mirage: a precisely karmic mirage reflecting a fundamental meaning. By memory trail, I mean the transpersonal memory trail lodged in the aura rather than the perishable one maintained in the brain. Any “physical” emanation anywhere in All That Is manifests to beings generated at the same frequency and matching it as reality. They are real because it is “real.” Change the frequency, and the reality changes. Consciousness, mind, intelligence, whatever you would call it, is the singular energy in this unified field of reality that can change frequencies and maintain continuity. In fact, that is the definition of mind.

 

I don’t see any downside. The only downside the opposition provides is that one would be deluded if they believed in other imperceptible frequencies of reality. Carl Sagan tried that argument on me in 1972, as if the ultimate shame and defeat in the tournament of life was to believe a hoax.

I personally don’t think that that’s much of a downside at all. So you’re deluded; in a complex universe you’re going to be deluded any way you go at it. I think it is possible to believe in other planes of manifestation and not believe them literally or at the expense of the algorithm’s brilliant design work, to hold to this physical manifestation and its linear, lived bodily experience and at the same time stay open to a flood of the Soul presence in the form of wonderment, intuition, and eternal mystery.

The downside to discarding this possibility is another sort of defeat and loss: you are forced to live in a universe that is less complex than it actually is. The universe doesn’t have to be complex in any given way imagined; imaginality itself is what matches cosmic complexity at its own frequency and makes it complex and rogue vision true. That’s the very definition of art.

The overall range of inexplicable phenomena transcends our limited perspective and the pure mysteriousness of our situation. That is the actual crisis of modernity: civilization is stuck inside the contradictions implicit in its rational materialistic belief system as well as in the risks attendant in abandoning it, even for a timeout. But this is exactly where the universe wants us.

The problem with just about every mainstream unified field theory of matter and energy and the current display, Dr. Einstein’s and Stephen Hawking’s included, is in assuming that the universe is less complex than it is. Though rendering it as complex mathematically as they can with their intellects and drawing on the cumulative history of science, these folks are bottoming out an exquisitely designed reality far short of its actual level.

You either act on faith or stand at the starting gate, awaiting confirmation and proof before action, a burning bush or golden skink, a tap from a god. The god himself is waiting to be born, waiting for you to act and breathe life into him so that he can breathe it back into you.

 

In the chatroom discussion, no one adopted a middle ground. On the one side were smugly confident scientists; on the other equally assured advocates of the Bible. The class scientists and their allies couldn’t understand how highly educated Ivy League graduates could fall for religious propaganda—after all, everyone knows Old and New Testaments are full of contradictions, illogic, and ignorant conjectures by priests and scribes of primitive societies.

Meanwhile Christians couldn’t understand how their classmates didn’t see that blind prophecy transcends all of those objections because it comes from a senior source.

The middle ground does not choose the Bible or any metaphysical proposition over Darwin but recognizes the innate complexity of our situation, consciousness and personal identity included. The advocates of scientific hegemony presume a universe simple enough to unravel down to its bare cause, at least its deposition since the statistical Big Bang. In dumbing down playing field to the level of their sense organs and operate system, they end up worshipping the Algorithm in lieu of DIvinity—blind chance operating on a bevy of stuff that spilled in the middle of eternal blankness for no intrinsic reason—just happened, just spilled, just banged. No more is required.

If the Algorithm can make MRSA overnight, it can make a brain in a billion years. There is no need for innate, exogenous intelligence if a billion or three billion years can jiggle the most complicated biological phenomena out of just about anything: gibberish, bosons, fermions. The brain is only probing the Algorithm, that is, the depth of its own algorithm, as opposed to probing the intrinsic depth of something else: its own mindedness.

But what if this whole extant rigmarole were a more complex reality state that is evolving through conscious being in a nonlinear, nonarchivable manner, writing the flap of every butterfly’s wings and amoeba’s flow on its core and ineffable hard drive, making a exquisite chiasm/candelabra without conventional memory bits? That’s the middle ground. Consciousness is its key because its reflection is so infinitesimal, superpositional, and deeply internalized as against an infinite, external, merely positional cluttered universe that reflects in it. Most worlds do not harbor life—they do not harbor life at this frequency anyway—but those worlds are still reflected in our mirror.

Neither a Darwinian algorithm nor biblical intelligent design work. Reality is more along the lines of Alfred North Whitehead’s “process and reality,” e.g. “an organically evolving totality, that we exist within, that is conscious, and is mind bogglingly larger than human beings can conceive.” (The quote is not Whitehead, but I didn’t mark where it came from.) Reality is too rich, too implicate, and too downright deep for the human mind to grasp in its totality. That is why Aristotle provided four discrete versions of causation (count them)—material, efficient formal, and final, each at the scale the universe itself—and he dead-reckoned this, more or less. Remarkably we haven’t gotten beyond his matrix. Even Stephen Hawking can’t account for the full range of Aristotelian causation in his burgeoning model, despite everything else in his glittering repertoire—and Richard Dawkins certainly can’t pile shinola on that.

If you come at quantum physics not by way of entropy or through the legalistic side of Plato to Newton, but by way of Aristotle and Aquinas, Lao-Tzu and Parmenides—efficient cause, motion that can only be caused or stopped by other motion—you stealth through the backdoor but you enter. The backdoor is Intrinsic Nature, First Cause, nonseparability of cause and effect, a multiplicity of causes that combine in shapes, differential equations, functional relations, and noncausal correlations.

You don’t need a godhead for a divine presence. Divine presence imbues everything—every event and every thoughtform. If you banish it, you are still faced with idolatry—idolatry of the real, the sheer concrete real.

If you worship the Great God Algorithm, you are praying to the Idol of Nothingness. You are summoning, invoking, and affirming a universe that arises in the middle of nowhere for no reason. You are assuming that, by worshipping the Algorithm, you have found a proper substitute for God that is just as powerful, in fact even more powerful; that can do everything He can without any of the imperious stagecraft and vulgar theocratic oversplash. The Algorithm is the God of modernity: slick, efficient, cybernetic, efficient, minimalistic, microsoft.

Trouble is, the Algorithm needs selectivity as well as principles of design; else why make anything out of nothing? So there is at least one intrusive intelligence: survival itself—survival of the fittest. Why? Beyond intelligence the Algorithm is a mask through which absolute complexity is viewed by creatures who are not as complex but complex enough to perceive the Algorithm masking everything more complex. The marriage of the Algorithm with algebra in the nonillions is a perfect substitute for God or archetypal Intelligence, so it is worshipped in their stead, except that it is not called worship, it is called Peer Review, which it almost is, or Empiricism, which it is not.

Worshipping the hegemony of the Algorithm comes down to the same as Worshipping the hegemony of God, though it has less pliability because anything can come out of God, but only sand and mud and their by-products can come out of the Algorithm—like the guy said: Nothing happens forever. Nothing at All.

What my scientific classmates who attack their biblical classmates miss is that, in a truly complex universe, assigning synchronicities, anomalies, and divinations as well as consciousness itself and its sidekick personal identity to an algorithm is functionally the same as assigning them to God. At least assigning them to God leaves open the possibility of a stringier matrix and an innately more complex panoply operating under the many aliases of God. It does, however, forfeit the exquisite natural beauty of a pure algorithm generating roses and galaxies and cobras and tardigrades out of debris and baling wire, something that does unfold in a realm of perfect neo-Darwinian cadence.

The Algorithm and God need each other because neither exists in pure form. In the middle ground between them the universe opens into its actual vastness and complexity, subtlety and sheer elegance and beauty, from nebulae to grand canyons to the orbits of electrons, and from these arise all gods and all algorithms.

Hearing this, my scientific protagonists accuse me of just as peremptory a declaration of faith as that of the Bible aficionados, who find my lack of interest in the literal Bible an indication of no faith at all.

I am interested in the Algorithm as a Negative God, sacred texts as intimations of the atom and DNA through a glass darkly and before anyone could know, and I am interested in science as irony—another class scientist, Dusty Dowse, putting it best:

“You are a fluke of the Universe. You have no right to be here, and whether you can hear it or not, the Universe is laughing behind your back. Therefore make peace with your God whatever you conceive him to be, Hairy Thunderer or Cosmic Muffin. With all its hopes, dreams, promises, and urban renewal, the world continues to deteriorate. Give up.”

Okay. Give up. Start again. You have to. You’re here. You have to fill the void with something. Just like the Big Bang. You have to froth over your own latency while bottoming out any cream you can.

 

Consensus reality is just that; it is a collaborative design to which every human consciousness contributes, a reality that is designed by collective thoughtforms shared unconsciously as well as consciously. Everyone on Earth contributes to the consensus reality in which we operate and shares everyone else’s contribution. Donald Trump, jihadists of ISIS, the Dalai Lama, Bill Gates, Lady Gaga, and Malala Yousafzai are all generating the collective hallucination. No one, however evolved or radical, can put out a different signal or generate a different hallucination and design a different reality. Everyone’s signal is needed to make this reality fully cohesive and whole.

If there were a different signal, we wouldn’t recognize it in our state, but that is why other universes coexist in this realm.

For a sense of how other consensus realities might read, consider the world of spiders or owls or dolphins or leopards, each flowing together into its own collective subconscious and conscious designs. Yet even these creatures participate in weaving together with our consensus reality to produce Gaia, the Earth along with chickens and pigs in factory farms.

 

The alternative is to ask the universe what’s going on. Skeptics are going to consider that more worthless blind faith, but that doesn’t stop us from asking, all the time in fact.

The difference, Sid, Dusty, et al., is that I see this whole thing, this reality, as a manifestation, no more but no less, and though my reference wouldn’t be the Bible, it would be the Tree of Life and the Hebrew alphabet or a Hopi or Zulu Creation myth. You see it as absolute stone-solid, nothing-else, nothing-could-be-too reality. Because you have no idea how the skank got here or what it’s doing here, you presume that nothing rather than something was just as possible. Though I reject the religionists on just about every fundamentalist claim they make, I agree with them that there was always something. And I think that that something was always us. We’re the conspirators in the dark behind our own denials; we’re the counterspies we are keeping out in the cold.

At the bottom of materialism’s algorithm, reality dissolves into the nothingness that gave rise to it, an erasure that is total and erases even itself. There was nothing there to begin with, so the something that replaces it is circumstantial only, in effect nothing too. Everything of meaning, profundity, and moral value ultimately tracks back to bosons and fermions and then not even them, so meaning, depth, and moral fabric are no different from their antipode: meaninglessness, vacancy, and amorality.

From the standpoint of both existentialists and Buddhist students, there may be nothing, but it is a very fertile nothing because we can build meaning, value, freedom, and morality from it. For the existentialist, there is nothing at all, the something that is nothing. For the Buddhist, the something is an illusion so, whereas the universe, or more properly All That Is, is not fundamentally nothing, our existence is, so it is functionally the same.

To build a universe of meaning, depth, and spiritual freedom when none of it was given, to build it essentially from the products of bosons and fermions, atoms and molecules, interstellar dust and water, is almost as essential and rich as to have God do it, if not more so in some ways—of course it depends on Whom we name God—and at first glance it is actually no different from a universe that arises from its own innate intelligence. The difference is that the intelligence scales out of the muck much later in the plan, about 14 billion years later, which in eternity is nothing at all.

There is that difference between the Divine God and the Divine Algorithm. A universe that arises from a vortex of intelligence refracts that intelligence in every aspect of itself. A universe that develops intelligence out of fermions and bosons invents a novel thing that has no basis except in itself.

The basis of preexisting intelligence envelops a greater esoteric canvass. It rests on a higher caliber of Mind than on our own and, as noted, precedes physical reality (which is only one of its frequencies), and it receives our mindedness or personal identity and Soul presence back into its own. It doesn’t just dissipate or get sucked into a Black Vortex to be obliterated by the Meta-Ton Crunch. It rebounds to its source.

Intelligence can be depicted as a stipe of sorts that roots or bottoms out the Newtonian-Einsteinian universe in All That Is as a manifestation of its own indispensably evolving aspect—its ground karma. The refraction of meaning, depth, and value is finally more essential and enduring for being grounded in God, as long as God is big enough and paradoxical enough to cast the shadow of an algorithm over incarnate Earth.

These differences—between materialism and sanctification—are functionally small. After all, we interact with each other across multiple realities and continue to generate the same collective frequency of reality and inhabit it at the same vibration. But they are absolute as regards the context of that reality and what comes next.

The profundity of the universe, once the universe is bottomed out in all platforms, is that the difference between a nihilistic view that we are happenstance concatenations that will be obliterated without a memory or trace and that we are part of unity consciousness that will be absorbed back into that unity is negligible or in fact no difference at all. Since all belief systems arise from the same vortex, that all source back into that vortex and pay their final dues there. But it is even more irreproachable than that: the belief that death is final and ends all is the belief that existence is eternal and eternally changing through countless bardos in another, more profound form.

Many realities in the universe that are beyond terrestrial comprehension, individually and together, are part of a deeply unconscious interdependent universe being generated by thoughtforms everywhere and sustaining not just existences but the fact of creature and entity existence.

So let’s try another model.

 

The Soul, Multipersonhood, and Time

The theory of Multipersonhood could have come to Earth from the Pleiades for its disparity from most terrestrial belief systems—those arising in a late Piscean field of DNA-based operating systems. The proposition as I know it was systematized by John Friedlander on a model developed by Jane Roberts from her own studies in consciousness and channeling of Seth, a higher dimensional cosmic intelligence. From childhood John seems to have cultivated the proper frequency—he was practicing the modality long before he came into contact with Ms. Roberts.

Then in the early seventies he studied with Berkeley Psychic Institute founder Lewis Bostwick, a spiritual teacher who integrated Hindu, Buddhist, theosophical, and shamanic training methods with techniques from the early human-potential movement: particularly EST (Werner Earhardt’s boot camp) and dianectics/scientology (L. Ron Hubbard’s transdimensional psychology run amok).

Afterwards John joined the Ithaca (New York) group that received Roberts’ download. Since then he has put a Sethian spin on other metaphysical systems.

Third, he has worked with a number of Eastern masters and psychic teachers, some directly, including Mata Amritanandamayi (Amma), the Indian hugging saint.

Fourth, he assimilated the theosophical lesson plan along a thread of Helen Blavatsky, C. W. Ledbetter, Annie Besant, and Alice Bailey, and tailored it for later modernity. Because the founders of theosophy were Victorians, they ran their system through a strong cultural filter, limiting the range permissible even as they ritually restrained other “appetites.” Blavatsky, Ledbetter, and crew were blind geniuses, nailing the metaphysical essence of a high transmission that likely goes back far before the Vedas in India, aspects of which apparently eluded even its Hindu and Buddhist originators. The theosophists didn’t grok nature or scope of what they had landed or its intergalactic and meta-dimensional potential. These facets didn’t fit their subconscious biases or have a place in a Victorian parlor any more than Philip K. Dick could land a UFO in Charles Dickens’ Nicholas Nickleby.

By maintaining the fundamental Hindu/theosophical system of chakras, layers of the aura, and planes of reality and applying Bostwick’s synthesis, Sethian perspectives, Dzogchen Buddhist compasses, and the teachings of his own spirit-guides, John tuned the theosophical system to a vaster, subtler vibration.

Think of the Blavatskian system itself as comparable to string theory when first proposed by mathematicians. John’s version is a glimpse of the shape that string theory adumbrates, the origin-point multiverse that led mathematicians to induce such topologies in the first place—with consciousness wrapped into the core rather than an interloper or epiphenomenon.

Since theosophy is an adaptation (as well as an oversimplification) of Hinduism, Vedic teachings are present at at least four levels of John’s plexus: as direct transmissions via teachers like Mata Amritanandamayi; secondarily through its Blavatskian makeover; indirectly adapted by Louis Bostwick in his melding of California psychic formulae; and lastly via Buddhist practices at their Hindu roots.

John has studied directly with a number of Tibetan lamas and integrated their views and visualization and energy techniques into his system, but his goal is not to make an eclectic fusion so much as to make fair use of all available readings of the cosmic elephant.

It doesn’t hurt that John also trained at Harvard Law School and practiced the legal art professionally for almost two decades. Law might be a sophistical trade, but that makes it a path to spiritual awakening. In a spiritual universe, everything is spiritual, so jurisprudence is a legal means of addressing muddles and enigmas on this plane.

 

Multipersonhood is an umbrella for the notion that each of us is part of a greater entity of which its present egoic configuration, though exclusively and temporally real to itself, is but one thread, one refraction inside a multidimensionally-flowing Lotus that continues to explore, expand, and differentiate its own experience and structure at multiple levels of simultaneous consciousness and unconsciousness. Think of it as like the liquid terms of a crystal but a transmolecular gemlike form that arises outside of time while traveling along various temporalized trajectories in each petal and axis of itself—a psychic superpositional quantum-entangled amplituhedron that “was not created in some dim past, but is newly recreated by our own thoughts dreams, and desires, so that reality happens at all possible levels at once.” [21] Ms. Roberts further sets the basis of Multipersonhood as follows:

“The known self perceives its reality in creaturehood. It focuses its attention upon the physical world, which is the three-dimensional reflection of its own kind of consciousness, a consciousness deflected and sifted through a molecular lens.

“The conscious self is only one aspect of our greater reality, however; the part that springs into earthknowing. It can be called the ‘focus personality,’ because through it we perceive our three-dimensional life. It contains within it, however, traces of the unknown or ‘source self’ out of which it constantly emerges….”

The source self is not just the Soul in its greater field of emanation but the Soul’s interaction with other Souls and other entities in various states of being and becoming. Our interactions and collaborations with varied aspects of our Soul and with these different entities percolate into our individuated ego-selves and inform and direct them subconsciously and unconsciously, but we have no terms for recognizing them, so they operate subliminally or through intimations of other things.

“[O]ur consciousness is energy interacting with other fields of energy…some that hover around the living area, and others that exist adjacent to it, in which all earth consciousness from our species and others exist despite their time periods.” [136] The living personality intersects the space-time field that supplies the strongest signal to its karmically and biologically attuned station. Different frequencies “appear as meaningless ‘static,’ so these other perceptions color or tint our usual experience.” [145] The ego intuits exogenous entities and even its own alter egos without knowing what they are. [108]

The Soul has omniscience that we lack, though it is a paradox because we are an aspect of the Soul, Earth-individuated parts.

On the present Earth, most people know themselves in isolation and not as nexuses of reality-formation or consciousness in collaboration with other consciousnesses, but is not a matter of whether you believe in such a thing; it is whether the proposition depicts a feature of the universe and your existence in it.

 

Because Multipersonhood involves shifting foci and concentrations of the Source Self, it opens a person to All That Is in ways that are recognized only as other things. The mysterious, sometimes otherworldly and often obscure and elusive vastness we experience is the intricate and intrinsic design in which we are entangled and through which we transcend the sole confines of our ego boundaries and conditional metabolic expression as living fragments of a larger field that is conducting itself through many simultaneous phases of consciousness. We assimilate multi-personal vantages as flickers of refracted insinuations through our ego.

The profundity of this cannot be overstated, or how we just miss recognizing it at every turn as long as everything in quarantine and ignorance of its collaboration and shared intelligence.

In a Multipersonal universe the core is inaccessible, and other dimensions are cut off by the encryption that establishes our operating system. Awareness of these states is processed not by the brain but the aura and subtler organs. In fact, the brain is not capable of or designed evolutionary for such a task. While cerebro-centric entities recognize themselves as egos, seeds of subconscious energy and pictures continually get dispatched by their greater source self and Multipersonhood, each of them with its own abilities and predilections and expressions of karma—each free to program “its own journey, choose [its] dimensional spot—the time and place of [its] growth…seeds of which we are usually unaware, dreams and thoughts that escape from us as easily as leaves from an autumn tree. These live in dimensions apart from our being, yet they are aspects of us and carry our potentials within them. Perhaps they are future ghosts of ourselves, mental patterns that will some day be filled with form and walk this earth or a different one, in a space and time that will be theirs, not ours.” [117]

We all have intimations of an enhanced reality. Some moments feel different, as if experienced through someone else’s identity, as if the Earth were seen by an alien creature. At other times, bursts of information—faces and moods, wisps and fragments of “something else”—flit by. Their allusions lack context; their ambiguous facets come and go too quickly to grasp and identify. Or we may grasp them but can’t hold either them or their context long enough; we discard them as meaningless because nothing else frames them: unknown faces, figures, diffuse intaglios, and characters, more hypnagogic than waking or even dreamlike. When these anomalous events and unknown faces appear momentarily, they exist but “in reference to something else, some other reality that we translate into sense terms or pseudo-sense terms in order to perceive it at all.” [144] If we know these aspects only as something else, they are effectively nonexistent.

If we are Souls as well as egos, and Souls in interaction with other Souls, the world’s strangeness and nostalgia and the sense we have of fathomless, impenetrable complexity are inherent in our greater Soul nature, the residue of our archetypal and collective existence in the cosmos. These include worlds experienced by us in other states of incarnation, some of them even simultaneous; they also hypostatize other frames or probability states experienced by other phases of our overall being. When they manifest briefly, they are at such a fundamental, background level that they are imperceptible; yet they are the basis of our character: our abilities, our desires, and our true nature.

Our many selves, each of their present center-stage selfhoods included, arise from this network. They orbit our source self outside of time, creating a perception of past, present, and future within each particular temporal trajectory. There is no time really, only what Jane Roberts’ husband Robert Butts calls “a great spacious present that’s a manifestation of a sublime, indescribable All That Is.” [56] Time is not intrinsic; it is a frequency, an energy, like everything else. As Seth, Roberts explains:

“We are particles of energy, flowing from the source self into physical materialization. Each source self forms many such particles or ‘aspect selves’ that impinge upon three-dimensional reality, striking our space-time continuum. Others are not physical at all, but have their existences in completely different systems of reality. Each aspect self is connected to the other, however, through the common experience of the source self, and can to some degree draw on the knowledge, abilities, and perceptions of the other aspects. The source self and every focus self are enriched, enlarged, and transformed by other aspect selves and their experiences.

“Psychologically, these other aspects appear within the known self as personality traits, characteristics, and talents that are uniquely ours.” [95-96]

If time is an energy, then getting outside the time continuum involves shifting our psychic (dimensional) relationship to time. The trouble with physicists and other cosmologists who see Stephen Hawking as the farthest we can go in systematizing the universe is that they make time another linearity like space and put us in a box.

Our levels of being as well as our collaborators are known and unknown, experienced and unexperienced, conscious and unconscious, even nonconscious. Sub-entities in a Multipersonhood may include other human beings linked to oneself in collective Souls or Group Souls across lifetimes and at increasingly higher and more highly integrative (including meta-galactic and interdimensional) levels; parallel or different-frequencied intelligences that are not human or anthropocentric (angels, devas, stars, planets, etc.); other meta-biological vibrations of personalized energy fields like spirits and elementals (undines, sylphs, fire salamanders, and the like), cryptozooids (yetis, sea “monsters,” E.T.’s); psychoids which require our own projections onto them to express autonomous existences and manifest as shapes in this world (including some aspects of afore-mentioned angels, devas, and elementals), and so-called auras associated with so-called less cerebricized intelligences like plants and stones.

Just imagine the psychic mass-potential of all those meteors, asteroids, and planets throughout the cosmos: the unconscious gravity mind of stone. Consider the uncountable galaxies in the known physical universe and their trillions of planets just on the physical plane while we are tucked away in our far corner of the Milky Way, a cluster on the fringes of the Laniakea supercluster of 100,000 galaxies stretching over 500 million light years. The potential range of customs, ideas, artforms, works of art, and civilizations in just the mapped universe boggles the imagination. It does more than boggle it; it leaves us flabbergasted that our specklet of brainstuff and consciousness can grasp that such a thing is happening and reflect its mind-bogglingness. Yet not only does it, if through a glass darkly, but these various forms of consciousnesses are already woven together and gravitationally and karmically bound interdependently, so the real mind-bogglingness is that we know them intimately without knowing them. That is how we can reflect their intricacy and scope while reflecting also how incomprehensible it is.

Our souls are not dwarfed by the sheer size and scope of the universe, for the universe is a simulation and souls are not.

In each such configuration, past lives are no more real and can be no more real (or unreal) than any lifetime is or than anything else in existence—that is, real or unreal in relation to itself and a given world. It’s possible that personally focused identity only temporally diverges from absolute identity and Cosmic Mind anyway. These Group Souls, Multipersonhoods, and metagalactic memberships and affiliations receive and send, interpret and spread information and meaningfulness throughout All That Is.

That provides a lot of unconscious density and heft to beingness.

Meanwhile animals, crystals, stars, zooids, and other entities and members of our existential aggregation, are each channeling one another at their own capacity and karmic status. Each entity is attuned in some fashion to its own greater configuration, some of it constellated as Group Souls just above the human platform, some of it in the form of higher-dimensional consortiums of Atmans, some of them in clouds of collective beings—Multipersonhoods with many individual life cycles.

Entities as large as the Earth and the Sun as well as continuities expressing their existences and expanding in tenth, eleventh, or higher dimensions, participate with humanoids intelligently as peers in a matrix of cosmic information. Even one-celled mites—primitive cellular forms of bottom-feeding DNA in droplets of terrestrial water and ponds—participate in their own lotuses of higher consciousness too.

A Multipersonhood is not metaphysical gathering of sociable egoic entities; most entities in the universe are neither sociable nor agreeable in human etiquette terms. Is the Sun friendly or well-disposed? Who knows, and who cares! Its emanation and state of consciousness are at such a higher frequency than us as to make a consideration of geniality irrelevant. The Sun supports our life (and death) every moment with absolute generosity, neutrality, and empathy beyond anything we know. Yet it is no more or less autonomous than a beetle—each node in a Multipersonhood requires every other.

Like lamas who reincarnate in multiple individuals within the same lifetime, we are all “lamas” or potential lamas in the cosmos. Like lamas our separate simultaneous selves do not have to feel affinity or harmonize with one another. They can be enemies, business rivals, infantrymen in opposing armies, competitors for the same romantic partner—or romantic partners. Opposition is what supplies the Source entityhood with comprehensive information about the universe, making it whole.

All realms and entities are themselves and others differentially in various states of being and manifestation simultaneously. Full consciousness is intersubjective, as its phases of identity meet, merge, and share the psychic version of DNA. In fact, this is how physical DNA interacts with karmic factors to imprint reincarnational as well as familial attributes. From the initiating components of our lineage starting with one-celled animalcules, our evolving identity fluctuated between uncertainty states of many other existences.

 

While underwriting and conducting reality’s entire field, Multipersonhood mirrors us implicitly, signifying its truth-mystery like the Oracle at Delphi, by riddles and signs. This is how the universe passes from one cosmic breath to the next. Buried inside our personal identity is a key that links esoterically padlocked realms, that positions past lives, future lives, meta-lives, alternative lives, proxy selves, and alias selves in relation to one another, yet it is presently withheld. Instead, we know them by being them.

Jane/Seth remarks, “It would take a multidimensional consciousness to experience all the aspects of one event; being aware of its probable variations, seeing each as real as the other. Such a consciousness would literally have to straddle realities unknown to us in order discover what was happening to which in what when.” [135]. Yet something is doing that. Multipersonhoods exist at all levels and on all axes of the universe up to the universe itself.

We don’t have to know, and can’t—and it’s irrelevant in the greater picture—how much of our experience at any moment is our own pure beingness and its tapestry and how much is the effects of actual “Others” in our Multipersonhood evolving in their own matrices and providing information for us. We find them and their truths by not by looking for them. We cannot resolve their reality or the falsity of the Multipersonoood notion by efforting in what we imagine to be their direction and the declaring a verdict. We find them in our own individuation and dead-reckoning, having faith in our own and their reality a recognition that we are experiencing and receiving input and succor at every moment with every ounce of breath.

It will take any being many life cycles and states of being to fully explore the scope of its own origination and being.

 

Interdependence is universal and expresses itself identically in physical and metaphysical strata. For instance, no life form can exist on its own outside its ecosystem without internal and external creatures in the same biosphere participating with and sustaining it, e.g. the plants and animals it consumes and the bacteria in its gut that digest them.

Every organism is likewise made up of once free-living cells, each of which maintains its own vibration of intelligence and autonomous lineage. Even each cell is a composite of free-living organelles that conduct its metabolism.

All sentient life participates in Earth consciousness in some fashion much as the cells of your body independently collaborate in your existence. On a subtler level, sentient beings through the universe, in physical and other realities, collaborate.

There is no such thing as an independent organism. Every being in the universe is a collaboration.That characteristic not only connects us to putative life forms on nearby Ceres, Callisto, and Enceladus but connects them to one another too—perhaps even biologically too as the precursors of amino acids travel between worlds on meteors and comets.

Paradoxically as we assimilate the greater unconscious universe—meaning as we individuate—we become more intrinsically and discretely ourselves, pulling along the vibrations of our component atoms, molecules, and cells, which also remain autonomous, independent and evolving within their own spheres. [103]

At a higher frequency the universe is a coalescence of seemingly independent consciousnesses arising from and giving rise to one another. Cell Life becomes Soul Life; Soul Life becomes Cell Life. Relative animate or inanimate statuses are irrelevant: everything in the physical realm is incipiently molecular, and all molecules are incipiently sentient.

You don’t need a metaphysical perspective, for panpsychism intersects neo-Darwinism at bacterial, organismic, and geological levels. Jean-Paul Sartre signified this much existentially during World War II:

“A vast entity, a planet, in a space of a hundred million dimensions; three-dimensional beings could not so much as imagine it. And yet each dimension was an autonomous consciousness. Try to look directly at that planet, it would disintegrate into tiny fragments, and nothing but consciousness would be left. A hundred millions free consciousnesses, each aware of walls, the glowing stump of a cigar, familiar faces, and each constructing its destiny on its own responsibility. And yet each of those consciousnesses, by imperceptible contacts and insensible changes, realizes its existence as a cell in a gigantic and invisible coral. War: everyone is free, and yet the die is cast. It is there, it is everywhere, it is the totality of all my thoughts, of all Hitler’s words, of all Gomez’s acts; but no one is there to add it up. It exists solely for God. But God does not exist. And yet the war exists.” [252]

Translate Sartre’s existentialism to the cosmic frame and you get an intimation of the vastness of Creation as well as the specificity and inherent resilience of creature identity. Sartre was right on cue in that regard: the issue is only existential. That is why clerics and knights of the Middle Ages could exist on their own terms, in coexistence with God and without a glimmer of the forthcoming Darwinian algorithm or emerging Dzogchen Buddhism to the east driving the cosmic machinery too. It didn’t matter. That’s not the amazing part; the amazing part is that it still doesn’t matter. An existential universe speaks for itself at every moment in every vestibule, collapses its own wave function in every ocean or on every shore, Jovian and terrestrial. Each separate reality makes its own terms but is interdependently balanced with and subconsciously aware of every other entity and compensating with and for it.

Multipersonhoods also comprise Souls and Group Souls and modes and agencies of intelligence that have completed not only many incarnations and incarnation cycles but have chosen to constellate and mull their collective experience and wisdom in a single superconscious stream or signal. These currently include “Seth,” “Michael,” “the Pleiadian Council,” “Kryon,” “Jesus,” and Yahweh or “God.”

When an entity calling itself Seth manifested to Jane Roberts and installed his message in her own operating system in the early 1970s —that is, made “his” entry into her temporal consciousness, initially through a Ouija board, in Ithaca, New York—she was tapping into a higher-dimensional intelligence field whose name was undoubtedly not Seth, or Seth at every level of its own diverse and manifold self-identification. But when presented with the entry probe of her personality as well as the frequency of her intelligence and current position in cosmic and Earth history, it attuned itself, reformatted accordingly, and took on an identity and secular biography. Seth is but “one multidimensional aspect of many; one characteristic in the nature of a kind of entity we can hardly comprehend.” [103]

“Seth” became Jane’s tag for an Earth-entrained aspect of a larger field’s collective persona, transpersonal history, and vortex of transmittable knowledge, an aspect that could be assimilated by her own ego narrative and configuration. In this façade the unimaginably vast complexity packaged and transmitted information that serendipitously matched Jane’s own intelligence and vibration. When she channeled Seth, she was in effect channeling a different aspect of herself. [100]

Was Jane creating Seth or was Seth creating Jane, or were they co-creator, making each entity available and real to the other? To put it differently, is the external channeled personality (“Seth”) separate from the recipient (Jane) or latent in Jane’s psyche?

Yet within Multipersonhood, Jane was becoming Seth, or already had become Seth in another probability or future state, thus was simply contacting or emanating a dormant and evolving aspect of herself. [51] Seth was a future self not only broadcasting to her present identity but pulling her toward the constellation of which “plain Jane” was part.

The Ouija board was a prop or proxy like the Kwakiutl shaman’s bloody down. As Seth manifested to Jane, she was, at another level of her beingness, returning from a future form of her own transpersonal existence to address Jane 1970 and that being’s expanding orbit, or if not “plain Jane,” then meta-Jane. That was why the frequency of their energies matched: an extrinsic personality was germinating and dispatching information her Multipersonhood already knew. It was part of the support of her entire being.

Jane addresses this matter herself, “Would a Seth, experiencing a Jane, think of her as a lesser developed personality…? He would be me in my present time, developing abilities that would later let him be him.” [90]

Seth also answers this in part: “Jane is not myself now, in his present life. He is nevertheless an extension and materialization of the Seth that I was at one time.” Seth, Jane, and Jane’s husband are also deemed “offshoots of the same entity.” [60]

On receiving flows of information from Seth, Jane commented, “Either it feels as if I’m trying to pick up a dialogue spoken at an incredible rate of speed, or at a rate so slow that it would take a century.” [77] When Don Juan and Don Genaro attended to the speech of insects and lizards in Castaneda’s texts, fast or slow depended on the listener’s focal point of attunement to the signal. The intercession itself was so direct and present that it is as if nothing was happening. Channeling is not listening; it is transmitting—transmission without listening.

At the same time that we experience our Multipersonood unconsciously, other beings, entities, yetis, and carrier waves are experiencing us remotely too, while expressing themselves and their beingness through their own egoic identities and also through interdependence and unconscious recognition of us. They know and suspect us as much or as little as we know and suspect them, each of our personae radiating in unconscious and conscious packets through our own psyches and theirs, partially individuated by us, even as we evolve more consciously in terms of our unique personhood.

We each probably have stones and cats and dragonflies in our Multipersonhood, as well as their equivalents on other worlds, and we are continuously investigating, invigorating, and interrogating one another’s experiences and integrating them with ours. If it is not exactly stones, cats, and dragonflies, then it is energetically equivalent to them at the level shamans experience in totemic fields. Each of these entities or its aura is resonating with us at its own scale or frequency, thus vibrating in our fields grossly or subtly and at variant calibers of duration and pulsation.

Not only are we supported in existence, but that support is immeasurably vaster than anything we otherwise experience and more discretely aware of our overall situation than local assistance and triage. It is more compassionate and forgiving than we give it credit for insofar as we mistake our local conflicts as dissonances, transgressions, and ultimate battles rather than in terms of higher-level collaborations.

Even in daily mundane settings we are exchanging esoteric and Soul information. Wild animals transmit meanings as they pass and interact, sometimes violently, in their auras and bodies. Murderers, rapists, soldiers, and their victims likewise exchange Soul information and meanings like the Golgi bodies, mitochondria, and other organelles recruited unwillingly into a primordial cell. Each person of whom we take account, even if not contacted outwardly or explicitly, provides information to our greater Soul and stellar body.

Multipersonhood spontaneously comes to recognition in fleeting but conducive circumstances. A given crow, on a wire looking down at you may also be you or a close associate of you in a past or future life, and that is why it is looking at you in that way and you are noticing it. Or not. At the heart of the universe again it actually doesn’t matter. Nothing is incidental just as everything is only incidental. After all, there are a lot of crows and beetles and assignations to account for.

 

While writing this text (June 7, 2015), I found a beetle in a mixture of tamari and maple syrup with which I had cooked a string bean and pecan dish earlier; it was crawling among a few stray beans and nuts as I began to wash the dishes and pans. Obviously I hadn’t cooked the beetle, so it must have wandered in by crawling up the slippery side of the porcelain serving-dish while we were having tea.

I managed to extricate it from the goop by flipping it onto its back on the counter. Watching it flail in distress, I tried to gently wash off the sticky sauce. That was probably misguided help, or maybe its fate was already determined. I am haunted by those prickly thin legs waving away, trying to gain purchase right-side-up.

I silently told it not to be in a hurry; that is, I dispatched my mind-based anthropomorphism its way. Only as I took its motionless shell out to the herb garden and set it there, did it strike me that those frantic legs were connected to the universe in the same way that everything is and that, at a deeper subtlety, I was handling a humungous mind-created hologram, sensing not a separate bug but my own existence in relation to and inseparably joined to it. Such assignations come and go in a blink, and this one, like any culled into common thought, is already romanticized and self-servingly revisited in text. But that does not change the inkling of something real and very large traveling under a minor event. It was not minor to the beetle: the whole universe was flailing at its point of attachment.

It was not minor to the universeeither.

 

Any entity’s Multipersonhood also includes, as intimated, its own past and future selves, in this lifetime and others. In this life alone, our selves at different ages are separate beings in a complex defined by its own trajectory of birth, growth, development, maturation, and senescence. Each moment of existence and age-range functions as a node or multi-nodal point within the Multipersonhood and coexists interdependently with the other selves.

From infancy through childhood, adolescence, and adult years, we are no longer the same person, yet have a profound and special relationship to our prior and future selves. “[W]e savor our memories, secret from all others; recall in old age, for example, the endless lost Mondays and Tuesdays when we tucked our children (now grown) into bed, or talked through a thousand separate suppers.” Where did all of these go? They had unique, sovereign existence, yet they vanished into something else not long after they arose. Meaning was generated by the fleeting primacy of moments; yet we continually “fear losing that small but brilliant focus that makes events and memories so real…..

“The mother may envision the future man or woman in the child who sits in the highchair; and the old woman may see in the face of her grown son or daughter the child that was. In greater terms, each exist at once—young, old, born, dying—in an ‘at once’ or space present that happens to be large enough to contain our lives.” [118]

Yet our seemingly authentic memories of our own past are replete with blanks, faux recollections, revisions, cryptomnesias, and fictions. These amnesias provide instances of memory erasure within a lifetime, but the same principle operates on all the phases of Multipersonhood.

When James Leininger recalls elements of a past life, it is the “human personality getting a glimpse of its own entire nature…for there are bleed-throughs, when we almost see who we ‘were’ in a past life or who we ‘will be’ in a future one.” [127]

As Tulsa-reincarnated Ryan mourned, it is weird and more than a bit disconcerting that someone should have to learn how to speak and write again, rediscover the existence of a Sun and Moon, night and day, and go through the entire education system, tribally or institutionally, in order to get anywhere near the status of knowledge they already had. And yet creatures accept this willingly, come back again as a whelp of what they are or as something else, here or somewhere else.

What that says to me is that each newborn is a twin being: his or her cells, visceral organs, and brain are new; his or her aura is ancient. Yet information residing in the aura is not accessible to the reincarnated being; its past lives are not preserved in terms of the present life. The same is true for a lizard or mouse. They exist in the present and they exist timelessly.

At a cosmic, reincarnational level everyone has Alzheimer’s-like loss of content and context.

The loss of memory may be a shame, but it solves a logistical problem: there is not enough memory on the physical plane to store everything that happens there in every language, historical context, and galactic system. No ego could sort and handle even its own components in an ongoing, cumulative phenomenology. Instead, the information, the experiences, the lives are synopsized in the aura in their essentiality. Ryan is still Marty Martin at the level of his aura; he has MM’s accumulated innate moral growth, cultivated intuition, and basic orientation to events—and that is what counts in the journey of the Soul. And if MM is not in Ryan’s Soul, then he is somewhere in his Group Soul or the information field of his Multipersonhood.

 

Paranormal investigator Anthony Peake writes: “While going through some old photo albums I came across a photo I had totally forgotten. It is always strange when you come across such a picture … especially when it was taken over thirty-eight years ago. You can look into your own eyes at that time but they are window on a foreign country. I remember the photo being taken (Sunday 19th June 1977) and, because of my diaries I know what issues were on my mind at the time. However…at any one moment in time we are simply a slice in a time-line of the Linga Sharira (the “long body”) that is all of our life and all of our time perceived from a location within the fifth dimension.”

Then he quotes Alan, in J. B. Priestley’s play Tim and the Conways:

“Like at this moment, or any moment, we’re only a cross section of our real selves. What we really are is the whole stretch of ourselves, all our time, and when we come to the end of this life, all of those selves, all of our time, will be us—the real you, the real me. And then perhaps we’ll find ourselves in another time, which is only a kind of dream …. You know, I believe half our trouble now is because we think Time’s ticking our lives away. That is why we snatch and grab and hurt each other… I think it’s easier not to … to take the long view.”

Peake goes on:

“But what happens to the people who share times and experiences with our ‘long body.’ The photographer who took this photograph was my then girlfriend, a young woman called Jane Scot-Baker. She was to die tragically young less than four years later. The image you see in the photograph was what her eyes saw through the camera lens: an image frozen in time and processed by a retina and a visual cortex that no longer exists in this space-time. Death is the great mystery…. Is it the cessation of everything or is it a transition to a location beyond our senses?”

Multipersonhood leads us to view the tragedy differently: only across a narrow slice of time are these events and people lost, and we intuit that, so we feel an extra sense of loss, not just the loss of the person and the connection, and not just the person’s loss of his or her life, but the loss of Cosmic Whole.

 

A New Cosmology

Let’s assume for a moment that Brian Weiss’ patient Catherine actually had prior existences as Aronda in 1863 BC, a Dutchman named Johann in the fifteenth century AD, a house servant named Abbey in colonial Virginia, a German aviator, a Ukranian boy, etc. Catherine herself and each of these other folks—presuming their reality—are fully independent beings. They are discrete, self-contained, and self-complete, though psychically related, immune from invasion by the claims of others, even their own ostensible past and future selves. Even when they are simultaneous, “Now” is each of their foci of identity, and “Now” is non-negotiable.

In a timeless lotus, past lives are tantamount to future ones because the present is a future life to any past life we are able to dredge; likewise, that same present is a past life to any future being who recalls some aspect of it. Not only is James Houston a past life of James Leininger, James Leininger is a future life of James Houston.

“[W]e experience birth first and death last,” says Jane/Seth, “but this may have little to do with the basic phenomenon involved…. [97] Each phase is timelessly and eternally alive to itself as well as exclusive to their views in conditions like ours.

What would it feel like to have a future self of yours show up and declare that you were a past life of his (or hers) that was already finished and dead? You would still have no way to give it up and join your future entity in a timeless present. James Houston cannot impose his meaning or values on James Leininger; they are independent beings with a psychic connection, not linearly chronological forms of the same personality. Likewise, when Dolores Canon visits the various phases of Nogorigatu via Kathryn Davis, they cannot blithely appropriate his life for theirs or make his own past subsidiary to their present any more than a future self of either of them could intrude upon them.

Past lifetimes can be viewed safely from the citadel of present existence without risking submergence into the past person’s physical and mental reality or impending death. In that sense, past deaths, however traumatic, have already been integrated and absorbed. To remember a past death while alive again is nothing like pondering the future death of the current being who clings to his or her personal identity like a life raft in a storm.

If we subconsciously remember future selves as well as past selves, we don’t recognize them or their stories because we have no terms for dealing with an annihilation of not only the present but numerous futures flowing into it—no consciousness into which to integrate such a complex and multifocal reality. [56-59] Like an overemphasis on past lives—trying to pin down chronologies of this or that lifetime’s event—becomes a distraction from a much bigger picture. “The search for detail,” says Jane Roberts, “leads us further away from the larger sensed dimensions in which those facts must lie.” [64] One inherently embraces his already complete futures as well as his own timelessness in such a way that he doesn’t even know he is doing it.

It is more than just a past-life issue; it is a matter of personal identity. Each person or creature is centered in and solely experiencing himself/itself as that. At the same time, it is “fully engaged as that consciousness knowing itself simultaneously as each of the others,” subliminally exploring all its other actualized and probable existences, “not only through time but what could have happened at particular moments of time and in other probabilities.”

Alternate existences potentiated by a life play out in different universes (or dimensions) and intersect this one along transdimensional strings and psychic wormholes. Their potential is reflected in all dimensions of reality, for each life or state of beingness arises in and from multiple dimensions too.

Each purely imaginal or unexperienced event, each path not taken, as long as it has karmic potential, gets expressed as a quotient, at its degree of partial realization, somewhere. Same as Multipersonhood—we just don’t experience it as what it is. What is innate in the universe gets extracted as information, in some shape or form or state of being.

The way this reels out, according to Jane/Seth, is that “each present action changes the past, for those past action changes the past, for those past events were only the mountain tops or three-dimensional tips of far greater happenings. Each act causes the surface crust of time and space to shift slightly. Probable events are the psychological pre-acts from which physical events emerge: the creative inner stuff from which actions take earth form…. We come from within, not from above. We also seed other earths with our probable selves; these never happen at our intersection point, though they may spring off it. [124-125]

“At any time we can pick another line of development from all of the probabilities available to us….” Such probability points already exist within our time and space: “concentrations of energy formed unconsciously by us adjacent to our living areas.” [119-120]. Each individual, confronted by probabilities, makes unique decisions, defining who he or she or whatever is. [122]

“This means that every possible outcome of every event will happen in one or more universe. In turn, this means that every possible event that can take place will, or has already, taken place somewhere within this rapidly inflating ‘macroverse….’ [T]here is a version of you that has lived every possible outcome of every possible decision you made, from the moment of your birth to the moment of your death.” Furthermore, these decisions and outcomes interact with those of other creatures, both in your immediate realm and in other realms. [183-184}

With an unlimited number of event horizons, “probable events are actualized and experienced.” Elsewhere these generate “alternate earth histories still happening, and as real as our own. Any number of consecutive years, say, from 1900 to 1980 are experienced in infinite ways,” reversing the sinking of the Titanic, shifting our civilization’s petroleum addiction, or snuffing the rise of the Third Reich in Germany—they are “endlessly growing out of the medium of the system itself.” They are creating a greater meta-reality.

The inhabitants of each probable world remain unaware of their “neighbors” and their dilemmas and resolutions because the event horizons of each are so different. “[T]here are countless versions of you living countless variations of your life and they are all enfolded within you.” [183-184]. Roberts tells us that she “is convinced that in some probable earth-like world, I am not writing this book. I may not be a writer at all or I may live in a civilization where reading is unknown. My potential as a writer, there, would remain latent.” [136]

Seth explained the esoteric basis of reality to Jane’s group:

“[T]his dimension [e.g., source realm] nurses your own world, reaching down into your system. These realities are still only those at the edge of the one in which you have your present existence. Far beyond are others, so alien to you that I could not explain them. Yet they are connected with your own life, and they find expression even within the smallest cells of your flesh.”

These other dimensions are neither obscure nor incidental; they are forms of which we are realizations. We glimpse vast and complex shapes and modes of consciousness because we ourselves are an outcome of their complexity and have an indispensable role in their origination and evolution; furthermore, that means “us” right now, as we are, not in some more fully evolved state, despite the links between the versions of our self. It may be true that these beings are creating our reality as we know it, we are also creating theirs and cannot be extracted from it without the entire universe vanishing. [34]

All knowledge and beingness in the universe supports all other knowledge and beingness. No entity would exist or could exist if it were not both created and supported by the greater field of transpersonal consciousness. This operates not only by syllogism but as the literal superposition of consciousness everywhere, nonlocal and self-arising.

While many lives and refractions of “meaning” states and consciousnesses flow into the moving point of a single lifetime, unconscious strands bind them together in incomprehensibly vast and complex multipersonal constellations.

Confluences of stories that creatures tell themselves, even one-celled creatures that don’t have stories as such, arise both independently and interdependently while expressing desires and meanings through one another. All of a Multipersonality’s independent narratives of whatever scale, wherever and whenever occurring, coexist and interface, while supporting other lives within the Multipersonhood simultaneously. A past or future or alternate self has the same status and relationship to a present-time ego as an exogenous entity in another dimension that is part of its Multipersonhood. At either remove, temporal/metabolic or extrinsic/dimensional, we potentiate and support one another’s existence. It little matters finally whether we also are one another—whether consciousness is a unity and singularity. The universe is thus able to operate from a place that is both ego-centered and neutrally multicentric, for all its modes are karmically driven, not toward enlightenment but par.

This whorl of lives and identities, while already lived outside of time where it is timelessly complete, continues to invent itself anew through novel experiences and occurrences that are nakedly arising—free-willed, undetermined, and from within the greater Lotus. This is another paradox. If time doesn’t exist, everything has already happened; yet everything is pure novelty, every moment hangs in the balance and can go either way (or some other way not accounted for). The cosmos is a cliffhanger, but a cliffhanger that is already resolved within a motionless Lotus blossoming outside space-time.

Black holes provide a rough model. In a black hole, suddenly a billion years is condensed to an instant, yet an eternal Now is emerging somewhere else from the white hole that the black hole instantaneously forms, creating (according to Seth): “the slow-motion cognition of consecutive time” as well the sense of a self. At death, for instance, “consciousness is ‘born back’ into the same probable system until it ‘escapes’ [via a white hole]. [186]

Just as when atomic matter disintegrates, and space and time become meaningless, we enter a timeless state to emerge from a figurative white hole “retaining our individuality and memories…into another white hole and a new system of reality.” This is how the inner order might be structured, how probable worlds and past and future lives could play roles in otherwise-quarantined physical worlds. Each probability state is eternal even if each materialization is transient. [188]

In such a universe, every act and choice is new and rife with possibility, as it ravels and unfolds from factors in all dimensions and distributes itself in all directions: ripples forming ripples forming ripples, petals unfurling from petals unfurling from other petals. Yet all this is completed insofar as it is complete, the Lotus is moving immeasurably faster than the speed of light whole hanging motionless forever as it flows transformatively across itself in various dimensions of space-time.

Australian Aborigines read this implicitly in the stark representations of the outback: giant stones, dunes, snakes, kangaroos, emus. Our waking physical bodies are single forms of many-tiered Dream bodies that link us with other creatures and spirit vibrations and allow us to recognize and engage each other. A mountain or a waterhole may be a beetle or an echidna in another dimension or aspect of its Multipersonhood. We are looking at “eternity…as a conceptual continuum of partially interconnected dimensions…clumps of meaning as temporal expressions of a nonlocal, timeless superconsciousness.” [259]

A hologram of selves underlies our existence and generates our continual context, the basis of our nature as well as the skills and knowledge with which we broach each life. Though unconscious as a set, they and our unconscious body-mind are the greater valence via which we make our way through existence. Recognition of our Multipersonhood gives us implicit license and method to expand our range and capacity as well as a framework for activating, healing, and transforming painful and static states and entering the larger cosmos.

 

We may not even perceive another entity’s primary mode of existence to itself, for what may be a dolphin or a squirrel or a crow to us, within its own subjective state of personhood, grounded elsewhere, may be a dream body or one of many dream bodies. Sea mammals may be higher intelligences dreaming in Earth density, interacting with us in our reality by astral transposition within their Multipersonhood. Yetis may also be dimensional outliers, with trenchant enough intermittent embodiments and telekinetic manifestations to deposit hair, DNA, and other forensic evidence.

The real intelligence of each of these animals lies elsewhere, but their temporal intelligence and shared planetary embodiment resides in their organs and instincts. An insect or mollusk is wise in shape and operational structure, as its is embodied fully in density, transferring its subtle body and spirit existence into matter. Look at a bee or mouse again—it is an incarantaed spirit with no leeway to manifest further here. That doesn’t preclude it from storing plenty of transformational capacity and abstract wisdom elsewhere.

Watch intelligence operate!

When an eagle descends from the sky and rips a poor prairie dog off the turf short of its burrow, there is a blood price and pangs of suffering, but insofar as both entities are in partial dream bodies too, attuned to other fields, it is not an irreconcilable tragedy and certainly not an obliteration of the prairie dog’s selfhood or future potential for happiness, beingness, and spiritual growth. In fact, both creatures will work the matter out in the vastness of All That Is according to their discrete destinies. They will find joy again in acts of predation whereby they will lose their mortality again. They will share blood, etheric energy, and DNA in other ways and with other entities. A given eagle and prairie dog may be part of the same Group Soul or Multipersonhood—at some level they have to be, for they match. There is intimacy and immeasurable intimacy and value in predation, in absorbing the physical-etheric field of another as it vacates and then amalgamating its shell’s energy into one’s own field. The lion does lie down with the lamb, all the time.

The apparent raison behind personhood and individuality is to give the universe portals into its own unconscious landscapes, some of them so deeply unconscious as not to exist yet, so deeply tragic and painful as to have been repressed for eternity. Life, death, and the incarnation of personhood provide platforms for excavating and changing these views.

The cat tormenting the mouse is playing with the universe, as is the mouse, though neither machine recognizes it at the level of its zombie species instinct. The lion that occasionally adopts an orphaned lamb into her litter, the wolf cub that accepts a rabbit as a playmate, is unconsciously acknowledging Multipersonhood.

We are teaching the universe how to suffer profoundly and excruciatingly—how it already suffers but doesn’t quite know why and how—how to slum and goof off and party, and those are just as profound and essential as the pageant of galaxies and solar systems, for we couldn’t be teaching the universe unless the universe were teaching us precisely the same thing.

Christian etiology has long proposed that divine suffering represents a compassionate deity in solidarity with his own creatures.

So there is no difference finally between our state of being with its capacity equally for joy and suffering, and the complexity and gristle of the universe with the same palette. We are because it is. But it is because we are. It’s a seamless circuit, all the way to the bottom, whatever that turns out to be, whoever we turn out to be when we get there. In fact, sentient beings are the eye of the hurricane from which the universe is emanating.

The system is so vast as to accommodate everything, everything that is in existence, everything that has gone from existence, everything not yet in existence, and everything that will never be in existence. It creates a situation in which, for any great truth, its opposite must also be true. Sovereign, antithetical forms meld into the same thing.

The universe knows precisely what is happening, who we are, and the nature of our dual beingness. Of course it doesn’t—it simply is, which is a more profoundly bottoming state.

Picture the mega-octopus in multidimensional space-time, each of its arms reaching into temporal zones, dipping in their syrups, experiencing their flavors. At the core “cephalopoidal” reality, there is only timeless exploration of the nature of being, of self and reality, but each of the arms—and eight is but a metaphor—tastes a different reality. One arm is within the Big-Bang emanation where a brain emerges locally, a tuner, to buffer the various signals into a working sensibility and phenomenology. Within other realities, other dimensional arms extend and taste the locally extant realm.

We take vacations and siestas, but the actual quantum-collapse universe never leaves a micron of slack anywhere for even a millisecond. The absence of slack is the reason why there is something rather than nothing. Jean Houston writes that “all times, experiences, and dimensions can be changed transformed, rewritten, re-experienced, because the universe is regenerating itself every nanosecond. Since we are conscious participants in the living universe, we can enter the Akashic fields of memory and shift elements of our own history.” [JH18]

The universe reconstructs a novel reality moment by moment as individuals make decisions and commit acts. In Mediaeval terms God re-creates the world from one moment to the next. What humans perceive as a cavalcade of changes according to natural laws of cause and effect is how God creates and recreates the world in accordance with karmic patterns and rules.

 

Dreams and Channeling

Dreams are daily vibrational shifts, trance-states, and hypnagogic interludes that encode a battery of personal, biophysical, symbolic, and archetypal information while translating it from one energy state or coding to another. While delivering messages from unconscious to subconscious parts of oneself, they probably also enable neural blow-off of fragments of excess energies coexisting with us. Dreaming distributes quanta of their load, not because the dreamer unconsciously intends such but because energy can’t help but go where it is drawn, to deliver its libidinal and psychic charge.

Jane Roberts combines Freudian and psychic interpretations when she says that “in dreams…we tune into probabilities and literally organize our daily lives over their entire range…according to our conscious desires and beliefs.” [184]

Dreams include levels and frequencies of information from the cosmic and biological field in which the dreamer’s psyche fabric originated—not only the Jungian collective unconscious, which is duly transpersonal, but karmic trails of countless individuals through their multiform manifestations, including entities, landscapes, and events from other space-time continua. All these get sublimated, transmuted, and otherwise converted according to Freudian dream-formation principles. Sleeping trances transmit subconscious static and superconscious elements of the dreamer’s Multipersonhood simultaneously

This includes visitations to other worlds and probability states of oneself, as events and entities from past or alternate lives get displaced into vaguely familiar scenes and landscapes. When multiple persons become confused, conflated, or combined with one another in dreams, it may also be that they are one another at a different tier of reality. It is sometimes difficult to get out of an arc’s etheric landscape back into physical territory. One proceeds in a trance as if everything were normal except for that classic UFO-abduction cue: missing time.

There is a motel somewhere around Nevada that I visit regularly, I know the proprietor, his family, and the surroundings well. I have hiked in the nearby desert and skirted the edge of vast forests. Yet it is not Nevada; it is not even North America. It is not a childhood memory.

A shoreline around which I occasionally walk or drive is nowhere on Earth. Thoroughfares that approximately match its streets are not those streets.

That island in the Pacific is really in a much vaster and more galactically or dimensionally remote ocean.

Anthropologist Michael Harner explains how spirit guides encountered in other worlds and dimensions while on shamanic journeys initiated by drums and/or entheogens or otherwise could be the spirits of plants, animals, ancestors, devas, gods, or people who have died, even spiritual teachers like Jesus or Buddha. The historical figures, ancestors or gurus, do not even have to know consciously, egoically that they are serving as guides in another state of their being. And their essential beingness is so large that, from their timeless status, they can be many places within time at once.

Even more fantastically, spirit guides can be presently living people, known or unknown to the paraphysical journeyer; they are also unaware (consciously) of giving aid or even of their capacity to give aid and act elsewhere. In a universe operating at multiple levels simultaneously, we are supported, guided, and sustained by beings of which we have no awareness, in multiple dimensions, and likewise support many beings without knowing consciously of their existence. That is the basis of who we are, and it may be the only reason we exist and the way in which we that we exist.

Events in waking life tend to draw a person to his or her nonlocal guide in bodily form too. Harner provides several instances of this sort of intersection from the files of his Shamanic Institute. These shamanic guides both are and are not the actual historic entities they resemble. In one such account a shamanic seeker regularly received instruction from “an old man in the Upper World who inhabited a cabin in an unknown countryside.” One day in ordinary reality, the aspiring shaman was driving along a road in California when he came to a beautiful canyon and pulled over there on impulse. Drawn to follow a path, he “arrived at a cabin almost identical to the Upper World one of my spirit teacher. There was even a similar fence around it.”

He felt compelled to knock on the front door. The young man who answered graciously invited him in. After entering, the traveler saw “in the dim light an elderly man half-reclining on a couch. He turned his head toward me and smiled…. I recognized him as being my teacher in the Upper World or, rather, being an aging ordinary-reality version of my teacher in the Upper World.”

They talked for a while, and the visitor discovered that this version of his guide was a landscape painter who had had to stop his work because of an incurable illness. Furthermore, he had been suffering from the illness for almost exactly the time period in which the shaman initiate had known him as his teacher.

“I did not tell him about my teacher, but on some level he seemed to know something. He said that I seemed familiar to him, and he gave me a print of one of his paintings haltingly inscribed, ‘To My Old Friend.’”

After the painter died some two years later, he continued to serve as the traveler’s Upper World guide. [Cave and Cosmos: Shamanic Encounters with Another Reality (North Atlantic Books, 2013), pp. 150-151].

 

When we evaluate dictations from transpersonal entities, incarnate or disincarnate, during séances and channeling sessions, the same ontological questions attend: Do transmissions through an unconscious medium, unaware of what he or she is saying, come from another discrete entity with autonomous intent and agency? And if so, is that entity who it says it is?

If a source-shift identifies itself as Seth or Abraham or Jesus, is that reliable in the same way as a local postman or bartender introducing himself? Is it the same mind-form, known as well to itself, on each occasion? And is it telling the truth, the same truth, to everyone?

What law of physics (or paraphysics) establishes a relationship between a channel and a channeler? What is the ontological status of the transfer of information between them? How does its vector transcend space-time as well as cosmological limits imposed by the speed of light?

What does a nonlocal entity “do” when it is not being consulted or channeled? To speak does it interrupt another activity, or is it always available, existing timelessly, on multiple levels simultaneously?

Are we unknowingly sending out esoteric information too, delivering messages at other tiers and frequencies of Creation?

Multipersonhood provides a model for such messaging whereby each entity receives information from its general intelligence-configuration according to his or her own attunement as well as the field status of the information itself and entity being channeled. Each focal self draws on its source self and affiliations.

The universe functions a hologram with every portion of it enfolded into the whole. As physicist David Bohm proposed, “[W]hatever part, element, or aspect we may abstract in thought, this still enfolds the whole and is therefore intrinsically related to the totality from which it has been abstracted.” [177] Channeling is not exogenous information or action at a distance; it is a way of accessing the essential shared identity and entanglement, that “all information is available at all locations within the universe.” [172]

The linearly framed act of channeling is a re-attuning within a larger conscious-unconscious flow. A stream of information is installed across subliminal thesholds, and the channeling experience establishes an axis of relationship within a given dimensional framework. Like consciousness itself, it is self-authenticating only. Across incalculable ranges of both conscious and unconscious denominations, information travels—particle information, minded information, encrypted information. The act of channeling installs an individualized conduit of relationship inside an active dimensional framework.

When Jane intercepted speech from a different dimension of reality, Seth told her that she had contacted the Sumari, which he described as “a psychic family or… guild of consciousnesses who worked together through the centuries.” [64] Sumari itself is one of the cosmic encryptions, but it is also a signal. It “is not a language, since it was not spoken verbally by any group of people…. [I]t is a language that is at the base of all languages, and from which all languages spring…. The living vitality of the cordella rises out of the universe’s need to express and understand itself, to form in ever-changing patterns and take itself by surprise.” [79-80] “Cordella” is, Seth says, a Sumari cum English word for Multipersonhood. If one individuality is a repository of multiple narratives and lives, a cordella is a composite entity of thousands of individuals (and personhoods) and all their life cycles and interdependent intelligences comprising a structure too intricate to map.

When (and if) another person (not Jane) channels this same Sethian intelligence field, the entity might or might not identify itself as Seth. Seth himself intersected Jane not only as Seth but Seth II, the Sumari/Cyprus complex (“musical dramas that communicate by disrupting usual verbal patterns”), and entities named Helper and Seven [208-209]. Of course, each name is a metonymy and alias to begin with, just as your present name is. Take a look at this universe on the next moonless night: does it look like a realm navigable by parochial identity tags or full-disclosure names?

As for authenticity, it is both relative and absolute and, in any case, a collaboration between an unknown source intelligence and a subliminal receiving one.

Finally Seth is not a spirit guide and does not sound like a spirit guide or person because he is Jane’s own multidimensionality—[105] a configuration projected by her source self, her “higher dimensionalized ghost” on the one hand “and on the other…consciousness united and whole drawn from the earth’s entire existence [including] other earths, probable to us, with different intersections with space and time; other living areas and other historic pasts than our own.” [136]. That’s a lot to listen to and integrate at once—no wonder it stepped down into your friendly neighborhood Seth. Because “aspect prints,” as Jane Roberts calls channeled messages, are too large to fit within the usual framework or field of the receiving personality, they get transposed into its “living personality profile,” [102] a view arising from its sense of what cosmic intelligence or superexistence is. The message patterns itself into a personification that makes sense to the recipient. The Multipersonhood downsizes—Earth-sizes—“its own greater reality” via focus and source personalities. [106] Somewhere in that exchange the moniker Seth gets attached. [107]

Within our two-fold reality, Seth is a multidimensional consciousness reflected through Jane’s psyche as well as a representational personification of what Multipersonhood might feel like to an ordinary person, that is, beyond that person’s concepts of personhood itself. [106] The actual Seth is “a ‘trans-world’ entity, a personogram…[with] separate existence in his own dimensions, and his existence as it is reflected in the psyche.” [204]. He put the matter in his own words (January 29, 1974) in an address to Jane’s class:

“Who is Seth? …On the one hand I am someone you do not know, lost before the annals of time as you understand it….

“On the other hand, I am yourself…so through me do you view and meet the selves that you are, and so I rise, in your terms, from the power and antiquity and glory of your own being, projected outward into the world of time from a universe in which time is meaningless….

“Each of you…project upon me those characteristics that are your own in other terms, and so I am a multidimensional being as you are multidimensional beings….

“I speak with the voices that, in your terms, come from centuries yet unborn. Yet these are the voices that you, yourselves, have whispered from the fossils of your being, when you were (in your terms now) unthinking selves on sunlit cliffs in worlds unknowing. And projected by your desire, these voices then speak to you and urge you to your own fulfillment….

“For there (in the deepest reaches of your being), is a greater reality that knows your present existence and looks upon it with the fondest, the dearest, the most familiar of memories; a reality that has grown, in your terms, into entities indescribably vast; realities that form worlds more complex than the one in which you now dwell.

“And yet also, through that channel of being you will also find fossil cells that are not yet selves, that have not yet grouped into complex organisms, but that lie filled with the desire of being, filled with the desire of God, for fulfillment and thought and complexity…selves that will become entities; fossils of yourselves that still, in certain terms, contain memories of the selves that you are.

“As they wander in what seems to you to be a dark world; as they seek toward a sun that is your brain; as they journey over unknown cliffs, seeking recognition; so do you wander within worlds of greater selves that you are, seeking for the rays of other suns that are the brains of your own greater being. So are you all one, and so is my voice speaking from your own greater being—from which you are forever born and always reborn….

“The smallest cell in your toe dreams of your reality and helps to create it, as you dream of the smallest cell’s reality and help create it….

“You move your hand and touch your face, and what realities do you stir, and what seasons do you cause to fall upon other worlds—and how, as you lift your finger and touch your face—do you stir ponds of reality? What frogs sit by the ponds that you have stirred, and what winds blow with the power of your thoughts? …Your lips curve and tremble, and the muscles move across your face, and as they do the wind blows in other universes.” [200-203]

Pretty beautiful, isn’t it? Universe is unfolding transparently but running so close to our beingness—and our beingness is arising so tight to it—that we do not experience its true heft or anything much beyond our fragile existential beingness and the shadow of God, also known as Cosmic Unity.

The hierarchy is limitless in all directions, but so is the possibility of knowledge, transformation, and growth.

 

Death

In the movie Café Society, Woody Allen presents an exchange in which the husband tells the wife he’s not afraid of death and the wife says, “You’re too stupid to understand the implications.”

I was reminded of how Allen began as a comedy writer; it is funny, but it has two different meanings: one, the probable intended meaning, that the husband is too stupid to realize that his whole existence vanishes for good and he doesn’t get to schmooze anymore; two, my meaning in this book, death opens him to the greater range of his Soul’s pictures, constellations, and lifetimes.

The loss of communication with the dead in our present reality represents an absolute personal break with something and someone once real. It is the core of the reality we are in, for it seems to indicate that existence itself can be extinguished. The barrier between the living and the dead is the most salient construct of this entire zone of the cosmos under our Piscean cosmology.

Perhaps we are at the beginnings of a new era when the pea-soup fog over humanity’s main trance-state—that separating the living from the dead—is beginning to dissipate. We’re already a far cry from Frederic Myers sputtering “Myers here … calling from somewhere…it’s me, Myers, help” to Seth’s multidimensional cosmology channeled via Jane Roberts.

If consciousness and personal identity are real things, they are indestructible (though not immutable, and certainly not immune to amnesia); they are senior to obliteration of the mortal coil and its reality state.

When we transit from this body nothing that was made real is forfeited. It transfers elsewhere, along with what made it and us real, or seem real, to ourselves, back into a Mulitpersonhood. In fact, it is already located there.

For the particular personality and character, it does go black, and nothing happens forever, just as in the most nihilistic prognosis. But the personality was only a form of the Soul which is only an aspect of the Multipersonhood, and the life only took place within time. Whatever it was—really was—and meant is absorbed back into the Soul and Multipersonhood with its essence. Its knowing itself as itself remains but in a different context and as a different thing. This life is not lost and doesn’t become unreal; it simply has a prior and greater reality.

Spiritual philosopher William Irwin Thompson said when I brought up his use of the term “daemon” at lunch, wondering if it was equivalent to the Soul, “I prefer to think of Soul as the fractal monad of the Divine Consciousness. Sri Aurobindo’s “Psychic Being” is the being that is the sum of all our incarnations.”

This is where alchemy is the superior science to chemistry. In alchemy chemicals are archetypes as well as elements—and you can’t destroy archetypes, you can only transubstantiate them. You can’t destroy anything real.

And if time doesn’t exist at large, immortality is in fact a tautology. Every creature and personhood is already immortal, outside of time.

Though an ego-identified life seems short, as even a Big Bang universe does—anything less than eternity is short—it may be one in a sequence of views, as if we were beholding paintings in a museum. After getting totally lost in the details of an image, even dissolving through it like Alice down the rabbit hole, we move to the next, perhaps from an entirely different era, nationality, and style, as if from an Egyptian or Mediaeval landscape to a Rembrandt to Edward Hopper to Andrew Wyeth, each real and engaging while wrapped in its façade. One is the Crucifixion; one is pumping gas in 1940; another is an electrical concatenation sipping light along the sands of curvature in another dimension.

The meaning of biological death changes in the context of Multipersonhood, as a greater constellation of beingness transcends temporal locale or historic time. At each death the Utimate “I” we identify with reemerges through that galactic/astral veil into a different View, ultimately the universe’s blind view, which was there before its life and ego identity—probably before the Milky Way. You can annihilate anything except View.

In Multipersonhood terms, past and future selves and other entities are part of a greater personal identity and consciousness such that those who are “dead” are elided from only a present timeline and its chronology. Death involves a transfer within a Multipersonhood such that only the view and space-time-like continuum changes. As the pieces fly apart, they retain essential integrity and entanglement. And, as John Friedlander posits, at least one of them continues to know itself as who it was in the last incarnation.

When deceased creatures fold back into the universe, they need not reincarnate or transmigrate to survive; they move from one consciousness and identity cubicle to another. Furthermore, if consciousness is fundamentally a frequency and nonlocal state or transmission of reality, a given “past life” need not be one’s own singular possession but a shared narrative of one of millions of human and sentient-being Group Souls formed in the last fifty thousand years in the Earth’s noosphere, comprising billions of mortal individual personae and finding and matching each other’s pictures in a hall of mirrors. Past-life memories can depict entangled states of personhood and information itself, including blocks of information or synoptic events lodged in Group Souls and Multipersonhoods from multiple people’s experiences that, in certain instances, come to seem as real as one’s own. James Leininger can tap into the experiences of James Houston by proximity in such a network.

It is not reincarnation; it is a change of vibration, value, and plane of manifestation. In the Physical plane you need a physical body to get around, but that’s all it is, a plane, a body, a cycle, and an ego: you, You. The physical body is not so much real as it is vibrating at the frequency of the plane. The plane is not so much real as vibrating at the frequency of the body.

So “past life” is the wrong answer to the wrong question: a question to ask of a simpler, more linear, time-ridden universe. The present lifetime always stands in relation to its cosmic interdependence. Presuming that our current identity had prior states, these represent different levels of awareness of their perceived concreteness now as well as during prior states of concreteness.

Current-time consciousness flows through ganglia as an undulation flows through the ocean or electrons through matter. If a longship’s timbers are replaced section by section at successive landfalls in Greenland and Labrador along an oceanic voyage until there are no staves left of the original knarr, is it still that ship? If the old timbers are stored in the hold and upon arrival another ship is constucted from them, which ship is the original one? I say, the original ship is the one with none of the original boards. And I say that James Leininger is not James Huston.

In its search for its own pre-lifetime self, ego is mistaken if it expects to discover other roles and creatures starring as its self, each with their own costumes, period pieces, and heroic (or anti-heroic) roles. These existences are more accurately viewed as simultaneous events, entering a shared quantum state from different time frames. The trail of personal identity is not a railroad track running forever into the great unknown but popcorn cracking in multiple dimensions.

 

Much as we access former selves within a lifetime through our fading memories of them, we access other selves from separate dimensions and lifetimes, as noted earlier, even more faintly through more veils, and usually not as what they are, only as what we are. Everyone remembers past lives, or remembers something that’s real but not of this world and time. For a few people, bits of this become foreground and play out as memories of past lives, or seeming memories of seeming past lives. Most remember it as background: faint, obscure, profound, haunting, but most endemically what and who they are and how they have materialized as individual identity, knowing self as self. At that point the past-life memory ceases to matter as much as the past-life actuality, which might be known as pretty much anything vast, elusive, and familiar. This set-up underwrites the kōan: “If you want to know who you were in a past life look at who you are now. If you want to know who you will become in a future life, observe your present actions.”

As reality of your past lives supports you and radiates through your current life, your lack of memory of its events is both irrelevant and ultimately negligible, as unlikely as that may seem. Because we are cut off from the full reality of our existence anyway, the limited peephole that each lifetime forms seems huge, profound and absolute such that nothing else exists. So when a brief window opens into the our actual vastness, we pay especial attention to it. For beings cut off from their basic reality, a single clue in the darkness, a brief flash of ground luminosity, is priceless and paradigmatic. But the present lifetime quickly washes it out and reimposes itself.

When the dead occasionally (or apparently_ communicate with the living, especially those they most care for, they have to do it at the frequency of their location within a Multipersonhood. That means that they speak in a different language in a different time frame. We usually cannot make sense of it or distinguish it from the rustling of the wind or ringing in the ears.

The dead may be outside our range, but they have information critical to our situation, as they are recent to us and have an objective perspective on the maelstrom we are simultaneously generating.

Even as the dead are jabbering away at us, we cannot locate their voices in the background din of this manifestation. Even if we discerned them, we would not know what they were saying or even that it was they who were speaking. That allows them to all but scream everything we need and refuse to hear, everything that we subconsciously stop our ears and minds against, everything we most need to receive and will have to receive someday. The dead cannot be heard.

The dead are telling us what ISIS and 9/11and climate change really are. Our not listening, our subliminally receiving a signal from them that we can’t assimilate, is what is creating our world. The very nature of our own reality is that we don’t hear. We do not yet inhabit our own world even as we are dismantling its very shell. In the words of Seth II, a higher octave of the Sethian Multipersonhood: “We do not understand the nature of the reality you are creating, even though the seeds were given to you by us. We respect it and revere it. Do not let the weak sounds of this voice confuse you. The strength behind it would form the world as you know it and sustain it for centuries.”

What is missed is that the jihadist attack on modernity is a direct attempt to break its trance, its narcissistic reflection in its own mirror. It does this by eradicating commodities, including lives, randomly and ruthlessly, excoriating the nasty death pictures of the capitalist transnational city-state and replacing them with those of its own. They may be ugly and horrific, but what rock into an artificially seamless mirror isn’t?

The spirit forms that govern this Earth plane are plummeting as deep as they can go into their own paradoxes and oppositions, shapes that presently lack definition in higher spheres, until they can bottom out the entire universe—All That Is—the immanent source of nature itself, the true ontology and intrinsic disposition of Creation as opposed to any of its epiphenomenal or dimensional states; it might be called the Matrix in which the cosmos is imbedded.

When Ellias Lonsdale sat at Theanna’s bedside before her death, he watched her very closely, with his third eye in his subtle body, and glimpsed where she went—not out but in. That’s where the “rest” the universe, the missing universe and dark matter are, not out and superior but in and interior to its own interiority, just where string theory says it should be.

I have experienced few alternate realities myself, but in September 2016, while trying to get to sleep, I tried astral projection in the classic sense of imaging myself outside my body and blending my second chakra with the resonating fields of the others. Nothing happened, but when I did fall asleep, I entered a large rowboat that was supposed to have other passengers and a captain like the one before it. Instead, the moment I got in, it began moving and I realized I was the only passenger and it was being pulled on a rope by the boat in front with the passengers. I knew we were going to go over the falls and I braced myself as my boat very palpably bucked. Then I was outside of it and it was tiny and I was hugging it for dear life as I fell. Instead of hitting the water at the bottom, it began to float like a parachute. Everything inside me suddenly changed. I was penetrating a structure, initially solid and boulder-like but then flaking, flake after flake after flake falling away in fractal fashion. As I penetrated this space, I understood that not only was it, for all intents and purposes, infinite, but I was the same infinity, and I would continue to sail through it intact, even as it fell away, long after I knew anything else about anything.

The struggle between good and evil in this solar system is a bare passing façade in this greater crusade of being and nothingness, of a grunge universe sputtering beneath the ikon of its planned jubilee.

Would that the next jihad (or 9/11) some fifty or a hundred years from now be a mark of unity consciousness in the noosphere rather than a biospheric battle of tribes and species.

 

Is Reality a Computer Simulation?

Consider the inherent difficulty of being anything, any one thing or persona, forever. It would not only become tedious, it would run out of memory hardware, it would develop dementia of one sort or another. Immortality doesn’t work; that is, it doesn’t work in the biological sense because it does work in the paraphysical sense.

Immortality in any single bodily configuration would be a cruel trap. Despite what Clint Eastwood (as William Munny) posited in Unforgiven, Death does not take away everything you have everything you have and everything you’re going to have. It gives you everything you have and everything you are going to have. For the ego it may be curtains, but for the essential being it is the beginning of regaining itself forever. It is the only thing that returns Self to the hive of its Soul and Multipersonhood.

To want to be imprisoned in any one emanation forever is to dismiss the greater vortex that injects us into mortality itself. If reality is a series of designed pavilions, attempts to stay in any one viewing platform are like staying in a dream: a reversal of illusion and reality. “Birth and death,” writes Jane Roberts, “may be doors into three-dimensional activity, and death the way out of what would otherwise be a dimensional dilemma in which further development would be impossible. Instead, we’d be locked into one time-and-space slot.” [122]

Those who seek to preserve their existence in cryogenic chambers and underground bunkers are not only deluded but incarcerating themselves. Mortality is what prevents eternal servitude or termless millennia of captivity or confinement, likewise any pathology, defect, neurosis, or state of grief. No one can be controlled or subjugated forever; every creature escapes its provisional trance through death and transubstantiation, the ultimate liberation.

The primary backers of technologies for immortality include Silicon Valley billionaires who don’t want death to interrupt their current hot sprees in this vibration, are outraged that anything would challenge the physically vibrating wealth and power they have garnered. Larry Ellison (Oracle), Pierre Omidyar (eBay), Larry Page and Sergey Brin (Google), Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook) are all reported to be involved in funding experimental cryonic freezing for future defrosting in a more advance technome with an ultimate death-cure.

To mistake the virtual universe and one’s egoic experience in it for the actual universe is delusion at Ozymandian scale. It is is based not only on faith in technology but a belief that the brain is the singular and sole repository of the mind and personal identity, and that its preservation is simply a matter of preserving all its information, of expanding memory while reducing storage size. Technogarchic advocates point to the miniaturization of building-size mainframes to personal cell phones in less than a generation; from there they extrapolate forward.

The same klatch of transhumanist technocrats propose that we can transcend our bodies by uploading our minds onto computers, in a hypothetical future time after machine intelligence surpasses human intelligence: the legendary Consciousness Singularity. Cognitive neuroscientists continue to believe that future exponential increases in computing power will lead inevitably to making a map of all the connections in a person’s brain—a Connectome—that can be used to rekindle a consciousness state that would include his or her sense of personal continuity and selfhood.

This presumes that one is simply a pattern of electrical signals, that the mind is solely what the brain is computing, that memory is the same as “being,” and that all its critical patterning can be simulated. It assumes that interior awareness is simply a by-productive of quantitative monitoring. Reenacting that set-up brings back beingness too! One ostensible post-Singularity strategy is to inject nanorobots into people’s bloodstreams to scan their brains and transmit their information, the electrical pattern, wirelessly to hard drives. That then can be reconstituted the whole person, himself or herself. No ground luminosity in this system, just shiny tin (and silicon).

 

Putting one’s eggs in the basket of artificial intelligence, transhuman technology, and cryopreservation, to say the least, is a profound misreading of All That Is. It combines machine worship with a naïve notion of personal identity and a ludicrous over-valuation (or mis-valuation) of our mortal lot. It elevates scientism to the status of a true divinity and religion. Who needs the resurrection of Christ or the reincarnation of a lama if everyone can be transferred between hardware in mainframes.

At a minimal level this proposition requires the capacity to keep the brain’s three-dimensional subjective holograph intact in such a way that it can 4-D copied and resurrected with personal identity and its log. Some computer scientists set the data expenditure of one brain at about the level of half the world’s current digital storage capacity, so cybernetic space is an obstacle.

Freezing a brain or entire body for controlled defrosting in a later epoch puts faith not only in a nonexistent industry’s hypothetical capacity to perform a combination of preservation and reconstruction of a mind in all its phenomenological attributes but in thawing bodies and/or brains without significant damage or reversal of degradation caused by freezing and thawing, then rebooting an entire conscious being with his or her (or its) sense of its own identity.

Presuming technological success at these—an unwarranted concession—there remain innumerable other quandaries at countless ontological and epistemological levels. If you can copy a personality, a state of personal existence, then it is not unique. While each clone may have the memory and identity of the original to the point of transfer, they would each have separate existential realities thereafter and be “different” people.

Plus, what can you “do” in a world in which “you” have become a computer file—all reality is virtual. You can’t do pilates or yoga; all you can do is think, think yourself into endless quandaries. Physical reality has no use for spirit except as an arena in which enact designs and experience their outcomes, to explore karma in designs with density and depth. Otherwise spirit and matter are incompatible partners, even if matter arose from the intelligence of spirit in another dimension. Matter is ultimately spirit’s prison.

It is worth noting vis-à-vis so-called immortality that no one will be here when the Sun novas and burns out. You may say that it is a long way off, but to develop a device for self-perpetuation that itself will be immolated by the demise and extinction of this solar system is a temporary stalling tactic. And if we build ships to get members of our species to another habitable planet in another solar system—a project as unlikely as it is a sci-fi assumption—we are back in the war zone when the Big Bang finally collapses, or whatever. We are still subject to kitchen and workplace accidents and the daily spinning of those blind goddesses of fate: Atropos, Lachesis, and Clotho.

Yes, hundreds of millions of years are a long time, but they are not forever.

 

All reality is already virtual, a simulation written in vibrational motifs and uncertainty states of electrons and probability potentials of neutrons, protons, and electrons based on quarks, or in etheric, astral, and causal frequencies, etc. The rind of reality is a vast electro-physical hologram, so metadimensional fields assigned to chakras and their auras is a far better dead reckoning of personal reality and rooting in the larger non- or meta-physical field along with trajectories of internal referencing and intentional operation than Connectomes. Auras are the carrier waves of meaning and morality. Consciousness is far more than awareness manifesting in different forms; it is a source energy generating awareness and making it possible. [LD38]

The bet that is hedged by transhumanism is that of the actual source and nature of beingness. In their view the algorithms generating personal identity, self-awareness, and their memory structure arose from chemistry and mud through a random sort, and they are merely using some of its properties, adventitiously given, perhaps ingeniously, to extend themselves by a higher order of their own properties.

If intrinsic meaningfulness cannot be captured in a Connectome, the reconstruction is of little value. At best it will produce zombie-like replicas of a no-longer-existing integrity fluctuation. Bar transdimensional intercession, it would miss what was stored in the aura and larger Multipersonhoods.

 

It is the height of misplaced concreteness to surmise that translating cosmic or divine “technology” into some cumbrous human imitation, even at its most supreme nano-inflection point, will lead to immortality. Transhumanists grasp an essential truth without understanding its relevance. It was never a matter of whether this is a simulation; it is. It is a matter of the nature of the intelligence behind it. Any passingly physical viration is an exploration zone, not a reality. Our beings and their thoughtforms are creating it by trying to figure out what it is. Density is very new territory in a cosmic sense, and bodies as tools for adventure are a novel concept, though a crucial one for the spiritual development of the universe—the cosmic evolution of spirit.

What Ray Kurzweil and fellow speculative technocrats are doing is reading the human invention of computers and digital terabyte technology as an improvement on the ontological invention of personal identity and creaturehood rather than what it is, a mere reflection through the human mind of the neural and synaptic process whereby personal identity is being created from the universe at large. We are already uploaded (or downloaded) from the vibration or plane of the Soul (and Group Souls) into individual life trajectories—and by a technology so elegant as to make the transhumanist imitations as paltry as they are useless.

The chemico-electrical basis of being is a transient vehicle, a physical merkaba, for the expression of a self-arising identity on a material plane. The attempt to capture the greater form in the lesser not only doesn’t reckon with the eventual destruction of all technology on Earth but with the form of existence itself and its actual basis and constituent nature. If you want immortality, you need to hire a different concern: Lamas, Inc.

The whole scientific enterprise is addressing solid objects at only one frequency—from a portal much like Plato’s cave. But atoms, molecules, cells, and bodies are vibrations, phase states, shadows not absolute objects. The hegemony of the materialist enterprise is too much fuss over one frequency of emanation of meta-forms that have other frequencies. Cryopreservation is the inevitable delusional outcome of that obsession.

What do we have here, a universe of light and its by-products: perishable, mutable light. It is pure and utter erasure. We build castles of light and water, write books and laws in light and water, light and vibrating strings and curvatures. We create philosophies and religions of light and water. Nothing of this will and can last, not the most indomitable concrete edifice or cathedral, also made of light and water, nor the most magnificent poem or painting or sculpture. All will vanish with the mortality of sun and all stars and all atoms, and the universe will get to the bottom, what is at the bottom of itself, beyond all these mirages and ghosts. But they are important, in fact crucial, for they represent the universe in exile and everything about it. They are the universe of greater pagodas and pantheons and songs and prayers written in light and water. The transition is our destiny, and is the destiny of stars and suns. Something is indelible and real, but it operates nothing like things here except it must look exactly like them in some totally other way.

The universe doesn’t want us hanging around here forever. The universe is not a dumb squatter in the middle of pure nowhere; it has a say in the matter.

The agenda should be to attune to a subtler vibration, not to hold consciousness in a denser, ephemeral metallic forms. If we are already being cloned, shared, preserved, and transferred timelessly within Multipersonhoods, there is no need to artificialize immortality. Relevant immortality is imbedded in a “hard drive,” that of the aura. Real Singularity already exists: in prayer, in shamanic trance, in psychic healing, in Rainbow Bodies and other advanced forms of meditation, and in the unconscious reception of interdependent beingness and shared experience throughout the mega-structures of All That Is.

There the death of the Sun and heat death of the Universe no longer exist because different temporalities lead to their own resolutions and consequences. Miracles are longer miraculous; they are miraculous only inside a one-way flow of time—in fact, miracles in our dimensional plexus may be little more than the intermittent intrusion of outlying dimensional zones and other time frames.

The Akashic book doesn’t lie.

 

What about the idea that this entire reality, this universe with all its views, is a computer simulation in which we have been located by super-beings residing elsewhere: the Matrix write large? The simulation, one argument goes, is betrayed by the current erosion and tattering of its supergalactic display platform, causing unraveling atomic debris at the edges, zones where the super-technicians forgot or neglected to tuck in the naps.

Technocrat Elon Musk makes this argument, taking the advance of computer technology as the baseline and goes forward from there: “So given that we’re clearly on a trajectory to have games that are indistinguishable from reality, and those games could be played on any set-top box or on a PC or whatever, and there would probably be billions of such computers or set-top boxes, it would seem to follow that the odds that we’re in base reality is one in billions. Tell me what’s wrong with that argument. Is there a flaw in that argument?”

Astronomer Neil deGrasse Tyson makes the same essential argument: “I think the likelihood may be very high. Noting the gap between human and chimpanzee intelligence, despite the sharing of more than 98 percent DNA, he proposes that somewhere in the cosmos is a being whose intelligence is greater than ours along the same scale. “We would be drooling, blithering idiots in their presence,” he added. “If that’s the case, it is easy for me to imagine that everything in our lives is just a creation of some other entity for their entertainment.”

Furthermore, the very mathematical basis of reality suggests engineering and design. “If I were a character in a computer game,” observes MIT cosmologist Max Tegmark, “I would also discover eventually that the rules seemed completely rigid and mathematical. That just reflects the computer code in which it was written.”

Aside from the presumption that the present trajectory with its exponents is maintainable not only technologically but politically and ecologically, there is the mistaken technocratic assumption that the intelligence imbedded in computers is the highest intelligence in the universe or, more accurately, greater than the intelligence designing this reality without computers and more in the manner described by numerous indigenous cosmologies, whether Apache, Taoist, or the Qabalistic Tree of Life.

Considering our reality a computer simulation by a technologically more advanced civilization does not address the problem of personal identity. Is our recognition of ourselves as ourselves—our capacity to contemplate our own existence and even surmise that reality is a computer simulation—a capacity and reflective agenda built into the simulation by its designers? If so, does it have personal identity only as a by-product of codes they have written into their simulation or does it arise spontaneously somehow on its own once the simulation is run—same question to ask (by the way) of test-tube created cells or artificially intelligent robots in comparable situations? How do the simulation-creators acquire their own personal identity, presuming they have enough self-recognition to enjoy making computer games? How do they transfer subjective personal realities into simulations? Does their transfer their own state of identity or a different, invented one? Can there be more than one mode of personal identity? Same question to ask of gravity and mass.

The more likely ontology is that computers vaguely and incompletely simulate the design of this reality insofar as they are a subproduct of this reality and can reflect nothing else and also in that we have no other model except the “simulation” or designed reality we are in—we have no capacity to imagine a different reality, but different realities exist almost a dime a dozen incomprehensibly and exponentially throughout All That Is.

The uniqueness and elegance of the digital replication of the mechanism of reality design is an extremely refined inquiry into a cosmic software that dwarfs it. There is nothing on Earth its rival, but that doesn’t require that our known universe is coming out of some mega-creature’s computer.

Where would that mega-creature be located? Is its world material and Darwinian or something else? Does our simulation take place by the laws of that creature’s universe or a science-fiction-like trope the creature invented (of the sort that Philip José employed in series like World of Tier, a book entitled appropriately The Maker of Universes)? Farmer wrote in a mostly pre-cybernetic world, so he used clunkier modes of transfer and reembodiment.

That the universe looks like a computer game says something about the mathematical nature of the universe and of our mode of consciousness but not about an infinite regression or progression of computer games on the level of “turtles all the way down.”

 

This is a computer simulation—our own—just as all those mini-computer simulations are our own, our own minded response to not only matter but the intrinsic capacity of matter to become anything that mind can turn into its own conscious projection onto matter?

The universe is an algorithm, an abacus or zodiac on which to calculate the intricate possibilities of creature action and imagination. It is a simulation but not in that sense. Matter is the projection of consciousness, of intrinsic intelligence, through its own nature, from outside of time, through time.

There is no functional difference between a simulation at one level and a reality written in electrons and cellular holograms at another. Just because a simulation is natural—molecular mortar and other rebar—does not mean it’s not simultaneously virtual. Mind, electrons, and quantum collapse express different levels of the conscious basis of physical as well as mental reality even as they express the resistance density of consciousness in its own construct of gravitation and curvature.

This reality in which we are immersed and which we have historically acknowledged as the field of cosmic unfolding and endeavor is likely but one of many dimensionalities unfolding, vibrations matriculating into landscapes and opportunities, forms and events, nodal points and crossroads, through which the deeper universe of All That Is manifests its design. Each reality is formed by an intrinsic collective intelligence underlying it, honed into the degree of complex mirage that it take kalpas—cosmic aeons—to create. It is the exactly right formation for our flavor and amp of intelligence, the playground in which we are most able to work through our ecstatic and infernal visions and, by achieving depth, probe and assay their reality and set them up relative to one another and all others in Creation to advance the entire affair along. The whole rigmarole is a simulation only insofar as the absolute expresses its depth, paradoxicality, and dialectical nature by spinning out programs that represent what it is in what they are, and what they are as immaculate, meticulous renditions of its own freefall through the utterness of itself.

Look at the night sky with the Milky Way smashed against the dome, worming its way across its cosmic superimposition like a Dreamtime snake, an illuminated smithereens quark. It is local scenery, no less than a tree rustling in an ocean breeze, no more expounded than most of the galactic molasses in the display. It is Pure Mind.

How could you tell computer simulation from Divine Intelligence anyway? A computer is a machine constructed by creatures. But then what fashioned the cognitive wiring, memory, and identity function in those creatures? In fact, every leaf on every tree is a computer made of computers, every dead leaf on the ground a defunct machine.

“This all seems so much like a dream,” an elderly dying woman told her daughter, one of six children. These were her last words. She had no particular psychospiritual training or intellectual education. In fact, she had been a potato farmer in Aroostook County, Maine. Then she made a gentle transition potato farmer to something else in the Universe.

Clearly there is more than one tier of Intelligence designing computers.

One day, believe it or not, everything about the universe—everything—will be different. A modern physicist dropped into it would not recognize anything. He would not even recognize that it existed because he would be looking for a different universe (if he even knew what “looking” was there).

Everything will be different— phenomenologically, existentially, walk-out-the-door different, only there will be no door, no walking, and nowhere to go. But the part of you that knows itself as itself will still be there. And it is this remote yearning now that defines the present and draws its landscape over stark molecular bones.

Pick any song you want, and it begins to sound Sumari after a few bars. For now I’ll take Jo Stafford singing, “Poor Wayfarin’ Stranger.”

“I know dark clouds will gather round me,
I know my way is rough and steep,
But beauteous fields lie just before me,
Where men redeemed their vigils keep.”

 

Why Something Rather than Nothing?

Why? Why is there anything at all, anything anywhere?

In a legendary (or apocryphal) final exam for a philosophy course at Harvard, the professor skipped the expected list of topics and simply asked, “Why?”

A student in the class grabbed his exam, wrote a few words on the first page in his blue booklet, and left, all in under a minute.

In the same legendary or spurious account he got an A for his effort. He wrote, “Why not?”

I heard that story in high school in 1960. I never liked it. I have come to understand why. The answer is pure fashionable wise-guy and, if the event wasn’t apocryphal, the professor was rewarding the wise-guy’s nihilism with an equally nihilistic A.

In order to understand what something rather than nothing means, you have to understand what “nothing” means. It means that atoms, quarks, preons, string, the Big Bang, whatever, just occurred, ostensibly because there was a thermodynamic basis for them. That is all they are rooted in. What thermodynamics is rooted in is ostensibly the tendency of particles to follow natural laws of heat, frequency, placement, curvature, and shear, etc., to juggle things until a mechanistic object begins to dream itself and search for its own existential basis. Yet there is none: the ambition is an illusion much as it would be an illusion for a robot to think that it had a purpose and meaning rather than just a function.

For there to be “something” means that those quarks, preons, string, and the Big Bang, etc., are grounded in something else like the letters of the Hebrew alphabet or what those letters stand for in all alphabets and symbolic systems masking origin. In that sense, just about any indigenous Creation myth comes closer to a universe based in something rather than nothing than the scientific parable because those Creation myths are the effects of something trying to grasp its location without microscopes, telescopes, or data processing units.

Do philosophers know that there in fact is something rather than nothing or that this is a concrete, physical baseline universe rather than a thoughtform emanating from a higher vibration. Even the vast galloping “something” that has squatted on eternity like a Big Hen or its unruly egg splatter is an enigmatic miasma in which physicists struggle to corral and position quantum-entangled particles that communicate instantaneously across distances of light years, nonlocal interaction of photons, consciousness collapsing matter to “create” discrete realities, dark matter: “spooky action at a distance.” Physicist Richard Feynman once remarked “the whole universe may consist of one electron moving at infinite speed.”

For the all the fire and bright surfaces, there is more darkness than light in the universe, more mirage than evidence.

Erstwhile physicists point to the fact that nowhere in macro-reality do you find wave-particle dichotomy, quantum uncertainty states, or collapsing waves, but they are missing the thief in their own attic.

Every view of theirs is a wave collapse, every thought is creating the reality in which it is otherwise an algorithm monitoring system overload. Every gull crying out, every monk meditating is surfing the physics of wave collapse.

The entire display is a vibrating, wave-particle illusion. Reality doesn’t exist if you are not interfacing with it. If you are viewing it, experiencing it, a dialectic brings it into being, every instant from every vantage for everyone and everything, optimizing its sleek and rugged expression.

Talk about the elephant in the room!

The current pop brand of Penrose-Hameroff quantum collapse based on the so-called free will of electrons is a forced metaphor. Electrons do not (and could not) generate thoughts by translating quantum states through microtubules into nerve nets. Quantum uncertainty and wave collapse carve their own back route into human nerve impulses, values, and meanings because they are taking place in every atom in every molecule. But they takes place far beneath their own metaphor—so far beneath that for all intents and purposes it is not quantum entanglement or collapse anymore, and the thoughtforms it generates are unconscious anyway.

Free will flowing from electrons to microtubles does not get an A—perhaps a C+.

We have no idea what the actual geography (or astronomy) of beingness is. The capacities for perception we have—by sense organs like eyes and tactile clusters—originate within their own evolving neural grids. We are formed to see the Sun basically the way a flatworm does. That is the baseline, although we have refined and dimensionalized that well beyond flatworm status. Our observatories probe the Sun’s corona in toward its core while spewing out esoteric data; yet we do not have a different scope from that flashing through a flatworm ocular spot or better instruments than what were developed from an ancestral slug’s sensory patches and rheostatic and gravitational receptors. We cannot see the multidimensional Sun or other dimensions of reality.

 

How do particles in uncertainty states impose themselves on Newtonian reality? In the most obvious sense they don’t. If they did, there would be nothing stable here. Quantum reality only translates itself across the zone of very tiny things into other quantum states; likewise quantum entanglement—you can’t quantum-entangle horses; meteors never get quantum-entangled.

Yet paradoxically you don’t have to quantum-entangle horses for them to be quantum-entangled. A quantum universe is not safely tucked behind subatomic barriers in cocoons where it sizzles away without effect on Newtonian reality. Its state is intrinsic and underlies all of Newtonian reality.

According to physicist Vlatko Vedral, “The quintessential quantum effect, entanglement, can occur in large systems as well as warm ones—including living organisms…. These effects are more pervasive than anyone ever suspected. They may operate in the cells of our body.” [LD68]

Quantum mechanics is what makes the Newtonian universe Newtonian, and was a real dark horse at the time of Newton and Darwin. You don’t need nano-physics, algebra, positional topology, or string function to know that a universe that collapses its own wave function to arrive at definitiveness of event or locale is a universe that arises from the collapse of a wave function. That means that the difference in scale as well as information between a galaxy and a mosquito, when posed against the greater Void palls by comparison. Likewise the ontological difference between psi effects and quantum entanglement.

Every mosquito is at par and in balance with every galaxy because neither could exist without the other.

You can’t just slap the bug away because there will always be another emerging, a soft legged and minded crystal from its egg, if not here then somewhere else.

 

Peer through the Milky Way at the fuzz of Andromeda in the starry veil. That’s the nearest galaxy to the Milky Way. Then look at a gull in flight. We can weigh one on the scale of the other; we can place our gravitational-karmic cradle an entire substarfield on a pendulum; yet they are still in mysterious par, and that is the sheer elegance and aesthetic perfection of Creation—wabi-sabi all the way.

Mind is what arises in between ballasts—mind that can weigh a galaxy and a mosquito on the same scale—mind that can measure isotropic and anisotropic forces simultaneously. Mind is the function that makes the galaxy depend on the mosquito as much as the mosquito depends on the galaxy.

The spiraling vortex of the Sun trailing its planets, asteroids, comets, meteors, centaurs, etc., through the Milky Way Galaxy translates into the same spiral vortex as a gull’s wings in slow motion. One becomes the other, and both hang in the equilibrium of the interdependent motion of all galaxies in their supergalactic mass-gravitational dance. A primal form penetrates from the margins to the core because it is a single wave.

The sparkling night and our position in it dead-reckons into one giant mosquito, crystal, bloated ’cule: a holographic reflection of its own superpositional, synchronistic, quantum-gravitational entanglement at multiple levels simultaneously—whatever it looks like. Jean Houston says, “The universe is alive and interconnected through this quantum reality…. [I]nformation transmits through the bridges or wormholes connecting all points with all others in an indefinite number of possible patterns, constantly changing and turning on and off at incredible frequencies of up to 1,043 times per second. Either that, or we exist in a quantum hologram projected from beyond space-time, and within which we are all entangled and resonant with each other.” [JH14] These holographic codes are projected transdimensionally across All That Is.

In such a universe each portion enfolds the whole as it is being enfolded in the whole—and “if everything is linked to everything else, then consciousness is not constrained to the brain but can travel within its own ‘inner space,’ which in turn contains the whole universe.” [179] At each quantum event, not only does a particle split, but the universe itself splits, giving rise to multiple parallel cosmoses. “[T]here are literally trillions of universes, and these universes are all splitting continually into more and more universes….” [183-184] And this “is a kind of quanta…a kind of indeterminate potentiality that ‘collapses’ or becomes determinate through our individual decisions and beliefs…our collective cultures and religions.” [317]

John Friedlander puts it this way, “Moment by moment your individualized dharma changes. No matter what decision you make and no matter how horrible a decision you make, at that moment the universe immediately reconstructs itself to optimize your chance of developing spiritual freedom or spiritual meaningfulness. I’m not saying it makes it easier because you may have made enough bad decisions that it’s really pretty hard, but given the context you have created, the universe always changes every aspect of itself to optimize your ability to make meaning in that moment. If you make great decisions, the universe immediately recalculates and is available in the next moment.” The worst decision that any creature makes still enhances and enriches the universe and optimizes that creature’s situation and potential for growth. The universe takes all of the information into account as it breathes out its truth-mystery, reconstructs itself from end to end, moment to moment. John adds, “The universe is always listening to you; it never goes unconscious…. I might gather wool for a minute or two, but the universe never does that.” It doesn’t lose track of anything or miss a beat, as it adjusts and reconstructs itself simultaneously from every view of every sentient entity everywhere.

Every time an eagle dives on a low-flying gull or fisher cat attacks a rabbit, the universe is maximizing meaning and spiritual freedom for both. This is closer to the sort of real universe that requires full description in any unified field theory of astrophysics on any world. One doesn’t have to nail it as an exact posit of quantum physics translatable into human-consciousness terms to intuit its intrinsic multi-string basis. Each reality encompasses a convergence of energy, intelligence, and motion toward growth and spiritual expansion in accordance with its concomitant physical expansion after the Big Bang or Primal Flaring Forth. The silent background of all existence unfolds in harmonic, hermeneutic vibration via its many rippling, expanding centers in cosmic and microcosmic domains.

Watch an osprey try to lift an enormous trout out of a stream while the trout tries to spiral it downward into the Heraclitean waters. That is the pulse and core of the cosmic dance, galaxy to galaxy, dimension upon dimension, in the severed field between the personal identity of the bird and the personal identity of the fish in the bodies they presently inhabit stretched across the spider-web of galactic force in which they manifested from embryonic eggs.

The exquisitely balanced lotus expands from within itself as Herman Melville set into the sea of Moby Dick: “Silence reigned over the before tumultuous but now deserted deck. An intense copper calm, like a universal yellow lotus, was more and more unfolding its noiseless measureless leaves upon the sea.”

In the depths of the Freudian unconscious, beyond Jung’s collective unconscious or species mind, perhaps converging with Einstein’s space-time continuum at the level of superstrings, is a transdimensional network of independent intelligences and information systems interdependent with one another—a kind of vast Dzogchen-like web of emergent thoughtforms otherwise known as And the Earth was without form, and void; and Darkness was upon the Face of the Deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the Face of the Waters.”

Where the Dzogchen universe meets the subatomic and astrophysical universe, every Jovian world is a collegium in dormancy. Each pinwheeling sun-star field is an intricate, dense focal, personal intelligence as well as a hydrogen-helium alembic for the biochemical transfer of consciousness into matter. The two come together to make sentient life on planets like Earth. They come together not only because of random mutations and survival of the fittest but because of the intrinsic intelligence.

Physicist Roger Penrose foreshadowed this years ago: “Consciousness is a part of our universe, so any theory which makes no proper place for it falls fundamentally short of providing a genuine description of the world.”

The actual physics of nature itself, suddenly nothing is actually physical. It all looks, in the words of Sir James Jeans, “more like a great thought than a great machine. Mind no longer appears to be an accidental intruder into the realm of matter… we ought rather hail it as the creator and governor of the realm of matter.” And he was the member of the lodge who first calculated the critical radius of an interstellar cloud in space dependent on the temperature, and density of that cloud, and the mass of the particles composing it as well as the instability factor of its collapse. He helped discover a law relating the energy density of black-body radiation to the temperature of the emission source. He certainly understood the physical plane and material reality. He still saw it as a great thought.

The mystery of the universe is that it was simultaneously designed from inside-out as consciousness and from outside-in as matter: Aristotle’s “hyle,” his primary substance that can neither be predicated nor attributed to something else and transduces its own intrinsic becoming extrinsic constraints to generate minded fields.

An organized intelligence was already corkscrewed transdimensionally and hylomorphically into every bundle of biophysical plasma. That’s the quantum uncertainty state. Science’s atomic shells and vibrations hold their forms and landscapes together under the attention of Big Mind, a transpersonal intelligence and archetypal ordering principle that is rooted where the cosmos is rooted and moves from platform to platform accordingly.

Why not? Okay, take your A and leave before someone changes their mind.

 

Statisticians argue that there have been countless “failed” universes in eternity. We’re just in one where all the parameters happened to be correct for “something” and the tree that feel in its forest got heard. The greater entity is the multiverse: a hypothetical set of possible universes, whether finite or infinite, including the universe in which we dwell. Together, these universes ostensibly comprise everything that exists, meaning the entirety of space, time, matter, energy, the physical laws and constraints that define them, and everything else too and the laws and constraints that define and describe it in its totalaity

But it is human consciousness creating these definitions and parameters ex post facto at the frequency of its own boundary state. And there mind and matter dovetail so exquisitely and immaculately as to be ontologically indistinguishable.

Physicists cannot admit that mind has to be in the equation, and they cannot get it there by the rules of their lodge.

“The long sought after Theory of Everything is really merely just missing one important component that was too close for us to have noticed,” notes biologist Robert Lanza (no apparent relation to Adam). “Science hasn’t confronted the one thing that’s most familiar and most mysterious—and that is consciousness.”

Practitioners of scientism don’t get it; they too are part of the puzzle. Anything else would be unworthy and beneath our dignity.

When astrophysicists and cosmological topologists seine the cosmos and its objects, they hook concretions or expressions of absolute things, but they do not get the actual nature of either appearance or article. For one, they are confusing a mere measurement, and one taken at a great distance in space and time, with a verisimilitude. That is the first problem with the Big Bang. The second is that they are continually failing to evaluate the weightless mass of their own consciousness floating in the medium of not only their view and sampling method but itself as an aspect of the starry field they are assaying.

They come to believe in their own experimental world of “precisely controlled, highly contrived circumstances,” ignoring the fact that every substance and reaction has arisen on its own, independent of human knowledge and understanding and is absolute, at par with its own essence and evolution.

“More than 200 parameters [of the Universe] are exactly right for life to exist,” observed Lanza. “If [the Big Bang] was one part in a millionth more powerful, it would have rushed out too fast for galaxies and worlds to be here. If the strong nuclear force were decreased by 2 percent, atomic nuclei would not hold together … hydrogen would be the only element in the universe. If the gravitational constant were decreased just [slightly] … just a hair, stars, including the sun, wouldn’t ignite.”

Who arranged that “something rather than nothing” jubilee?

Lanza is amused by the reaction of most physicists to his considering a teleological line of thought—they don’t even take it seriously as what it is: “Their response has been much how you’d expect priests to respond to stem cell research.”

Yet one reviewer, Richard Conn Henry, a physics and astronomy professor at John Hopkins University, notes: “What Lanza says in this book is not new. Then why does Robert have to say it at all? It is because we, the physicists, do not say it—or if we do say it, we only whisper it, and in private—furiously blushing as we mouth the words. True, yes; politically correct … no!”

Just because there are galaxies, stars, and planets in this plane of the universe, and a universe with its own seeming trajectory of implosion, evolution, and death, does not mean by a long shot that they are also the ultimate reality and lay of the land—All That Is. When astronomers chart extra-solar planets by measuring their blips in front of their local sun-stars and come up with only super-Earths, Jovian behemoths, and massive rapidly moving or eccentric kettles of gases, it is true that they have not scouted anything like the full galactic or extra-galactic census, but they also haven’t considered the fact that any of these worlds could be inhabitable and inhabited at different frequencies or in other planes. Rudolf Steiner’s vision of Earth progressing through Lemuria and Atlantis en route to a physically habitable biosphere is antiquated astrophysically and geologically but serves as an intimation of a greater, more complex universe and different pathways of cosmographical, biological, anthropological, and psychospiritual evolution.

It is not possible for either them or nothing-only-and-ever to have appeared in the middle of nowhere and then become a manifestation ignited moment to moment by thought. As consciousness ignites the universe, that universe must generate not only phenomena but phenomenology. The trigger at the basis of both phenomena and phenomenology is as unutterable as the secret name of God, and not because some taboo proscribes expression but because our operating systems bottom out far short.

Otherwise there is no merely provisional “something rather than nothing” universe, as there is no whirlpool as big as a galaxy or universe pinwheeling in the middle of nowhere for no reason. Likewise, gravity didn’t just happen upon itself and impose curvature on nothingness—it needed mind, the flatworm “mind” as well as Newton’s.

There never could have been nothing rather than something because something preceded the hypothetical emergence of “anything” at a level of depth and latency that blows the subtle appearance of quarks and preons out of the water—a pre-Socratic, pre-Western, pre-Mediterranean, pre-hydrogen Heraclitan river. Mind ends up grasping the fundamental nature of a vast starry universe, its intricately tatted atomic carpet, and its own situation within that panoply, and creates intelligent machines, not because the algorithm has gone ape and a hundred monkeys typing away on their hopscotch machines found nirvana and consciousness at last but because it is expressing its innate essential nature.

Souls transmute out of the essential ground plasma of cosmic intelligence and foundational luminosity of All That Is, a forerunner of atoms, photons, and neutrinos within a transpositional sun-star-like vortex: “Space itself was born from within,” a within that is “literally endless and capable of all kinds of expansion. There [is] no outside!” [162] Reality brings together worlds and phenomenologies that cross and create each others’ identities. Galaxies, sun-stars, and planetary orbs form where they do because they have to.

Intrinsic is extrinsic. Matter could not generate mind if mind were not already implicit in it. Einstein doesn’t say that but, as usual, he provides the universal formula: “The particle can only appear as a limited region in space in which the field strength or the energy density is particularly high.”

The universe did not, and could not have, come upon—or to— a conscious force at the center of its own self-reflecting whirlpool just by rolling dice, quantum or other, or by random heat effects that could have as expediently, if not more handily, missed it entirely. Every ’cule on Titan or Europa mutely screams that, as well on every passing meteor and centaur laden with the pre-organic gruel of latent, unhewn mind. It is all Intelligence-sparked, a Divine Intelligence.

The problem for physics is, it is a conscious universe. A universe that has consciousness in it is a conscious universe. A universe that can crenellate mind out of a popcorn of immaculate inanimate heat effects is telling us and itself that it is conscious. You cannot exclude innate consciousness without excluding us and everything we are, materialism included. It began with mind, with intelligence. That’s the hole in science’s reality. Such a universe cannot be measured, weighed, or localized.

Did scientists forget Aristotle as their forebear? At bottom always is consciousness—conscious consciousness and unconscious consciousness, which always goes where it is rather than where it is summarily assigned. Always has, always will.

Can nothing ever produce something?

“Why something rather than nothing” is a bogus riddle because the mere asking is the answer. “Why not?” is not a real answer. At one level the kōan addresses a universe in which mind is a mere interloper, an epiphenomenon of matter; in the same universe the question gets asked, so sentience is self-arising, and the real question is what role matter plays in an overarching kingdom of mind.

The tables are turned because I don’t think that there can be matter without consciousness, without dimensionality outside the material pavilion.

If this is a conscious universe, consciousness came first, an insurmountable obstacle to materialism and the neo-Darwinian agenda. No way around it: materialism requires an algorithm, an algorithm that arose in the middle of nowhere for no reason.

Imagine all the stars in all of the galaxies in the known and imaginable universe. They ostensibly came out of a single tiny mote that could fit on your pinky nail.

The original particle, that tiny atomic pip that would fit inside a modern pinhead, gave birth to the entire universe for that very reason—to spill its guts, to get its inside out. Obviously that wasn’t a mote; it wasn’t a common particle or garden-variety subatomic fissioning. It was an algorithm that wasn’t an algorithm. It was the shadow, or negative space, of an illimitable object, though not in our sense, of indefinable dimensions.

It was more like a sacred alphabet writing itself on its own infinite permutations, instantaneously, both inside and outside of time. Its intrinsic nature was to expand and expose, and this is apparently the case whether it was also a white hole whooshing back out the contents of an entire other universe from the ouroboros of its own eddy or a tuck of inverted vibrating strings realizing their higher dimensionality while unfolding in a lower dimensional zone. It has to know itself.

The notion that conscious existence can be solved entirely from atoms, subatomic particles, and their qualities is absurd, even sociopathic. What ignites reality as well as stars is incomprehensibly subtler and more profoundly and intrinsically entangled and diaphanous than matter or even cells. In fact, atoms and thoughts are parallel degrees of emanation in a concomitant field.

When I say that all creatures alive match their collective vibration and create reality, I mean that reality is a thoughtform. It is generated as the summation of all spirits, souls, or identities breathing, singing, imagining, and vibrating together to make the reality they already share, to turn the latency into something spatial and substantial in which they can move and project energies and explore what they are and are becoming. That is why reality is written in electrons, quarks, and strings: it is electric, an oscillation or curvature, meaning of mind and of breath and of pulse. It forms as the thoughtform upholsters its projection with the furniture and landscapes it is materializing from within its density or unwrought cauldron. Everything that materializes, whether into machines, sun dances, sand-paintings, or atomic bombs, is a translation of thought kernels into the forms they incubate and essentialize. None of them are ultimate or real, but all of them encompass meanings, points that need to be made for the real to become real. That is what is happening now. Consciousness is creating a thoughtform that looks like matter and is filled with things (like planets and stars and soils and holy hydrogen-dioxide water and DNA) that provide a dais and staging for conscious explication but are not other than that, hence cannot precede and give rise to it.

The reason that the theosophical-Hindu Mental-Causal plane is vibrating at a higher pitch than the starry, fairyland Astral or the prana-field, aura-generation Etheric, is that our present carnal attunement of the thoughtform is being generated out of the Causal realm first as mentations, then mentations becoming particles. The shape of an atom, molecule, or DNA helix, each transmitting esoteric information, arises from the Causal grounding and channeling of higher energies and thoughforms. That is why the Soul cannot penetrate below the Causal: it has no reality in such a diffuse, conditional realm; it can no more get in than we can bring our bodies into a dream. We can make the dream more lucid, but we cannot incarnate in it.

Above the Causal, at Buddhic, Atmic, Monadic, and Adi vibrations, and at the finer vibrations that condition those, the Soul not only has free range, but it is more than a Personal Soul, and Personal Identity is more than even Multipersonhood. So when Seth and other aggregate entities and spirit-forms broadcast to us about our reality, they are communicating from an entirely different, more senior platform on which we look like rats in a maze, a sophisticated karmic maze but a maze nonetheless. But here is the key point: the maze we are in is essential to them too. Because it is coming out of reality, a reality we share interdependently, it is helping to support that reality. When Seth tells mortals through Jane Roberts that we can do no real damage here because we are in a school of sorts, he does not mean that we are not creating critical meanings that are being assimilated and transubstantiated through All That Is; he means that we cannot kill, obliterate, annihilate, violate, or permanently traumatize what is real. We have created, the Universe has created, All That Is has created its own athanor in which to realize the reality and meaning field within which it is emerging. Nothing is dispensable, but nothing can be marred, for the force doing the marring is in total cahoots, at the deepest level and only at the deepest level, with what is being marred.

The reason that Buddhist seers propound that if this planet were destroyed by nuclear bombs or a movement outside the climate range necessary for sustaining DNA life it would be recreated elsewhere in the universe is that that doesn’t mean another planet in another galaxy; it means the thoughtform generating this reality will continue generating it at some frequency within All That Is and that all the rest will follow, whatever “all the rest” actually is. The reason why scientists have come to presume that all this happened in the middle of nowhere for no reason is that they finally are beginning to perceive the nature of physical (subatomic) reality as a thoughtform issuing from an inaccessible vortex, so they draw the logical materialist conclusion about that: that the generation of reality is random, unsourced, and meaningless because it is random, unsourced, and meaningless from a material standpoint. It only has meaning, value, and origin as a thoughtform, which comes out to that reality is not real but meaningful, valuable, value-deriving, and ontologically based in its own awareness of its existence: it is a mirroring of itself.

If a Divine Unity generates realities from its own greater thoughtforms in hyperspatial time periods that dwarf those of the present hydrogen universe, then atoms and molecules might be what those realities look like by now: succulent, dense, emergent complexities—everything that was there in the cream and the cow that brewed the cream. Temples, churches, and mosques in this reality are attempts to link the sacred realm into a diffuse pagan, secular space it is generating.

Echoing Jeans, Max Planck spoke to this condition as someone whose hands helped part a major aspect of the veil at the edge of its concretion:

“As a man who has devoted his whole life to the most clear-headed science, to the study of matter, I can tell you as a result of my research about the atoms this much: There is no matter as such! All matter originates and exists only by virtue of a force which brings the particles of an atom to vibration and holds this most minute solar system of the atom together.

“We must assume behind this force the existence of a conscious and intelligent Mind. This Mind is the matrix of all matter.” [from a speech in Florence, Italy, in 1944, entitled “Das Wesen der Materie” (“The Essence/Nature/Character of Matter”)]

There is no matter as such.

Science and religion are two metanarratives for the process that gives rise to both of them.

 

Look at the night sky again, internally this time. Sense not only its vastness and random patterning but its signature, a signature of intrinsic intelligence.

Imagine blue-green Earth, decades after the Moon landing and back view of our habitation zone, glittering in multidimensional splendor in a black void, lit by a guardian avatar Disk. Scientism is too involved in forces and forms of externalization to recognize Creation unfolding, pouring, from Big Mind, how internalization is an equal and simultaneous function in the universe.

Blue Earth is a deep vortex, a subtle, suctioning whirlpool in the material effluent through which Etheric, Astral, and higher energies flow like honey into an alembic, whey into a churn. There they feed and blend with the physical mass to produce a life-form, an intelligent animated sludge that continues to spurt with higher information in the motif of entities in karmic expression.

If nothing physical is real—and it isn’t because it will be one day liquidated, crushed, or obliterated in some operation or other, ultimately so in the retraction of the mirage before the next Big Bang—the only thing that can escape obliteration, the only thing that can perceive and define its own immolation, is the thing that the forces of materialsm cannot get at. Otherwise if it fits in the garbage disposal, it will be disposed of. If it can be tossed into a fire, let alone fires trillions of times the size of the Sun, its ass will be burned to less than a neutrino, and then not even that.

But if it can’t be found to be put into a garbage disposal or tossed onto a funeral pyre—and personal identity can’t unless you tie it to the electrical output of microtubules and axons—then it can’t be calcined and annihilated.

Consciousness is always looking, even after everything else has been destroyed. In fact, when everything else has been destroyed, karma recreates its own unresolved status anew. Its designs seep back into this universe or another one as atoms, molecules, views, whatever. Quite different frequencies of minded reality and self-recognized beingness seed themselves and blossom in other cosmological venues, following karmic mass.

The innate reality of anything, galaxies and stars as well, is the ravelling of view after view of an externality that is internally projecting itself back into different internalities externalized on myriad platforms in different sorts of worlds.

 

Personal identity arose by designing landscapes and producing thoughtforms it would inhabit, a platform it shares with other personal identities in melding a collective illusion of a consensus reality. Under these circumstances, past-life memories are more like concurrent oscillations of a multidimensional crystal, reflecting through each other. Past, present, and future scintillate because the crystal is beyond space-time. Identity scintillates. Conscious unity scintillates. The oneness of all being scintillates. So do individual group souls and personhoods in their various states of incarnation.

If all of these are thoughtforms to begin with, senior to their location in space-time-matter, then it is much easier to imagine how they might reflect crystal-like or cinema-like into one another. Their qualities are not linear chronology or material landscape; they are the basic ones: energy, curvature, and ground luminosity. Only if past lives are construed too concretely do they challenge a bottomed-out universe.

 

The attack against consciousness, modernity’s post-Socratic jeremiad, is actually (paradoxically, secretly, mum) an attempt to root consciousness deeply enough that it blossoms in its full-lotus, trillion-sunstar, quantum-cascade glory and can never be excoriated from future universes or realities. Materialism is an irresistible lure to draw mind out of fascination with itself into its own muck, the muck of an undisclosed universe and obscure intelligence.

It is the first layer of the human gambit to survive the death of the local sun-star, the dissolution of the marriage of Earth and Gaia, the built-in obsolescence of the Big Bang; to survive it not by cryonics or space migration to other solar systems but by neg-entropy and what John Keats called negative capability—“that is, when [we are] capable of being in uncertainties, mysteries, doubts, without any irritable reaching after fact and reason.”

The fact is, a universe, or for that matter All That Is, is arising for no apparent reason in the middle of nowhere, is precise and beautiful as it defies the very intelligence and value spectrum that it generates.

There is an existential justification for a purely existential reality, as Sarte, Camus, Beckett, and the existentialists perceived in their time. Not only am I not opposed to it, I love it and find it the essential maxim of Now. I far prefer it to New Age inflation and hyperbole.

Because there is no easy solution, no bonded course of action, no gesture that is not also a paradox, and no way out—reality is as serpentine as it is surreptitious, but we wouldn’t have it any other way because any other way would have too much slack, too many giveaways, not sufficient tautness and immersion. Here the pointer stars only point to other stars, and we are forced to dead-reckon our way.

These facts, objects, and phenomena here, whatever you want to call them, are the display platform for something more cardinal, not on a stage in the middle of nowhere raised by adventitious forces, not as merely a thermodynamic arrangement with spheroids, spirals, planetary orbits, and particle paths representing the original curvature of space-time at different exponents—though of course it is precisely that (as Albert Einstein put it in “On the Generalized Theory of Gravitation”: “The physical reality of space is represented by a field whose components are continuous functions of four independent variables—the co-ordinates of space and time….”)—but how (and only how) the deeper ground luminosity proceeds karmically from its absolute ultimate primal immanent state and extends its illumination through platforms it generates. That’s why we are here and why it looks the way it does here; the starry pageant is a multidimensional mirage: mind reflecting through the curvature of emptiness like a Dzogchen moon reflected in water.

Yet starry night is more than a mathematically expounded mirage. It refracts the degree of texture, intelligence, and dimensionality in our locale, also the depth of shadowing and resistance throughout Creation. As a truth mystery, the stars convert every internal contradiction into a glittering paradox.

The very fact of being able to hoist matter, in fact the whole universe, onto the scales of consciousness and bob it there for analysis and evaluation, suggests a profound equivalence and commensurability. Plus there is the poignancy of the act, meaning any act: the expression of self-aware existence, personal identity, and view, for which the luminous display is also a refraction, a through-a-glass-darkly design warped by many lenses and layers of lenses. You are just as percipiently gazing into the ten sefirot on the Tree of Life, or the underside blanket of the Monadic plane, or the splatter splash of G. I. Gurdjieff’s Ray of Creation, or Wilhelm Reich’s shimmering field of orgone in overlays of cosmic superimposition. As long as consciousness is involved, inside and outside are unriven and interdependent. When there are no anchors or baselines anywhere, only stars, stars inside and stars outside, how can we determine what we are looking at or what is doing the looking?

Starry night is not only a mirage but a perfect, high-precision mirage, the absolute demonstration of itself: a blazing panoply. It is the design that made its own platform.

The goal of liberation or enlightenment is to differentiate one’s self, the core energy or luminosity giving rise to personal identity itself, from the vast undifferentiated supergalactic display. This is possible as long as the personal identity is what it seems to be and its thoughtforms are what they seem to be, as part of a dimensional field setting itself up from beginning to end. Prime substance or matter/energy is a thoughtform. Hence it is our own cardinal focal plane propelling itself through a complex, dreamlike design, as fundamental, autonomous, and sovereign as it itself is and as perplexing in its persistence and capacity to disguise and camouflage what is apparently disguising and camouflaging it.

 

Cosmic Formation

In 2009 I helped publish a book called The Angel of Auschwitz by a woman writing under the name Tarra Light, who recalled a past life as Natasza Pelinski, a prisoner in a concentration camp. Her privately circulated version had a cult audience, mostly in Idaho where she lived, though I was told about the manuscript in faraway Machiasport, Maine. I can’t vouch for its authenticity; only Ms. Light knows what she experienced and what she interposed with it to make a viable story. The narrative is certainly within the range of what could be improvised from a modest knowledge of history and literary imagination—and there has been no lack of Holocaust memoirs, novels, and movies from which to draw characters and dreary scenes. Light explains briefly that a past-life regression by a therapist when she was experiencing “physical and emotional afflictions…became the catalyst that unlocked the floodgates of my soul memory.” [xi]

“Soul memory” can cover anything from a heart truth to a New Age delusion.

I take Light at her word. Yes, she could have made the whole thing up or cobbled a few hypnogogic flashbacks into a novella. I participated in the book’s publication, so I was not deterred by the possibility of fabrication. The text bears an inherent validity beyond any issue of authenticity and, like Annie Kagan, Light uses her past-life allegory for engendering compassion and releasing Divine Love. She also draws deeper meanings from a universe that producin such carbuncles as Nazi concentration camps. Her book is an extended prayer. It is also a tableau for reincarnation within a Judaeo-Christian context, infusing the new (or New Age) science of karma with the old-time religion of rabbis and priests. Nastasza is a spirit child of Moses, Joan of Arc, and the Course in Miracles.

As Light progressed through her past-life regression, multiple selfhoods flooded back into her mind and, in them, lifetime after lifetime she found herself locked in a Manichean battle with an ambitious, deviant soul known to habitants of the twentieth century by the name “Adolf Hitler.” Before Atlantis the two were rival magicians, each seeking the key to the operation of the universe—one believing that it was the force of love, the other seeking means of absolute power, usually through a blend of magic and technology—these became complementary modalities in Atlantis.

In his transits through incarnations, Light tells us, Hitler “studied metaphysics and the occult sciences…the chants of Atlantis, the mystery schools of Egypt, and the pagan rituals of the Celts and the Druids.” [24] He appropriated rituals from those traditions, including one forbidden to unauthorized practitioners. Drawing on racial memories in the Aryan bloodline, he established an imperium driven by his subconscious greed and envy. [27, 31] In his lifetime as Hitler, he drew on his Soul memory of ancient rites, as he “reformulated them into the new state religion…based on the magical properties of blood.” [28]

The Nazi High Command inaugurated their Reich in the Black Forest of Bavaria, using satanic rituals and replicating protocols of diabolism on the temporal plane. “Like a mystical order, they donned hooded black robes and lit shining black candles. Standing side-by-side in a circle, they recited ancient incantations, then sang Atlantean chants.” [29] Animals thereabouts fled the scene en masse.

Hitler was only secondarily trying to exalt the Nordic race to world domination, he was mainly trying to restore an Atlantean mystery school and its accompanying warrior guild, resurrecting alien themes from another plane and a time before current civilization.

In her lifetime as Natasza, Light dreamt of the Führer inspecting her concentration camp in person. She saw him lucidly and transdimensionally; she read “the magnitude of his power as an adept black magician” trying to penetrate “her shields and defenses.” Banishing fear and opening her heart, she ignited a surge of energy within her aura. In response, “Hitler turned to face me and pulled open the front of his trench coat, revealing the truth of his inner being. White light as bright as lightning burst out from within. The radiance of his True Self dazzled my eyes.” [125] He could have been a great teacher and served humanity—he still might in a future lifetime—in 1930s Germany he chose a different path.

Light’s view of Hitler is worth the price of admission, for it places the restitution of the universe in the arena of ogres and sociopaths and makes both them and us responsible for reclaiming their abandoned and subverted gifts instead of casting them—and ourselves—deeper into the outer darkness. Though on the face of it, Nazism represents a hideous degeneration (especially if it originated in shamanic mastery of Atlantis and ended up as demonic brutality in Germany), Hitler’s successive lifetimes opened a unique conduit to a realm of darkness implicit in the bedrock of All That Is. If that shadow wasn’t there, he couldn’t have emanated it. If he hadn’t emanated it, the energy wouldn’t have begun to be redeemed—Daesh and Boko Haram likewise.

The gunk and evil at the bottom of the universe has to be experienced egoically and dredged in order to be expiated. Otherwise it will stay there forever, an unknown and unknowable slag, radiating sterilely and coldly without manifestation. Creation will dawdle in latency.

Until we admit Hitler’s place in our collective Soul and absolve him, he will continue to incarnate in bestial and macabre guises. Unless this is a dual good-and-evil universe, everything is a creative principle. In an ultimately nondual universe, someone always takes responsibility, through dark aspirations and cruel acts, for dissolving or, more accurately, tranmogrifying, the toxic underlying cloud.

 

As Light’s chronology begins, fourteen-year-old Natasza is forcibly separated from her family by the Nazi war machine, her belongings snatched from her, along with them a magical stone through which her mother taught her to communicate with higher powers. On her own in a disintegrating world, she is placed in a drab building inside a large interment camp. It would seem that her entire lifetime was lost and forfeit to her.

Soon, however, she was contacted by a voice: “It entered my mind as a stream of pure thought with neither pitch nor timbre.” [48] As she used her inner sight to focus on the source and her telepathy to hearken to its words, a faint ghost annealed from the murk, presenting himself as Boris Brozinski, until recently a professor at the University of Warsaw. Boris told her that he had ignored his colleagues while they were being arrested and did nothing to help his people or oppose the Nazis when he had the chance; now he was cumbered to the Earth plane by the weight of his own guilt. To atone and pay off a portion of his karmic debt, he was offering to serve as Natasza’s guide in the camp, to teach and protect her and to enable her to aid others in their distress and despair. He explained that he had been drawn to her lodestar of psychic power—a vortex of healing energy in the gloomy fray. From his bardo state, she couldn’t be missed.

Then, Natasza reports, he “focused his mind and projected into my third eye simple diagrams of the organs and systems of the body” [73] to the end that she function as the camp’s unofficial nurse and medicine woman. After that, he got down to guerrilla tactics: “I have a repertoire of stratagems to outwit the guards.” [56] These included spying on their conversations and revealing their plans to her, projecting alter egos into their minds to confuse them, and merging with her energy field in such a way that light would pass through her and they might see but not recognize her.

Boris was invisible and telekinetic, so could steal medical supplies when needed from the camp infirmary. “Being transparent,” he joked, “has many advantages.” Whenever Natasza sought his participation henceforth, she directed telepathic energy into his subtle body of his ghost-being by the force of her mind—his astral form appeared.

Next Boris explained that he had “enlisted the aid of our airborne allies [because] they want to serve as members of the healing team….” [55] After she made two runes of stones on the ground while sending telepathic messages to the high-circling messengers (“Greetings to you, birds of the great sky”), two crows landed on either side of her rows. One projected telepathically through its caws:

“Hail, child of Light. Many animals would like to serve humans but are unable to break through the interspecies communications barrier. We are here to offer our assistance… We can carry messages from one part of the camp to the other. We can spy on the Nazis and tell you their secrets.” The bird then taught her the flying symbols and calls by which they would transmit urgent information. Three caws in a row meant “All is well,” while four followed by a pause and then four more was a general “All Clear.” Loud and repeated caws with pauses between them meant “Warning: danger.” [102]

On his next manifestation Boris appeared with thousands of tiny faces floating within clouds above each of his shoulders. Natasza was astonished at this remarkable sight. “I looked into their eyes,” she says, “and they looked back at me. My heart broke with compassion to see the faces of the fallen ones. They were the spirits of the dead who had attached themselves to Boris. He walked hunched forward because he was carrying this astral weight.” The beings were “confused and disoriented…bound to the earthly plane by desire. At the moment of death they did not claim their freedom. They were unprepared for the journey into light…. They are still in shock and do not realize that they are dead.”

Boris’s own guilt was what attracted them to him, for he was the only recognizable or solid object in the murk of the bardo, the only landmark to which they could fasten in their restless fugues. [57] They continued to guide themselves by attaching their memories of who they had recently been to the karmic cloud generated by his remorse.

In the ensuing narrative, Natasza conducted acts of both espionage and insurrection, including subversions of Nazi schemes and healings of other prisoners.

But Boris recognized something dangerous incubating in her heart. The young girl was witnessing too many crimes and violations for her gentle vibration to absorb—acts of bodily, mental, and spiritual violation, violent sexual intrusions, humiliation, even necrophiliac mutilation and murder—imposed on a young girl like. [120] She was turning cold and bitter.

“Anger and hatred dam up the flow of your healing energy,” the professor explained to her. “They lower the frequency of your transmission…. An angered healer is a crippled healer. These soldiers whom you hate, whom you call ‘enemies’: do you know that their minds are programmed, that they are being controlled. They too are prisoners of the Nazi war machine…. They wield the power of the world; they command with muscle and might. But you have the greater power, the universal power of love. Imagine how they suffer because they do not know love.” [91]

When the girl asked Boris for an explanation of the death camps, wondering why, if a Soul has a choice, it would select such a life and fate, he told her:

“Before a soul incarnates on Earth, it makes many choices about the nature and circumstances of its now life…. The soul has karma, debts to pay off before it can be free…. It…chooses the lesson to be learned that can resolve the karma…. Decades ago, a clarion call was sounded in the heavens. Millions of souls heard and answered the call. They lined up at the Karmic Gates, volunteering for this mission. They said, ‘We will sacrifice our lives so the world will choose a higher way to live.’” [146-7]

As his lessons clarified her mission and reoriented her, she became a healer and angel for guards too as well as a lover of one of them, Captain Otto.

The captain initiated the relationship by bringing the still virginal girl to his room and raping her like an animal while, in her words, she was “unprepared to receive the male energy.”

During regular encounters as his lover for more than two years (age fourteen to sixteen), she gradually awakened his Soul and transformed him via their carnal ritual. “Due to the bond of our sexual union, I was empathic to his feelings, telepathic to his thoughts.” [127]

She called it her “pathway into womanhood…as moon shadows [nightly] marked my footsteps.” [115] Lying in Captain Otto’s sheets, she prayed that the young wife in his bedside photograph would forgive her.

 

Ultimately Natasza emitted so much luminosity that she came to the attention of the camp’s commandant. Initially bemused by the presumptions of a mere girl, Herr Schuller was increasingly troubled by her fearlessness and grwing charisma. He recognized a foe. Ordering her brought to his office, he issued an ultimatum: renounce her mission—cease her services—or die. She had become, he said, a danger to camp security.

Shooting daggers of psychic light from her eyes and infusing her syllables with sacred power, she held her ground and defiantly told him that she was married to the truth.

“Brave words fly like sparks from the mouth of a child,” he declared as he rose from behind his desk, clicked his heels, and saluted her—a parody rooted in deeper recognition, for “the Commandant of Auschwitz was not free…. Even the Führer was a prisoner of his own madness and fanaticism.” Then he declared, “‘I admire you for your bravery, rebel child, but I am not free to let you go…. I am obligated to follow orders…. I order you to death by the firing squad.’” [160]

After his sentencing, Boris reached out to her telepathically, “This is not your first life,” he promised. “It is not your last. Realize that the memory of this life is imprinted on your soul. You will be born again, to Jewish parents in the United States, before this war is over. When you awaken to your innate divinity, you will write the true story of your life.” [161]

Prodded along by soldiers with rifle butts, she recognized Boris again at her side as he projected a blue ray of peace energy into her field. She heard boots crunching on ice. Her mind filled with the caws of crows gathering overhead. She descried a choir of muffled voices calling out her name and they chanted, “We love you.” Then Boris disclosed her sacred errand:

“Now is the time for the full truth to be revealed to you. Thousands of lost souls saw your light like a beacon in the night and attached themselves to you. Through your grace, they hope for their own salvation. You are the Atlas of Auschwitz, carrying thousands of souls on your shoulders…. It takes a great soul to carry the weight of the multitudes. You would not have believed yourself capable of this noble task. Your doubt would have undone you.” [168-9]

Natasza’s life ended, and Tara’s seed was sown. “Seven shots rang out.” [170] As her Soul flew heavenward, freed, she saw with her spirit eyes “the fallen body of a young woman, lying on the frozen ground…curled up in fetal position…a pool of blood collecting around her body. Her abdomen was ripped open. A pair of black crows landed by her side. With tender care, they rearranged her hair, strand by strand, pulling it out of her eyes and away from her face.” The Angel of Death came, announcing, “The moment of death is the birth of spiritual life. Now you shall know the truth of who you are.” [171]

She saw a sphere of light and felt a presence within her, as she discovered that she was pregnant with Otto’s child. There had been no way for her to bring this soul into the world. It addressed her telepathically in a voice that resonated like temple bells:

“I am Meesha, spirit of your unborn child. I have come to accompany you in your last moments. I shall be with you during your time of passing. Do not fear. The love of God is with you always. The power of God is everlasting.” [164]

Natasza projected the karmic seed and primal etheric force of the Soul vestige of her liaison with Otto into an epoch far beyond their current lifetimes. Then she crossed over:

“The celestial wind swept me along, past dreamlands and fantastic worlds, carrying me to the gate of a heavenly amusement park. A trumpet sounded, and the gate swung open. I heard to music of the spheres playing from the loudspeakers. Bears danced gaily to a lively tune, acrobats performed amazing feats, and jugglers swallowed balls of fire. A sky-blue angel with gossamer wings handed me a ticket for a ride through time. Like a revolving wheel of time, a giant Ferris wheel turned around and around. As each seat passed me, I saw an aspect of myself as I was in a previous life.” She glimpsed the shape-changing shadow of an Inca healer, the incarnation disciple of the living Christ—and an Egyptian student of metaphysics, who in one of his lives would become Adolf Hitler. [175]

In 1974 in one of his last papers, psychotherapist D. W. Winnicott wrote about patients who so dreaded their own anxiety states, traumas, and/or psychotic breakdowns that their actions were dictated by phobic avoidance patterns. What they needed, he proposed, was counterphobically to experience the dreaded events behind the fantasies and fears. The usual treatment, psychiatric drugs, merely numbed their healing crisis and took away their capacity to recover their freedom and personal autonomy.

In effect, the inability to resolve past scars and forgotten events in present time led to these people keeping up ritualized defense mechanisms, which became far more painful in their repetition and silent bondage over the years than the original over-and-done assault instilling the trauma. Their imagination of future danger transcended and distorted present reality, as there was always a way to imagine a dreaded apparition coming true.

Compared to such a threat, mere reality was a piece of cake. For example, an anxious patient who happened to be near the World Trade Center during the 9/11 attacks, remarked to his therapist how calm he was, helping strangers cope, leading them to safety. As horrific as the event was, it couldn’t hold a candle to his gruesome fantasies.

I accept Winnicott’s contention as stated in conventional psychiatric terms while at the same time considering how it might go well beyond secular circumstances and apply even more fundamentally to past and future lives of the individual and soul, even a group soul. That is, I wonder whether there is also a karmic reverberation of trauma as well as a karmic avoidance pattern and defense mechanism enveloping and potentiating the ego one. If so, then it leads not only to reliving events from past lifetimes but cycles of death and rebirth until the reincarnational trauma is resolved. It also means that all of humanity is dealing with more remote and amnesiac traumas of the collective species, planet, and cosmos.

This model resonates with the trans-generational healing system taught by German psychotherapist Burt Hellinger under the name “Family Constellations.” Mini-dramas performed in sessions of group theater, somehow radiate back through past epochs and in an attempt to incarnate and clear some of their unresolved karma. Any individual recruit into the group-therapy ritual, even if unrelated to the sufferer, plays a critical and authentic role in reenacting a lineage that is inaccessible to ordinary memory. In that sense the theatrically conceived constellation attains a runic function like a Navaho sand-painting with its accompanying ceremony, drawing in necessary icons and operatives in other guises specify and conduct its energy.

It is worth emphasizing Hellinger’s therapeutic reenactments did not reach back only to near generations or imaginable historic figures in clients’ lineages. Some of them took some individuals back to the Middle Ages, others to Stone Ages and beyond, in the form of unknown clan matriarchs and patriarchs whose karma was still active and had come to life among descendant group members. Whether these events were real or imaginary, they functioned therapeutically as if real. Remember the past-life regressions of Javier Thistlethwaite and Brian Weiss: all that we have finally is spirit talking to spirit, energy bringing forth energy. The identity of those spirits and their energy is not only up-for-grabs but fluctuates across concentric ripples of time.

Psychic work and psychoanalysis converge here. Psychoanalysis provides an emotional catalyst through surrogate link of doctor-patient transference, but the process often gets bogged down in the feeding back and forth of reductionist stories and their reinforcement—trauma reconstructions that are themselves inertially stuck and remain so despite the most skilled psychiatric encouragement. Patients and mentors go around in hackneyed circles for decades—productive to a degree but bound in their own frozen energy. The therapy, while churning up juicy, indicative material, becomes another neurotic seal between the pathology and its own avoidance cycle and resistance motifs. Psycho-reductionism is seminal, but to something else.

Where the patient should look for the event behind the fear of breakdown is in the aura. He or she should consider any “story” legitimate, no matter how supernatural or fantastic. That is how past-life therapies heal present-life traumas regardless of whether the past lives are “real”: the stories are real; the meanings are real; the energy is real. Authentication is up for grabs, but then authentication is up for grabs forever. In the channeled words of the Sethian intelligence field, “In that larger picture, there are no errors, for each action, pleasant or unpleasant, will in its fashion be redeemed, both in relation to itself and…to a larger picture that the conscious mind may not be able presently to perceive….” [54-55]. This doesn’t mean that curing psychic and emotional traumas or healing serious physical diseases can’t take place within any one lifetime but that when they do occur, they are connected to a greater journey of transmutation and redemption.

 

When an initiating traumatic occurrence gets transferred energetically to the timeless present of the aura, it works its way from other planes into the physical realm and is incorporated in the body, sometimes as disease, sometimes as resistance patterns. These layers form a karmic trail between lifetimes.

Psychic energy-transfer and intervention are necessary to shatter their trenchant motifs and settle, as it were, old accounts. A psychic exercise such as dissolving pictures or activating stuck energy can perturb a standing karmic pattern and frequency and transmute a regressively psychological or recursively emotional process into an energetic one, often instantaneously—though sometimes it takes many attempts over days, months, years, or even lifetimes.

While most folks can’t hope to call up the relevant matrix on the spot, by their fifty thousandth try they may get it. But this may be the fifty thousandth try, this lifetime.

One doesn’t have to locate or name the precise traumatic lesion, the exact cause or trajectory within a multidimensional, multipersonal backdrop; one only has to provide the quantum of energy needed to transform its present representation, to get the karmic flow moving in a direction in which it is already potentiated. In fact, each constellation has too many eplicas and symbolic semblances to specify in a single story or configuration. The event has become allegorical and alchemical.

Freud came to psychological cathexis activated by ritual recall and transference for historically discrete reasons; he recognized that any symbol will do, as long as it stores and releases a charge—a libidinal predecessor and capacity for internalization—because all representations converge on their own deepening aliases. The most successful therapist acts as a shaman, as he or she shifts into a Dreamtime context.

Whether he knew it or not, Freud was analyzing Cosmic Intelligence as well as the human egoic psyche. He was getting both readings simultaneously and his genius was melding the disjunctive and complicated elements of them together without realizing it.

When we said, “There is no time in the unconscious,” he was also saying, “There is no time in the universe,” i.e., in the multidimensional cupola of All That Is, though he didn’t realize it because he was a neurologist, and such things weren’t in his playbook.

Then Jung took cathexis to a cosmic, transpersonal level.

 

I believe that transubstantiation of ancient trauma is the singlemost purpose of psychospiritual practice. Yoga, t’ai chi, past-life therapy, dreamwork, color healing, chant, prayer, cranial osteopathy, and the like are modes of shamanism and enantiodromias—ritualized reversals by unconscious opposites. It should be no surprise that Hellinger drew his “family constellations,” in part from his interactions with Zulu shamans in South Africa.

Even though blocked flows of information in an aura trap their victim in past time, they provide a neutral, energetic vehicle in which to transubstantiate and release pain and recoup quanta of personal freedom. The trauma exists in order to be released, to transmute and cast its healing power into the universe.

Buddhist Tonglen practices provide a similar formula: you breathe in the physical agony and mental anguish of all sentient beings—soldiers on battlefields, dying people in hospices, children in slavery, animals in slaughterhouses—you breathe out your intention of compassionate healing, love comfort, and the seeds of transformation to those folks, creatures, nations, etc. This is the ritual that Tarra Light was practicing. If it doesn’t work like forest fire, it works like a butterfly’s wings.

Winnicott described each “underlying primitive agony” as literally “unthinkable”—that is not able to be thought and of such a horrific nature that is inconceivable that one would try to think it. It is too flat-out dangerous. Yet thinking it is exactly what one needs to do in order to get past its block into neutral cosmic energy.

It is always the seed form of an incredible elixir. No medicine, and certainly no pharmaceutical, is as healing as narcissistic anxiety and private agony converted into selfless empathy and love.

Rituals of truth and reconciliation represent a parallel process. Bringing victimizer and victim together not only allows reliving of the trauma in present time but provides a venue for each party to disclose to the other what actually happened and to recognize Self in the mirror of Other. The victimizer, as Boris explained to Natasza, is also acting under the force of a traumatizing process.

Those who were casualties of child abuse may become abusers as a result. Under the gravitational pull of karma, the Soul seeks the polar aspect of its own current picture. [220]

But no one gets off scot-free; everyone is participating vitally and viscerally in every act, on both sides of it, unconsciously more indelibly than consciously (and well beyond the vast Freudian unconscious realm). In the annals of timeless time, whatever is happening to any creature already happened to you or will happen. In fact, that is the esoteric meaning of alternate and fantasy lives, unlived potentials—they are being lived somewhere else, and not just by others, by an aspect of yourself. You are also the very transgressors, despoilers, and criminals you purport to decry.

Unless given an opportunity for absolution, the abuser proceeds in a bloated, septic cloud like that around Boris, seething until it explodes and forms some meteor or other in some cosmos to pick up the pieces and start over in the galactic tinder. It’s that broad and abstruse a field.

You can’t even immolate a whole planet without seeding its karma somewhere else in the universe. That’s what it finally means to say that karma is far greater than gravity: karma is powerful enough to create planets and galaxies to which to transfer the unresolved energy of lost worlds, systems that were destroyed or destroyed themselves long ago.

One has no way of knowing what sort of primeval karmic event may have led to the emergence of Earth out of the local Solar swirl of cosmic dust, but whatever it was, modern Earth is expressing and redeeming some primal aspect of it.

Torturers and their victims reconciling with each other, against massive resistance, against their own polarity of passions, capacitate the universe. Executioner and martyr enact a shadow play to be followed by another, and another, whereby each party to the event tries to get the universe to bottom out. Instead of asking, “What are your intentions, God, for we suffer?” we assume the beneficence and wisdom of the Divine and attempt to act as its agent.

Evil may be an Daesh soldier raping a Yazidi girl he claimed as his war-prize and sex slave, but evil is also a water lily in a pond, any cosmetically peaceful proposition in reality. The water lily already contains cells, organelles, microbes, and parasites that will cannibalize each other in an expression of their basic nature. The water lily (like the cell or the mitochondrion or the molecule), like us, is the chrysalis of every dialectic and paradox the universe contains and must pry out of itself.

Somehow, by existing, we made a bargain a long time ago and in another setting that we continue to honor. We continue getting situated in Creation, in reality, in All That Is and will, until every quantum of its possibility is expiated, absolved, exhausted, or made meaningful in the way it is actually meaningful.

Suffering is excruciating to personhood, but the universe has no choice: it is an irreconcilable portal of knowledge and information, and transmutes every event and thought through nodes of untold richness and fulfillment across spectra of trillions of years through its timeless lotus. Individual personae (views) come to value the hardships they undergo, as they reincarnate in ways that those experiences get subsumed in the marrow of their emerging beingness. In future states and universes they turn into gifts, talents, even superstar capacities.

In cosmogenesis, what is not remembered—the lesion at large—creates lifetimes, egos, worlds, births; incredibly, the same thing at different scales. Matter is congealed trauma—the passage from unconsciousness into consciousness, from water onto land, from sexual latency to erotic/embryological manifestation. See Freudian disciple Sandor Ferenczi’s Thalassa for the seminal text on that.

Who knows what antecedent events or suffering in another galaxy or space-time continuum produced a Michael Jordan or Johann Sebastian Bach here (or there). Their own moves (or chords) express these events remotely. The worst traumas, stresses, and death horrors become sweet talents that collectively establish All That Is. For the universe is working in all parts, in all dimensions, to bring itself into scale via anisotropic—e.g. directionally dependent—relationships, to set at par its manifold and myriad aspects.

When bad things happen to good people, or are visited upon innocent babes, it may take kalpas to reckon that, but it is always reckoned. Imagine a universe complex enough to bottom out and optimize the possibility for spiritual freedom and meaning simultaneously for the Daesh executioner and his victim. The universe is tracking and managing at both levels and in both directions commensurately. It is exploring lion-lamb reality beyond its own multiple views, a reality supple and diverse enough to sustain its contradictions and intrinsic paradoxes, to turn the crucifixion of Christ into both an expiation of sin and a demonstration of the lengths to which it is willing to go to redeem and transubstantiate.

Nothing can suffer permanently, be broken or put into a state of hell or damnation. Each experience continues to change into the next, and then the next, and the next. And here we are today, forebear and aftermath, arising from all dimensions preceding and potentiating ourselves as we differentiate in all directions experience after experience.

Formal sessions of truth and reconciliation brought a component of healing to communities in South Africa, and those folks were dealing with one of the more deep-seated, tribally charged lesions on the planet.

In other words, we have to solve the unsolvable, cure the incurable. Or try. That’s how universes come into being. That’s what salamanders and snakes and quartz crystals are. They are unresolved traumas on multiple planes of All That Is, seeking resolution and redemption here, creating kingdoms, worlds, and nations.

The very consequence of spirit in the density and unforgiving causation chain of matter is to personally fix something, discover something, and make reality and All That Is whole. Resolve its paradoxes, integrate its contradictions. It is a process beyond our comprehension, but it is of such an interdependent nature that any one creature or entity can redeem and heal the entire universe, while all creatures, even Hitlers and terrorists, are working to heal and redeem the universe in their way. Every action radiates from its karmic core to the furthest dimensional reaches because there is only one instrument on which the vibrations are playing. Those butterfly’s wing in Tokyo not only change weather on Earth but in other galaxies, except the superpositional connection is so profound and at such a subtle level that it has no kick or recognizable relevance here. But some people intuit it and give their lives to cosmic and human service. That is why the Four Great Vows of Buddhism say that, though sentient beings are numberless, we vow to say them all, and though the dharma in unattainable, we vow to attain it. We propose to do the impossible because only the possible is worth this profound state of embodiment. Only the impossible is worthy of the work and divine hope that went into designing this reality. Only the impossible is honorable.

“I contend [writes Winnicott] that clinical fear of breakdown is the fear of a breakdown that has already been experienced. It is a fear of the original agony which caused the defence organization which the patient displays as an illness syndrome. [italics mine]

“This idea may or may not prove immediately useful to the clinician. We cannot hurry up our patients. Nevertheless, we can hold up their progress because of genuinely not knowing; any little piece of our understanding may help us to keep up with a patient’s needs.”

Switch the frame to “cosmic,” and you begin to appreciate the value of psychic breakdown, psychic transubstantiation, psychic practice, and psychic transference. After all, those people performing Reiki, tonglen, and other nonlocal and off-body healings across the planet are getting their therapeutic results for a reason, and it’s not only the ones provided in attunement manuals or certification process. Their runes are touching the fine hairs of archaic scars and drawing stuck traumatic energy out of their abscesses. Even conventional psychoanalytic treatments are functioning as psychosocial manifestations of cosmic and karmic energies.

Experience is sacred and in the long run can never be diminished, no matter how hedonistic, despondent, evil, or mechanical it becomes, no matter what acts of desperation and depravity it commits. It cannot help but convert each of them into meaning and feed it back to the vortex from which it arises. But this is what we are avoiding and why we keep reincarnating—those who do.

“There are moments, according to my experience,” continues Winnicott, “when a patient needs to be told that the breakdown, a fear of which destroys his or her life, has already been. It is a fact that is carried round hidden away in the unconscious. The unconscious here is not exactly the repressed unconscious of psychoneurosis, nor is it the unconscious of Freud’s formulation of the part of the psyche that is very close to neurophysiological functioning. Nor is it the unconscious of Jung’s which I would call: all those things that go on in underground caves, or (in other words) the world’s mythology, in which there is collusion between the individual and the maternal inner psychic realities. In this special context the unconscious means that the ego integration is not able to encompass something. The ego is too immature to gather all the phenomena into the area of personal omnipotence.”

Too immature, for sure! That is the definition of a “young soul”; it thinks that it has committed no sins or suffered no significant traumas not because it hasn’t but because it doesn’t yet know what they are. As it ages, its karma expresses itself and provides opportunities for reliving, recalling, and recovering what has been done.

Every victim of every plague, depravity, and massacre is working out this immediate reality, mutating it and being mutated by it. Every grub is turning into a butterfly and providing the eggs for its next emanation. The universe is generating experience: painful experience, neutral experience, and ecstatic experience.

When the Dalai Lama received the news of a mass slaughter in Tibet, he wept for the Chinese soldiers, not for the nuns. It wasn’t lack of deep empathy on their behalf. It was because, in his system, nuns had been freed from samsara, whereas the Chinese soldiers were condemned by their acts to a long term of hell realms. Winnicott again:

“It must be asked here: why does the patient go on being worried by this that belongs to the past? The answer must be that the original experience of primitive agony cannot get into the past tense unless the ego can first gather it into its own present time experience and into omnipotent control now (assuming the auxiliary ego-supporting function of the mother (analyst)).

“In other words, the patient must go on looking for the past detail which is not yet experienced. This search takes the form of a looking for this detail in the future.” [“Fear of Breakdown,” International Review of Psychoanalysis, Volume 1, pp. 103-104]

Conflation of past and future, conscious and unconscious, personal and transpersonal lies at the basis of not only incarnation but the hiving process of Group Souls and Multipersonhoods. Our incarnate Earth realm is the arena of a collective core “I,” a God or Cosmos, in all its transpositions as it distributes its own intrinsic charge: mind once and forever preceding matter, intelligence always transcending transient form or motif.

 

Comments

 

For me, the topic of Bottoming Out is captured here. As explained by Hsuan Hua, Center is all-pervasive. Everything is center, and once you experience the Center of anything, then you’re in touch with all Centers. And Center is sometimes described as a billion suns at one point. So the energy/awareness behind every point of the universe is more than what most of us think.

When it comes time to die, often there’s a tiny glimpse into the nature of things. Then the karma takes over, and if we’re on a hellish path, we sink into the hells. And if we’re on an upswing, then that may tend to continue, unless we shift it. There are apparently a few individuals who maintain centeredness in life and continue it into death. Sometimes these folks are called buddhas.

Anyway, your Bottoming Out is an amazing literary task. And it will help some people who are never going to quiet their minds and see the Nature of things, to understand it as best as possible with concept. What you do is about as far as one can go with concept, in my opinion.

Paul Pitchford, dharma teacher and author of Healing with Whole Foods

*It is difficult in terms of punctuation to distinguish between Cannon’s dots, which signify breaks in speech, and my own gaps and discontinuities in excerpting from there. Yet I figure that it doesn’t matter. I am aiming at the overall effect and have taken some liberties with the order and text.

 

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Ed December 2, 2016 at 2:43 pm

Enjoyed your writing about Grossinger’s Hotel. I worked there in the mid seventies as a night auditor. It was a great experience living and working there. I especially recall with gratitude how well employees were treated. I felt like a guest. I lived on the top floor of Milton Berle Building. Employee dining room had great food and even waiters. I went on from there to manage and now own my own hotel. Your family business taught me how to treat employees. It was a great lesson that I went on to learn is rarely copied. I would love to visit Grossinger’s one day. Great memories indeed.

Polly Hough November 22, 2016 at 4:34 pm

Thanks to Richard and responders for an interesting dialogue, some of which seems helpful, but too much seeking to blame Hillary for losing, when she fought as hard as she could to continue what she could of Obama’s Legacy, which has benefited many, though not enough. Thanks also to Congress! I do wonder about her handlers and advisors’ thinking. Trump’s smoke screen of scandalous comments has obscured our view, and perhaps obscured the complexity of the problems. Hillary has apologized for her errors, and had the right to her point of view. I do wish that she had embraced more heartily Sanders’ populist approach and even chosen him to be her Vice Presidential contender, but I think they still might have lost. She had a workable platform, he had charisma and slogans. With work, they could have unified their vision. But neither addressed the “rigging” that I see Republicans do every day here in Utah. Is it so common that we don’t see it?
I suspect the truth of why the Democrats lost lies in the systematic cheating that the Republicans set up long ago, which was not sufficiently revealed and decried. It is time to read Bob Fitrakis & Harvey Wasserman’s,” The Flip & Strip Death of American Democracy…”, (www.freepress.org/www.solartopia.org). and look into the rigging in each state, particularly those key ones that lost her the election. She didn’t lose by that much if you face up to the weak democratic institutions we have going, and the way it allows the Electoral College system to malfunction without corrective. Let’s quit grieving and get to work fixing the damn thing. Too much is at stake. Trump’s finger should not be on the Nuclear button.

Linda November 18, 2016 at 3:15 pm

I just finished Ron Sieh’s book and would love to take lessons from him. Can you tell me where is and if he’s teaching?

Peter Beren September 11, 2016 at 1:55 pm

I really enjoyed reading this. Thanks for sharing. Peter

Vegeko December 2, 2015 at 12:05 pm

You can find pictures of here. Should I aemttpt to preface the city of a hundred spires, its lovely architecture cannot be forgotten. Search in your memory for a name of any style you can think of. Prague will almost certainly have some landmark to offer – be it from hundreds of years ago such as Romanesque rotunda or from numerous eras spanning centuries. The latter can be represented by the picturesque Prague Castle with its truly magnificent St Vitus’s Cathedral or the tiny (and that is probably one of the reasons why) fairy-tale like Golden Lane. The same applies to architectonic landmarks “remembering” merely several decades such as the precious Cubist pearls scattered here and there in Prague’s winding streets, buildings, , theaters, museums.

Richard Grossinger August 16, 2015 at 3:50 pm

Thanks for the comment. It was meant to serve a healing function itself, as there is not really a general cure for optical migraines. But no, I don’t have a lot of specific or topic-oriented feedback. Most of it is on the same level of yours: general usefulness of the book. As probably goes without saying (from my quotes and bibliography), I consider Oliver Sacks’ book Migraine very useful, but the best one is a book that our press published for which Sacks wrote the preface: Migraine Art. It is more than a picture book; it goes into great detail on the categories of auras and their effects. Richard

Jackie Perkins August 16, 2015 at 12:15 pm

Hi Richard,
I read your book about migraine auras several years ago and have reread it several
times. Thank you so much for writing it as it helps me when I have a bout of
auras with very little headache. I was wondering if you have had a lot feedback
from fellow sufferers and if you have learned anything more about them since
the book was written. Can you refer me to any other sources to help me make
peace or get rid to them completely.
Any comments will be appreciated,\.
Jackie

Jacqueline phillips December 29, 2014 at 8:47 pm

Thanks for sharing. Raised in the village of Liberty. Worked the switchboard at the G as a teenager. Went to school with Sandy. Sad it did not continue.

david hovey August 27, 2014 at 9:40 am

my mother and aunt were bauer sisters..founder of lpga golf association..i spent many summers up there..great..miss it

Richard Grossinger May 22, 2014 at 9:03 pm

Dear Jim, Thanks for writing. You were really there at the core of my time, a rare thing. I don’t specifically remember you, though. Let me know if you want the two books, New Moon and/or Out of Babylon, as I can send them for just the cost of the postage. Richard

jim blankenship May 22, 2014 at 8:46 pm

I enjoyed reading about your family and experience at Grossingers. I worked there, along with Teddy Howard, as the house photographer from 1958-1961. It was quite an experience meeting and photographing many of the celebrities and sports figures. I had been on the staff at NY Daily news in the city prior to this so I enjoyed the life in Liberty and Sullivan Co. My wife and I live in Atlanta now. We were married in Liberty in 1960……. Jim Blankenship AP Photographer,retired

Richard Grossinger January 6, 2014 at 11:10 am

Thanks, Kris. I have send the review around to our staff, and there is even some tentative thought about including it as a foreword to one of the two 50th-anniversary Io anthologies that we are releasing next year (2015). If we were to pursue that, would you like to rewrite it or perhaps punctuate it more conventionally (close open parentheses, etc.)?
I’d be curious to know your actual critique of my political statements. You don’t actually say, taking it for granted that it is obvious, though part of your point is that it isn’t obvious to me, and it isn’t. I can guess, but I could easily be wrong. For instance, it isn’t actually clear that you are not the Australian (or other) offended equivalent of a Conservative Republican.
Although I do pose those arguments seriously, they are also at the level of myth, and I speak to that occasionally. I have no special insight into political matters, but I do throw myself into the mythology for what it expresses. I think that one can be literally “wrong” and still mythologically accurate. For instance, in the case of Obama, he is not literally who I have portrayed him as, but the myth is still authentic. In that regard, you might note my Facebook post on him recently, also on this website.
Also ironically enough in this regard, enough people are ONLY reading the political parts of my writing, enough so that Andrew Harvey has urged me to collect them in their own book as part of his Spiritual Activism imprint. This doesn’t make me any less off-base any more than that that refutation is obvious.
No complain here. I’m just interested to know what you are actually saying. I have spent most of my life in America, whether in compliance or reaction.
The whole “Ken Wilber” thing is an interesting story of its own, far too labyrinthine to tell. The very short version of it is that a writer friend in Maine with whom I occasionally hiked and whose work I supported and helped get published suddenly went ballistic against me and not only made those comments about me and Wilber, which I paraphrased, but wrote such, strong threatening emails that friends I showed them to urged me to take them to the police. They were what mafia might write.
The thing that set him off was that after a hike I naively wrote a piece (like many of the other pieces in 2013 and Bardo of Waking Life) about the events on the hike and our dialogue and then sent it to him (from NYC en route back to California) with the idea that he and I might collaborate on a piece about our experiences that day. Making him a character in my piece, even though it was informal and unpublished and I was offering him an edit and a collaboration, had the effect of triggering a response so extreme that I didn’t actually believe he was serious at first. I apologized profusely, trashed the piece, and yet the emails kept coming, up to the “mafia” level. What made this all the more inexplicable was the fact that prior to my transgression in writing the piece, he had been a good friend, and I had been pretty much his main supporter in the larger world, finding him a venue in which to publish.
Now that’s the shell of the story, and the piece you comment on came out of that, is my displaced response to it. I didn’t want to repeat the original error by being any more specific and singling him out in any way. The underlying issues are probably of a whole different order.
Since then, we have mellowed out, though are no longer friends and don’t hike together anymore. Meanwhile I have had a lot of indirect contact with Wilber in the sense that two of his main students who live in the Bay Area have read Dark Pool of Light and consider it relevant to the Wilber tradition and thus have spent time with me, talking. So right after I declared myself completely separate from all that, I got brought back into it in more benign and pleasant terms.
I hope that you take a look at Dark Pool, as what I began in 2013 is brought to its culmination in there. Really what my work is about, and what I make my stand on, is not the political ideology or even the literary voice so much, but the cosmic vision, and then putting it into viable literary form. I will post this on Facebook too. Richard

Kris Hemensley January 6, 2014 at 12:47 am

I’m amazed & humbled at yr reprinting of my review… Thank you. Looking forward to reading you anew in 2014! Cheers, Kris Hemensley

Richard Grossinger September 16, 2013 at 4:21 am

They have not been updated, but I have started work on a fourth volume posted on this website. Also the fourth volume is really now the “fifth”
volume because I have rewritten The Night Sky as a de facto fourth volume. It will be out next spring. See the home page of this site for a table of contents. Also I will continue to post interviews with me about the books, audio, video, and text. Thanks for reading them and for inquiring.

Jim Weddington September 16, 2013 at 3:31 am

I have all three volumes of “Dark Pools of Light” in nook book format. I recently heard that this trilogy has been up dated. If so I would like to recieve the update in the nook format. If this is possible.

I have been having some problems with emails. So if you can’t reach
me by email try.

Jim Weddington
105 LaGrange St.
Newnan, GA 30263

Thanks,

Jim Weddington

105 LaGrange St.

Richard Grossinger July 20, 2013 at 1:43 pm

Dolores, thanks for the touching thoughts. Time does move remarkably fast, especially because it never stops, even for an instant. But it may not be linear, so those times are still alive somewhere in the universe, as you will be.

Dolores Levine Seiler July 20, 2013 at 1:38 pm

Dear Richard, I enjoyed reading your piece. For me it was nostalgia and sadness, not only for Grossinger’s but for my life which is also nearing its end. My father was Lazarus Levine, and my husband, Seymour Seiler, married me at the hotel in 1953. He was an architect and worked with Harry. My son, now 56, had his Bar Mitzvah celebration at Grossinger’s. My daughter learned how to ice skate and ski at the hotel. I am sorry that my grandchildren could not particpate in the “Jewish” celebrations that were so wonderful there.

Richard Grossinger May 21, 2013 at 9:23 pm

Well said. Thanks for the comments.

Carol Malloch May 21, 2013 at 8:28 pm

Hello Richard,
I enjoyed reading your article. I moved to the town. of Liberty NY. in the early 70’s .
I grew up on the West coast up to that point. Liberty was culture shock . For your family to build a world class resort was a testament to their abilities . Your aunt Elaine. was a respected member of the community . She was head of the school board
in Liberty . She handled out the diplomas at the high school graduations every year.
When your grandmother died, the town lined the main st of town for her procession.
Grossinger’s was the castle on the hill and the jewel of the catskill resort.industry . Your cousins Michell and Mark went on in the hotel industry to make their mark . The problem was the weak economy and decline of the whole hotel industry that ruined Grossinger’s . Your father and Aunt Elaine did what they could do to keep people employed . Despite how your parents turned out, they are still your family and you are apart of them . Grossinger’s will be always known for it’s great hospitality . It’s just a shame how she ended up. The Catskill Mountains just reached up and took back what was their’s .

Richard Grossinger May 17, 2013 at 8:56 pm

I have no knowledge at all. The property was sold almost 30 years ago and has been re-sold many times since then.

Monique DeCicco-Jones May 17, 2013 at 8:19 pm

I am a Family Nurse Practitioner with a few ideas on the restoration of this facility via Health Care grants. Who actually owns this property and what is their contact information? My phone number is (845)292-9114. I am a resident of Liberty and often don’t read my email because I am extremely busy pursuing a PhD in nursing so please feel free to phone.

Monique DeCicco-Jones May 17, 2013 at 8:18 pm

I am a Family Nurse Practitioner with a few ideas on the restoration of this facility via Health Care grants. Who actually owns this property and what is their contact information? My phone number is (845)292-9114. I am a resident of Liberty and often don’t read my email because I am extremely busy pursuing a PhD in nursing so please feel free to phone. I pass the facility everyday and have great visions for it!

Richard Grossinger May 10, 2013 at 8:52 pm

I am moved by your bringing back the past, and it rings true about my grandmother whom, I always felt, had a dignity and grandeur beyond her public image, and also a kindness and generosity, though she also had her own hauteur and corruptness. The generation that followed just didn’t get it, not that it would have changed anything in the end. I’m not sure that “Peter” isn’t a wrong memory. It’s more likely Michael or James, my adopted half-brothers. Also possibly Jerry or Freddie. No “Peter Grossinger” in that era.

Ron Erich May 10, 2013 at 7:35 pm

So glad and sad to come upon your story. I , and my sister, worked at Grossinger’s for two summers as a waiters, earning money for college. I think it was 1965, 1966. Jennie G. offered us the jobs when she was in Hot Springs, Arkansas, and my father was her Physical Therapist. I remember the two great fun summers there. I did hang out a little with Peter Grossinger one summer and it was always a thrill went Jennie would come into the dining room and give me a hug. It made me feel important and kept the maitre d’s off my back for a few hours, at least.
So sad to see the pictures of the property in its state of abandonment. I saw that the Concord is gone also. Here in southern California one seldom sees beautiful properties going back to nature.
Thanks for your story and bringing back memories that I had almost forgotten.

Shirley March 31, 2013 at 7:23 pm

My father worked as a waiter there during the 70s. Sometimes he would take us there and I would remember swimming, skiing, or just roaming around the hotel with my sister and friend. We loved going there and my father still talks about his wonderful years there. When the hotel was closing down my father salvaged a few things, including a painted porcelain plate I believe that was hung in the dining room. I want to return these items to the family. Let me know if you would like for me to send you a photo.

Richard Grossinger February 19, 2013 at 1:07 pm

Last I knew, he was teaching at the California Institute of Integral Studies in San Francisco in the Somatics Program.

William McKeen February 19, 2013 at 12:05 pm

Quantum

The double slit experiment prove that with observation you can improve the probability of making a certain thing happen. The negative aspect of this is if focus on the particle you lose sight of the momentum. Focus on the momentum, you lose sight of the particle. Another example, focus on the tree you lose sight of the forest. Focus on the forest you lose sight of the tree. Even better one, focus on God you lose sight of reality. Focus on reality you lose sight of God.

The extreme differential of the last example can be explored in the writings of both Schopenhauer and Swedenborg.

MN February 16, 2013 at 6:29 pm

Hello Richard, I used to know Ian Grand a long time ago in Berkeley. Wondering if you have any idea what’s become of him. Thanks!

Richard Grossinger November 11, 2012 at 7:23 pm

Great WorK!

Richard Grossinger October 4, 2012 at 9:14 am

Thanks for the nice note. I think that the warts ARE history, always. Nothing exists as an idea(l) or in a vacuum or as its mere prototype.

Wes Gray October 4, 2012 at 8:54 am

Dear Richard,

You are an extremely talented writer. A wonderful story indeed. As the internet goes, you end up stumbling upon things you never knew. I learned a great deal about a piece of American history, warts and all. Your grandmother’s legacy is secure for eternity.

ann September 16, 2012 at 10:33 pm

Regarding, Dark Pool of Light, Volume Two: Consciousness in Psychospiritual and Psychic … By Richard Grossinger, I would like a preview copy. I grew up with Kimmie Ross and we just today discussed Ontology, and her future with that concept. So it was quite a surprise to read your bit on her. Though a sceptic, your writing style keeps me reading….and your education…my grandfather went to Amherst and my mother went to Smith then Univ. of Michigan to join my father (a fourth generation U. of Mich grad). You seem to have fun with your life and family so that is why I am requesting the preview, which you offered.
Thanks, Ann

Barbara Sparhawk September 3, 2012 at 8:39 am

Hello Mr Grossinger. Found you googling Goddard and there were so many cross references historically between us I feel compelled to halloo.
Goddard student in ’62, classmates Charlie Ponce, Eric Saarinen, Peter Pilafian…acted in Charlie’s moody plays, there were many and he was stark drama, the only one I remember the title of is The Cistern, me posed reciting in spotlight over faux hole center stage. I attended Riverside’s Encampment for Citizenship summer prior to Goddard, Ethical Culture Society but as a child, and took Tai Chi in the ’60’s with Professor Cheng M’an Ching on West Broadway. Lived in Chinatown, Brooklyn, bits of the states and world; only female billboard painter; still write and still paint; gallery in Big Sur 3 years, now Carmel Valley.
Interesting to find you and read your history. Goddard produced activists, something that never entirely left the molecules electrified there.

Paul D. Mendelsohn August 24, 2012 at 6:44 am

Hi Richard:

I loved your piece. We must have run in parallel universes. My dad had the jewelery concession at G’s in the 50’s and early 60’s, so I spent a lot of weekends up there as a kid and have great memories. My dad was a good friend of PG’s, Jenny and Elaine and he mentioned the other day that he still runs into Elaine down in Boca. The ruins remind me of looking at the wreck of the titanic, which I also had a fascination with as a child. At G’s I had so many great memories of wandering through the lobbies, watching Jenny on “this is your life” in the lobby in 1954 (I was only 7), the ice sculptures, Lew and Simon Sez, skating with Irving, watching them break gound for the “new” indoor pool, the malts in the coffee shop, the great toboggan rides, but mostly I enjoyed watching the people. It was a great time to bond with my dad in a Camelot environment. In the late 60’s I also worked with my brother Hank in the dining room, but G’s was changing and was already not the same. I also got hazed at the one year I spent at Camp Chipinaw. But I did enjoy the horseback riding, fencing and lake area. Athough I did not like having to carry out “rocks” every time we left the lake to clean out the swimming area. I currently live in Charlotte, Vermont and would love to hear from you.

Richard Grossinger August 20, 2012 at 5:25 am

Thanks, Greg. So great to hear from you. You were my room-mate in Phi Psi at the beginning of sophomore year, a crossroads time. And you were my first stop on my flight west in 1965, the seminal summer of my life. That’s no doubt when I “performed” my orange-juice disaster. I can be very dyslexic with half a chance, and certainly back then. I am still grateful you provided that “safe house” when it counted. I’d love to hear more about your journeys. Is there a way to contact you?

John Prentiss (Greg) August 5, 2012 at 4:55 pm

Hi Rich. While googling “Sam Lipskin,” I stumbled on your “Best Friends” list and am glad I did. In addition to news of Sam, you shared info about other classmates like Jeff Tripp and Greg Dropkin I’d lost track of decades ago.

You remain one of the most talented, delightfully eccentric people it has been my pleasure to meet. (I still remember my father looking on in disbelief as you tried to mash a 2 1/2 inch wide can of frozen orange juice into a jar with a 2 inch top and his saying to me later, “So how come you’re telling me he’s genius? He can’t even make orange juice.”)
Take care.
Warmly,
Greg Prentiss, former screenwriter, bum, and Chief Deputy Prosecutor for Adams County, Washington, now living in the Ozarks with 6 cats

admin April 26, 2012 at 10:39 pm

Thanks, Harlan, I appreciate the comments. Probably the only thing further I’ll do on this is rewrite Out of Babylon for an ebook to come out in 2014.

Harlan Friedman April 22, 2012 at 6:34 pm

I loved this story. My father worked at the G during the 70’s until the parental units decided it was time to take the pilgrimage to Long island and set up shop there. I remember many fun days there. My first “print ad” was a shot they used of me on the playground for a brochure in the late 70’s. Please keep the stories and pictures coming!

admin March 12, 2012 at 5:46 pm

Thanks, Michael. Are you still around Bar Harbor? Lindy and I plan to be there around July 1 through at least the end of September this year.

michael flahetty March 5, 2012 at 1:18 pm

Hey Richard! We first met on Mt. Desert Island when we swapped a pizza for Somme of your books(great trade).Hope you and your family are well.Saw your son on t.v. and felt a strange sense of pride considering how little I know you or your family.Hope to see you in Maine!

admin February 25, 2012 at 9:21 pm

I really don’t remember or, more to the point, don’t think I ever knew. The number “$26,000 a day” sticks in my mind from some discussion in the mid-seventies.

Nick Pjevach February 24, 2012 at 4:50 pm

Richard,
couple of quick questions on Grossinger’s Resort
would you by chance remember any of the operating costs of the resort?
I would be interested to find out what some of the costs are to operate such
a large complex. (just think of the gas bill for those two boilers).
Very sad about Paul losing everything. Grossinger’s $1.8 mm loss in 1985 was
probably (or eventtually) covered by Paul personnally. That kind of loss is hard
for any one person (or family) to cover. (my father also covered losses for a
business and it ruined the last 10 years of his life-he died broke also covering
personally guaranteed debt of a business)
also enoyed your writing above
nick

admin February 4, 2012 at 6:52 pm

It’s from the 1970s, well before PDF days. Ann Arbor Microfilms made a version in the style of the day, and I know that that’s available in Maine libraries, perhaps by interlibrary loan. Some of the material appears in my books Book of Cranberry Islands and The Provinces.

Deborah Confer February 4, 2012 at 1:46 pm

I’m a research assistant to someone writing a report for the National Park Service on the traditional histories of Otter Cove and Isle au Haut. I would be very interested in reading your dissertation, The strategy and ideology of lobster-fishing
on the back side of Mount Desert Island, Hancock County, Maine. Is it possible to get a PDF version? Thanks so much.

Geoffrey Brown January 30, 2012 at 2:51 pm

Moving and sad and at the same time delightful. I grew up in Liberty, enjoyed Grossingers mostly from the outside but still able to see the place from my bedroom window. Your aunt Elaine was very kind to me when I was doing some grad school research on migrant manpower in the resort industry. Thank you for writing this.

Magdalena Ball September 9, 2011 at 10:38 pm

Thank you so much for these detailed and richly presented recollections. I’m writing a novel (as you so beautifully put it, “for curios and mementos, for jewels and heirlooms, and for memes of the elusive and illusory American paradise”) partly set at Grossinger’s in the 1940s, when my grandmother worked as a young singer (family mythology was that Jenny chose her from a competition in Central Park and brought her out to the hotel, where she subsequently met her husband, my grandfather, and changed the course of her life). Every piece of information I can find helps me to better reconstruct the setting and also illuminate my own history. Of course I would love to travel back in time and sit in the audience to verify memory, but your notes are almost as good.

David Gitin July 24, 2011 at 9:09 am

Richard, I love your ability to articulate the ‘dilemma’ (even if that articulation, including the capture as ‘dilemma’ is itself part of the issue). Snyder’s discussion of Buddhism and the Coming Revolution decades ago gave hint of this, forerunner perhaps. Andrew’s responses closely echo the talk we heard him give the other night, but good to have them here as part of the conversation. Thanks for pointing me to your website!

jonah mark bekerman June 4, 2011 at 11:16 am

wonderful reading

thankyou

elliot was going to give you a copy of breathing in the infinite

did he?

Anita Wolfenberger March 8, 2011 at 2:47 pm

I grew up in Brooklyn, NY. In 1964, after marrying (in Puerto Rico) to a Army man, I purchased a cookbook of Jewish cooking put out by your parents hotel. The Introduction is by your father.

I have no idea of the name of the book. The cover long ago gave way to white paper and scotch tape, the pages are missing corners and frayed all around, the book is only partly attached to what is left of it’s spine. In short it is well used.

I don’t know why I feel compelled to tell you this. I just read that the hotel is closed and am sorry to hear that. I believe I was there when I was about five or so, which would be around 1948. I have vague memories of a “talent” show of little kids.

(Mrs) Anita Wolfenberger
New Market, TN

Larry Olsen February 12, 2011 at 9:02 pm

Good Evening:
My brother, nearly 40 years ago, attended a technical competition that was held up at Grossinger’s in Upstate New York. The night before the competition, the hotel had a number of very talented people who put on various skits and songs, including “The Ballad of Irving” and a song about Washington at Valley Forge. One of the few lines that I remember was something about, “If Washington was Jewish, instead of Valley Forge, The Army would have wintered up at Grossinger’s with George!” Is this the same as the song you list on this site?
W/R,
Larry

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