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

 

Table of Contents

 

The Holes in the Materialists’ Universe

Turing Tests and Other Yardsticks

The Innate Intelligence of the System

The Brain as Materialist Shrine

Trickle-Down Ontology

The Brain as Tuner

Reincarnation and Past Lives

Transdimensional Physics and Biology

Constraints

James Leininger or James Huston?

Shadows, Traces, and Mementos

Souls

Spiritual By-Passing Detour

Reincarnational Phases and Fusions

Cosmic Chicanery and Telekinesis

Death Pictures

Worshipping the Algorithm, or Dumbing Down the Universe

Multipersonhood

Personal Identity

The Space-Time Continuum

Dreams

Death

Immortality

Is the Universe a Computer Simulation?

Why Something Rather than Nothing?

Cosmic Formation

Undumbing the Universe

 

 

The Hole in the Materialists’ Universe

After centuries of deliberation, a peer-juried verdict has been reached regarding Earth’s most common everyday event. The master theater of beingness—la sine qua non, da “first” person (“je,” “I,” “ich,” “yo,” “nuy”), what the bloke-in-the street calls “me-self,” “me brats” has been relegated to an epiphenomenon of electrochemical signals in cascading protein-crystal matrices. In Dark Pool of Light I wrote that science’s takeaway from its five-or-so-century inquiry into the relationship between us and it is: “A light goes on, a light goes off, but it wasn’t even a light.” That is, we become conscious, the biochemistry underlying consciousness runs its metabolic course or is otherwise terminated, but it wasn’t truly conscious to begin with.

Confronted with Hamlet’s timeless rub “To be or not to be?” most scientists aver, “Not.” We are urgent pangs against an eternity of their own (and everything else’s) nonexistence—and not just nonexistence but nonexistence without teleological implication. Conscious beingness is both a hallucination and a mirage.

Every gun-toting cowpoke and blustering commentator, despite “watch out for me—me, me, me,” is a hoax. His or her sense of identity, purpose, and agency are by-products of the chemical synthesis of carbon, driven by kinetics and temperature variations in a universe that itself formed the middle of nowhere for no reason—no intrinsic reason, that is.

The prime shuffle of subatomic skank took place as a melee of daughter particles and inherent forces spewed out of the torrid and dense singularity known in these parts as the Big Bang. BB occurred in a territory that preexisted or was created by the implosion. The universe is a blind detonation—a crapshoot in eternal blankness. Despite lipstick on the pig, the universe we know and love is babbling oink—and we are reduced to slime on “a small round planet inching its way through a terrifying void.” [viii]

Everything that followed the Big Bang transpires in the space it breached or created: chance chains of events arising from the fission and fusion of particles. There is no lever or gear outside the extrinsic sprawl—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—an a priori underpinning for the fix in which it finds itself—to proving, ever more conclusively, that no such valet exists.

Something happened rather than nothing. But there could have been nothing, nothing forever—nary a breath or a squeak. With a few variables, BB could just as well not have happened. Ultimately even the fact that there was something here (or anywhere) will be eradicated too. The current colloquy of trespassing “somethings” will redound to a prevailing and eternal nothing, which is what they were meant to be in the first place. Once again darkness will rule the abyss.

Or they will turn into something else—same thing.

In other words, we’re fucked, so get used to it. We have always been fucked. Our situation is real, damnedly real, but meaningless. Life forms are temporary configurations of cells, which are temporary configurations of molecules, which are temporal configurations of atoms and subatomic particles back to BB’s bosons and fermions. A galaxy-filled universe might not have arisen from the same fermions and bosons had the juggle gone slightly differently. The current barrage of sound and fury, signifying “something,” signifies an underyling “nothing.” Shakespeare saw a tale told by an idiot. Now the idiot is gone too, replaced by an algorithm.

Consciousness has no innate source, no endogenous cause or independent auspices. It is a chattel, one of the heat effects of quantum-based potentiality. Particle-waves from fermions and bosons got transmitted through subcellular microtubules into an ascending hierarchy of binary-based synapses. This is the sort of thing that science sanctions as intelligence in the universe. Anywhere.

There is no lurking eschatological savior, last-minute turn-of-plot, no more sanguine way to dice it. According to post-modern materialist covenant, creature-hood is a splash where there is nothing splashable. Life forms have no whyfor or objective. Elapsing adventitiously, they are wagered by subatomic effects of incidental atomic collisions. These incubated in Earth’s primeval carbon- and nitrogen-rich pools where they transferred their elemental potentials into qualities: thermodynamic and shear forces feeding mechanical information—temperature-driven gradients—into heuristic chains bound in membranes. A series of embryogenic invaginations, folds, pockets, and laminae gave rise to plants and animals Self-monitoring loops accrued from their own resting potential, excitatory sensitivity, and action-potential augmentations and inhibitions, culminating in hyperpolarization and depolarization of neural overload. These lucky breaks followed the cue ball hitting the subatomic fuse and, splatters later, a one-in-a-billion sperm wiggling into a plush egg and imbedding its software there, launching a contiguous organism from its single cell.

An initially two-bit utility function, while ostensibly monitoring itself, converted systemic feedback—superfluidity-like—into frames of reference, leading to more efficient function sets. Eureka, you have viral fuzz, bristling bacteria, a pseudopod-projecting extension of amoeboid gel, crawling slime, a chittering mouse. Awareness is a side effect of deep molecular swills monitoring one another.

Mind emerged from low-threshold spikes hitting simultaneous charge overloads and default tipping points. Their feedback accreted in a surplus of energy that discharges as egoity, animal and human alike. Of course, humans are animals.

And meaning was dragged along like bubblegum on an unfortunate sneaker.

Creatures are self-regulating concentration and containment centers of trillionfold subatomic quantum, atomic, and molecular firings into discretionary pathways. Their gondolas rose from the input-output sensory ladders of platyhelminths, crustaceans, squids, and salamanders, as they exuded phantasmagoria and stamped personalized existence on them.

Vectors accreting inside zombie worms transferred their informational packets into each other’s contexts and matched templates. They found agency, purpose, and, ultimately, mind—not because they “knew” (or “were”) but because their incidental territories incidentally conformed. Autochthonous self-repairing units emerged from self-similar motifs. They recognized themselves, and everything else, by pattern-on-pattern formations—fancy bar codes.

Neural grids filter out static and noise that would otherwise cancel their meanings into gibberish. Cogent imputations represent not themselves as much as the erasure and absence of other patterns and potentials. They reinforce their transitional relevance by redundancy.

A behavioral analogue went, “Bzzzz,” or “Quack” or “Ribb-ock, ribb-ock, ribb-ock” or, in Hopi, “Úma hínok pas nui kitâ’ náwakna?” (“Why do you want me so quickly?”) The calls of loons and gulls, the whines, chirps, and growls of assorted creatures in venues, are at par with the organs and vortices generating them. They plead with a universe to be rather than not. In speechless spiders, insects, or worms, the plea is motion—as they wriggle from nothingness into beingness because there is nowhere from which to summon them and no place for them to go to deliver their message, or message to deliver.

The homunculus climbed its own neural ladder, remarkably, from lizards to tree shrews to monkeys and Homo africanus, at least on this one sorry-ass planet. Its bloats of ganglia wound into feedback loops along their linearity, their notochord’s spinal ascent, as it captured strings of more diffuse feedback monitors to create brainier beings. It burst into the full-blown forest of symbols that surrounds us. These symbols swarmed into villages and declared themselves polities and civilizations. There they be to this hour, interrogating the crisis of their origin.

Consciousness is what consciousness does. Its placeholder status—whether it is really conscious—has nothing to do with its existential expression. “There is no ghost in the organic machine,” declared neuro-anthropologist Terrence Deacon, a deep analyst of biological agencies, “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.”

The reality show goes on not because it is sentient or provisionally sentient 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….

“Inside” and “outside” are “incessantly transformed from one another.” [Incomplete Nature: How Mind Emerged from Matter (New York: Norton, 2013), pp. 483-484, 492].

Awareness is the least significant aspect of biological mind, as much for philosophers as for raccoons. Blind transfers of unconscious intelligence supersede it on Earth and, presumably, under Europan ice if life breeds there. Systemic sets run a hawk or shark—internal network symbolings, optics, nerve nets, and concomitant autopilot functions.

Throw in everything else incipiently pre- and post-synaptic and semantic or that has been elided from consciousness adventitiously, repressed or otherwise forfeit memories, plus the meta-conscious, quasi-linguistic deep structure of DNA and you have an entire back-office operation with its own pagan alphabets or alphabetic structures. That is consciousness’ boiler room and control center: it discharges a hummingbird’s flapping wings and a rat’s sniff of carrion. It is not even subconscious in a Freudian sense; it is fully and eternally beyond representations of mind.

Philosopher Daniel Dennett, proclaimed, “We’re all zombies. Nobody is conscious.” [LD 42]. Our presumptions are “free-floating reasons … not our reasons.” They arose through natural selection, to allow us to survive. They are a “desktop,” as it were. “What is actually going on behind the desk-top is mind-numbingly complicated, but users don’t need to know about it, so intelligent interface designers have simplified the affordances, making them particularly salient for human eyes … the ingenious user-illusion of click-and-drag icons …. Nothing compact and salient inside the computer corresponds to that little tan file-folder on the desktop screen.” [32] It’s all optics and applications. (Physician Larry Dossey mused that Dennett “was using his own free will to arrive at the conclusion that free will does not exist.” [LD60])

 

 

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

The outcome of the ceaseless battle of the creative contrivances of chaos—Ilya Prigogine’s non-equilibrium thermodynamics—against the prior incumbency of entropy is a foregone conclusion, entropy will win out, decisively, otherwise known as the heat death of the universe. This provenance applies to all bumps of design and cogitation in the universe, as well as the universe itself—stars, bars, and everything in between. According to the Second Law of Thermodynamics (entropy’s imprimatur), the Multigalactic Enchilada—Monsieur Big Boy, El Starry Circus, mismo—is going to chill, evanesce, dissipate, perish. Adios Reality!

Welcome to the Show, Brother Man, Brother Bird. You are chemicals feigning, offshoots of currents from antediluvian ponds snared in sheets casting reflections of false self into successive delusional states of self-recognition. You are meat undergoing psychedelic shudders, with equivalent quantum of serendipitous leaven to mud or a thunderstorm. Biological life and creature identity mean nada to the universe and report to no higher court.

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

Though Homo sapiens undoubtedly experienced existential crises of one sort or another on the Pithecanthropan highway, no clan during the Stone Ages, ancient times, the Middle Ages, or early Renaissance likely considered anything like a digital—e.g., empty—source for their own beingness. A latecomer has escalated to penetrate the shell of its own universe and displace humanity from the bore of its own immanence.

 

Every day we “use” matter that was once parts of other creatures, perhaps cities in other solar systems and, every so often, other galaxies. Stray dust moves willy-nilly from the shove of any gravitational field or breeze. Not very fast—at the scale of the panoply anyway— but over epochal time atoms travel or entangle quite far if not pretty much anywhere.

What is a gull for a moment—a white feathered heap of flying, feeding, screeching molecules—disperses in the cosmic breeze. There is no evidence of the gull’s prior existence once its carbon and nitrogen have blown away. Every trace of visitation is eradicated forever.

Following the remission of a forgery’s mirages, the lights go out for good, including the interior glow by which it, and even you, dear reader, are grokking these words.

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

The progression of beingness ends in elision of memory and personhood.

What a deal!

Formulations of Ludwig Wittgenstein, as summarized by Jacob Needleman, “circumscribe the central question that modern man faces in the overwhelming light and darkness of modern science”:

“What I see, what I know, is a universe of death. What I feel is life. Which is real—death or life?

“The world is a vast blind machine, an assemblage of inert facts. I am only another fact in that world. But I know this encompass the world that I knew with meaning and purpose. Which is real: What I know or that which knows?

“I do not see God in the world or in myself. Yet the world and myself exist. Which is real: the facts about being or the mysterious fact of Being?”

 

Abject materialism wasn’t science’s aspiration in the time of Johannes Kepler and Isaac Newton, but it has become a fundamentalist ideology as its own anti-religion, nihilism as proxy faith. Empiricists are no longer neutral parties or honest brokers: they have capital investments and vested interests and intend to trade solely in the house commodity—matter. They expect everyone else to agree to recognize it as the gold standard of reality. They don’t want rival priests printing other currency. They want to purchase mind and “beingness” with their singular coinage. They feel they have earned sole license to sponsor the Future.

Having delivered a dystopian destiny, they intend to enjoy the hallucinations while they last. They parade as savants while deeming themselves rats—or rat-like apparitions. Like rats, they fight for goodies and revel in the urgency and meaningfulness of their own hungry existences

Pretend for a moment to be a Stone Age hominid viewing modernity and you can see how fast and fully materialism has feathered its nest—jets in the sky; supertankers on the seas; factories, transit mazes, habitation catacombs, bipeds scurrying hither, thither in all sorts of sporty internal-combustion and pinion- and gear-driven shafts, whooshed up and down on pulleys in tubes. With such an exemplary superstructure to its credit, technocracy has spellbound Homo sapiens to its collective hypnotic trance. It has created the perfect palliation and recompense for death: a Coney Island pleasure-dome with conveniences lacking in the Pliocene and Pleistocene.

Far better tools and sharper minds have been committed to assembling this arcade and analyzing away epistemological static and paraphysical anomalies than to formulating a working construct for all the evidence. It’s an easier gig with faster pay-offs. Kick da bums out!

 

Turing Tests and Other Yardsticks

Neuroscientist Sam Harris proposed, with equal traces chagrin and irony: “The only thing in this universe that suggests the reality of consciousness is consciousness itself.” [Opinionator, New York Times, September 7, 2014]. Without our experience of our own existence, the universe operates like an environment without consciousness, in fat inimical to consciousness and in which any incipient mode of consciousness must be robotic or zombie-like. Harris’ observation could be rephrased, less elegantly, as “The only thing in the universe that suggests the reality of personalized states of awareness is the fact that our thoughts and behaviors transcend their own tropisms.” The only thing that supports the reality of consciousness is its reflection in its own mirror!

There is no objective way to account for subjective reality or the source of our identification with our own beingness. As long as comprehension arises from the thing that it comprehends, [WCT 68] material deconstruction of consciousness can never 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]. That Albert Einstein put space and time into a continuum says as much about abstract consciousness as it does about a concrete universe. Relativity is mind observing nature and reflecting its observations while wrapping them around each other.

A hole growing from itself can’t ever be filled; the shadow it casts over its unobjectifiable experiment can’t be eradicated. Science has a single hole in it, and the hole is us. As long as consciousness exists—and not only pervades matter but is the reflecting pool in which all analysis is performed—the reflection has no mirror, and the mirror no frame. Subjective states pop up like Topsy everywhere.

The eight-hundred-pound gorilla gets his way because, remember, who’s going to argue with a googolplex atavism that exploded onto the set like a dawn that only we saw coming? It infests Earth, reblossoming in weeds and waters a trillion seeds and eggs a day.

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

“I am” is pretty much what everything on Earth believed—and that included the parade from one-celled plastids and bacteria to lizards and hummingbirds: I am, I am, I am. I slither. I splash; I eat, I fuck, I whelp, I command—until a nineteenth-century locomotive carrying seemingly heavier cargo—the evolution of forms solely from prior forms to the lowest denominator—came rumbling down the tracks and supplanted the reigning entelechy with its shiny new proposition.

The salvation for science is that, as long as there is only one hole, albeit a nasty one, it can be business as usual—the band plays, the show goes on. Scientists impose provisional equations to disguise the gap—patch the paradigm wherever it begins cracking, save the appearances of matter, which sets the “outer bounds of reality itself.” [Thomas Nagel, NYRB, March 9, 2017, p. 34 (“Is Consciousness an Illusion?”)]

When there is no frame, no pier to which to anchor the rafts, anything goes. A formulation attached to its own untethered status cannot name the umbilicum except peremptorily; it 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.” Neuroscientists are great at dealing with mind’s attributes once they percolate into matter; they haven’t a clue as to how a fly got into the ointment, what the “fly” is, or how to propose forensics for an experiment. They can’t explain the siphoning of consciousness 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 chemist did somehow ignite autonomous consciousness, it would be like Donald Duck playing sorcerer’s apprentice, unaware of how he set the brooms marching.

Here’s a thought experiment, imagine yourself a biotech wizard stirring a chemical solution into some sort of self-arising, self-identifying hologram that acknowledged itself. What would you have activated to invite the friendly pirouette into your flask?

How does “is” get centrifuged out of “non-is”? What foments its transient glow? What causes its epistemology, what happens epistemologically when it is erased?

Why, in a fundamentally lazy, entropy-up universe, should efficient consumption and conversion energy be more attractive than indolence? To concatenations of chaff, why should “to be” be more delicious and comforting than “not to be”? Was rank matter “hungry”? Did its stumble into an enthalpic resolution of its own charge?

There is an uncrossable gap between atoms in entropy and morphodynamics—between thermodynamics and biological agency. The fish that doesn’t want to get caught or eaten by a larger fish, in fact frantically so, has no actual basis or rationale.

 

My painter friend Charles Rasmussen, a keen observer of nature, noticed a bee tumbling in the pollen of a wild rose. It caught his attention because it seemed to be enjoying itself.

It got better: a spider who had made his web in the same rugose and was perturbed by the intruder’s pleasure roll or entitlement, jabbed at the wanker; once, then repeatedly, with one of eight legs.

As the spider’s pokes disturbed the bee’s nectar bliss, the intruder became more and more agitated at its rose-mate. Buzzing with what sounded like irritation, it interrupted its stamen bliss, zipped out of the petals, got up a 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 run amok? Chemicals under proto-libidinal charge hitting tipping points inside boundaries of trillionfold quantum switches? Atomic strings synapsing through their own uncertainty states into microtubules and ganglionic grids?

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

How does materialism justify an item that was never ordered, has no value, and simply appeared? How can you explain Café Zero: the menu, the entrées, the patrons, the waiter, yourself as patron? How does a mere vector, however quark- and microtubule-infested, cultivate a connoisseur’s appreciation of pollen, then personal resentment? How can a princess perceive a pea packed with metaphors, through a mattress as bottomless and diffuse as matter?

Viewed from the other side, how do quantum switches, microtubular tunnels, and chemico-electrically transfer incipient symbols from layers ruled by entropy to others bound by random heat effects into anti-entropic self-recognition? How and where does the illusion of existence anchor itself in order to apply an exogenous yardstick to its mirage? Remember, there is no pier or sight of shore.

In the Penrose-Hameroff gerrymandered apology for consciousness, electrons transmit their uncertainty states into modes of awareness that identify not only their existence but the terms for uncertainty itself. But it doesn’t wash. How can a rambling algorithm adduce an internally self-knowing identity, even a delusional one, to serve its affidavit? And how would a free-range quantum energy state get transmuted into dimer morsels of conscripted microtubules discretely enough to hold the charge or weight of a metonymy or ontological bridge? So, how can the uncertainty state of a subatomic particle generate or become the uncertainty state of a desire—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 these ascend to self-referential beingness.

I’m no physicist or biologist, but common sense tells me that electron states can’t depolarize themselves over the ontological threshold or cross its lesion in both structure and scale. They can’t command the microfilaments of a neural cell, let alone an entire organism, to dance to their tune while bearing anything like “hi there.” Then, how by their lonesomes, do they translate binary information up the pod chain into full-blown Faulknerian narratives and Wittgensteinian overtures?

 

Another spider, working on his web in the ceiling corner of my shower stall, is aware of the splatter and rise of steam. He scurries up the wall to the crack of the ceiling.

Who does he speak and act for except himself, a spider’s effort-shape? It recognizes my presence—that of another mite —and stands in relationship, intelligence plus persona.

He came out of the same muck, the same uncertainty field, as me. He could not have made himself, but he is self-made, not a robot.

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

As I stare at him, I ask my question of the space boinging between us—the crux of this text: If we are mere algorithms, we should be willing to have our motors turned off, to deliquesce our seeming self-knowingness in poofs with no more fuss than any set of isobars giving way to the next weather system—the cessation of thunder and lightning after a storm (remember, they were gods once, too). There should be no angst in either of our pilot lights or clinging to this life.

Yet every ounce and gesture of each of us clamors the opposite. Beingness is non-negotiable. “What else is there?” most creatures drink to the bottom of the glass.

In fact, they don’t drink because reality’s detonation is so all-consuming they are not aware of a cistern or brew, let alone a decision to be made regarding status, its or theirs. Creatures identify totally with their flows of beingness. It’s what they are and how they know what anything else is.

There is no squirm by which a caterpillar can peek at its own parameters. “I” is a vantage that cannot be shaped from outside. It arises from its own vortex and identifies with only itself.

Does a raccoon or crow worry about its ontological premise s? Of course not. The cords coming out of the collective reality field and tying it to the flow of events are statutory, and more profound than survival instinct, predation, or territoriality—materialism’s triumvirate of innate drives, its false bottom to the barrel.

Any turtle or tiger whelp stirring from genesis in a gastrulating heap of cells recognizes a radiant field, reads and evaluates cues, and responds with its DNA-bestowed chelonian or feline tools. A reptile cracks its egg and crawls extemporaneously out of one reality into another. It dead-reckons reality, practices 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 minstrels from the sow bug to the octopus and eagle. And they are not zombie-like machine functions trying to sneak past the Turing test.

Every plant and animal not only knows what it is but what the universe is too—knows it not as knowledge but as quintessence in its fur or membrane or shell. Every sunflower and snake, owl and spider is the universe—matrix and control center. Channeling the spirit-form Seth, Jane Roberts declared that a creature’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]

These never be renounced or demoted because they can never be separated from themselves. If these are pinball effects generating their own delusions and giving meaning to those delusions, then what is doing all that me-ing and mewing? If it’s dust to dust, how did “we” and those convincing (and convinced) leopards, intent lizards and cobras and wrens get inside and start roaring and springing and chirping? What is generating their selfhood, their tactics?

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

Not even a computer-generated figment can pass the Turing test for personal identity and self-reflective consciousness. All that happens is that people get cleverer at fooling themselves and imbedding their gullibility in the system.

 

Check out the only tool for science and philosophy that you have, your own body-mind. Drop into it in its unplumbed depth, its capacity and source. Dive in place. Explore your trajectory as exhaustively as you can.

What does it feel like? Does it feel like algorithm-displacing overloads and spikes? Or does it seem rooted in an unknown dimension and ground?

Reason through what either would feel like and how either would know itself. Can you discriminate calibers of distinction? Can one universe flip into the other through a trick of phenomenological reckoning? Just asking….

Now penetrate the tourbillion of your own existence. Experience what it is. For a moment, presume that it is not a chemico-electric flow. Take it for a test drive. Ride it. What is it?

This imaginal process is senior, and critical, to the existence of matter.

Wishful thinking? Perhaps. But it’s where the legendary rainbow body of Tibetan Buddhist phowa practices, where Hindu astral travel originate. The recognition of selfhood as an act with ontological as well as psychological implications issues actual cosmography as we think.

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

Thoughtforms in simple psychic exercises are the same one 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.

But within the ideologically reductive universe of scientism, entelechy of mind never makes sense.

The consciousness paradox yields two fundamentally opposing viewpoints. The first is that, since nothing at large collateralizes the fount of consciousness, consciousness is nothing—a network distortion and ephemeral epiphenomenon, brief trances that confer an illusion of beingness on the phantoms it creates.

The second is that, since consciousness exists, it is de facto something, exempt from ordinances of science that exclude it. It is a self-arising luminosity, the ground of beingness itself. In the field between the spider and me is a sticky plasma by which the universe is generating itself.

But that can’t be right because nothing is exempt from the order of physics and chemistry, the impeccable dance of heat, mass, and information. Nothing in a chemico-mechanical universe can arise without a physical sponsor, an initial substrate and notarized chain of carriers, each proximal to the last. Every artifact has a skein of forerunners in the one-way march from the Big Bang’s preons, quarks, neutrinos (or whatever) into atoms, molecules, bacteria, amoebas, and their cumbrous scions.

If beingness springs from a deeper pedestal, scientists are looking for consciousness in the wrong place, and matter is the true stranger.

 

The Innate Intelligence of the System

Though neuron-deprived, Earth’s other bionts—chickens, snakes, dogs and the like—are not stupid. they are no less evolved than Homo wiseguy. Nor are they less clever.

An earthworm or crustacean “is”—is as “is,” as “is” gets, squiggling in tidepools or muck. A mosquito reads nature’s transmission through a mosquito portal, a vole at vole frequency, a whale on the cetacean channel.

What they know, they know—and we don’t. As little as we grok of the time-frame and proprioception of fellow mammals, we grok even less of reptiles and amphibians, less than that of insects, oaks, and foxgloves, yet they are part of our DNA system, made of the same carbon-based modules. [175]

We have no context to understand most of the things Earth’s other animals think or do. They experience their own curiosity, intention, and selfhood. But these are our words. What they don’t know—schemes and propositions precious to us—are irrelevant to them and their codes.

Porcupines do porcupine things. Their thought range matches their reality. Fish experiences water perhaps in the way we experience sky or philosophy. To bugs, the nitrogen of decay is starry heavens, a complement to our night sky. Psychic teacher John Friedlander adds this irony: “Humans are not the only beings able to achieve enlightenment, they are the only beings needing to achieve enlightenment.”

Wasps are not building a nest or tatting an unconscious object by a multi-port 3-D copier. They are constructing holy cities, like us, at their own wavelength.

Dung beetles push their balls of poop away from competitors in efficient straight lines by storing successive celestial snapshots and comparing them. They navigate by imposition of the Milky Way on their brains.

You cannot break an animal’s trance and train of thought, its attention and commitment to its frequency and operating system. You cannot manipulate it or ply propaganda or violence to get it to compromise its agenda. You can use Pavlovian training to get a dog or falcon to do your bidding, but they will do it as dogs and falcons not as proxy humans.

You cannot extract a possum from possumness, even if you provoke it. It lives and dies as a possum. You cannot violate the possum operating system; you can only damage it or shut it down.

Though Florida assholes Michael Wenzel and Robert Lee “Bo” Benac poured beer down the forced-open mouth of a fifty-year-old grouper and dragged a live shark behind their speeding motorboat, they could not violate the dignity of grouper-ness or sharkness.

The picador-taunted bull in the ring, the harpooned whale, the shot and falling duck, the bee confined in a carafe each bend the universe along their space-time continuum. That’s true relativity.

The angst and pity we exert on behalf of suffering creatures—tortured and dismembered chickens, pigs, and cows among—is authentic compassion but also a projection of our own unresolved status. Creatures handle their situations—the universe responds to the opportunities presented to it.

Likewise, reality may not be “real,” but it is irreplaceable down to its short hairs. You cannot replace a self-arising vortex: “waz happ’nin’, waz going down, you know.”

Millennia 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. Try to find a witness to corroborate it anyway. That which exists through itself is meaning. The universe does a pirouette with each vector of sentient input, however modest the provider.

 

While writing this text (June 7, 2015), I found a beetle in a goop of tamari and maple syrup with which I had cooked string beans with pecans 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 and our guests were having tea.

I managed to extricate it by flipping it onto its back on the counter. Watching it flail in distress, I tried to wash off the sticky sauce. That was misguided help, or maybe the creature’s fate was already determined.

I am haunted by those prickly thin legs waving, trying to gain purchase and locale. I silently told it not to be in a hurry; that is, I dispatched my anthropomorphism its way. Only as I took its 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 everything is. I was handling a humungous hologram, sensing not a separate bug but my own existence in relation to and inseparably joined to it. It was not a minor event to the beetle: the whole universe was flailing at its point of attachment.

It was not minor to the universe either.

 

The Brain as Materialist Shrine

Given the prima facie evidence of conscious existence noted by Sam Harris (above), scientists are frustrated that they can’t satisfactorily derive it from the components and mechanisms of the cerebral cortex and aggregate ganglia or trace it back through presynaptic circuits. They can neither derive mind from electrical and chemical properties of the brain nor locate the inside-outness that it weirds into the universe. Bundles of elongated cells and their collective coiled entrails do not look anything like consciousness. They do not have portals for the cosmos that consciousness projects. While the brain is fractally taut and discretely specified, it shows no sign of housing ruminations of consciousness. “Brains and neurons obviously have everything to do with consciousness,” notes philosopher H. Allen Orr, but how these objects do so, he admits, is inexplicable. “Despite this,” he 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.] The brain is the sole proximal source of beingness only because there is no other candidate.

He assumes that if scientists can’t figure out the forensics in the current round, they will someday by the same essential tools, tasks, and paradigm-set, using improved instruments leading to more comprehensive models.

This ignores ontological as well as epistemological gaps between nature and culture, language and meaning, and, more significantly, those aspects of the universe that we can get at and those we can’t. If it doesn’t ignore them, it presumes that they can be lassoed too.

“Nowhere in the laws of physics or in the laws of the derivative sciences chemistry and biology,” declared neuroscientist Professor John Eccles, “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.”

When protein analyst Jean-Pierre Changeux enjoined philosophers to reformulate their ontological positions to keep up with the latest advances in neuroscience, which must (to his mind) contain the ultimate determination of consciousness’ standing, philosopher Colin McGinn accused Changeaux of a disingenuous and “dubious reductionism and the act-object fallacy, adding, “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].

If consciousness has no basis in molecular matter, how could it be lost or found there? Physicist Werner Heisenberg concluded, “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] He recognized the fundamental paradox underlying his calling. Here are some other briefs:

Psychologist Steven Pinker: “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]

Astrophysicist David Darling:“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]

Neurosurgeon Wilder Penfield: “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]

Years ago, a neuroscientist in an airport lounge confessed, as we sat out a delayed flight, “The brain is a black box. We can do 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.”

In the brain as the seat of mind, we are clinging to a vanishing droplet that continues to dissolve into an infinite vacuum. As long as scientism imposes a rigorously lineal obligation, the brain assures that consciousness can never be itself, can’t be innately and immanently “conscious.” It must come to the party with a sponsor—its passport stamped at every stop along the way from the Big Bang—even if the stamps are all provisional or bogus. Once in the hall, it can do anything it wants and have a fine time of it; the only thing it can’t do is arrive as nonlocal and self-generating. It can’t spurl or set up shop outside its official succession of molecular statuses, meaning chaos states specified by neg-entropy and driven by DNA systems summarized in neurons and the cerebral cortex of the hominid brain.

If mindedness ever gets out of the box and gains a foothold, a nonmaterial limen, there might as well be telepathy, telekinesis, future sight, and remote viewing too—the whole nine yards. The impossibility of nonlocal consciousness is the last bastion of materialism before freefall. Consciousness that speaks for itself is a more unwelcome guest than psi phenomena, for it sets its own yardstick for reality. Telepathy is at most a remote-control device with materialist options. Nonlocal consciousness makes matter itself paranormal.

In ratifying that we aren’t real, in telling our minds that our bodies are molecular factories grounded in respites of neg entropy, science tries to license more than it has earned by its own inquiry. As one materialist remarked, “This is the sort of thing I would not believe, even if it really happened.” [LD74]  

 

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 provided by Gary Marcus, a psychologist and neural scientist at NYU. Marcus argues that the brain is a computer because, to any reasonable observer, what else could it be? It links by computations, its neurons operate like ordinary computer hardware, it performs behaviors homologous to what a computer does. If our own logic-board and thought processes are lodged in our cerebral wiring’s self-monitoring hierarchies, that’s what we are.

The presumption is that the article itself could have been generated by inputting its conclusion into a computer with language skills. Of course, by Marcus’ premise, that’s all it could be—computation—so my insinuation is no insult. He fancies that knowing himself as himself while conceiving and writing an article is equivalent to a computer deriving the same ideas from its programming, i.e., that someday we can program computers to know themselves too. The 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” provide the best current model for our brains.

He apparently doesn’t recognize the fallacy of conflating cause and effect nor seem to recognize that computers are modelled on brains, not the other way around. The real question is, what are brains modeled on?

Marcus’ logic is bass-ackwards. He projects his own consciousness and identity onto a machine constructed from it, built to imitate it at hyper-speed. The only reason he is able to make a correlation between brains and computers is because brains invented computers, and quite recently. He can back-engineer grids from cybernetic motherboards into cellular ones. Yet who gave computers precedent or hegemony over brains? They are not even better machines— limited in their operations and less virtual—though manufactured under quality control as opposed to basted out of raw atomic muck.

Marcus has forgotten the Turing test or, more likely, assumes that it has been aced. Rather than reflecting the depth, complexity, and paradoxical nature of his topic, he creates an unintentional self-parody: a pretend computer regurgitating its own prefabricated liturgy. Academic creativity these days consists of finding more clever ways to repeat house propaganda.

I doubt that Marcus thinks he performs like a computer in his personal world or recognizes the crisis levied by the fact that he does not. He is willing to play second fiddle to his computer doppelgänger who will someday write the same article as a gentleman and scholar. His children don’t have to be robots, and he is free to love them openly (when the jealous robot isn’t looking). Most mavens of modernity believe that you can think and be whatever you want in your spare time and private life without invalidating your formal belief system.

 

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?”

In keeping with current materialistic fad, drugs have replaced Freud’s “talking cure”—and why not, they are more efficient, cheaper, and ostensibly more accountable for repair of defective circuits. 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 by analogues of computer diagnosis and repair, there is new hope for treatments other than pharmaceutical intervention. Instead of hit-or-miss drugs or subjective talk, doctors could target circuits and inputs.

This is the same article as Marcus’—the identical reductio ad materialism.

Thoughts and actions do alter the brain—long-term Buddhist meditation causes physiological shifts that support nondual perception; conversely, criminal acts program brains for further crime.

But if the brain can be physicochemically changed by its own thought patterns, that would seem to prove the opposite of what Schwartz proposes regarding the ontological interaction of mind and matter.

Neuropsychoanalytic jargon is the perfect marriage of science and capitalism with a goal of creating commodities for new digital and pharmaceutical markets. Its practitioners don’t seem to understand: reductive materialism is not the acme of science but a detour into stage-four capitalism. They think that science inherently gets the upper hand over corporate greed, but it is precisely the opposite.

 

Trickle-Down Ontology

Scientists fail to realize that metaphysical materialism is a religion with moral implications. Whereas steam engines and souls ran concurrently for centuries, it is now a requirement of pro science that the imperial robes covering any hole be honored. In 1838 Charles Dickens could write (in 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] “Spirit” was intrinsic. Nowadays a sanguine spirit would be retro even in fiction. Magical realism is the sole acceptable alternative to dyed-in-wool materialism.

This aesthetic is driven not by any reasoned-out analysis or cost-risk evaluation but by a vague, subliminalized fog of mercantile commoditization. To recruited scientists the sole alternative to nihilistic materialism is biblical theocracy. They attribute contrary belief systems to (1) endorphins reinforcing happy delusions and addictive mirages, (2) a default setting in the brain, (3) indoctrination, (4) positive selection (winning wars, gaining territory, community service, and harmony under diversionary banners), or (5) a centuries-long Papal marketing ploy (like Coca Cola with its secret sauce).

The rejection of transpersonal experience is that cynical.

 

The Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings and similar recreational killings prove that it isn’t 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!” Shooter Adam Lanza didn’t think that; it was in the air he breathed, the electrons he sucked from the Internet. He was so dissociated he was competing against a Norwegian’s sociopath, to beat his videogame score: “Those toddler rats only think they’re alive. Otherwise, they be clay pigeons.” Then he shot himself.

         The unasked question lies just beneath the surface of every human act, how a “species can consciously stress its accidental presence in the cosmos, yet demand that its members be the most ‘moral’ of creatures. If science insists that there was, and is, no design or planner behind man’s emergence, then how can man be expected to act as if there was or is…?” [673]

Within his console reality, Lanza thought that his misery could be arbitraged and expunged—the oil-slick of space-time known as “himself.” The way out of Dodge was to terminate the game—the unspoken doxology of science assured him of a clean escape.

Ego extinction is indisputable in a universe of built-in obsolescence. A dead person is an inoperable machine; it can’t be turned on anymore and can’t be fixed. In that sense, suicide is the perfect crime. So, Lanza expected to disappear—in essence and in kind—unindictable. He expected to get released from the various fixes he was in, the legendary nightmare from which we cannot awake. He shut off the game. What would happen to him was what he told himself would happen—oblivion followed by more oblivion: Nothing happens. Nothing happens, forever.

In choosing suicide, Lanza, Eric Harris, Dylan Klebold, and their fellow hit-and-run killers closed out their sprees by cashing out their chips. Chemico-electrical compulsions have license to run amok and kick ass. How can you blame or prosecute dispersed molecules?  Kill that shit, Goth brother! And leave a puissant message for the rascals and douchebags bugging your asses.

 

Islamic jihadists like the 9/11 crew, the brothers Kouachi, Islam State cells, and the Tsarnaev boys likewise believed that they were punching their tickets to paradise. It was opposite strategy to materialism on the surface but essential the same deal: capital manipulation of self. Believers do not need a credible path to elsewhere or nowhere. You woke up one place, you’ll wake up another, or not. Same difference!

If you are Adam Lanza or Eric Harris, you are gambling on consciousness as signals through a central processor. If you are a jihadist suicide bomber, the same tacit trajectory leads to Paradise. By smashing or disconnecting the processor, you wager that your experience of self is extinguishable at no personal cost. Painless too.

Suicide bombers are even taught that the moment of the explosion will be over faster than it can be felt, before neurons can deliver the unhappy message. The discomfort is as fleeting and minimal as a pinprick. Then nothing—or bliss!

But that’s a pure throw of dice as long as neither science nor religion actually know what consciousness is, e.g., what turns on the light, what locates you inside its glow, and what happens when its coil is disconnected.

There is always the possibility that a matrix as gossamer and informational as beingness cannot arise from nothing or be expunged gratuitously.

What if instead of ending up nowhere, the suicide bomber or killer drops to the bottom of what he is? What if he forms a fresh landscape from the karmic charge rooted in his or her acts? What if death snaps the current narrative but not the vortex from which it is arising?

If the epiphenomena of consciousness prove real on their own terms, guess what? Everything presently “real” instantly becomes epiphenomenal.

If those chemico-electrical waves are epiphenomena of absolute beingness, then the dudes are up shit’s creek without a paddle because ultimately each of them going to have to face his reality, which is a more serious reckoning than those posed by Earth’s constabularies.

Scientism is form of biblical theocracy. Preferential resurrection is as much a mirage as extinction—ideological bait-and-switch. Either chimera lacks the staying power of our ongoing experienced reality. Martial-artist Peter Ralston puts it on the mat:

“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.”

None of these punks got that.

When recreational killers assert, “I won’t exist anymore after I die,” who are they talking about? When scientific materialists say, “I didn’t exist before this current lifetime which was molecularly conferred on random organic molecules, and it didn’t work out badly, as I recall,” where were you, buddy? If you weren’t you, “who” wasn’t you, and how did “it” become you?

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

Who is watcher and witness?

How did you get in the tub, bub?

No self-respecting snail or vole would bite at this scam—no rightfully indignant woodpecker or turkey vulture?

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

I believe that, contrary to their expressed intent of achieving nonexistence, Adam Lanza, Eric Harris, Wayne Lo, Cho Seung-Hui, Jared Loughner, and crew were giving voice to another terrible, inexpressible thing: “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 petty, shallow narcissistic manipulations and gunplay, ran the thought-stream: “I am a big deal and I am real, and I cannot be destroyed. I will not be silenced or voided, no matter what shit I pull.”

When they tugged various triggers to obliterate their selves, it was to get out of immediate pain (and evade punishment), they meant to raze their raunchy social identity, not its deep feed. They meant to kill everything that could be identified as them or traced to them, but not themselves. They could slink off, destroy the perpetrator’s alias, and still exist. Because they did not believe in their own nonexistence.

They didn’t think that one through—no surprise there. They never got on the mat.

If karma is a thermodynamic-caliber force rather than a Hindu trope, 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.

 

The marriage of materialism and capitalism is why terrorists blow up commodities and others as well as their own bodies. It is the only response adequate ontologically to the attack of the globally privileged on the disenfranchised. Capital theft is a shared agenda of imperialism and materialistic science, a by-product of which most scientists are blithely unaware, even thinking themselves benefactors with famine- or disease-curtailing technologies. Monsanto and Bill Gates are not benign, even though progressive quasi-liberals think so.

The Boston Marathon bombers, the Brothers Tsarnaev are shadows of materialist hegemonists. They had zero terms for dealing mysteriously arising energies and other thoughtforms. A sell of jihadist propaganda, online and from family turned into personal narrative, convinced them that their visions came from Mecca and Lahore.

Such is the case for thousands of youths, from Somalia to Yemen to Chechnya, in Belgium, France, England, and Germany, including those who joined the Islamic State in Syria and the Levant—no job, no honor, no ceremony to come of age, to discharge testosterone, to roam the prairies and oases with wolves and shamans, to find spiritual freedom and erotic meaning.

You can’t fight the universe, but the trick is understanding exactly what that means and doesn’t. No Dostoyevsky character would mow down school children and turn the gun on himself. Without having read Crime and Punishment or the Koran (carefully), Lanza, Dzhokhar, and Tamerlan were shoppers at the international cargo-cult mall where they were sold cynical diversions to insure compliance with racist, materialist, and capitalist agendas.

 

The Brain as Tuner

Charles Fort, an early twentieth-century amateur American scientist, collected odd events for which only “forced or bogus explanations [were offered] by the official intellectuals of the time.” [95] There is no proof that frogs (or fish or periwinkles) fell from the sky and piled up on roadsides where they stank to high heaven, that what was photographed resting on a rock or washed up dead on a beach were mermaids, that poltergeists streak across iodide plates or individuals spontaneously catch fire.

The parallels between the assassinations of Presidents Abraham Lincoln and John F. Kennedy, a century apart and an oft-cited incongruity, fall well within the statistical parameters of chance. Even so, something else 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). More 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….

What about Joseph Figlock, who in 1930 while passing a second time beneath a window, caught and thereby saved the life of the same 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, 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 physical and semantic universes, some of it is bound to entangle. But “Betty,” “John Allan,” and “Troy”! It is as if another reality were being experienced through a glass darkly.

 

Nonlocal consciousness is still the larger rubric. Its repertoire includes “memories” of pre-birth existence, near-death escapades in which a mind-form travels through tunnels to a realm where it is welcomed by relatives and guides before being bounced back to the physical plane, ghost-like journeys through hospitals in which a surgical patient on anesthetic reports objects and events throughout the hospital. Remote-viewing and future seeing violate the laws of time and space. Telekinesis, the activation of matter by mind, thermodynamics and Newtonian logic.

Yet singly and collectively, these anomalies place not a feather on the scale of ideological materialism. The hole in reality is patched as soon as it forms. Seeming nonlocality of consciousness is blamed, as noted, on inaccurate perception, cognitive error, intentional deception, lazy thinking, and religious or superstitious belief systems.

As long as the lone source of consciousness is circumscribed within a brain, a mind cannot travel through hospital corridors, reading operating schedules and name badges on orderlies’ cloaks, viewing other surgeries being performed, and checking out the waiting room and building’s roof. While a body is on an operating table, its consciousness is moored to the same table, asleep. With no other agency to generate bioelectrical impulses, such illicit traipses can only be contaminated evidence or fake recitals. Science evades having to jump its own paradigm.

Personality cannot reformulate itself, here or elsewhere, after destruction of its generating brain; it cannot transfer its memory cache to a fresh cellular matrix. There is no mechanism whereby thoughts, identities, and mementos can pass intersubjectively from one mind into another. Reincarnation is not just unverifiable, it is 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 the mirage chambers of the brain:

“[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 conducted by the mind seem real only because they pass through the same neural circuitry into the same cerebral lobes as proprioception of actual things—they read as real because the mind is tricked by its own chemico-electricity into believing them. The brain erroneously validates them like an office machine that has stopped looking at the documents it is stamping and authorizing. Consensus reality runs a sealed loop.

Yet this entire epiphenomenology, including the brain’s role in manufacturing it, has no ontological status apart from the provisional one we give it. And the brain is not organized or positioned objectively to give a verdict as to the existential basis of its status and illusion.

Who is some guy manning a piece of fancy machinery on a parochial blue waterworld in the Milky Way Galaxy to lay down law and fiat? When Dr. Sacks declares that nonlocal consciousness is preposterous and there is only the brain’s structure and self-deluding network, he is either missing the point or taking ungranted prerogative. I get his intent: the brain is creating reality—a cohesive hologram processed in its matrix—and there is no superordinate terrain.

Another possibility, however, is that neural matrices and membranes have evolved by natural selection of genetic parameters to be conductors of transcendental currents. Their function is not to create awareness but to provide life forms with an instrument for intercepting waves of mind and beingness that pass through the universe at a different frequency from thermodynamic waves and attach to organisms in a different, more personalized way. Consciousness is not a property of the brain but preexists as a universal force like gravity or heat. If you smash a radio, the music stops, but that doesn’t mean that sound waves no longer permeate the surrounding air.

In this model, mind is a broadcast at the frequency of protoplasm by forms that underlie the spatial configurations of electrons and the intrinsic curvature of space-time. This simulcast is present not just in the brain but everywhere. The organ per se—in invertebrates a nerve net; in free-living cells a charged outer membrane—is a root device that complexified to capture consciousness and attune it to the physical emanation issuing from its reality.

The brain’s lobes are not originators and prime movers of consciousness but transformers, capacitators, and tubes in the manner of an old-fashioned radio. They elicit streams of sensations that transduce what we call consciousness.

Nikola Tesla, Sir William Crookes, Sir Oliver Lodge, and Lord Raleigh, all participants in the technology from which radios were derived, reasoned along similar lines, and each arrived at the notion that he was working with borderline psychic energy and his mechanical tuners were intrinsically occult. [p. 80]. This view has been marginally reinforced by the preference of nonlocal thoughtforms and spirits for electronic devices: televisions, radios, telephones, global positioning devices, computers, and the like. Telegraphy, telepathy, and the Internet converge as means for intercepting and transmitting information.

I am not saying that O.Sacks is full of shite; I am saying that other interpretations fit the evidence.

 

A 2017 neuroscience study entitled “Cliques of Neurons Bound into Cavities Provide a Missing Link between Structure and Function” used algebraic topology to show that, in addition to MRI-disclosed cellular structures and activity, the brain is functionally working in eleven dimensions. A team of scientists led by a group from the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne in Switzerland extrapolated that the brain processes visual information by creating multi-dimensional neurological structures—cliques—which disintegrate the instant it assimilates their information. The cliques form in spatial cavities and coalesce up to eleven different dimensions. Once the brain understands the visual information, not only the clique but cavity disappear.

The study, published in the journal Frontiers in Computational Neuroscience, “suggests that neocortical microcircuits process information through a stereotypical progression of clique and cavity formation and disintegration, consistent with a recent hypothesis of common strategies for information processing across the neocortex. [The authors] conjecture that a stimulus may be processed by binding neurons into cliques of increasingly higher dimension, as a specific class of cell assemblies, possibly to represent features of the stimulus and by binding these cliques into cavities of increasing complexity, possibly to represent the associations between the features.”

An MRI of the brain would be like mistaking the shadow of a head of a pin for an entire universe of seven or eight dimensions!

Along these lines, a subtler brain-like complex, located in Hindu cosmology at a chakra above the crown, is processing its own fuller landscape of reality unconsciously and without regard for the space-time continuum. The brain that we categorize is that organ’s homunculus, into which information from higher octaves seeps.

To that degree, all forms are sentient in their way; even stones have aspects of consciousness, for they are composed of equivalent atomic states. Everything in the universe that isn’t animate or conscious is incipiently animate and conscious.

 

Trance mediums and shamans in cultures that train higher frequencies trust their own ability to exchange erudition with disembodied entities and channel transpersonal intelligences, including friends and relatives who have passed. Some perform this operation as an intermediary for another person, becoming a conduit for messages for which they require no cognition themselves. In these instances, the medium is often asleep and does not experience the persona that is passing through his or her reception.

In another set of protocols, contemporary shamans practice transferring their own subjective mind to a plant or animal or other entity as a way of training nonlocal consciousness. Tibetan lamas train a specialized application of this art, phowa, whereby an adept leaves his body while specifying where his identity-vector will attach next with self-recognition and discrimination, not only in life but after death, so as not to get tossed about by samsara’s surface winds. That’s the core attunement of nonlocal praxis. To the scientific establishment, it is, of course, an abject hoax. To those who train such arts, it is the most significant fact in the universe. The split between these views cleaves through the heart of modernity.

 

Reincarnation and Past Lives

Reports of reincarnation originate in the late Stone Age and undoubtedly go back tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of years beyond. Early hominids internalized rites, rituals, and ascetic practices designed to control life, death, rebirth, and what, to them, was a reality: nonlocal consciousness. Notions of spirit-being were folded into art, mythology, and shamanic training.

The twentieth-century 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 his first try.

The amateur hypnotist took Miss Tighe (who appears in his book under the pseudonym Ruth Simmons) through her childhood to her earliest memories, then asked her to go back further.

“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.”

He held his breath and waited.

Quite a performer this Morey guy! Chaperone and psychopomp, he used intonation and language to coax an entity—an unknown form or character—from the depths of Ms. Tighe’s psyche. Though pooh-poohed as a naïve dabbler in recreational trances (often set in motion by a pendulum of a watch on a chain), Bernstein hit the sweet spot between hectoring and enticement, providing his subject a necessary screen of safety. He was making an incredible supplication. He was pretending he was not asking her to commit the crime of the millennium in the West, while laying its bait for her unconscious mind.

He was asking his subject to brook a major taboo and break into a cubicle sealed by deep encryption, to violate her religion and social standing as well as the consensus fifties belief system that sustained her sanity. This was big-time stuff.

Bernstein probably thought he was operating by the same logic as the car mechanic down the street—and, in a way, he was. He was also trying to repair a watch with a hammer. Yet he had a light and sacred touch; he didn’t arouse Miss Tighe’s taboos or innate resistance. He spoke directly to her transpersonal self—and that’s why it worked! Listen to the cadence and chant through the words, the crafty hacker breaking into ciphertext. If you wanted to lure a nonexistent dragon out of its nonexistent cave, Bernstein nailed 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]

He enticed Ms. Tighe past the last protected outpost, into the darkness, the void before her own existence, where nothing should exist at all. He was asking a citizen of the Eisenhower era to go there anyway and see if she 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 remarked that he was later barraged with outsider critiques like: “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, but they don’t admit it or want to talk about it—or they interpret it as conversions of memories from this lifetime, vestiges of cryptomnesia (the term for old memories being mistaken as recent events). Numerous psychiatrists “have had patients who have gone back to something,” but the shrinks weren’t inclined to call it a past life and were afraid to discuss it at all for fear of ridicule or career harm. [p. 22]. In addition, since they were not trying to regress people past birth, they didn’t construe what they elicited as a past life. Interpretation of similar flashbacks occurs a different route in cultures receptive to reincarnation.

What was present in the case of Bernstein and Miss Tighe was the right relationship between operator and subject. As a threshold flickered between them, shamanic transference made it crossable. 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 flip-side. In subsequent sessions, she was able to exhume 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 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 compelling tidbit:

“ ‘I…remember…dancing…dancing.” [p. 183]. She was performing a round dance in a place where time didn’t exit—a timeless solo motion.

The Search for Bridey Murphy became an instant bestseller and pop sensation, 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, people routinely recall aspects of a previous existence without hypnotic regression. These past-life fragments usually identify a prior existence within the same extended family, clan, village, or geographical region. Remembering a former life in another country, as Ms. Tighe did, is relatively rare. Otherwise, Bernstein’s subject was experiencing a mundane cache of reincarnation memories. Yet that quotidian recipience is so repressed in the West that the account made headlines. How did such a state of affairs come about? Oliver Sacks articulated the scientistic paradigm underlying the belief system, but what was that system’s cultural context?

In the buttoned-down fifties, attention to reincarnation was all but blotted out in the drama of two World Wars and a Depression—followed the enchantment, prosperity, and scientific legerdemain after World War II. What event could be more vivid, mesmerizing, and laden with metaphysical richness and meaningfulness than the rise of the Third Reich, Hitler’s blitz through Europe, the smack of imperial Japan across the Pacific, the epic battles on remote islands? These emanations, which gave rise to J. R. R. Tolkein’s vision quest to Mordor, were more poignant than reincarnation for good reason. Life on the physical plane provided so much pizzazz and immediacy that everything else paled beside it. This world was brilliant, vivacious, enthralling—senior in every sense. The spool of physical existence drowned out all spirits and poltergeists—and the science provided ample reinforcement.

Each reality construct plays out exclusively and exhaustively during its engagement; each has the same claim on our being as reality itself.

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

He was one of thousands of nineteenth-century researchers into a domain that intrigued not only scientists but amateur sleuths such as Mark Twain and Abraham Lincoln. The Psychical Society’s inventory for its research platform included nonlocal mainstays of the day: table tipping, spirit photographs, apparition 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 post-modern provincialism to assume that all these witnesses were gullible, myopic, and lacked scientific methodology. Most conducted meticulous experiments while trying to untangle multiple layers of provocative coincidence and document inexplicable transfers of information. Their trials were at least as thorough as those conducted almost a century later at Duke University. Not only were parapsychology’s nineteenth-century experiments conducted with a priori skepticism, they were evaluated along impartial, empirical parameters abandoned in the later twentieth century under protocols of scientism. Myers and his colleagues had open minds about how the universe might work.

Sigmund Freud played a role in reincarnational amnesia; once he established the latency of the unconscious mind as well as an indeterminate zone of conversion between layers of the psyche and the ego, a scientifically acceptable mechanism was afforded for the transformation of ordinary memories into distorted and sublimated renditions as well as wholesale fantasies. This set 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 every aberration and anomaly, from hypnagogia to recall of past lives. An unconscious that was unfathomable and refractory could encompass just about anything. Other dimensions of reality became as suspect as they were superfluous.

It was never considered that past-life memories could be both psychological and psychic, yet the universe is exactly that complex and entangled.

At roughly the same time, quantum physics established an uncertainty basis for all phenomena at a subatomic level, but this also accommodated a materialist and quantitative basis for anomalous memories.

Formulaic Christianity had its own parochial effect on reincarnational permission in the West. Papal protocol established a single lifetime followed by Judgment as its chosen existential merchandise in an evolving mercantile system.

In this environment, Bernstein’s past-life regression of Virginia Tighe took the 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 could come up with evidence of Bridey Murphy, then reincarnation would seemingly be proved or at least put on a credible footing.

The conclusion of a patchwork of media investigations was that Bridey Murphy was nonexistent in the records of Ireland during the years of her proposed lifetime as read by Ms. Tighe off her own tombstone—born 1798, died 1864.

In truth, even the early nineteenth century is too far back for anything approaching an exhaustive historiographic investigation. Locating Bridey Murphy is exponentially more difficult than trying to pin down the identity of Jack the Ripper a few decades later, a gambit regularly attempted by historian-sleuths. It is more at the scale of trying to figure out if Shakespeare wrote his own plays. A roster of churches, addresses, and artifacts cited by Tighe were all deemed fictive or 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 region at the time. Statistically, one random hit was par for the course.

Far more damning, crucial 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 the hypnosis-induced reincarnation was a conventional memory, displaced and converted in cryptomnesiac fashion.

Neither the Daily Mirror nor other investigative media considered the possible occurrence of 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.

So, Bridey Murphy entered pop culture somewhere between a freak and a hoax, a discredited diva, 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 novels by Thomas Pynchon and Ken Kesey as a telltale tome in the hands of a character, indicating less its partial rehabilitation than its influence over an emerging gestalt—magical realism more than ontological legitimacy.

 

Since the days of Bridey Murphy, and without fanfare, hypnotic regression has been used by physicians, hypnotists, and therapists to exhume mental fragments and psychic traces, including those of possible past lives, 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 relieve a patient of acute phobias of choking, drowning, and being stranded in the dark (even after, under hypnosis, the woman recovered an 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 in 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 experienced a striking mitigation of her phobias. Though the clinical success could not be definitively attributed to the past-life regressions, the improvement was in stark contrast to the lack of improvement 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 a stint as a Spanish prostitute, the recall of these lives seemed to have worked 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 mortified and repudiated them. As a practicing Catholic, she did not accept past lives; nonetheless, she continued with the sessions because of their positive results. She dismissed the lives as ancillary balderdash.

Past-life therapists tend to argue that symptomatic 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 this discussion bottoms out at a deeper dichotomy—real past lives versus past-life projections. It will take substantial lead-in and preparation to get there, but I will do a preliminary pass now:

Ailments that are unaffected by any other mode of treatment often clear spontaneously after a past-life regression, though the cure 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 activated during therapist-patient transference, the initiating circumstance is ancillary at best.

This therapeutic model also accords with established spiritual views of the aura as the final repository for traumas, the only place where they can be released. In the aura, all lives of the spirit or soul meld and overlap, and unconscious events can be made energetically if not cognitively conscious. Once a shift is made to the aura, forensics and logistics become less relevant. Past-life veridicality takes a back seat to the priority of energy healing. In that regard, it is worth considering an episode I witnessed at the Berkeley Psychic Institute in 2009. I consider it paradigmatic:

Director Javier Thistlethwaite, a one-time stock-car racer in Mexico, enrolled in BPI initially because he heard it was a great venue to meet girls. He succeeded—he ended up marrying the founder’s daughter and was running the place when I took courses there in 2008-2009.

A playful, charismatic teacher, Javier liked to assemble an audience from the night’s various classes to demonstrate a 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 showed appreciation in turn, a medley of “Yo dude, that was incredible; that was so my past life” and “How did you do that?” After the buzz died down from this seeming tour de force of clairvoyance, Javier teased his audience: “Was that her real past life?” No one answered. “C’mon. Is any of this stuff real?”

After thirty seconds scanning a caboodle of paralyzed nonresponders, Javier answered his own riddle: “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 a hot 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 become more real.

That’s all that anyone or anything does anyway: trace a flow of information in a broad enough context to run and test its event-module. As you keep at interrogation, often unconsciously, you dead-reckon your way and its place in the universe and, remarkably, the universe itself. That’s how astronomers found us in a galaxy and the Milky Way in the Big Bang. That’s how a newborn turtle or bear cub gets its feet under it. Reality is “view”—a trajectory of scenery, or cognitive framing, rather than the scenery itself.

 

Weiss handled verification regarding his patient’s past-life incongruities by acknowledging “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 prochronistic chronicling of her inaugural past life indicates that most folks who recall previous existences log them in current frames of reference and, if queried, date them by 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 former 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 the phenomenon of displaced linguistics: young children babbling in a foreign language for which there is no ordinary explanation. His or her parents assume initially that their infant’s prattle contains nonsense syllables. The truth comes to light when the child seems to understand speech of strangers and responds to the satisfaction of native speakers, sometimes beginning a fluent dialogue. [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 their dilemma of trying to explain to strangers how the boy (or girl) acquired their language at 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. Lobsterfisherman Wendell Seavey, a longtime friend of mine, sounds like a vintage Downeaster to non-natives, but none of his peers speak like him. His accent from the first speech of his childhood has matched 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, seemed to read the “wrong” side of their mother’s bilingual manuals for her Ayurvedic medical practice—the facing pages of Devanagari script rather than English. Andrea, the oldest exhibited this ability first; it came to light when she asked her mother which leaf 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 characters from English ones. 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.” 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.” [91]

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

Like Fortean anomalies, each of these instances falls into or between cracks. Washington Post journalist Tom Shroder, a long-time investigator of past-life claims, enumerates some more common 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 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, revealed wishful thinking when he interviewed her subsequently and 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 major 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 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 wish to comply with instructions from an authoritative figure.

When he sought his own past-life reading, a menagerie of unconvincing characters was paraded before him: an Australian rancher, a black Jamaican sorceress, and an arthritic Japanese sage. None of these had any 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. They were dangled by a group of senior practitioners in trance like a Greek chorus. It felt like a Woody Allen parody of a séance.

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].

He was searching like the nihilistically preconditioned Westerner he in fact was, trying to push himself through the existential transparency of his own denial rather than neutrally and receptively opening to any channels that might be broadcasting. Like SETI searchers with their radio telescopes, he assumed that the “extraterrestrial” message would be in his terms, transposed to an imagination of alien circumstances. He was looking into a conflation of his nostalgia and resistance for a scent or tang. He did not consider that jasmine and gin, between lifetimes, might transmogrify and manifest as something else. Their essence would not be lost, but its attachment to a discrete event would be severed. This is a universe of utter transformation and encrypted links.

You are not going to blow past reincarnational encryption by pulling on its knot in exactly the direction in which it was tied or by the sort of torque our biological system was designed to fend off—and I don’t mean that some high muckamuck designed it that way, just that it is intelligently designed for its own existential reasons. The universe’s operating codes are not easily broken; they bend and warp before they break, as Freud discerned. Sublimation and reaction formation are designed to protect our trances and their filters, not undo them.

When Westerners are presented with remote past lives by a psychic reader, there is little basis for identification by veridicality. Most of these biographies set in other centuries arise without a whiff of first-hand authenticity or subjective resonance. If they are elicited under hypnosis, the subject doesn’t even experience them consciously. Plus, as Shroder noted, the backdrops of their events sound like what a person with a high-school education and a reading of romance novels might summon up by a mix of suggestibility, fantasy, trance-induced pseudomemories, deference, and wishful thinking. When past-life readings play a role in healing traumas and other psychopathologies, they are considered symbolic displacements, recreational play-acting, therapeutic theater.

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

 

Ultimately, Shroder shifted his focus to a different sort of past-life testimony: the explorations of Ian Stevenson, a psychiatrist and research scientist who, early in his career switched tracks from microbiology to parapsychology, in particular investigating and documenting people’s past-life memories and accounts of reincarnation.

Stevenson eschewed hypnotic regression, which seemed to him an unnecessary, potentially contaminating factor. Instead, he went straight to the action, for decades travelling to wherever his network reported 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 person (PP). His goal was to collect corroborating (or disproving) data before the evidence could be contaminated. This meant covering tens of thousands of miles 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 data-corrupting intrusions, he got to locales relatively early in the game. In a number of instances, critical details had been written down or shared with multiple witnesses before the PP’s family had 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 or discouraged, 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 of being in a Pharaoh’s harem or his palace guard. All of his reports involved ordinary people in mundane circumstances, a more likely PP pool. A disproportionate number did involve violent deaths, raising the possibility that memory carryover is traumatic—an unsettled death picture leads to an unconscious craving for resolution. In other words, profound emotional reverberations 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 circumstantial evidence from Stevenson’s files becomes more significant by concurrence:

  • 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. Repeatedly asking to be taken “home,” he swore that he knew how to find his house. His parents delayed a search until he was six; then they followed the directions he gave.

As they approached the promised site, Nazih became more confident, knowing 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 he picked, 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 recognized a 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. Later attempts to trick Nazih by making misleading queries—for instance by asking him to “confirm” false details about Faud—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 en route to school. “He gave the names of his parents, his wife, and two of his children from that life, and persistently begged his grandmother, with whom he lived, to take him to his previous parents’ home,” which he identified in a village fifteen miles away. [55]

After they 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 recalled cutting his wife on her leg with a knife during an argument. [58] He was not christened Necip but insisted on being called by the name of his PP.

After the PP’s family was identified, 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. Necip remarked that now she was a real grandmother instead of only being like one to him. [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 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 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 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 the girl’s uncanny resemblance to Sheila at that age despite no genetic link, a feature noticed at once by not only the family but the milkman. There was a distinctive birthmark on the outside of Preeti’s right thigh where Sheila sustained an injury. She explained: “When one of my sons pointed to Sheila’s younger brother and asked Preeti, ‘Is he 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 travelling, tossing and killing him.

At age two and a half, Daniel gave details of the accident and of Rashid’s life. His parents understood that something was afoot when he corrected their pronunciation of Rashid’s hometown, Kfarmatta, before 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 approached unannounced, Daniel saw them through the door and called, “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. When they saw that she was clutching jewels to her blouse, they took them and tortured her. [p. 57]. She did not explicitly remember being tortured or dying, only that it happened.

  • In another case in Lebanon, Suzanne Ghanem, a girl of sixteenth months old, suddenly grabbed the phone and began trying to call her oldest daughter Leila. 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. 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 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 “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 remembered the first name of the miller and the village. Once again, there was a perfect match.

There are Western testimonies too:

  • When 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, 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 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 toys 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; Jennifer claimed to be Jacqueline. When dolls and other playthings were out from the older girls’ collections, each 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 cancerous metastases 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, Oklahoma, told his mother one day, “I think I used to be someone else.” He remembered being an actor 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 mentioned preferring his old room and missing his swimming pool. In a book on the golden age of Hollywood, he saw an unidentified man in a picture whom he recognized as himself—an extra in a Mae West film.

Research by a historian finally turned up the obscure 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 probing showed the document to be in error and Ryan’s memory of passing at sixty-one accurate. A comment by the boy goes 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.”

It is weird and more than a bit disconcerting that someone should have to learn how to speak and add numbers all over again, rediscover Sun and Moon, night and day, and go to school to get knowledge they already had. Yet at a reincarnational level, everyone has Alzheimer’s-like loss of content and context.

 

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 with 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.

Several 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 wondered if some of the Japanese soldiers who notoriously mistreated civilians during World War II might have been drawn back to the scene of their crimes by guilt, taking on Burmese rather than Japanese identities to pay their karmic debts. Their abuses might have provided a formulation in the void, and they came back to this world by melding with them.

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 source of gender dystopia. Most children, however, automatically adopt the attributes of their present gender.

In some instances, a child may be upset by the diminishment of his or her 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 piques 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 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, using mature gestures and crudely seductive language. Another refused to lie on his belly because it made him feel like a baby.

Children may be attached to their PP’s jobs; they may be intent on replicating or 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 compulsive counterphobia. 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 at first view. If these claims had legal status, all hell would break loose regarding crimes, laws, enforcement, punishment, and jurisprudence.

While each self within a given lifetime is held responsible for his or her actions, even this assignment of liability is an inaccurate interpretation 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. The “killer” is at large in another body, to act again.

At the same time, people who committed crimes in other lifetimes walk into this one scot-free, all links to their deeds erased. It doesn’t matter if they were Hitler, Jack the Ripper, or Attila the Hun. Energy and karma are still there to be dealt with, but it is no longer a matter of secular punishment. Reincarnation becomes a way to “punish” or absolve crimes.

To free the innocent and jail the guilty, psychic DNA is needed—likewise to catch the perpetrator before the crime is committed; for a glimmer of how this might play out, see Tom Cruise and Samantha Morton in Minority Report, a cinema adaptation of a Philip K. Dick story, Everyone is guilty at some level or another, but everyone is expiated by death and rebirth.

Displaced karmic jurisprudence begins to approach the intricacy of the universe and its means of reparation.

 

For a majority of the cases and phenomena discussed above, reincarnation is the most logical, rational explanation, even by Occam’s razor-sharp requisites. 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 use biologist 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 in other circumstances, for instance during a movie in which a spectator merges his or her identity with the lives of characters played by actors.

It is as difficult to distinguish a past-life regression from a neurotic fantasy or dream-like meld of present-life elements with unconscious memories and traumas from a montage of actual experiences and stories gathered from novels, movies, and television shows. The subconscious mind blends these threads together, in fact nightly in dream-making—and some people have more active imaginations than others.

Still, 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 not as persistent or ingrained as so-called past-life memories; they are brief and ephemeral, and the man or woman experiencing them is aware of their fanciful nature. In an extreme instance, someone with inadequately developed ego boundaries might lose his or her identity and become confused by projections, even without transfer of transpersonal information, for instance, stalking a movie star. Transpersonal information would be all the more disorienting for such a person. For seeming to come from nowhere, a disembodied information field (if such configurations exist) could convince a susceptible recipient that he or she was experiencing another lifetime, a prior identity.

Other interpretations and rebuttals of Stevenson’s evidence are more diffuse and ideological, disdaining the specificity of the testimony and his documentation. One of the more common alternative explanations is that a parent might misunderstand or misconstrue fantasy-susceptible children engaging in over-active imagination. They weave their intermittent but recurrent statements into a cohesive narrative and then reinforce it in the child.

Both Daniel and Rashid were Druze, a sect that believes in reincarnation and soul transfer and posits such incidents. Because the Druze community is small and people generally know each other even from village to village, there is more likelihood of 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, in receptivity.

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. By the time Stevenson (or some other researcher gets there), the child already has been coached and brainwashed. Having picked up tidbits bandied about, he has come to believe that they are memories of his own past life.

In an experiment to test (and 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 imagined events with actual occurrences in the genre of Stevenson’s cases. Usually he could find something suspicious, though lacking fine detail.

I am not sure that Wiseman’s facile resolution—demonstration of fantasies merging with facts in a universe in which there is enough information flowing in all directions to make any story credible—is even the right interpretation of his own data. Wiseman might have hit upon a standing level of transpersonal clairvoyance or triggered a 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 something else is happening, a synchronicity that transcends reincarnation and involves the status of information, both conscious and unconscious, in the universe at large. Unless science can tell us how nature establishes frames of reference, it cannot even make a distinction between omniscience and amnesia! Zen Buddhist texts are replete with this paradox. 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 origination, no stopping, no path, no cognition, also no attainment with nothing to attain….”

The fundamental emptiness of intellectual positions—the nondifference between knowing and not knowing—might form uncertainty-states or collapsing waves, through which souls, subatomic particles, super-liquids (and anything else) pass between realities, dimensions, planes, or other unknown territories. In a multidimensional, superstring cosmos, noncausal components might be as active as linear, causal ones. I know that that’s a heap to consider, but weigh it for now. I will come back to the pieces of of it later.

Skeptical explanations for so-called past-life memories finally tend to be more cumbersome than reincarnation and are incapable (as well) of addressing the inexplicably precise information to which a child seemingly has access. What skeptics are left with are unfounded claims that a child must have overheard information from the PP’s life or that a 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? Even if she had overheard 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 little sense either, as there is no financial reward for past-life proofs, and claims often lead to unwelcome hassles and disputes. We can’t dismiss hoaxing on that basis because people make mercenarily motivated blunders and delude themselves into expecting windfalls from scams (or neurotically seek attention) but, conversely, we can’t claim overt ulterior motives predicated on instant fortune or fame.

Incorporating concrete evidence with subjective belief systems opens the door to a hybrid 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, many 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 become their own self-censors of not only past-life information but all transpersonal telepathic fields.

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

These, however, are viewpoints of a Western scientist who, though investigating nonlocal consciousness, was 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, willful universe. But we know that life is a profoundly unconscious, sublimated state, so it is likely that belief plays a role more in whether past existences are recalled rather 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 instance, or souls here can reincarnate on other worlds, either in the Milky Way Galaxy or other galaxies? Are there quite different set-ups elsewhere equivalent to planets but nonmolecular or with different allocations of space, time and matter. Do other planes utilize atoms, molecules, cells, matter, or do they vibrate at a different frequency? Do they accommodate “refugees” to and from our 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 math. Estimating that humans had been on the Earth about 50,000 years, he calculated that there have been some 105 billion 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 for now but doesn’t address an ontological problem: if the inventory eventually runs out, how can new people get born? It almost certainly not a quantitative matter or, to any degree it is, it operates at the demographic scale of the universe itself with all its galaxies and also in the context of multiple personalities and unity consciousness. Souls possibly form simultaneous separate personae like Dr. Weiss’ patient with her lives in Spain and the Ukraine or various Tibetan lamas who intentionally choose “next” incarnations in more than one individual. I will discuss 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, why so few people know about it. It’s not as though he has been expliclitly refuted or that better explanations have been offered for his data.

The reason is simply the prevailing view that reincarnation is absurd, as if we were discussing levitating clowns, witches on brooms, and Casper the Friendly Ghoul. That bias overrides any contrary evidence, however compelling. 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’ 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 telling 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].

The skeptic’s implicit bias is dripping from this statement. If you believe in a materialist universe only—a what-you-see-is-what-you-get affair in which the apparelled cosmos popped out of a particle smaller than a pinhead and in the middle of nowhere for no reason—then Paul Edwards’ caricature strikes the perfect chord: the only conceivable mechanisms for past lives are patently absurd. If you consider that what we know about the universe is far less than what we don’t, Edwards’ bleat is a symptom of his own hubris as well as his susceptibility to the consensus trance and its propaganda.

 

Transdimensional Physics and Biology

Moles, scars, and birth defects that match or parallel those of the PP are bizarrely explicit indicators—potential game-changers. For Stevenson, “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].

Wounds that were experienced most painfully or in states of terror tend to reappear. By contrast, wounds that occurred when the victim was unconscious, for instance senseless on the ground during combat or under sedation in surgery, rarely if ever left indicia. [72] This implies that cells and subtle energies “communicate” interact by what osteopath John Upledger called “cell talk.” He was trying to explain how therapeutic touch, prayers, psychic visualizations, and affirmations affect tissue activity; i.e., that some aspect of the conscious or unconscious mind can break into amino-acid algebra.

In a book entitled Life Before Life, Jim B. Tucker, an M.D. as well as an associate of Stevenson’s, compared the appearance of traumatic birthmarks to the sudden appearance of heat blisters on a subject under hypnosis, at a spot where he was told that he was being burned but was not. When the hypnotist pressed [68] an unheated object on the skin while stating it was red hot, the “burn” wound was in the shape of the prop! If the mind can produce a skin blister, a mechanism for thought-to-cell transfer exists. Psychosomatic diagnosis and remediation also rest on this proposition.

If wounds or traumas in one lifetime can transpose an imprint into cellular activity in a subsequent incarnation, that tells you something about the universe that physicists and biologists don’t even suspect, and raises fundamental questions about the ontological basis of the universe itself. There is no ordinary explanation. Conventional thermodynamic agency is nowhere in the game. “If we truly owe our physical existence to the chance conglomeration of certain atoms and molecules in the thickening scum of a primordial pond or ocean…atoms and molecules scattered by chance through the universe…then certainly we’ll never come this way again in the universe; and, moreover, our emotional and intellectual attributes most rest upon the same dubious beginning.” [663, 671]

Psychically induced morphogenesis would be necessary to transubstantiate traumas from a body that no longer exists into lesions on the skin of another body or, in graver instances, birth defects. One would need a form of telekinesis to account for the transfer, plus nonlocal consciousness to explain how the child bearing them would also experience the identity of their source PP.

Bodily marks replicating wounds and scars from a prior lifetime, if truly that, suggest that an experience powerful enough to instill a carryover death picture is also telekinetic enough to emboss congenitally and telepathic enough to instill a carrier image and memory surviving death. Reincarnational wound-transfer—again, if that is what is happening—converting unconscious traumatic effects into molecular activity in coordination with subliminal memory, suggests that our existence doesn’t so much evaporate but as return to a latency state that reemerges psychically (per Bridey Murphy et al.) and phenotypically with some inscriptions cellularized. These are likely the same principle experienced at different levels.

Metempsychotic birthmarks, of course, violate neo-Darwinian precepts by crossing the barrier between experience and DNA in Lamarckian fashion, but consider recent lab experiments in which mice inherit aversions to stimuli generated by shocks five generations after the mouse in which the original trauma was induced!

Consider too that the entirety of information blueprinting an organism is condensed, synopsized, and transformed into DNA coding, which then regenerates it in the form of another organism. The evolving ontogeny of life forms occurs in invaginated chrysalises of tissue formations in epigenetic fields. Synoptic translation is one of the universe’s operating procedures. In an earlier book (Embryos, Galaxies, and Sentient Beings: How the Universe Makes Life) I proposed that an embryogenic as well as a thermodynamic set of laws operates throughout nature.

Intuition of such a principle is ensconced in Asian cultures that maintain a belief in reincarnation that the body. A dying person or a corpse is marked with a ritual soot and paste or a smear of butter in expectation that such an indicator will seep telekinetically into a life imprint and show up on a newborn. In Tibetan Buddhist circles, the body of a dying lama is tagged, not only to aid his rebirth but to allow his identity to be confirmed. Of course, application of oils to an inert body contradicts a theory of traumatic telekinesis, but neither Stevenson nor the lamas have absolute claim on the mechanism, let alone its range or variations.

 

Despite the vast realm of information science has compiled about the relationship between thermodynamic activity, natural selection, and metabolic energy fields, it has not solved the evolution of life from inanimate matter. Molecules might just bounce around willy-nilly if there wasn’t a cohesive teleodynamic force with a predisposition to organization, complexity, and consolidation. If so, atoms and molecules are not just mechanical balls expressing emergent qualities of intrinsic elemental properties, these properties represent underlying templates with potential for psychic as well as physical expression, similar to Tibetan Buddhist tulpas or thoughtforms. The archetypal principle that conducts them through embryogenic matrices also generates the sacred geometry of Crick-Watson-brand DNA, the amino-acid double helix, on the physical plane. As a corollary paraphysical twin-helical root underlies DNA’s molecular expression, a higher dimensional framework transmits organizational and karmic intelligence into its helical form. As the forces holding together the embryogenic field are synergized at higher dimensions, they intersect thermodynamic sets in the physical domain, overlaying teleodynamic molds on physical and biological processes. These interpolate relationships between cellular matrices and their gravitational, electromagnetic, thermodynamic, and micro-shear environments. The universe maintains a Darwinian landscape under thermodynamic protocols while conducting nonlocal telekinetic transfer across coetaneous thresholds, bringing two seemingly incommensurate systems together psychically as well as biochemically. Twin spirals would designate the material manifestation of an paraphysical code, a gateway through which subtler energies pass and are held in complementary figuration on their amino-acid ledgers. Hence, wounds in one generation become birthmarks or scars in another.

During embryological development, telekinetic forces, if such exist in nature, would be strongest, traumatic memories seeking resolution by conducting unresolved charges into fetal tissue. An initial traumatic wound forms a transdimensional, psychokinetic rune, which gets transduced into corresponding layers of germinal protoplasm or participates nascently in developing those layers (see Rudolf Steiner’s principles of ontogenesis recapitulating cosmogenesis as well as phylogenesis for the choreography). A multi-tiered, paraphysical system could store untold volumes of information in its hard drive—a few billion years of evolutionary placeholders and pathways—leaving no telltale sign. For instance, in a germ cell’s originary nucleus, so-called junk DNA might carry telekinetically transposed information.

Scientists don’t usually deem that what they are observing could be a meta-dimensional version of the two-dimensional kinetic depth effect. Just as three-dimensional events cast two-dimensional shadows with motions too complex to be explained solely in their flat landscape, a transdimensional helix might cast three-dimensional shadows as DNA with its developmental outcomes. Structures in cells might be altered not because implicit traction catalyzes chemical events that become genetic—though this happens too—but because an etheric body (which is also a karmic body) continuously transduces itself into the physical body through the organism’s subtle field.

Creatures are limited. Even with electron microscopes and hadron colliders, we “see” the Sun and matter much the way a flatworm does: by tactile nerve clusters and ocular patches. We do not have instruments that improve epistemologically on a slug’s rheostatic receptors or the meanings pulsating through photosensitivity and other tropisms. Our devices may probe cell nuclei and particles as our observatories interrogate the Sun, spewing out esoteric data from either. We cannot see the multidimensional Sun or the full dimensionality of atoms or cells.

 

Theosophical pundits skry seven ranges of vibration in our operating range, each calibrated in seven subplanes or finer differentiations of energy. Those enveloping us have acquired traditional names, one version of which is: Monadic, Atmic, Buddhic, Causal-Mental, Astral, Physical-Etheric. These “planes” are better understood as frequencies of emanation than locales. Any locale incorporates all of them but is read differentially by the creatures inhabiting it.

Only the lower tiers of the densest three ranges are perceived in most human’s everyday reality: the Physical sector of the Physical-Etheric plane corresponding to our physical reality, the lower part of the Astral corresponding to our emotional reality, and the Mental spectrum of the Mental-Causal corresponding, at one level, to our conscious thoughts and, at another, to the physical organization of nature.

The Physical plane is the densest territory into which the universe has penetrated locally. Even the most gravitationally compressed planet or star apparently does not crush its matter into a denser plane; it transforms it electromagnetically into a more concentrated substance in this plane—metallic hydrogen—or into component energies redistributed through black holes or other tears in the three-dimensional fabric.

A plane matches the frequency of the bodies in that plane. In the Physical plane, creatures have Physical bodies, which vibrate at the frequency of the plane. But any emanation anywhere is recognized by phenomenologies generated at the same frequency as “physical.” In a sense, entities draw their corporeality from the frequencies at which their vibrating strings bottom. They are real because their world is “real”; that is, because it and they match harmonically. If our sense organs and mass were attuned to a different frequency, we would perceive that frequency and its objects as physical. I will return to this proposition later. For now, I am saying that the Physical plane is energy but very dense energy—matter is not a thing but an energy.

The Etheric aspect of the Physical-Etheric plane distributes energies just a tad subtler than physical; for instance, the “syrup” distributed by acupuncture needles. Our Physical bodies form in the Ethers before they concrete at a lower vibration.

While the lower Astral is fluid and expresses itself by emotions, the upper Astral forms at subtler frequencies that convert emotions into landscapes inhabited by beings identified by humans as elves, fairies, mermaids, leprechauns, even aliens in UFOs. These entities have their own autonomous existences but manifest in our realm as we change our vibration to meet them where they change their vibration to meet us. That’s what a fairy or leprechaun is: the landscape perceived at a different frequency. A mound or stone or in the Physical is a fios or faery fort in the Astral.

In the Mental range of the Mental-Causal plane, thoughtforms become both thoughts and forms. As thoughts, they make up our science, philosophy, cosmology, and general understanding of ourselves and Nature. As forms, they are the actual molecules that construct reality. Forms and thoughts are so intertwined that they match each other from the stones and stone tools of the Palaeolithic to the electrons and particle colliders of the Holocene. Culture literally arises from the lower to the upper Mental.

As the subplanes of the Mental cross into relativity and quantum entanglement, the frequency becomes Causal. The shape of an atom, molecule, or DNA helix, each transmitting higher information, arises from their Causal grounding into thoughforms.

Nothing ordinarily accessible to humans exists above the Mental plane. Conversely, Souls cannot penetrate below the Causal because their vibration has no match in diffuse, conditional realms; they can no more “get in” than we can dragoon our bodies into a dream. We can make a dream lucid, but we cannot incarnate in it.

At the Buddhic frequency, we experience the collective nature of human existence and simultaneity of cosmic events.

At the Atmic frequency, our reality converges with those of other interstellar, intergalactic intelligence systems. At the Monadic frequency, our plane interpenetrates other dimensional systems. The seventh ascending plane, the Adi, corresponds to pure emptiness before manifestation—it holds the potential of our entire range. But it isn’t the end of Creation, just of our sector of the haystack. At higher frequencies exist totally other realities, arranged in their own haystacks, all the way to the fount of All That Is.

There are likely countless sets of planes beyond the Adi, phases which the universe activated in achieving our caliber of density. We manifested by matching our own physical, temporal reality, which entails three dimensions of space and one of time. Everything we experience is conditioned by this framework. If one of us were suddenly dropped into three or four dimensions of time, the set-up would change fundamentally. But we’d catch on soon enough—newly hatched turtles do.

One day, believe it or not, everything about the universe—everything—will be different. Everything will be different— phenomenologically, existentially, walk-out-the-door different, only there will be no door, no walking, and no “where.” A twenty-first-century physicist would not even recognize that it existed, because he would be looking for a different universe.

Yet the part of you that knows itself as itself will be there. Its remote yearning defines that future as it draws its landscape over molecular bones.

Meaningfulness connects each dimensional construct to each other, realigning its field and compass in every new matrix. All points of reference and manifest parameters change—meaningfulness alone transcends dimensionality.

 

I am not asserting the existence of these sets of planes, merely using them as a metaphor for matters incomprehensible to descendants of jellyfish and flatworms. Planes supply box-in-box packaging for how esoteric and reincarnational information might get funnelled by successive step-downs from higher frequencies. They place particle superpositioning and entanglement in a flatworm-friendly context.

In such a greater universe, there is no meaningful difference between telekinesis and biochemistry. Before there were zooids or, for that matter, chemical compounds, in the super-heat-wave following the Big Bang, all substance was latent and alchemical. From there, it’s pure expression. A distinction between physics and telekinesis—mind and matter—is ex post facto.

In this model, phylogenesis becomes a translation of Monadic down to Etheric information into Physical constructs around a helicoid, circumvoluted seed, a vortex located in a hyperspace-time continuum. A metaphysical, multidimensional universe constrains and is constrained by the physical one in such a fashion that atoms and molecules form compounds and organisms only as their Astral and Etheric states transmit source energy (see “constraints” on p. XXX). Living plasma is generated and held together by an unseen field as it is regulated on the Physical plane by genetic transfer of data—in that sense, proteins are Etheric and Astral expressions of forms at a denser frequency. The blueprint is hidden in the system’s tags, lesions, erasures, and redundancies.

To carry this a step further, embryogenesis is a thermodynamically driven set of shear states organized by algebraic-like transfer under a download from a more fundamental numerology—migration qua transmigration. Creatures—life forms—come into being as their cellular nuclei impose gematria.

In Russian cosmologist G. I. Gurdjieff’s version of cosmogenesis, the Ray of Creation originated at a far subtler and higher vibration than any form of matter. As it transited zones of dormant information—unhewn curvature—it ignited rubrics of information, most of them at higher frequencies than the Big Bang, then Big Bang itself. Gurdjieff’s intuited a bursting-out of cosmoses by octaves, sevens separated by ones.

 

There can be no wiggle room between two domains, one material and the other meta-material. Physical DNA is karmic “DNA” at a denser frequency. Subtler bodies cobble grosser ones, Etheric fields supply electromagnetic-like fields whereby organisms emanate and then ravel. An Etheric splash becomes a mitochondrial splash becomes an oceanic splash. Life is a thermodynamic formation at the purview of an Etheric wave.

Each action/shape expresses a flow of information underwriting it: a mouse emerges out of localizing mouse constraints, a bat from a pre-bat, a whale from the shimmering presage of a whale. In the darkness of a nest or hive quickens the hermetic egg. Again, I am not saying that creatures don’t come entirely out of molecules, chromosomes, and cells; I am saying that their Etheric and Physical emanations match.

 

Causal monads have no standing in modern science. Design is singularly correlative with the mechanical operation of the universe, a universe in which nothing is causal in the sense of an Aristotelian first cause. The problem that materialistic science confronts at the frontier of particle physics is not a riddle of physics. It is imbedded in the lineage of causation from the supervenient qualities of concrete shapes enrolled by Greek philosophers through their own transitions in the angels-on-a-pinhead Middle Ages.

Plural causality appears in the West, not for the first time, in Aristotle’s four causes, and goes through countless detours and side spins on the road to quantum physics where its riddles dissipate into another system. In Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz’s rendition, physical states require extrinsic intelligence. Mechanism could not operate solely on a material basis or by mathematical constructs; it requires a pre-established harmony of monads. Leibniz was talking about Nature, and Nature hasn’t changed. We tend to forget: Nature is not just a rainforest or coral reef. It is not only 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 finally is.

If properties cannot float freely in nature, how are they caught by objects? How does matter get bewitched by its own patterns such that thermodynamic situations yield formal effects? Aristotle understood: this is a big, big problem. You can’t go forward without resolving it—and we haven’t. Just because biotechnicians track trajectories of DNA molecules and manipulate them with pipettes and lasers doesn’t mean that they have tapped into 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 thenceforth from distribution of thermodynamic information and heat constructs—does not say what it is.

Once upon a time, direct contemplation of the vortex that gives rise to self was science. Revelation and shamanic trance were legitimate sources of wisdom. No more. The indigenous native American Sun Dance has something profound to say about what the Sun and its terrestrial creatures are—it is not relaying only mythological metaphors; it is tapping discursive and discontinuous information.

By assuming that a random, chaos-based dynamic must underlie all expressions of nature—a watch made by a blind watchmaker—physicists and biologists forfeit other flows of information into the same system of representation and function—and this is not disreputable, oversimplistic Intelligent Design. It is tidal, libidinal, quantum-gravitational, psychosomatic, psychic design. God is the name for ultimate source of forms, of intelligence; the basis of teleology, the immanent cause; not the exception but exemplification of physical and metaphysical forces. Conceptual realization of circumambient reality operates through that reality while continually surpassing it.

The instrumental effect of what that universe is conveying symbolically is a co-creator with finite secular agencies. Present in while containing the cosmos, they are its ground. Ontologically they approach finitude without losing their divine aspect, for divine intelligence created the universe, Big Bang and all, not ex nihilo but of itself. The cosmos is, in effect, a sacrament of a Creator who acts in and through it by its natural laws—and not merely as a form of Himself, for then nature would lack its own intrinsic reality. He is not a persona, as in anthropomorphic religions, or he is: the collective personality of all creature personae in all manifestations of nature everywhere.

 

                                    Constraints

Terrence Deacon hits close to the sweet spot when he deconstructs science’s unexplained quantum leaps between levels of organization. Mind, he says, doesn’t emerge from matter (nor does a biological identity synergize from non-egoic components) by a flow of mutations under incremental feedback “but from the constraints (aka absences) that organize matter.” Absent features—unrealized potentials—are contained within and emerge from the cumulatively reduced degrees of freedom in thermodynamic systems. In this sort of universe, information passes through nonlinear functions that, in aggregate, cancel out most linear pathways. But that opens a backdoor to nonphysical, e.g. absent, events. What looks like chronological autogenesis—the organization of life from non-living forms—is a series of more complex, recursive events. As efficacy—e.g., Aristotle’s efficient cause—is limited to starts and stops, its positive active values bring random change, its passive ones integrate it. Novel effects arise from the 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 seems 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 just the organism’s (or primal cell’s) physical and chemical composition; it functions teleodynamically as an elemental 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.” Potential is always potential even as elements of it actualize.

Whether constraints are imposed transdimensionally from outside or generated internally by the system’s dynamics is irrelevant—we can’t solve the universe at that level; we are limited to tracking its expressions. Either way, flexibility increases with dynamical depth. Life is a relationship between signs and representations, a semiotics more than a biophysics. In this dynamic, outer and inner worlds, “I” and “It,” catalyze one another’s cycles.

Life introduces something “intrinsic and autonomous,” an entity that continues to mediate between itself and its environment. Like transit in a Klein bottle or Möbius strip, inside and outside give way to a continuous reciprocal flow of information. The consortium never has to disclose itself, for an identity emerges from within without a without. What is situated inside the dynamics of the bubble oscillates onto its own surface. The entity persists insofar by continually undermining its own integrity, while metabolizing matter and energy. This allows it to maintain far-from-equilibrium states. It does not insist neg-entropically on its own existence; its nonexistence dissolves into its existence by maintaining an innate disequilibrium, advancing by constraints while postponing its own obliteration.

Aristotle’s formal cause denotes potentials of constraint present from the beginning of time and manifested as each organism reaches maturity and explores the transitory dynamics of its unexpressible final cause. Scientism and religion spurn these teleodynamics by converging on the same dumbing down of Nature as a billboard for its own effects. I join Deacon in considering either’s base paradigm far too simple a model for a universe that is anything but simple. In response to my drawing his attention to the Marcus article in the New York Times, Deacon wrote:

“Mind-as-computing 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….”

That neither mystics nor materialists can figure out whether a given paradigm is metaphysical or physical exemplifies the ideological conflation of models as well as the essential paradoxicalness of the thing that is being modelled—in this case biological organization and conscious agency. Deacon proposes that science’s biophysical regime reveals not so much shadows and the light forming them as 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…. There are more things in heaven and earth than …”

Transmigrating birthmarks might be a way in which phenomena transmit not just extrinsic manifestations but constraints on those manifestations. The physical world may represent constraints on Etheric and Astral expressions, not so much blocking them as providing them with a denser, more stringent field, hence permitting them to disclose myriad aspects. When skeptics dismiss such avenues of intervention, their universe becomes not less but more metaphysical. I summarized a few of these thoughts in an email back 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 a way that there is 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; at the level of constraints, they intersect.

2) Materialists who don’t examine the premises that underwrote their materialism are metaphysical. Materialism that is unaware of its own ontological roots and its unconscious dependence on rootless constructs (even its mathematics)—is metaphysical materialism. What else could it be, since its basis is always elsewhere, which is nowhere?

3) Intrinsic propaganda defines either polar position. Blind idealists and spirtualists fail to appreciate, regardless of their lip service to materialization of “spirit” in hermetic texts like Pymander and Plotinus, the fact that the universe is operating as a self-contained mechanism in a physical plane—there are no exemptions from physicalism down to the bottom-most black hole of each item’s fate. Conversely, blind materialists fail to appreciate the remaining gaps, patchwork, and funky epicycles in their controlled, highly contrived assembly line from matter to mind. The statistical derivation of a Big Bang is not tantamount to an actual Big Bang—nobody was there or could have been there!

4). Neither side seems to recognize that the phenomenological depth of the system is already a measure of how accountable a model of the whole enchilada has to be to stand a chance. I mean, you can’t have a paradigm of consciousness that is less complicated than the consciousness that is examining it. You can’t have a universe less implicate than us.

 

James Leininger or James Huston?

James Leininger was a cheerful, unflappable toddler starting life in Lafayette, Louisiana, un-newsworthy except to his adoring parents, Bruce and Andrea. On May 1, 2000, three weeks after his second birthday, 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 up to four times a week.

Since Bruce was dealing with a stressful situation at work, he persuaded Andrea to troop down the hall each time to investigate and offer 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. She complied, quieting her ow premonitions and fears. Neither a yokel nor naïf—a former ballet dancer—she was a sophisticated, discerning mother.

One night something about James’ 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.”

As James got a few months older and more articulate, he explained 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 assumed that this was in the ordinary range of childhood fantasy. Then one day while fully awake and being read a story, James suddenly rolled onto his back and began kicking in the air like in his dreams. He announced to his mother, without the emotion of his nightmares, “Little man’s going like this.” Seizing the moment, she asked who the little man was. He replied, “Me.” [55]

She fetched Bruce, and James repeated his assertion as matter-of-factly.

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]

The Leiningers recalled something that had taken place when James was just a toddler in diapers. As he examined a toy propeller-driven plane that his parents had gotten him at Hobby Lobby, Andrea called his attention to a bomb attached to the bottom. 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. The statement was beyond both his knowledge and verbal ability at the time.

Other foreshadowings were recalled. Before the nightmares began, Bruce had taken his son to an air museum. They had finished looking at older planes and were headed to modern ones when James ran back and climbed into the cockpit of a World War II fighter. He would not get out even when bribed with ice cream, a usually foolproof lure. On a subsequent visit to the museum, he was so excited that he could barely contain himself as he raced 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. The boy concocted his own parachute from old canvas bags and a backpack. 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 the commercial pilot with his grasp of the instruments and later demonstrated intimate knowledge of aircraft structure and function at an air museum in Galveston.

At the airport one day after the nightmares began, Andrea was dropping off Bruce, already a nervous flier, for a business trip when, from his car seat, James called out: “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]

Not long after that, Andrea was spying on her son 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]

The adult character was chilling to her, “Twilight Zone” stuff. Yet her belief-system—the Leiningers are devout Christians—did not support reincarnation. Anyway, modern Americans don’t interpret their lives or those of their children that way. “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 she was provisionally open-minded about past lives, Bruce was not. He emphatically opposed and repudiated them. Like Andrea he felt that, if they pursued their search for the source of their son’s behavior with a thorough enough swath, the airplane fantasy would be cleared up with a rational explanation that just wasn’t apparent yet.

The parents’ actions from that point became schizophrenic: on the one hand, they interrogated James and researched his responses 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 that story by proving that James was not describing actual people or events but making them up from imagination. Either way, the analytical process had begun.

When Andrea asked her two-year-old son one day if he remembered the name of the little man, the boy answered, “James.” She assumed that he didn’t understand her question. Adopting a different tack in a subsequent offhand inquiry, Bruce asked what kind of airplane it was. James replied promptly, “A Corsair.”

The response surprised Bruce, who knew that Corsairs had been launched from WW II aircraft carriers. How did James know?

While viewing a picture book on another occasion, James provided a further 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 that up off the television.

Bruce asked his son the name of the carrier, sure he would make up something silly. James shot back, “Natoma.”

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

Long after the cat was out of the bag Bruce admitted that the weirdness was beginning to get to him. A kid, his own son, was attacking his core belief system, almost goading him to a sacrilegious New Age view. The coincidences frustrated him. A big-time problem-solver at work, he could not clear up child-generated enigmas in his own household.

Not long after the above exchange, he was tucking James into bed. “No dreams about the little man tonight, okay buddy?”

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

“Baby, your name is James.”

“The little man is named James, too.”

That response resonated with something: James often signed his drawings “James 3” and, when pressed for an explanation, declared as though, like other details of his story, 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 shipmates he was able to identify a fellow pilot: Jack Larsen. [68-70]

The road ahead now diverged in two very different directions. If Jack Larsen turned out to be a real person, it was right down the rabbit hole. If he was proved a fictive figure, they were still at a crossroads.

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]

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

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

“If James’ 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’ 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]

During his weekend in San Diego, Bruce got corroboration on several key points. There had been a Jack Larsen on the Natoma Bay; he was still alive, living in Arkansas, but he never came to reunions. There were no Corsairs on the ship, only FM-2’s and TBM Avengers. The only “James” identified among the Natoma Bay dead was James H. Huston Jr., a detail that might explain “James 3.”

Phoning Jack Larsen, Bruce was unable to resist hinting at the true reason for his interest. He drove to Springdale, Arkansas, to interview the pilot. After amiably greeting his visitor, Larsen described the last 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, dubbed by one pilot “the hellhole of the Bonin Islands.” Their mission was to stop a “Japanese build-up of troop replacements and supplies.” [214] Though not scheduled to fly that day, James Huston volunteered. It was to be his squadron’s final 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 day’s attack on Chichi-Jima. Age twenty-one, he perished on his fiftieth World War II mission, more than enough to build up knowledge of his plane, familiarity with aircraft lingo, and attachment to the flying ritual.

As Bruce left the Larsen house, Jack 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]

Receiving the gift 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]

Not long after his visit to the Larsens, Bruce lofted James in the air and declared 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.”

Explanation was requested. James said, “When I found you and Mommy, I knew that you would be good to me.” 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]

Bruce and Andrea stayed at the Royal Hawaiian Hotel approximately five weeks before Andrea became pregnant with James.

 

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 his vintage you-idiot look and said, “Because that’s who met me when I got to heaven.”

Bruce later learned that his son then correctly identified, by name and hair color, three men who died before him on missions between October 25 to November 17, 1945: Billie Peeler, Leon Connor and Walter Devlin. Billie Peeler had dark hair like James’ Billie doll; Leon Connor had blonde hair, as did the Leon doll; and Walter Devlin had the reddish hair of James’ 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.

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 (e.g., “Bridey Murphy’s” account of dancing in the in-between place).

A baffling experience may be converted into 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 an adult 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’ 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, at sixteen informed my wife and me one night at dinner that she had picked us to be her parents and take care of her. We had done a good job, she conceded but she was able to handle things from now on her own. Soon after, she underwent a change of both appearance and personality. Her blonde hair turned black at the roots, and she matured into a cutting-edge artist.

 

The Corsair fell into line when Bruce Leininger 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 weave together accounts of James 2’s death, for instance a pilot’s journal entry of the 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 recognized James Huston in a photograph Bruce brought along. While recalling the 1945 day, 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 a possible backstory for another mysterious detail in James Leninger’s actions. The shell took off James Huston’s plane propeller, and “James’ toy aircraft were always left [by him] without propellors.” [222]

 

In a parallel quest the Leiningers hunted down and then made phone 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 add: several 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 said that he did not depart easily or willingly.

She expressed an interest in talking to young James. The four-year-old 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 said that James 3 didn’t so much look like James 2 as radiate him.

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

After the show a Japanese production company flew the Leiningers to Tokyo, then took them by boat to Chichi-jima. 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]

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]

Bruce remarked: “I had a kind of revelation. James’ 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]

Professional skeptic Paul Kurtz, who made it his sworn mission to debunk such claims whenever they arose, gave the ABC Primetime reporter his “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, then smiled condescendingly.

“Little friends” indeed! Kurtz’s view was that this kind of phenomenon is impossible and it was his job to safeguard the collective trance. Along these lines, philosopher/cognitive scientist 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]

Philosopher/mathematician Charles Eisenstein adds, “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.” Since the witnesses seem sincere, 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 fake; they honor a prior assumption that there is no meaning or purpose, teleology or innate intelligence, in the universe. To seek it is blasphemy, to find it delusion. They are opposed to nonlocal consciousness or paraphysical activity per se—and would remain so even if a Cheshire cat resolved out of the gloaming and extended its paw.

They dumb the universe down to hominid level, practicing a religion as fanatical as Fundamentalist Christianity—Fundamentalist Nihilism, the God of No God, the transhumanism of “God is Dead.” Atheism is their required faith, Yahweh the ultimate Infidel.

I am sorry, but that is not science; it is not Kepler’s science, Galileo’s science, or Aristotle’s science. I’m fine with not believing in God as a personified deity—I don’t—but that’s not what’s at play. As noted above, “God” designates the convergence of focused intelligence at the vortex of the cosmic mystery. Theologian Gordon Kaufman called it “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.” He or She is not a person but a Nameless preceding and giving rise to beingness and origins, a flow of information and pattern-forming influences that does not distort secondary causality. He is subsistent being (ipsum esse subsistens); his essence (essentia) is identical with his existence (esse). Skeptics miss the intrinsic nature of a self-creating universe, a teleology that rejects teleology.

Relativity is just as fantastic and counter to experience as reincarnation. Try the Big Bang for metaphysical bona fides. A cosmos spurting like a jack-in-the-box out of a single atom in the middle of nowhere? Cosmologist Brian Swimme refigures the Big Bang as “a Primordial Flaring Forth,” which suggests its truer nature.

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 compelling explanations only if all paranormal options are a priori excluded.

Bruce Leininger, initially a skeptic and disbeliever, 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 things about the Leininger-Huston story stand out: James Leininger has access to a chunk of James Huston’s life within his own selfhood, but he is not James Huston; he is not a zombie arisen from an airplane crash, lamenting his lost life and seeking more time on Earth. He has snippets of James 2’s memories and death picture but not the existential thread of his life. The many indisputable details that James 3 possesses of James 2’s personhood comprise less than a millionth of one percent of James Huston’s total existence—and this is probably true for all who experience past-life fragments. Leininger has no continuity with James Huston’s personality, beliefs, desires, or lived life; he is his own, unique person—a happy child except for occasional grim flashbacks. He itemizes past-life details casually. They are part of reality like his mouth or the color of the sky. James Huston cannot impose his meaning or values on James Leininger; they are independent beings psychically connected, not a linear continuity of the same personality.

People may experience upset, regret, loss, nostalgia, even a sense of ownership and rightness about a past life that is experienced in fragments—and sometimes even urgency about it—but they are fully embodied and incarnated as who they are. James 3’s interest in the fighter-pilot routine dwindled as he got older. The memories remained but came to seem less less imminent or important. The nightmares ceased. He accepted his current life in full.

James 2 could have carried incomplete fragments of other prior lives. The premature loss of James 1’s life was not innately more tragic than any of those. Each was lived fully in its own time through its unique view.

Similarly, 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.

What was established by Stevenson is that “memories, emotions, and even physical injuries can sometimes carry over from one life to the next.” [211] The life itself doesn’t carry over. It is not like our waking from sleep in the morning as the same person with his or her accumulated history and agendas. 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].

Even among those who have persistent past-life memories, flashbacks come and go and are more and less intense at different ages. Some children stay preoccupied with a past life even after they transit childhood; others become indifferent to memories, downplaying them, lapsing into reincarnational amnesia like most of us. [94] The mind and brain are such that, as with a dream, a person may remember events intensely at one moment and forget them entirely a moment later. Favorite times for recalling prior “lifetimes” appear to be after baths, during soporific car rides, and at bedtime and upon awaking from sleep. Past-life memories are hypnagogic, as they interrupt ordinary consciousness with an alternative presentation that is briefly credible and sometimes more vivid.

Not only do people recall details of past lives best when they are young and forget them later, but they forget even that they once remembered them. A child in Stevenson’s files, when taken back to the home 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.”

It helps to compare a normal life process called “early childhood amnesia.” Most children lose earlier childhood memories by age six or seven—not past-life but this-life memories. This throws into doubt the core nature of identity and personal history. If immediate childhood memories fade and disappear, exponentially greater amnesia would occur with events from before birth.

“What or who the heck is ‘I’?” asks Nicole Keller on Facebook. “This bouquet of higgeldy-piggeldy conscious lifetime experiences and thoughts claiming to be the myself in first place?”

Her conundrum underlies the conditional nature of all existence and personhood. In seeming to recall a past life, how can an affected individual discover if the biography is veridical (in whole or in part), a hallucination, a spontaneous psychic reading, a dreamlike meld of engrams from the cosmic commons, or a transpersonal information field? Can a detached record of a life, or memory of a creature’s existence travel itself outside the thread of personal identity?

I think that, first, we have to discard simplistic duality. To deem past-life-like memory traces aspects of a solely linear reincarnational sequence (like an actor taking on roles in successive plays) is as limited as a skeptical position. Conventional reincarnation is too simple a construct for a charmed universe.

Look at it this way: is James Leininger the proximal legatee of James Huston’s soul? If he isn’t, if he has a smattering of James Huston Jr.’s memories, then how did the leak-through occur? And what is the relationship between the two people? Plus, where is James Huston Jr. now if he is not James Leininger? Does he continue to exist independently?

Personal awareness fluctuates through ganglia as an undulation travels through the ocean or electrons through matter. If a longship’s timbers are replaced section by section at successive landfalls in Greenland and Labrador until there are no staves left of the original knar in Vinland, 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. I say that James Leininger is not James Huston.

The graphicness of the past-life memories of James I may be the result of the intensity of the pilot’s death, the cascading field of his aura, the cathexis of his regret. The way in which he left his body, manifesting to others as a ghost, kindled a force that reattached elsewhere. Perhaps we are all ghosts of our forebears’ waking dreams.

 

There is a reason the universe puts up barriers between reincarnate versions of the same person (if that’s what these flashbacks are) and maintains encryption. The system won’t permit system-wide simultaneity. Our private, self-contained selves need to be protected for beings to have any sort of meaningful existence or experience an aloneness against which to encounter the depth of their own presence and the universe itself.

If we could access all of time and self from every vantage, we would lose the essence of the discrete threads. The self would be surrendered to a timeless entity, none of whose experiences would have urgency. Whatever is working itself out in the field of stars needs separation to express itself. Otherwise, there would be no stars or galaxies or worlds, only a jubilee of uncertainty states.

Jane Roberts refers to PPs as deserving their own privacies, “not belong[ing] in our present lives…. [65]  The selves we know now … exist in bodies that bloom only for a personal time…closed to all other beings who came before or who will come after. 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]

There is no linear or temporal resolution to beingness; it is ceaselessly novel and paradoxical. It recalls John Keats’ negative capability: “that is, when [we are] capable of being in uncertainties, mysteries, doubts, without any irritable reaching after fact and reason.” At Empty Gate Zen Center in Berkeley, California, the mantra per inhalation is “Don’t know, don’t know, don’t know….” On exhalation, “Clear mind.”

 

                                    Souls

An orthodox Buddhist precept states that one personality gives rise to another without carryover of personal identity. 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 more deeply imbedded and imperishable 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 or ego-state ignites a new identity. The past person no longer exists to recognize the new person as him- or herself, though the new person inherits karma from his or her PP’s life.

Karma is a traditional Sanskrit term rendered into English as “action,” “work,” or “deed” and depicting a principle of causality and energy transfer. It is a baseline mechanism that works at like electromagnetism, heat, and mass while inclusive of them.  Unlike heat and electricity, karma is software with no drag or informational construct. Like Aristotle’s formal and final causes, it is immeasurable by the tools of science because it is simultaneously above and below the range registers on mineral formations made into instruments. While it eludes detection—any toll placed on it thermodynamically—it retains and transmits integrity at every phase of every manifestation.

Karma has more leverage and is more powerful than gravity, which is an expression of it by the order that sets the Earth and Sun and Milky Way in orbiting curvatures.

The continuity of past lives rests on the degree to which a karmic potential exists as a creature or egoic entity incarnates, and it goes on potentiating his and her future emanations in related states and shapes.

Under karma, a new entity can issue only from its intrinsic potential field state of substrates. An event that is an incompletely resolved in one lifetime generates residual energy seeks location and is picked up by another life. In lieu of a continuity of personality, there is transfer of energy. A fresh ego is shaped around its karma. In that fashion, a dead person lives again. James 2 passes his life flame to James 3. Zen master Shunryu Suzuki lays down the formulation:

“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 the persona of a deceased person beyond a limited range of change-states. When his version of Self eventually shatters at core from its delusion of its own existence, it flies into pieces and no longer exists. It leaves consideration. And there is no Soul to recapture it or discrete practice for what comes next. That’s the limit of liability. 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.

A prior lifetime cannot be recovered by a karmic emanation of itself; it cannot recapture its former states with their realities because they are no longer real, the mirage is no longer available. Each existence through which someone is trying to establish a relationship to a past life is transitional, changing both consciously and unconsciously in relationship to all others, real or unreal. Beingness is not a script leading to a finis or a railroad track running into the unknown but an expanding radix of possibilities like corn popping in multiple dimensions. What would follow a final final act anyway?

In Buddhist ontology, a soul is relegated 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 that are never the same for two consecutive moments.

Orthodox scientism and orthodox Buddhism apparently converge on the notions of the soul as an illusion and consciousness as a mirage. But materialistic science also deems mind (and the reality of and by which it is aware) random and meaningless, throws of atomic and molecular dice. They have no root. Egoic personhood is a brief configuration that infuses its illusion of self in neural pathways and cerebral lobes. Buddhism replaces the rootless mirage with a self-arising ground luminosity.

In Buddhism, there is a transcendent reality, but it is not ego-accessible. In a direct antithesis to science, the Buddhist “real” universe never perishes, for nothing real can evanesce. That’s what makes it real. How can it repeal its essence? It simply returns from this ephemeral state to its own unity consciousness, a transmigration performed as unerringly by a dying crocodile as by a human being. Plunk!—back into the underlying reality pool—Interdimensional Thermodynamics 101.

The dialectic between personal identity as a mirage and personal identity as self-arising and self-authenticating marks the difference between Eastern and Western ontology. In Eastern cosmology, Beingness cannot be destroyed without being changed into something else that becomes 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 quantum mass and karmic shape construct. It means a different thing, and its experiences become different “memories.”

For creatures in this game, meaning all creatures, the issue was never mind anyway; it was subjective beinghood, personal identity—self-identified presence. The little man or little woman—or little Gila monster—fends his, her (or its) sovereign self. Otherwise there would be only robotic pods gamboling.

Whatever one’s belief about enlightenment and a soul, individuated consciousness expresses the universe’s innate predisposition to personal identity. Personal identity is the turnkey because it is how consciousness inserts its confluences into a nature that does not express egoic agency or narcissistic depth otherwise. But the choice to be is not a choice. It cannot be renounced. We can’t immolate selfhood, any more than we can crush or rub out karma. Suicide doesn’t change that—it is also ego participation. As Buddhist philosopher Dustin DiPerna states: “We are always in some sort of state. States are an ever-present part of our experience.”

Psychic teacher John Friedlander puts his own spin on the soul. In his version, personal identity is real and survives mortality. This is a refutation of strict Buddhist nonduality, which proposes that forms, especially egos, are empty of existence on their own. Furthermore, there is no separation between subject and object, so the only real goal is enlightenment—recognition of the one essential reality of all of this. Ego identification impedes transcendent awakening, so there is no practice or accountability for egos after death, only now as they create the present moment

Tracking is lost because once personal identity is obliterated, all that remains primordial intelligence without subject or object. The real Self on which the ephemeral and transitory self was based continues as the Atman it always was.

In John’s system, as a personality dissolves at death and breaks into fragments, each is redistributed by its intrinsic karma, but at least one of the pieces continues to track the person from whose life it issued—and not just track it but know it as itself.

Buddhist ontology does not recognize a self-tracking piece. Like in Western science, consciousness is a mirage but one arising autonomously—karmically—from a state of reality. The whole universe arises similarly: a lesion cut between particles of nature emanating phantom vistas and events and the epiphenomenal recognition of them under a delusion of ego primacy. It’s how or why a ground luminosity ignited the atomic vibration and reality filter known as “matter.”

The goal of Buddhist practice is to dissolve the lesion, or duality, with its subjective states of urgency and attachment, recognize our condition as a string of illusions, and meld with nonegoic Unity Consciousness at their basis. This is not only enlightenment but the cessation of all suffering—personal annihilation: nonexistence.

This discards the egoic view of the universe without regard for how it came into being or how profound it might be.

Serious Buddhist practitioners get this and deepen their practices to incorporate it. Other Buddhist aspirants seek a more solemn, less absurd and painful reality. They want, if not a priori enlightenment, sanction that enlightenment is the universe’s senior agenda because we can conceive its possibility, even in a state of duality and suffering. This is what John refutes.

From amoebas to astronomers, the universe has a desire to know itself. This is why individuated waking worlds exist. Something becomes “us” only as it meets a crease in the curtain of its own innate condition.

When philosopher Alfred North Whitehead called the whole shebang “process and reality,” he meant process at every level and instant of its formation and intelligence.

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

John admits 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 any drawback of personal identity breaking up into pieces at death, he replied, “It is not a problem. In fact, it’s more than not a problem. It’s the whole point. 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 also why we don’t see it.

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 by beings such as us and so that beings such as us might exist at all:

“The innumerable constituent parts that we ordinary human beings lump together, such as bodies and auric energies,” John adds, “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.”

To pursue nondualism and enlightenment as our singular goal is to misunderstand our situation. The universe did not locate us in a fix to see if we could get ourselves out of it ASAP—nor did we get sentenced to conditional beingness from some original sin. Our actual transcendent beingness—our Source Intelligence and Soul essence—chose such a conditionality and generated its mirage. The universe could enlighten us in a heartbeat if it chose. It doesn’t. Think about that. “There is nothing to evolve beyond,” John concludes. “The Soul has chosen to enter into a dualistic perspective.”

“Why?”

Probably because that gave it entry to stuff it couldn’t experience any other way, the oppositions, contrarieties, and paradoxes to whose basis it was blind because they lie within its own unconsciousness. It wanted not only to access them but to realize them ecstatically and tragically, without which it did not have a full experience of itself. The only way that the universe witnesses its depth and subtlety is by entering its own maze. The reason that we feel texture, richness, rhythm, profundity, elation, and tragedy is that there is texture, depth, richness, rhythm, profundity, elation, and tragedy at the nucleus of things, prior to the Big Bang and other carpeterias. The universe seeks to envelop its innate shape and premise and transmogrify itself into each next absolute form and emanation.

In a state of karmic transmission, there is only “we” and how we got here—beingness that scintillates with Creation. There is no other rulebook—certaintly no law that requires the abnegation of selfhood. Nondualism is not the operating manual for the universe, not for crocodiles, rabbits, or wasps, not for DNA consciousness. There is no operating system for the universe—that is, no definitive human view to the exclusion of all others. Everything emanated from its own intrinsic charge, it is where it is.

If we make our representation gargantuanly complex, translate it into rituals and iconographies, we lose that the vernacular situation is Divine.  “Sometimes we’re so earnest, so intent and determined to know,” muses 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 don’t become more spiritual by denying the flesh, or…expand our consciousness by not using the kind of consciousness we have….” [192x]

Dual selfhood was not conferred to be summarily rejected. It is the twin agency of God and his creatures to attract each actual occasion, to appropriate its ‘initial aim’ as their ‘subjective aim.’ In so doing, Creation merges with itself and its own unknowable source with coherence and wholeness. [123] The desires and joys, pain and suffering of mortal existence are an indispensable aspect of the wholeness, likely the reason that anything knows itself as itself. It is Elena Ferrante’s “infinitesimal particle through which the fear of every thing becomes conscious of itself.” [SNN 289]

The Divine also adores kitsch and pop-cultural and sentimental states, in their own mysteriously profound way, even as it impels rough stones across stellar systems. All the sundry merchandise coming out of factories and stores (and sun-stars) into the eager appendages of customers are, individually and in totality, as profound as enlightenment or Divine Emanation. What is potentiating the cosmic particle from the Big Bang’s Zoharic alphabet, the elemental table, is the universe’s curiosity about its own nature.

The goal of enlightenment is to differentiate one’s self, the core luminosity giving rise to personal identity, from an undifferentiated supergalactic display. This is possible only as long as our present plane propels itself through a design as fundamental, autonomous, and sovereign as itself, and as long as it continues to camouflage what is disguising and camouflaging it.

The fact that something so evocative of latency and profundity is simultaneously so straightforward, commonplace, and clunky, is reality’s most profound and irreconcilable aspect. The banal or ordinary is far more profound, for occurring at all, than the most sacred or weighty thing in all of Creation. Each vista is a glimpse into a mode of emanation: 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 guitar cases and luggage (BOS) say everything and nothing about our situation in the cosmos. As December solstice turns Earth’s indigo vault an early black….

 

In the middle of a night, I awoke with Carl Jung’s proposition posing itself from the echo chambers of a dream: Modern Man in Search of a Soul. In search of what? Why are we having to search for the thing that connects us to everything else?

Because we do not actually feel connected to anything. The profundity of Jung’s proposition is that we are connected and know we are connected. We can’t get unconnected. And that is a big deal, a very big deal.

In Hegelian terms, the Absolute Idea become conscious of itself in us. Being conditionally immersed, isolated, cruel, ecstatic is how we sink into the texture of a universe that, in its true depth, is anything but isolated, cruel, or tragic. But if we were to go at that complexity directly, pigs at the trough, it would thin out at once and lose its girth; we would confuse it with lesser soundings and melodramas (all of which are essential to profundity in their way). The mirage-illusion is the inward spiral creating the different portals and realities and passages between them, holding them together with gravitas, immanence and sumptuousness.

“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. We don’t own our soul, nor does our soul own us.”

We know by not knowing. We see through a glass darkly into a universe of fathomless information and metaphor that presents itself as circumscribed and configured. This is likely the fate of sentient beings in other planes and dimensions too, each probing and calibrating an aspect of reality. The richness, complexity, and satisfactoriness of each experience reflects its actual depth and the integrity of its beingness.

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. By being fundamentally uncertain, consciousness is capable of depth and paradox, even at snail level.

What modern science misses by its focus on the concrete is that it is more real to be meaningful than it is to be real. To be real, under a scientistic regime of corporeality, is to be congeries sourcing mirages.

Real is relative and flat—flattened out—it can’t handle the deep uncertainty state of what it really is, what is really real. Nothing ever existed or could exist in such a barren conclave except sets of quadratics.

It bottoms out somewhere that is not ever somewhere else.

Stated otherwise, nothing is real except the sense itself of existing, of self-identified beingness and the views it encounters along the way. Each of these is a stab at the absolute profundity of something beyond ordinary experience and comprehension.

 

Spiritual By-Passing Detour

Self-inflated gurus by-pass ego states and the participation of their own psyches in them. Yet actions deemed dualistic and demoted to irrelevance seat themselves more trenchantly in narcissism and delusion. The guru imagines that he (or she) has transcended his ego basis, so everything he or she does is selfless. Dustin DiPerna repositions these issues from both an actual and ideological 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 gurus come to believe that their enlightened state permits any transgression, deems any behavior of theirs intrinsically enlightened. Crazy wisdom 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, expressing the agency of its own desires and fantasies, attempts to control reality. This impulse may be based in the soul, but it is subject to the transient personality’s blind spots, unhealed wounds, and yearnings. These are healed only by actual shifts of energy.

If a spiritual teacher is telling disciples that he’s God, and (to boot) the only such emanation of the Divine, and he’s also taking other people’s wives and girlfriends into his harem, perhaps for the best reasons, and he’s an honorable guy—even more than just a guy— and has psychic powers whereby to startle and terrify, then there are going to be repercussions.

Too much emphasis is placed on having a charming, macho-warrior personality, exuding a big-man presence. Everyone is not going to just “lighten up” because the teacher ordered them to and then flashed some siddhis.

American spiritual teacher Adyashanti (Steven Gray) explained, “Spiritual people can be some of the most violent people you will ever meet. Mostly, they are violent to themselves. They violently try to control their minds, their emotions, and their bodies. They become upset with themselves and beat themselves up for not rising up to the conditioned mind’s idea of what it believes enlightenment to be. No one ever became free through such violence. Why is it that so few people are truly free? Because they try to conform to ideas, concepts, and beliefs in their heads. They try to concentrate their way to heaven. But Freedom is about the natural state, the spontaneous and unselfconscious expression of beingness. If you want to find it, see that the very idea of a someone who is in control is a concept created by the mind. Take one step backward into the unknown.”

One step, and then another….the only authority the universe itself. The only teacher is the mystery of existence, from which All That Is arises.

 

Reincarnational Phases and Fusions

I will explore another reincarnational excavation, one conducted under hypnotic regression like Virginia Tighe’s “Bridey Murphy.” Morey Bernstein’s part here was played by Dolores Cannon, a military housewife and freelance writer in Arkansas who began practicing hypnosis in her late forties as a 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 as well as 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 more auspicious regressions.

In another book, 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 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, Katie recalled being there too. 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. “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 unexpected recollection as if of a discrete other 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] The switch of identity was impromptu and lucid, as real as her own world, if not more real. Was it her herself—Soul and aura—or a powerful engram captured by a dissociated ego? Hiroshima may have released more than heat and radiation into the biosphere and noosphere of the Earth.

After the initial bolt of memory, the floodgates opened on another identity; Harris could not halt the reality of Hiroshima or her personal presence there.

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 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 travelled 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 tipping her hand. Like James Leininger, she grew up in an orthodox Christian family—Pentecostal in this case—and reincarnation was considered a taboo topic Cannon also took steps to disguise her subject’s identity—her name is not Kathryn Harris.

In Cannon’s initial regressions of the young Texan, she 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 trance, she quickly adopted the “I” of several former beings, crossing the gender line effortlessly when called for. Cannon noticed that Katie flowed into her prior identities with all five senses. When first experiencing a lifetime before her current birth, she described a white house “‘sitting up there all lonesome,’” in a landscape of hills and valleys, a place she later identified as Colorado Territory before statehood. The girl named Sharon could smell her mother’s bread baking in the oven.

Only after a degree of trust was established 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 birthdate of 1960, clearing a gap of about eighty years for another incarnation. Both women agreed—let’s go for it!

Not wanting to plunge her subject into the traumatic events of World War II, let alone Hiroshima on the day of the attack, Cannon picked 1935 as a neutral starting point. Instructing her subject to go back to that year, Katie landed, as hoped, in Japan. 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 her subject’s five senses bristling with Nogorigatu’s reality, Cannon recalled getting the chills at how real the man was.

In the course of several hypnotic excursions, Harris drew a detailed representation of herself as a Japanese male. His world was rich and flavorful, filled with oxen, bean sprouts, water chestnuts, charcoal heaters, primary school with scrolls, brushes, and calligraphy, thousands of characters, 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 Japanese pottery, actual designs and kinds and sources of herbs used to dye pots, meticulous 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 other museum-quality relics and vestiges.

Needless to say, neither Cannon nor Harris had any background in these matters prior to the hypnotic regression.

Nogorigatu eventually reported being married at fourteen; he saw his wife only once before their engagement—his parents had picked her out. They were wed in the late 1800s. He described dressing for the big event in his 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 looked 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, Katie was performing his character like a master thespian bringing a person of opposite gender to life. Nogorigatu’s energy filled the room.

When Cannon regressed her subject to 1920, he 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 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 subsequently gave a nuanced account of the pre-war era of the late 1930s: the feng shui of house and land; the isolation of rural Japan through the events leading up to World War II; the spiritual equivalence of the Emperor to the Sun; the melding of Shintoism and Buddhism in 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 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, Nogorigatu discoursed on the fallacies of war as well as the illusion that you can gain honor or dignity from military power. a philosophical elder explored Japanese feelings of inferiority, of being played down by the rest of the world, and how the warrior class thought that they could exhibit their superior skills and bravery and demonstrate what it means to be courageous and victorious in battle to the Americans, who had become weak and effeminate.

About the military cult of kamikaze missions, Nogorigatu remarked, “I think they are a little crazy, maybe more than a little crazy.” [p. 96] 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 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. 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 she expressed shock and and offered 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 Nogorigatu’s grief, becoming sad and soft, almost inaudible at times as if she were about to cry. When Cannon asked what happened next, Nogorigatu described 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 drama and tragedy be faked by a suppressed self in Ms. Harris’ subconscious? Of course. People diagnosed with multiple personalities evince just as convincing alter egos, ones even more discrepant than Harris’ “Nogorigatu.” His narrative is not proof of her reincarnation; it is evidence of the depth and complexity of the human psyche.

At the conclusion of Nogorigatu’s session regarding 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 went there at once and became 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 despair to delight and celebration! Yet no matter how many times Nogorigatu would be returned to happier states, he would always travel back to later sorrows. He had no other apparent course.

Note the incongruous juxtapositions and parachronisms in Cannon’s conceit. She can’t “leave him there” but must “count him back.” Yet time is a linear flow, a river on which personal existence is borne like a raft irreversibly in the one-way current. How can one travel back and forth between identity states and their realities? Likewise, how can more than one identity be simultaneously present and accessible? Is it that, from Nogorigatu’s perspective, they are all dreams?

Cannon’s unexamined time travel challenges the ultimate ontological status of each experienced, time-stamped reality. How can one go back and forth in time? Where does the later, more cumulative identity go when the earlier, innocent one is evoked? Where was it prior to hypnotic regression? Does each moment with its cone of events have an autonomy that expands out into the universe beyond time? Is each reality preserved on impact, there to be explored on its own after death? Do the transient realities, discrete occasions of happiness and sorrow, meld at a deeper level into an integral beingness that subsumes each and transmutes their fusion into transcendent awareness?

Is Nogorigatu still in Hiroshima? And are there other “Nogorigatus” in separate simultaneous existences? How do their concurrent realities, conscious and unconscious, envelop and get enveloped by each other?

From Katie’s access to Nogorigatu’s life, it would seem that every focal self is definitive, arising from underlying conditionalities and expanding from there with self-contained integrity, no matter what will follow, no matter how quarantined or alien. Nogorigatu has the apparent capacity to recreate any time of himself as present time. His range is that of the aura, timeless and comprehensive, rather than time-bound and biochemical like the mind. 1944 does not gobble up, supersede, or erase 1930. They remain independently differentiating, exploring themselves with their individual richness, evolving discretely in the universe while supporting each other’s narrative. In that regard, we do not know whether every minute or second has the same integrity, how the finite bubbles of identity get. It is like asking whither and whence Heraclitus’ river—into which no man, or wart-hog, can step twice—flows.

Katie does not gobble up Nogorigatu, or does Nogorigatu have any claim to Katie’s life. Out of trance, Katie does not even remember Japan. It does not exist in her Texas-located ego, though Nogorigatu apparently resides in subliminal relationship to it. Cannon struggles with these three crises of identity:

“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.”

If these are interchangeable realities of an actual person, consider what their post-mortem cross-access means, what it might be telling us about not only past lives but the structure of consciousness and personal identity. It suggests that multiple phases of “being” at different layers of consciousness and subconsciousness have parallel and equal ontological stamps. Each of the separate personalities is like the pseudopod of an amoeba, the arms of an octopus with limitless, appendages. In the metempsychosic view, the Soul as super-entity sends out myriads secondary selves, homunculi of itself, to experience aspects of its overall identity. They journey into frequencies of diverse realities and manifestations, different universes and temporal frames, none of which negate or nullify the others. In Jane Roberts’ words, “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 so, this is the single most important issue in the universe, at least for sentient beings, because each of them will have joyful, euphoric moments, and will suffer and die. For integrity, the universe protects their joy against its later subversion and obliteration.

Cannon’s offhand jumps appear to have cachet beyond distinct readings from the book of memory—either Nogorigatu’s anamnesis or Katie’s proxy self. Parallel questions arise: Is Nogorigatu is actively participating in present time and or is he a ghost? Was he only in Katie, of Katie? Was he ever a real person—Katie herself once, or a real person’s engrams received clairvoyantly by Katie’s psyche? Or was he a contrivance of her unconscious?

If Ms. Harris’ recall of a life in Japan was more than her unconscious dissimulation, then each ego’s discrete lifetime, let alone any composite of multiple and past lives, is a discursive series of conscious and unconscious states that shift continually in relation to one another. Freud may not have perceived how manifold the aggregate psyche; his genius then was in fusing disjunctive elements of a multiple transpersonality with a singular personal psyche without realizing it. When he said, “There is no time in the unconscious,” he was saying, “There is no time in the universe”—in All That Is. Then Jung took it to a collective transpersonal level.

But what karmic force was driving the persona inside the Katie? Cannon opines: “He seemed to be pleading with me to tell his story, to give his death meaning.” He was calling out for recognition, support, and affirmation.

And who was Cannon to Nogorigatu? What did he “see” or imagine as she queried and drew him out of the slumber of Katie? Was he in dormancy till her call? Was he awakened to himself by a hypnotic signal or does he dwell forever in a soul, reliving and sharing his timeless narrative? From what agency and intention was he able to regale his interviewer? “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! This sophisticated guy, Nogorigatu, if once alive and real to himself, was responding to a vortex originating in an American addressing him decades after his death. Was she real to him or a magisterial witness in the void.

I can’t picture Nogorigatu being a mere figment or artifact in Kathryn Harris’ unconscious mind, and I can’t picture her as a golem or ghola of him either. He seems whole and real somewhere, and so does she.

Cannon’s supposition—“a still, small voice in his head”—is the tip of the iceberg. Each entity, to another, is a voice crying out from shadows? What is a rabbit to a hawk? A hawk to a rabbit?

We might attend more closely to whom we address our dialogues with our selves. Who is the “I” and audience? To whom are we speaking when we address ourselves day after day?

 

In subsequent sessions, Cannon edged Harris closer to the actual attack. She had promised to approach the bombing 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; he had no idea what to do next as he stoically described the 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 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 her 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, routine drills were conducted, 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.”

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!’”

Who is witnessing what? Is this Hiroshima first-hand? Or is Katie hysterically re-imagining the event by cathartic theatrics?

If the view is Hiroshima under atomic attack, is it the actual event reenacted in current time or is it post-traumatically radiating and replicating itself across space-time?

Perhaps physical, chemical, and emotional changes that are taking place on the Physical plane and dissipating there dispatch karmic essences onto subtler planes. A bow wave proceeds into the cosmos?

The actual bombing might have driven a lesion through four-dimensional space-time, crossing dimensions with its malign thwack.

“‘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!’”*

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

“‘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, 1930-Nogorigatu in happy blossom, proceeding into the universe eternally as who he was.

Was the artisan working on his pots a man who had never experienced Hiroshima, who would experience it, or who, at the Soul level, had already experienced it and was unconsciously marked? Likewise, is the chronology here Harris’ 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 discernible relief after the series of regressions and the reliving of a past life (or whatever it was), as if an actual weight had been lifted from her. The memories would not trouble her again. Like other past-life “patients,” she began to mature in a new way. Energetically it worked, whatever the underlying veridicality.

Later, Cannon recalled a memory trace she had recovered from Katie before summoning Nogorigatu. During a home delivery while entering this present lifetime, the girl 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 Nogorigatu’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 learn what happened 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 who had acquiesced to an exchange of souls, “she was startled, to say the least. She said that she could not believe that. She felt no different and knew that she was still the same person.” [p. 47]

Did Nogorigatu’s soul replace Katie’s at an explicit point in space-time and hitch a ride with her thereafter? Or were she and he share the same soul all along?

In Cannon’s view, Nogorigatu was a walk-in who entered with Katie’s permission. The concept of walk-ins could explain why some people begin remembering a past life at an older age; it is not the life of their original personality but that of a newly arrived guest—though both could still be aspects of the same soul.

If possession takes place before birth, is that not effectively reincarnation? [46] Given the fragile nature of personal identity, for instance in amnesia and Alzheimer’s, and the provisional basis of ego, the distinction between possession and rebirth may be purely semantic. Multiple-personality disorders axiomatically generate parallel subjective ego-realities within a single individual in one lifetime. These could operate with separate energetic frequencies of a soul. As William Blake put it eloquently: And when thy heart began to beat. / What dread hand? & what dread feet?”

Cannon also interrogated Nogorigatu after “his death” in order to gain insight into transmigration:

“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]

I will let Katie and Nogorigatu rest for now and return to these issues by a different route.

 

Cosmic Chicanery and Telekinesis

In machine- and technology-dominated cultures, humans accumulate material powers; they change the extant landscape on the physical plane—you can’t chant a jet plane into existence or transfer bodies astrally across oceans. But they lose corresponding interior powers: modes of divination and psychic healing like shape-changing, soul-shifting, and nonlocal positioning. Travelling inside a crow or cactus is not mind meld with the bird’s or plant’s consciousness but a hybrid DNA and informational flow.

In the millennia-long competition between technocrats and shamans, the presumption is that technology automatically wins because it superseded shamanism, historically and operationally—and gets better results—shamanism is out of its league in the transformation of matter by concrete applications. Some thoughtforms take thousands of years to manifest materially; others do so instantaneously. You can change matter repeatedly and consistently by direct application of other matter in the short term— efficient cause. Yet over time thoughtforms create realities. They affect matter more slowly, for they work indirectly and subconsciously, transferring subliminal signifiers as well as overt agendas into their equivalents, each in their way. You can summon concrete objects if you chant for them long enough, say hundreds of thousands of years. You first have to develop shamanic physics and chemistry, as our species did.

Operating across the planet, shamans imagined through a glass darkly, and built and disseminated a seed form. Civilization is a projection of a thoughtform, industrial modernity the realization of the Stone Age shaman’s deepest dreams, prayers, and chants. He/she evoked this landscape from a desire to protect and feed, to explore nature. Shamans manifested cars, electricity, and cities, though they did not know that’s what they were doing. They had no templates and they did not attempt to coerce matter to their desires, a misunderstanding that leads present arbiters to decide that they failed.

If you look around at the planet we now inhabit, you see the fruition of a massive collective thoughtform. Earth from the Pleistocene has been transformed into the global city we now inhabit. It could be argued that that is the cumulative effect of the application of empirical thought to molecular configurations over generations. But it is both.

Look at how fast Homo sapiens jumped from the Wright Brothers to Boeing and Airbus. That is mind manipulating matter. 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.” [123]

Thoughtforms are as real as snow on Pluto or trucks on a Mongolian highway. They are capable of creating realities. Not controlling but creating them. Reality is not controllable and to try by magic is a fool’s errand. As John Friedlander remarks, “You work to change yourself not the universe because the universe can’t be changed. But sometimes, once you change yourself, miraculously the universe changes too.”

What future landscape are we evoking today?

 

When the various shamanic systems on Earth were in their ascendancy, to a degree right up to the scientific revolution, they had very little competition. We call it the Stone Age for a reason: its vibrations as well as its raw materials were among the densest formations on the planet. Shamanic invocation filled the gap between mentation and stone or wood, providing if not food, shelter, medicine, and energy in today’s terms we require now, their counterparts on psychic and threshold physical levels.

We have lost an innate sense of this process, what its context was in environments in which it arose. Except for abstract mathematics we have lost a sense of the navigability of dimensions and contactability of disembodied forms as well as applications of voodoos, affirmations, and reikis.

The same possibilities still exist: travelling in hyperdimensional space, healing etherically, viewing nonlocal objects. We have no idea what the actual range of shamanism is because we are no longer practicing it in a state before analytical science and technology changed our perspective. Belief plays a role in transmutation and voodoo. You can’t enter a universe you don’t believe in—you can’t absolutely enter a universe you do not believe in absolutely.

Every event and act, no matter how incidental, not only has psychic and psychospiritual plangency but means exactly what it is. The overall mind-matter interface involves “the transformation of energy into physical form” according to ideas and beliefs. [103] These “objectified mental states,” says Jane Roberts, “[are] constantly interacting, formed automatically by conscious energy’s intercession with the three-dimensional field.” [129]

If you are a member of a Plains Indian warrior sodality or a Tibetan lama in training, you start from the same premise—there isn’t another.

 

Most shamans admit chicanery. One indigenous healer told a professor that he regularly used sleight of hand and duplicity, yet he insisted that it didn’t matter because it was a ploy to change a client’s stubborn thoughtforms, stuck beliefs transduced into tissue pathology. “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.”

Sometimes shamans use props to break into a system by proxy. Blood-stained feathers, a jaguar’s paw, a piece of quartz from a Dreamtime serpent operate like Freudian transference to catalyze psychosomatic activity. A painted face, an exotic costume, an esoteric chant—these events don’t merely startle, they are transubstantiatonal.

Quesalid, an elderly Koskimo shaman interviewed by anthropologist Franz Boas, told the ethnographer that he knew the bloody down he pulled out of a sick person’s body was a sham, but he had arrived at a more profound understanding. The sleight-of-hand blood and feathers constituted transformational theater on behalf of spirit forms. Each of his patients understood these totem powers in their own psychic field where activated a chain of meanings. A well-chosen disease object could be converted psychically into parasympathetic and enzymatic energy. Even knowing that the bloody down is chicanery, a medicine man calls on a fellow practitioner to treat him in this manner if he became sick. 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].

Targ later became skilled enough at remote viewing that he was hired by the Pentagon to locate Soviet military installations telepathically. Generals don’t mess around with New Age twaddle; they wanted to be taught how to perform this “trick” too.

According to Kripal, hoaxes by 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].

Far from being boggled by flimflam, the universe is enhanced and deepened. Even a hoax creates a meaning set, an authentic energy stream. 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] Kripal provides the paradigmatic insight that superhero comics are where esoteric events and magical powers combine in tropes that people subliminally recognize as true. Superman got from Krypton to Earth just as iconographically as Katie or Nogorigatu.

Death Pictures

In a popular 2013 book, The Afterlife of Billy Fingers: How My Bad-Boy Brother Proved to Me There’s Life After Death, Annie Kagan summarized her dialogues with her brother after his sudden passing. The power of her receipts lies not in their plausibility or originality but, if authentic (and that’s not a simple verdict), Billy’s permission to break the encryption 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, hospital ID cuff on his wrist.

Via numerous communications, Billy assures his sister that the universe is good and that happiness beyond imagination awaits us. He tells her that his excruciating drug withdrawals and times of utter despair gave him the capacity transform himself after life, hone a frequency to the living, and earn clearance to transmit esoteric facts.

Billy first describes the feeling of being hit by a car and sucked out of his body by a rush of energy. He immediately 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 reports his bliss in arriving there as incompatible with the human body.

The welcoming zone had a cocktail-party-like atmosphere, like a Gershwin-medley Rainbow Body. Billy’s report captures the euphoria at continuing to exist and evolve, and projects that onto the cosmos, recalling soul singer James Brown: “I feel good, / I knew that I would now / So good, so good.” Of course, Brown was celebrating existence too.

Then Billy recalls floating weightlessly through space with “gorgeous stars and moons and galaxies” glimmering all about him, while he is listening to a faraway intoxicating sound, a celestial choir but also 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 intoned an unfamiliar language.

Even our reality-state has a vibration with a low-level background hum. It is subtle, but buzzing: the song of existence. If you get quiet enough, you can sense the emission output of its etheric field.

A magical stream, a few yards wide and fluctuating with the colors of chakras, wends past, while an ambient confluence of electric chimes and a gong fills the air. Billy senses his selfhood blending with the water-like flow. As the sounds begin organizing into a sacred music, he realizes he heard it throughout his lifetime too at an unconscious level. The stream gradually erases his Earth body with its vestigial memories, and a blue-white sphere implants a new corporealness. He is re-lit by his source candle or sun in the healing chamber after death. “Goodbye, Kal-El: Hello, Clark Kent!” transcends its own surface kitsch.

In a vast stellar-like zone, Billy sees his first wife Ingrid flowing as a constellation. Her stars and planets tell stories of the different stages of her life: a blonde baby digging sand, a teenager dancing onstage, a young woman strung out on cocaine, a hag doing time in prison. Billy sees the vivid strands of her anger harmonized into a moiré pattern at soul level. As they circle each other in a galaxy-like displays, he understands why he loved her in the first place.

The vision operates at Billy’s level of perception as well as his sister’s capacity to receive the transmission. What else might a soul look like after death? It is less a ghost or pneuma than a system of multidimensional fields viewed collectively through their summation. Novelist D. H. Lawrence came to 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.”

Before you discount Billy Fingers as blarney or New Age glitter, try to gauge if it describes a possible experience and transmission. I myself am moved by Kagan’s story, 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 Edgar Rice Burroughs levitating John Carter to Mars—in effect no mechanism at all. 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 initiated it by sending her an earlier version of this book for comment. I had excerpted sections of Billy Fingers but told her that they were placeholders that I intended to remove.

From her reply, she did not appear to have read it. Her sole response was that it “seemed off”— those two words. She added that neither she nor her publisher would allow me to quote her at length.

Her tone more than the content of her response triggered my skepticism. I wasn’t looking for praise, just clarity. I expected an offshoot of the bounteous enthusiasm and curiosity she evidenced in the book—what I would have felt toward the world in general if my deceased brother began talking to me. Instead of generosity, compassion, and the desire to share, I got territoriality, as if she were the commissioner of the NBA and I were violating a league trademark.

Kagan didn’t interrogate the voice in the void nor did she specify or characterize its emergence in the way one expect if a dead person started talking to them aloud. Was it high-pitched, sonorous; recordable, undecibelled? If it was sounded, did she try to record it? If it was telepathic, why not say so?

How she did she determine that it was externally derived or that it was Billy. In claims of paranormal events, instrumentation is are crucial. Kagan’s indifference suggests, if not duplicity,  smalleable reification.

After our exchange, I found myself on an email list that received 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.” 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.”

I’m sorry, but this seems like franchising.

Yet Kagan can only tell the truth, so it is just a matter of which truth. She can’t one-up reality or outbid the universe, as Quesalid and other shamans learned. The universe holds the last card, and it doesn’t have to be from the deck you are dealing. Billy’s cables, even if imagined or invented by Kagan, are real.

Another possibility is that Kagan is receiving a different transmission, one for which a literary device is the only way she can communicate it. A powerful signal is passing through Annie’s personality, whether a message coming from Billy or her fabrication of Billy.

A similar defense has been offered by Carlos Castaneda apologists regarding his tales of his encounters with Don Juan Matus, which similarly involved nonlocal consciousness. The explanation was that the events themselves were fictionalized to get across an esoteric sequence that would otherwise have been incommunicable. If retold as they occurred, disjunctive logistics would overwhelm the message.

If someone experienced hours’ worth of events in a less than a second, as Castaneda reported with buzzing insects, he might well depict it by invented narrative. Similarly from Whitley Strieber’s accounts of alien visitation, one doesn’t know if their author experienced a dream, a hallucination, ET abduction, visitors from another dimension, creatures from his own id, time-travellers from the future, or something else not on the drawing board.

 

As Billy’s death drama fades, he sheds memories like washed-out black-and-white photographs against the brilliant manifestation of his Source Luminosity. Life’s horrors and wonders fall away, as a backdrop of other lifetimes and existence itself takes primacy. That is not a permanent state either. Beyond a golden-white light, Billy sees a radiating disk of greater luminosity. The Divine Presence calls him by his Soul name, a rune he recognizes from before he was summoned to his proximal life on Earth. As he perceives his former self, he goes toward it, jettisoning all else.

Later he tells Annie that he was standing on a solid ground, incandescent and rough like the Moon’s surface except not dusty but glistening and translucent, made of crystallized light. The sky was a pink mist so fragrant that it caused him almost to swoon. He found himself staring at a beautiful woman twice his height. She had the vibe of a Hindu goddess: rings, bracelets, and precious stones around her feet. A tiara of golden light circled her head. She floated in air, moving her hands in a mudra-like dance.

As she and Billy 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, singing 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 form mudras, he followed in devotion, captivated by every part of her. Even her feet were benevolent, seductive, and intelligent.

He realized that numberless other folks like himself were crossing bridges toward a White Building, each changing to resemble his or her Tribe Leader. He is lucky, he tells his sister, to have Shvara as his guide, but he realizes that each person feels that way, as he or she emulates his or her own Soul reflection.

When Billy and Shvara reach the top of the bridge, they find themselves alone at an archway into the stone wall of the White Building. Their stones are opalescent, made of energy, their solidity a mere optic projection. Cosmic wisdom formulas are built into the wall. Shvara instructs Billy how to receive them by holding his hands a few inches from the holograph. Suddenly every element of his yearning is replaced by a strand of knowledge. Absolute desire turns into absolute being.

Life on Earth is the obverse—a translation of wisdom formulas into landscapes.

Shvara leads him to a dome of golden 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 as reflections of mystical seduction—a strip-tease disclosing the cosmic basis of sexuality and desire. The allure of sexual desire leads creatures into unconscious mystery states. What seems pornographic or salacious at one level is an esoteric event impinging on a reality that doesn’t recognize it.

Shvara begins 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 golden petals of their lotus flowers. He watches who he was, who he is; what he did, what he will become—and who his associates were and will be in each past and future lifetime.

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 birth-and-death cycles.

Shvara offers him a cup of the milky nectar of the pond, 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. It is all persona.

 

Psychic Ellias Lonsdale’s transmission from his partner Sarah after her death from breast cancer begins with her meeting the Lord of Death, as she passes through myriad different forms of death based on myths and imaginings. 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]

Only after passing through many false Death pictures did Sarah confront the Lord of Death Himself. She experienced how her operates: 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 pyre consuming molecular residue, the irreclaimable loss of a cherished being both by herself and by those who knew and loved her—are representations of the negative projection of Death.

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 conditionality casting an array of pictures. Even a soul that becomes a zombie-like ghost eventually begins to experience its real death—a transmutation into another phase of itself. The damned in Dante’s hell realms wander outside their own souls only as long as they remain in thrall to the Lord Master of Illusion Himself. Some people’s journey is organized by having to endure a hallucination of eternal pain before they come into who they actually are. Their karma supplies the necessary resistance or negative capability to settle through fantastic textures into its actual roots and profundity.

Every superficial belief system fades. The best way for a hardened skeptic to protect his or her life drama is to devise an alias that fools even them.  If a professional skeptic expects his death to be nullity, he or she will veg in pretend non-existence, denying his own continued psychic activity. A person who is denying that he still exists—because of brain-washing that conscious beingness is impossible without a body—may require eons of Earth-time to recognize that something is denying the possibility of its own existence. Eventually it will be impossible to refute the persistence of his own beingness; he must respond to the fact that he is not not.

The profundity of the universe, once bottomed out in all platforms, is that the difference between a nihilistic view that “nothing happens forever” and a return to Unity consciousness is no difference at all. Since all belief systems arise from the same vortex, they source back into that vortex and pay their dues there. It is even more irreproachable than that: the belief that death is final and ends all experience is the belief that existence is eternal and eternally changing through countless states and forms.

Sarah reports a fathomless complexity and gravitas of ongoing beingness. For her, to be trapped in paradise—in a light that casts no shadows, the church heaven or Billy’s angelic theme park—is to be mired in an inert state without possibility of depth or creative transformation, an abyss of sacred unity and self-contained infinity. That’s the problem with materialism too.

 

Worshipping the Algorithm, or Dumbing Down the Universe

Let’s review. Scientists believe that reality is a bioelectrical mirage—as both viewer and view—generated by a random break of particles following the original “pool shot,” one of many breaks that routinely destroy and create universes from the debris of other ones. Conscious awareness and personal identity are generated ex nihilo and adventitiously; they didn’t exist previously in any way, shape, or foreshadowing. It is an unlikely royal flush without bridesmaids or wardens. There is no other bottom to things.

Because reductionists have no idea how the skank got here, they presume it is nothing. The annals of existence have their only archaeology in the tomb of nonexistence. The complication that probes itself and its own origin is a tautology masking itself as a cosmology.

For modern physicalists, this is a point of pride: “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]

The benchmark for reality is taught in Western madrasas. It is reinforced implicitly by socioeconomic imperatives and broadcast telepathically from the capitalist control centers of our species. It is formulated by those whose actions refute well as embrace it and levied by social contract, ideological gendarmerie, and subliminal seepage. That’s how dominant the lockdown paradigm is. Mainstream religious authorities reinforce the same dogma by ideologically challenging it while otherwise in full and complete compliance.

We are all matching one another’s pictures, generating the collective hallucination: Stephen Hawking, Richard Dawkins, The Dalai Lama, Donald Trump, the Pope, Amnesty International, ISIS, Joseph Kony, Boko Haram, Abu Musab al-Zarqai, Bill Gates, Lady Gaga, and Malala Yousafzai. They and we are vibrating together to convert our collective latency. Consensus reality is a collaboration to which every planetary consciousness contributes and in which everyone shares everyone else’s vibration. When a temporary signal is inserted into the bottomless program, the recipients comply like fireflies in temporary unison. The consensus masque injects the same temporary sallow stagecraft into long-haul truck-drivers, erotic dancers, chaps crunching concrete with steam shovels and laying pipe under the cracked stone, despite their honest day’s labor and hard-earned victories over entropy.

Politicians preach materialism and the primacy of matter, the evanescence of bodies, to their constituents, no matter what else they bloviate: Make hay while the sun is shining, meaning the local hydrogen-helium aster. The beer ad for capitalism alerts the hoi polloi: “You only go around once, so grab for all the gusto you can get!” Then say ta-ta forever. Might as well enjoy it while it lasts, whatever that could mean to nucleic acids attached to protein coats. My Amherst College classmate Sid Schwab elucidated materialism’s algorithmic liturgy brilliantly in a class-chatroom debate:

“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.”

That’s scientism’s last-ditch trick. If you are a committed neo-Darwinian, you assign every event to three billion years of natural selection or, if need be, to quantum or emergent systemic effects. If the algorithm can make MRSA overnight, it can make a brain in three billion years—no problemo. Fourteen billion years can jiggle just about any shape out of bosons and fermions, including Gaia’s biological phenomena. Plus, the key addendum: the universe didn’t have to make apes or Einsteins, here or anywhere. But as long as it did, it played by its rules.

We have no counter-argument. Once you commit full devotion and idolatry to the algorithm, everything manifested, known, or imagined must lie therein.

Sid is nuanced and clever, compassionate in his nihilism. He told me once he read Yogananda’s Autobiography of a Yogi to entertain, perhaps with wishful thinking, the opposing view. He rejected it.

 

Cascading chemico-bioelectrical effects of living systems in drives of increasingly evolved capacity, cannot mitigate the fact that, at some point, an interloper crashed the party. Yes, one might be able to jiggle molecular ping-pongs long enough and in intricate enough parleys to arrive at material consciousness by the going phylogenetic prerequisites, but it is another order to explain how they flip phenomena into phenomenology, let alone how that capacity is condensed and synopsized so that it repeats itself in self-similar orbs with immaculate precision billions of times a second on this planet. That’s pretty far down the Big-Bang chute to be cloning miniature explosions of tiny self-differentiating stars.

Sid gets that there is a mystery, but he doesn’t dawdle on it. Preferring unexplored elision, he bottoms out the Newtonian-Einsteinian universe well short of itself or any undue complications.

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 love, every passion, every pang, every hope, every intimation and whisper, even the derivation of the algorithm comes out of the algorithm. That is, everything is fundamentally rootless, contextless, and causeless. Everything you are and believe and know as well as the musings of Plato, Augustine, Aquinas, and Einstein, the paintings on the caves of Lascaux and Chauvet, Bach’s organ music and the Zohar’s Tree of Life, rose with bosons and fermions in the middle of nowhere for no reason. There is nothing innate holding them to their existence.

At the bottom of materialism’s algorithm, reality dissolves into the nothingness that gave rise to it, an erasure that is total enough to erase itself. There was nothing there to begin with, so the something that replaces it temporally is circumstantial, in effect nothing too. Everything ultimately tracks back to those bosons and fermions and not even them but their hypothetical antecedents and antipodes. Reality goes, basically: Nothing, Big Bang, algorithm algorithm, more algorithm, nothing. It can’t be other because the unspecified can never be specified—nothing can’t ever get followed by something. Class microbiologist, Dusty Dowse, nailed the essential irony:

“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.”

 

Blind analytics is the database of modernity, a binary sequence of zeros and ones that can create everything from skank, including the capital owed to its shareholders, the corporate takeover of reality, and payoff for the debt financing that has underwritten the takeover. The algorithm is clever enough to reflect back every subtlety that it generates at deepening levels of nuance, recognizing them as themselves. That should be no surprise because the algorithm invented its own algorithm and its capacity for exactly such depth and recoil. It is not just an algorithm but an algorithm’s algorithm. Through it, the inchoate becomes mysteriously choate.

In that regard, human existence is converted into infinite capital, a collateral side-effect of the cash called entropy. Any abstention encounters not only the ideological resistance of materialist reductionism but commonsense extrapolations of rational folks like Sid. Though politically progressive, scientistic liberals miss their capitalist hyperbole and its corporate corruption of reality. Poet Charles Stein writes:

“Today’s financial sphere already has manifested ten times as much money as is required to buy everything in the world; but in principle an infinite amount of money is available because no limit can control the infinite production of numbers. You need the numbers in excess of everything that you need to count it for. But then, you need infinite numbers to count the numbers, and you need money to measure the possible price of money forever. ‘That one man must eventually have all the money’ (Ed Dorn) used to be called a proof of the existence of god….

until the bottom in reality falls out and there is nothing
but number, nothing but information, nothing
but MONEY
computers in vacuo
having discovered how to provide themselves
with the minimal hardware and electricity
to keep them computing . . . and the entire informable universe
decrypted as a database

simultaneously transparent and unhackable
a non-duality of clarity and opacity

when consciousness disappears into computability

and the stone of the wise
degrades.

This is the algorithm too.

 

Sid’s logical skepticisms summarize modernity’s atheistic cross-examination:

“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 bottles of wine? It’s pretty clear, neurophysiologically, that who we are is intimately related to what 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 than the single vibration of an electron, in cosmic time, to determine all eternity?”

Another classmate added:

“Most will accept that the material body eventually ceases its biological operations and reverts to its composite materials. But what about ‘mind,’ ‘consciousness,’ ‘self,’ etc.? There is a long human tradition of proposing the perpetuation of this component of life with varying forms from the Pyramids to reincarnation to the recent idea of ‘cloning’ the mind into a computer digital storage.

“The idea of reincarnation, the insertion of a prior consciousness into some future material body’s operation simply makes no sense to me. The data from hypnotic regression are doubtful, and other examples suffer from a confusion of the developmental issue: which developmental mind gets inserted? Or are all reincarnated together? How does each mind influence future human existence?”

All reasonable, logical challenges by an intellectually organized, humanitarian retired doctors. If you disagree, you are bullshitting. Your portfolio won’t pass muster in a scientific forum or court of law.

In assuming that theirs are the right questions to ask of the universe, Sid and colleague fail to distinguish between the logic they expect the universe to follow and the logic being followed. When they and others like them hear supporters of Intelligent Design or Creationism conclude that living systems are too complex to be designed incrementally and adventitiously by the collective accrued feedback of trillions of sequential choices, they know that they have the mathematics and molecular mechanisms to back their side up, with mucho margin to spare. But they valorize the linear application of algorithms to design without reflecting on the subtexts of banning all other forms of intelligence from the same design, and from the universe itself. By attributing Intelligent Design to a universe as dumbed-down as the people espousing it, and then dismissing the concept altogether, they miss the point of both intelligence and design.

Priests, lama, shamans, rabbis—spiritual members of various religious guilds—recognize that our presence is a luminosity without correlation to other lights, because it is internally arising.

Beyond the paradigmatic crunch of fundamentalist Biblicism and fundamentalist scientism lies the actual vastness and complexity of the universe, from nebulae and oceans to the orbits of electrons and holograms underlying jellyfish to the philosophy of Kant and Whitehead. Science and religion are metanarratives for a process that gives rise to both of them. And their dialectic is continuously changing. A universe that arises from bosons and fermions creates a novel thing that has no basis except in itself—Whitehead’s process and reality. A universe that arises from a vortex of intelligence refracts that intelligence in every aspect of itself. They are the same universe. 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 knowledge of 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]

An algorithm generating roses and galaxies, cobras and tardigrades, out of debris and baling wire, is a God generating them out of innate intelligence, each in a nonlinear, nonarchivable manner, each writing the flap of every butterfly’s wings and crawl of amoeba’s jell on its ineffable hard drive. To build a reality when none was given, to build it from the products of atoms and molecules, interstellar dust and hydrogen depends on Whom we designate God.

Though I reject the religionists on every other fundamentalist claim, I agree that there was always something. It was also nothing, the alchemical zero egg. We have built meaning, value, freedom, moral order, and football standings from it. Existentialists claim likewise that there is only a nothing but one with inherent creative potential for personal meaning. No one escapes this kōan. For the Buddhist, this ornamental something is a stirred-up nothing because behind it lies the real something.

 In a truly complex universe, worshipping the Algorithm is the same as worshipping God. By worshipping the Algorithm, you pretend you have found a substitute for God that is just as powerful, in fact even more powerful, for it can do everything God can without imperious stagecraft or vulgar oversplash. The Algorithm is the God of modernity: slick, efficient, cybernetic, minimal—microsoft.

You don’t need a godhead for Divine Presence. Something imbues everything—every event and every thoughtform. If you banish it, you are practicing idolatry—idolatry of the Real: the concrete Real—the reign of quantity.

That was why Aristotle provided four discrete modes of causation—material, efficient formal, and final, each at the scale the universe itself. God was “anchored in the teleological structure of nature,” [114] its Unmoved Mover. As one classicist put it, this agency both is and isn’t “Platonic astral psycho-physics,” [89] and that’s the beauty of Western thought before the watchmaker. Aristotle didn’t take apart the watchmaker’s watch because he didn’t have a lens sufficient to the pry; instead, he dead-reckoned his attributes—and we haven’t gotten beyond his theoretical break shot. Even Stephen Hawking can’t account for the full range of Aristotelian causation.

After writing this section, I tried out a variant of this discussion informally on Jeffrey Hoffman, another scientifically trained classmate, independent of the college chatroom, in order to test my own assumptions about ontological orientation and baseline belief. I know Jeff to be a scrupulously honest and thorough thinker, a retired NASA astronaut who teaches space science at MIT, and I wanted to see if he accepted “in the middle of nowhere for no reason” as fair position of his guild’s Big Bang. After all, I took it from metaphysical philosopher Terrence McKenna’s brief for modern science:

“Let’s look at what the competition is peddling. What the competition would have you believe is that the universe sprang from nothing in a single moment for no reason.… That is the limit case for credulity. If you can believe that, you can believe anything. I challenge you to top it. I know that the scientologists think that God is a clam on another planet, but I don’t think that tops this idea.…”

Jeff immediately balked, saying, “I object to ‘for no reason,’ the word ‘reason.’ That’s an anthropomorphic view.”

“Well, I guess for no human reason,” I tried.

“To use the word ‘reason’ presumes a lot,” he said. “The universe doesn’t operate at a human scale and, as science progresses from generation to generation, its view of the universe changes. There’s no final orthodox view. A hundred or five hundred years from now, our present paradigm may look as dated as the universe before Copernicus and Newton, which used epicycles to describe position and motion without a sense of what forces those epicycles entailed. There may not be a ‘reason,’ but the universe goes from very simple and without much structure in the hot environment after the singularity of the Big Bang to increasing complexity through molecules, chemical compounds, life, and then, I suppose, consciousness.”

I realized that I was way oversimplifying and overpolarizing the dichotomy between the scientific and religious, or physical and metaphysical views. McKenna himself said “complexity, complexity, complexity” in the same screed:

“Why doesn’t science take on board, as a major problem in the description of nature, the emergence of complexity? You ask a scientist, and they say, ‘Well, these are separate domains of nature. How atoms become molecules has nothing to do with how animals become human beings.’ This is bullshit.… The understanding of the fractal ordering of nature now makes it clear that voting patterns in Orange County, distribution of anemones on the Great Barrier Reef, and the cratering of Europa all follow the same power laws.…

“The second thing that science has staring it in the face and has refused to take on board is that this process of complexification that I just described to you, as you approach the place in time called the present, happens faster and faster. That is not necessarily implied by the first observation.… Now we have the concept of a process that is ever accelerating as it moves from the simple to the complex. Since these processes have been running since the Big Bang, there is no argument to be maintained that they will reverse themselves suddenly. No, they’re not going to reverse themselves after thirteen billion years—duh!….

“We can believe that the universe is under the influence of a strange attractor; we can believe that the universe is pulled toward an ultimate denouement as well as pushed by the unfolding of causal necessity. It’s an engine for the generation of complexity, and it preserves complexity, [as] it builds on complexity to ever higher levels. If you entertain this, guess what happens? It’s like a light comes on on the human condition.…

“Who are we in my story? In science’s story, we are nobody; we are lucky to be here; we are a cosmic accident; we exist on an ordinary star at the edge of a typical galaxy in an ordinary part of space and time, and essentially our existence is without meaning, or you have to perform one of those existential pas de deux where you confirm meaning—one of these postmodern soft shoes.

But if I’m right that the universe has an appetite for novelty, then we are the apple of its eye. Suddenly cosmic purpose is restored to us. People matter, you are the cutting edge of a thirteen-billion-year-old process of defining novelty. Your acts matter, your thoughts matter.

Your purpose? To add to the complexity.

Your enemy? Disorder, entropy, stupidity, and tastelessness.

Suddenly you have a morality, you have an ethical arrow, you have contextualization in the processes of nature, you have meaning. You have authenticity, you have hope. You have the cancellation of existentialism and positivism and all that late-twentieth-century crapola.…”

The ignored metanarrative is neither intelligent design nor an existential algorithm; it is intelligence and design—process and reality—sans human parameters or extrinsic deities. This, once again, is the science of Aristotle, Kepler, and Newton.

Later in our conversation, Jeff mentioned dark matter and dark energy, which, he added, are just words for events occupying more than ninety percent of the universe. “How,” he said, “can anyone believe they have a complete description when it is missing most of the universe. We don’t know what’s there. It might take a complete paradigm shift to get at it.” He cited the Hubble Telescope as permitting the refined measurements that led to the specification of dark energy, an orbiting observatory that he himself helped to repair during his time at NASA.

 

So, if someone’s universe must arise in the middle of nowhere for no reason, the issue becomes which “nowhere” and what “no reason”—of what prerequisites or sine qua non? The Algorithm needs principles of design; else why make anything out of no thing? There is at least one intrusive intelligence: its own quantitative depth, through the mask of which absolute qualitative complexity is viewed by creatures who are complex enough to perceive a hegemony masking each thing that is more complex, e.g., the intrinsic depth of their own mindedness and freedom.

If you come at quantum physics not by way of entropy or through legal briefs from Plato to Newton, but by the route from 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 enter you do. The backdoor is Intrinsic Nature, implicate nonseparability of cause and effect, multiplicity of causes that combine in shapes, differential equations, functional integrations, noncausal correlations.

Pawnee, Ojibwa, Dogon, Zulu, Yahgan, and Mandinka philosophers encountered different paradoxes. They used their mindedness to reflect gods that, to post-modern empiricists, don’t exist. But that doesn’t mean that modernity’s mirror went flat and there was nothing there. I don’t think it’s possible for a differentiating eddy to form in the middle of nowhere from mere thermodynamic effects without root or basis.

Instead of taking place in the middle of nowhere for no reason, the Apache universe begins with space indistinguishable from time where “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 consciousness’ statement about itself: a dead reckoning of where we are amid All That Is, and what we are.

Whether mind can form from a dynamic disequilibrium of billiard-ball effects—whether life or a universe can arise for solely thermodynamic reasons—is simultaneously an epistemological and ontological question because the two converge and become a single view. Where the ontological issue collides with its epistemological response and both engage another, teleological riddle, every option and interpretation generates countless others at a deeper level. The Buddhist ground luminosity does not oppose the Big Bang or Darwinian evolution; it melds them in a proprioception that is cognizant of our subjective, cosmological role in a universe we view through our own existence. There can’t be a thermodynamic reason or disposition without an ontological and epistemological counterpoint.

Mind ends up grasping the fundamental nature of a vast starry universe and its intricately tatted atomic carpet, as well as its own situation within that eddy, not because the algorithm has gone ape and a hundred monkeys typing away on their hopscotch machines found nirvana and consciousness but because it is expressing its innate essential nature.

Does Sid not think that the universe is complicated enough to handle his implied contradictions and still run the algorithmic machinery that gives rise to them? Couldn’t All That Is be considerably more complex than All That is Materially Manifesting? If so, Sid’s checklist of absurdities and paradoxes define the universe’s complexity as well as the limitations inherent in our view. In dumbing down the universe, he assumes that it is less complex than it is. bottoming out short of its actual ground. But it is the universe he is trying to outdebate.

More to the point, he is bottoming himself out short, trying to reduce his intellectual summary of a vivid experience to what it would be as a random assortment of molecules recording their own hallucinations while identifying with them. But the goal is to bottom out everything—no exclusions, no consignments to a catchall magician who can make anything out of anything else. The universe is not stupid; it is tighter than that, and bottoming it out for real is as tough as the most advanced yoga asana.

The downside to stringent materialism is that you are forced to live in a universe that is less complex and rogue than it actually is or than you are. The actual universe is as smart as the most elusive riddle floating just beyond your comprehension—and then some. The universe is as complicated as the most intricate multidimensional hologram you can imagine and barely hold in your brain; it is as complicated only as our own differentiation from the core matrix—and in the same mysterious, unknown way.

It is not just that scientists model a universe dumber than themselves and excluding their own poignancy. It is that its barren speaks to only one thing: no core here, no core here—and no attention to the fact that something is missing, no sense even of what “core” is or that things as poignancy, love, compassion, and wonder actually exist.

It is a landscape of peripheries, bottoming out politically in Brexit and Trumpism, because its progressive element has lost the reality it is flouting. As Ellias Lonsdale proposed (July 2017), “At some in the history of existence, we will fathom what’s going on now; it makes no sense. Some bizarre twist has been put on things—and who can track it, who can make it congruent again?”

The people voted; scam or not, so there’s no other choice. Faced with the dead-end of matter, money, property, and desire, they chose free enterprise and Wal-Martism.

Trumpism is a meta-political opiate of unexamined materialism; we cannot see the politics, as the man himself cannot see the planet. They do not exist—that’s the starting point, and how we bring ourselves back. We need a different view, and only a blind man can see it or, more accurately, reveal to us that we are as blind as he. Yeats hit the nail, “The falcon cannot hear the falconer…. / The best lack all conviction, while the worst / Are full of passionate intensity.”

We are inside something so complex that an aspect of its complexity is that we are both conscious of it and inside it. Without that paradox, the universe would be hard-put to sustain its own reality.

Scientism has led us down the rabbit hole, at the cost of science and sanity.

Ask the universe what’s going on. Don’t tell the universe what it’s doing. Ask it! There is no downside. We are doing it anyway all the time.

Bottom out your own latency.

 

Multipersonhood

The theory of Multipersonhood could have come to Earth from Mars or the Pleiades for its disparity from most belief systems. The proposition was systematized by John Friedlander from a model developed by Jane Roberts through her channeling of Seth, a higher dimensional configuation.

In the early seventies, John studied with Berkeley Psychic Institute founder Lewis Bostwick, a spiritual teacher who integrated Hindu, Buddhist, theosophical, and shamanic methods with techniques from the human-potential movement.

Afterwards, John joined the Ithaca (New York) group receiving Roberts’ channelings, which put a Sethian spin on his emerging system. He studied with lamas and psychics, and integrated their guided-visualization and energy techniques, received the direct transmission of Amma (Mata Amritanandamayi), the hugging saint.

In general, John translated the theosophical thread of Helen Blavatsky, C. W. Ledbetter, Annie Besant, and Alice Bailey through later systems. Theosophists viewed the cosmos through subconscious Victorian biases and a cultural filter, limiting the range permissible. Blavatsky, Ledbetter, and crew captured the metaphysical essence of a transmission that went back before the Vedas in India, aspects of which apparently eluded its Hindu and Buddhist originators, but its intergalactic and meta-dimensional potential didn’t fit their world-view—Philip K. Dick could have flown a UFO across Nicholas Nickleby.

By combining the matrix of chakras, aura, and planes of consciousness, a Sethian perspective, and Dzogchen Buddhist practices, John came up with a hybrid system. Think of theosophy itself as string theory. John’s version is a more direct glimpse of multiverse that led mathematicians to induce such a topology.

It doesn’t hurt that John also trained at Harvard Law School and practiced the legal art for almost two decades.

 

Most people experience flashes of inexplicable déjà vu, odd premonitions about particular individuals, images and feelings that flit through their minds and evaporate the moment they try to grasp or place them. “Each of us 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]

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, clouds of information—faces and moods, wisps and fragments of “something else”—flit by. They lack context; their intaglios come and go too quickly to grasp and identify. Or we grasp them but can’t hold them because nothing frames them. 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]

The mysterious, otherworldly vastness is inherent in our greater soul nature, the residue of our archetypal and collective existence, and is processed not by the brain but the aura and subtler organs— the brain was not designed evolutionarily for such a task.

Multipersonhood is an umbrella term for the concept that each of us is part of a greater entity of which our present egoic identity, while exclusively and temporally real to itself, is a refraction inside a multidimensional form, which continues to explore, expand, and differentiate its experiences at multiple tiers of consciousness and unconsciousness. Most people know themselves in isolation, not as consciousness in collaboration with other consciousness. “The known self,” explains Jane Roberts, “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.”

Time itself is a frequency, an energy of which we are particles, “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]

“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….” [21] Our beingness “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]

Much as we access former selves within a lifetime through our fading memories of them, we access other selves from separate dimensions and lifetimes even more faintly through more veils, and usually not as what they are, only as what we are. Sub-entities in Multipersonhood include:

  • Other human beings linked to oneself in collective Souls or Group Souls across lifetimes at higher and more highly integrative levels.
  • Meta-galactic and/or interdimensional Group Souls and consortiums of Atmans;
  • Consciousnesses in higher dimensions.
  • Parallel intelligences that are not fully anthropomorphic and appear in this plane at other frequencies. Psychoids like undines, sylphs, leprechauns, angels, fire salamanders, and the like require our own projections onto them to express their autonomous existence in this world.
  • Other meta-biological vibrations of personalized energy fields like cryptozooids (yetis, sea “monsters,” E.T.’s).
  • One-celled mites that breed in droplets of water and ponds and participate in biological fields that meld with ours. They “are not simply minute, handy, unseen particles that happen to compose your organs. They also possess consciousnesses of their own. That [kind of] consciousness unites all physical matter.” [480] It not only connects us to putative life forms on Ceres, Callisto, and Enceladus but connects them to each other—even mundanely, as precursors of amino acids travel between worlds on meteors and comets. Each unit participates in Multipersonhood much as cells independently collaborate in our creature existence.
  • Differently vibrating intelligences like plants and stones. Animate or inanimate is irrelevant: everything in the physical realm is atomic, and all atoms are incipiently sentient.
  • Zooids, plants, and crystals on other worlds.
  • Orbs like the Earth itself and the Sun. A Multipersonhood is not sociable gathering. Is the Sun well-disposed toward us? Who knows! Its state of consciousness is at such a higher frequency than ours as to make geniality irrelevant. The Sun supports our life (and death) every moment with generosity, neutrality, and empathy beyond anything we know—yet it itself is no more or less autonomous than a beetle.
  • Past, future, and probable selves, in this lifetime as well as others.

Sentient beings throughout All That Is form an evolving, psychically linked unity. There is no such thing as an independent organism. Every creature is a collaboration. Though each person or creature is centered in and solely experiencing himself/itself as that, at the same time, he/she is “fully engaged as that consciousness knowing itself simultaneously as each of the others…. [] You are unconsciously aware of the experiences of ‘your’ counterparts, as they are of yours,” Seth adds, “and you use that information to round out your own.” [472]

Imagine the psychic mass-potential of all those meteors, asteroids, and planets throughout the cosmos on the physical plane alone—the vast, unconscious mind of stone. Consider the countless galaxies and suns in the mapped universe with their trillions of planets. We are tucked in a 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 and civilizations boggles the imagination. Not only does our specklet of brainstuff grasp that such a thing is happening, but these various forms of consciousnesses are already vibrating in it and bound karmically.

Interdependence is universal. No life form can exist on its own outside its ecosystem without creatures in the biosphere participating with and sustaining it, e.g., even the plants and animals it consumes and the symbiotic bacteria in its gut that digest them. Every organism is made up of once free-living cells, each of which maintains its own vibration of intelligence and lineage. Each cell is a composite of autonomous free-living organelles that conduct its metabolism. Paradoxically as we assimilate the greater unconscious universe, we individuate and become more intrinsically and discretely ourselves, pulling along our component atoms, molecules, and cells, which still remain autonomous, independent and evolving within their own spheres. [103] Seth says—and this would hold for much of a Multipersonhood: “They are conscious in a different fashion. There is no need to … think of them as little people, but each of them possesses a highly focused consciousness, and a consciousness of self. You like to think that only your species possesses an awareness of its own selfhood. There are different kinds of selfhood, and an infinite variety of ways to experience self-awareness.” [530] This is something to reflect on when I discuss personal identity.

Members of our Multipersonhood are channeling one another intelligently as peers at their own capacity and according to each karmic status. Each is attuned to its greater constellation. These meta-galactic, meta-dimensional memberships and affiliations receive and send, interpret and transmit information and meaningfulness throughout All That Is, providing density and heft to one another’s beingness and some of their abilities, desires, and true nature. Each of these entities or its aura, while resonating at its own frequency, is vibrating in others’ fields grossly or subtly and at different tones of duration and pulsation—and we know them intimately without knowing them at all.

In a universe operating at multiple levels simultaneously, we are sustained and guided by beings of which we have no awareness, and likewise support many beings without knowing consciously of their existence. We are continuously investigating and interrogating one another’s experiences and integrating them with our own. At the same time, other beings and entities are experiencing our waves and expressing themselves and their beingness through them. They know and suspect and individuate us as we individuate them.

Even an Alzheimer’s patient retains his or her essential identity—likewise we retain our cosmic identity without consciously knowing it or recalling any of its events.

Seth 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 actualize some of these and call them physical…. We choose physical events…from all the pre-perceptions of which the unconscious is aware.”

Australian Aborigines read this cosmology in the Outback as a Dreamtime: rocks, waterholes, and sand dunes were other phases of echidnas, snakes, kangaroos, and emus in another aspect or probability of its Multipersonhood —“a conceptual continuum of partially interconnected dimensions…clumps of meaning as temporal expressions of a nonlocal, timeless superconsciousness.” [259]

We may not even perceive an entity’s primary identity or mode of existence, for what may be a dolphin or a squirrel to us may be a dream body, one of many dream bodies, of a creature elsewhere. Sea mammals may be higher intelligences dreaming in Earth density, interacting with our reality by Astral transposition within their own Multipersonhood. Yetis may also be dimensional shape-shifters with telekinetic manifestations that deposit hair.

The body of each lifeform is the present state of an unconscious mind, the unconscious mind of the universe as well as the unconscious mind of its constellation. An insect or mollusk is wise in shape and behavior, as it transfers its subtle body into matter. Its actual intelligence lies elsewhere, but resides in its organs and instincts. Look at a bee or mouse. Watch Multipersonhood operate!

We don’t have to know, and can’t, how much of our experience at any moment is our own pure beingness and how much is the effects of “Others” in our Multipersonhood evolving in their own tapestries. And we cannot establish their reality by efforting in what we imagine to be their direction.

A given crow, on a telephone 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 and you are noticing it. Or not. At the heart of the universe it doesn’t matter. Nothing is incidental just as everything is only incidental. After all, there are a lot of crows and beetles to account for.

We find our partners and their information by not by looking for them, in our own individuation, but by having faith in our own and their reality, by accepting their input and succor at every moment. After all, you and that crow, or that chipmunk darting out of its burrow and back, exchange a dab of etheric energy, which is unquantifiable anyway, and a brief harmony of Astral and Causal Vibrations, and perhaps higher, and are in unity consciousness anyway, like electricity identifying with itself, flowing into itself, accruing itself. It sounds fantastic, but it’s syllogistic.

Buddhist Tonglen provides a formula. 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—everywhere. Breathe out an intention of healing, of comfort—seeds of transformation to those in need. It doesn’t work like a forest fire, it works like a butterfly’s wings.

 

One can begin to understand Multipersonhood in the nesting of one’s own life phases. From infancy through childhood, adolescence, and adult years, we are not the same person, yet have a special relationship to 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….

“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]

The person who began reading this paragraph, who used to be you, is gone forever. The person who began writing this sentence is an artifact too. So, what is the “I” that exists and where is “I” going in its trajectory? The pebble of consciousness merely drops again and again into the pond of reality, sending its ripples through time.

Past and probable lives are no more real (or unreal) than any lifetime in relation to ego existence, which explores all its other actualized and probable existences.

If alternate existences potentiated by a life play out as realities, it would have to be in different universes that intersect ours along transdimensional strings: psychic wormholes. Each purely or unexperienced event, each path not taken, as long as it has karmic potential, would then get expressed somewhere at its degree of partial realization. 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….” These 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] 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 or the rise of the Third Reich in Germany—they are “endlessly growing out of the medium of the system itself,” creating a greater meta-reality. But this is only because they are all mirages, explorations of the gist of its own reality by a universe that is conscious and unconscious both.

The inhabitants of each probable world remain unaware of their “neighbors,” even those with identical dilemmas 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 herself “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]

“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 their outcomes interact with those of other creatures, both in one’s immediate realm and in other realms. [183-184]

“Each self is 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 ghosts of future selves, 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]

“The psyche contains within it other programs than the one in which you are acting—other plots, environments, and world situations.” If you truly and absolutely want we can change this reality or walk out of it into another one because “each of your thoughts and actions exist not only in the manner with which you are familiar with them, but also in many other forms that you do not perceive: forms that may appear as natural events in a different dimension than your own, as dream images, and even as self-propelling energy. No energy is ever lost. The energy within your own thoughts, then, does not dissipate even when you yourself have finished with them. Their energy has reality in other worlds….” [357-358]

 

The universe is a coalescence of interdependent consciousnesses arising from and giving rise to one another. Cell Life becomes Soul Life. Soul becomes Cell. Each entity receives information from a general configuration of intelligence according to his or her own attunement to it as well as the field status and context of the information itself. The universe functions like hologram with every portion of it enfolded into the whole. All knowledge and beingness supports all other knowledge and beingness. No entity would exist or could exist if it were not created and supported by the greater field of transpersonal consciousness everywhere. 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 means of accessing essential shared identity and entanglement, that “all information is available at all locations within the universe.” [172] Like consciousness, it is self-authenticating, and its meaning is always both relative and absolute.

You don’t even need a metaphysical perspective to intuit this; philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre dead-reckoned it in France 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 million 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]

Clerics and knights of the Middle Ages existed on their own terms too, in coexistence with God without a glimmer of the coming Darwinian revolution or emerging Dzogchen Buddhism to the east. It didn’t matter. It still doesn’t matter. Universe speaks for itself at every moment in every vestibule, collapses its own wave function in every ocean, on every tundra.

 

Like lamas who reincarnate in multiple individuals within the same lifetime, separate members of a psychic constellation do not have to feel affinity or harmonize with one another. They can be enemies, rivals, predator and prey, infantrymen in opposing armies, competitors for the same romantic partner—or romantic partners. Opposition is what supplies source entityhood with comprehensive knowledge about the universe and assists its becoming whole. The apparent raison behind personhood and individuality is to give the universe portals into landscapes, some of them so tragic and painful as to have been repressed for eternity. Life, death, and the incarnation of personhood provide platforms for excavating these views and adding wisdom to All That Is.

Murderers, rapists, soldiers, and their victims exchange Soul information and meanings like the Golgi bodies, mitochondria, and other organelles recruited into a primordial cell.

When an eagle descends from on high and rips a prairie dog off the ground short of its burrow, there is a blood price and suffering but, insofar as both entities are in partial dream bodies, attuned to other fields, it is not irreconcilable and not an obliteration of the prairie dog’s potential for future happiness, beingness, or spiritual growth. Both creatures “understand the nature of the life-energy they share, and are not—in those terms—jealous for their own individuality.” [665] They will work the matter out in the vastness of All That Is. They will find joy again and will lose their mortality in acts of predation. There is intimacy and value in absorbing the Physical-Etheric field of another.

The cat tormenting the mouse is playing with the universe, as is the mouse. They are teaching the universe how to suffer—how it already suffers but doesn’t know why. They couldn’t be teaching the universe unless the universe were teaching them precisely the same thing. Conversely, the tiger that adopts an orphaned lamb into her litter, the wolf cub that chooses a rabbit as a playmate, is expressing Multipersonhood. The lion does eventually lie down with the lamb.

 

Multipersonhoods include composite entities of thousands of individuals and personhoods with all their separate, interdependent intelligences. These then comprise Souls and Group Souls that have completed not only one but many incarnations and cycles of incarnation on one or more worlds and have chosen to constellate and process their collective experience and wisdom and transmit it in  superconscious streams or signals. They include “Seth,” “Michael,” “the Pleiadian Council,” and “Kryon.” Transmissions from these entities to beings on Earth usually come via a medium, unaware of what he or she is conveying.

If a source identifies itself as Seth or Abraham or Jesus, is that as reliable as the postman or bartender introducing himself, known consistently to himself 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? How does its transmission transcend space-time as well as the limits imposed by the speed of light?

In order to speak to one or more of us, does a collective spirit halt another activity, or is it always available, existing timelessly, on multiple levels simultaneously? I think the latter is the case. There is constant ongoing collaboration between unknown source intelligences and subliminal receiving ones.

 

When an entity calling itself Seth manifested to Jane Roberts in the early 1970s, 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 any but one, node of its own diverse and manifold self-identification. When presented with the entry probe of Roberts’ personality as well as the frequency of her intelligence and placement in Earth history, it attuned itself—reformatted as it were—and took on an alias with a 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 greeting for the Earth-entrained aspect of the larger field’s collective persona: its combined vortex of transmittable knowledge. It was a facet that could be assimilated by her own ego’s configuration. An unimaginably vast complexity packaged information that serendipitously matched Jane’s own vibration. When she channeled Seth, she was in effect channeling an 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, was the external channeled personality (“Seth”) distinct from the recipient (Jane) or latent in Jane’s psyche? Multipersonhood gives us a framework.

Jane was becoming Seth, or already had become Seth in another probability or future state, thus was simply contacting or emanating a dormant, evolving aspect of herself. [51] Seth was a future self of hers not only broadcasting to her present identity but pulling her toward a constellation of which “plain Jane” was already part. As Seth manifested to Jane, she was, at another level of her beingness, returning from a future incarnation to address Jane 1970. That was how the frequency of their energies matched: an extrinsic personality was germinating information meta-Jane already knew. When (and if) another person (not Jane) channels the Sethian Multipersonhood, the entity might or might not identify itself as Seth. Or a different Multipersonhood might mistakenly be identified by the recipient as “Seth”—the identification being a conflation.

Jane addresses this matter this way, “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 contributes: “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 “offshoots of the same entity.” [60]

On receiving her downloads 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 point of attunement. The signal itself was direct and present as if nothing was happening. Channeling is not listening; it is transmission without listening.

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 is one of many cosmic encryptions, and it has an intelligible 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,” Seth explained, is a Sumari word for Multipersonhood.)

The cordella intersected Jane as not only 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]. Each is an alias with an esoteric relationship to Seth. If this seems problematic, take in the starry universe on the next clear, moonless night: does it look navigable by parochial names?

Finally, Seth 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].

In terms of our own ego realities, Seth is a multidimensional consciousness reflected through Jane’s psyche as well as a representational personification of what a Multipersonhood might feel like to an ordinary person. [106] Seth says, “I am what I call a bridge personality, composed of a composite self—Ruburt [his transgender name for Jane] and I meeting to form a personality that is not truly either of us, but a new ones that exists between dimensions. Beyond that is my reality identity…. [NPR 338]

The being for which Seth is Jane’s (and our) tag 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]. Seth addressed matter (April 17, 1973/January 29, 1974) in two speeches to Jane’s classes:

“So I ask you: ‘What is your name, each of you? My name is nameless. I have no name. I give you the name of Seth because it is a name and you want names…. You believe that you cannot speak to me unless I have a name, so I am Seth. I told Ruburt from our earliest sessions that he could call me Seth. I never said, ‘My name is Seth…..’

“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 wonderful, isn’t it? The universe is running so close to our beingness, our beingness arising taut to it, that we do not experience our true heft beyond our fragile beingness or how vast and neutral our situation. A god is waiting to be born, waiting for you to act and breathe existence into him so that he can breathe it into you.

 

                           Shadows, Traces, and Mementos

Everyone remembers past lives, or remembers something not of this world and time. Everyone has the sort of transpersonal remembrances that James Leininger did, though usually not as vividly. A turtle emerging from an egg heads for water, a baby mole flees the shadow of a predator but not that of a cloud, a cub conducts the ritual asanas of the hunt, and an eleven-year old guitar prodigy plays “Eruption” like Eddie Van Halen at a Steel Panther concert in Kansas City. We each recall something from before birth or, more accurately, have a sense of our context and plan, how we are situated in Creation within our own naked beingness. Even if the connection of selfhood to something prior fades away, its unconscious sway sustains its hold and sculpts a lifetime.

For a few people, bits of this become foreground and play out as memories of past lives. Most, however, “remember” the root of their own existence as background: faint, obscure, profound, haunting, elusive, familiar. When James Leininger recalled elements of a past life, it was, avers Seth 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] “The identity of each living person is always ‘brand new….’ A portion of you has lived many lives upon this planet, but the ‘you’ that you know is freshly here, and will never again encounter space and time in precisely the same way…. The soul, or…greater personage, does not simply send out an old self in new clothes time and time again…. Yet [the self’s] rich psychic heritage connects it through memory and experience to those who will ‘come after.’ Or those who have ‘gone before….’” [472-473]

Ryan in Tulsa has Marty Martin’s predilections, intuition, moral growth, and basic orientation to events. His cells, visceral organs, and brain are new. His overall shape is 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 scalar representation of its essence. A Buddhist homily puts it this way: “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.”

 

I 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 presence of something else, the basis for my own being, though I couldn’t identify what it was. I lost this vista entirely by age four.

I could also, according to my parents, point to every car and identify it correctly: Studebaker, Olds, “Bluick, Cadiack.” Not only is this a skill I don’t retain—I can’t tell a Toyota from a Honda, or a Hummer from a fancy Jeep—I lost this ability by age four.

My grandson Hopper at three told my daughter Miranda that he remembered when she and her husband Mike saw each other as children, logistically possible since they did briefly both live for a spell in the Oakland-Berkeley area. He also told her that he had already been to a restaurant at which they were dining for the first time, and had seen cowboys there, not a character type she remembered him knowing about. 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 might name itself for a child still trying to locate himself in space and time. To Hopper the “olden time” was obvious because he experienced it. For the same reason, James Leininger’s reaction to the adults not knowing who shot down his plane was “the Japanese, dummy!” Who met him in “heaven” after death was his experience of a phenomenology so fundamental that it did not need explanation. It was like saying, “I am.”

At five, Hopper had a tantrum, tearing up toilet paper and then bringing Miranda in to look at the mess. “What’s happening to you?” she asked.

“I think something’s bothering me, but I don’t know if it’s past or happening right now or going to happen.”

 

When psychic medium Sali Crow did an impromptu spirit reading for me in Montpelier, Vermont (August 22, 2016), she began by inviting any disembodied being who wanted to come in peace, love, and healing. Then she announced that she didn’t have to summon anyone because a woman had been seated beside me the whole time. As she proceeded to channel the entity, her lips moved while she remained silent. After each distinct such exchange, she tried to articulate what she had received: a medley of the spirit’s thoughtforms, words, and images. In this process, she brought forth a completely credible form of my mother, who had committed suicide by jumping from her window in New York City almost forty-two years earlier.

Sali relayed numerous specific, accurate facts from my mother’s life, for instance that she was sent away to a boarding school from age twelve till fourteen. More profoundly she captured my mother’s personality, style, and sense of herself. The “ghost” filled in unknown details of my mother’s life and spoke of events that had occurred since her death.

Though I had started out with ordinary skepticism, the spirit of my mother was too profound and compelling to dismiss. I integrated it emotionally, though it didn’t change that my mother’s former thread as much as create a separate thread, that of my mother’s ghost, to which I gave its own identity. My memory of my mother shifted slightly, but she remained essentially the woman she had been. An internalized version of my mother shifted more substantially. Meanwhile the fusion of my mother and the spirit with whom Sali’s conversed took on its own identity.

The ghost then did a heroic job of attempting to reconcile my mother with me. That act transcended any other ontological issue, as an unknowable truth bottomed out before the universe supporting me did.

The same questions apply here as with James Huston? Was my mother’s spirit or soul continuing to exist in a form that recognized itself as itself and had cognizance of her own recent lifetime and events in this world after she died, or was it something else?

The spirit could have been my own internalization of my mother read telepathically by Sali and fused with Sali’s own personality. If Sali is telepathic, she could read images inside my aura and created a satisfactory version of anyone with whom I shared emotional intensity. Perhaps information was deposited in my aura by my mother’s aura when she was alive. The thread of our relationship, existing over multiple manifestations and timeless time would be accessible to a spirit reader without requiring my mother’s actual contemporaneous beingness.

Sali could also consult other disembodied intelligences and guides familiar with my mother and her soul picture and bolster her reading with their dispatches.

Sali could also have performed an autonomous reading of my mother’s data-chip like in the Akashic records. “Akasha” is a 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 timeless time like a higher-dimensional recording layer of the cosmos, absorbing everything like a “kinetic depth” memory as large as the physical universe itself in its full space-time continuum.

If Sali were reconstructing my mother from my aura or from Akashic records, she could access information in the way a novelist creating a character based on a real one does. An actress in a play likewise fuses with the vibration of her character and create another so similar to her that it passes as an alias.

Conversely, how did my mother’s spirit find me and Sali? Sali says that ordinary people are like candles, while necromancers are like lighthouses, and spirits are drawn to them in the company of people they wish to contact.

The “beloved dead” can only touch physical reality in 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 moved it, spirit telekinesis is a possibility—displacement by quantum entanglement.

Later, Sali clarified, “Spirits of our beloved dead do not watch over our every move; they could care less whether we floss or not; they have other things to do. And most spirits have more than one living person they are watching over. What they track is our evolution, the color of our flame.”

The collective disembodied informational field imprinted by my mother’s life pattern was made available telepathically in my presence. My mother herself, an entity who was once Martha Rothkrug and continues in some fashion to know itself as itself, would have differentiated into multiple other states, each growing and learning and evolving, though not in Montpelier, Vermont. The thoughtform Sali evoked was a piece left behind, meaningful in that it could communicate to me and develop aspects of our relationship. But those were likely latent and unexpressed when my mother was alive.

As a static thoughtform, the spirit was incapable of new action or interaction. If truly aligned with my mother’s identity and current time, it might say, “I know that I have been dead for forty-two years and that I committed suicide. Yet I have followed, and I have an experience of your life.”

A thoughtform can’t do that; it can only repeat the same notes like a Beethoven symphony or aria. A performer can add verve, but the song itself cannot change.

So, it was not my mother as such; it was a thoughtform playing vested notes, though it stood in a rich and complex relationship to her and me.

It is not my memory, or the reality of a woman born Martha Rothkrug, or even my own reality that locates me, because all of these will gradually be dispersed and forgotten. It is something more profound, uncertain, and unidentifiable.

I don’t believe that past-life memories are “mere” clairvoyant signals or information bundles travelling 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. I think there are elements of both.

Only my mother knows her own reality, and even “she” must vie with post-death amnesia, elision of mind-body continuity—post-mortem loss of specificity and context. She may not fully recognize her own identity, let alone those of others. That may be why Sali moved her lips without speaking—she wasn’t taking dictation; she was reading a vibration not entirely aware of its own existence or the information it was conveying.

Subjective phenomenological aspects are always impenetrable to objective inquest. We cannot experience other creatures’ internal-validation networks.

Who was my mother as opposed to my internalization of her?

Sali couldn’t create a character who wasn’t an internalization of someone else’s identity: mine, hers, or both of ours.

We likewise can’t make a persona, ours or someone else’s that isn’t a projection; in the case of someone else, a projection we create together. The core being who recognizes its own existence lies deep beyond all such projections. James Leininger and James Huston may well arise from different cores that became entangled at the level of projections, however one might understand or explain that. James Huston’s core can move on and be elsewhere, while its projection into “James Huston” remains at the frequency of physical reality at which we manifest.

If everyone is matching the same picture, generating our collective hallucination, then everyone is also implicated in creating everyone else!

 

A woman I know had a conviction that a ninety-five-year-old lady she befriended at an assisted-living facility returned two days after her death, as promised, in the alias of a dragonfly, her favorite animal, 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 unmistakable sign of her mentor’s continued existence.

But “dragonfly validation,” albeit theatrical, 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 resolution. We have no way to determine if Virginia Tighe was Bridey Murphy, let alone if the “Ms. Murphy” of Ms. Tighe’s trance lived on the Earth and in the Ireland of Bernstein’s regressions, for there is no psychic Google Earth, no chronology or topo-map for outlier plateaus and highlands of All That Is, no dedicated thread to track dimensionalities from zone to zone.

The mind’s interiorization and the world’s exteriorization do not come together in unified topological fields. Physics can’t map both on the same grid. When the Big Bang took place, what was on its outside, if anything? You cannot read the locality of a bunion if you are in it.

Consider the moving point of consciousness being on which you zip through the waters of your own reality. Maybe you are traveling through an eleven-dimensional hypersphere, to pick a number at large, for which you lack coordinates—husk, abscissas, axis, and pretty much every other Cartesian reference point. You can’t locate anything with certainty, even how you know that you have a position and exist beyond a hallucination and a mirage. Bridey Murphy could have lived in an alternate Earth-like locale akin to psychonaut Robert Monroe’s “third space.”

Woman-to-dragonfly mapping is beyond our range in every sense: physical, psychological, spiritual, ontological, etymological, epistemological. We don’t know what the old woman herself experienced, or conducted, whether it was an intentional connection that knew itself as itself as a dragonfly—or whether the dragonfly was a rune arising from the deeper synchronicity of cascading forms. Perhaps a meta-dimensional spiral launched a dragonfly-like manifestation, a bona fide entomological bug hitched to the greater flow of information and nonlocal consciousness across the universe. Perhaps the dragonfly was a collective hallucination like a crowd in a village square sighting a UFO.

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

Journalist Tom Shroder concluded 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]

Ostensible past-life memories, whether self-recognizing realities or readings of transpersonal fields, are clues to how the universe is constructed and how personhood is positioned within it. What is at stake is a personal identity that remembers itself as itself.

Personal Identity

The Space-Time Continuum

Personal identity differs from consciousness in that it recognizes itself as itself while consciousness also runs on autopilot without ego awareness. Internal systemic monitoring is not personal identity. Personal identity, even in a worm, puts that game-changing curve on reality. As a primary valence, it may even bottom out with All That Is, defining “is” in the way that words proposing “is” bottom out the meaning set proposed. Personal identity is what makes consciousness conscious. It is how the universe bubbles into seeing itself.

Each being is on its own recognizance.

Think about how unusual personality identity is, especially entering a circumstance in which it didn’t already exist. It creates its own portal: us’um. It requires any entity to know and serve itself as itself. Without personal identity, consciousness would remain an abstract force in a universe that never became discretely or individually aware.

There is no universe without personal identity. It’s not just that—it’s that no entity could exist in any universe unless it was rooted at that universe. Science says that personal identity always came later. Personal identity says, “No, I knew myself as myself at the beginning”—whatever that means in a situation without beginning or end. Selfhood was potentiated before the universe, with the universe. It takes personal identity to do science.

The universe, not you, sets the terms for yourself. It may be your personal identity, but All That Is sets the terms for you. And the big surprise is not how much but how little turns out to be required, how unremarkably creatures take to it, like proverbial ducks to a pond, including ducks to ponds. Seth says: “The miracle of physical materialization is performed so smoothly and automatically that consciously you are not aware of your part in it….. Nature is created from within.” [NPR, 3, 14, 15]

This confluence of lives and identities, while lived outside of time where it is complete, continues to reinvent itself through novel free-willed, undetermined experiences. It is a paradox. If time doesn’t exist, everything has already happened; yet every moment hangs in the balance. The cosmos is a cliffhanger that has already happened. While moving nowhere faster than the speed of light, it hangs motionless and flows transformatively across itself in an amplituhedron of space-time.

“[W]e experience birth first and death last,” says Jane/Seth, “but this may have little to do with the basic phenomenon involved….” [97] The present is a future life to any past life; likewise, that same present is a past life to any future being who recalls some aspect of it. Not only is James Huston a past life of James Leininger, James Leininger is a future life of James Huston.

Let’s assume that Brian Weiss’ patient Catherine 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, and a Ukranian boy. Catherine herself, and each of these “other” folks—presuming their authenticity as terrestrial (or other) persons—are independent beings—discrete, self-contained, and self-complete and, though psychically related, they are immune from invasion by claims of the others, including their own ostensible past and future selves. But they also share Multipersonhood, which means that their relationships to one another are atemporal and nonlinear.

In a black hole, a billion years is condensed to an instant, yet their essence emerges elsewhere in the universe, a fresh bubbling spring, from the white hole that the black hole forms. Likewise at death, “consciousness is ‘born back’ into the same probable system. [186] Just as when atomic matter disintegrates, space and time lose their frames of reference, we emerge “retaining our individuality and memories…into … a new system of reality.”

Past deaths, however traumatic, have already been integrated and absorbed in the Multipersonhood. Yet paradoxically, to remember a past death while alive is far less daunting than pondering the future death of the current “self” who clings to his/her identity like a life raft in a storm. Even if we subconsciously “remember” future as well as past selves, we don’t recognize them or their stories because we have no terms for dealing with futures flowing backward into a present—no consciousness into which to integrate a multifocal perspective. [56-59] What would it feel like anyway to have a future self of yours show up and declare that you were a past life of his (or hers), already dead? That future self has not yet been created in the physical realm

Jane/Seth adds, “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].

Every act and choice is rife with possibility, as it unfolds from all vectors in dimensions and distributes itself in all directions, ripples forming ripples forming ripples, petals unfurling from petals unfurling from other petals. “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]

In the depths of the Freudian unconscious, beyond Jung’s collective unconscious, converging with Einstein’s space-time continuum at a depth of superstrings, is a transdimensional network of independent intelligences and information systems interdependently fluctuating with one another—a vast Dzogchen-like web of emergent visualizations. That is another way of saying: “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.”

 

The universe knows precisely what is happening, who we are, and the nature of our beingness. Of course it doesn’t—it simply is, which is a more profoundly bottoming-out state. It is trying to pull all of its selves and probabilities into knowledge so that it can awake. Picture the mega-octopus in multidimensional space-time, each of its arms reaching, dipping in syrups, tasting the flavors. At the heart of the “cephalopoidal” reality, there is only timeless exploration of the nature of being, of self and reality. Each of the arms—eight is a metaphor—tastes a different reality. As Seth puts it, “Consciousness is always conscious of itself, and of its validity and integrity, and in those terms there is no unconsciousness.” [UR413]

The struggle between good and evil, predator and prey, is a bare passing façade in the greater crusade of being and nothingness, a grunge universe sputtering beneath an ultimate jubilee. There is no difference between our present state with its capacity for joy and suffering and the state of the universe. We play an indispensable role in our own and the universe’s origination and evolution. While it is creating our reality, we are creating its. Neither can be extracted without the entire universe vanishing. [34] We are because it is. But it is because we are. The paradox goes all the way to the bottom—whatever that turns out to be, whoever we turn out to be when we get there. Sentient beings are the eye of the hurricane from which the universe is emanating, at a place that is both ego-centered and multicentric. All its modes are driven toward par. The system is vast enough 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.

 

Personal Identity: Dreams

In September 2016, while trying to get to sleep, I tried Astral projection, imaging myself outside my body and blending my second chakra with the resonations of the other chakras. Nothing happened, but I did fall asleep. I entered a large rowboat that was supposed to have other passengers and a captain like the one that had just left the shore before it. Instead, the moment I got in and it began moving, I realized I was the only passenger and it was being pulled on a rope by the boat in front of me, the one with passengers. I knew we were going over the falls and I braced myself as my boat bucked. I was outside of it and it was tiny and I was hugging it for dear life as I fell. But I didn’t crash into the water at the bottom. It began to float like a parachute. Everything inside and outside me 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 infinite, but I was the same infinity. I would continue to sail through it, even as it fell away, long after I knew or knew anything.

When scientists turn their instruments on any dab of matter and try to look inside their ’toms and ’cules, they find dissipation of matter, in effect gateways to other realms that are incomprehensibly large and incomprehensibly tiny simultaneously. These generate tautologies, contradictions, and uncertainty states at the core of the thermodynamic triumvirate of space-time-matter.

Science says that consciousness is an incidental, adventitious effect of an algorithm; it is not really conscious of anything, that is, anything real. It is a counting/sorting mechanism simulating what real consciousness—durable veridicality—would act if it existed, but it doesn’t.

The alternative is that consciousness itself is veridical; it arose autonomously, and primordially, at the core and by the nature of the universe. All That Exists—anywhere in any form—is neither mind nor matter but ground luminosity, an interdependent co-arising of mind and matter, like the opening of a Disney movie or the dawn of Narnia. The luminosity is of primordial purity—spontaneous, timeless, ceaseless, ceaselessly self-renewing, innate and extraneous. Its wave fluctuates through any number of successive universes or reality constructs within a multiverse. Its glow appears in contact with everything that arises from it and reflects back to its source, e.g., reflects at all. That is what matter is. The algorithm that runs into it hit merely the broad side of a barn that can’t be missed anyway. Nothing sets the basis for matter but mind contacting this self-arising ground luminosity. This thought-generating glow is far more durable than the photons or electrons it incubates.

Post-Newtonian physics with its uncertainty and self-creating, self-immolating quarks is not the physics of materialism but of a dream, a vibration, a mirage. Materialists know this, of course, but they don’t believe it.

 

Dreams themselves are vibrational trances and hypnagogic shifts that combine biophysical, symbolic, and archetypal information while translating it from one energy state or encryption to another. While sharing information among unconscious, subconscious, and dreaming parts of oneself, dreams blow off neural surplus and redistribute quanta of their load—not because the dreamer unconsciously intends but because energy can’t help but deliver its libidinal charge. Seth 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]

Dream formation incorporates karmic trails of individuals from the dreamer’s Multipersonhood through their manifestations, meaning entities, landscapes, and events from various space-time continua. These get sublimated, transmuted, and converted by Freudian principles, so visitations to other worlds and probability states of oneself get displaced into vaguely familiar scenes or landscapes. When multiple persons become conflated or combined with one another in dreams, it may also be that they are one another, too.

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 North America. A shoreline around which I occasionally walk or drive is nowhere on Earth. Terrestrial thoroughfares that vaguely match its streets are not the streets.

An island in the Pacific lies in a different, vaster ocean.

“This all seems so much like a dream,” a dying woman told her six children—last words. She had been a potato farmer in Aroostook, Maine.

 

Anthropologist Michael Harner explains how spirit guides encountered in other worlds and dimensions on shamanic journeys could be the spirits of plants, animals, ancestors, devas, gods, or people who have died, even spiritual teachers. These gurus do not have to know consciously that they are serving as guides in other states of their being. Their essential beingness is so large they can be many places at once.

Events in waking life may draw a person to his or her nonlocal guide in bodily form too. Harner provides instances of this sort of intersection from the files of his Shamanic Institute. The guides both are and are not the actual historic entities they resemble, and can be presently living people, known or unknown to the paraphysical journeyer.

In one such account, a 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 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 been forced to halt his work because of an incurable illness. Furthermore, he had been suffering from the illness for almost exactly the time period in which the 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 traveller’s Upper World guide. [Cave and Cosmos: Shamanic Encounters with Another Reality (North Atlantic Books, 2013), pp. 150-151].

 

Personal Identity: Death

In the movie Café Society, Woody Allen scripts this exchange: a husband tells his wife he’s not afraid of death, and the wife says, “You’re too stupid to understand the implications.”

His joke has two meanings: one, that the husband is too stupid to realize that his whole existence vanishes for good and he doesn’t get to schmooze—or, in the words of Clint Eastwood (as William Munny in Unforgiven), death takes away everything you have and everything you’re going to have.

The second, my meaning, is that death opens him to the greater range of his soul’s lifetimes. In that sense, death gives you everything you have and everything you are going to have—it brings into focus the various untethered reminiscences that make up the background of your identity and existence. At each temporal death, the Utimate “I” reemerges through the Galactic-Astral veil into a view that was there before its particular ego identity—before the Milky Way as well. Philosopher William Irwin Thompson told me one day at lunch, “I think of Soul as the fractal monad of the Divine Consciousness. Sri Aurobindo’s ‘Psychic Being’ is the sum of all our incarnations.”

An ego-identified life seems short, as even a Big Bang universe does—anything less than eternity is short. For the particular personality, the universe goes black, but the personality was only a form of the Soul. It is absorbed back with its essence of being. As egoic pieces fly apart, they retain essential integrity and entanglement and, as John Friedlander posits, at least one of them continues to know itself as itself—as who it was in the last incarnation. Neither the knowing nor the life is lost; they have a prior reality. You can annihilate everything except View itself.

This is where alchemy is the senior science to chemistry. In alchemy, chemicals are archetypes as well as elements—and you can’t destroy archetypes, you can only transmute or transubstantiate them. You can’t destroy anything real. It transfers, along with what made it real or seem real, into its next phase. In fact, it is already located there.

 

As is, psychologists differ on the nature and source of personal identity. Despite the rejection of Freudian ontology as outmoded, it is generally repackaged and used as an explanation for us, for the human ego. Where primal biological energy, the id, contacts the world, an ego is formed, while the culture into which that ego emerges imposes its own symbolic realm of strictures and taboos on it as a kind of super or collective ego.

In a modern version, the ego contacts reality from the depth of its own protean feelings and shapes an identity. Either way, a genetic, genealogical thread is incorporated in the ego and determines the nature of the individual from its familial context.

In a more transpersonal version, what contacts reality through feelings is not just the biological rubric of a genetic thread and species template but archetypes, soul presence, and interdependent existence. In that sense, what is personal identity except instances or beingnesses of higher-frequencied vibrations? Each is unique, as the materialists aver. Likewise, at death, personality identity is gone forever. But what contacted the biological stream and put its karmic stamp on the id, a set of feelings, a DNA template, and an emergent ego is the greater Being outside of the space-time continuum. As Shunryu Suzuki noted, The ego ends, but it has its existence eternally.

 

Death encompasses a transfer within a Multipersonhood, as the proximal life melds with a shared narrative. Billions of personae find and match each other’s pictures in a hall of mirrors. Past-life memories can thus reflect entangled states of personhood and information like concurrent scintillations of a multidimensional crystal. The oneness of all beingness oscillates, as do individual group souls and personhoods in their various states of incarnation. In certain instances, others’ live come to seem as real as one’s own, and this is carried into the next lifetime or view. It is not reincarnation but a change of vibration. Immortality is a tautology. Every creature and personhood is already immortal.

Seth refers to these past lives as “inaudibly a part of each held melody [or memory]… unheard variations [that] add silent structure and pacing.” [571]

“Past life” is the wrong answer to the wrong question. Each lifetime always stands in relationship. James Leininger stands in relationship to James Huston.

 

To be any one thing forever would become not only become tedious, it would cause dementia, it would also run out of memory. Yet the barrier between the living and the dead remains the most salient construct of Piscean cosmology. Loss of communication represents an absolute break with something and someone once real. It is a core lesion, for it indicates that existence can be extinguished.

The limited peephole of each lifetime seems profound and absolute—nothing else exists. When a membrance of a past life opens a brief window into our actual vastness, we are startled. For beings cut off from basic reality, any clue in the darkness, a flash of ground luminosity, is paradigmatic, even if the current lifetime washes it out and reimposes itself.

When the dead communicate with the living, they speak in a different language in a different time frame. We can’t distinguish it from the rustling of the wind, a conclave of crows or crickets, or a ringing in our ears. Being recent to our world, they offer an objective perspective on the maelstrom we are generating. They generated it once too. They have information critical to our situation.

Even if we heard the dead’s jabbering, we would not know what they were saying or that it was they. This allows them to scream everything we need and refuse to hear, that we stop our ears and minds against—that we will have to hear someday.

They are telling us what ISIS and 9/11 and climate change are. Our not listening is creating our mirage. In the words of Seth II: “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.”

That is what we are up against.

The spirit forms that govern this Earth plane are plummeting as deep as they can into their own paradoxes and oppositions, trying to bottom out the universe—All That Is—the immanent source of nature itself, the ontological basis and intrinsic disposition of Creation governing its epiphenomenal states.

The jihadist attack on modernity is its attempt to break our narcissistic reflection in the mirror. It eradicates commodities and lives, randomly and ruthlessly, excoriating the death pictures of the capitalist transnational city-state by replacing them with those of its own. Ugly and horrific—but what rock into a seamless mirror isn’t?

Earth’s military budget is its still largest investment, no change from the reptile-ruled Triassic—“May the best militia win!”

Would that the next jihad (or 9/11) fifty or a hundred years from now tip the noosphere from the battle of tribes and species to the brink of a new consciousness. Let it turn every prior apocalyptic jihad into a Rainbow Body with conscious death its calling card.

 

Personal Identity: Immortality

Silicon Valley billionaires don’t want death to interrupt their sprees of wealth and power. Larry Ellison (Oracle), Pierre Omidyar (eBay), Larry Page and Sergey Brin (Google), and Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook) are all said to be funding experimental cryonic freezing for defrosting in a future epoch with a death cure. Since we are created by algorithm, they believe they can use the algorithm’s properties to extend their term. Transhumanists, as they are dubbed, believe that eventually machine intelligence will replicate and surpass human intelligence: Consciousness Singularity, the technocrat’s dream. Some cybernetic scientists set the data expenditure of one brain at about the level of half the world’s current digital storage capacity, but they note that miniaturization, from building-size mainframes to personal cell phones in less than a generation, can expand memory while reducing storage size. They extrapolate forward. When exponential increases in computing power approach a speculative mapping of all the connections in a person’s brain—a Connectome—it can be used to rekindle selfhood. We then transcend our bodies, uploading our minds onto computers.

This presumes that “mind” is solely what the brain is computing—that memory is the same as “being,” and that it is MRI-quantitative. One post-Singularity fantasy is to inject nanobots (nanorobots) into bloodstreams to scan folks’ brains and transmit their electrical patterning wirelessly to hard drives.

Robotic by-pass is predicated on a technology to keep the brain’s holograph intact in such a way that it can 3-D-copied and resurrected with personal identity. Freezing a brain or body for controlled defrosting in a later epoch depends on another hypothetical industry’s capacity to preserve, recover, and reconstruct a mind without fatal damage from frost and thawing, then to reboot it with a conscious sense of its own identity.

Presuming success at these—a big concession—there remain ontological quandaries. A personality that can be copied is not unique. While each clone may have the memory of the original to the point of transfer, it would then accrue a separate subjective reality. One person would fission into “different” people.

Plus, what can you “do” in a world in which “you” are a computer file—certainly not pilates or yoga? All you can do is think and drive yourself nuts.

Putting one’s eggs in the basket of artificial intelligence and cryopreservation combines machine worship with an over-valuation of physical identity. Who needs reincarnation if souls can be transferred between pieces of hardware?

If intrinsic consciousness cannot be captured in a Connectome, reconstruction is of little value. At best, it will produce zombie-like replicas. It will miss cerebral cliques and cavities, let alone the aura and Multipersonhood. It can’t even get at algebraic topology, let alone ground luminosity. It’s just silicon and tin. Immortality doesn’t work.

Every creature already escapes this provisional trance through death and transubstantiation. Mortality prevents eternal servitude or captivity, confinement, and irreversible pathologies. Those who seek to preserve existence are incarcerating themselves. “Death,” writes Jane Roberts, “may be…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]

If reality is a series of intelligently sequenced pavilions, attempts to stay in any one are like trying to preserve a dream: a volte-face of illusion and reality.

It is worth noting that no one will be here anyway when the Sun novas or the Milky Way and Andromeda collide. You may say that these are a long way off, but to develop a device for eternal self-perpetuation that will be immolated by can only be a stalling tactic. Even if members of our species construct ships to get our descendants to a habitable planet in another solar system—an unlikely enterprise—we are up shit’s creek without a paddle anyway when the universe collapses, terminating all business in all galaxies.

Hundreds of billions of years is a long time, but it is not forever.

Long before that, any so-called immortals would be subject to workplace or highway accidents, snake bites, murder, and the like—the daily spinning of those blind goddesses Atropos, Lachesis, and Clotho. The universe doesn’t want us hanging around forever. And the universe is not a dumb squatter—it has a say in the matter.

I am reminded of a couple of slacker dialogues from the movie Suburbia, written by Eric Bogosian, directed by Richard Linklater. You can ride these, if you want, to the bottom of this argument:

Jeff: “Jesus Christ, nothing makes a difference in the first fucking place. Nothing ever changes, man. Fifty years from now, we’re all gonna be dead. And there’ll be new people standing here, drinking beer, eating pizza, bitching and moaning about the price of Oreos and they won’t even know we were ever here, and then fifty years after that, those suckers will be dust and bones, and there’ll be all these generations of suckers trying to figure out what the fuck they’re doing on this fucking planet, and they’ll all be full of shit. It’s all so fucking futile!”

Tim: “If it’s all so fucking futile, what the fuck are you so fucking upset about, fuckhead?”

And then:

Buff: “If I were in his shoes [his and Jeff’s rock-star buddy], every morning I’d get up singing, man. I’d do my workout, take a shower, followed by a hearty breakfast of steak and eggs washed down with a pot of hot coffee and a six-pack of Coors Light. Then I’d order my bodyguard to go find my babe, who would appear decked out in her all-black leather Victoria’s Secret custom-made body suit so I’d, like, have to chew off all her clothes until she was completely nude, except she’d have these amazing dragon tattoos all over her body and pierced nipples with little gold peace signs hangin’ from ’em. And then she’d take out this half-ounce of blow and snap out a few Mongol lines and we’d vaporize a few million brains cells, screw for about an hour, then spend the rest of the morning trashed, watching…Gilligan.”

Jeff: “That sounds so great, man, yes. Hey, what would you do in the afternoon?”

Buff: “Same–more of the same.”

Jeff: “Yeah?”

Buff: “Just keep doin’ the same thing all the time, around and around the clock, with an occasional burger or slice thrown in for our vitamins and energy. [head-bangs street sign] Ow, man. And then instead of watching Gilligan we’d watch…Captain Kirk.”

Jeff: “That sounds so depressing.”

Buff: “Oh come on, man, tell me you wouldn’t love it!”

Jeff: “No, I’m not saying I wouldn’t love it. No, I’m saying that after a while it’d wear thin.”

Buff: “Yeah, a long while. A long, long while.”

Jeff: “Watch out for the tree.”

Buff: A long, long, long while.

Jeff: “Okay, okay.”

Buff: “A long, long, long—”

And then the universe collapses….

 

Ray Kurzweil and his fellow technocrats have not only misplaced the girl with  thedragon tattoos under her leather jacket, but they are conflating the invention of computers and digital terabyte technology with an improvement on personal identity and creaturehood rather than what it is: a reflection of the synaptic process whereby personal identity was created from pre-Cambrian time—four billion years, guys! We were already uploaded (or downloaded) into life—and by a technology so patient and elegant as to make imitations as lame as they are impractical.

This is the consequence of addressing solid objects at their presenting frequency, like dwellers in Plato’s cave. Atoms, molecules, cells, and bodies are phase states, shadows. Cryopreservation epitomizes materialist hegemony, the ultimate delusional obsession: a death cult posing as a cult of life.

Our agenda should be to attune to subtler waves, not sink into denser metals. Ours is a universe of light and light’s by-products: mutable photons and neutrinos—erasure. We build castles of light, write books and laws of light, build cities of vibrating strings and curvatures. Our philosophies, religions,. and databases are written in electrons, protons, and illuminated quarks. None of this will and can or should last—not the most indomitable cyclotron or cathedral, not most exquisite poem or sculpting. All will vanish with the sun and sun-stars.

The universe will get to the bottom, the bottom of itself, beyond all mirages. For now, these represent the universe in exile. Something is indelible and real, and it looks exactly like this, but in some totally other way.

There is no need to synthesize immortality. It is imbedded in the “hard drive” of the aura. Singularity exists: in prayer, shamanic journeying, Rainbow Bodies.

The Sun and Universe are local, temporal fires. Their heat deaths mean nada—the physical plane will one day be liquidated, crushed, cremated, or calcined in some operation or other. If it can be tossed into a fire, let alone fires trillions of times the size of the Sun, its ass will be razed to less than a neutrino, and then not even that.

The only thing that can escape obliteration, the only form that can epitomize its own immolation, is also the one phenomenon that the forces of materialism cannot get at. Everything else—everything that can be found—goes in the garbage disposal.

If it can’t be found, it can’t to put into a compacter or tossed onto a pyre. And personal identity can’t be found unless you tie it to the electrical output of microtubules and axons. Scientism is either a bounty hunter or stool pigeon, martyring us before our own universe with false testimony.

Buddhist seers propound that even if this planet were destroyed by nuclear bombs or greenhouse gases, it would be recreated elsewhere in the universe, but that doesn’t automatically mean another planet in another galaxy; it means that the thoughtform generating this reality will continue generating it at some frequency within All That Is and all the rest will follow, as whatever “it” is—what it actually is.

Consciousness is always looking, even after everything else has been destroyed.

 

Is the Universe a Computer Simulation?

What about the proposition that the universe is a computer simulation in which we have been formulated by super-beings located elsewhere, The Matrix writ large? This is more than idle speculation. Look at our screen-saver night sky, a Milky Way smashed against its dome like a Dreamtime snake; listen to a tree rustling in an ocean breeze. Erosion and tattering of the display—unraveling atomic debris at the edges—to some computer nerds suggest spots where super-technicians neglected to tuck in the naps. Futurist Elon Musk lays the baseline trope:

“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 concurs: “I think the likelihood may be very high.” Citing the cataclysmic gap between human and chimpanzee intelligence (while sharing more than 98 percent DNA), he proposes that somewhere in the cosmos are beings whose intelligence is as much greater than ours along the same scale. “We would be drooling, blithering idiots in their presence,” he adds. “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.”

“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.”

Touché!

A cosmic computer simulation presupposes that the present technological trajectory is maintainable politically and ecologically, and that the intelligence imbedded in computers is potentially greater than that of the reality in which computers are artifacts.

The difficult part remains personal identity: internality externalized. Is our recognition of ourselves as ourselves—our capacity to contemplate our own existence and surmise that its reality is a computer simulation—also built into the simulation by its designers? If so, is self-awareness a by-product of codes written into the simulation or does it arise on its own once the simulation is triggered. Same question (by the way) to ask of test-tube-created cells and artificially intelligent robots: how (and when) do you know that you are?

Then how did the simulation’s creators acquire their own identity? Where are they located? Is their origin Darwinian? If not, what fashioned the cognitive wiring, memory, and identity function in them? How do they get it into their simulations? Do they copy in their own state or invent one? Can there even be more than one mode of personal identity?

Does the simulation take place by the laws of the simulators’ universe or a trope of the sort Philip José invented in The Maker of Universes? While I’m asking, are quantum mass and gravity the same as their chain-gang equivalents?

That the universe looks like a computer game says more about the mathematical nature of the universe and of our mode of consciousness than about a possible infinite regression or progression of computer games: “turtles all the way down.”

 

Transhumanists grasp an essential truth without its relevance. It was never a matter of whether this reality is a simulation. It is a simulation written in neutrons, protons, and electrons. The question is the nature of the intelligence behind it. Our transdimensional predecessors spent trillions of kalpas outside space-time designing, assembling, and filtering this reality to be as subtle, complex, compelling, and poignant as it is, and provisionally real. They created a reality they wanted to inhabit.

That is why life cuts deep and causes pain and grief, but that is also why it is capable of joy and delight, why it is glamorous and meaningful to every creature alive, why dangles a consummate truth-mystery—a reflection of collective psyche. When novelist William Faulkner said, “Between grief and nothing, I’ll take grief,” he meant it literally, and it was even more literal than that. Like the Tao says, “What’s in the way is the way.” A whole universe if need be.

This setup is more like an abacus or zodiac on which to calculate possibilities of action and matter—the projection of intrinsic intelligence through its own nature. In that regard, there is no difference between a computer simulation and a program written in molecular holograms. Just because reality is natural does not mean it’s can be virtual. Mind and quantum collapse jointly express resistance density of nascent consciousness.

How could you tell computer simulation from Divine Intelligence anyway? A computer may be a machine constructed by ambient creatures, but every leaf on every tree is a computer, too. Every thought and every experience of every creature in All That Is is being stored on a massive Akashic hard drive where it is creating something unimaginable. Pick any song you want, and it sounds like Sumari after a few bars. 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 is there anything anywhere?

In a legendary, perhaps apocryphal final exam for a philosophy course, the professor asked the class, “Why?”

A student grabbed his test, scribbled for a few seconds in his bluebook, and left. He got an A for his effort.

He wrote, “Why not?”

I heard that story in high school. I never liked it. The answer is too fashionably wise-guy and, if the exam wasn’t apocryphal, the professor was rewarding his own nihilism with an equally nihilistic A.

I prefer the “answer” of my Wittgensteinian philosopher friend Andy Lugg who emailed in 2000 that science interested me more than him. “I figure things have to work some way and I could care less which way they do.”

In order to grok what “something rather than nothing” means, you first have to understand “nothing.” It means that atoms, quarks, preons, strings, and the Big Bang just occurred, because there was a thermodynamic basis for them somehow—thermodynamics rooted in the tendency of particles to follow laws of heat, frequency, position, curvature, and shear, to settle their existential basis. As Einstein put it, “The particle can only appear as a limited region in space in which the field strength or the energy density is particularly high.” It would be an illusion for any particle (or persona) in a materialist’s universe to think that it had a purpose and meaning rather than a function.

For there to be “something,” conversely, means that those same quarks, preons, strings, and the Big Bang, etc., have to be rooted in something else, like the sacred letters of Hebrew alphabet. Otherwise, this vast galloping thermodynamic illusion has squatted on eternity like a Giant Hen—the Hen is laying quantum-entangled particles and uncertainty states, nonlocally interacting photons, dark matter, and collapsing waves that “create” pseudo-realities— “spooky action at a distance.” Physicist Richard Feynman remarked, “The whole universe may consist of one electron moving at infinite speed.” But is that something, or nothing? It is officially nothing, but RF and his buddies are missing the thief in their own attic.

The current brand of consciousness based on so-called quantum free will of electrons and their Penrose-Hameroff collapse is an anointed metaphor. Electrons do not (and cannot) generate thoughts by transferring their uncertainty states through microtubules into nerve nets. That is still “nothing” rather than “something”: maybe a gentleman’s C.

Quantum entanglement translates itself only across zones of very tiny things into other quantum states. You can’t quantum-entangle horses—and meteors never get 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 where it sizzles away without impact on Newtonian reality. It is Newtonian reality, and was at the time of Sir Isaac. Its status is intrinsic and underlies all of reality, for it takes place in every atom in every molecule at every instant. It proceeds well beneath any metaphor—so far that for all intents and purposes it no longer quantum collapse. “The quintessential quantum effect, entanglement,” physicist Vlatko Vedral nuances, “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]

There they generate every binary, synaptic creature perception, from worms to apes. Consciousness’ reflection onto matter is too infinitesimal, superpositional, and internalized to gander a merely positional universe that reflects in it. Reality exists but only if you are interfacing with it.

That’s the elephant in the room!

Every view is a wave collapse, every thoughtform is creating its own algorithmic overload. Every gull crying out, every monk meditating—is surfing collapsed waves.

The night sky is not a screensaver or even the Akashic record—it is a mere figment of its output—but it is what a universe with an Akashic record looks like. The entire universe is made of—is—a quantum-entangled wave, hence a thoughtform, a gigantic virtual brain or hard drive, of which mortal brains and hard drives were later fashioned. The entanglement of particles as an entanglement of information is implicit and inevitable. The physical realm expresses quantum entanglement not because of the entanglement of its own subatomic particles but because of an underlying quantum state that causes both to occur.

Quantum mechanics is what makes the Newtonian universe Newtonian, albeit a dark horse at the time of Newton.

You don’t need algebraic topology or transdimensional superstrings 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. The difference in scale and information between a galaxy and a mosquito, when posted against the Void—nothing rather than something—palls by comparison. The ontological differences among psi effects, quantum entanglement, and thermodynamics become nil.

Instead, every mosquito is at par and in balance with every galaxy because neither could exist without the other. You can’t slap the bug away because there will always be another emerging, a soft legged and minded crystal from an egg, here or somewhere.

Peer through the Milky Way at the fuzz of Andromeda in the starry overlay. That’s the nearest galaxy to ours. Then look at the spiraling wings of a gull in flight. They are weighed on each other’s scales, feeding the same vortex. 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 from the margins to the core in a single collapsing wave.

Mind is what reconciles, the opposing ballast—mind that can weigh a galaxy and a mosquito on the same scale—mind that can assay isotropic and anisotropic forces simultaneously, mind that makes the galaxy depend on the mosquito as much as the mosquito depends on the galaxy.

The sparkling night and our position in it dead-reckons into one giant bloated ’cule: a holographic reflection of its own superpositional, synchronistic, quantum-gravitational entanglement at multiple levels simultaneously.

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]

 

Matter and mind were always faces of the same riddle. The Big Bang platform is an apparition, a thoughtform simultaneously internalized and externalized into spackled display. It is no more galactic than it is phenomenological. Its value, essence, and validation is our viewing of it. As consciousness explores itself in all directions, dimension, and potentials, that’s what consciousness is: expansion and knowledge.

Science may be obsessed with appearances, but that’s all they are: appearances. What is an appearance anyway? It is a combination of causation and beingness; it requires both. It is as though, by looking so discretely at objects in space, especially interstellar space, we have lost a sense of the quality of the space itself, as algebraic formulation and minded reflection.

Souls are not dwarfed by the size or scope of the universe, for the universe is a simulation and souls are not.

The universe takes no siestas, leaves no slack anywhere. The absence of slack is why there is something rather than nothing. Mediaeval theologians proclaimed that God re-creates the world from moment to moment. John Friedlander restates that: “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…. 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 enriches the universe by optimizing that creature’s potential for growth. The universe takes the new information into account as it breathes out its truth-mystery and reconstructs itself from end to end in accordance with its physical expansion after the Primal Flaring Forth. The unified field theories of Stephen Hawking and his peer cosmologists can’t hold a whisker to this. The ratio of their grandiose paradigms to it 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—that of about one electron.

 

Every time an eagle snares a lower-flying gull or a fisher cat claws open a thumping rabbit’s gut, the universe is maximizing meaningfulness and spiritual freedom for both. Watch an osprey try to hoist a trout out of a stream as the trout spirals the great bird down into Heraclitean waters. This is the unified cosmic field more than Hawking’s latest model of astrophysics. An exquisitely balanced lotus expands in the transitionally severed field between the personal identity of the bird and the personal identity of the fish, as the shape and phenomenologies they presently inhabit are stretched across the spider-web of forces out of which they manifested from embryonic eggs. Herman Melville recognized it in the aftermath of a whale’s breach: “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.”

When astrophysicists and their cosmological-topology colleagues seine the cosmos and its objects, they snag concretions and expressions of things, but they do not capture the absolute nature of things, either the appearance or the article, for they cannot admit that mind has to be in the equation, and they can’t shoehorn in an admissible proxy by the rules of their lodge. Statisticians try by arguing that there have been countless “failed” universes across eternity, in a time frame well outside the Big Bang, which set only the present clock ticking 13.8 billion years ago and created local time.

The multiverse becomes a hypothetical set of possible universes, finite or infinite, including the universe in which we currently dwell. Together, these ostensibly comprise everything that exists, meaning the entirety of space, time, matter, energy, with their physical laws and constraints, as well as everything else and the laws and constraints that define and describe it in a collective totality. We happen to be in one spot where the parameters conducive to “something farther than nothing” converged.

“The long sought after Theory of Everything is really merely just missing one important component that was too close for us to have noticed,” says 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.

“More than 200 parameters [of the Universe] are exactly right for life to exist. 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.”

All of it could just as well have not happened if a critical particle had spun the wrong way. Dumb luck?

No provisional “something rather than nothing” surrogate fits the equation; there is no whirlpool or exploding cloud pinwheeling in the middle of nowhere for no reason. Gravity didn’t just happen upon itself and impose curvature on nothingness—writing flatworm “mind” as well as Newton’s mind.

Something was present in the vortex of the Primal Flaring, not just something but all things in potential.

The universe did not, and could not have, come upon—or to—a conscious force at the center of its own self-reflecting whirlpool 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 screams that, as well on every passing meteor and centaur laden with the pre-organic gruel of latent, unhewn mind.

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!”

An algorithm arising in the middle of nowhere for no reason is its own reductio ad absurdum.

Lanza is amused by the reaction of most physicists to his critique of them, considering it an unauthorized teleological line of thought—they don’t take it seriously as what it is: “Their response has been much how you’d expect priests to respond to stem cell research.”

Does the universe exist if no one experiences it? No, but not for epistemological gamesmanship. Mind and matter have an antecedent connection. They are more than quantum entangled and superposed—the physicists’ high bar for weirdness—they are the same thing at different frequencies. There is no matter as such.

It is not possible for nothing to have occurred in the middle of nowhere and manifest, reignited moment to moment by matter as mind. Consciousness ignited and ignites the universe, a universe that generates phenomenology as well as phenomena. The spark at their twin basis is as unutterable as the secret name of God, not because some taboo proscribes expression but because our sciences choose to bottom out way short.

The notion that conscious existence can be solved without consciousness is sociopathic. There never could have been nothing rather than something because something always preceded “anything” at a latency that blows quarks and preons like soap bubbles through a child’s plastic ring—the pre-Socratic sub-subatomic stream—that “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, yes, because they have to: actualization of “potential qua potential.” [114] Thermodynamics plus libido.

Intrinsic is extrinsic. Matter could not generate mind if mind were not already implicit.

The problem for physics is, it is a conscious universe. A universe that has consciousness in it is a conscious universe. A universe that crenellates mind out of the popcorn of immaculate heat effects is telling us and itself that it is conscious. A universe in which consciousness coexists with matter is universe that knows itself—in which Occam says it is far more likely that matter arose from mind than the other way around.

If this is a conscious universe, consciousness came first. Mind preceded matter. Axiomatic. “Mind, rather than emerging as a late outgrowth in the evolution of life, has existed always…the source and condition of physical reality.” [Biologist George Wald]

One doesn’t have to mathematize nature to intuit its intrinsic harmonic, hermeneutic basis. “Something rather than nothing” is an ontology in process, not a document under audit. Each star field is a focal intelligence as well as a hydrogen-helium alembic for molecular transfer of consciousness into matter. Every Jovian planet is a choir in dormancy.

At bottom, there is always consciousness—conscious consciousness and unconscious consciousness, which goes where it is. Always has, always will. Unconscious consciousness overrides the space-time continuum because, as Freud put it to Einstein, there is no time in the unconscious.

You can no more put it out than you can extinguish Moses’ burning bush. The reality it creates is as complex and only as complex as it is, which is a quantum-entangled complexity beyond individual comprehension. Each individual mind creates as it inhabits the landscape of reality, so it can only return to its source state, its inherent latency. That includes every micron and nanometer of every virus, electron, and photon. The fabric of the universe is as complex as we make it, which is also how complex it is, for we match its intricacy and the depth of that intricacy with our own minds. A universe of consciousness is consciousness, consciousness at the beginning, conscious at the end, consciousness everywhere, as both consciousness and unconsciousness.

“Why?”

“Why not?” Take your A and leave.

“Why something rather than nothing” is a bogus question because the question is its own answer. Nothing can never produce something.

 

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 it in Machiasport, Maine. I can’t vouch for its authenticity. The narrative is certainly within the range of what could be improvised from a modest knowledge of history and a literary imagination—and there has been no lack of Holocaust memoirs, novels, and films from which to draw characters and 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]

I take Light at her word. Yes, she could have made the whole thing up or cobbled a few hypnogogic flashbacks into a novella. As I participated in the book’s publication, I was not deterred by the possibility of fabrication. The text bears an inherent validity beyond any issue of authenticity. Light also draws deeper meanings from a universe that produce carbuncles like Nazi concentration camps. Her book is also a tableau for reincarnation within a Judaeo-Christian context, infusing the science of karma with the religion of rabbis and priests. Nastasza is a spirit child of Joan of Arc and the Course in Miracles.

As Light progressed through her past-life regression, multiple selfhoods flooded back into her mind. In lifetime after lifetime she found herself locked in a Manichean battle with an ambitious, deviant soul known to habitants of the twentieth century as “Adolf Hitler.” Before Atlantis the two were rival magicians, seeking the key to the universe—one believing that it was the force of love; the other, absolute power through a blend of magic and technology, complementary modalities in Atlantis.

In his incarnations, Light tells us, the Hitler soul “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 ones forbidden to unauthorized practitioners. Drawing on racial memories in the Aryan bloodline, he established an imperium fed by subconscious greed and envy. [27, 31] In his lifetime as Adolf 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 Bavarian Black Forest, using satanic rituals and protocols of diabolism. “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 fled en masse.

According to Light, Hitler was only secondarily trying to exalt the Nordic race, he was mainly trying to restore an Atlantean mystery school and its warrior guild from another plane.

In her lifetime as Natasza, Light dreamed of the Führer inspecting her concentration camp in person. She saw him lucidly and transdimensionally and 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 released 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 who served humanity—he still might in a future lifetime—in 1930s Germany he chose a different path.

Hitler’s successive lifetimes opened a conduit to the bedrock of darkness in All That Is. If that shadow wasn’t there, he couldn’t have emanated it or had to. If he hadn’t emanated it, its energy wouldn’t have begun to get redeemed—the centurions of Daesh and Boko Haram likewise. The gunk and evil at the bottom of the universe has to be experienced and dredged in order to be expiated. Otherwise it will stay there forever, an unknown and unknowable slag, radiating sterilely and coldly in latency.

Until we admit Hitler’s place in our collective Soul and absolve him, he will continue to incarnate. In a nondual universe, someone has to take responsibility for dissolving or, more accurately, tranmogrifying the toxic underbelly and its cloud.

 

As Light’s chronology begins, fourteen-year-old Natasza is forcibly separated from her family by operatives of 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 internment camp.

Soon 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 illuminate its words, a faint ghost annealed from the murk, introducing 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 oppose the Nazis when he had the chance; now he was cumbered to the Earth plane by the weight of his guilt. To atone and pay off a portion of his 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. He explained that he had been drawn to the lodestar and vortex of her psychic power—a healing energy in the gloomy landscape.

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 own energy field in such a way that light would pass through her and they might see but not recognize her.

Boris was both invisible and telekinetic, so could steal medical supplies from the camp infirmary. “Being transparent,” he joked, “has many advantages.” Whenever Natasza sought his participation, she directed telepathic energy into the subtle body of his ghost-being by the force of her mind—and his Astral form appeared.

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, Natasza was astonished. Boris appeared with thousands of tiny faces floating within clouds above each of his shoulders. “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.” These 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’ guilt attracted them to him, for he was the only recognizable object in the bardo, a landmark to which they could fasten their restless fugues. [57] They continued to guide themselves by attaching their memories of who they had been to the karmic cloud generated by his remorse.

 

In the ensuing narrative, Natasza conducted many acts of both espionage and insurrection, including subversions of Nazi schemes and healings of other prisoners.

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 abuses, humiliation, even necrophiliac mutilation and murder. [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]

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 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 his young wife in a 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 girl, Herr Schuller was increasingly troubled by her fearlessness and growing charisma. He discerned a foe. After 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.

Sending daggers of psychic light from her eyes and infusing her syllables with holy power, she held her ground defiantly, telling him 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 saw Boris again at her side as he projected a blue ray of peaceful 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.” 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 arrived, 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 incarnate 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 events behind the fantasies and fears. The usual treatment, psychiatric drugs, merely numbed their healing crises and took away their capacity to recover freedom and personal autonomy.

The inability to resolve past scars and forgotten events in present time led to these people maintaining ritualized defense mechanisms, which over the years became more painful in their repetition and silent bondage than the original assault instilling the trauma. Their imagination of future danger overrode and distorted present reality, as there was always a way to imagine a more dreaded apparition on the horizon

Compared to such a threat, reality was a piece of cake. A traumatized 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 more gruesome fantasies. In fact, it was the first occasion when external reality matched what was happening inside him.

I accept Winnicott’s contention as stated in conventional psychiatric terms while at the same time considering how it might apply to past (or future) lives of the individual and soul and its group soul. I wonder whether there is a karmic reverberation of trauma as well as a transpersonal avoidance pattern and defense mechanism enveloping as well as potentiating the egoic one. This then leads to reliving events from past lifetimes—death pictures, and cycles of death and rebirth—as reincarnational trauma is encountered. It means that all of humanity might be dealing with remote, amnesiac traumas of the collective species, planet, and cosmos.

This model resonates with the trans-generational healing system taught by German psychotherapist Burt Hellinger as “Family Constellations.” Mini-dramas performed in sessions of group theater, radiate back through past epochs in an attempt to incarnate and clear some of their unresolved karma. Any recruit into the group-therapy ritual, even if unrelated to the sufferer, plays a critical role in reenacting a lineage inaccessible to ordinary memory. In that sense, the theatrically performed constellation attains a runic function like a Navaho sand-painting with its accompanying ceremony, drawing in icons and operatives in other guises to specify and conduct its energy. The Navaho bring “the medicine bundle with its sacred contents: prayer-sticks, made of selected wood and feathers, precious stones, tobacco, water collected from sacred places, a tiny piece of cotton string; song, with its lyrical and musical complexities; sandpaintings, with intricate color, directional and impressionistic symbols; prayer, with stress on order and rhythmic unity; plants, with supernatural qualities defined and personified; body and figure painting; sweating and emetic, with purifactory functions; vigil, with emphasis on concentration and summary.”

Hellinger’s therapeutic reenactments did not only reach back to near generations or accessible historic figures in clients’ lineages. Some of them took individuals back to the Middle Ages, others to Stone Ages and beyond, in the form of clan matriarchs and patriarchs whose karma was still active and had come to life among descendant group members. Whether these events were real or imaginal, they functioned therapeutically as if real like the past-life regressions of Javier Thistlethwaite and Brian Weiss.

Shamanism and psychoanalysis converge here. Psychoanalysis provides an emotional catalyst through link of doctor-patient transference, but the process often gets bogged down in the shifting back and forth of reductionist stories—trauma reconstructions that are themselves inertially stuck and remain so despite skilled psychiatric intervention. Patients and mentors go 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 a neurotic seal between the pathology and its own avoidance cycle.

Where the patient should look for 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 always up for grabs. In the 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].

 

When an initiating traumatic occurrence gets transferred energetically to the timelessness of the aura, it radiates into other planes and is incorporated back in the body, sometimes as disease, sometimes as resistance patterns. These form a karmic trail between lifetimes.

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.

Psychic energy-transfer and intervention are necessary to shatter their 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 convert a regressively psychological or recursively emotional process into an energetic one, often instantaneously—though it sometimes takes multiple attempts over days, months, years, or lifetimes.

While most folks can’t hope to call up the relevant matrix on the spot, by their fifty thousandth try they get it. This may be the fifty thousandth try, this lifetime.

One doesn’t have to locate or name the precise traumatic lesion, the cause or trajectory within a multidimensional backdrop; one only has to provide the quantum of energy needed to transform its representation, to get the karmic flow moving in a direction in which it is potentiated. Each constellation has too many facets and semblances to specify in a single story or configuration. The originating event has become allegorical and alchemical.

Freud came to psychological cathexis by ritual recall and transference for historical reasons; he recognized that any symbol will do, as long as it stores and releases a charge—a libidinal predecessor with capacity for internalization—because all representations converge on their deepening aliases. The successful therapist acts as a shaman, shifts into a Dreamtime context.

 

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 contemporary modes of shamanism, enantiodromias—ritualized reversals by unconscious opposites. It should be no surprise that Hellinger drew his “family constellations,” at least in part, from interactions with Zulu shamans in South Africa.

No medicine is as healing as narcissistic anxiety and private agony converted into selfless empathy and love.

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 flat-out too dangerous. Yet thinking it is exactly what one needs to do in order to get past its block into neutral cosmic energy.

Rituals of truth and reconciliation provide 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 gauge of a trauma.

Those who were casualties of child abuse become abusers as a result. Under the pull of karma, the Soul seeks the polar aspect of its own current picture. [220] No one gets off scot-free; everyone is participating viscerally in every act, on both sides of it, unconsciously more than consciously. In timeless time, whatever is happening to any creature already happened to you or will happen. The esoteric meaning of alternate and fantasy lives, unlived potentials is that they are being lived somewhere else, and not just by others. Moralists are the very transgressors, despoilers, and criminals they decry.

Unless given an opportunity for absolution, the abuser proceeds in a septic cloud like that around Boris, seething until it explodes or forms some meteor in some cosmos to pick up the pieces and kindle all over in the galactic tinder. It’s that broad and abstruse a field. Karma is stronger than gravity, powerful enough to create planets and galaxies to transfer the unresolved energy of lost worlds, realms that were destroyed or destroyed themselves long ago.

In cosmogenesis, what is not remembered—the lesion at large—creates lifetimes, egos, worlds, births. Matter is congealed trauma—a 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.

We have no way of knowing what sort of primeval karmic event 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 it.

Torturers and their victims reconciling with each other, against massive resistance, 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 rather than merely asking, “What are your intentions, God, for we suffer?”

Evil may be an Daesh soldier raping a Yazidi girl he claimed as his war prize and sex slave, but evil is a water lily in a pond that already contains cells, organelles, microbes, and parasites that cannibalize each other in 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 is emanating.

Somehow, by existing, we made a bargain a long time ago and in another setting that we continue to honor. We situate ourselves in reality, in All That Is, and will, until every quantum of 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 or dispensation: it is an irreconcilable portal of knowledge and information, and transmutes every event and thoughtform through nodes of untold richness and fulfillment across spectra of trillions of years. Those experiences get subsumed in the marrow of their emerging beingness. In future states and universes, they turn into gifts, talents, and superstar capacities.

Who knows what antecedent events or suffering in the space-time continuum produced a Michael Jordan or Johann Sebastian Bach. Their own moves (or chords) express these events remotely.

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 both levels in both directions commensurately, for nothing can suffer permanently or be put into a state of hell or damnation. Each experience continues to change into the next, and the next. So, here we are today, forebear and aftermath. In other words, we have to solve the unsolvable, cure the incurable. Or try. That’s how universes come into being, what salamanders and snakes and quartz crystals are: unresolved traumas on multiple planes of All That Is, seeking resolution and redemption, creating kingdoms, worlds, and nations.

“You do not understand the dimensions into which your own thoughts drop,” says Seth, “for they continue their own existences, and others look up to them and view them like stars. I am telling you that your own dreams and thoughts and mental actions appear to the inhabitants of other systems like the stars and planets within your own; and those inhabitants do not perceive what lies within and behind the stars in their own heavens.” [366]

Those butterfly’s wings in Tokyo not only change weather on Earth but in other galaxies. That is why the Four Great Vows of Buddhism declare though sentient beings are numberless, we vow to save them all, and though the dharma in unattainable, we vow to attain it. Only the impossible is worth this state of embodiment, the work and hope that went into designing it.

We are calling forth our own Divine Presence as well as the enlightened masters, archangels, angels, and the divine presences of humanity to come with us. We are asking to be held within the universal angelic gateway, to receive its frequency of love for ourselves and others via this world’s linkup with other entities doing service. We are part of an anonymous crew petitioning the Christ oversoul to open our collective heart chakra to be cleansed, purified, energized, and filled with love, to remove fears that lie as veils over the collective enterprise on earth, to have it lifted into the light by the archangelic light league of the heavens into the Galactic Federation.

Or something less sci-fi and glamorous.

“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.”

Experience is sacred and in the long run can never be diminished, no matter how despondent, evil, or rote 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 field from which it is arising. 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.”

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. Every grub turning into a butterfly is providing the eggs for its next emanation.

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 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 hell realms.

A few years ago, I wrote:

This Is How I Think the Universe Works

Tribal elders from Jafferabad, southwestern Baluchistan Province, Pakistan, kidnapped three young women because they planned to marry men of their choosing. Hauled to a deserted area inside a vehicle bearing provincial government plates, they were beaten and shot and, while still alive, covered with earth and stones and buried. Two older women who tried to intervene were throttled and then thrown into the grave with them, alive too. Local senator Israr Ullah Zehri defended honor killings as “our norm” and said they should “not be highlighted negatively.”

A thousand or maybe a hundred thousand years from now (or whenever) these men will not remember this act they carried out. As whomever or whatever they are then, they will be different, and they may well oppose it. They will suffer an excruciating profound and elusive regret that must be exorcised and sublimated in whatever state grace finds them. But it will be way, way inside, at the deepest contour of their karma and soul pattern, and they will futilely seek its mystery and its meaning, the origin of the strange inklings they feel, that they felt in another way while carrying out their insidious, cowardly act, while killing the god they claimed to defend.

The fact that they are on the opposite ideological side by then will not change the imprint on their souls or whatever those things are. The stain is indelible, but it can be turned into something else beautiful if they will allow themselves to go through the suffering and reflect deeply enough on their being and how they got there in the first place back in that ancient life on Earth in Pakistan. They don’t have to remember what Pakistan looked like. In fact, they can’t.

Redemption is always possible.  It just takes digging deep, deeper than they buried the ladies, of course.

We do not know what vague and lost acts of violence, revenge, and inhumanity were carried out by those who we once were in times and places long since gone and what we suffer and seek today, to redeem unspeakable and cruel acts and recover our essential nature.

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]

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 blobs and globules—everything that was in the cream and the cow that brewed it.

Seth explained the outer banks: “[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.”

 

Undumbing the Universe

Just because there are galaxies, stars, planets, and subatomic particles underlying them does not mean that they are the ultimate reality—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 rapidly moving or eccentric kettles of gas, they have not scouted anything like the galactic census, and 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 Lemurian and Atlantean phases en route to a physically habitable biosphere is antiquated but is an intimation of a universe of differential pathways of cosmographical evolution.

Seth offers a view of how a greater universe exists behind the galactic universe:

“Your idea of space travel … is to journey over the ‘skin of your universe.’ You do not understand that your system is expanding within itself, bringing forth new creativity and energy.” [NPR 344] He means expanding interdimensionally and from every point of consciousness, not from the thrust of a Big Bang.

“Your universe is only one of many. Each one creates probable versions of itself. When you journey on the earth, you move around the outside of it. So far, your ideas of space travel involve that kind of surface navigation…. When you think in terms of traveling to other planets or to other galaxies … the same kind of surface travel is involved … going around space rather than directly through it….

“Your own coordinates close you off from recognizing that there are indeed other intelligences alive even within your own solar system. You will never meet them in your exterior reality, however, for you are not focused in the time period of their existence. You may physically visit the ‘very same planet’ on which they reside, but to you the planet will appear barren, or not able to support life.

“In the same way, others can visit your planet with the same results…. Some intelligent beings have visited your planet, finding not the world you know but a probable one. There are always feedbacks between probable systems….

“If you understand … inner coordinates having to do with the inner behavior of electrons … then such travel could be relatively instantaneous. The coordinates that link you with others who are more or less of your kind have to do with psychic and psychological intersections that result in a like space-time framework….”

The basic universe does not just exist in duration behind the visible starfields and their own dark matter and energy but behind all universes and multiverses that manifest in one fashion or another in or not in space and time. That singular universe—All That Is—takes up no space even as the mind takes up no space behind the brain. The brain is another manifestation, part of the galactic starfield taking up space and time, whereas the mind arises, or has already arisen, from another “dreaming” and occupies no space or time.” [660-661]

“Effective space travel, creative space travel on your part, will not occur until you learn that your space-time system is one focus. Otherwise you will seem to visit one dead world after another, blind to civilizations that may exist on any of them. Some of these difficulties could be overcome if you learned to understand the … multidimensionality of even your own physical structure, and allowed your consciousness some of its greater freedom….

“You do not understand as yet … that in a way you can move through time as you move through space—and until you understand that, you will not know the meaning of a true journey, or be able to thoroughly explore any planet—or any reality, including your own.” [345-347]

Real space travel would involve using points in our space-time continuum or universe as entry points into other worlds—dimensional cues to where those are and how to navigate through them. They exist simultaneously within and outside the psyche because nothing can exist outside it without a correlate emerging within. Even a near journey to the Moon comes from the psyche attempting to reproduce “the inner freedom of its being” [360].

There is no world or universe so remote and alien that it doesn’t already exist in our individual and collective psyches, but we are stuck in our reality, “simply flying like an insect around the outside of [a] television set, trying to light on the fruit, say, that is shown upon the screen—and wondering … why [we] cannot.” [357, 359]

When Ellias Lonsdale sat at Sarah’s bedside before her death, he watched her very closely, with his third eye, to glimpse where she went—not out but in. We fold back into our own vortex. The sensoria that arose from that vortex dissolve back into the clairsentient modes that were their origin: touch, smell, sound, taste, sight, kinesthesia: clairvoyance, clairaudience, and the like.

That’s where the “rest” the universe, the missing universe and dark matter are, not out there and superior but in and interior to our own interiority, just where string theory says it should be. The full universe—conscious and coextensive— is both aware of itself and itself. The tree that fell in its forest gets heard.

You cannot exclude innate consciousness without excluding us. That’s the hole in science’s quilt: a universe that cannot not be measured, weighed, or localized.

If time is an energy, matter is an energy too. The intelligence of All That Is is incomprehensibly vaster and more entangled than the extant manifestation of a galactic universe. That intelligence—not the Big Bang, not matter or (the absence of matter—a Void without Form) is the whirlpool from which all things arise: the alphabets of Creation. There, mind and matter dovetail so immaculately as to be ontologically indistinguishable.

In the real physics of the cosmos, 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 hale it as the creator and governor of the realm of matter.”

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, as well as the mass of the particles composing it and the instability factor of its collapse. He understood material reality. He saw a great thought.

Max Planck spoke to the same condition after parting the quantum veil:

“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”)]

This universe was designed simultaneously from inside-out as consciousness and from outside-in as matter—Aristotle’s “hyle,” a primary substance that cannot be predicated or attributed, which transduces its intrinsic nature to become extrinsic. Undumbed-down, the universe is dealing decks of transdimensional, quantum-entangled, superpositional “cards,” millisecond by millisecond on an intergalactic, interdimensional basis.

The algorithm—pause here and really get this—is the same as the alphabet. Meaning is the same as meaninglessness. The algorithm is a sacred alphabet operating at the frequency of matter.

What is real can never be objectively real; it is an axis across which forms of energy play out conditional states of beingness. Everything that materializes, whether into machines, sun dances, or atomic bombs, is a translation of thoughts into forms they essentialize. None of them is final or real, but all of them encompass meanings that become real. That’s a game-changer.

Physicist Gregory Matloff tendered that humans may be like the rest of the universe in substance and in spirit—a “proto-consciousness field” extending through all of space, “The entire cosmos may be self-aware.”

And then Seth: “I am not saying the universe does not exist—only that it does not exist in the way that it seems to you….”

The way it seems to us involves an exterior explosion and expansion into space created by the explosion, that didn’t exist prior. To Seth, that is a “camouflage universe,” all of it—the colliding stars, black holes, clouds of hydrogen dust, the hydrogen itself with its electrons and their quarks. Its extenuation and dissolution is a projection of our own mind projecting itself into the camouflage and creating it. It is a dream wrapped in the materialization of its own symbolic emanation, just as the sacred alphabets and Apache constructs declare. The actual universe lies behind it, weightless, spaceless and infinite, timeless and eternal, generation the focal points, views, identities, and instrumentations that elaborate their own intrinsic nature into an extrinsic experience of itself. The vortex is minute, condensed, and holographic but only in relation to its hyperbolic extension; it is actually as large or as small, as concentrated or as vast as it needs to be, and always expanding from every point of itself at every instant of its projections’ temporal mirage. Gravity and dark matter can’t be locate because they are more conscious than physical and are shaping their own design, rind to gist.

“All That Is creates its reality as it goes along. Each world has its own impetus, yet all are ultimately connected. The true dimensions of a divine creativity would be unendurable for any one consciousness of whatever import, and so that splendor is infinitely dimensionalized, worlds spiraling outward with each ‘moment’ of a cosmic breath; with the separation of worlds a necessity, and with individual and mass comprehension always growing at such a rate that All That Is multiplies itself at microseconds, building both pasts and futures and other times scales you do not recognize. Each is a reality in itself, with its own potentials, and with no individual consciousness, however minute, ever lost.” [644]

This can only happen in a universe formed by consciousness. The objects, shapes, and don’t matter (literally)—that is, one can’t understand or even perceive them correctly—until one perceives what is doing the perceiving. [647] The technology—combustion engines, assembly lines, atom smashers, imaging devices, and the like—works not as proof of the scientific model but as a proof that mind organizing its own projections, including those made of seeming inanimate, impenetrable-by-mind matter. It is still the shamanic experiment of the Stone Age, using the presence of beingness to create the stage that beingness needs for its own expression and resolution of its irreconcilable polarities and paradoxes. We are living it, but we are also creating it, collectively. What is inextricably complex is singularly and unitarily as simple as it gets.

 

Imagine all the stars in all of the galaxies in the known and imaginable universe that ostensibly came out of a single mote that could fit on a pinhead with room to spare and gave birth to the entire universe.

That wasn’t a mote. It was a shadow, the negative space of an object of illimitable dimensions. Every unit cloned from it is a hologram of the same dimensions, am alphabet writing itself on its own permutations. This is the case whether it was also a white hole whooshing the contents of an entire other universe through its ouroboros or a tuck of vibrating strings.

All That Is is arising for no apparent reason in the middle of nowhere, generating the “physical” reality of space by four independent variables, the co-ordinates of space and time (Albert Einstein in “On the Generalized Theory of Gravitation”). But this is also how the ground luminosity proceeds from its ultimate primal immanent state. It’s why we are here and why it looks the way it does here; a starry pageant and multidimensional mirage: mind reflecting through the curvature of its own emptiness like a Dzogchen moon reflecting in a pool of water.

Self-aware presence and view are the invisible foreground for which the luminous outer display is a refraction.

Galactic space-time is more than a mathematically expounded mirage. It refracts the precise degree of texture, intelligence, and dimensionality in our clime, the depth of shadowing and resistance throughout Creation. As a truth mystery, the stars convert every internal contradiction into a glittering paradox.

Look at the night sky again, this time internally. Sense not only its vastness and splendor but the signature of intelligence. Imagine blue-green Earth, ignited by a thoughtform, glittering in open space: a subtle suctioning vortex through which Etheric, Astral, and higher energies flow like honey from an alembic, spurting with esoteric and secular information. Scientism is so involved in the forces and forms of externalization that it does not recognize the Big Mind. Dazzled by externalization, they do not see that internalization is an equal and simultaneous function.

Yet the attack against consciousness, modernity’s jeremiad, is secretly an attempt to root consciousness deeply enough that it can never be excoriated from future universes and realities. Materialism is a lure to draw mind out of its fascination with its own abstraction into a stipe rooting a multidimensional mushroom. That was the deal for Aristotle and Aquinas and is the deal for us.

As long as consciousness is implicated, there are no anchors or baselines, only stars inside and out, and inside-out, so there is no way to determine what we are looking at or what is doing the looking. You are just as percipiently gazing into the ten sefirot, or the underside blanket of the Monadic plane, or the splatter-splash of the Ray of Creation, or the shimmering field of orgone in spirals of cosmic superimposition.

Starry night is not only a mirage but a perfect mirage. It’s a phantasmagoria by its ephemeral nature, a dream because of its prolonged trance, and an altar because of its capacity for transference.

The first salvo of our gambit to survive the death of our local sun-star and the built-in obsolescence of the Big Bang—is not cryonics or space migration but neg-entropy, negative capability.

The fact of being able to hoist matter, in fact the whole universe, onto the scales of consciousness and bob it there for evaluation, suggests commensurability.

Consciousness designed a universe of—more consciousness. It looks like matter at our frequency. But it can’t be matter as matter if matter is emptiness with vibrating potentialities. Matter is a different state of consciousness, as a dream is. This is a dream universe.

 

Blurbs

“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

 

“We offer you greetings.

“We are contacting you because we have observed your efforts over the decades in your capacity as explorer of the arcane.

“We note that you have spent decades attempting to understand the connection between the spiritual and the physical. Your encyclopaedic efforts are exemplarily in their thoroughness as well as their breadth and depth. We also note that often you have felt somewhat like a prophet crying in the wilderness, there has been so little demonstrative response to your writings. Be assured it is noticed. In future years, after your death, edited versions of your prolific work will find an eager and stimulated readership. None of these types of publications will ever be best-sellers. But they do have the potential to change lives. Your work will eventually rank among this category of literature.

“We wish you well as you complete the last period of your life, as you sum up what you have learned and seek to organise it into suitable situations for its ongoing availability. In saying this, please do not think we are suggesting your end is nigh. We are not implying that, and it is not the case.”
Channeled by Keith Hill in Matapaua, New Zealand

 

 

*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.

 

{ 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

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: