Bottoming Out the Universe (draft)

by Richard Grossinger on April 1, 2018

Bottoming Out the Universe:

Why Is There Something Rather than Nothing?


Table of Contents



Reincarnation and Past Lives

The Hole in the Materialists’ Universe

  1. The Nature and Origin of Consciousness
  2. Animal Consciousness
  3. The Brain as Computer
  4. Paranormal Phenomena and Nonlocal Consciousness
  5. The Politics of Consciousness

Transdimensional Physics and Biology

James Leininger or James Huston?

Treasuring Existence

Soul Pictures

Cosmic Chicanery and Thoughtforms

Worshipping the Algorithm



Personal Identity

  1. Personal Identity
  2. The Fallacy of Life Extension
  3. Is This Reality a Computer Simulation
  4. Why Is There Something Rather Than Nothing?

Cosmic Formation

Undumbing the Universe



In this book I am exploring models of the universe that include mind with matter. What would a unifield field theory look like if consciousness, which seemingly exists, were given a place among mass, gravity, and heat? It’s either there in its own right or it’s an epiphenomenon, a by-product of molecular activity, and gets expunged without ontological implication.

In neo-Darwinian science, creatures are not innately “real”; they develop an illusion of personal existence from membrane-enclosed systems of survival, as cells convert energy into agency to sustain their metabolism.

Which is the fundamental event: the existence of an objective physical universe or the subjective experience of it? Although I am referring to the astrophysical universe—the Big-Bang-inaugurated space-time continuum—my frame is All That Is, meaning anything anywhere.

Second, I am exploring nonlocal (transpersonal) modes of consciousness and paranormal phenomena, not systematically or exhaustively but as a guide to the mystery of personal identity—how did self-identifying creatures get into nature?

Third, I am briefly examining the relation between human consciousness and other animal consciousnesses.

Fourth, if it isn’t clear from the above, I am challenging modernity’s basic paradigm: metaphysical materialism, that the material world is the only pavilion and that other phases of reality are fictions or delusions.

Fifth, I am introducing neo-Sethian cosmology. Seth serves as a kind of interdimensional philosopher, but who or what is his, and what is the ontological status of Jane Roberts’ channelings of him? As Robert Butts, Jane’s husband and transcriber, puts it, “[I]f Seth-Jane are at all right, then consciousness is more than encompassing enough to embrace all that we are, and everything that each of us can even remotely conceive of doing or being. Try as we might, we’ll not exhaust or annihilate consciousness….”1

He is speaking not of any person’s—or God’s—consciousness but intrinsic consciousness in the universe, which must antercede matter and give rise to physical-seeming universes.

Butts describes an invisible night migration of geese as a “multitudinous sound moving across [the] starlit but moonless sky…. The one consciousness (mine) stands in its body on the ground and looks up at the strange variations of itself represented by the geese. And wonders. In their own ways, do the geese wonder also? What kind of hidden interchanges between species take place at such times? If the question could be answered, would all of reality in its unending mystery lie revealed before us?”2

That the geese wonder too—they must—in ways that that are abstruse and mysterious to our wondering and define it, is close to the central mystery of Creation and why there is something rather than nothing.

Two things stand against reductionist materialism:

First, the universe doesn’t bottom out as matter but turns into something else. Electron microscopes and cyclotrons discover no statutory source. Before quarks or preons can bottom out, they dissipate into energy, curvature, quantum states, strings, whatever scientists of an era choose to call it.

Guess what? Post-Newtonian physics with its self-immolating quarks is the physics of a mirage. Materialists know this, but they don’t believe it.

Second, consciousness that witnesses itself as consciousness does not fit any unified field theory of physics. I’m not saying that physicists don’t get out the shoehorn and make it fit. I am saying they do.


Reincarnation and Past Lives

I am starting with accounts of reincarnation because they offer an accessible and broad-based challenge to the dominant paradigm. But they are not the linchpin of a new paradigm. If consciousness is truly nonlocal and transposable, far bigger and more radical phenemona envelop and define reality and our existences in it. Reincarnation may simply be the universe’s way of doing quotidian business: Mind is movable, so moves.

Belief in reincarnation goes back tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of years, to well before any historical record. Early hominids performed rites, rituals, and voodoo to control life, death, rebirth, and consciousness. Totem entities got folded into art, mythology, and shamanic techniques, and influenced future generations of practitioners.

Primitive philosophers arrived at their view through dead reckoning (“Here am I, and what the fuck is this?”), altered states of consciousness (many of them entheogenic), meditation and contemplation, and the arc of objective analysis leading to philosophy science.

Reincarnation is either illusional thinking (the current mainstream view) or an authentic apprehension of their place in Creation by street-smart hunters-and-gatherers.

Reflection and insight play a part in scientific research too, but scientists limit their study of objective phenomena these days to repeatable, peer-reviewable experiments and consider that mode of knowledge exclusively valid. Subjective inquiry is disparaged as not just inferior but not even in the game.

The twentieth-century reincarnation thread was threaded in the United States in the early 1950s by Morey Bernstein, an amateur hypnotist, via his regression of Virginia Tighe, a Pueblo, Colorado housewife. To his own astonishment, Bernstein summoned Bridey Murphy, an ostensible past life of Ms. Tighe’s in Cork, Ireland, on his very first try. He took his subject (who appears in his book under the pseudonym Ruth Simmons) through her childhood back 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.”1

Bernstein held his breath and waited. He didn’t know that these faraway lands existed, but he figured—nothing ventured, nothing gained.

Quite a performer this Morey guy! Widely derided as a naïve dabbler and recreational trance merchant—his spells usually often set in motion by a pendulum of a watch on a chain—he hit the sweet spot with Ms. Tighe. By mildly hectoring while enticing, he provided her with a screen of safety. Chaperone and psychopomp, he used a “once upon a time” fairy-tale-like intonation to coax an entity—an unknown form—from Ms. Tighe’s psyche.

Bernstein was making a more remarkable supplication than he might have realized; he was pretending he was not asking his subject to commit the crime of the century, while laying its bait in her subconscious mind. By asking a citizen of the Eisenhower era to break into a cubicle sealed at the highest echelon of encryption, he was exhorting her to violate her religion and social standing as well as the consensus belief system that sustained her community and her sanity. Big-time stuff!

Bernstein kidded himself that he was operating by the same logic as the car mechanic down the street—and he was. But he had a light and sacred touch; he didn’t activate Miss Tighe’s innate taboos or resistance. He spoke directly to her transpersonal self—and that’s why it worked. Listen to his cadence and chant, that of a crafty hacker wheedling his way past a firewall. If you wanted to lure a nonexistent dragon out of its nonexistent cave, Bernstein demonstrated how. 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….”2

Ms. Tighe did go, past the last protected outpost, into the void before her own existence, where nothing should exist. Bernstein asked her to go there anyway, to see if she had existence, an identity before she experienced 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?”3

A new being spoke in a very different 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 mad. Got an awful spanking.’

“What is your name?”


“Don’t you have any other name?

“‘Uh…Friday Murphy.”4

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

For years afterward Bernstein was assailed with 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.’”5

The answer is, they were, but they weren’t acknowledging or admitting it or, if they were admitting it to themselves, they didn’t talk about it elsewhere. They interpreted past-life memories as displacements from this lifetime combined with cryptomnesia: old or forgotten events not being recognized as what they are—a warp sometimes epitomized as “self-plagiarization.”

Numerous psychiatrists “have had patients who have gone back to something,”6 but the doctors weren’t inclined to call them past lives. Since they were not trying to regress people to past lives, they didn’t construe the “memories” that way. Interpretations of similar flashbacks take quite different forms in cultures receptive to reincarnation.

They did not pursue the matter for fear of ridicule or career derailment.

So why Morey Bernstein and Ms. Tighe? Apparently they struck the “right relationship” between operator and subject—a mode of shamanic transference common in non-Western cultures. Bernstein generously extended the credit:

“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.”7

In subsequent sessions, Tighe was able to exhume details of Murphy’s childhood, adolescence, and adult life. The daughter of Duncan and Kathleen Murphy, Bridey came into this world on December 20, 1798, daughter of 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….’”8

She observed her own funeral: “‘Oh, I watched them. I watched them ditch my body.’”9 She stared at her tombstone, read aloud her 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.”10

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

“‘I…remember…dancing…dancing.”11 She was performing a round dance where time didn’t exit.

The Search for Bridey Murphy became a 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, in fact, in most Middle Eastern and Asian cultures, people routinely recall aspects of prior existences without hypnotic regression. They usually identified a prior existence within the same extended family, clan, village, or region. Remembering a life in another country, as Ms. Tighe did, is relatively rare. Otherwise, Bernstein’s subject was delivering a routine cache of reincarnation flashbacks. The experience is so repressed in the West that his account made headlines. How did such a state of affairs come about?

In the buttoned-down 1950s, any lingering nineteenth-century vestiges of reincarnation were all but blotted out by the drama of two World Wars and a Depression—then a binge of scientific legerdemain and prosperity following the second time in a generation that the world caught fire.

How could borderline intimations stand a chance? What manifestation could be more vivid, mesmerizing, or packed with depth and meaningfulness than the rise of the Third Reich, Hitler’s blitzkrieg across Europe, the Holocaust, the rise of imperial Japan in the Pacific, and apocalyptic battles on remote islands—all of it followed by a dazzling economic and cultural renaissance? These events took precedent over past-life memories for good reason—they were more poignant and dramatic. Life on the physical plane provided such intense immediacy that everything else paled beside it. Reality was brilliant, vivacious, enthralling—senior in every sense. The spooling of physical existence drowned out all spirits and poltergeists—and then science provided powerful reinforcement.

Seen from a different perspective, the seniority of physical existence is a deep-rooted apparition. Each apparition plays out exclusively during its engagement; like a dream while being dreamed, it has the same claim on our being as reality itself.

Before twentieth-century amnesia, the notion of reincarnation was firmly established in Western civilization. In a lifelong attempt to contact the dead, nineteenth-century British philologist Frederic Myers, a founder of the Society for Psychical Research, documented his own and his colleagues’ interactions with ghosts of the deceased. Myers was even reported to have sent garbled messages to relatives and colleagues after his own death. These experiments had direct continuity with accounts from prior centuries. Reincarnation had been widely accepted in ancient Greece and Rome and through the European Middle Ages and Renaissance.

Nineteenth-century researchers into the paranormal ranged from curious scientists to amateur sleuths like Mark Twain and Abraham Lincoln. The Psychical Society’s research platform featured table tipping, spirit photographs, levitation, trumpets and accordions floating in mid-air playing audible music, automatic writing (which gave rise to Ouija boards), crystal balls, spirit knocking, ectolasm, and telepathy (a term coined by Myers).

A bias of post-modern provincialism is to assume that all these researchers were gullible and myopic or lacked scientific methodology. Most of them conducted meticulous measurements while trying to disentangle multiple layers of coincidence and to document unexplained 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 early experiments conducted with a priori skepticism, they were evaluated along impartial, empirical parameters abandoned in the later twentieth century under the fundamentalist protocols of scientism. Myers and crew had open minds about how the universe might work as opposed to the current overseers of matter and quantity who flee the paranormal or dismiss it without examination.

Sigmund Freud played a significant, mostly unintended role in the West’s parapsychological denial. In hypostatizing a latent reservoir of unconscious mind and an indeterminate flow between it and the ego, he afforded a scientific mechanism for any anomaly. If conventional memories could be transposed into sublimated variants or wholesale fantasies from neurotic, libidinal drives, no additional explanation was necessary for any psychic event, however weird. Dreams and trances were deemed brief psychotic fugues, breaks with reality without ontological significance.

The Freudian model blew up nonlocal consciousness as a viable explanation for poltergeists and recall of past lives. An unconscious as fathomless and refractory as he proposed could encompass just about anything, so other dimensions of reality became as suspect as they were superfluous.

Freud and his contemporaries never considered that past-life memories could be both psychological and psychic, yet the universe is entangled in exactly that way.

At roughly the same time, quantum physics established an uncertainty basis for all phenomena. Even though researchers were scanning uncertainty only at a subatomic level, they established a material basis for any anomalous event. If a particle’s position is only measurable in relation to momentum (and vice versa), then matter can behave metaphysically without what is thought of as metaphysics.

Formulaic Christianity had its own parochial effect. Papal protocol decreed a single lifetime followed by a definitive Judgment; that was its defining commodity, and the faithful kept the faith.

In this environment, Bernstein’s regression of Virginia Tighe came out of the blue and 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 colleen, Tighe’s former self. For weeks the New York Daily Mirror ran a front-page cliffhanger, detailing the findings of its investigative reporter in Ireland.

A variety of investigators concluded that there was no “Bridey Murphy” in the records of Ireland during the years of her proposed lifetime as read by Ms. Tighe from her own tombstone—born 1798, passed 1864. A roster of the churches, addresses, and artifacts cited by Tighe were found fictive or apocryphal.

In truth, the early nineteenth century, though relatively recent, is too long ago for exhaustive historiographic research. Locating the “real” 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 on the scale of trying to figure out if Shakespeare wrote his own plays. No records remain of most people and occurrences then. 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 neighborhood at the time. One random hit was par for that course.

Far more damning was the discovery that crucial aspects of Bridey Murphy’s memories were traceable 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 reincarnation was a lost memory displaced in cryptomnesiac fashion.

Neither the Daily Mirror nor other media considered synchronicities—repeating anomalous configurations—that might cause the former Bridey Murphy to reincarnate across the street from her namesake.

Ms. Tighe could also have recalled an authentic past life in Cork and then conflated the name of herself with that of her neighbor.

Bridey Murphy entered pop culture somewhere between a freak and a hoax, a discredited diva and 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 iconically in novels by Thomas Pynchon and Ken Kesey, a telltale tome in the hands of a character, indicating less its rehabilitation than its influence over a new gestalt—magical realism.


Since the days of Bridey Murphy and without fanfare, hypnotic regression has been used by physicians, hypnotists, and therapists to disinter enigmatic mental fragments and possible psychic traces, including relics of so-called past lives, usually with a therapeutic goal. In an episode paralleling Morey Bernstein’s regression of Virginia Tighe, Brian Weiss, chief of psychiatry at Mount Sinai Hospital in Miami Beach, instructed a patient named Catherine to “go back to the time from which your symptoms arise.” He had failed to relieve her of acute phobias of choking, drowning, and being stranded in the dark—even after she recovered an age-three memory (under hypnosis) of sexual violation by her drunken father. 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….”12

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. 13 After reliving assorted crises and death traumas of each of these lives under hypnotic regression, she experienced a mitigation of her phobias. Though clinical success could not be attributed to a past-life source, the improvement was in contrast to the lack of improvement following her 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 her incarnation as a Spanish prostitute, the recall of these “lives” seemed to have worked in the way that recovery of an actual traumatic moment 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 details, was mortified and quickly repudiated them. As a practicing Catholic, she did not accept past lives; nonetheless, she continued with the therapy because of its positive results. She dismissed the tales as balderdash.

Weiss handled verification of his patient’s past-life incongruities by conceding, “[T]he totality of the experience was such that these inconsistencies only add to its complexity. There is so much we don’t know.”14

Past-life therapists consider either that symptomatic relief is proof of the validity of the memories or, antithetically, that it doesn’t matter if the “memories” are false because they tap into something primal in the patient’s subconscious. Here this discussion bottoms out at a different dichotomy—real past lives versus imaginal past lives. It will take preparation and lead-in to get there, but I will do a preliminary pass now

Ailments that are unaffected by any other mode of treatment often clear up spontaneously after a past-life regression. The cure doesn’t require a past-life belief system. Stuck and internalized energy—cathected trauma in Freudian vocabulary—transcends its own carrier content and form. If the energetic basis for a cure is triggered during therapist-patient transference, the initiating circumstance is ancillary (see the next-to-last chapter “Cosmic Formation”).

This model also accords with established spiritual views of the aura as the repository pf deep traumas as well as the only place where they can be released. In the aura, all lives of a spirit or soul meld into one greater, cyclical Life­—so unconscious events can be energetically budged by other, even unrelated events. Since it doesn’t matter if they are made cognitively conscious too—and they usually aren’t—it also doesn’t matter if they are real or veridical. In the aura, a fantasy is no less veridical than reality: each governs its own quanta of formation energy. Forensics become irrelevant. 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, once a stock-car racer in Mexico, enrolled in BPI initially because it was supposed to be a good venue for meeting 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 classes in the common room and demonstrate psychic principles. On one such occasion, he performed a series of past-life readings of selected students. Each volunteer expressed his or her appreciation, a medley of “Yo dude, that was incredible; that was so my past life” to “How did you do that?” After the buzz died down from this seeming tour de force, Javier teased the audience: “Was that her real past life?”

No one answered.

“C’mon. Is any of this stuff real?”

After thirty seconds of silence, he 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 dissolve into irrelevance. If it continues to grow in depth and context, it will also become more real.

That’s all that anyone does anyway: track a flow of information in a broad enough context to test its reality. As you keep at your interrogation, often unconsciously, you dead-reckon your way to its rightful place in the universe and, remarkably, the universe itself. Any tiger stirring from a a newborn configuration of cells recognizes a radiant field, reads and evaluates cues, and responds to it with feline tools. 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. A reptile crawls extemporaneously out of one reality into another.

That’s how astronomers found us in a galaxy and our galaxy among other galaxies in an expanding universe. Reality is “view”—not what is viewed. View is inherent, however its compass gets established. It’s how creatures know what they are and anything else is.


Catherine’s prochronistic chronicling of her inaugural past life indicates that most folks who recall previous existences archive them by current frames of reference. If queried for a date, they use contemporary chronology—the viewing platform of the present rather than the past person. Conversely, they may lapse into words and expressions from a former dialect, such as switching to a foreign accent and while speaking in English or answering “nein” for “no” in the case of a Mediaeval Germanic character.

Xenoglossy is the technical term for displaced linguistics, most often applied to young children babbling in a foreign language for which there is no ordinary explanation. The parents assume initially that the prattle is nonsense syllables. The truth comes to light when the child seems to understand speech of strangers and responds to the satisfaction of native speakers, occasionally instigating a dialogue.15

In one account, 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.”16 You can imagine trying to explain to the strangers how their boy acquired their language.

Children may also speak in an accent different from their family and locale. 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 earliest speech of his childhood matches that of a speaker from Devon, England, a dialect to which he had no exposure.

Two girls in a Southern California family in the 1970s, Andrea and Sara Forman, tried to read the “wrong” side of their mother Linda’s bilingual manuals for her Ayurvedic medical practice—the facing pages of Devanagari rather than English script. Andrea, the older child, exhibited this tendency first; it came to light when she asked her mother which leaf she read. Linda 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 pulled stacks of pages of a handwritten Sanskrit-to-English dictionary from under her bed, did she realize that something spookier 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.”17

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.”18


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

“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?”19

After viewing one of Dr. Weiss regressions, Shroder reported witnessing nothing more extraordinary than “a contemporary American woman free-associating on a medieval theme”20 ­—what a person with a high-school education and a reading of romance novels might formulate by a mix of suggestibility, pseudomemories, and deference. Later, when he interviewed her, she betrayed wishful thinking as she told him: “It never made sense to me that we could be here for such a short time, and then…nothing.”21 To him, that was a red flag.

When experimentally undergoing his own post-hypnotic regression, Shroder experienced the same susceptibility in himself he observed in others. He was eager to cooperate and “supply the hypnotist with what she wanted.”22

He concluded that past lives fell under a tendency similar to that of UFO abductees and children claiming sexual molestations in pre-schools—false memories implanted by a hypnotist as well as a wish to comply with instructions from an authority.

When he had his own past-life reading, a menagerie of unconvincing characters paraded before him: an Australian rancher, a black Jamaican sorceress, and an arthritic Japanese sage. None of these had any resonance; in his own words: “no fading scent of jasmine or sting of gin.”23

I had a similar experience on my first visit to the Berkeley Psychic Institute; my lineup of past identities included a Japanese monk, a bumptious cowboy, and a society woman married to a scholar. These were presented by a line of 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.”24

But he was searching like the nihilistically preconditioned Westerner he was, trying to push himself through the existential opacity of his own denial rather than neutrally and receptively opening himself to information. Like SETI researchers with their radio telescopes attuned to the radiational heavens, he assumed that the “extraterrestrial” message would be in his terms. He did not consider that jasmine and gin, between lifetimes, might transmogrify. Their essence would be preserved, but its attachment to a particular object and experience would be transposed.

One is not going to undo reincarnational encryption by pulling its knot in the direction in which it was tied. That’s the sort of intrusion our biological system was designed to resist—and I don’t mean that some high muckamuck designed it, just that it is intelligently designed. The universe’s codes may bend, radically and creatively as Freud discovered, but they don’t break. Sublimation and reaction formation are designed to protect trances, not dissolve them.

Remember, Miss Tighe had no memory or foreshadowing of Bridey Murphy when awake; the character and her experiences appeared only under hypnosis. Later in 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 testimony: the investigations of Ian Stevenson, a psychiatrist and research scientist who, early in his career, switched careers from microbiology to parapsychology and became the primary academic documenter of people’s past-life memories. Stevenson abjured hypnotic regression, a potentially contaminating factor, and went straight to the action, travelling to wherever word came of a child evincing a past-life memory. He got himself to the site as quickly as possible and then attempted to match the accounts of the child to the life of his or her purported past person (PP). This meant covering tens of thousands of miles in the  Middle East and South Asia. His goal was to collect corroborating (or disproving) evidence before it could be contaminated. In a number of instances, substantive details had fortuitously been written down or shared with multiple witnesses before the PP’s family had been identified and contacted.

Again, Stevenson was seeking spontaneous memories, not induced regressions. His cases “predominantly featured young children, ages two to five, who spoke of previous-life memories for a brief time, until they were about eight.”25 In the words of past-life therapist Carol Bowman, children “haven’t had the cultural conditioning, the layering over of experience in this life, so the memories can percolate up more easily.”26 Memories tend to fade with immersion in the current vivid lifetime with its landscape, language, and new relationships. In Western culture, where such experiences are ignored or discouraged, they evaporate faster.

Stevenson filed reports of varying 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; no memories of being in a Pharaoh’s harem or his palace guard. All his reports involved ordinary people in mundane circumstances, a more likely PP census than the exotic casting calls of New Age regressions. A disproportionate number did involve violent deaths, raising the possibility that carryover is traumatic—an unsettled death picture leading to an unconscious need for resolution. In other words, emotional effects reverberate. This would also explain why most “rebirths” take place within hailing distance of the previous life—“souls” are drawn to resolve something left unfinished. The following cases from Stevenson’s files knit into a world-view foreign to a Western perspective:


  • 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 the house. His parents delayed a search until he was six; then they followed his directions.

As they approached the site, Nazih became more confident, picking 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, Nazih answered each of her questions accurately. The woman was convinced that he was the rebirth of her husband Faud, father of her five children.

On a subsequent visit Nazih recognized a man and 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 misleading queries—for instance by asking him to “confirm” incorrect details about Faud—all failed.27


  • 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.”28


  • Chanai Choonmalaiwong, a boy born in Thailand in 1967, began talking 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.29

After they arrived 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.30


  • 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 and having children. One day he recalled cutting his wife on her leg with a knife during an argument.31 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 identified 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.32 Synchronicities might reflect complex levels of organization in a different dimension of this reality (see “kinetic depth effect” later).

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.33


  • In July 1951, a boy in Kanauj, India, 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.”34

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.35


  • 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 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 recitation fit the narrative of a deceased teenage girl in nearby 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.36

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 the absence of a genetic link, a feature noticed 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.’”37


  • 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 first understood something was strange when he corrected their pronunciation of Rashid’s hometown, Kfarmatta, and explained he was from there. 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.”38

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.”39

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, adding he “wouldn’t want to take that lump to court as evidence of reincarnation.”40

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.”41 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 too. 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.42 She did not remember the feeling of 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, in fact, were: “Hello, Leila?”43 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.”44

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) as well as 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.”45


  • 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. Again, there was a perfect match.46


Western past-life memories follow similar motifs:
•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 no attention, considering it 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.”47

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.48


  • 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.”49 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.”50 Another time, when shown a family photo, he pointed to his grandfather and declared, “That’s me!”51 Such simple responses to such a profound and complicated phenomenon….

“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.”52

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.”53


  • 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.”54

At age seven, the children seemed to forget their PPs and stopped referring to them.55


  • 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.56


  • Ryan Hammons, a boy in Warner, Oklahoma, told his mother one day, “I think I used to be someone else.” He remembered having been an actor in Hollywood, dancing on Broadway, travelling on boats to other countries, and being married.57 Born in 2004, Ryan began recounting his memories as well as having nightmares because of them at age four. Ryan’s mother, Cyndi, a deputy county clerk in Muskogee, kept a journal of her son’s accounts of the person he called “the old me,” but she did not initially tell her husband, Kevin, a lieutenant with the Muskogee Police Department. When she finally presented him with the tale, his response was, “Damnit, Cyndi! Reincarnation? Where the hell do you come up with this stuff? We have a regular little boy who doesn’t want to sleep in his bed and you just give in to him and let him sleep in here. He’s a kid and kids have nightmares and I don’t want to hear more of this New Age bull.”58

Over time, even Kevin came to believe Ryan. “In his more than fifteen years as a police officer, he had interviewed many people suspected of crimes, from stealing all the way to murder. He had learned to recognize when someone was lying.”59

The gist of what Ryan recalled was: He lived in Hollywood; he was a movie star who occasionally tap-danced on stage; after his acting career, he was an agent, and his agency represented famous clients; he lived on a street with the word “mount” or “rock” in it where he was very rich and had a large house with a swimming pool. He was married four times and also had numerous girlfriends and affairs. The house was filled with children, but the boys weren’t his birth children, though he gave them his name. He knew Rita Hayworth, she made ‘ice drinks.’ He had a green car that he wouldn’t let anyone else drive and a large collection of sunglasses. These were among fifty-five later-verified memories.60

The solution of Ryan’s “old me” began when his mother brought him a book on the golden age of Hollywood. He recognized himself as an unidentified extra in Mae West’s first film, Night After Night. The guy Ryan pointed to stood alongside George Raft as a gangster. “‘You found me, Momma! You found me! That’s me and that’s George and we did a picture together.’”61 It was 1932.

It took a year to match them with a deceased Hollywood actor after the family sought help from former Stevenson associate, Jim Tucker. Extensive research turned up the obscure actor’s name: Marty Martyn (born Martin Kolinsky). He had been both a performer and agent, was married four times, and lived on Rocksbury Drive. His death certificate had the wrong age on it; Ryan’s memory of passing at sixty-one proved accurate.62

Ryan said that his other self’s memories were always there, but “when you are a baby…you can’t tell anyone because you can’t talk.”63 Cyndi remarked, “Kevin and I were often struck by how much Ryan talked like an adult, although we were used to it by now. He seemed to have wisdom that was sometimes uncanny for his age.”64 She noted, “Some days when I picked him up from school he talked about being an agent, and when I asked him what he did at school, he would say, ‘You know, agent stuff.’ He also pretended that he was making movies. When he was four, I remember taking him to a birthday party where he assembled all the children there to direct them for his movie. He yelled at the adults that he needed help because it was hard to act in and direct a major production.”65

Certain incidents involving a “Senator Five” (who turned out to be a real-life “Senator Ives”) terrified him. Ryan’s mother explained that he wasn’t Marty Martyn anymore, and she just wanted him to be Ryan and happy. He said, “‘Mom, you still don’t get it, do you? I am not the same as the man in the picture on the outside, but on the inside I am still that man. You just can’t see on the inside what I see.’”

Could dead-reckoning be stated any more articulately? The inner self recognizes its situation.

Marty Martyn had one birth daughter, who was eight when he died. When Ryan met her again as a grandmother in her fifties, she remarked, “‘The experience of meeting Ryan was strange. The first thing he said to me was that I was so old!’”66

Another comment by Ryan 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.”67

I agree, Ryan. Why should you have to learn how to speak English and add numbers again, rediscover night and day, and go to school to regain knowledge you already had. Yet at a reincarnational level, everyone develops “Alzheimer’s.”

What stands out in all these accounts is each person’s identification with his or her PP, an intersubjective sense of having been and still being another person and of encompassing his or her unique selfhood and vantage in his or her own self. “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.”68 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 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.”69 The former self was so profound and intractable it superseded proprioception of his own present body.

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

In some instances, a child may be upset by the diminishment of his or her social status. Jasbir Singh, a boy “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 submitting to his family’s cuisine. Suzanne complained that her real house was larger and more beautiful.70

Ryan Hammons “sometimes seemed confused about what was then and what was now, and what were reasonable expectations now as opposed to then. He thought he should pay his mom for cleaning his room because before he had a maid who came in every day to clean his house. He expected to see his buddies when he went to Hollywood, and said he might stay with them for a while and come home after his parents….”71 His mother noticed, “There were nights when he was very funny and I enjoyed hearing his stories. Then on other nights he just seemed to be mad at the world. Why couldn’t I just fly him to Hollywood and let him eat at his favorite place? Sometimes our house would be too small in his opinion and he would rant about how he couldn’t believe he was being expected to live in these conditions. His old room had been large and grand and he had his own swimming pool. Why couldn’t we have servants? Do you know how much easier life is with hired help?”72

Other piques by children remembering PPs 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.”73 They point out missing and altered buildings or 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 the transition back to childhood. In an account from Stevenson, one boy flirted inappropriately with his schoolteachers, using adult seductive gestures and crude sexual language.

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 enjoyed playing battle games.74 Stevenson speculated that Japanese soldiers who mistreated civilians during World War II might have been drawn back to the scene of their crimes, taking on Burmese rather than Japanese identities to pay their karmic debts.

One Burmese girl who remembered a previous existence as a Japanese soldier craved toy guns and would play only with boys. She insisted on being addressed by the male honorific and eventually moved to the city and sought girlfriends.75  If reincarnation is a source of gender dystopia, it is remarkable that most children automatically adopt the gender of their current identity, whatever they were in a previous life or other past lives.

Children may be attached to their PP’s jobs or intent on replicating or revenging their deaths. Parmod Sharma, an Indian boy, played a shopkeeper of biscuit and soda water, the occupation of his PP, from ages four to seven, repeating 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”76: either a droll 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.77 Other children have attacked the alleged killer of their previous self, kicking or punching them at first encounter.

If such claims had legal status, all hell would break loose in the world of jurisprudence. Each self is held responsible only for his or her actions within a given lifetime, though even this assignment of liability is a limited interpretation. After decades in prison, a murderer may no longer be the person who committed the murder. The “killer” is at large in another body, to act again.

Souls that committed horrible crimes in past lifetimes walk into this one scot-free, every link 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, so perhaps reincarnation is a way to “punish” or absolve crimes, as Stevenson suggests. Karmic jurisprudence begins to approach the intricacy of the universe and greater terms of reparation. Everyone is guilty at some level or another. Everyone is expiated through death and rebirth.


For almost all the cases discussed above, reincarnation is the most logical and rational explanation, even by Occam’s razor. What are other possible interpretations?

Some who accept telepathy but reject reincarnation propose super-psi whereby one person gains knowledge of another’s life from an at-large telepathic field or morphic resonance (to adapt biologist Rupert Sheldrake’s term). Non-personal clairvoyance does not explain how the narrative of another’s life engenders such tenacious identification, though empathy does occur to a lesser and more ephemeral degree in emotional projection, for instance during a movie when a spectator merges his or her ego with characters played by actors.

Distinguishing a past-life regression from a fantasy or montage of unconscious memories becomes more difficult when factoring in stray plots gathered from novels, movies, and television shows. The subconscious blends disparate threads together, in fact nightly in dream-formation—and some people have more active imaginations than others.

Even so, transference of events from a novel or a film to a live psyche is not as persistent or ingrained as past-life membrances; the former are transitory, and the man or woman experiencing them is usually aware of their fictive nature.

In an extreme instance, someone with inadequate ego boundaries might lose her identity and become confused by her projection onto a movie star, for instance in cases of stalking. For a person with this tendency, a flood of telepathic transpersonal information or disembodied psychic field would be especially disorienting, as it would seem to come from nowhere. But projection doesn’t explain the plethora of such cases in normal, balanced personalities.

Other rebuttals of Stevenson’s evidence are reductionist or ideological and ignore the specificity of the testimony he got and his follow-up documentation. One of the more common explanations is that a parent might misunderstand or misconstrue the claims fantasy-susceptible children with over-active imaginations. A parent weaves a child’s intermittent, recurrent statements into a cohesive narrative and then reinforces it in discussion.

Both Daniel and Rashid were Druze, a sect that believes in reincarnation and soul transfer. Because the Druze community is small and people generally know each other from village to village, there is a greater chance of suggestibility and contamination. People hear a report, converse about it; children pick up the narrative, identify with embellish it, and build fantasies. If a child supplies further details on his own, the parents are drawn into the fantasy and unintentionally supply more cues.

Cynics claim 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.”78 The two families, as they meet and share details, delude each other or collude. By the time Stevenson (or some other researcher) gets there, the child has been coached and brainwashed. Picking up tidbits as they are bandied about, he has come to believe that they are his memories of his own past life. Once again, a combination of susceptibility to fantasy and malleability of the psyche replaces an interpretation of reincarnation.

In an experiment to test (and ostensibly debunk) Stevenson’s theories, Richard Wiseman, a psychologist in England, asked children to make up stories about their past lives, then searched through archives and newspapers to try to match their tales with actual occurrences in the genre of Stevenson’s cases. Usually he could find something suspicious.79

Wiseman’s facile resolution—demonstrating that fantasies converge with real events in a universe in which there is enough information at myriad levels to make any story credible—may not be the right interpretation even of his own data. Wiseman and his subjects could have been drawn into a field of transpersonal clairvoyance or triggered a pattern of synchronous motifs (like Bridey Murphy being reborn across the street from her namesake). Wiseman also committed the same mistake of which skeptics accuse believers: tailoring his analysis of his data to his beliefs. Another interpretation of this experiment is that synchronicity is a larger rubric than reincarnation and affects the status of information, both conscious and unconscious, in the universe at large.

Even as complex three-dimensional objects like machines cast two-dimensional shadows with motions too complex to be explained solely in terms of a two-dimensional landscape—a phenomenon known as the kinetic depth effect—an intricately entangled four- or five-dimensional form might cast three-dimensional shadows joined by synchronicities.

The cumulative parallels between Presidents Abraham Lincoln and John F. Kennedy, a century apart, though within statistical parameters of chance, are spooky. The two 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, 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 scheme. An early reader of this manuscript, physicist Piers Hutchinson, remarked, “To my family, the Lincoln-Kennedy parallel was so obviously pure coincidence as to be funny.” So let’s concede that one.

What about Joseph Figlock, who in 1930 while passing a second time beneath a window, caught and 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, the first in 1919?

What about 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 forty.80

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”! look like an extra-dimensional depth effect to me.

Unless science can tell us how nature establishes frames of reference, it cannot make a distinction between coincidence and synchronicity.


Skeptical explanations for so-called past-life memories finally tend to be more cumbersome than reincarnation. What skeptics are left with are claims that a child must have overheard gab about the fabricated PP’s life or that a parent is engaged in fraud.71 Yet it is a stretch to imagine that a child of two or three could learn and credibly perform complex biographies. How did Suzanne Ghanem get twenty-five names right? Even if she had overheard them, how did she remember and assign them accurately? Did she have eidetic recall? What’s her motive? 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.”82

Hoaxing makes little sense either, as there is no financial reward for past-life proofs, and claims often lead to hassles and disputes. Yet we can’t dismiss hoaxing solely on that basis because people make mercenarily motivated blunders and delude themselves into expecting windfalls, or even neurotically seek attention, but, conversely, we can’t claim ulterior motives predicated on fortune or fame.

Stevenson considered the possibility that people talk themselves into rebirth. Because past-life recall is unusual even among the Druze, he proposed that occurrences might also be a defect, malfunctions of amnesia.83 I am unclear whether Stevenson believed that reincarnation is the rule and memory the exception or that reincarnation itself is a system malfunction.

The number of Druze cases of reincarnation in Stevenson’s files does suggest that belief plays a role, if not in reincarnation, in recall. In the West, indoctrination takes place at such a young age that children effectively become self-censors.

A tangential matter is whether reincarnation cycles are limited to one planet, Earth in our instance, or whether souls can reincarnate on other worlds, either in the Milky Way Galaxy or other galaxies? Some skeptics try for a coup de grace by noting that there are too many people in Earth’s expanding population for past lives to account for all of their existences. Are there also other kinds of set-ups, equivalent to planets but nonmolecular or with different allocations of space, time, and matter? Can they incarnate souls coming from physical cosmoses?

Dr. David Bishai of Johns Hopkins School of Public Health did the real 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.84 That would cover the necessary soul stock for now but doesn’t address the ontological problem: if the inventory runs out, how can new people get born?

It almost certainly not a quantitative matter or, if it is, it likely operates at the demographics of the universe with its countless galaxies and in the context of multiple personalities. Souls could land on other worlds or form simultaneous separate personae like Dr. Weiss’ patient with her coinciding lives in Spain and the Ukraine. Various Tibetan lamas claim to intentionally reincarnate in more than one individual. I will discuss fragmentation and fission of personalities later.

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

The reason is a prevailing view that reincarnation is absurd. It violates the laws of physics, so it is not worth even discussing. It is as if one were propounding levitating clowns and witches on brooms. This bias overrides any evidence, however compelling. Most scientists start from the premise that reincarnation couldn’t happen, therefore it doesn’t. In each case, there has to be another explanation. New School philosopher Paul Edwards’ critique of Stevenson’s work presumes that this assessment is 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?”85

Skeptical bias drips from his statement. If you believe in a materialist universe only—a what-you-see-is-what-you-get affair in which the cosmos popped out of a particle smaller than a pinhead in the middle of nowhere for no reason—then Edwards’ caricature strikes the perfect chord: the only conceivable mechanisms for past lives are patently absurd.

If you consider, however, that what we know about the universe is far less than what we don’t, Edwards’ pique is a symptom of his own hubris and a susceptibility to the consensus trance.


The Hole in the Materialists’ Universe

  1. The Nature and Origin of Consciousness

The issue of reincarnation rests on the status of consciousness. What is it? How does it form? What are its capacities? Is it solely a molecular by-product or is it nonlocal?

In the last millennium humanity has yawed from an interim posture of trying to locate nolocal consciousness in the foirm a spirit or soul—an a priori basis for identity—to proving, ever more conclusively and empirically, that no such item exists. We are alone in a basically unfriendly, untenantable place. We exist because something bizarre happened. But there could have been nothing—nothing anywhere, nothing forever. Juggle a few variables, and a starry universe might not have arisen or its stars might not have incubated elements for molecular life.

The verdict is that 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” is an electrochemical flow of cascading protein-crystal matrices generating an illusion of mindedness. Not only is reincarnation impossible, life is imaginary. Confronted with Hamlet’s timeless rub “To be or not to be?” peer-reviewed science answers, “Not.” Creatures are packages of chemicals reacting to other chemicals, incidental pangs against an eternity of their own (and everything else’s) nonexistence—and not just nonexistence but nonexistence without meaning—the result of no more than lifeless elements briefly coming into a consciousness and vitality that is bound to end…. [E]ven the emotions of love and exaltation are seen as no more than the erratic activity of neurons firing, or of chemicals reacting to chemicals.”1

In Dark Pool of Light I synopsized science’s takeaway from a five-or-so-century inquiry: “A light goes on, a light goes off, but it wasn’t even a light.” That is, we become conscious; the biochemistry underlying its state runs its course or is untimely terminated; but it wasn’t truly conscious to begin. It was just chance chemicals and electricity—both a hallucination and a mirage.

Welcome to the Show, Brother Man, Brother Bird. You are heat differentials feigning self-recognition. You have the intelligence and leaven of mud or a thunderstorm. Your life and creature identity report to no higher court and mean nada to the universe.

The moving shape that is a gull—a feathered matrix of flying, calling membranes formed out of an egg—disperses into assorted gull-less molecules in the air. There is no evidence of the gull’s prior existence once its carbon and nitrogen are put back into nature. Every trace of it is eradicated forever.

The lights go out for good, including the interior glow by which you, dear reader, are assimilating these matters. In other words, we’re fucked, so get used to it. We have always been fucked. Our situation is real, damnedly real, but meaningless. Hard to believe that Homo sapiens crossed ice, sleet, and saber-toothed predators for hundreds of thousands of years to arrive at this sorry conclusion.

The outcome of the ceaseless battle of chaos’ contrivances—Ilya Prigogine’s non-equilibrium thermodynamics—against the prior incumbency of entropy is a foregone conclusion, entropy wins decisively, otherwise known as the heat death of the universe. This provenance applies to all upstarts in said universe, as well as the universe itself—stars, bars, and the rest. 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, and perish. Adios reality!

Even the fact that there was something (here or anywhere) will be eradicated too. The current forgery will redound to prevailing and eternal nothingness, which is what was meant to be in the first place. Darkness again will rule the abyss.

Or it will turn into something else—same thing.

There is no lurking eschatological savior, no last-minute turn-of-plot. Nothing is exempt from the impeccable dance of heat, mass, gravity, and their information. In Justin Torres’ memoir of his Puerto Rican childhood, a lad asks his father, “‘What happens when you die?’” El papá’s response comes from a deep-seated supposition that has been spreading to meet the universe that swallows it. He stares back at his son, dumbfounded, and snaps, “Nothing happens. Nothing happens forever.”2

Great God Entropy has spoken.

The cue ball hit the subatomic fuse, splattering bosons and fermions, a torrid, dense singularity known in these parts as the Big Bang. A prime shuffle of skank took place as a melee of daughter particles and inherent forces spewed out of. Incidental collisions of particle-waves of carbon and nitrogen thickened and incubated to weird effect in planet Earth’s pools. Eureka! You have viral fuzz, bristling bacteria, a pseudopod-projecting amoeboid gel, crawling slime, a chittering mouse. Trillions of their seeds wiggled into plush eggs and imbedded additional software, launching a contiguous organism from a single cell. Now the cell infests Earth, disseminating and cloning throughout weeds and waters.

Nothing in a chemico-mechanical universe can arise without an authorized physical sponsor, a cardinal substrate followed by notarized chain of carriers. Every artifact must have a skein of forerunners in the one-way march from the Big Bang’s bosons and fermions into more cumbrous scions. Creature-hood is a splash where nothing should splashable.

BB occurred either in the pure void or in space it somehow created (and is creating) by its implosion. Everything that followed BB is chains of events arising from the fission and fusion of particles: a blind detonation and crapshoot.

Elements transferred their quantum potentials into qualities, as thermodynamic and shear forces fed mechanical information—temperature-driven gradients—into heuristically developing chains that got bound in membranes by chemical bonds. Information got transmitted through microtubules into an ascending hierarchy of binary synapses. A series of embryogenic invaginations—folds, pockets, and laminae—spawned deeper networks. Self-monitoring feedback loops arose from their own resting potential. Transferred into ganglia, they folkowed the notochord’s spinal ascent, as they captured more strings of diffuse feedback monitors.

The innate excitatory sensitivity and action-potential states of augmentation and inhibition culminated in hyperpolarization and depolarization of charge overloads. Low-threshold spikes hit default tipping points, as neural grids filtered out static and noise that would otherwise have cancelled their own meanings as gibberish. 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?”)

Creatures are self-regulating concentration and containment centers of trillionfold quantum, subatomic, and molecular firings into discretionary pathways. They evolved from input-output sensory ladders of platyhelminths, crustaceans, squids, and salamanders: autochthonous self-repairing units from self-similar motifs. This homunculus climbed its own ladder from worms to lizards to tree shrews to monkeys and Homo africanus, at least on this sorry-ass planet. It found agency and, ultimately, mind—not because it “knew” (or “was”) but because its incidental territories incidentally coincided and conformed.

It burst into the full-blown forest of symbols that now surrounds us. Then it swarmed into villages and declared polities and civilizations. There they be to this hour, interrogating their own crisis. The barrage of sound and fury, appearing to signify everything, signifies “nothing.” Shakespeare saw a tale told by an idiot. Now the idiot is gone.

Imputations represent erasure and absence of other imputations. Meanings reinforce their relevance by redundancy. Their feedback accretes in a surplus of energy that discharges as egoity, animal and human—of course, humans are animals. And meaning is dragged along like bubblegum on an unfortunate sneaker.

Consciousness has no other, innate source, no endogenous cause, auspices, or traction. A two-bit utility function, while ostensibly monitoring itself, converted systemic feedback—like superfluidity—into frames of reference, leading to more efficient function sets, and mind. What we call thought is various accreting vectors transferring their information packets into each other’s contexts and matching templates. They recognize themselves, and everything else, by pattern-on-pattern formations—fancy bar codes. As they exude phantasmagoria, they stamp personalized existence on them.

There is no extraneous path for underwriting subjective beingness. Despite much lipstick on the pig, we are slime on “a small round planet inching its way through a terrifying void.”3

The calls of loons and gulls, the whines, chirps, and growls of assorted creatures, are at par only with vortices generating them. They plead with an adventitious universe to be rather than not. In speechless spiders, insects, and worms, the same plaint is movement.

There is nowhere else from which to summon them and no place for them to go to deliver their message, or message to deliver. Yet “I am” is pretty much what everything on Earth believed—the parade of plastids, bacteria, bears, and blackbirds: I am, I am, I am. I slither. I splash; I eat, I fuck, I whelp, I rule. Until a nineteenth-century locomotive carrying heavier cargo—the evolution of forms solely from prior forms—came rumbling down the tracks and supplanted the reigning entelechy with a shiny new proposition….

But if pinball effects are generating delusions and giving meaning to those delusions, then who is doing all that me-ing and mewing? If it’s dust to dust, how did “we” and all those convincing and convinced leopards, lizards, cobras, and wrens, get inside? Plus, their situations can’t be renounced because they can never be separated from themselves.


Science has only one hole in it, but the hole is us. Consciousness seems to override all attempted reductions and impose its own intractable riddle. Neuroscientist Sam Harris proffered, with equal traces chagrin and irony, “The only thing in this universe that suggests the reality of consciousness is consciousness itself.”4 A sense of beingness is the most inexplicable and astonishing thing in the universe. Without our experience of our own existence, the universe doesn’t appear conscious or conducive to consciousness. The only thing that refutes this viewpoint and supports the presence of consciousness is its reflection in its own mirror.

But as long as consciousness arises from the thing that it comprehends, it can neither ratify nor escape its own proposition. It not only pervades matter, it is the reflecting pool in which all analysis is performed. Subjective states pop up everywhere like Topsy. Yet this reflection has no mirror, and the mirror no frame.  As physicist Max Planck put it, “We cannot get behind consciousness. [Yet] everything that we talk about, everything that we regard as existing, postulates consciousness.”5

There is no frame to look against, no pier to which to tie an experiment. A formulation affixed only to its untethered status cannot name itself; it is attached to nothing. A hole growing from itself can’t ever be filled; the shadow it casts over its experiment can never be illumined or objectified. When Albert Einstein calculated time and space as a continuum, he said as much about the brain as he did about universe. Relativity is mind observing nature as they wrap around each other: an inviolate carpet with a ragged breach.

The salvation for science is that, as long as there is only one hole, albeit a central one, it is business as usual—the band plays, the show goes on, as provisional equations cover the gap, patch the paradigm where it starts cracking, save the appearances. Coronated by human beings, matter gets to set the “outer bounds of reality itself.”6 The eight-hundred-pound gorilla has his way because, remember, who’s going to argue with an atavism that exploded onto the set like a dawn that only itself saw coming?

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


For science, consciousness is finally what consciousness does. Its placeholder status—whether or not it is really conscious—has nothing to do with its functional expressions. “There is no ghost in the organic machine,” declared neuro-anthropologist Terrence Deacon, “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.”7 Environment and entity impinge on each other at their boundaries. 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….”8

In fact, awareness is the least significant aspect of mind, for raccoons as for philosophers. Blind transfers of information supersede sentience on Earth, and presumably, under the Europan ice if life breeds there. Unconscious systemic sets run any 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 meta-conscious, quasi-linguistic structure of DNA and you have an entire subterfuge operation with internal alphabets and alphabetic structures. Consciousness’ boiler room and control center discharges a hummingbird’s flapping wings and a rat’s sniff of carrion. It is not even subconscious in a Freudian sense; it is outside representation.

Philosopher Daniel Dennett proclaimed with delight, “We’re all zombies. Nobody is conscious.”9 Our presumptions are “free-floating reasons … not our reasons.” They arose through natural selection, to allow us to survive. They are an operational “desktop.” “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.”10 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.”11


In case the usher didn’t hand you a program, the main objective of modern science is to prove that conscious beings can’t exist—the main objective—thereby to scrub meaning, purpose, and consequence from an impersonal universe to which they pay godlike homage.

Science says that consciousness is an adventitious side effect that mimics what real consciousness—enduring veridicality—would look like if it existed, but it doesn’t exist and never did. You cannot build enduring veridicality out of atoms or anything remotely like atoms, and that’s the only ingredient in the recipe.

Abject materialism wasn’t science’s purpose in the time of Johannes Kepler and Isaac Newton, but it has become so under mob rule: religious anti-religionism—nihilism the required faith, Yahweh the ultimate Infidel.

Empiricists are no longer honest brokers, for they have capital in the house commodity and intend to trade solely in it. They expect everyone to agree to recognize “matter” as the gold standard; they don’t want rival priests printing currency. Having delivered a dystopian future, they intend to savor their hallucinations while they last, parading as savants while deeming themselves apparitions. They fight for goodies just like any other biomolecular machines. They want to enjoy the benefits of materialism without risking their political and economic power.

Pretend for a moment to be a Stone Age hominid viewing the modern scene. 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, and whooshed up and down on pulleys in tubes, rolling around in sporty internal-combustion, pinion-and-gear-driven shafts. With a full an arcade to its credit, technocracy has spellbound its keepers, creating the ideal palliation and recompense for mortality: 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 machinery and analyzing away anomalies than to formulating a working construct for reality. It’s an easier gig with faster pay-offs. Kick da bums out!

Try checking out your own tool for ontology, your embodied mind. Drop into it in its depth, sense its capacity. Explore its trajectory.

Penetrate the minded tourbillion. Beam the spotlight back on itself “as though you were in a movie theater and stopped looking at the screen and looked back at the projector. To do this, let go of noticing objects and make the phenomenon of consciousness the object of attention.”12 Experience what it is. For a moment, presume that it is not a chemico-electric mirage. Take it for a test drive. What is it?

Do you experience overloads hitting spikes? Or do you feel roots in an unplumbed dimension? Try flipping one into the other.

The formulations of Ludwig Wittgenstein, as summarized by another philosopher, 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 who 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?”13

The paradox of consciousness yields two opposing viewpoints. The first is that, since nothing at large collateralizes it, consciousness is nothing—a network distortion that confers an illusion of beingness on phantoms it creates.

The second is that, since consciousness exists, it is de facto something, exempt from ordinances of science it—a self-arising timeless luminosity without correlation to any extrinsic light. Millennia ago Hindu philosophers gave it a sponsor—it is “self-authenticating,” unborn, uncreated, unconditioned, radiant, self-illuminating—the ground of all beingness. Try to find a arbiter to corroborate it. The Sanskrit word chiti defines it as “universal consciousness.” It was there before the mental function that recognizes it. It is “larger than the brain or some emergent property of the brain’s functions.”14 It simply is.

If we knew what consciousness was, if we even had a riverboat gambler’s chance in hell of knowing what it was, we would not even be conscious; e.g., capable of depth and paradox.


Science hasn’t the slightest idea what consciousness is. What it does, yes. What it is, not even “close but no cigar.” Neuroscientists can map mind’s attributes after they percolate into matter; they can track its chemical and electrical properties as molecules respond to their proximal presence; but they haven’t a clue as to how the fly got into the ointment, what the “fly” is, or how to propose forensics for it. They can’t kindle it anew from the sorts of compounds and filaments that transport it through molecular systems. And even if a chemist did ignite autonomous consciousness, he would be Donald Duck as the sorcerer’s apprentice, unaware of how he set the brooms marching.

Imagine yourself a biotech whiz stirring a chemical solution into some sort of primitive life form. How does a subjective “is” get centrifuged out of objective “non-ises”? What foments its interior glow? What spawns epistemology, what is the epistemology of its own elision?

Given the prima facie evidence of consciousness, scientists are frustrated not to be able to trace its operations back through presynaptic circuits or derive it from the components and mechanisms of the cerebral cortex and its precursor ganglia. They can’t explain how the electrical and chemical properties of the brain weirds inside-outness onto the universe.

How do they justify an item that was never ordered, has no implicit or explicit value, and simply appeared? How can you explain Café Zero: the menu, the entrées, the patrons, the waiter, yourself as patron? How do we derive Wittgenstein’s philosophy of mathematics or Keats’ nightingale or Graecian urn from bosons and fermions?

Why, in a fundamentally lazy, entropy-up universe, should consumption and conversion of energy be more attractive than indolence? To concatenations of atoms, why should “to be” be more enticing than “not to be”? Was matter “hungry”? Or did it stumble into an enthalpic resolution of an intrinsic charge?

I get it that synapsing yeses and nos, blacks and whites, create 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 that lesion in either structure or scale. They can’t command the microfilaments of a neural cell, let alone a macroorganism, to dance to their tune while bearing anything like “hey, there”; let alone translate binary information up the pod chain into full Faulknerian narratives, Da Vinci paintings, and Mahler symphonies.


  1. Animal Consciousness

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

Who does he act for except himself? He recognizes my presence—that of another being—and stands in relationship. He could not have made himself, but he is self-made. He came out of the same muck, the same DNA field, as me. In between him and me is the stuff by which awareness is generating itself.

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 the question at the heart of this text. Who are you? If we are mere algorithms, we should be willing to deliquesce in poofs with no more fuss than a set of isobars giving way to the next weather system. There should be no angst in our pilot lights.

Yet every ounce of us clamors just the opposite. The fish that doesn’t want to get caught or eaten by a larger fish, in fact frantically so, has no context or rationale. Remember, there is no pier or sight of any shore.

To creatures in the mix, “Life is to be pursued at all costs—not because it is innately meaningful but because it is the only game going….”15 Beingness is Creation’s most valuable commodity and is non-negotiable. “What else is there?” most creatures drink to the bottom of their glass.

They don’t drink because reality’s detonation is so all-consuming they are not aware of a cistern or a brew, let alone a decision to be made regarding status. Does a raccoon or crow worry about its ontological premise? No self-respecting eel would bite at such an absurd ruse—no indignant woodpecker or turkey vulture. That’s why no creature said boo for two and a half billion years.


We have no context to understand most of the things Earth’s nonhuman animals think or do. Though neuron-deprived by our standards, snakes, dogs, and mice—jellyfish, barnacles, worms and the like—are not stupid. They are no less evolved or clever than us.

What they don’t know—schemes and propositions precious to us—are irrelevant to them. What they know, we don’t. Even oaks and foxgloves have phenomenology.

Every plant and animal not only knows what it is but what the universe is too—not as descriptor but essence. A bacterial formation under the ice of Callisto is as reality-astute as a sage on an inner, temperate world of the same system. Each reads Creation through its operating node, and each is ineluctable, because each is. An earthworm “is”—is as “is,” as it gets, squiggling through energy-rich mud. Every sunflower and snake, owl and spider is the universe.

Poet Michael McClure deems the wolf “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.”16 The Earth is packed with wandering minstrels from sow bugs and sea cucumbers to minks and eagles, each exploring its template.

A mosquito reads nature through a mosquito portal, a vole at a vole frequency, a whale with a cetacean operating system. Fishes know water as we might experience sky or philosophy. To bugs, the nitrogen fumes of decay are a starry heavens. Dung beetles push their balls of poop away from competitors in straight lines by comparing successive stored sidereal snapshots. They navigate by the refraction of the Milky Way.

Wasps are not building a nest or tatting an unconscious object like a multi-port 3-D copier. They are constructing holy cities. The sound of ten thousand crickets, to the intelligence of nature, is not a din but an ecstatic choir.

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….”17


While writing this text (June 7, 2015), I found a beetle in a sauce of tamari and maple syrup with which I had cooked string beans and pecans earlier in the evening; it was crawling among a few stray beans and nuts as I arrived to wash dishes and pans. Obviously, I hadn’t cooked the beetle, so it must have crawled up the slippery side of the serving-dish while we and our guests were drinking 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, or maybe the creature’s fate was already determined.

Those prickly thin legs waving, trying to gain purchase were profound. I urged it not to be in a hurry; that is, I dispatched anthropomorphism its way. Only as I took its shell out to the garden and set it there, did it strike me that the animal’s frantic legs were connected to the universe in the way any intelligence is. I was handling a vast hologram, sensing not a separate bug but my existence in relation to and inseparably joined to it.

It was not a minor event: the whole universe was flailing at the beetle’s point of attachment.


You cannot extract a possum from its possumness, even if you taunt it. You can’t break its train of thought, its commitment to its frequency. You can’t ply it by propaganda or persecution to serve your agenda. It lives and dies as a possum.

Pavlovian conditioning can get a dog or falcon to do a master’s bidding, but they do it as dogs and falcons not proxy humans. You can’t violate their operating systems; you can only damage or shut them down.

Though Floridian assholes Michael Wenzel and Robert Lee “Bo” Benac poured beer down the forced-open mouth of a fifty-year-old Goliath grouper and dragged a live shark behind their speeding motorboat, they could not compromise the dignity of grouper-ness or sharkness.18

The picador-taunted bull in the ring, the harpooned whale, the bullet-riddled duck, the bee confined in a carafe likewise bend the universe along their own space-time continua. That’s post-Einsteinian relativity.

The angst and pity we exert on behalf of suffering creatures—tortured chickens, pigs, and cows in factory farms, etc.—is authentic but also a projection of our own unresolved status.


  1. The Brain as Computer

The lead article in the 2015 June 28 New York Times Sunday Review, “Face It, Your Brain is a Computer,” was the work of Gary Marcus, a psychologist and neuroscientist at NYU. Marcus argues that the brain is a computer because—well, what else could it be? Its logic-board and thought processes are lodged in a silicon-like cerebral wiring. It links by computations, its neurons operate like hardware, it performs its behaviors function homologous to those of a computer.

The implication is that the article could have been generated by inputting its conclusion into a computer with language skills. By Marcus’ premise, my insinuation isn’t even an insult.

This logic is bass-ackwards. Computers are modelled on brains rather than the other way around. Brains invented computers, and quite recently, by back-engineering cellular motherboards into cybernetic ones.

Why does Marcus give computers precedent over brains? They are not even better machines. They are more limited in their operations, less virtual in their range. The real question is, what are brains modelled on? They weren’t manufactured under quality control but basted over millennia out of mud.

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.”

Marcus provides an unintentional self-parody. He purports to be willing to play second fiddle to his cybernetic doppelgänger who will someday write the same article, but he probably doesn’t treat his friends and children as robots. It is schizophrenia: to believe and not believe same thing, but it is a hallmark of academic science. Most mavens of modernity think that you can behave however you want in your private life without invalidating your professional belief system.

Marcus also skipped the Turing test or, more likely, assumes that it has already been aced. A computer can only pass a test for intelligent behavior if an evaluator cannot reliably discriminate its responses from those of a human. But evaluators imbed their own gullibility in the game.


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 bias, drugs have replaced Freud’s “talking cure”— they are cheaper and, in principle, more efficient in repairing defective circuits. The article’s author, Casey Schwartz, a so-called “neuropsychoanalytic theoretician,” proposes that if clinical transference can be mapped in the brain by methods similar to those of computer diagnosis and repair, there is hope for nonpharmaceutical treatments. In lieu of prescribing hit-or-miss drugs or engaging in associative talk, doctors could target damaged circuits and inputs.

Thoughts and acts do alter the brain. For instance, a sustain practice of Buddhist meditation causes physiological shifts to support nondual perception. Conversely, criminal acts program brains for further criminal acts.

Not every materialist materialist agrees with Marcus and Schwartz. “Brains and neurons obviously have everything to do with consciousness,” posits philosopher H. Allen Orr, but how these objects do so, he admits, is baffling.

“Despite this,” he continues, “I can’t go so far as to conclude that mind poses some insurmountable barrier to materialism….”19 The brain is the sole candidate or proximal source of beingness, but only because there is no competitor or alternative.

Orr assumes that scientists will someday develop forensics for the mind by the same essential tools and paradigm-set as they nailed the rest, ostensibly after applying improved instruments to more comprehensive models.

He ignores ontological as well as epistemological gaps between aspects of the universe that we can get at and one we can’t. He presumes that the latter 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.”20

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, 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….”21

To physicist Werner Heisenberg, even particle-wave uncertainty and the ontological role of an observer in determining the position of a particle did not indicate how the thing looking back got there. He said, “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.”22

Psychologist Steven Pinker concurred. “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.”23

Astrophysicist David Darling added, “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.’”24 Bundles of elongated cells in coiled entrails, though fractally taut and specified, do not look like beingness; they show no ruminative signs or internalizing holograms.

Neurosurgeon Wilder Penfield concluded, “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.”25

What was obvious to Mediaeval theologians and to any Taoist monk or Zen student, is baffling to physicists and neuroscientists: that consciousness is conscious.


  1. Paranormal Phenomena and Nonlocal Consciousness

Let’s look at the nonlocal side beyond reincarnation: ectoplasm, near-death surgical journeys, and telekinesis—the activation of matter by mind. The actual occurrence of any of these violates Einsteinian as well as Newtonian science.

Ectoplasm, a phenomenon that has been experienced during séances by countless observers, including scientists and skeptics, is “a whitish steam, perhaps luminous, taking the shape of gauze, in which there develops a hand or an arm that gradually gains consistency. [It] makes personal movements. It creeps, rises from the ground, and puts forth tentacles like an amoeba. It is not always connected with the body of the medium but usually emanates from her, and is connected with her.”26

This zombie-like ghost apparently consists of water vapor, presumably condensed to visibility by the telekinetic ability of spirits to reduce air temperature, which takes on their shape. “It clearly emanates from the medium, as it shoots instantly back into his or her body if touched or at the introduction of light, a disruption which sometimes injures or, in a few instances, kills the medium.27

“‘It streams like a mist and assumes all sorts of shapes yet can be compacted into something absolutely solid while the power lasts—and what an amazing power it is!…’

The same observer adds, “‘…I was so close to the cabinet that several of the forms had to walk over my feet. On several occasions I handled the flowing ectoplasmic draperies, which were soft and silky to the touch. I shook hands with two forms. Their hands were firm and normal.’ A number of the forms were recognized by sitters. [I] was most impressed by the materialization of a girl, who ‘disposed of any suggestion that the results could be explained away by trickery by revealing part of her feminine form, nude from the waist up! Then one materialization parted the curtains so we could see the figure and the medium at the same time….’

[A] materialization of a Greek philosopher … spoke in ancient Greek, using the correct pronunciation, which is different from that of modern Greek….”28


In near-death experiences, a mind travels to a place where it is welcomed by relatives and spirit guides before being sent back to the brain. In ghost-like journeys through hospitals, a surgical patient on anesthetic observes objects and events throughout the hospital.

But mind cannot travel down hospital corridors and read operating schedules and name badges on orderlies’ cloaks, view other surgeries in process, check out the waiting room, and find a misplaced sneaker on a hospital ledge (in one famous account29). When a body lies sedated on an operating table, its brain and consciousness are moored to the same table.

Likewise, a personality cannot reformulate itself, here or elsewhere, after the demise of its brain; it cannot transfer the cerebral cache to a different vessel. There is no mechanism for thoughts, identities, and memories to pass from one mind into another.

Singly and collectively, these examples place not a feather on the scale opposite the material universe. Ectoplasm and near-death experiences impress scientists about as much as the lady who gets sawed in half and then emerges from her box whole or levitating figures in Prague’s Old Town Square.

Ectoplasm is assigned to stage-magician trickery (“the hand is faster than the eye”). Seeming nonlocality is explained as faulty perception, cognitive error, intentional deception, lazy thinking, and religious or superstitious belief systems which scientists explain as (1) endorphins reinforcing delusions, (2) natural selection for band and tribe solidarity), or (3) biblical theocracy.

Like everything else in the universe, consciousness must come to the party with a chaperone—its passport stamped at every stop along the way, beginning with the Big Bang. Once provisionally authorized, it can do anything it wants, but though can’t be nonlocal and self-generating. It can’t set up shop outside a validated succession of molecular statuses, meaning chaos states specified by neg-entropy into DNA systems, then summarized in neurons and the cortex of the emergent brain.

If mindedness ever gets out of that box and gains its own foothold, there might as well be ectoplasm, telepathy, telekinesis, future sight, and remote viewing as well—the whole nine yards.

Self-authenticating consciousness is a more unwelcome guest than even psi phenomena, for it sets a rebel yardstick for all of reality. Telepathy, by comparison, is a remote-control device with materialist options. Nonlocal consciousness makes matter a stranger in its own universe while telling scientists that they are looking for mindedness in the wrong place.

The impossibility of nonlocal consciousness is the last bastion of materialism before utter freefall.


  1. The Politics of Consciousness

On December 14, 2012, Adam Lanza took a gun and three hundred rounds of ammunition to the Sandy Hook Elementary School where he shot and killed twenty first-graders and six adults. A civilization sponsoring a materialistically reductive belief system has no context, and its institutionalized religions particpate in the same shallowing of existence. It isn’t that far from “a light goes on, a light goes off, but it wasn’t even a light” to “they’re not real people, so who gives a shit!” Lanza didn’t think that, but it was in the air he breathed, the electrons he sucked off the Internet. Reality had become a videogame to him.  He was so dissociated he was competing against a Norwegian sociopath’s score. “Those toddler rats only think they’re alive. Otherwise, they be clay pigeons.”

Given his “accidental presence in the cosmos,”30 Lanza had no basis of personal morality. He shot himself, assuming that the oil-slick known Adam Lanza—its responsibility for his act and sheer misery—would be shut off. The way out of Dodge was to end the video game. A trickle-down ontology assured him of a clean exit. A dead person is a disconnected machine that can’t be turned back on. Lanza expected to disappear—in essence and in sum—to get released from the assorted fixes he was in, the legendary nightmare from which we (otherwise) cannot awake. What would happen to him was what he told himself would happen: Nothing happens. Nothing happens, forever.

That’s little more than a throw of dice when neither the physicist nor the priest knows what consciousness is—what turns on its light, what happens when its coils have been disconnected. There is always the possibility that a matrix as gossamer as beingness cannot arise from nothing or be expunged gratuitously.

What if instead of ending up nowhere, they each sanks to the measure of what he is? What if death snaps the narrative but not the vortex from which the radiance is arising? Obliterating a conditional view does not obliterate what brought it into being?

In choosing suicide, Eric Harris, Dylan Klebold, and fellow mass murderers cashed out their chips, calling, “Kill that shit, Goth brother! Leave a puissant message for the douchebags bugging your asses.”

The brothers Kouachi, the Tsarnaev brothers, and Islamic jihadists of various ISIL cells believed they were punching their tickets to paradise. It was the same deal as Lanza and Harris: you woke up one place, you’ll wake up another—or not.

They meant to raze their raunchy social identities and everything that could be identified as them or traced to them, but not themselves. Because they did not believe in their own nonexistence.

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

But if the epiphenomena of consciousness prove real on their own terms, everything presently “real” turns epiphenomenal. If mind isn’t an epiphenomenon of matter, matter is an epiphenomenon of mind.

Then those dudes are up shit’s creek without a paddle.

When recreational killers assert, “I won’t exist anymore after I die,” who are they talking about? Likewise, when materialists say, “I didn’t exist before my current self was kindled by random molecules,” where were you? “Who” wasn’t you? How did you get in the tub, bub? And if only your own solipsism is real, where is it coming from?

Contrary to their expressed intent, Adam Lanza, Eric Harris, Wayne Lo, Cho Seung-Hui, Jared Loughner, and crew were giving voice to another 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!”

Their attacks on modernity are attempts to break our narcissistic reflection, to excoriate the death pictures of the capitalist transnational state, replacing them with their own. Ugly and horrific—but what rock into an illusory mirror isn’t?


Transdimensional Physics and Biology

Neurologist Oliver Sacks’ commonsense explanation for near-death experiences sets up shop in the mirage-creating 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.”1

To him, nonlocal experiences seem real only because they pass through the same circuitry and are interpreted by the same cerebral lobes as sensory records—they read as real because the mind is tricked by its own electro-chemistry into believing them. The brain validates them like an office machine that has stopped looking at the documents it is authorizing.

In this way, Darwinian theory and neuroscience take charge over thousands of years of inquiry in shamanic, Hindu, Buddhist, and other mystical traditions. The brain becomes the sole repository and originator of consciousness, which cannot transcend its molecular status. Though molecules may have emergent effects, “emergent” means emergent from molecular properties.

But who is some guy operating machinery on a waterworld in the Milky Way to lay down a law for the universe and all its creatures? I get Sacks’ intent: the brain does standardize the holograms that pass through its matrix—but that’s not proof that create consciousness.

A 2017 study entitled “Cliques of Neurons Bound into Cavities Provide a Missing Link between Structure and Function” employed algebraic topology to show how, in addition to its known cellular and cerebral activities, the brain is working in kinetic-depth parameters. After analysis, a team of neuroscientists led by a group from the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne in Switzerland proposed that the brain processes visual information by creating multi-dimensional neurological structures—they called them cliques—which disintegrate as they assimilate information. These cliques form in spatial cavities and engage up to eleven different parameters or dimensions. Once the brain understands information, the cavity disappears too.

The study “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.”3

It is possible that the brain’s lobes don’t generate consciousness but serve as transceivers (transmitter-receivers) linking transpersonal consciousness with the brain’s physical functions at the frequencies of protoplasm. The receiving structure per se—in invertebrates a nerve net; in free-living cells a charged outer membrane—coalesces chiti. In this model the brain has no capacity to create awareness, only to transduce its waves in a biological context. Consciousness is an energy like gravity or light, though at a subtler frequency. If you smash a radio, the music stops, but that doesn’t remove sound waves from the air.

Nikola Tesla, Sir William Crookes, Sir Oliver Lodge and Lord Raleigh, innovators of technologies from which radio and television were derived, reasoned along similar lines. Each arrived believed consciousness should be described as a “psychoplasma” than as electrochemical workings of the brain.2

Here are a few side notes to this model. Disembodied spirits seemingly adapt electronic devices like televisions, radios, telephones, global positioning devices, and digital systems for their communications. While electromagnetic energies (radio waves, light, radiation etc.) weaken with distance, psychic energy transcends spatial constraints; mediums perform as well on the phone as in person, and remote viewers do not lose fidelity with distance.

If a radio suddenly switches itself on or an object moves for no apparent reason, the possibility of spirit action cannot be ruled out (unless, of course, you don’t believe in spirits).

Hindu cosmology locates a brain-like complex above the crown chakra. This subtle organ is said to process reality unconsciously, using Etheric and higher energies (see later). The brain evolves as that organ’s surrogate in a denser medium.

That the brain is not the mind is axiomatic outside Western civilization where nonlocal consciousness is routinely accepted. Shamans practice transferring their own subjective identities to a plant or animal or other entity as a way of training the capacity of consciousness. Tibetan lamas refine a specialized application, phowa, whereby an adept leaves his body while specifying where his identity-vector will next attach, not only in life but after death.

To the scientific establishment, these are abject hoaxes. To those who train such arts, they are a fundamental aspect of reality. The split between these views cleaves through the heart of modernity.


A subset of Ian Stevenson’s work provides potential game-changing evidence for the effects of nonlocal consciousness and telekinesis: his matching of moles, scars, and birth defects in a child claiming a past-life memory to wounds of his or her deceased PP. In one author’s description, “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…. 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.”4

If wounds or traumas in one lifetime can transpose molecule-cellular imprints to a subsequent incarnation, that tells you something about the universe that physicists and biologists don’t know or suspect, while raising fundamental questions about the nature of the universe. There is no ordinary explanation—conventional thermodynamics isn’t in the game.

First, a form of psychic morphogenesis would be necessary to preserve and convert traumas from a body that no longer exists into lesions in the tissue of an embryo. Telekinesis would be needed to account for the transfer, plus reincarnation or telepathy to explain how the child bearing them experiences the identity of the source PP.

Stevenson took his analysis further in the case of Semih Tutusmus, a Turkish child who had past-life memories of being “killed by a shotgun blast to the right side of his head, …was born with an undeveloped right side of his head face and … a linear stump [instead of] a right ear.”5  Pointing out that “the birth defect is [often] more extensive than the damaged tissues to which it corresponds,” Stevenson surmised that the cause might be “a disturbance of a morphogenetic field…. He described several cases for which this concept may be applicable, including that of Lekh Pal Jatav … in India, who had a birth defect of one hand that corresponded to amputations of [his PP’s] fingers by a fodder-cutting machine.”6

Stevenson’s colleague Jim Tucker compared the appearance of such marks 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 an unheated object on the skin while stating it was scalding, the “burn” wound was in the shape of the prop.7 If the thoughts can produce a blister on skin, a mechanism for mind-to-cell transfer exists. In modelling how therapeutic touch, prayers, visualizations, and affirmations affect tissue activity, osteopath John Upledger called the modality “cell talk.”8


Wounds that were experienced most painfully or in states of terror tend to reappear most often. 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 leave indicia.9 This suggests that an experience powerful enough to instill a death picture is telekinetic enough to imprint congenitally and telepathic enough to instill a carrier image that survives mortality and rebirth. Reincarnational wound-transfer—again, if that is what is happening—suggests that our existence doesn’t so much evaporate as return to a latency from which it can reemerge psychically and phenotypically.

This principle has been intuited in cultures that take reincarnation for granted. In Tibetan Buddhist circles, 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 into a life imprint and show up on a newborn. 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 the theory of traumatic telekinesis, but neither Stevenson nor the lamas have a claim on the mechanism, let alone its range.

If you think that metempsychotic birthmarks cross the DNA barrier in discredited Lamarckian fashion, consider 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 the basic way the universe turns inanimate matter into life forms. The entirety of information blueprinting an organism is condensed, synopsized, and transformed into codes, which regenerate it in another organism by invaginating chrysalises in epigenetic fields.

For the remainder of this chapter, I will dabble in speculation and model-making in an attempt to square physical and metaphysical interpretations of wound transfer with the role of genes in evolution. This could get dense and entangled for some readers. Feel free to skip ahead to the next chapter. I am laying a provisional steppingstone, for there is no path, no place to put a stone or to step.


Pundits skry seven chords of vibration in our general operating range, each calibrated into seven subplanes or differentiations of energy. These have acquired traditional names, in one version (from finer to denser): Adi, Monadic, Atmic, Buddhic, Causal-Mental, Astral, Physical-Etheric. “Planes” are best understood as frequencies of energy not locales. Any landscape incorporates all seven “physical” planes,  but objects exist at each other’s frequency and the frequency of the plane. They are “real,” as it is “real.” In the Physical plane, creatures’ bodies vibrate primarily at a physical frequency. But since matter is energy, albeit dense, sticky energy, a material plane is no more “material” than any other. In our plane, even the most gravitationally compressed star does not crush into a denser state; it transforms it electromagnetically—into metallic hydrogen.

If we were attuned to a subtler frequency, we would still perceive that frequency and its objects as “material,” so “physical” reality always amounts to the same.

Only the lower tiers of the densest three planes in our system are perceptible in the ordinary human operating range: the Physical gradient of the Physical-Etheric plane, the lower tiers of the Astral plane, and the Mental frequencies of the Mental-Causal plane.

The Etheric aspect of the Physical-Etheric plane transmits a frequency slightly subtler than physical; its densest subplane can tapped by acupuncture needles. According to Hindu and theosophical theory, the seeds of physical bodies congeal in the higher ethers before materializing.

While the lower Astral expresses itself by emotions, the upper Astral vibrates at the frequency of undines, sylphs, leprechauns, faeries, devas, fire salamanders, elves, and the like. These entities have autonomous existences and manifest in our Physical realm as what Carl Jung called psychoids—entities that require our projections onto them to appear on our plane. A mound or stone circle or in the Physical is a faery fort (fios) in the Astral, but we don’t see that aspect because it is vibrating at a higher frequency.

The Mental range of the Mental-Causal plane generates thoughtforms that become both thoughts and forms. As thoughts, they make up rubrics of science and philosophy—our understanding the universe. As forms, they generate the molecules that construct that reality. A concept of thoughtforms speaks to the fundamental relationship between consciousness and atter.

At a higher dimensional frequency, the plane becomes Causal. There the shape of an atom, molecule, or DNA helix represents a transmission of subtle information from even higher planes that enter the Physical realm through Causal grounding. The Causal propensity sculpts the geometry of Crick-Watson-brand DNA with its amino-acid-based double-helical molecule.

DNA is the self-contained messenger for heredity on the physical plane, but in this system a paraphysical twin-helical form influences its expression. In other words, the twin spirals represent the material manifestation of an esoteric geometry through which Causal, Mental, Astral, and Etheric energies configure as amino-acid codons: the same spiral and fractal geometry at different frequencies.

The next plane above the Causal is the Buddhic at which we experience the collective nature of human existence as well as the simultaneity of events—the basis of synchronicity.

At the Atmic frequency, our reality intersects interstellar, intergalactic systems and phenomena outside scientific law. At the Monadic frequency, we interpenetrate other dimensional systems.

The seventh ascending plane, the Adi, corresponds to emptiness before manifestation, so it holds the potential of our entire range. It isn’t the end of Creation, just of our part of the haystack. Higher frequencies generate other realities, arranged in their own haystacks, all the way to the source energy of All That Is.

That was just a drastic oversimplification of a vast Hindu-theosophical system of cosmogenesis. In Russian cosmologist G. I. Gurdjieff’s version, the Ray of Creation, originating far beyond the Adi, transited zones of dormant and latent intelligence and ignited their rubrics of information, most of them at higher frequencies than the Big Bang, then detonated the Big Bang. In its heat, all substance was latent and alchemical—the distinction between physics and telekinesis—mind and matter—was meaningless.

Again, I am not asserting the existence of these planes. They are an attempt by meditators to identify ranges of energy they encounter. They provide a way to look at the transfer of past-life wounds. As Etheric forces underlying the embryogenic field are triggered, they transduce information from the aura into the tissues. The thermodynamic landscape remains under Darwinian traction but receives Etheric algebra. There is no wiggle room between the realms—one material, the other meta-material.Two seemingly incommensurate systems meet as frequencies of the same energy. Physical DNA generates karmic “DNA.” An Etheric shape sends back a mitochondrial shape. In this way, the Etheric plane stores and transmits traumatic charges into fetal tissue, archiving wounds and implanting them in developmental layers of germinal protoplasm. Assaults in one generation become birthmarks or scars in another.


Aristotle provided four discrete modes of causation—material, efficient formal, and final, each at the scale the universe itself—that was the provenance of Western thought before the watchmaker took over. The Greeks couldn’t take apart the watch because they didn’t have a lens sufficient to the pry; instead, they dead-reckoned its parts. Yet even Stephen Hawking, with all his can-openers, couldn’t account for the full range of Aristotelian causation. He fudged material and efficient but didn’t approach formal and final.

If you come at quantum physics not by way of entropy from Plato to Newton, but by the alternate route from Aristotle and Aquinas, Lao-Tzu and Parmenides, you stealth through the back door, but enter you do. That door is nonseparability of cause and effect, multiplicity of causes combining in differential equations, functional integrations, and noncausal correlations. Pawnee, Ojibwa, Dogon, Zulu, Yahgan, and Mandinka philosophers used equivalent totems to reflect gods that, to post-modern empiricists don’t exist. The Apache night sky begins with space indistinguishable from time: “[T]here appears a spot, a thin circular disk, no larger than the hand, yellow on one side, white on the other, in mid air.”10

The plural causality behind Aristotle’s four explanations of change and movement takes countless spins and detours on the road to quantum physics. In Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz’s rendition, physical states require extrinsic intelligence to manifest at all; mechanism cannot operate by mere mathematical constructs, as it expresses a harmony of monads.

Aristotle and Leibniz were talking about Nature, and Nature hasn’t changed. Nature is a rainforest and a coral reef, and thousand-miles-per-hour gas storms on Jovian planets and volcanoes on their moons. It is the Nature of things (rerum natura).

What materialistic science confronts at the frontier in particle physics is not a riddle of physics but a paradox imbedded in a lineage of causation from the supervenient qualities of pre-Socratic philosophers to angels on a Mediaeval pinhead to the uncertainty states of electrons. Because properties don’t float freely, matter must get drawn into their thermodynamic events. Aristotle understood: this is a big, big problem. You can’t advance ontologically without resolving it—and we haven’t. Just because biotechnicians can manipulate trajectories of DNA molecules with pipettes and lasers doesn’t mean that they have identified prime causation.

Demonstrating how a system works—e.g., how the Sun is formed by the transmutation of hydrogen and helium—doesn’t say what it is. Electron microscopes and hadron colliders do not improve on rheostatic receptors; we still perceive the Sun in the way a flatworm does.


Terrence Deacon hits close to the sweet spot of the Aristotelian riddle when he deconstructs nature’s jumps across hierarchies of organization: atoms to molecules to live form to consciousness. Mind, Deacon says, doesn’t emerge from matter by linear mutations under incremental feedback “but from the constraints (aka absences) that organize matter.”11 This is a critical twist because it moves him toward the subcellular baseline. Absent features—unrealized potentials—are contained within and emerge from reduced degrees of freedom in thermodynamic systems (like a living cell).

In this sort of universe, information passes through nonlinear functions that, in aggregate, cancel out their linear pathways. This opens a backdoor to nonphysical, e.g. absent, events.

The autogene—the hypothetical first cell—signified a series of recursive events. As active values of efficient cause brought random changes, passive ones integrated them, which meant intracellular, intercellular, and extracellular cards got held about as close to the atomic-molecular threshold as possible. True to Aristotelian logic, Deacon characterizes the situation 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….”12

Deacon is talking about molecular and cellular constraints, not frequencies holding together theosophical planes, but the universe does not make those distinctions. Presuming a multidimensional context and using the Seven Planes as a protocol, constraints could also operate etherically.

In my hypothetical model, a multidimensional universe constrains the physical one such that atoms and molecules form compounds and organisms as their Astral and Etheric states transfer source energy. The Physical plane becomes physical by constraining Etheric and Astral expressions, providing them with a denser, more discrete field of expression, hence allowing them to disclose their own hidden aspects. Proteins and enzymes are Etheric and Astral energies operating at a denser frequency.

The constraint does not just arise from the organism’s (or primal cell’s) physical and chemical composition or the thermodynamic influences of its environment; it functions teleodynamically as its own outgrowth. It creates the universe it inhabits. This is a nucleic issue more than an environmental one, but it is environmental in that the nucleus of a cell is an environment; Darwin still governs, even though most neo-Darwinians don’t recognize him so small.

“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.”13

The hierarchy of emergent properties and transmission of constraints between tiers offers a wide-open mechanism, whereas traditional Darwinian selection limits its source and information to a series of zero-sum algorithms. The origination of the autogene is where thermodynamic and Etheric energies might reciprocally constrain the same thing. Without that backup, the autogene is an outcome of signal-processing effects wherein a biosemiotic riddle of entropy (neg-entropy) gets resolved in tautologies and redundancies, as Darwinism becomes a billboard for its own effects. Constraints get biology out of the trap of origination by linear exponentialized replication. DNA becomes ontological matrix rather than secondary copying system—the copier can’t be the genesis as well of what it is copying.

In Deacon’s non-metaphysical version, “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.”14 I agree, but I propose that where they are hidden is other tiers of energy. The physical realm, in my adaptation of Terry’s paradigm, comes into being as it restricts Etheric and Astral aspects from manifesting at their own frequencies. That’s also how the Ray of Creation jumps zones and ignites galaxies.

Whether constraints are imposed transdimensionally from outside (me) or generated internally by the system’s dynamics (Terry), flexibility increases with dynamical depth. Life introduces something “intrinsic and autonomous,” a series of acts and properties that continue to mediate between self and environment. Like transit in a Klein bottle or Möbius strip, inside and outside give way to a continuous interdependent flow. The form never has to disclose itself, for its identity emerges from within without a without. The entity persists by continually undermining its own integrity, which allows it to maintain far-from-equilibrium states. It does not just insist, neg-entropically, on its own existence; its nonexistence dissolves into existence by maintaining disequilibrium, advancing by constraints as well as outward flow and fluctuation, all the while delaying its own obliteration.

Each organism matures as it explores the dynamics of its own inexpressible final cause.

Terry and I were able to dance around this topic without me conceding my metaphysics or him requiring me to. After I drew his attention to Marcus’ article in the New York Times, he wrote me:

“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 too metaphysical or too physically reductive exemplifies the late Aristotelian dilemma.

“I believe [Deacon adds] that despite its counterintuitive negative framing, 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.

As a corridor for cause and effect, constraints are a kind of double-negative in a universe talking to itself, e.g., with an intrinsic intelligence. Terry concludes:

“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 …”

I summarized my preliminary thoughts in an email to Deacon:

1) The parallel nonphysical realm, if it exists, is reflected or replicated both causally and counter-casually in the physical realm, and not just replicated but consolidated in such a way that there is no difference between physical and metaphysical expression, nor should there be if it is happening in the same universe. It is not just that there is no difference; at the level of constraints, they converge.

2) Materialism that is unaware of its own ontological roots and unconscious dependence on rootless constructs is metaphysical materialism. What else could it be, since its basis is always elsewhere, which is nowhere?

3) Idealists and spirtualists fail to appreciate, regardless of their lip service to materialization of “spirit,” that the universe is operating on a physical plane, here anyway—no exemptions. Conversely, skeptics and materialists fail to appreciate the gaps and epicycles in their contrived assembly line from matter to mind. The statistical derivation of a Big Bang is not the same as a BIG BANG—nobody was there! You can’t back-apply a logic arising out of thermodynamics to prior conditions without a sense of what the original original terms were.

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


I would add now that DNA can only arise in cultural context, as unlikely as that might seem. Father Francis Tiso addressed one of the most transformative icons of our species when he said of Christ: “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.”15

Clerics and knights of the Middle Ages knew this in their own way, without a glimmer of the coming Darwinian revolution or Dzogchen Buddhism to the east. It didn’t matter. It still doesn’t matter.


James Leininger or James Huston?

James Leininger was a cheerful, unflappable toddler in Lafayette, Louisiana, un-noteworthy except to his adoring parents, Bruce and Andrea. On May 1, 2000, three weeks after his second birthday, he began having 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.”1 The bouts 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 to investigate and provide comfort. Night after night she became the sole witness to James screaming and kicking his feet in the air while emitting blood-curdling cries in a strange voice.

The pediatriciam advised her that night terrors like these were normal childhood events and would diminish over time, and that it was better not to wake a child abruptly from a bad dream. She accepted the advice, quieting her own premonitions and fears. Neither a yokel nor a naïf, Andrea was a former ballet dancer and a sophisticated, discerning mother.

One night 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.”2

A few months later when James was 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. This was in the range of childhood fantasy. Then one day while fully awake and being read a story, James rolled onto his back and began kicking in the air like in his dreams. He announced to his mother, without his dream fright, “Little man’s going like this.” She asked who the little man was.


Andrea fetched Bruce, and James repeated his matter-of-fact assertion.

Bruce asked who shot down his plane. James flashed a disgusted look as if the matter should be obvious: “The Japanese!” he called out cheerily. Later he told his aunt that anyone could identify the enemy plane from “the big red sun.”4 It was like saying, “I am.”

The Leiningers recalled an incident from when James was a toddler in diapers. As he looked at a toy propeller-driven plane at Hobby Lobby, Andrea called his attention to a bomb attached to the bottom. Examining it closely, he countered with the same exasperation, “That’s not a bomb, Mommy. That’s a dwop tank.”5 A drop tank is an extra gas tank added to extend a plane’s range. The statement was outside both his knowledge and verbal ability at the time.

Similar foreshadowings came to mind. 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, usually a foolproof lure. On a subsequent visit, 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 concocted a helmet from a construction hard hat. The boy made his own parachute from old canvas bags and a backpack. Using these props, he conducted war battles for hours, chattering things like, “Roger…Zero at six o’clock…Hit him!”6

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


After the nightmares began, Andrea was dropping off Bruce, already a nervous flier, at an airport for a business trip. 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.”7

Not long after, Andrea was spying on her son playing in the sunroom when she 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.”8

The adult-like character was eerily real and not James. Yet her belief-system—the Leiningers are devout Christians—did not support reincarnation (the same was true of Ryan Hammons’ parents). Also, modern Americans, as noted, don’t interpret their lives or those of their children with that possibility under consideration. “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.”9

While Andrea was provisionally open-minded about past lives, Bruce’s response was emphatic, “Balony!”10 Like her he felt that if they pursued their search for the source of their son’s behavior, the airplane fantasy would be cleared up by a rational explanation.

From that point on, the parents’ actions became schizophrenic: on the one hand, they interrogated exhaustively 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 the story, intending to prove that James was not describing real people or events but making them up out of imagination. Either way, an 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. Taking a different tack, 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 World War II aircraft carriers. But how did James know? Not only did he know, in a later conversation he even added an insider tidbit: “That’s a Corsair. They used to get flat tires all the time! And they wanted to turn left when they took off.”11 Both details turned out to be correct! Still, he might have picked them up off a television documentary.

Bruce asked his son the name of the carrier, certain he would invent something. James shot back, “Natoma.”

Bruce felt an initial triumph. “Natoma” was surely 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. The coincidences perplexed him. A big-time problem-solver at work, he could not clear up a child’s enigmas in his own household. A child, his son was attacking his belief system, almost goading him into a sacrilegious New Age view.

Not long after the the “Natoma” 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.”

The response suddenly resonated with something: James often signed his drawings “James 3.” When asked for an explanation, he declared, “Because I’m the third James. I am James Three.”12

Though he could not provide James 2’s last name, he was able to identify one of fellow pilots: Jack Larsen.13

The road ahead now split into two very different landscapes. If Jack Larsen turned out to be a real person, it was down the rabbit hole. If he proved a fictive figure, they were at worst find their way through a dark, mysterious woods.

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.”14

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

In September 2002, despite strong misgivings, Bruce attended the Natoma Bay veterans’ reunion in San Diego, identifying himself as an amateur historian doing research for a book about the ship’s exploits. He disliked having a 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.”15

During his weekend in San Diego, Bruce got corroboration on several 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. There was a “James” among the Natoma Bay dead, James H. Huston Jr., a detail that might explain “James 3.” Bruce also discovered that Huston had died at the location that his son had pointed out in a book, about a hundred and fifty miles from Iwo Jima.

Bruce was starting to believe the unbelievable. Phoning Jack Larsen, he hinted at the reason. Then he drove to Springdale, Arkansas, to interview the pilot.

After 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.”16 Though not scheduled to fly that day, James Huston volunteered. It was his squadron’s final mission before being shipped home. They winged through heavy flak, which Jack presumed brought his shipmate’s plane down. He provided 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 familiarity with aircraft lingo and attachment to the fighter-pilot ritual.

As Bruce left the Larsen house, Jack handed him a present, 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.’”17

Young James “put it on firmly, professionally, slapping out the air bubbles, shaping the fit, as if he were going to work.”18


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.”

Bruce requested an explanation, and James said, “When I found you and Mommy, I knew that you would be good to me.” The boy provided details: “I found you at the big pink hotel. I found you on the beach. You were eating dinner at night.”19

Bruce and Andrea stayed at the Royal Hawaiian Hotel approximately five weeks before Andrea became pregnant with James. Not only did the boy “see” it in his mind’s eye; he acted as if, “Doesn’t everyone choose their parents before they’re born?” Maybe everyone does.

James had named his GI Joe dolls Billy, Leon, and Walter and, when Bruce wondered why no Buzz or Todd or Rocky, the boy said, “Because that’s who met me when I got to heaven.”

Bruce later learned that his son had correctly identified, by name (and later by 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 from a four-year-old child.20

About twenty percent of children who have memories of events from 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, and conception, gestation, and being reborn.

A baffling experience may get 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….”21 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.22

Marta Lorenz, a Brazilian girl who remembered having been an adult friend of her mother’s in an earlier lifetime, commented after 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, “Don’t say that. I died also and look, I am living again.”23

Brian Weiss’ patient recalled how when “floating in a shining void, she would become the host for disembodied spirits who revealed the mysteries of eternity.”24

At age sixteen my own daughter, Miranda, 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 said, but she was able to handle things now on her own. Soon after, she underwent a change of appearance and personality. Her blonde hair turned black at the roots, and she matured into a cutting-edge artist.


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. Here is one 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.”25

Another flier recognized James Huston in a photograph Bruce brought along. 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.”26

He also supplied a possible back story for a 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.”27


In a parallel quest the Leiningers hunted down and 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 the incredible tale.

Annie remarked that several friends and family including herself had had ghostlike visitations from James Jr. on the day of his death. His spirit had come to bid each of them goodbye. She thought that he did not depart easily.

Four-year-old and his PP’s eighty-six-year old sister later discussed family matters on the phone. James shared intimate details with her as if she were still his kid sister, recalling things that no one could have known except her brother or parents.28 Setting her brother’s childhood picture next to that of James Leininger, Annie remarked that James 3 didn’t so much look like James 2 as radiate him.

When they met in person, like other children visiting their PP’s world he was startled by her age—she was twenty-one when her older brother died.

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 of them, greeting them by name. He responded to their queries accurately, for instance as to where a five-inch gun was located.29 He told his father later that it was sad to find them all so old. James Huston, somewhere inside him, was still a young man.

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.”30

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.”31 (Ryan Hammons felt a similar release after visiting the building where Marty Martyn’s talent agency had been housed.)

Bruce also experienced a breakthrough. “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.”32

Professional skeptic Paul Kurtz, who made it his duty to debunk such claims whenever they arose, gave the ABC Primetime reporter his own “expert” opinion of the Leininger case:

“I think that the parents are self-deceiving, that they are fascinated by the mysterious, and that they built up a fairy tale…. He’s overhearing conversations of his parents, he’s looking at cues. He may talk to his little friends or hear from neighbors. And then this notion builds up that, yes he was this pilot, he will come to believe that himself.”33

He nodded to emphasize his point, then smiled condescendingly.

“Little friends” indeed! Kurtz’s comments do not address the Leiningers’ actual experiences, only his assumptions of what they must have been, that they are mistaken or deluded or perpetrators of a hoax. These are compelling explanations only if paranormal options are a priori excluded.

Bruce Leininger, himself initially a 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.’”34

Kurtz’s view, of course, was that this kind of phenomenon is impossible, so it was his job to protect the public from disinformation, safeguard the collective trance.

Along similar lines, philosopher/cognitive scientist Daniel Dennett is reported to have said that “he would commit suicide if paranormal phenomena turn out to be real….” Holistic physician Larry Dossey noted, “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.”35

Another materialist remarked of seeming evidence for nonlocal consciousness, “This is the sort of thing I would not believe, even if it really happened.”36

Philosopher/mathematician Charles Eisenstein diagnosed this ilk of professional skepticism, “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.”37

The issue here is not even that skeptics presume out-of-body experiences and past lives are impossible, hence must be fake; it is that they worship a greater fiat: that there is no meaning, purpose, or innate intelligence in the universe. To seek it is blasphemy, to find it delusion. They would remain unconvinced if a Cheshire cat deliquesced out of the gloaming and extended an ectoplasmic paw. They ratchet down the universe to their own level by practicing a religion as fanatical as Fundamentalist Christianity—Fundamentalist Nihilism, the God of No God, the transhumanist celebration of “God is Dead.”

I am sorry, but that is not science. I’m fine with dispensing with God as a personified patriarch, but that’s not what’s at play. “God” designates a 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.”38 God is the placeholder for formal cause, not Intelligent Design. Formal cause inaugurates the universe and approaches its finitude not ex nihilo but of itself. It is not a person but a Nameless giving rise to beingness, a flow of information and patterns. God is subsistent being (ipsum esse subsistens), for his essence (essentia) is identical to his existence (esse). Religious fundamentalists miss the intrinsic nature of a self-creating universe, a teleology without teleology.


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 craving more time on Earth. He has snippets of James 2’s memories and death picture but not his existential thread. The details that James 3 possesses of James 2’s personhood comprise less than a billionth of one percent of James Huston’s total existence—and this is probably true to the same relative extend for all who experience past-life fragments. Even Ryan Hammons, with a much wider range of inter-subjective Marty Martyn detail, does not encompass the actor-agent’s life.

James Leininger has no continuity with James Huston’s personality, beliefs, desires, or accrued experience and meaning; he is his own, unique person—a blank slate with occasional nightmare flashbacks. Otherwise when he itemizes details of his past life, it is casual. They are part of his reality like his own voice or hands or the color of the sky. James Huston cannot impose his identity or values on James Leininger; they are independent beings psychically connected, not a linear progression of a single personality.

Similarly, Daniel was not Rashid. He had no mechanical skills and did not remember most of his PP’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.”39 The life itself doesn’t carry over. It is not like our waking from sleep as the same person with his or her accumulated history and agendas. Shroder likened fragmentary 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.”40

Ryan Hammons, likewise, is not Marty Martyn; some part of Martyn is inside him, but not his rollicking, philandering personality.

People may experience upset, regret, loss, nostalgia, even a sense of ownership and rightness about a past life that is reexperienced in fragments—and sometimes urgency about it—but they are reembodied and incarnated as who they are. James 3’s interest in the fighter-pilot routine waned as he got older. Memories lingered, but they came to seem less imminent or important; the nightmares ceased. He accepted his current life in total. Most children forget their past lives, either by late childhood or their teens.

Even among those who have persistent past-life memories, flashbacks come and go and are more and less intense at different ages and eventually lapse into reincarnational amnesia. As with a dream, a person may experience events intensely at one moment and forget them entirely a moment later. Favorite times for recalling prior “lifetimes” appear to be after baths, during car rides, and at bedtime and upon awaking from sleep. The past-life memories are soporific and hypnagogic; they interrupt ordinary consciousness with a different presentation that is briefly credible.

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 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?”41 Yet he once knew exactly who she “was.”

A normal life process called “early childhood amnesia” sheds some light on forgetting. Most children lose their earlier childhood memories by age six or seven—not past-life but this-life memories. This confounds the premise of core identity and personal history. How much of us is memory and how much is a continually reconstructed narrative, some of it fiction, under an eogic lens. There is apparently a reason the universe maintains encryption. Our identities need aloneness through which to encounter the depth of their own presence. If we could access all of time and self from every vantage, we would lose our essence and urgency to explore and enact our allotment of time here and now. Self would be surrendered to a timeless entity. It is not an exaggeration to posit that, without privacy and separation, there might be no stars, galaxies, or worlds, but that’s for a later chapter.

Jane Roberts explains, “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.”42

If immediate childhood memories fade or disappear, exponentially greater amnesia would occur with events from other lives. James 2 could have carried incomplete fragments of other prior lifetimes. The premature loss of James 1’s life was not more exigent than any of those. Each was lived in its time with its own unique view.


How can any individual know if a past life is veridical as arising (in whole or in part) or a form of super-psi or transpersonal information field? Can a detached memory of an existence travel like a digital file outside the thread of ego identity?

A woman I know was convinced that a ninety-five-year-old lady she befriended at an assisted-living facility returned two days after her death, as she had promised, in the alias of a dragonfly, her favorite animal and a motif of many of her brooches. The 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 amusement of her teenage children, and sat at dinner on her shoulder. The woman took this as an unmistakable sign of the woman’s continued existence.

But “dragonfly” validation was not anchored anywhere and, more to the point, didn’t anchor anything else. 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. Bridey Murphy could have lived on an alternate world akin to psychonaut Robert Monroe’s “third space.” There is no psychic GPS or Google All-That-Is, no way to track location from one dimensional bunion to another. Woman-to-dragonfly mapping is beyond our range in every sense: physical, psychological, ontological.

We don’t know what the old woman herself experienced, whether she knew herself as a dragonfly—or whether the dragonfly was a detached rune arising from the cascading field of her death. Perhaps a dragonfly-like manifestation hitched on a entomological bug in a synchronicity of nonlocal consciousness

The “dragonfly” could also have been (as most scientists would insist) coincidence, the human mind imposing meaning on a chance event.

I want to discard a simplistic duality. To declare past-life memory traces aspects of a linear reincarnational sequence (like an actor taking on roles in successive plays) is as limited as the skeptical position “What or who the heck is ‘I’?” asks Nicole Keller on Facebook. She speaks to the conditional nature of all personhood. “This bouquet of higgeldy-piggeldy conscious lifetime experiences and thoughts claiming to be the myself in first place?”

Look at it this way: if James Leininger isn’t the proximal legatee of James Huston’s soul, what is the relationship between the two? Where is James Huston Jr. now if he is not James Leininger? Does he continue to exist independently? Does the fact that James Leininger possesses strands of his death picture and other memories preclude his existence elsewhere (because he has been replaced)?

If a Viking 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 constructed from them, which ship is the original one? I say, the original ship is the one with none of the original boards. I say, James Leininger is not James Huston.


              Treasuring Existence

A Buddhist precept states that one personality gives rise to another without carryover of personal identity. Ego identity 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 reality and enters a deeper Buddhafield, or it evaporates back into its own essential nullity. Like a dying candle lighting a new wick with its last embers, the karmic charge of one lifetime or ego-state transfuses a new identity—but without continuity of personhood The past person no longer exists, and a new person is shaped around the former ego’s karma and memory fragments. Instead of a continuation of personal identity, there is transfer of psychic energy.

Karma, a traditional Sanskrit term rendered in English variously as “action,” “work,” or “deed”—or, more popularly, “payback”—describes a principle of causality similar to Aristotle’s first cause: existence as a result of itself. Karma is an energy like electromagnetism, heat, mass, and time, and, because of its subtler frequency, inclusive of them. Unlike gravity and electricity, it leaves no autograph on the physical plane; it is software sans drag.

To oversimplify a Buddhist precept, the continuity of lives rests on the degree to which karma potentiates future emanations. An event incompletely resolved in one lifetime generates traction. In that fashion, a dead person lives again; James 2 passes his torch to James 3. Zen master Shunryu Suzuki provides the underlying paradox:

“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.”1

In the sixth century B.C., Gautama Buddha made a determination that defined Buddhism thereafter. He chose not to track the deceased person beyond his or her initial range of change-states. When the Buddhist-defined self shatters from the delusion of its own existence, it breaks from its mirage into pieces, none of which continue to exist discretely. All that remains is primordial intelligence without subject or object—a state of nonduality. The Self dissolves out of its own illusion. The delusion is attributed to five aggregates (pancakkhandha): body or matter (rupakkhandha), sensation (vedanakkhandha), perception (sannakkhandha), mental formation (samkharakkhandha), and consciousness (vinnanakkhandha).

The universe apparently arises as a lesion between particles of nature and recognitions of phantom vistas under delusions of ego. Through this primal tear, ground luminosity ignites atomic vibrations and inaugurates secular time. The goal of spiritual practice is to dissolve the lesion, or duality, with its phases of attachment, recognize our condition as a string of illusions, and meld with Unity Consciousness outside of emanations. This is both enlightenment and the cessation of suffering.

Scientism and Buddhism both assign consciousness to a delusion, but science deems mindedness a rootless mirage, while Buddhism dissloves the mirage back into a self-arising ground luminosity. In antithesis to scientific dogma, which can wipe out universes and replace them, or not, the Buddhist “real” universe never perishes, for nothing real could cease to exist. Essence cannot be repealed; it shifts from one state to another toward to its basis: Interdimensional Thermodynamics 101. Buddhist philosopher Dustin DiPerna puts it this way, “We are always in some sort of state. States are an ever-present part of our experience.”2

For creatures in this game, meaning all creatures, existence is indispensable because we have nothing to put in its place and no way to change where we are. That’s the only and ultimate play. We can’t immolate temporal selfhood, any more than we can rub out karma. The choice to be was never a choice, so it cannot be renounced. Even suicide doesn’t repeal it—the Lanza-Harris, geeks-and-freaks mistake. Reality is irreplaceable down to its short hairs, “waz happ’nin’, waz going down.” If you try to wipe it out, you merely change its energy frequency. You can alter it but not the basis of it.

The issue isn’t mind anyway; it is personal identity, subjective beinghood, the little man or little woman—or little Gila monster— with its sovereign self. Personal identity is the turnkey; it is how consciousness inserts itself into a universe that does not express egoic agency otherwise. The distinction between personal identity as a neurally generated mirage and personal identity as a self-arising radiance marks the divide between Eastern and Western ontology.

Drawing on Sethian ontology, psychic teacher John Friedlander breaks with most Buddhist doctrines; he proposes that personal identity and the soul are real and survive. When a personality dissolves at death, it breaks into fragments, each redistributed according to its karma. At least one of those fragments continues to track the life from which it just came—and not just track it but know it as itself.

To make a priority of enlightenment or dissolution derogates the ego without regard for how it came into being or how profound it actually is.

Whether in an amoeba or philosopher, the universe has a desire to know and experience itself. That is how individuated worlds came to be in the first place. The karmic nexus did not locate us in a fix to see if we could get ourselves out of it—nor did it consign us to conditional beingness from original sin or because our Soul was too stupid to choose a better place. Our Source Intelligence or Soul essence generated or entered the landscape it needed for its own development. This is an intentional and exquisitely designed reality.

Samsara is not a departure from enlightenment; it is the way the universe chose to enlighten itself and us. Ego or personal self is not meant to be transcended with a singular goal of enlightenment because ego is the effect of an already enlightened intelligence exploring duality

Upon hearing my rendition of John’s ideas, a longtime Buddhist practitioner groused, “The guy is not equipped to understand nonduality; he doesn’t have the spiritual credentials. Who the fuck is some dude from Georgia named John Friedlander, who used to be an attorney, to say anything significant about the universe compared to great lamas and Himalayan saints?” He didn’t use those words. 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…..”3 Yet nondual awareness cannot retain all the advantages of dual consciousness. If it did, there would be no reason for dual consciousness.

“It is not a problem,” John told me. “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.4 The 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.”5

Nondualism is not the operating manual for the universe, not for crocodiles, rabbits, wasps, or people. There is no operating manual. Seth spoke elegantly on this matter: “God may know itself through a million or a thousand million other worlds, as so may I—but because his world is, and because I am alive in it, it is more than appearance, more than a shackle to be thrown aside. It is a privilege to be here, to look out with this unique focus, with these individual eyes; not to be blinded by cosmic vision, but to see this corner of reality which I form through the miraculous connections of soul and flesh.”6

The way that the universe witnesses its depth and subtlety is by entering its own maze of individualized identities. The Absolute Idea discovers its variety in us: we are “infinitesimal particle through which the fear of every thing becomes conscious of itself.”7 The reason we feel texture, richness, cadence, profundity, joy, and grief is that there is texture, depth, rhythm, profundity, elation, and tragedy at the heart of things, prior to the Big Bang and other carpeterias. The universe is seeking to encompass its innate and rote premise and transmogrify itself into a next emanation. The desires and joys, pain and suffering of mortal existence are an indispensable aspect of its dawning wholeness, not as themselves, though experienciable in themselves, but as aspects of an emergent entelechy. The universe’s is curious about its own nature—those antitheses, dialectics, and paradoxes to which it is blind because they lie within its own unconsciousness. Creation wants not only to find them but to realize them ecstatically and tragically, without which it does not have a full experience of itself.8

“There is nothing to evolve beyond,” John concludes. “The Soul has chosen to enter into a dualistic perspective…. Our soul incarnated as us. 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.”9

In Mediaeval Christianity, selfhood was a twin agency of God and his creatures to attract each occasion to themselves, to appropriate its ‘initial aim’ as their current ‘subjective aim.’ In so doing, Creation merged with itself and its unknowable source, which continues to camouflage what is camouflaging it. Augustine and Plotinus were not that far from Buddha.

If we were to go at cosmic gravitas directly and hastily, it would thin out and lose its sumptuousness and immanence; we would confuse it with lesser melodramas (which are essential to its profundity in their ways). The Divine adores kitsch. The sundry merchandise coming out of factories and sun-stars are as profound as enlightenment. That is reality’s subtlest and most irreconcilable aspect. The banal and ordinary are far more profound, for occurring at all, than the most sacred or weighty thing. 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.


Soul Pictures

I will explore another reincarnation conducted under hypnotic regression. Dolores Cannon, a military housewife and freelance writer in Arkansas, began practicing hypnosis in her late forties as a tool for recovering past-life memories. Like Bernstein, she was an amateur; yet unlike him she regressed hundreds of volunteers successfully, at least by her own benchmarks, curing phobias and traumas. In Five Lives Remembered and Between Life and Death: Conversations with a Spirit, she documents some of her regressions. In another book, A Soul Remembers Hiroshima, she spotlights “Kathryn Harris,” who recovered her past life as a Japanese man in Hiroshima at the time when the US warplane Enola Gay dropped the first atomic weapon on the city.

Memory of this apparent past life arose in Harris spontaneously six months before she met Cannon. During a chance viewing of an interview with a Japanese woman who had survived the attack, Katie recalled being there too. No footage of the blast or its aftermath was shown, as the woman recalled a blinding light, people running and screaming, and things crashing down. “[S]omething 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.”1

Harris described her impromptu recollection as if that of a another 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.’”2

Floodgates opened on another identity.

Twenty-two years old at the time, Harris 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 before deciding that she didn’t couldn’t deal with the adjustment to new teachers and friends, dropping out junior year and earning a high-school-equivalency diploma. Then she worked for the Air Force. She was not otherwise educated and had not travelled outside the United States.

Described by Cannon as short, blonde, buxom, blue-eyed, and charismatic, Katie expressed curiosity about past lives at a 1983 party without tipping her Hiroshima hand. Like James Leininger and Ryan Hammons, she grew up in an orthodox Christian family—Pentecostal in her case—and reincarnation was taboo. Cannon took steps to disguise her subject’s identity—her name is not Kathryn Harris.

In Cannon’s initial regressions, she noticed her subject’s innate receptivity to past lives. The young woman slipped into trance with all five senses, as she adopted the “I” of former beings and crossed the gender line effortlessly. When experiencing her first “other lifetime,” 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 trust was established did Harris confide her Hiroshima flashback. Using Sharon’s dating of her death as sometime in the late 1870s, Cannon subtracted the Colorado timeline from Katie’s birthdate of 1960, clearing a gap of about eighty years. The 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 atomic 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).”3 Whether this man existed or not, Katie performed his character like a master thespian—Nogorigatu’s energy filled the room. Cannon recalled getting chills at how real he was.

Through several hypnotic regressions, Harris drew a detailed representation. Nogorigatu’s 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 (aged twenty-nine and thirty-three by the time of the attack), how to cast traditional Japanese pottery, designs and kinds and sources of herbs used to dye pots, architecture of a seven-room house with a sod roof and pagoda gables, Japanese clothing of the era (caps, sandals, sandal straps, names for gis, kimonos, obis, and other costumes), plus other museum-level relics and vestiges.

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

Nogorigatu 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.”4 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?”5

When Cannon regressed her subject to 1920, he described taking his pots to market twenty miles away in 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 his house and land; the isolation of rural Japan in 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 rituals; then, later, the effects of militarization in the countryside—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.”6

In another description, he commented wryly, “No one ever sees the orders but them, if there are any orders.”7

None of this comes across as fantasy or fabrication, and it is certainly not the world-view 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….”8

In the course of Cannon’s regressions, Nogorigatu discoursed on the fallacies of war and the illusion that you gain honor or dignity from military power. He analyzed 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 the kamikaze, Nogorigatu remarked, “I think they are a little crazy, maybe more than a little crazy.”9 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?”10 He lamented: “We are at war…. I cry for Nippon. She is fallen, she is losing her majesty.”11

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 after, soldiers in trucks strong-armed both of Nogorigatu’s sons into service.

When Cannon counted Katie forward to 1944, she was stunned to hear, “I see the grave of my wife.”12 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.”13

Katie’s voice shifted, as it matched Nogorigatu’s grief, becoming sad and soft, almost inaudible at times as if s/he 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.”14

Could all this drama be feigned within Ms. Harris’ subconscious? Of course. She could have been a naturally gifted actress with an undeveloped talent. People diagnosed with multiple personalities evince convincing alter egos, ones more discrepant than Harris and “Nogorigatu.” The narrative isn’t evidence of reincarnation as much as it is 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.”15 Cannon 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.”16

Wow, just like that, from abject grief to delight and celebration!
Yet no matter how many times Nogorigatu got returned to happier times, he would travel back to Hiroshima. His path had no other course. What does that mean?

Note the incongruous juxtapositions and parachronisms in Cannon’s framing. She can’t “leave him there” but must “count him back.” Yet how can someone be counted back if time is a linear flow, a river with an irreversible one-way current? People don’t journey between eras. Cannon’s time-travel violaes integrity of discretely time-stamped events.

Where does Nogorigatu’s later identity go when the earlier one is evoked? Where was the earlier one stored prior to its recall? Are there many “Nogorigatus” in simultaneous existences? How do their concurrent realities relate to each other?

Or do they meld at a deeper level into some sort of integral beingness?

From Katie’s access to Nogorigatu’s life, it would seem that every focal identity is arising timelessly, no matter what will follow, expanding like ripples into a universe outside time. Nogorigatu can reexperience any one of them as present. 1944 does not gobble up and supersede 1930. They remain independently evolving, differentiating, exploring their richness while supporting each other. Time is not a railroad track running into the unknown future but a radix of possibilities like corn popping in multiple dimensions. We do not know whether every minute or every second has integrity—how finite the bubbles get. But that is like asking whither and whence Heraclitus’ river—into which no man, or wart-hog, can step twice.

Likewise, is Nogorigatu in Katie, of Katie? Was he ever a real person—Katie herself once—or a contrivance of her unconscious? Cannon experienced her own confusions:

“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.”17

Consider what Cannon’s access to Nogorigatu’s life might be telling us about not only past lives but the nature of consciousness and personal identity. The Soul is a super-entity sending out myriad selves—homunculi—to experience aspects of its cumulative identity. As they travel into diverse realities, manifestations, and temporal frames, none nullify or erase the others. Picture an octopus in a multidimensional space-time. Each of its arms—my metaphor allows more than eight—dips into and savors a different reality. 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.”18

This may be the single most important issue in the universe, at least for sentient beings. Each ego’s discrete existence is a discursion of conscious and latent states that shift continually in relation to one another. When Freud said, “There is no time in the unconscious,” his genius was in fusing elements of a multiple transpersonality with a personal psyche without realizing it.

Who was Cannon to Nogorigatu? Whom did he “see” as she queried and drew him from the slumber of Katie? Was he in dormancy till her call? Was he awakened to his existence by her summons or does he dwell eternally in his soul, reliving his own timeless narrative?

Cannon opines, “He seemed to be pleading with me to tell his story, to give his death meaning.”19 He was calling out for recognition, affirmation. “This was no cardboard imaginary character. 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?”20

Indeed! Nogorigatu was responding blindly to an American woamn addressing him decades after his death—a witness in the void—but he was also engaging his own internal voice. I can’t picture Nogorigatu being a figment in Kathryn Harris’ unconscious mind, but I can’t picture her as a golem or ghola of him either. Cannon’s supposition—“a still, small voice in his head”—is the tip of some iceberg.


In subsequent sessions, Cannon edged Harris closer to the attack. She had promised Katie that she would approach the bombing gradually and then visit it only once. As she counted deeper into 1944, she feared that Nogorigatu would appear as a broken man. She was right; 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…. Sometimes I stay in the village, sometimes in Hiroshima.”21

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.”22 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.”23

Food was rationed. Those who toiled for the government received larger portions, allotments dispensed at the factories. It was mostly rice, occasionally bread or grains. They found wild 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?”24 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.”25

Though to that point Hiroshima had been spared from aerial attack, routine drills were conducted. Sirens sounded, 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.”26

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.”27

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?”28

As Cannon subsequently 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.”29 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 present and she had the capacity to terminate the session and wake herself up whenever she wished.

“‘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!’”30

Is this Hiroshima? Or is Katie hysterically re-imagining the event with theatric catharsis?

If the view is Hiroshima under atomic attack, is it a first-hand account or a post-traumatic lesion through space-time, torquing 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!’”31

Cannon knew she had to get Nogorigatu 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.’”32

Another being replaced the devastated man: 1930 Nogorigatu in happy blossom, proceeding into the universe as who was. But was the artisan working on his pots a man who had never experienced Hiroshima or had somehow already experienced it and suppressed the future memory?

And what about Katie herself? Even though she remembered none of what she recited in trance as Nogorigatu, she exhibited discernible relief after the series of regressions. Like other past-life “patients,” she began to mature in a new way.

Later, Cannon recalled a memory trace she recovered from Katie before finding Nogorigatu. While entering this world in a home delivery, the girl had been declared stillborn. The doctor had given up; only an aunt working on the lifeless body drew a feeble cry. Guessing that the clue to Nogorigatu lay there, Cannon regressed Harris 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.”33

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.”34

Did Nogorigatu’s soul replace Katie’s and hitch a ride in her identity thereafter? Or were she and he the same Soul all along? If possession takes place before birth, is that not effectively reincarnation?

In Cannon’s view, Nogorigatu was a walk-in who entered with Katie’s permission. This phenomenon 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 an arriving guest—though both could be aspects of the same Soul.

Cannon also interrogated Nogorigatu on his status before Katie. “I learned … 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.”35


All of us remember something from outside the present frame. One’s existence flashes in déjà vus, premonitions, images and feelings that flit past, evaporating the moment one tries to grasp or place them. Though faint and obscure, these transmit a source energy. 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, faces and moods, wisps and fragments of “something else”—appear, but they lack context; intaglios come and go too quickly to grasp and identify. Or we grasp them but can’t hold onto them because nothing frames them. “They were valid: They did 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.”36

“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…..

“[The] human personality [is] 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.”37

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.”

“A portion of you,” Jane Roberts adds, “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…. [A] rich psychic heritage connects it through memory and experience to those who will ‘come after.’ Or those who have ‘gone before….’”38

This otherworldly vastness is the residue of our archetypal existence, and is processed not by the brain but the aura and Etheric body—the brain was not designed evolutionarily for such a task.

I remember lying in my crib at age two or three, coming to terms with my new reality. I could feel the presence of something else I couldn’t identify. My parents claimed that I pointed to each car and identified it correctly: “Studey, Olds, Bluick, Cadiack.” This a skill I didn’t retain—I can’t tell a Toyota from a Honda, or a Hummer from a Jeep—and I lost the ability entirely by age four.

At three, my grandson Hopper told my daughter Miranda that he remembered when she and his father Mike saw each other as children. That was possible since they briefly both overlapped in the Oakland-Berkeley area. He also told her that he had been to a restaurant at which they were dining for the first time, and had seen cowboys there, not a character type she recalled his 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 a past life might present itself to a child.

Journalist Tom Shroder concluded that 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.”40

Remembering past lives or not remembering them is pretty much the same inside an amplituhedron reflecting consciously and unconsciously in multiple directions and dimensions at once. Everything is connecting, communicating, and overlapping anyway, even in apparent isolation.

The past lives that surface in individuals like Ryan Hammons and James Leininger are unconscious memories that have become conscious, the same unconscious memories that everyone has and that shape their destinies from unknown events that occurred in other bodies, other times, and on other worlds. The reason we don’t remember past lives is that we don’t remember pretty much anything.


Cosmic Chicanery and Thoughtforms

In the millennia-long rivalry of stone tools (molecular formations used as instruments) and shamans, science won because it gets better results. You can’t astral-transport folks across oceans. Shamanic invocation has minimal immediate impact on stone (or wood) but not none—we call it the Stone Age for a reason. Yet it vibrates on Etheric and Astral levels, an overall metamorphosis involving “the transformation of energy into physical form” according to ideas and beliefs.1 Psychic energies affect matter slowly and subliminally, but you can make just about anything if you imagine it long enough. Some things take hundreds of thousands of years and, in the case of Homo sapiens, you first have to develop physics and chemistry.

Civilization is a thoughtform, the realization of Stone Age shamanism’s unconscious projections and prayers. “Objectified mental states “[are] constantly interacting, formed automatically by conscious energy’s intercession with the three-dimensional field.”2 Shamans evoked the current landscape from their desire for food, shelter, safety, power, and mobility. They ultimately manifested wheels, engines, electricity, and cities, though they did not know that’s what they were doing or understand the nature of their objectification. They had no templates and did not directly charm matter. Thoughtforms “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.”3

Those cars rolling down modernity’s streets are complicated, integrated machines. Mind could not have made them out of matter unless matter had mind in it. The cars are thoughtforms. They are molded and made operational in closed energy systems, but they are created by the translation of Etheric thoughtforms into molecular and atomic thoughtforms. Seth says, “Man dreamed his world and then created it … from the first tool to the importance of fire, or the coming of the Iron Age … and the units of consciousness first dreamed man and all of the other species that you know….

“Those units of consciousness are the building blocks for the physical material of your body, for the trees and rocks, the oceans, the continents, and the very manifestation of thought itself as you understand it….”4

If you look around the planet today, you see the fruition of a collective Pleistocene thoughtform. It is also the outcome of empirical thought applied empirically to stone, but these converge over long stretches of time.

Thoughtforms are as real as snow on Pluto or trucks rolling along a Mongolian highway. They don’t control reality, they create it. As John Friedlander told me, “You work to change yourself not the universe because the universe can’t be changed. But sometimes you change yourself, and miraculously the universe changes too.”

If you are a member of a Plains Indian warrior sodality or a Tibetan lama, you start from this premise. There isn’t any other. You can’t enter a universe you don’t believe in absolutely. Stone Age shamans believed, and what we are living is what they believed in.

The question is, what landscape are we evoking now?


An indigenous healer told an academic friend of mine that he used sleight of hand and duplicity in his practice, yet he insisted that it was fair game because it was a ploy to shift his clients’ stubborn beliefs and stuck thoughtforms that had descended into tissue pathology. “Western doctors open people up like car mechanics,” the shaman explained, “and they try to fix them by changing their parts. We heal them by changing their belief systems.”5

His props include a piece of quartz, a mask, a costume, a chant; these startle, then they transubstantiate. Quesalid, an elderly Koskimo shaman interviewed by anthropologist Franz Boas, admitted that the bloody down he pulled out of a sick person’s body was feathers stained from his own mouth. In his youth he had thought to expose this method as a fraud, but he arrived at a more profound understanding. It was transformational theater on behalf of spirit forms. Each of his patients assimilated the totem object into their psychic fields. A well-chosen totem could be converted into parasympathetic and cellular energy.

Even knowing that the bloody down is a sham, a medicine man calls on a fellow practitioner to treat him in this manner if he becomes sick.6

Religion scholar Jeffrey Kripal elucidates. “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.”7

According to Kripal, hoaxes by fortune-tellers and fake séances 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.”8

Far from being distorted by chicanery, reality is deepened, for a hoax creates a meaning set with energy. Science-fiction tales, though meant to be imaginary, represent “the greater reality from which we spring [and]…send messages from there to the selves we know.”9 In superhero movies and comics, magical powers represent dormant human capacities. Targ eventually became skilled enough at remote viewing that he was hired by the Pentagon to locate Soviet military installations—and generals don’t mess around.



A popular 2013 book, The Afterlife of Billy Fingers: How My Bad-Boy Brother Proved to Me There’s Life After Death, summarizes Annie Kagan’s dialogues with her brother after his premature passing.10 The power of her receipts lies not in their plausibility but, if they are authentic, in Billy’s permission to break the encryption between the living and the dead. I will give a shortened synopsis with highlights.

In life, Billy, who nicknamed himself Fingers at age sixteen after he lost the tip of one finger while working in a welding factory, topped out as a petty criminal and drug addict. He appeared to his sister after death as a voice in her room. He described the sensation of being hit by a taxi and sucked out of his body by a rush of energy. After that he entered a welcoming zone, a festive land of silvery lights, in a state of bliss incompatible with the human body.11

Later he recalls floating weightlessly through space with “gorgeous stars and moons and galaxies” glimmering all about him, while he hears a faraway intoxicating sound, a celestial choir that is like wind or rain or ocean waves but more musical and with a rhythmic pulsation that keeps changing and becoming more melodic.12 A magical stream fluctuating with the colors of chakras, a few yards wide, wends past. As sounds begin organizing into sacred music, Billy realizes he heard them unconsciously throughout his lifetime. The stream gradually erases his Earth body and its memories, as a blue-white sphere implants a new corporealness.13

Billy sees his former wife Ingrid flowing before him 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. The strands of her anger are harmonized at a soul level. As the two of them circle each other, he understands why he loved her in the first place.14

A backdrop of other lifetimes gradually supplants his recent life. The Divine Presence calls him by his Soul name, a rune he recognizes from before he was born.15 He finds himself staring at a beautiful woman twice his height. She has the look and vibe of a Hindu goddess: rings, bracelets, and precious stones around her feet, a tiara of golden light circling her head. As she floats, she moves her hands in a mudra-like dance. Billy follows in devotion and gradually begins to resemble her.

Numberless other folks like himself are following their own guides up to a White Building.17 Its stones are opalescent, cosmic wisdom formulas built into them.18 His guide leads him eventually to a cave with pictures of blossoms carved around its entrance. A blossom shimmers, showing Billy his past lives, shaded purple or red and illuminating golden petals of individual lotus flowers. The guide offers him a cup of the milky nectar from the pond; it tastes 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 creature with fiery eyes. He recognizes it as his guardian through many lifetimes.19


Before you discount this as New Age blarney, ask yourself if it is a possible experience. I am moved by Kagan’s tale, and I have major difficulties with it. I will characterize both.

First, the difficulties. A voice in the void is too casually Hollywoodesque, like George Burns playing God or Edgar Rice Burroughs levitating John Carter to Mars. Kagan doesn’t characterize the voice in the void. Was it high-pitched, sonorous, or telepathic? If it was sound, did she try to record it? How she did she know that it was Billy.

I was willing to give her the benefit of the doubt because of the heartfulness of Billy’s transmission, but my suspicions were further aroused by a brief email exchange. I sent her an early version of this book for comment. I had excerpted sections from her account but told her that they were placeholders I intended to remove.

Her sole comment was that my analysis “seemed off.” She threatened legal action, warning that neither she nor her publisher would allow me to quote her at such length.

I thought she could go either way on my interpretation of her book, but I at least expected interest and empathy—what I would have been like if my deceased brother began talking to me. Instead, she acted like commissioner of the NBA enforcing a league trademark.

Afterward I was put on the book’s email list and began receiving self-help messages from her “secret Billy stash.” Each of these snippets was signed, “Billy Fingers from the Cosmos, With Love.” Kagan later identified her brother by the cringe-worthy “Billyfucious” or “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.”

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

Another possibility is that Kagan is receiving a different transmission and using a literary device to communicate it. A similar defense has been offered by apologists for Carlos Castaneda regarding his encounters with shaman Juan Matus—that the events themselves, which similarly involved nonlocal consciousness, were fictionalized to communicate something that would otherwise have been incommunicable.


Psychic Ellias Lonsdale’s transmission from his partner Sarah after her death from breast cancer is radically different from Billy’s. It begins with her meeting the Lord of Death, as she passes through different forms of death based on Earth 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….”

No floating among party lights for this girl.

“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.”20

She undergoes a soul remembering. “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.”21

Only after passing through numerous Death pictures does Sarah confront the Lord of Death Himself and experience how he operates: he matches each person’s picture of him, transposing each Death Image into a Death Reality. The fetid corpse, rot and decay, the funeral parlor, the pyre, the irreclaimable loss of a cherished being are representations of the negative projection of Death.22

But the Lord of Death is not any of these forms; he is only the vibration that separates the living from the dead.

After death, a confirmed skeptic protects his belief system by devising an alias that fools even him.  Since he expects to be annulled, he vegs in pretend non-existence, denying his own awareness because beingness is impossible without a body. It may require eons of Earth-time for him to recognize that someone is denying his own existence. Eventually he will respond to the fact that he is not not.

The belief that death is final and ends personal experience paradoxically replicables the belief that existence is eternal and eternally changing, for the profundity of the universe, once bottomed out in all its platforms, creates a far more profound baseline than either of these. The skeptical position is not anti-spiritual; it is deeply spiritual, generating a negative energy that is essential for the Soul’s evolution. To be mired in paradise, an inert beatitude, without possibility of creative transformation—an angelic theme park and light that casts no shadows—would be as useless it is unsustainable.

If Stephen Hawking was right, he proved his point and got to the bottom of “what is everything?” without Ego Hawking knowing it: Adios. Nothing happens forever. If he was wrong, I see three options: (one) he continues to consider himself dead for a while until he begins to stir under new terms; (two) he blends into a greater truth as he recognizes his version of nature as an authentic and veridical response to his time and place in history; and/or (three) he says beyond voice, “Aha, did I ever sell the universe short?”

He doesn’t correct his model because the conditions where he is now are more profound than any correction.


When psychic medium Sali Crow did an impromptu spirit reading for me in Montpelier, Vermont (August 22, 2016), she began by inviting any being who wanted to come in peace, love, and healing. Then she told me that a woman had been seated behind me the whole time.

We were not even meeting for mediumship but to talk about her prospective book. After the book discussion I asked her to show me the sort of thing she did. She proceeded to channel an entity, lips moving, eyes closed, while she remained silent. After each such interlude, she put into words what she had received: a mixture of the spirit’s thoughtforms and pictures. In the process, she brought to life a believable form of my mother who committed suicide by jumping from her window in New York City forty-two years earlier.

Sali relayed specific facts from my mother’s life, for instance that she was sent to a boarding school at age twelve till fourteen, that she spent long periods in bed when she had no illness. More profoundly she captured my mother’s personality, style, and way of presenting herself. The “ghost” filled in details of her life that were unknown to me and spoke of events that had occurred since her death. She expressed pride in my daughter Miranda, identifying her as a woman in her lineage who had transcended its limitations. Miranda was one year at the time of her suicide.

Though the visitation was too compelling to dismiss, it didn’t change my mother’s thread; it created a new thread, that of my mother’s ghost. The ghost apologized to me for things that my mother had done and thanked me for turning her damage into healing. It moved me to tears.

John Friedlander confirmed that the spirit was real but not a continuation of my mother. Only my mother knows her own reality (just as only a dragonfly “knows” what it is) and, if she continues to exist, “she” has been reconstituted outside of Earth context. She may not even recognize her own former identity.

He went on to identify the spirit as a combination of many things. First, it was Sali’s telepathic reading of my mother from my aura. My mother’s aura might have deposited some of the information unconsciously in my aura when she was alive, stuff from the future as well as the past. The karmic thread of our relationship, flowing across incarnations, would be accessible to a spirit reader without requiring my mother’s contemporaneous beingness.

Sali could also consult disembodied intelligences and spirit guides familiar with my mother and her situation, and she could autonomously read my mother’s life in the Akashic records.

How did the spirit find us? Sali’s explained that necromancers are like lighthouses. Spirits are drawn to them in the company of people they wish to contact. “They don’t hover over our every move; they could care less whether we floss or not. And most spirits have more than one living person they are watching over. What they track is our evolution, the color of our flame.”

I have come to think of the spirit as a collective disembodied information field imprinted by my mother’s life and activated by my presence. An entity once known to herself as Martha Rothkrug continues in some fashion to know itself. One or more of its current states might have participated in the poltergeist without her active presence in current time. The spirit was intelligently created by human existence but incapable of new action in present time. It could only repeat notes like opera singer performing an aria. It could know about my daughter’s life and career but could not discuss them in the way a living grandmother would. It read the color of her flame.

The thoughtform Sali spoke for was, in that sense, a piece left behind, real in that it could communicate to me and heal aspects of our relationship. It messages were probably latent and unexpressed when my mother was alive, but they were progressing anyway, and would continue to progress. Even as it transmitted healing to me in my current form, the spirit was sending redemptive energy to my mother wherever she was.

Sali couldn’t create a character who wasn’t an internalization of both of our capacities to read energy. But that is the case with all our interactions, with the living as well as the dead.


Worshipping the Algorithm

Let’s review. Scientists consider the universe a random break of particles, one of a series of breaks that routinely transfuse new universes out of the debris of prior ones. Why and wherefore is not on the drawing board beyond “shit just is.” Conscious awareness and personal identity, the stuff doing the theorizing, arose ex nihilo, an epiphenomenon of thermodynamics. Beingness didn’t exist previously in any way, shape, or indication, so it’s an unsanctioned intruder. The objective reality from which the universe seems to arisen with all the tchotchkes did nothing to promote its own subjective appearance. The universe complexified not because it had intrinsic conscious complexity but because it had extrinsic algorithmic complexity. And there is no other root or bottom to things.

Reality will eventually dissolve back into nothingness. There was nothing to begin with, so whatever replaced it was circumstantial—in effect nothing too. This entire universe and its occasions track back to bosons and fermions and their unknown antecedents. The sequence goes: Nothing—Nothing—Nothing—Big Bang—bosons and fermions—atoms—molecules—algorithm at work—algorithm at work—algorithm at work—Entropy—Nothing (perhaps forever this time). What began as a pool shot will cease when the energy behind it has dissipated.

Scientists have no idea how skank got here for the Big Bang to occur, and they don’t particularly care. To assign both our annals and destiny to the tomb of ultimate nonexistence is a matter 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.”1

This view of reality is levied by ideological gendarmerie, social contract, and mass subliminal seepage. It is taught in most Western madrasas, reinforced by socioeconomic imperatives including a pharmaceutical industry ruled by products and profits from continuous symptomatic relief of both mental and physical states arising from a sense of meaningless and loss of power. It is broadcast openly and telepathically from the capital control centers of our species. In the words of the pre-Socratic philosopher, “Man is estranged from that which is most familiar.” We have lost the ability to create our own realities or, more accurately, sold it for a mess of pottage.

Everyone buys into this reality at some level: 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 it to their constituents, no matter what else they bloviate: the primacy of matter. Make hay while the sun is shining (meaning the local hydrogen-helium aster). The ad for reality keeps reminding the hoi polloi: “You only go around once, so grab for all the gusto you can get!” Whatever that could mean to nucleic acids attached to protein coats….

It is even disseminated by those whose beliefs and actions refute it. Mainstream religious authorities reinforce its signal by ideologically challenging it while otherwise in full and complete compliance. It holds its adherents by making anyone who doubts it a wimp, a fool, a Judas, or an asshole. That’s how lockdown the paradigm is.

“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,” remarks Robert Butts, transcriber of Seth, “…atoms and molecules scattered by chance through the universe…then certainly we’ll never come this way again in the universe….”2

In fact, we never really came the first time.

Poignancy, love, compassion, awe, and wonder are delusionally overwrought dives into shallow water. Every feeling, thought, pang, every feeling about every feeling and thought, every work of art or science, every every hope, every intimation—are false. The musings of Parmenides, Augustine, Aquinas, and Einstein, the paintings in the caves of Lascaux and Chauvet, Bach’s organ music, the Qabalistic Tree of Life arose rootless in the middle of nowhere, with nothing holding them to their own existence.

If you feel meaning or love radiating in yourself, it is AI, generated by the resources for simulation in the algorithm. It can make anything out of anything else in the infinitely reflecting grottos of a mathematical function replicating only itself. Even the algorithm comes out of the algorithm, an algorithm clever enough to reflect back the subtlety that it generates at each level of its own experession. That should be no surprise because the algorithm dug its algorithmic capacity for recursion. It is an algorithm’s algorithm.

Life on Earth is an anomaly. “More than 200 parameters [of the Universe] are exactly right for life to exist,” notes biologist Robert Lanza (no apparent relation to Adam). “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.”3

So, all of it could just as well have not happened, if one critical particle had spun the wrong way. Our deal is an unlikely royal flush.

Either we are in the one in a trillion trillion tries in which the skank happened to blow a bubble with life forms and consciousness, and that’s why we exist and know we exist—and all those other “failed” universes lie behind and before our day in heaven—or there is an Aristotelian prime mover/first cause driving particles into design and habitats on worlds. Either Conscious Earth is an unlikely tiddlywink or the Solar Swirl in which it formed poured out of a Divine vortex beyond the capacity of science to track or compute. Either it is only explicit, or it is so explicit it is implicit too, and vice versa.

My Amherst College classmate Sid Schwab brilliantly articulately rebutted a prime mover in a class-chatroom debate with a couple of biblical fundamentalists:

“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.”4

Sid bottoms out the universe well short of itself—and it is the universe not the guys in the chatroom he is debaing.

Scientism’s best and last-ditch trick is to assign every event or structure to three billion years of natural selection and emergent systemic effects. Fourteen billion years can jiggle just about anythiubng out of bosons and fermions. Plus, the universe didn’t have to make apes or Einsteins, here or anywhere. As long as it did, it played by its own rules. It’s a full MRSA universe!

Intelligent Design or Creationism is no better, tts advocates concluding that living systems are too complex to be designed by random sequential choices. They try to imbed a forbidden intelligence in a calculus that does not need it. Sid and his colleagues have the mathematics and moleculo-atomic mechanisms to back their argument up, with plenty of margin to spare.

If the algorithm can make MRSA overnight, it can make an autogene or brain in three billion years—no problemo. It can flip phenomena into phenomenology and replicate them in immaculate self-similar, self-differentiating blastulas billions of times a second on this planet. The algorithm is bottomless. 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.”5

Whether life can arise from a dynamic disequilibrium of billiard-ball effects is both an epistemological and ontological question, and these converge at a teleological riddle that generates endless riddles at deeper levels. To build a reality from collateral of interstellar hydrogen depends on Whom we designate Builder. The algorithm can do everything God can without imperious stagecraft or vulgar oversplash. The Algorithm is the God of modernity: slick, efficient, cybernetic, minimal—microsoft.

This is idolatry: idolatry of the pseudo-real.

Beyond the paradigmatic crunch of fundamentalist Biblicism and fundamentalist scientism lie the actual vastness and complexity of the universe, from nebulae and seas to the orbits of electrons, jellyfish, and the philosophy of Immanuel Kant. When Alfred North Whitehead called the shebang “process and reality,” he meant process at every level and instant of its formation. An algorithm generating roses and galaxies, cobras and tardigrades, out of debris and baling wire, is a God generating them out of innate intelligence, or a nonlinear gyre, writing the flap of every butterfly’s wings and crawl of each amoeba’s jell on its ineffable hard drive. Science and religion are metanarratives that give rise to each other, a continuously shifting dialectic.

While we hiked together in Maine, I asked another college classmate, Jeffrey Hoffman, a retired NASA astronaut who teaches at MIT, if he accepted the diagnosis ofthe Big Bang occurring “in the middle of nowhere for no reason” as a fair representation of his guild’s cosmography. Without telling him, I was citing entheogenic philosopher Terrence McKenna’s 1999 brief:

“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.…”6

Jeff objected to the phrase ‘for no reason,’ saying, “‘Reason’ is an anthropomorphic term. The universe doesn’t operate at our scale.”

“You’re right. Well, I guess for no human reason.”

He clarified also. “As science progresses from generation to generation, its view of the universe changes. A hundred or five hundred years from now, our present paradigm may look as dated as the universe before Copernicus and Newton does to us. Scientists then used epicycles to describe position and motion without a sense of the forces that would organize those epicycles. We’re in the same position today. How can anyone believe they have a complete description when it is missing most of the universe: dark matter and dark energy?”

Reading this exchange, David Perkins, a Yale-trained metaphysician and free-lance cosmologist, asked me on Facebook, “Could so-called dark energy/matter actually be inchoate consciousness?”

The marriage of dark energy/matter and consciousness certainly stares right at us, though all language is facile at some level as consciousness runs into its own nature.

Yet if Etheric, Astral, and Causal energy are descriptors of something actual in the universe, then they must meet mass, gravity, dark energy, and dark matter. They must enter science somewhere. But it’s not as simple as if science broadened its parameters, it would come upon these frequencies and their confluence with the equations whereby they identify other forces. It will never come upon them without including subjective science—magic—because they are generated outside our operating range and only enter it as other things. Etheric energy coexists with dark energy without converging; their concomitant realities demark the complexity of reality.

Jeff concluded, “There may not be a ‘reason,’ but one thing is clear, the universe goes from very simple and lacking much structure in the hot environment after the Big Bang to increasing complexity: molecules, chemical compounds, life, and then consciousness.”

McKenna agreed eighteen years earlier: “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…, as you approach the place in time called the present, happens faster and faster…. 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!….

“[T]he universe is under the influence of a strange attractor … 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.…”7

This is the cutting edge of a thirteen-billion-year-old process of defining novelty—a Dzogchen Whiteheadian universe. The algorithm is netural. Sid Schwab’s logical skepticisms summarize the agnostic opposition:

“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 of 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?”8

All reasonable, logical challenges by a retired surgeon. But in assuming that these are the right questions to ask of the universe, Sid assumes that the logic he expects the universe to follow is the “logic” it is following, or that reality and existence are a logical experience. He bans all other possibilities of form from the universe itself. Another classmate jumped in:

“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?”9

Do these guys not think the universe is complicated enough to handle these fundamental contradictions and still run its algorithm? Their checklist of paradoxes only shows the universe’s complexity in the context of limitations inherent in our view. The universe is not stupid. All That Is is far more complex than All That We Can Imagine or All We Can Measure. It is exponentially more implicate, entangled, and relativisitic than the most intricate multidimensional matrix Albert Einstein could barely grasp.

The algorithm’s quantitative depth masks another absolute, absolutely different complexity.

Sid is playing possum with his own mind, bottoming himself out prematurely, dumbing down the depth of his own intellect. At the same time, he is cheating with a double standard, one for the universe and one for himself—the downside to stringent materialism is that you are forced to support a universe less complex than you are.

The real goal should be to bottom out everything. Scientistic liberals like Sid overlook and serve the corporate takeover of their reality: the marriage of science and capitalism—creating commodities for markets. The algorithm is converting human existence into cashflow as well as reductive materialism. That is not science but a fundamentalist religion sponsored by stage-four capitalism. Poet Charles Stein exposes the hidden purpose and danger of the algorithm:

“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
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


Modernity’s mirror has gone flat, but doesn’t mean there is nothing there. “At some in the history of existence,” Ellias Lonsdale proposed, “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?”11

Scientism has distorted reality, at the cost of science and everything else. Ask the universe what’s going on, guys! Don’t tell the universe what it’s doing. Ask it! There’s no downside. We are doing it all the time anyway.

Bottom out your own latency.



The theory of Multipersonhood could have come to Earth from the Pleiades for how alien it is. The proposition was most recently systematized by John Friedlander from a model developed by Jane Roberts via her channeling of Seth.

John studied at the Berkeley Psychic Institute in the early seventies with founder Lewis Bostwick, a spiritual teacher who integrated Hindu, Buddhist, theosophical, and shamanic practices with techniques from the human-potential movement. John later joined the Ithaca (New York) group receiving Roberts’ channelings, which put a Sethian spin on his system. He studied later with various lamas and psychics, and integrated various guided-visualization and energy techniques.

John follows the theosophical thread of Helen Blavatsky, C. W. Ledbetter, Annie Besant, and Alice Bailey, who captured the essence of a transmission that goes back before the Vedas, aspects of which eluded even its Hindu and Buddhist originators, as mystery traditions do. The intergalactic, meta-dimensional aspect didn’t fit Blavatsky and associates’ Victorian biases or cultural filter, so they limited the dimensional range permissible—otherwise, it was like Philip K. Dick trying to fly a UFO through Charles Dickens’ Nicholas Nickleby.

By combining theosophy, a Sethian perspective, and a Hindu qua Dzogchen Buddhist overview, John created a hybrid cosmology. He also trained at Harvard Law School and practiced the legal art for almost two decades.


Multipersonhood is an umbrella term for a concept that each of us is part of a greater supersentient entity. Our present egoic identity, while exclusively real to itself, is a refraction of only one reality. Our fuller form is a multidimensional configuration that continues to expand, explore, evolve, and differentiate at other levels of consciousness. Each separate member of the ’hood, while resonating at its own frequency, is vibrating at high-frequency energies in others’ fields—and knows them without knowing them at all—that is, it knows them not as what they are but subliminally as what it is. Each entity likewise supports beings who know nothing of it. We are continuously assimilating and integrating one another’s experiences with our own—as the background reality of one another’s beingness.

“The conscious self is only one aspect of our greater reality,” says Jane Roberts, “…the part that springs into earthknowing. It can be called the ‘focus personality,’ because through it we perceive our three-dimensional life. It contains within it, however, traces of the unknown or ‘source self’ out of which it constantly emerges….

“The known self perceives its reality in creaturehood. It focuses its attention upon the physical world, which is the three-dimensional reflection of its own kind of consciousness, a consciousness [on Earth] deflected and sifted through a molecular lens.”1 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, and you use that information to round out your own.”2 No entity would or could exist if it were not supported by a greater field of consciousnesses.

All knowledge and beingness supports all other knowledge and beingness.

We don’t have to know how much of our experience at any moment is our own and how much is the effects of “Others” in our Multipersonhood. We best find our Multipersonhood partners by not looking for them. If we reach out forcefully, we go through the delicate Etheric and Causal fabric. “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”3

Daily and routine events are overdetermined because the universe is overdetermined. A given crow, on a telephone line looking down at you may also be you or a close associate in a past or future life, and that is why it is looking and you are noticing it. Or not. At the heart of the things 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.

You and that crow—or that gopher darting out of its burrow and back—exchange a dab of etheric energy. You are in unity, like electricity identifying with itself. Seth calls attention to “the countless times counterparts [have] unwittingly gathered…and what sorts of numberless exchanges [take] place on unconscious levels between those who [are] psychically related in some fashion.”4

Though many members of our Multipersonhoods are other humans and humanoids, the census transcends any simple description or definition. The following are placeholders or metaphors for the actual partners making up a grid of shared identity and information flow:

  • Other human beings linked to oneself, either individually or in collective Souls or Group Souls across lifetimes.
  • Consciousnesses in other dimensions.
  • Meta-galactic and/or interdimensional Group Souls in Atmic, Monadic, and subtler planes.
  • Orbs like the Earth and the Sun. A Multipersonhood is not a sociable gathering. Is the Sun well-disposed toward us? Who knows! The Sun supports our lives every moment with generosity, neutrality, and empathy. Yet as large as it is (1,300,000 times the size of the Earth), it is no more autonomous or independent than a beetle.
  • One-celled mites in ponds and water droplets. These participate in biological and ecological fields which are others forms of Multipersonhood. Every terrestrial organism is made up of once free-living cells, themselves composites of the autonomous organelles that conduct their metabolism. Our cells “are not simply minute, handy, unseen particles that happen to compose [our] organs.” They maintain their own vibration and the intelligence of their lineage. “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…. There are different kinds of selfhood, and an infinite variety of ways to experience self-awareness.”5

Nor can any life form exist outside its ecosystem and the creatures in the biosphere that sustain it. Extend this paradigm to a cosmic milieu. Every creature in the universe participates psychically and karmically, and this “consciousness unites all physical matter.”6

  • Life forms in other solar systems within the physical realm. Consider the countless galaxies and suns in just the mapped universe with their trillions of planets. We are tucked in a remote corner of a stellar cluster we call the Milky Way on the fringes of a Laniakea supercluster of 100,000 galaxies stretching over 500 million light years. Consider the range of life forms and civilizations of these worlds and even more remote “Earths” as well as Etheric and Astral zones of planets vibrating with us in Multipersonhoods across the universe.
  • Intelligences that are not fully anthropomorphic and appear to us only at other frequencies, particularly the Astral, where they vibrate with our emotional body.
  • Dreamtime beings inculcating other phases of echidnas, snakes, kangaroos, and emus. What is a dolphin or a squirrel to us may be a dream body, one of many dream bodies, of an entity elsewhere. For instance, sea mammals may be astral creatures for whom Earth density is a dream state.

The body of each lifeform is one aspect of its Multipersonood—the present state of its own unconscious existence and species. An insect or mollusk is wise by shape and behavior, as it core intelligence resides in its organs and instincts. Look at a bee or a crab; see superconscious energy operating subconsciously!

  • Differently vibrating forms like plants and stones. Everything in the universe that isn’t animate and conscious is incipiently animate and conscious. Mountains and rivers have nascent modes of consciousness insofar as they are composed of “intelligently” organized atomic states, vortices of conscious energy. Their “minds” are not our kind of minds or using a mentation we would recognize.
  • Our own past, future, and probable selves, in this lifetime as well as others. The system is vast enough to accommodate everything in existence, everything that has left existence, everything not yet in existence, and everything that will never be in existence.

You don’t have to believe this to use it. The universe will never resemble anything we depict. It will depict itself. If the universe is not multidimensionally interdependent, you can forget the little black sheep, and the shepherd too.


Consider Multipersonhood in terms of your own life phases. Your ego is differentially integrated across a lifetime. From infancy through childhood into adolescence and through adult life, you are not the same person, yet you have a uniquely intimate relationship to your prior and future selves. Jane Roberts muses poignantly about this: “[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.”7

Even the person who began reading this paragraph, who used to be you, is gone. Yet each of these forms—your baby, childhood, and teen selves—is complete in ways that you have vacated. They are separate, autonomous individuals, parts of your Multipersonhood.

Consider past lives in these terms. A present life is a future life to any past life; it is a past life to any future being. Not only is James Huston a past life of James Leininger, James Leininger is a future life of James Huston.

The situation cuts even deeper. Time is an energy generating and organizing the reality we find ourselves in. If you remove linear time, you don’t remove all reality, but you drastically change your relationship to other beings and selves within reality. There may be dimensions in which time functions very differently, if at all. Jane Roberts describes time “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.”8

A Multipersonhood is not just a collection of entities, even considering other dimensions and frequences of being. It is a container of probabilities issuing from their existences. Other probability points exist as “concentrations of energy formed unconsciously by us adjacent to our living areas.”9 Each path not taken, because of its karmic potential, gets expressed somewhere. In Sethian terms, “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….”10

If we regard time as an energy too, sequences within a life, between lifetimes, and probable lives take on new reality: “[E]ach present 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.”11 They 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,” for instance, the Titanic missing the iceberg or Hitler never coming to power in Germany—they are “endlessly growing out of the medium of the system itself,”12 creating the greater meta-reality.

As members of a Multipersonhood, the inhabitants of each probable world remain unaware of their “neighbors” because the event horizons of each are discrete. “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….”13

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….”14


Dreams translate a Multipersonhood’s energy from one encryption to another. In Freudian terms, their formation redistributes neural loads—not because the dreamer unconsciously intends it but because energy can’t help but relieve its libidinal charge. But if entities, landscapes, and events from various space-time continua are converted in dreams, visitations to other worlds and probability states of oneself can get displaced into familiar scenes or landscapes.

There is a motel somewhere around Nevada that I visit regularly, I know the proprietor, his family, and the surroundings. I have hiked in the nearby desert. Yet it is not Nevada or even North America. A shoreline around which I occasionally walk or drive is nowhere on Earth. An island in the Pacific lies in a different, vaster ocean.

When multiple persons are conflated or combined with one another in dreams, it may also be that they are one another. Anthropologist Michael Harner explains how spirit guides encountered on shamanic journeys in other worlds and dimensions could be the spirits of plants, animals, ancestors, devas, gods, or people who have transitioned, even spiritual teachers. These entities do not have to know that they are serving as guides, for their essential beingness is vast enough to be in many places at once.

Seemingly innocent events may draw a person to his or her guide in bodily form. Harner provides instances from the archives of his Shamanic Institute. Guides both are and are not historic entities they resemble, and can also be presently living people unknown to the journeyer. In one such account, a seeker regularly received dream instruction from “an old man in the Upper World who inhabited a cabin in an unknown countryside.” The aspiring shaman was driving along a waking 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 two years later, he continued to serve as an Upper World guide.15


Members of the same Multipersonhood do not have to feel affinity with one another. They can be enemies, infantrymen in opposing armies, predator and prey, competitors for the same romantic partner—or romantic partners. Opposition supplies the larger entity with comprehensive knowledge and aids its becoming whole. Within a Multipersonhood, murderers, rapists, soldiers, and their victims exchange information like Golgi bodies and mitochondria in a cell. Cross-fertilization feeds the greater consciousness, as it introduces dualities and contradictions and resolves them in different unities.

Dichotomies of good and evil, thug and victim, are passing façades in the crusade of beingness, as a grunge universe sputters beneath its own greater pavilion. The evil at its bottom universe has to be experienced and dredged in order to be expiated. Otherwise it will settle forever, an unknown and unknowable slag radiating sterilely through Creation.

When an eagle descends from on high and rips a prairie dog off the ground, short of its burrow, there is a blood price but, insofar as both entities are in Multipersonhoods and partial dream bodies, the deed is not irreconcilable nor is it an obliteration of the prairie dog’s potential for future happiness and spiritual growth. Its Etheric body converts the pain within the system of birth, death, and knowledge. Both creatures “understand the nature of the life-energy they share, and are not—in those terms—jealous for their own individuality.”16 There is intimacy and value in absorbing the Physical-Etheric field of another. “The slain animal [knows that it will] look out through its slayer’s eyes—attaining a newer, different kind of consciousness.”17

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. They couldn’t be teaching the universe unless the universe were teaching them the same thing. They will work it out in the vastness of All That Is. The mouse will find joy again too.

Consciousness cannot act against itself. There is no violation, only curiosity of an untold force staring deeply and wondrously into its own nature and its capacity to mirror it to almost infinite depth.

The tiger that adopts an orphaned lamb into her litter and the wolf cub that chooses a rabbit as a playmate are expressing an aspect of Multipersonhood, for the lion does eventually lie down with the lamb. Existential philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre dead-reckoned this in France during the despair of 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.”18

Watch an osprey hoist a trout out of a stream, as the trout spirals the bird down into Heraclitean waters. That is the unified cosmic field. In the transitionally severed field between bird and fish, as the phenomenologies they inhabit, the spider-web of force-fields out of which they manifested in embryonic eggs is stretched toward a cosmology constant. Herman Melville saw 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.”19

One day, believe it or not, everything about the universe—everything—will change utterly and be walk-out-the-door different, only there will be no door, no “where.” A twenty-first-century physicist would not recognize it. Yet the part of him that knows itself as him—the part of you that knows itself as you—will be there too.



What is the status of information from spirts like Seth? They describe themselves as composites of thousands of individual souls and Group Souls comprised of individuals who have completed many incarnations and cycles of incarnation on one or more worlds. Recently Earth-identified ones include “Michael,” “the Pleiadian Council,” “Kryon,” and the author of The Course in Miracles.

Channeling is not just a transfer of exogenous information, for all higher information is available simultaneously throughout the universe. Channeling is transmission of portions of it without transmission—the instantaneous, autonomous dissemination by a superconscious entity into “coherent, valid, and faithful” surrogate energy patterns1 that transcend space-time and limits imposed by the speed of light. The material is received because there is enough of a match between it and a recipient for the recipient to pick up the vibrational pattern without distorting what it is “saying” into his or her own thoughts and ideas. Some naïve channeling does just this, as New Age bromides are presented as emanating from Orion, Sirius, the Pleiades, etc.

The superconscious source doesn’t have a voice in an anatomical sense, but the voice the medium uses is “much like the one” that an aspect of the entity would have if it were a humanoid.2 The entity adopts the channel’s language and vocabulary,3 since it must operate at his or her level of knowledge and phase of development; it “cannot force from him, from his speech mechanism, concepts with which he is entirely unfamiliar.”4 It also must “introduce [new material] step by step,” and the recipient must consent to the concepts as he interprets them speech-wise with the entity’s assistance, using his or her own associations to get to “the proper subject or image.”5

Sometimes the medium inserts a word that, by his or her own logic, is wrong. But that is how a phonetic sememe stores energy. The essence behind the transmission is ostensibly altering atoms and changing their charges and pulsation rates in both the medium’s body and the minds and bodies of consciousnesses that receive them.6

When an entity calling itself Seth manifested to Jane Roberts in Elmira, New York, in 1963—that is, made entry into her temporal consciousness, initially through a Ouija board—she was tapping into a higher-dimensional intelligence field whose name was only “Seth” at her frequency. When presented with her personality and intelligence and Earth’s current civilization, it attuned itself to transmit at the level of the listening. Seth was but “one multidimensional aspect of many; one characteristic in the nature of a kind of entity we can hardly comprehend.”7

When (and if) another person (not Jane) channels the same energy, it might or might not identify itself as Seth. Or because of Jane’s published books, a different entity might mistakenly be recognized by a channeler as “Seth.”

Seth insisted that he and Jane are independent beings. He does not “use Ruburt as a puppet, and stuff his mouth with tapes as a recorder: …I am not some spooky Big Brother experiencing his reality for him!”8 [Ruburt is Seth’s name for Jane, “the closest translation, in your terms, for the name of the whole self or entity of which (Jane) is now a self-conscious part”9]

He described himself as a facet of Jane’s Multipersonhood, an aspect not accessible to her current ego configuration. He was already part of her future self, so he matched her vibration. Jane was becoming Seth, or was already Seth in another probability or future state, so she was contacting a dormant, evolving aspect of herself, a future self broadcasting to her present identity, pulling “plain Jane” into a network of which she was part. Seth was also a form of her returning from a future incarnation to address himself. Roberts considers, “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…..10

Ruburt is not myself now, in his present life; he is nevertheless an extension and materialization of the Seth that I was at one time…. Ruburt was myself, Seth, many centuries ago, but he grew, evolved and expanded in terms of a particular, personal set of value fulfillments. He is now an actual gestalt, a personality that was one of the probable personalities into which Seth could grow. I represent another. I am another.”11

Seth is, on the one hand, Jane’s “higher dimensionalized ghost…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.”12 “I am a part of your unknown reality,” he inserts, “and you are a part of mine…. I am what I call a bridge personality, composed of a composite self—Ruburt and I meeting to form a personality that is not truly either of us, but a new one that exists between dimensions….13 a ‘trans-world’ entity, a personagram—an actual personality formed in the psyche at the intersection point of [her] focus personality with another aspect14 [with] separate existence in his own dimensions and as it is reflected in her psyche….15

Jane concludes, “Seth is what I am, and yet I am more than Seth is. Seth is, however, independent, and continues to develop as I do.”16

Seth concludes, “I was not the Ruburt that Ruburt is. My experiences as Ruburt were different, and Ruburt’s experiences as Seth, in those terms, will be different. Ruburt will be a different Seth than I am.”17

If this seems overstated, take a look at the starry night on the next clear and moonless night: does it look navigable by parochial links and names?

When Jane channeled messages from a seemingly different source, Seth told her that she had contacted a higher-dimensional form of himself, Seth 2. She later channeled the Sumari, which Seth described as “a psychic family or… guild of consciousnesses who worked together through the centuries.”18 Sumari is one of many encryptions transmitted psychically as a signal, but 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.”19 (“Cordella,” Seth added, is the Sumari word for Multipersonhood.)

Seth explained his identity in two speeches to Jane’s classes nine months apart (April 17, 1973 and January 29, 1974):

“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.”20

Pretty wonderful, isn’t it? The universe is running so close to our beingness arising in it that we do not experience our own heft or how vast and neutral our situation. Finally there is no difference between our present state with its capacity for joy and suffering and the state of the universe. While it is creating our reality, we are creating its. We are because it is. But it is because we are. This paradox goes all the way to the bottom—whatever that turns out to be, whoever we turn out to be when we get there.

The God of All That Is is waiting to be born, waiting for us to breathe existence into Him so that He can breathe existence into Us. Pick any song you want, and it begins to sound 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.”


Personal Identity

In September 2016, while trying to get to sleep, I entered a hypnagogic-state rowboat that was supposed to ferry passengers with a captain like one that had just left the shore. Instead, the moment I got in, it began moving, with no captain and me the only one. It was being pulled on a rope by the boat in front of me, full of passengers. I knew we were going over the falls and I braced myself.

My boat was suddenly tiny, a mere log. I was hugging it like a float ]as I was swept over the edge. I didn’t crash into the water at the bottom. It drifted like a parachute. Then everything changed. I was penetrating a structure, initially solid and rock-like, then flaking, flake after flake, slicing away at high, fracta; speed. As I entered the hologram-liked density, I understood that not only was it infinite, but I would continue to go through it, long after I knew anything.


  1. Personal Identity

What is personal identity? While differing on its nature and their modelling, neo-Darwinian psychologists all retain aspects of Freudian ontology: Where primal biological energy—Freud called it the id (it)—enters the genetic container of an organism, a provisional identity forms, a nascent ego, which contacts the world (environment) from its own protean feelings. The society in which it develops then imposes its own strictures and mores, forming a superego.

Self is the thermodynamic charge of the id individuated by the ego and specified by the superego.

In psychospiritual terms a dimensionless wind contacts its own karmic predispositions and forms a transient identity.

Consciousness doesn’t need an identity; it can run on autopilot, without ego awareness. A robot is conscious; it has AI.

Personal identity differs from consciousness in that it recognizes itself as itself. That is a game-changer, even in as simple a matrix as a worm.

Personal identity is what makes consciousness conscious. It is how individual beingness—and the universe—comes to know itself. It’s your personal identity, but it is the universe’s. As biologist George Wald remarked, “A physicist is the atom’s way of knowing about atoms.”1

The surprise is how creatures take to it like proverbial ducks to water, including ducks to water. “[T]he 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.”2

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

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

As the spider’s pokes gradually disturbed the bee’s nectar bath, the bee became more agitated. Buzzing with what sounded like irritation, it interrupted its rapture, shot out of the stamens, got 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 personal identity, and motive as well as road rage, what in Sam Crow is it? An algorithm run amok? Chemicals under proto-libidinal charge hitting tipping points via 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,” so then who is poking its palp—and who is having its reverie disturbed?

How does a empty vector, however quark- and microtubule-infested, turn an appreciation of pollen—justifiable biochemically—into personal resentment?

Viewed from the other side, how can the uncertainty state of a subatomic particle generate or become the uncertainty state of a desire in a tiny pollen-bathing bee?


The oft-cited materialist apologia for consciousness is the Penrose-Hameroff brand of so-called quantum free will of electrons and their collapse. In this gerrymandered model, electrons transmit uncertainty states through microtubules into nerve nets and eventually modes of awareness that identify not only their existence but the terms for uncertainty. Physicist Arthur Zajonc smiled when he told philosopher William Irwin Thompson: “Quantum effects are a mystery; microtubules are a mystery. So when we say microtubules show quantum effects, we think we have said something.”

How do quantum switches and microtubular tunnels transfer incipient symbols from layers ruled by entropy to others bound by the same random heat effects into recognition? How would a free-range quantum state get transmuted into dimer morsels of microtubules discretely enough to hold the charge or weight of a metonymy? How does the illusion of existence anchor itself in order to apply a personal yardstick to its own mirage and serve its affidavit?

How can a princess perceive a pea or symbolic logic through mattresses as bottomless and diffuse as matter?

Quantum entanglement only translates 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. The quantum universe is not stowed behind subatomic barriers where it sizzles away without impact on thermodynamics. It is just as Newtonian, and was at the time of Sir Isaac. Its status is intrinsic and takes place in every atom in every molecule at every instant.

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

“The quintessential quantum effect, entanglement,” physicist Vlatko Vedral expounds, “can occur in large systems as well as warm ones—including living organisms…. those effects are camouflaged by their own sheer complexity. They are there if you know how to look… and are more pervasive than anyone ever suspected. They may operate in the cells of our body.”3

If horses weren’t quantum-entangled, they wouldn’t be conscious (they wouldn’t even have mass); but, contrary to Penrose, they are not conscious because they are quantum-entangled, they are quantum-entangled because they are conscious. The physical realm expresses quantum entanglement not because of the entanglement of its own subatomic particles but because of an underlying entangled state that gives rise to both. Millisecond by millisecond, the universe is dealing transdimensional, quantum-entangled, superpositional “cards.”


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

Allen’s joke has two meanings: one, the husband is too stupid to realize that his personal identity vanishes for good. In the words of another movie character (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 you to your many identities. It gives you everything you have and everything you are going to have.

For the ego, the universe goes back, but the ego was only one form of the Soul. “[I]ts inviolate nature is not betrayed. It is simply no longer physical.”4 Its “consciousness is condensed and ‘born back’ into the same probable system.”5

To be any single thing forever would be lead to dementia and run out of bandwidth. For some creatures, death is the only escape from permanent servitude or irreversible pain; it is “the way out of what would otherwise be a dimensional dilemma in which further development would be impossible.”6

At each death, the Source “I” reemerges from its particular ego identity and shifts into its Soul, as the recently lived life melds with a greater narrative. William Irwin Thompson told me one afternoon at lunch, “The Soul is the fractal monad of the Divine Consciousness, the sum of all our incarnations.”7

In that sense, past-life memories pall before the actual entanglement of identities.

“Past life” is an answer to the wrong question. Each lifetime stands in relationship and can only stand in relationship, to the universe out of which it emanates, and to All That Is, out of which the universe emanates.


  1. The Fallacy of Life Extension

An egoic identity seems short, as even a Big Bang universe does—anything less than eternity is short. Some Silicon Valley billionaires don’t countenance death’s interruption of their fortune sprees. Larry Ellison (Oracle), Pierre Omidyar (eBay), Larry Page and Sergey Brin (Google), and Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook) are funding cryonic-freezing: sick bodies stored to be defrosted in a future epoch when a cure has been developed for death or at least fatal diseases.

Freezing a brain or body for later defrosting not only depends on a hypothetical industry’s capacity to preserve, recover, and reconstruct personal identity without terminal damage from frost and thawing, but to reboot it with a memory of its own personal identity, which doesn’t just jump to life from chemicals or motherboard wiring.

Transhumanists, as these guys are called, also believe that machine intelligence will eventually match and then surpass human intelligence, a tipping point they call Consciousness Singularity. Freezing won’t be needed—existence can be loaded directly onto a hard drive.

Computer scientists set the current data expenditure of one brain at about half the world’s current digital storage capacity—an insurmountable obstacle for copying whole minds—but they cite continued miniaturization with exponential increases in computing power, a process that has taken humanity from building-size mainframes to personal cell phones in less than a generation. As this ratio continues to improve, it will (they believe) approach a speculative mapping of all the connections in a person’s brain—a Connectome—which can then be copied and archived cost-effectively and used to rekindle selfhood sans a body.

One post-Singularity plan is to inject nanobots (nanorobots) into bloodstreams to scan folks’ brains and wirelessly upload the electrical patterning. Robotic by-pass is predicated on keeping the brain’s holograph intact so that it can be 3-D-copied and then resurrected.

But how? How do you even find the stuff? “By now all sections of the brain have been probed down to the molecular level [with] no trace or imprint of a thought … found within its tissue”8

Nanobot copying presumes that “mind” is what the brain is computing—that digital content is concomitant with “being.” But if consciousness cannot be captured in a Connectome, cybernetic resurrection is of little use. At best, it will produce zombies lacking cerebral self-reference, let alone auras or souls.

Cryopreservation can’t get at cliques, let alone ground luminosity. It’s silicon, iridium, and tin—a death cult posing as a cult of life.

Presuming success at these tasks—an unwarranted concession—there remain significant hurdles. For instance, a personality that can be copied is, by definition, not unique. While its clones may each have the memory of the original to the point of transfer, the new entity would start its own separate identity. One person would fission into a number of separate people.

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

Putting one’s eggs in the basket of cryopreservation and AI combines machine worship with a valorization of corporeal reality. Reincarnation is supplanted by transit of “souls” between hardware units.

But immortality is already imbedded in the “hard drive” of the aura. Singularity exists in prayer, shamanic journeying, and Rainbow Bodies.

It is worth noting that no one, even if cryopreserved, will be around when the Sun novas or the Milky Way and Andromeda collide. You may say that that’s a long way off, but to develop an immortality tactic that will someday be useless is an oxymoron. Even if members of our species construct ships to get our descendants to another solar system—an unlikely enterprise—we’re still up shit’s creek without a paddle when the universe collapses, terminating all business. Better to rethink the equation.

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

Long before that, wannabe immortals will be subject to highway accidents, rattlesnake bites, shellfish toxins, murders, and the like—the daily spinning of blind goddesses Atropos, Lachesis, and Clotho. The universe doesn’t want us hanging around forever. And the universe is not some dumb squatter—it has a say in the matter.

I am reminded of a couple of dialogues from the slacker movie Suburbia.

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 [their 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—”9


Transhumanists are dwellers in Plato’s cave. They seek to preserve existence by incarcerating themselves in a volte-face of illusion and reality, like trying to stay in a dream.

We were uploaded (or downloaded) into life by a technology so elegant as to make current imitations as decrepit as they are impractical. It was a major project under the energy called time—four billion years worth, dudes!

We build castles of light, write books and laws of light, build cities of vibrating strings. Our philosophies, religions, and databases are written in quarks and protons. None of it will, can, or should last—neither the most indomitable cyclotron or massive cathedral nor the most exquisite sonnet of Shakespeare or sculpture of Michelangelo. If it can be tossed into a fire, let alone fires trillions of times the size of our sun-star, its ass will get razed to less than a neutrino, and then not even that.

But erasure is liberation. The heat deaths of temporal fires like the Sun and the supergalaxy mean nada to mind’s self-arising radiance. When the physical plane has been liquidated, crushed, cremated, or calcined in some fashion, the only thing that can escape, the only form that can epitomize its own obliteration, is also the only thing that the forces of materialism cannot get at. Everything else—everything that can be found—goes into the garbage disposal.

If it can’t be found, it can’t to put into a compacter or tossed into a blue-shift crunch. And personal identity can’t be found unless it is ransomed it to an output of microtubules and axons. Otherwise, it is unconditioned, self-arising, self-illuminating, self-authenticating, a thing that “knows it exists beyond its form.”10

Buddhist lamas propound that even if this planet were destroyed by nuclear bombs or greenhouse gases, it would be recreated from its karma elsewhere in the universe, and that doesn’t just mean another planet in another galaxy; it means that the thoughtform generating this reality will continue generating it at a frequency of All That Is, and the rest will follow.. Another universe will appear

This is where alchemy is the senior science to chemistry. You can’t destroy archetypes, you can only transmute or transubstantiate them.


  1. Is This Reality a Computer Simulation

What about the proposition that the universe is a computer simulation in which we have been programmed by super-beings located in another universe (a “real” one)? The screen-saver is starry night, a faux Milky Way smashed against an imaginary dome. As the program hums along, a tree rustles in an ocean breeze. Erosion and tattering of the display—unraveling atomic debris at the edges—suggest spots where the super-technicians neglected to tie down the edges. 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?”11

Astronomer Neil deGrasse Tyson concurs: “I think the likelihood may be very high.” Citing the 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.”12

“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.”13


Reality as a cosmic computer simulation presupposes that the present technological trajectory is maintainable both politically and ecologically, and that the intelligence imbedded in computers will potentially exceed the reality in which computers are artifacts—The Matrix writ large.

The challenge for those super-beings remains personal identity, theirs as well as ours. Is our recognition of ourselves, including our capacity to contemplate our reality as a computer simulation, built into the simulation by the designers? If so, is self-awareness a by-product of codes or does it arise on its own when the simulation is activated. Same question (by the way) to ask of test-tube-created life forms or AI robots: how (and when) do they know that they exist? Or is it “turtles all the way down (and up)?”

How did the simulation’s creators acquire their identity? Where in relation to the simulation are they situated? Around an X-box as large as the universe (or a projection of the universe)? Is their origin moleculo-atomic? If not, what made them? How did they get into their own universe? How did they get us into ours? Did they copy in their own or concoct a new one?

Reality as a computer simulation grasps a truth without recognizing its context. Our reality is a simulation. When scientists turn their instruments on any dab of matter and look inside it into its subatomic domain, they find gateways to realms that are simultaneously incomprehensibly vast and incomprehensibly tiny. The triumvirate, space-time-matter, vanishes into an uncertainty state.

Matter only looks like matter at our frequency.

Scientists once thought to find bottom, but there was no bottom. Neither was there bottomlessness, just dissolution of form or transition to another mode of form. They proved that the universe was not created in the way they would create a universe.

How could you tell a computer simulation from Divine Intelligence anyway, or from a program written in atoms and molecules by collective intelligences?


  1. Why Is There Something Rather than Nothing?

Why is there something rather than nothing?

Why is there something rather than nothing? Why is there anything anywhere rather than nothing everywhere?

In a legendary, perhaps apocryphal final exam for a Harvard philosophy course, a professor asked his class a single question: “Why?”

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

He wrote, “Why not?”

I heard that story in high school and never liked it. The answer is too 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 friend Andy Lugg : “I figure things have to work some way and I could care less which way they do.”14

In order to grok what “something rather than nothing” means you first have to grok “nothing.” I know I have been over this, but it bears repeating. Nothing means nothing: nothing now, nothing ever; no time, no space, no mind, no intimation of time, space, or mind. No top, no bottom, no dimensionality. No light, no gravity, no mass. Nada. Nada forever, but no forever.

Nothing means that this entire rigmarole arose in the middle of nowhere and developed depth, reflection, and meaning sui generis. “Nothing” is connected to nothing. Where “something” came from is up for grabs. It just appeared. Or it came from nothing.

Statisticians argue that there have been countless different or “failed” universes in a time frame dwarfing the Big Bang, which set the present clock ticking 13.8 billion years ago, creating local chronology. We lucky ducks happened to be in a spot where parameters converged, making “something out of nothing”—but that is still “nothing.”

Something was here because…well, it was here. But it was nothing, or and it should have remained nothing but wasn’t. Yet it is still nothing

Nothing means that something violated a sentence of eternal “nothingness.”


Where did the Big Bang get its material from, let alone so much that it could grow from a tiny jujube to billions of galaxies with trillions of stars?

If it happened in the middle of nowhere for no reason, that means that forces like heat, curvature, and gravity emerged ex nihilo without basis. But they had to have had some basis—how else were their existence and properties established?

“Because there is a law such as gravity,” Stephen Hawking wrote, “the universe can and will create itself from nothing.”15  Did a gravitational force arise from a prior bias of another force, or from its own disposition?

Painter/rockclimber James Moore asks (in due modesty and respect,) “How can we get a universe as vast (millions of billions of galaxies) as this one arising in an instant from one point from nothing… all because of the laws of gravity? I’m no physicist but how can you have all that mass/energy exist the moment after a Big Bang, but not before? Gravity can explain the actions/reactions of that kind of mass but not its creation (gravity is what happens in the interaction between two objects having mass, and may well exist as a force without mass, but not without energy, and still the fundamental question of the cause of this gravity remains…)”16

“Spontaneous creation,” Hawking counters, “is the reason there is something rather than nothing, why the universe exists, why we exist.” He hopes that M-theory, a string offshoot, will lead to the unified field “Einstein was hoping to find.”17

“Sorry Stephen,” says Moore, “but to try and explain the cause of the Big Bang as causeless spontaneous creation sounds like ‘blind faith’ to me.”18


If the universe began without mind, it can brush mind away like flies on a rhino’s ass. If began as a thoughtform, it is mind always, expanding and expressing itself in myriad platforms, “an innate energy of divine presence that is necessary for existence to manifest … why ‘something’ exists rather than ‘nothing.’”19

If desire, awe, wonder, faith, joy, grief, and love can be made by rubbing two sticks together, then let Nothing be king over a universe of empty plans and fatuous identities.

To have something, quarks, preons, strings, and the Big Bang have to be rooted in something, something like a Tree of Life or self-authenticating luminosity. Otherwise, the vast galloping algorithmic hen squats on eternity laying quantum-entangled particles, uncertainty states, collapsing waves, and the like forever or as long as conditions hold.

But if an intrinsic luminosity is driving this, it roots outside those sticks and connects conditional reality to the unconditional basis of there being worlds and realities at all. The Primal Flaring Forth (as cosmologist Brian Swimme renamed the Big Bang) was a white hole and dimensional shape-shifter, and we inhabit a puncture in another dimension.

In other words, the universe is either incomprehensibly full or vapid and empty. If it is incomprehensibly full, a nihilistic belief system is just as full in its way. If it is vapid and empty, even the most profound spiritual or magical belief system or shamanic art is a hoax and a mirage.

What do you think? What do you really think?


I think that no whirlpool, imploding pip, or formless cloud spins in the middle of nowhere for no reason, for then the issue becomes which “nowhere” and for what “no reason.” If a single particle that could fit on a pinhead with room to spare gave rise to this extenuation, all the stars in all the galaxies, it wasn’t a mote and it wasn’t spat out. It was a shadow, the negative space cast by an object of illimitable dimensions. Every aspect of it is an alphabet writing on its own permutations.

The universe arose primordially at the core of All That Is, as neither mind nor matter but ground luminosity, vide:“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.”20

Spirit arrived as light of primordial purity—spontaneous, ceaseless, ceaselessly self-renewing, innate and extrinsic. Its glow was more durable than photons or electrons, as it radiated through any number of universes, pervading everything arising from it, reflecting back its source, e.g., reflecting at all.

The algorithm ran into it like the broad side of a barn that couldn’t be missed.

Consciousness arises from matter because matter was already arising from consciousness. Matter is mind contacting its own intrinsic luminosity and evanescence. Mind ends up grasping its origination not because an algorithm went ape and a hundred monkeys typing away on their machines found nirvana, but because it is expressing its own essential nature.

Here is where the rubber meets the road for me: I can see how random molecules could develop motion and the rudiments of agency—maybe. But I can’t see how they would construct personal identity—a proxy universe—plus a range of emotion, aesthetics, value, and morality.

The ultimate problem for physics is, a universe that has consciousness in it is a conscious universe. If this is a conscious universe, consciousness came first.

A universe of nothing can never be inhabited by “something.”

“Physical matter by itself could never produce consciousness.”21 It could not have come upon personal identity by rolling dice, quantum or other. Rootless debris could not generate mind if mind were not implicit. Every molecule on Titan or Europa screams that, as does every meteor and centaur laden with latency. Each star field is a focal intelligence as well as a hydrogen-helium alembic.

No sentient entity could exist in a universe unless it bottomed out at that universe.

Something was present in the vortex of the Primal Flare, not just something but everything.

Something continually bottoms out in itself because it continually arises from itself. Its continuity can’t be broken by entropy, algorithms, or annulments of its status.

Something means that we are actually here—or anywhere, or that anything is actually anywhere.

“Something” mean that the unspecified can never be specified, but the specified can never be unspecified.

We are not nowhere, because the something is always framing us, and existence is not for no reason because the something cannot ever contract or be less than it was.


Scientism is so dazzled by the forces and forms of extenuation that it does not recognize that internalization is an equal and complementary function. By locating the basis of mind inextricably and unforgivingly in matter, it has dismissed the transparency and force of mindedness while setting itself in a maze of minded projections onto their own algebraic and relativistic nature.

What modern science also misses in its focus on the concrete and so-called real is that it is finally more real to be meaningful than it is to be real. To be real, in a regime of mere corporeality, is to be reduced to atomic vibrations. They are real but flat, ephemeral, and flattened out above their own deep uncertainty state. An overly real reality bottoms out, but at a false bottom. Seth puts it this way:

“All That Is creates its reality as it goes along…. 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.”22

Having eaten the forbidden apple and opened Pandora’s box, science has released a meaning it is incapable of comprehending. Divine knowledge without preparation yields a divine façade, an empty shell of magic. It is not wrong, but it is uninitiated. It has drained meaning out of the universe and left us in the middle of nowhere with no meaning: no purpose except hedonistic consumption, technocratic fascination, material accrual, and idle amusement.

The human destruction of the ecosphere is the application of an encrypted secret to a forbidden landscape.

The universe of nothing is not wrong; it is the fiber and negative capability holding together nature and reality—the depth of Divine awareness of its own paradoxical and unconscious core. The attack against consciousness, modernity’s jeremiad, is an attempt to root consciousness deeply enough that it can never be excoriated from future universes and realities. Materialism is the ultimate lure to draw mind out of its fascination with its own abstraction into the stipe grounding it.

The universe of something is the ground luminosity radiating through its own depth and transforming the shadows cast by its paradox of primordial unconsciousness.


“Why not?” Take your A and leave.


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. I can’t vouch for its authenticity. The narrative is certainly within the range of what could be improvised from a vernacular 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 that a past-life regression when she was experiencing “physical and emotional afflictions…became the catalyst that unlocked the floodgates of my soul memory.”1

I take Light at her word. Yes, she could have made the whole thing up or cobbled a few hypnagogic flashbacks into a novella. Yet the text bears an inherent validity beyond the issue of its authenticity.

As Light progressed through her past-life regression, multiple identities flooded into her mind. In lifetime after lifetime she found herself locked in a Manichean battle with an ambitious, deviant soul known to the twentieth century as “Adolf Hitler.” Before Atlantis the two were rival magicians—she believed that the key to the universe was the force of love; he believed in might generated through a blend of magic and technology.

Through 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.”2 He appropriated rituals, including ones forbidden to noninitiates. Drawing on racial memories in the Aryan bloodline, he established a creed fed by subconscious greed and envy.3 In his recent lifetime as Adolf Hitler, he drew on his Soul memory, as he “reformulated [ancient rites] into the new state religion…based on the magical properties of blood.”4

The Nazi High Command launched their Reich in Bavaria’s 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.”5 According to Light, Hitler was not primarily exalating the Aryan race, he was trying to restore an Atlantean mystery school and warrior guild from another plane.

In her lifetime as Natasza, Light dreamed of the Führer inspecting her concentration camp in person. She saw him 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. “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.”6

He could have been a great teacher who served humanity—he might still in a future lifetime—in 1930s Germany he chose a different path.

Hitler’s successive lifetimes, nonetheless, have opened a conduit to an underbelly of darkness in All That Is. If the shadow wasn’t there, he couldn’t have emanated it. And he hadn’t emanated it, its energy wouldn’t have begun to get redeemed. Until we admit it place in our collective Soul and begin absolve it, it will continue to incarnate, more recently as centurions of Daesh and Boko Haram. In a nondual universe, something has to take responsibility for dissolving or, more realistically, transmogrifying the unconscious toxic cloud.


As Light’s chronology begins, fourteen-year-old Natasza is forcibly separated from her family by gendarmes 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 spirits. On her own, she is placed in a gloomy 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.”7 As she used her inner sight to focus on the source and her telepathy to illuminate its words, a 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 to oppose the Nazis when he had a 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, to teach and protect her and to enable her to aid others in their distress. He explained that he had been drawn by the lodestar of her psychic power—a healing energy in a grim landscape.

Natasza reports, he “focused his mind and projected into my third eye simple diagrams of the organs and systems of the body”8 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.”9 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 would see but not recognize her.

Boris’ manifestation was ectoplasmic, so he could steal medical supplies from the camp infirmary. “Being transparent,” he joked, “has many advantages.”10 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….”11 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 communicated telepathically through 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 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.”12

On Boris’ next manifestation, Natasza was astonished to see 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.”13

Boris’ guilt attracted them to him; he was the only recognizable object to which they could fasten their fugues.14 They continued to guide themselves by attaching their memories of who they had been to the karmic cloud of by his remorse.


Natasza engaged in many acts of both espionage and insurrection, including subversions of Nazi schemes and healings of other prisoners. But Boris recognized something dangerous incubating in her heart. The young girl was witnessing too many crimes and violations for her gentle vibration to absorb—acts of bodily, mental, and spiritual violation, sexual abuses and humiliations, necrophiliac mutilation, and murder.15 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.”16

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.’”17

His lessons clarified her mission. 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.”18

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.”19

She called it my “pathway into womanhood…as moon shadows [nightly] marked my footsteps.”20 Lying in Captain Otto’s sheets, she prayed that his young wife in a bedside photograph would forgive her.


Ultimately, Natasza emitted so much light 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—desist or die. She had become, he said, a danger to security.

Sending daggers of psychic luminosity from her eyes and infusing her syllables with holy power, she held her ground, telling him defiantly she was married to the truth.21

“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; 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.’”22

After the sentencing, Boris reached out 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.”23

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.”24

Natasza’s life ended, and Tara’s seed was sown. “Seven shots rang out.”25 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.”26

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 it soul into the world, but it addressed her in a clairsentient 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.”27

Natasza projected the karmic seed and Soul 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.28


In 1974 in one of his last papers, psychotherapist D. W. Winnicott wrote about patients who so dreaded their own anxiety and psychotic breakdown that their actions were driven by phobic avoidance patterns. What they needed, Winnicott proposed, was, counterphobically, to experience the events behind their fantasies and fears.29 The inability to resolve past forgotten painful events in present time led to maintaining a ritualized defense mechanism, which over the years became more painful in its quiet bondage than the incident instilling the trauma. Their imagination of future danger distorted reality, as there was always a way to project some dreaded apparition onto the near horizon. Compared to such a threat, reality was a piece of cake.

One traumatized patient who was near the World Trade Center during the 9/11 attacks, remarked to his therapist how calm he was, helping strangers cope, leading people to safety. As horrific as the event was, it couldn’t hold a candle to his more gruesome fantasies. It was the first time that external reality matched what was happening inside him.

I accept Winnicott’s contention in a conventional psychiatric context while at the same time wondering how it might apply to past (or future) lives of an individual or soul— that is, whether there is a karmic reverberation of trauma, a transpersonal avoidance pattern and defense mechanism related to past lives or Multipersonhoods. Encountering reincarnational trauma would lead to unconsciously reliving unresolved events, including death pictures, travels in bardo realms, and womb memories transferred in the blood of the mother. Humanity might also be dealing with amnesiac traumas of the collective species, planet, and cosmos.

This model resonates with the trans-generational healing system of German psychotherapist Burt Hellinger: “Family Constellations.”30 What Hellinger proposed was that traumas transferred energy to both the offspring of violators and their victims, which then travelled through generations in state synchrony. Matters unresolved in one generation returned in subsequent ones, as the energy tried to get itself resolved and released.

Hellinger developed mini-dramas in group sessions as a way to resonate through past epochs, incarnate, and clear aspects of unresolved karma. Any recruit into a ritual, even if unrelated to the sufferer, played a role in recovering a lineage inaccessible to ordinary memory. He drew these rituals, in part, from his interactions with Zulu shamans in South Africa. The theatrically performed constellation achieved a runic function similar to a Navaho sand-painting, which, with its accompanying ceremony, draws in assorted icons and operants to specify and conduct 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.”31

Freud similarly recognized that any symbol will do, as long as it stores and releases a charge—an internalized libidinal load—because all representations converge on their aliases. The successful therapist, whether he knows it or not, instigates a Dreamtime.

Hellinger’s reenactments exhumed near generations and known family figures. Yet in some instances, they took individuals back to the Middle Ages, the Stone Ages, and beyond in the form of clan matriarchs and patriarchs whose karma was still active and had come to life among descendants. Whether these events were real or imaginal, they functioned therapeutically as if real.

Shamanism and psychoanalysis converge. Psychoanalysis provides an emotional catalyst through doctor-patient transference, but the process gets bogged down in in reductionist narratives—trauma reconstructions that are inertially stuck and remain so despite skilled intervention. Patients and therapists go in circles for decades, productive to a degree but bound in their own frozen energy. The therapy, while churning up juicy material, becomes its own neurotic seal between the pathology and its avoidance cycle. Resistance defeats insight or transmutation.

Once an initiating trauma gets transferred to the aura, it radiates into other planes and is incorporated back through the fluid (Etheric) body into physical body, sometimes as disease, sometimes as resistance patterns. A karmic trail forms between lifetimes.

Where the patient might look for the fear of breakdown is in the aura rather than the mind and memory. He or she should consider any “story” legitimate, no matter how supernatural and unlikely or fantastic. That is how past-life therapies can 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. There are no errors, only better and or worse representations of events that the conscious mind can never directly perceive.

The trauma exists in order to be released, to disseminate its healing power into the community and universe, to transubstantiate and release pain and recoup autonomy.

A psychic exercise such as dissolving pictures or activating chakra energy can perturb an old karmic pattern and convert a regressively psychological event into an energetic one, often instantaneously—though it also can take many attempts over days, months, years, or even lifetimes. While most folks can’t hope to call up the relevant picture on the spot, by the fifty thousandth try they might succeed. This may be the fifty thousandth try, this lifetime.

Again, one doesn’t have to locate or name the traumatic lesion; only to provide the quantum of energy needed to transform its representation, to get a frozen penchant flowing in the direction in which it is potentiated. Each knot has too many facets to specify in a single story or configuration anyway.

Transubstantiation of ancient traumas is the singular purpose of psychospiritual practice. Yoga, t’ai chi, color healing, prayer, cranial osteopathy, and the like are enantiodromias—ritualized reversals through the release of unconsciously conducted energies.

Winnicott described each “underlying primitive agony” as literally “unthinkable”—that is, of such a horrific nature that is inconceivable that one would try to think it, flat-out dangerous. Yet thinking it is exactly what one needs to do in order to get past its block into neutral cosmic energy.32

Rituals of truth and reconciliation that bring victimizer and victim together not only allow reliving of a traumatic event in present time but provide a ceremony for each party to disclose to the other what happened and to recognize Self in Other. The victimizer is also acting under the weight of a trauma, and both parties share a larger configuration. No one gets off scot-free; everyone is participating in some way on both sides of every act.

Victims of child abuse all too often become abusers as adults. Their souls seek to understand the polar aspects of their own nature. Unless given an opportunity for absolution, the abuser likewise proceeds in a septic cloud until it explodes or forms a meteor (metaphorical or metallic) in some cosmos, to pick up its pieces and kindle again from galactic tinder. Universes come into being for reasons, though they are occult to the worlds they create. In cosmogenesis, what is not remembered—the lesion at its source—creates lifetimes, egos, worlds, births. It’s that broad and abstruse a field. Karma is powerful enough to create planets and galaxies in order to receive the unresolved energy of worlds and realms that were destroyed or destroyed themselves long ago.

Matter is trauma—the passage from unconsciousness into consciousness, from water onto land, from sexual latency to erotic manifestation in embryos. See Freudian disciple Sandor Ferenczi’s Thalassa for the seminal text.

“You do not understand the dimensions into which your own thoughts drop,” Seth tells us, “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.”34

We have no way of knowing what sort of primeval event led to the emergence of Earth out of its solar swirl of dust, but whatever it was, Earth is expressing it. 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 suffer pain and humiliation.

Imagine a universe complex enough to bottom out and optimize the possibility for spiritual freedom and meaning simultaneously for the Daesh soldier and his victim.

Suffering is horrific to personhood, but the universe has no choice: it is a portal of knowledge, as it transmutes every thoughtform through vortices of untold richness and fulfillment across timeless time. In future universes, These turn into gifts, talents, even superstar capacities. Ancient thoughtforms dwarf the present hydrogen universe, but atoms and molecules are what those realities look like by now: succulent blobs and globules—everything that was in the cream of the cow that made it.

Who knows what antecedent suffering produced a Michael Jordan or Johann Sebastian Bach. Their moves (and chords) redeem those events. A few years ago, I wrote a piece called “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 excruciatingly 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 inklings they feel, that they felt in another way while carrying out their insidious, cowardly act, while killing the god they claimed to uphold.

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 today, to redeem and recover our essential nature.33

“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.”35

Perhaps this is why folks keep reincarnating—those who do.

“There are moments, according to my experience,” adds 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.”36

The definition of a “young soul” is that it thinks that it has committed no sins and suffered no horrific traumas because it doesn’t yet know what they are.

“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.”37


Undumbing the Universe

“[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….

“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.”—Seth 2, quoted in Jane Roberts, Adventures in Consciousness: An Introduction to Aspect Psychology (Needham, Massachusetts: Moment Point Press, 1975), pp. 5, 7.


(1) When astronomers chart extra-solar planets, tracking their blips in front of sun-stars, they find mostly Jovian behemoths, super-Earths, and whiplashing kettles of gas, but they are restricted to a preemptive frame. Seth calls this a “camouflage universe” and offers an interdimensional view:

“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….

“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….

“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….

“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 ….

“[U]ntil you understand that, you will not … be able to thoroughly explore any planet—or any reality, including your own.”1


Amazon multibillionaire Jeff Bezos has amassed more money than he can deploy—there is no enterprise or group of enterprises that could effectively divert that much downstream capital into useful applications. Much like Bill Gates and Elon Musk, Bezos is using it to create the future. His Blue Origin space company is more socially progressive than cryonic life extension. Yet both are technocratic fantasies and suffer from the same delusion, that we can buy or fabricate our way out of the present crisis of consciousness.

A sci-fi junkie who grew up to become a consummate entrepreneur, Bezos has every reason to think that he is on the right track. Interplanetary exploration is, to him, the only viable resolution for humanity, and the only practical way to conduct it is by rockets and cities on other worlds within the Solar System: better rockets, more durable domes, and synthetic ecosystems. He makes an educated argument:

“Now if you take baseline energy usage globally across the whole world and compound it at just a few percent a year for just a few hundred years, you have to cover the entire surface of the Earth in solar cells. That’s the real energy crisis. And it’s happening soon. And by soon, I mean within just a few hundred years. We don’t actually have that much time. So what can you do? Well, you can have a life of stasis, where you cap how much energy we get to use. You have to work only on efficiency. By the way, we’ve always been working on energy efficiency, and still we grow our energy usage. It’s not like we have been squandering energy. We have been getting better at using it with every passing decade. So, stasis would be very bad, I think.

“Now take the scenario, where you move out into the Solar System. The Solar System can easily support a trillion humans. And if we had a trillion humans, we would have a thousand Einsteins and a thousand Mozarts and unlimited (for all practical purposes) resources and solar power unlimited for all practical purposes. That’s the world that I want my great-grandchildren’s great-grandchildren to live in.”2

This is a sci-fi mirage. There’s no breathable air on any other body in the Solar System. There’s also no food, shelter, protection from radiation, or water (on most of them), or none close to the human temperature range except Mars, which in most locales is more frigid than the Arctic. Where there’s water on planets and moons, it’s not in the right form or place.

Space settlement lies outside the range of our technology. If the goal is to travel in space, meaning in cosmic spaciousness, you have to figure out how to get into space. There is no interstellar possibility in internal-combustion engines and cold gas thrusters or gravity-well acceleration. They simply send you faster around a surface. You also cannot bring back the New World or Oceania, their aboriginal fertility and cornucopia, by recreating faint replicas on other orbs.

Back to the drawing board, Jeff.


(2) “The long sought after Theory of Everything is really merely just missing one important component that was too close for us to have noticed,” notes Robert Lanza in his book Biocentrism: How Life and Consciousness are the Keys to Understanding the True Nature of the Universe. “Science hasn’t confronted the one thing that’s most familiar and most mysterious—and that is consciousness.”3

Richard Conn Henry, a physics and astronomy professor at John Hopkins University, remarks: “What Lanza says in his 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!”4

Lanza is amused by the reaction of physicists—they don’t take him seriously: “Their response has been much how you’d expect priests to respond to stem cell research.”5 The truth is as unutterable as the secret name of God.

Mind arose from matter, but matter arose from mind. The universe was designed from inside-out as consciousness and from outside-in as matter: Aristotle’s “hyle,” a primary substance which continually transduces its intrinsic nature into extrinsic form.

There is no matter as such. It is all consciousness. That’s the elephant in the room!

A universe that collapses its own wave function to arrive at definitiveness of event and locale is a universe that arises from the collapse of a wave function. Every gull crying out, every monk meditating, is surfing a wave.

Mind is the ballast, for it can reconcile isotropic and anisotropic forces and weigh a galaxy and mosquito on the same scale.

In the words of biologist George Wald put it, “Mind, rather than emerging as a late outgrowth in the evolution of life, has existed always…the source and condition of physical reality.”6

Sir James Jeans 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 saw a great thought. The universe, he concluded, is “more like a great thought than a great machine. Mind no longer appears to be an accidental intruder into the realm of matter… we ought rather hail it as the creator and governor of the realm of matter.”7

Max Planck spoke to the same: “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.”6  Physicist Gregory Matloff called it a “proto-consciousness field” extending through all of space, “The entire cosmos may be self-aware.”8


(3) Prague-based philosopher-healer Peter Wilborg sent me an odd critique through a mutual friend: “Grossinger’s own ‘philosophy’ remains stuck in an old-new form of ‘panpsychism’ which holds on to the matter-mind dualism. No, the universe is not conscious in the way he and other panpsychists think. Instead the universe is nothing but consciousness.”

I am not a panpsychic, new or old, and I agree, “The universe is consciousness.” Yet the physical manifestation must be explained. It is deep, rich, complex, and changing. The fact that the Big Bang expressed itself in heat, gravity, particles, and embodied life forms says everything about what consciousness is trying to get at.

At bottom, there is always consciousness—conscious consciousness and unconscious consciousness. Every discrete entity arises as such, a spider from an egg. The universe is not only a trillion trillion trillion atoms but a trillion trillion trillion eyes opening, and they are the same eye. You can no more shut it than you can extinguish the biblical burning bush.

The universe knows precisely what is happening. Of course, it doesn’t—it simply is, which is a more profoundly bottoming-out state. And it is trying to pull all of its selves and probabilities into knowledge so that they can awake in relation to one another. “Consciousness is always conscious of itself, and of its validity and integrity, and in those terms there is no unconsciousness.”21 At the same time, most information in the universe is unconscious—not unconscious in a Freudian sense but originating unconsciously and blossoming unconsciously into knowledge


(4) Mediaeval theologians proposed that God re-creates the world from moment to moment. John Friedlander said: “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.”10

The universe takes no siestas, leaves no slack. The absence of slack is why there is a universe with creatures and habitats. Every time an eagle snares a lower-flying gull or a fisher cat claws open a heart-thumping rabbit’s gut, the universe is maximizing meaningfulness and spiritual freedom for both.

The worst decision that any creature makes enriches the universe and optimizes that creature’s potential for growth. The universe takes the 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 Big Bang.


(5) All of us—Neil deGrasse Tyson, Richard Dawkins, The Dalai Lama, Donald Trump, the Pope, Joseph Kony, Boko Haram, Abu Musab al-Zarqai, Bill Gates, Lady Gaga, Malala Yousafzai—are matching the same picture. They are not just matching it; they are creating it, as is everyone else and every creature. The anonymous birds overhead share our DNA and our thoughtform, at their frequency. It determines that they are birds rather than humans (or bees or whales) and that their picture is a bird one. Without bird pictures, the human picture would be incomplete.

Solid objects are being collectively generated, by themselves as well because everything has an aspect of consciousness. Even gravity, heat, light, fission and fusion are flowing out of collective intelligence. Are not the breezes through the trees, the birds surfing them, the grasses and squirrels part of a collective, interdependent intelligence?

The reason that it doesn’t look like a thoughtform is not only because it is vibrating at our frequency of materialization but because so many creatures and entities, living and dead, are generating it. Everyone is unconsciously projecting a world simultaneously out of the karma and physics of the world’s own manifestation. It’s hard to dissipate such an entangling and durable mirage and get behind the camouflage. It isn’t camouflage; it’s the expression of one dimension in the parameters of another.

We are still asleep, but this is a different dream. Like fireflies in temporary unison, our pictures are creating—well, reality. There is no exception. if you’re here, you’re matching pictures. If you no longer match, then, adios, you’re already gone

Before creating the reality and awakening into it, these same entities were dreaming it, asleep and dormant. In Seth’s version, “All That is, before the beginning, contained within itself the infinite thrust of all possible creations. All That Is possessed a creativity of such magnificence that its slightest imaginings, dreams, thoughts, feelings or moods attained a kind of reality, a vividness, an intensity, that almost demanded freedom….

“The experience, the subjective universe, the “mind” of All That Is, was so brilliant, so distinct, that All That Is almost became lost, mentally wandering within this ever-flourishing, ever-growing interior landscape. Each thought, feeling, dream, or mood was itself indelibly marked with all the attributes of this infinite subjectivity. Each glowed and quivered with its own creativity, its own desire to create as it had been created….

“Thoughts of such magnificent vigor began to think their own thoughts—and their thoughts thought thoughts. As if in divine astonishment and surprise, All That Is began to listen, and began to respond to these ‘generations’ of thoughts and dreams, for the thoughts and dreams related to each other also….

“It is very difficult to try to assign anything like human motivation to All That Is. I can only say that it is possessed by the ‘need’ to … lovingly transform its own reality in such a way that each most slight probable consciousness can come to be; and with the need to see that any and all possible orchestrations of consciousness have the chance to emerge, to perceive and to love.”16

What is happening is what it looks like is happening. Our self-knowing and awareness hold the key to the cosmic riddle at a point where the subjective is also objective. We know the source because it never separated from us.

Starry night is not only a mirage but a perfect mirage, a phantasmagoria by its ephemeral nature, a spell because of its prolongation, an altar because of its capacity for transference.

Enormous thoughtforms are gathering like thunderclouds all across the landscape of modernity, crying out for recognition, saying, “We are creating this. Recognize us. Absolve us. Recognize yourselves.” The clouds are ambient, collective, and burgeoning with all our crises from opiate addiction to climate disruption to cultural road rage to nuclear weapons to sexual enslavement to violence against animals to the raping of nature to the violation and taking of innocence from children. These cannot be changed by rules or good intentions; they can only be changed within the thoughtforms creating them. That’s a tall order, but it’s the only order now.

Every time we turn those thoughtforms into commodities—matter or money—we lose their essence, and a compass. After all, we are creating forms from a cardinal energy, the energy of our own karma.

Our salvo to survive the death of our local sun-star and obsolescence of the Big Bang is not a by-product of cryonics or space migration; it is a matter of recognizing what a sun-star or planet actually is. If the universe were real, it would be exactly the same as it is, so it is real. Reality is being able to hoist matter, in fact the whole universe, onto the scales of consciousness and bob it there. Consciousness designed a universe of—more consciousness. That universe will get to the bottom, the bottom of itself, beyond all mirages because something is indelible and it looks exactly like this, but in a totally other way.





  1. Jane Roberts, The Unknown Reality, Volume Two (San Rafael, California: Amber-Allen Publications, 1996), p. 811.
  2. ibid., p. 812.



Reincarnation and Past Lives

  1. Morey Bernstein, The Search for Bridey Murphy (New York: Pocket Books, 1956), p. 133. My copy of this book was a gift from my father-in-law in Denver to my daughter on her birth. He died unexpectedly less than a year later. He was a journalist and a friend of Morey Bernstein. The inscription reads, “To Miranda Grossinger, from Morey, Many Happy Lifetimes.”
  2. ibid., p. 134.
  3. ibid.
  4. ibid.
  5. ibid., p. 252.
  6. Tom Shroder, Old Souls: The Scientific Evidence for Past Lives (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1999), p. 22.
  7. Morey Bernstein, op. cit., pp. 43-44.
  8. ibid., pp. 143-144.
  9. ibid., p. 171.
  10. ibid., pp. 181-182.
  11. ibid., p. 183.
  12. Tom Shroder, op. cit., p. 16.
  13. ibid., p. 17.
  14. ibid., p. 20.
  15. ibid., p. 92.
  16. ibid., p. 119.
  17. Linda Forman, Dreaming in Real Time: The Shanti Shanti Story (Berkeley, California: North Atlantic Books, 2003), p. 88. The sisters eventually formed a musical group called Shanti Shanti and sang together professionally in Sanskrit for years.
  18. ibid., p. 91.
  19. Tom Shroder, op. cit., p. 89.
  20. ibid., p. 21.
  21. ibid.
  22. ibid.
  23. ibid., p. 22.
  24. ibid., pp. 15 and 89.
  25. ibid., pp. 102-103.
  26. Carol Bowman, widely cited; for instance
  27. Jim B. Tucker, M.D., Life Before Life: A Scientific Investigation of Children’s Memories of Previous Lives (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2005), p. 149.
  28. Ian Stevenson, Twenty Cases Suggestive of Reincarnation (New York: American Society for Psychical Research, 1966), pp. 231-234
  29. Jim B. Tucker, op. cit., p. 55.
  30. ibid., pp. 55-56.
  31. ibid., p. 58.
  32. ibid., p. 57.
  33. ibid., p. 58.
  34. Ian Stevenson, op. cit., p. 79.
  35. ibid., p. 80.
  36. Tom Shroder, op. cit., 163-164.
  37. ibid., p. 163.
  38. ibid., p.74.
  39. ibid., p. 50.
  40. ibid., p. 74.
  41. ibid., p. 70.
  42. ibid., pp. 56-57.
  43. ibid., p. 82.
  44. ibid., p. 81.
  45. ibid., p. 91.
  46. Jim B. Tucker, op. cit., p. 9.
  47. ibid., p. 165.
  48. ibid., pp. 164-168.
  49. ibid., p. 2.
  50. ibid., p. 141.
  51. ibid., p. 142.
  52. ibid.
  53. ibid., p. 30.
  54. ibid., p. 130.
  55. ibid., pp. 129-132 (full account).
  56. ibid., pp. 52-53.
  57. Leslie Kean, Surviving Death: A Journalist Investigates Evidence for an Afterlife (New York: Crown Archetype, 2017), pp. 54-79.
  58. ibid., p. 55.
  59. ibid., p. 61.
  60. ibid., pp. 56, 70-72.
  61. ibid., pp. 56-57.
  62. ibid., pp. 58, 64, 73.
  63. ibid., p. 75.
  64. ibid., p. 61.
  65. ibid., p. 60.
  66. ibid., p. 69.
  67. ibid., p. 78.
  68. Tom Shroder, op. cit., p. 93
  69. ibid., p. 223.
  70. ibid., p. 120.
  71. Leslie Kean, Surviving Death, pp. 75-76.
  72. ibid., p. 59.
  73. Jim B. Tucker, op. cit., p. 94.
  74. ibid., p. 120.
  75. Tom Shroder, op. cit., p.124.
  76. Jim B. Tucker, op. cit., p. 123.
  77. ibid., p. 118.
  78. ibid., p. 39.
  79. ibid., p. 109.
  80. Vikas Khatri, 136 Incredible Coincidences (Delhi: Pustak Mahal, 2008).
  81. Jim B. Tucker, op. cit., p. 32.
  82. ibid., p. 100.
  83. Tom Shroder, op. cit., p. 72.
  84. Jim B. Tucker, op. cit., p. 199.
  85. Paul Edwards, quoted in Tom Shroder, op. cit., p. 36.


The Hole in the Materialists’ Universe

  1. Jane Roberts, Dreams, Evolution, and Value Fulfillment, Volume One (San Rafael, California: Amber-Allen Publications, 1997), pp. 206.
  2. Justin Torres, We the Animals (New York: Houghton-Mifflin/Mariner Books, 2012), p. 99.
  3. Gary Shteyngart, Absurdistan (New York: Random House, 2007), p. viii.
  4. Sam Harris, “Opinionator,” New York Times, September 7, 2014.
  5. Max Planck, quoted in J. W. N. Sullivan, “Interviews with Great Scientists VI: Max Planck,” The Observer, January 25, 1931, p. 17.
  6. Thomas Nagel, “Is Consciousness an Illusion?” The New York Review of Books, March 9, 2017, p. 34.
  7. Terrence W. Deacon: Incomplete Nature: How Mind Emerged from Matter (New York: W. W. Norton, 2013), pp. 483-484.
  8. ibid., p. 492.
  9. Daniel C. Dennett, Consciousness Explained (Boston: Back Bay Books, 1992), p. 406.
  10. Daniel C. Dennett, quoted by Thomas Nagel in “Is Consciousness an Illusion?” a review of Daniel C. Dennett, From Bacteria to Bach and Back: The Evolution of Minds (New York: W. W. Norton, 2017) in The New York Review of Books, March 9, 2017, p. 32.
  11. Ervin Laszlo, Jean Houston, & Larry Dossey, What Is Consciousness: Three Sages Look Behind the Veil (New York: SelectBooks, 2016), p. 60.
  12. Phillip Moffit, Awakening Through the Nine Bodies: Explorations in Consciousness for Mindfulness Meditation and Yoga Practitioners (Berkeley, California: North Atlantic Books, 2017), p. 25.
  13. Jacob Needleman, The Heart of Philosophy (New York: Tarcher/Penguin, 1982), p. 198.
  14. Phillip Moffit, op. cit., p. 82.
  15. Jane Roberts, Dreams, Evolution, and Value Fulfillment, Volume One, pp. 206.
  16. Michael McClure, “Wolf Net,” Io 20, BIopoesis (Harvey Bialy, editor), Plainfield, Vermont, 1974.
  17. Jane Roberts, Adventures in Consciousness: An Introduction to Aspect Psychology: An Introduction to Aspect Psychology (Needham, Massachusetts: Moment Point Press, 1975), p. 194. Regarding the relationship between Seth and Jane in this book, Seth says in The Unknown Reality, Volume 2, p. 790, “Ruburt [Jane] has…written…his Adventures—with some help from me now and then!”
  18. Jenny Staletovich, “Outrage over shark-dragging video deepens as new pictures surface,
  19. H. Allen Orr, 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.
  20. John C. Eccles, The Human Psyche (London: Routledge, 1992), pp. 19-20.
  21. Colin McGinn, “Neuroscience and Philosophy: An Exchange,” The New York Review of Books, August 15, 2013/Volume LX, Number 13, pp. 82-83].
  22. Werner Heisenberg, Physics and Beyond, A. J. Pomerans (translator) (New York: Harper & Row, 1971), p. 114.
  23. Steven Pinker, How the Mind Works (New York: W. W. Norton, 1997), p. 146.
  24. David Darling, “Supposing something different: Reconciling science and the afterlife,” Omni Magazine, 17:9 (1993), p. 4.
  25. Wilder Penfield, The Mystery of the Mind: A Critical Study of Consciousness and the Human Brain (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1975), pp. 79-81.
  26. Charles Richet, quoted in Leslie Kean, Surviving Death: A Journalist Investigates Evidence for an Afterlife (New York: Crown Archetype, 2017), p. 310.
  27. Leslie Kean, ibid., pp. 312, 314.
  28. ibid., p. 313 (includes direct and indirect quotes from Maurice Barbanell and Johannes Haarhoff, the latter a classicist and professor in Johannesburg).
  29. Leslie Kean, op. cit., pp. 87-88.
  30. Jane Roberts, The Unknown Reality, Volume Two (San Rafael, California: Amber-Allen Publications, 1996), p. 673.


Transdimensional Physics and Biology

For a fuller description and sources references, see Richard Grossinger, Dark Pool of Light: Reality and Consciousness, Volume 2: Consciousness in the Psychospiritual and Psychic Ranges (Berkeley, California: North Atlantic Books, 2012) and John Friedlander, Navigating the Seven Planes of Consciousness (Berkeley, California: North Atlantic Books, 2011), audio CD.

  1. Oliver Sacks, “Seeing God in the Third Millennium,” The Atlantic, December 12, 2012.
  2. Jeffrey J. Kripal, Authors of the Impossible: The Paranormal and the Sacred (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 2010), p. 80
  3. Michael W. Reimann, Max Nolte, Martina Scolamiero, Katharine Turner, Rodrigo Perin, Giuseppe Chindemi, Paweł Dłotko, Ran Levi, Kathleen Hess, and Henry Mankram, “Cliques of Neurons Bound into Cavities Provide a Missing Link between Structure and Function,” Frontiers in Computational Neuroscience, June 12, 2017.
  4. Jon Klimo Channeling: Investigations on Receiving Information from Paranormal Sources (Berkeley, California: North Atlantic Books, 1998), pp. 61-62.
  5. Leslie Kean, Surviving Death: A Journalist Investigates Evidence for an Afterlife (New York: Crown Archetype, 2017), p. 50.
  6. Ian Stevenson, Reincarnation and Biology: A Contribution to the Etiology of Birthmarks and Birth Defects (Westport, CT: Praeger, 1997).
  7. Jim B. Tucker, M.D., Life Before Life: A Scientific Investigation of Children’s Memories of Previous Lives (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2005), p. 68.
  8. John Upledger, Cell Talk: Transmitting Mind into DNA (Berkeley, California: North Atlantic Books, 2010).
  9. Jim B. Tucker, op. cit., p. 72.
  10. Edward Dorn, Recollections of Gran Apachería (Berkeley, California: Turtle Island, 1974), p. 16.
  11. Terrence W. Deacon, personal communication, email, 2015.
  12. Terrence W. Deacon and Ty Cashman, “Steps To a Metaphysics of Incompleteness,” paper presented at Tucson Consciousness Conference and Center for Theology and Natural Science, Graduate Theological Unions, Berkeley, California 2016.
  13. ibid.
  14. Terrence W. Deacon: Incomplete Nature: How Mind Emerged from Matter (New York: W. W. Norton, 2013), p. 203.
  15. Francis V. Tiso, Rainbow Body and Resurrection: Spiritual Attainment, the Dissolution of the Material Body, and the Case of Khenpo A Chö (Berkeley, California: North Atlantic Books, 2016), p. 318.


James Leininger or James Huston?

  1. Bruce and Andrea Leininger with Ken Gross, Soul Survivor: The Reincarnation of a World War II Fighter Pilot (Carlsbad, California: Hay House, 2009), pp. 3-5.
  2., August 20, 2009.
  3. Bruce and Andrea Leininger, op. cit., p. 55.
  4. ibid., p. 59.
  5. ibid., p. 16.
  6. ibid., pp. 110-111.
  7. ibid., pp. 33, 43.
  8. ibid., p. 105.
  9. ABC Primetime,, June 16, 2005.
  10. ibid.
  11. Bruce and Andrea Leininger, op. cit., p. 109.
  12. ibid., p. 106.
  13. ibid., pp. 68-70.
  14. ibid., p. 91.
  15. ibid., pp. 202-203.
  16. ibid., p. 214.
  17. ibid., p. 145.
  18. ibid., p. 146.
  19. ibid., p. 154.
  20. ibid., p. 170.
  21. Jim B. Tucker, M.D., Life Before Life: A Scientific Investigation of Children’s Memories of Previous Lives (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2005), p. 172.
  22. ibid., p. 173.
  23. ibid., p. 134.
  24. Tom Shroder, Old Souls: The Scientific Evidence for Past Lives (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1999), p. 17.
  25. Bruce and Andrea Leininger, op. cit., p. 214.
  26. ibid., p. 217.
  27. ibid., p. 222.
  28. ibid., pp. 196-198.
  29. ibid., p. 249.
  30. ibid., p. 254.
  31. ibid., p. 255.
  32. ibid., pp. 225-226.
  33. ABC Primetime,, June 16, 2005.
  34. ibid.
  35. Ervin Laszlo, Jean Houston, & Larry Dossey, What Is Consciousness: Three Sages Look Behind the Veil (New York: SelectBooks, 2016), p. 52.
  36. ibid., p. 74.
  37. Charles Eisenstein, “A state of belief is a state of being,” Network Review 113 (Winter 2013), pp. 3-6
  38. Gordon D. Kaufman, “A Religious Interpretation of Emergence: Creativity as God,” Zygon 42 (2007), p. 919.
  39. Jim B. Tucker, op. cit., p. 211.
  40. Tom Shroder, op. cit., p. 71.
  41. ibid, p. 253.
  42. Jane Roberts, Adventures in Consciousness: An Introduction to Aspect Psychology (Needham, Massachusetts: Moment Point Press, 1975), p. 117.


Treasuring Existence

  1. Shunryu Suzuki, Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind: Informal Talks on Zen Meditation and Practice (Trumble, CT: Weatherhill, 1970), p. 25.
  2. Dustin DiPerna, In Streams of Wisdom, unpublished manuscript, 2013.
  3. John Friedlander,
  4. ibid.
  5. Jane Roberts, The Unknown Reality, Volume Two (San Rafael, California: Amber-Allen Publications, 1996), pp. 695-696.
  6. Elena Ferrante, The Story of a New Name (New York: Europa Editions, 2013), p. 289.
  7. John Friedlander, unpublished CD of tele-class, August 15, 2007, The Seven Planes of Consciousness;also John Friedlander, Navigating the Seven Planes of Consciousness (2009) (Berkeley, California: North Atlantic Books, 2011), audio CD (original subtitle: An exploration of the energy frequencies of human awareness ) and John Friendlander and Gloria Hemsher, Psychic Psychology: Energy Skills for Life and Relationships  (Berkeley, California: North Atlantic Books, 2011.
  8. See Note 8.


Soul Pictures

  1. Dolores Cannon, A Soul Remembers Hiroshima (Huntsville, Arkansas: Ozark Mountain Publishers, 1993), p. 43.
  2. ibid.
  3. ibid., p. 49.
  4. ibid., p. 63.
  5. ibid., p. 67.
  6. ibid., p. 93.
  7. ibid., p. 99.
  8. ibid., p. 100.
  9. ibid., p. 96.
  10. ibid., p. 97.
  11. ibid., p. 95.
  12. ibid., p. 103.
  13. ibid.
  14. ibid., p. 105.
  15. ibid., pp. 105-106.
  16. ibid., p. 106.
  17. ibid., p. 107.
  18. Jane Roberts, Adventures in Consciousness: An Introduction to Aspect Psychology, p. 90.
  19. Dolores Cannon, op. cit., p. 107.
  20. ibid., p. 56.
  21. ibid., pp. 109, 112.
  22. ibid., p. 119.
  23. ibid., p.111.
  24. ibid., p. 117.
  25. ibid., pp. 117-118.
  26. ibid., p. 119.
  27. ibid., p. 120.
  28. ibid., p. 121.
  29. ibid., pp. 122-123.
  30. ibid., pp. 123-124.
  31. ibid., pp. 124-127. 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.
  32. ibid., pp. 128-129.
  33. ibid., p. 45.
  34. ibid., p. 47.
  35. ibid., p. 130.
  36. Jane Roberts, The Unknown Reality, Volume Two (San Rafael, California: Amber-Allen Publications, 1996), p. 144.
  37. Jane Roberts, Adventures in Consciousness: An Introduction to Aspect Psychology, p. 127, 157.
  38. Jane Roberts, The Unknown Reality, Volume Two, pp. 472-473.
  39. Tom Shroder, Old Souls: The Scientific Evidence for Past Lives (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1999), p. 239.


Cosmic Chicanery and Thoughtforms

  1. Jane Roberts, The Unknown Reality, Volume Two (San Rafael, California: Amber-Allen Publications, 1996), p. 103
  2. ibid., p. 129.
  3. ibid., p. 123.
  4. Jane Roberts, Dreams, Evolution, and Value Fulfillment, Volume One (San Rafael, California: Amber-Allen Publications, 1997), pp. 160, 173, 169, 171.
  5. John Visvader, personal communication.
  6. See my earlier summary of this in Richard Grossinger, Planet Medicine: Origins (Berkeley, California: North Atlantic Books, 2005), pp 170-176. This includes references to the original discussions by Franz Boaz and Claude Lévi-Strauss.
  7. Jeffrey J. Kripal, Authors of the Impossible: The Paranormal and the Sacred (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 2010), p. 52.
  8. ibid., p. 76.
  9. Jane Roberts, Adventures in Consciousness: An Introduction to Aspect Psychology (Needham, Massachusetts: Moment Point Press, 1975), p. 162.
  10. Annie Kagan, The Afterlife of Billy Fingers: How My Bad-Boy Brother Proved to Me There’s Life After Death (Charlottesville, VA: Hampden Roads Publishing Company, 2013).
  11. ibid., pp. 11-14.
  12. ibid., p. 13.
  13. ibid., pp. 150-152.
  14. ibid., pp. 80-81.
  15. ibid., pp. 168-169.
  16. ibid., pp. 172-173.
  17. ibid., pp. 175-177.
  18. ibid., p. 179.
  19. ibid., pp. 184-186.
  20. Ellias & Theanna Lonsdale, Book of Theanna In the Lands that Follow Death (Berkeley, California: North Atlantic Books, 2011), p. 24.
  21. ibid., p. 55.
  22. ibid., pp. 85-97.



Worshipping the Algorithm

  1. Larry Dossey in Ervin Laszlo, Jean Houston, & Larry Dossey, What Is Consciousness: Three Sages Look Behind the Veil (New York: SelectBooks, 2016), p. 53.
  2. Robert Butts in Jane Roberts, The Unknown Reality, Volume Two (San Rafael, California: Amber-Allen Publications, 1996), pp, 663, 671.
  3. Robert Lanza, “The Theory of Biocentrism,” talk, Science and Nonduality Conference, 2010.
  4. Sidney Schwab, Amherst-Class-of-1966 Chatroom, Amherst College Website, Amherst, MA, 2016.
  5. Harold “Dusty” Dowse, ibid.
  6. 6. Terence McKenna, Dreaming Awake at the End of Time,lecture recorded by

Sound Photosynthesis, San Francisco, December 13, 1998.

  1. ibid.
  2. Sidney Schwab, op. cit.
  3. Ron Milestone, personal communication, 2016.
  4. Charles Stein, journal note, June 6, 2016, posted on Facebook.
  5. Ellias Lonsdale, personal communication, 2017.



  1. Jane Roberts, Adventures in Consciousness: An Introduction to Aspect Psychology (Needham, Massachusetts: Moment Point Press, 1975), p. 95.
  2. Jane Roberts, The Unknown Reality, Volume Two (San Rafael, California: Amber-Allen Publications, 1996), p. 472.
  3. Jane Roberts, Adventures in Consciousness: An Introduction to Aspect Psychology, pp. 119.
  4. Jane Roberts, The Unknown Reality, Volume Two, p. 798.
  5. Jane Roberts, ibid, p. 530.
  6. ibid., pp. 479-480.
  7. ibid., p. 118.
  8. ibid., p. 95.
  9. ibid., p. 120.
  10. Jane Roberts, The Unknown Reality, Volume Two, p. 358.
  11. Jane Roberts, Adventures in Consciousness: An Introduction to Aspect Psychology,
  12. 122.
  13. ibid., p. 186.
  14. ibid., p. 117.
  15. ibid., p. 136.
  16. Michael Harner, Cave and Cosmos: Shamanic Encounters with Another Reality (Berkeley, CA: North Atlantic Books, 2013), pp. 150-151.
  17. Jane Roberts, The Unknown Reality, Volume Two, p. 665.
  18. Jane Roberts, The Unknown Reality, Volume One (San Rafael, California: Amber-Allen Publications, 1996), p. 100.
  19. Jean-Paul Sartre, The Reprieve (New York: Bantam Books, 1960). p. 252. 19. Herman Melville, Moby-Dick, or The Whale [1851] (New York: New American Library, 1961), p. 302.



  1. Jane Roberts, The Unknown Reality, Volume Two (San Rafael, California: Amber-Allen Publications, 1996), p. 710.
  2. ibid., p. 713.
  3. ibid., p. 730.
  4. ibid., p. 737.
  5. ibid.
  6. ibid.
  7. Jane Roberts, Adventures in Consciousness: An Introduction to Aspect Psychology (Needham, Massachusetts: Moment Point Press, 1975), p. 103.
  8. Jane Roberts, The Unknown Reality, Volume Two, p. 727.
  9. ibid., p. 715
  10. Jane Roberts, Adventures in Consciousness: An Introduction to Aspect Psychology, p. 90.
  11. Jane Roberts, The Unknown Reality, Volume Two, p. 714.
  12. Jane Roberts, Adventures in Consciousness: An Introduction to Aspect Psychology, pp. 105-106, 136.
  13. Jane Roberts, The Unknown Reality, Volume Two, pp. 648, 338.
  14. ibid., p. 725.
  15. Jane Roberts, Adventures in Consciousness: An Introduction to Aspect Psychology, p. 204.
  16. Jane Roberts, The Unknown Reality, Volume Two, p. 745.
  17. ibid., p. 727.
  18. Jane Roberts, Adventures in Consciousness: An Introduction to Aspect Psychology, p. 64.
  19. ibid., pp. 79-80.
  20. Jane Roberts, Adventures in Consciousness: An Introduction to Aspect Psychology, pp. 200-203.
  21. Jane Roberts, The Unknown Reality, Volume Two, p. 413.


Personal Identity

  1. George Wald, “Life and Mind in the Universe,” lecture delivered throughout the 1980s.
  2. Jane Roberts, The Nature of Personal Reality: Specific, Practical Techniques for Solving Everyday Problems and Enriching the Life You Know (San Rafael, CA: Amber-Allen Publishing, 1994), pp. 14-15.
  3. Vlatko Vedral, “Living in a Quantum World,” Scientific American, Vol. 304, No. 6, 2011, pp. 38-43 and George Musser, “How Noise Can Help Quantum Entanglement,”

Scientific American, 2009,

  1. Jane Roberts, The Unknown Reality, Volume One (San Rafael, California: Amber-Allen Publications, 1996), p. 99.
  2. Jane Roberts, Adventures in Consciousness: An Introduction to Aspect Psychology (Needham, Massachusetts: Moment Point Press, 1975), p. 186.

6.William Irwin Thompson, personal communication, Portland, Maine, 2017.

  1. Jane Roberts, Adventures in Consciousness: An Introduction to Aspect Psychology, p. 122.
  2. Jane Roberts, The Unknown Reality, Volume One (San Rafael, California: Amber-Allen Publications, 1996), p. 92.
  3. Eric Bogosian, Suburbia, directed by Richard Linklater, Castle Rock Entertainment, 1996.
  4. Jane Roberts, The Unknown Reality, Volume One (San Rafael, California: Amber-Allen Publications, 1996), p. 99.
  5. Jason Koebler, “Elon Musk Says There’s a ‘One in Billion’s’ Chance Reality Is Not a Simulation: Elon Musk firmly believes reality is a simulation created by a superintelligence.”, June 2, 2016.
  6. Kevin Loria, “Neil deGrasse Tyson thinks there’s a ‘very high’ chance the universe is just a simulation,”, December 23, 2016.
  7. “Could we be living in a computer game?”, April 27, 2016.
  8. Richard Grossinger, Embryos, Galaxies, and Sentient Beings: How the Universe Makes Life (Berkeley, California: North Atlantic Books, 2003), p. 78.
  9. Stephen Hawking,
  10. James Moore on Facebook, March 17, 2018.
  11. Stephen Hawking, op. cit.
  12. James Moore, op. cit.
  13. Phillip Moffit, Awakening Through the Nine Bodies: Explorations in Consciousness for Mindfulness Meditation and Yoga Practitioners (Berkeley, California: North Atlantic Books, 2017), p. 25.
  14. The Bible, King James Translation, Genesis 1: 2.
  15. Jane Roberts, Dreams, Evolution, and Value Fulfillment, Volume One (San Rafael, California: Amber-Allen Publications, 1997), pp. 160, 173, 169, 171.
  16. Jane Roberts, The Unknown Reality, Volume Two, p. 644.


Cosmic Formation

  1. Tarra Light, Angel of Auschwitz (Berkeley, CA: North Atlantic Books, 2009), p. xi.
  2. ibid., p. 24
  3. ibid., pp. 27, 31
  4. ibid., p. 28.
  5. ibid., p. 29.
  6. ibid., p. 125.
  7. ibid., p. 48.
  8. ibid., p. 73.
  9. ibid., p. 56.
  10. ibid.
  11. ibid., p. 55.
  12. ibid., p. 102.
  13. ibid., pp. 57, 69.
  14. ibid., p. 57.
  15. ibid., p. 120.
  16. ibid., p. 91.
  17. ibid., pp. 146-147.
  18. ibid., p. 115.
  19. ibid., p. 127.
  20. ibid., p. 115.
  21. ibid., p. 160.
  22. ibid.
  23. ibid., p. 161.
  24. ibid., pp. 168-169.
  25. ibid., p. 170.
  26. ibid., p. 171.
  27. ibid., p. 164.
  28. ibid., p. 175.
  29. D. W. Winnicott, “Fear of Breakdown,” The International Review of Psycho-Analysis, Vol. 1, 1974, pp. 103-107.
  30. Joy Manné, Family Constellations: A Practical Guide to Uncovering the Origins of Family Conflict (Berkeley, CA: North Atlantic Books, 2009).
  31. Gladys Reichard, Navaho Religion (New York: Pantheon Books/Bollingen Foundation, 1950), p. xxxiv.
  32. D. W. Winnicott, ibid., p. 103.
  33. Richard Grossinger, 2013: Raising the Earth to the Next Vibration (Berkeley, CA: North Atlantic Books, 2010), pp. 188-189.
  34. Jane Roberts, The Unknown Reality, Volume Two (San Rafael, California: Amber-Allen Publications, 1996), p. 366.
  35. D. W. Winnicott, ibid., p. 103.
  36. ibid.
  37. D. W.Winnicott, ibid., p. 104.


Undumbing the Universe

  1. Jane Roberts, The Unknown Reality, Volume Two (San Rafael, California: Amber-Allen Publications, 1996), pp. 344-347.
  2. Tim Fernholz, “Jeff Bezos explains how his space company will save civilization,”
  3. Robert Lanza, “The Theory of Biocentrism,” talk, Science and Nonduality Conference, 2010.
  4. Richard Conn Henry, review of Adam Lanza, Biocentrism: How Life and Consciousness are the Keys to Understand the True Nature of the Universe,
  5. Tara McIsaac, “Prominent Scientist Says Consciousness is Key to a ‘Theory of Everything,’” Epoch Times, July 27, 2015,

  1. George Wald, “Life and Mind in the Universe,” International Journal of Quantum Chemistry, March 12, 1984.
  2. I do not know the original source of this commonly cited quote. Here are some varied instances: and
  3. Max Planck, from a speech in Florence, Italy, “Das Wesen der Materie” (“The Essence/Nature/Character of Matter”), 1944.
  4. George L. Matloff. “Can Panpsychism Become an Observational Science?” Journal of Consciousness Exploration & Research, Vol. 7, No. 7, 2016.


  1. John Friedlander, Spring 2014 Workshop, audio band 8.


“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

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